SLIDER

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Hair Inspiration

When I saw this, I was in awe.  I wonder how long it will take for my hair to get this huge.  *sigh* Just FABULOUS!

Source from Google

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Omega

 "Royal Purple" & "Old Gold"

I've always loved these colors together so I decided to try them on I hope you like it! :-)

you can totally see the peach fuzz on my nose...lol I call it my angel glow. LOL!


What I Used:

Eyes: Rock & Republic - Twisted, outer lid (upper and lower)
MAC - Goldmine, inside lid (upper and lower)
MAC - Espresso, outer corner (upper and lower)
MAC - Ricepaper, inner corner & highlight
Liner: NYX Liquid Liner, Black
Cheeks: Stila Cream Color- Sakura
Highlight: Blush #1 from Coastal Scents 26 Palette
Contour: Blush #5 from Coastal Scents 26 Palette
Lips: Maybelline Liner - Toast
Rock & Republic Gloss- Trainwreck (it's 80th appearance :-p)

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And here's a random accidental shot of my new hair color!  I was in between taking pics of my family and my makeup and during this shot that wasn't meant to be taken, it wasn't on macro mode!  Can't see the curls but you can see the color :-)

Monday, April 25, 2011

5 Steps to Smooth Radiant Skin (Sans Makeup)

sourced from google
I've been getting a couple inquiries about my skincare regimen lately and also a few emails on a few beauty tips and tricks that I can offer.  I don't claim to know it all but I certainly don't mind sharing what I do know.  It has also been my intention to incorporate (more) of the topics that I love best into my blog and I suppose it'd be just as good a time as any to do it now.  So I'll start with the basics and work my way forward:

Cleanse:

 Cleansing is the first step to obtaining smooth radiant skin as clean and clear pores make for clear skin.  Proper cleansing begins with clean hands and nails.  Hands should be washed and nails should be scrubbed before washing the face as not doing so could cause bacteria to be introduced to the pores.  Face should be cleansed with a cleanser suited for your skin type.  Wash move hands in a circular motion starting at the forehead and the making your way down the temples to the cheeks and then the neck area.

Be sure not to over cleanse as it will cause the skin to go into "panic" mode and produce more oil which in turn causes clogged pores and acne breakouts.  For dry skin: You should cleanse with a cleanser at night before bed and then wash your face with a warm cloth (no cleanser) in the mornings.
For oily skin: Cleanse twice with cleanser and then proceed to toning.

Tone:  

Many believe that if you tone, you don't need to use a cleanser and if you use a cleanser, you don't need to tone.  This isn't entirely true.  Taking the extra step in toning can make all the difference in the world for those with combination and oily/acne prone skin.  Toning helps to remove residue from the cleansers and to tighten the pores thereby helping with controlling oil production.  Be sure to stay away from toners that contain alcohol as they can be drying to the skin--even for oily types. 

While toning has it benefits, some prefer to skip it all together and that's perfectly fine but if you've never tried it, do so and see if it make sa difference in the size of your pores and your amount of breakouts.

Exfoliate:

This is by far my favorite part of the face & body regimen.  Exfoliating is a part of skin care that absolutely no one should skip.  Exfoliating helps to clear clogged pores and slough off dead skin cells.  Peely flaky skin? Not sexy.  And exfoliating with help to reveal radiant, glowing skin each and every time you do so.

Those with dry skin should exfoliate no more than twice a week.  Those with normal, combination and acne prone skin can benefit from exfoliating 3 times a week.

Moisturize:

Moisture is what keeps the skin looking healthy and firm--keeping wrinkles at bay.  The best time to use a moisturizer is before the skin has completely dried after cleansing and toning.  Some of the best moisturizers are those that contain Vitamin C.  Vitamin C alone is a great skin smoothing (texture) and firming agent and it also contains powerful antioxidants that fight free radicals and pollutants.
Moisturizing should take place in the morning and at night before bed for the best benefits.
Detox:

Every so often, one should pamper their skin with some sort of detoxifying face mask.
The benefits of face masks is that they help to detoxify the skin--clearing congested pores reducing oily build up and releasing trapped dirt and impurities.  Detoxing can be done once or twice a month to minimize the size of pores (toning benefits), drying out pimples and of course, reducing breakouts.
Great face masks can be made with bentonite clay, rhassoul/Moroccan red clay or china clay.  Queen Helene also offers clay masks containing bentonite and they work great for a low cost.

