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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Our Theme Song (Me & You, That Is)

This is for all my pretty girls...




Pretty is not so much an outward appreance as it is an attitude.  Always be kind, speak life, live love.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Speak Life

Since I was a teen, even in my most tomboyish stages, I've been a huge fan of Diane Von Furstenburg. And not because of the beautiful, feminine clothes she designs but just because of the woman that she seems to be--an eloquent, beautiful spirit.

Some days, when I actually bothered to turn on the television, I'd tune in to the Style channel. I'd seen interviews and portrayals, scenes from her fashion shows and the effect was always 100% the same. She amazed me because there was something in her words that resounded within me and the way she carried herself told me that she was fully in tune with the woman she is.

There's always one thing that's blaringly consistent about Ms. Von Furstenburg and it's that she always speaks in a positive manner. She always speaks about living your best life and inspiring others to do the same, optimism and positivity--happiness.

Recently, while surfing YouTube, I came across this video and I was reminded of what an amazing person she is aside from being an awesome designer. (Starting at 4:20 if you don't want to watch the whole thing ;-)).






Side note: I just love the way she flips her hair.


At times we don't realize the power that is within us as human beings. People often say that "words are just words" but they are not just words--they have affects. Words hurt when used maliciously, give encouragement when used in the right way.

Just the things that we speak have the ability to cause a situation to go positively or not. And the way that Ms. Von Furstenburg speaks, that's how I try to live my life, though at times I do get discouraged. But I don't bring that upon anyone else, I keep my negativity to myself and try to turn whatever that negative may be into something positive.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with getting discouraged or losing your way but one thing must remain constant. You must always be aware of what you say and even the things you think because if you think something often enough, eventually it will manifest in our behavior and in our lives.

One Sunday at church, our pastor gave up a strong Word and during the benediction, there was a man that came up and told the pastor, that he had plans to go home after the service and kill himself but because the pastor said all the right things and it affected in him a way that no one else could, he decided to seek help. The message in that alone brought me to tears.

Speak life! There is power in your words!

__________________________________
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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Discovering My Femininty


Pretty Girl Project: The Herstory of Me - Part 2 of 3

...Continued from Tomboy
2001

Fresh out of highschool and well into my first year of college, I was a wayward 18 year old that didn't give a you-know-what about looking sexy.  In fact, I avoided it and occassionally when I'd get any type of compliment from a guy, I'd be annoyed and even angered by it.  "Stop calling me sexy!" I'd exclaim.

It wasn't that I had low self-esteem but I thought there were other words that would better describe me at that time and sexy was not one of them.  I was confidently laid back and dreamy. I was reclusive, introspective and aloof and I suppose that it was my distant presence that lended a mysteriousness to my nature.  Being a kind of mystery is what I enjoyed but what I didn't realize back then was that people are intrigued by mystery and sometimes perceived it as sexy. 

By the end of 2001, my best friend had talked me into going to a model call with her for a fashion show at Howard University.  We went and walked, were placed in the show and I remember on the day of the show one of the designers pulled me and a few other girls to the side for a special collection he wanted to show.  He pulled a few things out and for a minute, I didn't think my eyes were focusing right.  It looked like lingerie--wait a minute--it was lingerie. 

He held some items up in front of me and said, "I want you in this."
A set of hot pink, lace tangas with a bra to match and a satin robe of the same color dangled in front of me.
I gulped, but not wanting to back down I said, "Of course."
All these years of covering up, I was about to be exposed, I was terrified but all the while I figured this would be something different and totally unexpected for me so I was a little intrigued.

I was a nervous wreck waiting for my turn to walk on the runway with my barely-there underwear.  But when I stepped out there, I didn't want to look like a scared little doe-eyed amatuer.  I wanted to portray what that outfit was--sexy.  So I just pretended to be someone else--a sexy someone else that was me.  It was as if each step I took was a step into my alter ego and once she was out, she was out.