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Clear skin is all a matter of consistency and diligence.  Many people have tried certain skin care regimens and complained that it did not work for them but in asking "Were you consistent?"  8 times out of 10 they weren't and gave up after a week.  Great skincare is like exercise, you have to stick with it in order to see the results you want to see.  I guarantee that doing these 5 things on a regular basis is sure to keep problem skin under control, making it look healthy and beautifully smooth. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Product Review: Creme of Nature Argan Oil Intensive Conditioning Treatment

[Source]

I haven't bothered with anything Creme of Nature since I went natural.  Not for any particular reason but I believe I was so consumed by this new world of products specifically for natural hair that I'd forgotten all about them.  Well, they certainly caught my attention with the pretty packaging for their new Argan Oil line.But does the effectiveness of what's inside match the beautifully designed outside? Read on to find out.


Not Everything Is Black & White

I know Spring has set in but I've fallen in love with the Grey Area.  I found this color while perusing the isles of CVS and I was actually looking for a new set of tweezers and emory boards when this dark beauty caught my eye.

I already love Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear polishes because of it's thick formula and when I saw this color, I just had to add it to my ever growing Xtreme Wear collection.  Usually one coat will get it done with the SHXW but I decided to do two because I painted it a little thin near the cuticles.

The best things about this polish:

It's grey with gorgeous purple-ish hue. Purple is my favorite color so I am LOVING this polish right now.
It's cheap.  This polish only goes for $2.50-$3.29 (depending on where you live) and it lasts longer than my $8.50-a-pop Orly polishes.  Isn't that something?!?!

Here's how it looks at different angles and light variations:

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Spring Has Sprung - Musings of the Hair

Today's temp, 74.  But it's got to be at least 82 degrees for me to come out of my jacket.  Today, I let my curls blow in the wind. I just can't wait until my hair has more weight so that it can hang more. It's hard to believe that when straight, my hair is grazing armpit length at it's longest part. I suppose it won't "hang" the way I want until I reach BSL. Here's to continued hair health and growth!


What's In My Bag

My Entry for the Meek-N-Mild "What's in My Bag" Giveaway.


This is my bag of the moment.  I found at Wilson's on sale for just $30 when the original price was $90.  I'd have been a fool to pass up a steal like that!

So here's what I'm carrying:

Hair Pins
Keys
Cell cracked the screen when I dropped it 2 weeks ago :-(
Insider club cards to stores that I frequent
Hand Sanitizer
Benefit Brow Gel
My favorite lip gloss of the moment
Chapstick
Mascara
My favorite kohl eye liner of the moment
Sharpener for my liner pencil
Nail File with case (I always bump my nails so this is a MUST have for me)
My favorite pen from Tiffany & Co.
My heart mirror from Express
Wallet which houses my bank card, check book,  license & my CVS extra care bucks :-D
Last but certainly not least:
Word for the Day - gotta get my gospel on where ever I go :-)

Although this bag is very roomy, I try not to keep alot of junk in my purse or I'll get annoyed as I like to be able to find things quickly.  There is something about clutter and junk that I just can't get by so I try to keep it down to the bare necessities.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Hair Files: Achieving Balance with Protein & Moisture

Sourced from Google
In order to thrive, everything in life and in this world requires balance and certainly our hair is no different.  In order to maintain proper elasticity & health, hair needs the right balance of protein and moisture.  Without moisture, our hair would be dull & dry but without the right amount of protein hair will easily break because it's weak. 

It's also possible for the hair to have too much protein as well which will cause the hair to feel brittle and snap.

Many women will claim that their hair "hates" products that contain protein or that they are protein-sensitive.  About 70% of our hair's make up is protein so ideally, adding it would simply strengthen the hair.  When people receive negative results from using from products that contain protein, it's usually because the protein was not needed or they didn't follow up the protein treatment with deep conditioning.

If your hair feels and looks dry then no doubt, your hair is in need of moisture and would benefit from deep conditioning.  Easy enough but how do we know when more protein is needed or when it's too much? 

When wet, if your hair feels mushy or soggy, then you're in need of protein.
Additionally, if you shed hair (when wet) is pulled at each end and it just stretches and stretches but does not return back to it's original length, then you have low elasticity and are in need of a protein treatment.

Need to know what kind of protein treatment is best for you?  There are many options that will get the job done well.  Here are my tried and true favorites:

Aphogee 2 Step Protein Treatment - This hardening keratin treatment is a product specified for professional use but it's available in most beauty supply stores and easy to use.  I've used this protein treatment for over 10 years and even in my relaxed days, it was a staple in my hair care regimen and now is no different.

When this treatment is applied and begins to harden, the hair should not be manipulated or you'll run the risk of damaging your tresses.  After the treatment is rinsed from the hair, deep conditioning is required to restore softness.

Sebastian 2+1 Treatment - This treatment has the perfect balance of moisture and protein (2 parts moisture, 1 part protein) and lends great softness and manageability.  This formula does not harden like the Aphoghee treatment and it's so moisturizing that you won't have to follow up with a deep conditioner.  This particular treatment would be great for those that don't want to deal with the sticky hardening Aphogee formula.

D-I-Y at home - There are many different ways to make a protein treatment at home.  Here are two recipes that will work great.

1.  Mix these into 1 cup of your favorite moisturizing conditioner:
     1 egg
     1 tsp jojoba oil
     1 cup warm filtered water

Cover your hair with a plastic cap and apply heat with either a heat cap or sit under the hooded dryer for 30 minutes.

2.  3/4 cup plain yogurt
     1 egg yolk
     1/4 cup coconut cream
     1 tablespoon honey

Mix together and apply to damp or dry hair apply heat with either a heat cap or sit under the hooded dryer for 30 minutes.
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Protein treatments should be performed quarterly or as needed for natural, chemically treated or transitioning hair.  Also, as the saying goes, you are what you eat so a boost in protein in your diet would also help your hair to have proper amounts of protein as it grows in.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Spicy Redhead


sourced from google
I'm quickly growing bored of my hair color...
I've henna'd my hair 3 times so far and I'm loving the fact that it's given my hair a pretty reddish tint.  The problem for me is that it can only be seem when I'm standing under light and I'm used to having blazing red hair.  I miss it and I'm so ready to have it back for the spring and summer.  I'd delayed it so long because I was afraid of how the henna and the chemical dye would react.

I figured it was time to stop being scared and do some tests first to see the color result of using a chemical dye after henna.  Over the past few months, I've been doing tests on my shed hair with box color but I've had no success after two attempts.  I realized then that henna is pretty stubborn when it comes to lifting the color so I decided to break out the big boys.

I went to my local beauty supply and picked up some clairoxide and one of my best friends (who is dye-junkie) gave me about 2 cups of basic white to experiment and play around with.  With the clairoxide on it's own, the red tint from the henna had been lifted although the hair was still very dark.  I tried again on another puff of shed hair with a teaspoon of basic white and the clairoxide and success!  The hair color was lifted more than 4 levels.

I'm going for a brown/auburn as opposed to the bright orange-red pictured above so my hair color only needs to be lifted by 1or 2 levels to achieve the color I want.  I was so happy to see that the basic white did the trick because I was becoming discouraged.  I thought for sure that I'd have to wait until the henna had grown completely out before coloring my hair.

So with all that said, I'm just about ready and I've been preparing my hair by deep conditioning and doing keratin protein treatments throughout this time of experimentation.  I gave myself a trim last week and after another keratin treatment, I'll be ready to jump right in!

What I do have a concern about though is the roots...will the roots lift easier than the henna and come out starkly lighter or will they blend well?  Although I'm going to be adding a pinch of basic white for my whole head, that is still yet unknown. I've never been one to shy away from the shears so worse come to worse; I'll cut the crap off and start all over.

I've so missed my red hair and now I'm getting her back--of course I'll document it all the way! :-)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Dream Chaser

This question was posed on a blog I often read: Always Funky Fresh

What do you do if you don’t like your job anymore and you want to pursue your dream of doing something completely different, like dude in Soul Food that gave up law for music? Do you chase your dream?

This particular question really hit home for me because I've done this before.  I'm reposting this question in hopes to get some insight on what you would do or have already done.

Please share.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Body Challenge Check-in #2

Hi everyone!  It's time for another check-in for the "Beyonce Body Challenge".  I actually thought I'd done check-in #2 already but I suppose I was too happy about playing in my makeup and hair :-/.  My apologies for those interested in following my fitness journey.  I will give updates 1 to 2 times a month from here on out.  That's pretty reasonable, no?

On to it ----->

The picture below on the right was taken today (4/12/11) and the oh-so-embarassing picture on the left is from my Reality Check post which signified by body challenge kick-off.  My my, I'm so glad there aren't anymore dinner rolls on this here plate.