From there and for a few more years thereafter, I continued to be that sexy alter-ego while modeling but on the streets I was back to the old me, baseball caps and t-shirts, hoodies and sneakers.  I'd occassionally show up to meet my friends in a skirt and heels on and they'd all have plenty of comments.

They'd exclaim things like, "Whaaaat. Vee is wearing a dress? I'm proud of you!'

2003/2004

I started to pay my body some attention as far as how it looked and it's actual form.  My jeans were a little more fitted and I was wearing heels on a consistent basis.  By then, my alter-ego was really taking over and I had taken on modeling as my part-time job.   My inspiration: aside from the one and only gorgeous Adrianna Lima, Jessica Rabbit had become the poster woman of femininity and sensuality for me.  Yes, I said it, Jessica Rabbit.  Laugh if you want but she was the epitome of a sexy. 

I was no longer sitting on the sidelines watching all the other girls be sexy, I was sexy too and I didn't mind being referred to as such but only as long as people didn't make too much of a fuss.  If they did, I'd retreat back into my boyish shell--sneakers and the like.  I was never able to receive compliments well in relation to my appearance or physical attributes--not sure why.  That is until I walked for a young designer from New Jersey named Tyrell Mason.

He said, "Girl, look at you.  You don't even need a bra with that dress.  Take that off, I want you to wear this."

He pulled out a GORGEOUS black and white silk dress and when I slipped the dress on, the material against my skin felt so lovely.  It was like somehow my awareness of self had been heightened.  The dress was classy and sexy and for the first time, I felt delicate.  Everything about the boyish girl had completely disappeared and the way that I felt in that moment standing in front of Tyrell, I knew that that's how I wanted to feel forever.

to be continued...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

It Seems Like Forever Since the Big Chop

...but it's only been 9 months and I've been relaxer free for 3 years and 8 months.  I used to always think about how long my hair would be had I not been blow-out obssessed and had to cut off all of the "trained" hair.  But I'm loving where I'm at with my hair right now.  When I originally cut it in February it was mid-neck when pulled straight.  Then I cut it again in May to make it even when in a straight style.  After which it was just at my jawline and that was the last time it was straightened.

Now, when I pull my hair straight it's just below my collarbone and I've had it set in my mind that I'm going to wait until February 2011 to straighten it again.  Then, I'm tempted to do it sooner as I look over pics from this past February. 
Feb 2010 - I barely had a curl pattern in the front from all the blow-outs but I refused to cut it any shorter than that.

  March 2010 - I was ready for my hair to just grow OUT!

August 2010 - I figured out that my hair shrinks to about 85% of it's length :-( Not great when you want to show length but great for styles like this :-)


October 2010 & November 2010 - Big difference between then and now





My hair is growing so fast and yet shrinkage never ceases to amaze me.  So now it's on to February 2011--my one year anniversary of wearing my hair in it's natural state.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Aquamarine - Makeup Trial #2

Learning makeup has been great fun and at this point I think it's safe to say that I've discovered a new love.  On Veteran's day, I was home all day with nowhere in particular to be so while MJ was taking his afternoon nap, I played around with my new NYX trio.

Here is the finished look, and please forgive--in my excitement, I didn't take a detail shot with my eyes closed.

This is also my first time ventruing into bold lip color.  I've always stuck to clear lip gloss but I love this color and I'm encouraged now to try more.  I'm now looking for a RED that will go great with my skintone.

Shadow: NYX Aqua Trio (That's not really the name but that's what I call it...lol)
Tear Duct: Aspen Summit Shadow by Sephora
Liner: Maybelline Line Express in black
Mascara: Maybelline Volume Express in black
Blush: Apricot Flush by Maybelline
Contour: Warmth by Bare Escentuals
Lips: Mauve-lous by Mayebelline w/ Lip Liner in Raisin

Monday, November 8, 2010

My Skincare Regimen and Staple Products

"I'm tired of all this nonsense about beauty being only skin-deep. What do you want? An adorable pancreas?" -- Jean Kerr, American author and playwright

Skincare has always been paramount to me and like anyone, I've experienced sudden and drastic changes in my skin to which I've had to adapt.  More recently: Since I had my son last year, my skin has been going haywire.  He's 18 months now and at this point, I believe it's safe to say that my hormones have long since leveled out.

However, my forehead had become an oil slick in the past few months, then there was the appearance of that nuisance rough patch that I mentioned not too long ago (and has since become only a memory *insert sinister mad scientist laugh*.

I've also drawn the conclusion that since I've started using Philosophy's Microdelivery Exfoliating Wash,  my skin has become more sensitve.  That's not suprising seeing as though it's peeling off a thin layer skin but to counteract that I've had to very careful about what other products I used and to make sure I kept my hands off my face as I'm a habitual face-toucher.

With all that said, I've had to change my tried and true, years-old skincare regimen and because I know my skin very well, it didn't take long to find products that were great for me (which I intend to do a review on all of these later):

And though I tend to use different  products form time to time just for the sake of being adventurous, these are those I always come back to and that are my staples for my skincare.

Cleanse:  



Daily (mostly at night) -- Wash with Biore Steam Activated Cleanser and in the morning, wash face with warm water and face cloth (no cleanser).

I alternate with using these two products daily.  I love this both and I like to have my cake and eat it too.  I may complicate my routine with using multiple products but its very simple to me.  I just used whatever product I feel like using on any particular day. I can't deny or give up the benefits of using my African Black Soap but I also love my Biore Cleanser. 




Exfoliate:



Twice a week -- Exfoliate with Philosophy Microdelivery Exfoliating Wash. When I use this, I do not follow with a cleanser as it's not necessary for that day.








Moisturize:



Daily/Nightly-- Philosophy Hope in a Jar is applied after every nightly wash or exfoliation process.  I apply to freshly towel dried/slightly damp skin.  I'm not a fan of the price but this moisuturizer is very light and it does wonders for keeping my skin looking and feeling dewy and moisturized.  I haven't found one that can top it.





 When I'm out of Hope in a Jar and in between trips to Sephora, I use Cetaphil Facial Moisturizer.


Protect: 



Daily -- Yes to Carrots Daily Moisturizer with SPF 15 -- While I don't use this product everyday like I should, it's one of my favorite moisturizers with SPF.








Deep Treatments: 

Usually done once a month or at anytime I feel my skin needs some type of special attention (ie. sudden breakouts, oiliness, enlarged or clogged pores) I use a number of masks depending on what my skin may need at the time.

Enlarged/clogged pores - Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque - I steam my face over a bowl of hot water for 30 seconds to open up my pores then apply the mask to clean skin.



Sudden breakouts/Oiliness - Rhassoul Clay - I mix the power with water or yogurt to make a paste and apply it to clean skin.



Dryness - Queen Helene Apricot Masque - I steam my face as mentioned above and apply the mask to clean skin.











These are the 3 items that I use  routinely but I also experiment alot with deep treatments just for fun on my "spa" days as well as make my own special mixes at home which I will share along the way.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Build a Solid Skincare Regimen


I was recently asked a number of times about my skincare regimen.  It gave me the idea to do a series of posts on one of my favorite subjects (although I was only asked to do a video on my skincare routine but I'll do a few posts and a video on my routine later.)

There are many tried and true ways to properly care for your skin and many products to help you do it.  However, there are four essential steps that should be part of every skincare regimen.  If you enjoy wearing makeup, there is no way of getting around not having close to flawless skin because let's face it, who wants bumpy makeup?  I surely don't and that's why it is important to take extra great care of your skin to prepare it for makeup application.

Before building a regimen it is essential to know your skin type so that you know exactly how to care for it.  Every skincare regimen should consist of the following 4 steps:


1.  Cleanse

Find a cleaser that your skin responds to positively.  While some products have proved to be one size fits all, it's best to find a product that states that it is specificially for your type of skin.

Wash your face once a day with the cleanser using warm water.  Be sure the temperature of the water is not too hot or too cold which may cause broken capillaries which in turn, causes skin to look aged.  Never use cleansers that contain alcohol and avoid bar soap as they both tend to dry out the skin. For those with oily skin, should choose a clear cleanser that is oil-free and those with dry skin, should choose a cleanser that has a creamy consistency.

Be careful not to overcleanse with is actual counterproductive as it causes breakouts.  Those with oily skin tend to wash more than once a day but you must be careful not to do this. Overcleansing robs your skin of its natural oils which will signal to your body to produce more oil resulting in acne.  Usually washing your face with cleanser once at night and in the morning, using  only your facecloth and warm water to wash your face should be sufficient.

If you are over cleansing, you will notice your skin flaking, rashes and even develop acne problems.


2. Exfoliate

This is actually my favorite part of my skincare regimen. 

Exfoliation is a step that should never be skipped. Exfoliation removes the top layer of dead skin cells which have a dulling effect on your skin. If you've never exfoliated or are not consistent with it, you should try and you'll instantly notice a difference in how your skin glows.

Aim to exfoliate no more than 2 to 3 times a week.  Many exfoliants claim to be gentle enough for everday use but it's simply not necessary.  When looking for an exfoliant, you must decide what kind you'd like: Peels, scrubs or microdermabrasion. 

Usually peels and microdermabrasion is performed at the dermatoglist's office and although they have many at home kits for those processed scrubs are the safest to use at home. If you choose a scrub to exfoliate make sure the grains are fine as large grains in cheap scrubs have the potential to cause irritation and/or tear your skin. 


3. Moisturize

Moisturizers simply seal moisture into the skin and I recommend that when applying a moisturizer, you should apply it while the skin is damp immediately after you have patted your face dry with a clean towel. No matter the skin type, everyone can benefit from moisturizers.  If you're unsure about how often you should moisturize, take a cue from your skin; if your skin feels tight, it's pleading for moisture.  And just as it is possible to overcleanse, it is also possible to overmoisturize which causes clogged pores.


4. Protect

The number one cause of wrinkles and aged-looking skin is sun damage, so it is imperative to use sunscreen everyday--even on cloudy days.  There are many moisturizers that come with at least SPF 15 so you can knock out two steps in one.  However, moisturizers with UV protection are not not meant to be used 24/7 and may end up irritating the skin.  One great trick is to purchase two moisturizers--one with UV protection and the other without and the one without UV protection can be used at night.

The key to a great daily skincare regimen and healthy looking skin is BALANCE.  Your skin should feel dewy, firm and moisturized to the touch,  it should not feel greasy or tight and dry.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Christmas Wishlist

Post idea Hi-jacked from N. Nicole @ TotalLifeProsperityBlog

Usually as soon as Halloween has passed, I focus on making plans with my family for Thanksgiving and I don't even think about Christmas until after November's holiday. But...I just can't help but to think a little further ahead this year.  I'm ready for good times: Family time, great food, sharing with those less-fortunate (I usually donate clothes and shoes around this time of year) and gift-giving!
I have just two items on my wishlist. There were three but I took it upon myself to knock one of those items of my list a few weeks ago *cheese*.


The Canon EOS Rebel T2i

 


Originally, I wanted the Rebel XSi for starters but the minute I laid eyes on this new beauty,  there was something in my soul that confirimed, "This is the one." I've been reading reviews, day-dreaming and watching tutorials ever since.  There was also a customer that left a review on the Canon website that's stuck with me ever since I read it.  He said that next to choosing his wife, purchasing this camera was the best decision he'd ever made.  LOL!  I was tickled and sold all at the same time. I'm ready to have this baby in my life.


Regina Knee Boot by Guess by Marciano

This sexy little boot stops just at the knee and straps around the leg. I think this boot is so, so sexy and perfect for Project: Me in Chocolate Brown!  :-)  I'm getting excited about Christmas just looking at them! 

What's on your wishlist?

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