Up 'til today though, I haven't worked out since 4/6/11.  I assure you I'm not falling off but I've had a series of late days getting home as traffic caused me to get home a half hour to 45 minutes later than usual.  After 2.5 hours in traffic, the last thing I'm thinking about is the gym, let me tell ya. 

Anyway, I had a great work out today and I'm back in the full swing of things.  I'm down 11 lbs and completing 3 full miles in just 34 minutes on my peak performance days for cardio.  I'm not able to do that everyday but my goal is to knock that down to 28 minutes by the end of July.  Pray that the Lord be with me on that one!

I'm eating pretty much the same things that I showed in my previous check-in and I'm still loving it.  I was asked by a few people to share some recipes so I'll try to work those into my future posts as well.  I also stopped counting calories with the MyFitnessPal app because it was becoming quite tedious and an honest nuisance--especially because I cook from scratch. 

What I have been doing though is using plain old common sense by keeping my sugar intake low and not eating refined or enriched foods.  Now, as I stated in an earlier post, I've decided to try on the Tabata method--introduced to me by my brother but I'm not going to reveal my measurements quite yet.  I will share my progress chart with you though as I'm in the process of creating my Tabata method regimen post.  Once I get my progress sheet scanned, I'll be ready to share it with you all.

My vacation is drawing nearer and I'm going to start looking at what bathing suits I'm going to sport for that week.  I hope I can make it to a bikini-worthy body by then!  Wish me luck!

When The Knot Out Got Old...

This is the morning of day 7 after a failed pineappling attempt.  I just love how BIG my hair is getting and instead of pulling into a puff at the back of my head, I decided to rock a high puff.  Looks a little "Sideshow Bob" but I loved it!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Customer Service Is Dead

sourced from google

...I suppose he died shortly after his cousin, Chivalry.

I was feeling some type of way on Thursday afternoon.  With a government shutdown looming and spending two and half hours in traffic just to think about it, I wasn't in the best of moods.  As I pulled into the Wendy's drivethru to pick up the nugget meal I promised for MJ,  I didn't care whether the employees were kind and courteous or not. 

After ordering and paying at the first window, I pulled up to the second where I was met with a smiling face.  The young lady was showing all her pearly whites and kept that smile on her face as she talked to me and handed me the goods.  I bid her a great day with a reciprocal smile but as I pulled away I thought to myself, "What the hell is she so happy about?"

And then I thought again about the fact that what I had just experienced is a rarity nowadays.  Though I know from first hand experience, it's not always easy, everyone that works in the line of customer service should offer service with a smile.  Thinking about the fact that the lady had been so nice to me, I was able to forget all about the mood that the D.C. traffic had put me in.

After nugget meal delivery, I ventured off to Walmart for fruit, shampoo, a giant coloring book and yet another set of crayons for MJ.  After picking up everything I needed, I walked the isles of stationary, childrens books and school supplies but I was unable to find the jumbo crayons and a giant coloring book.  Just as I turned the corner of the last isle of the children's section, I ran into an associate--an older man who was just...standing there. 

"Excuse me, sir," I said.  "Would you be able to help me find where the jumbo crayons are located?"
As I spoke he stared at me, his face contorted, as if I were speaking Portugese.
"I don't know. Probably up these isles somewhere, check by the books and other toys," he replied as he brushed past me.
I turned to face him as he walked off and I said, "I looked there and they weren't there.  I've been up and down each one of these isles."
As he continued to walk, he pointed somewhere off to the right and said "Well, check stationary," and as he disappeared around the corner, I said loud enough for him to hear, "Alrighty then, no thanks for your help."

I walked off to check the isles again, and I said to myself, "Just as I thought, customer service is dead."

This is something that Chief and I discuss all the time that there is a serious problem in the world of customer service.

Why is it this way now?
Why is it that when people are super nice to use, we're taken aback and suprised?
When did attitudes, sucking teeth and twisted faces become the norm for customer service?
Will it ever stop?

Friday, April 8, 2011

In Protest

These are the results of my latest makeup look.

I've been learning so much while experimenting more and more with the colors I have.  I've been trying to step a little more out of my comfort zone and break away from the neutrals I'd been wearing lately. 

I guess I'd gotten so used to using them because I wanted to be "appropriate" for work and I wasn't realy TRYING to go for color.

I'm also starting to learn that the rules are meant not to be followed to at "T".
"For example, dark blushes are not for light women".  I beg to differ and I'll show you why in my next makeup look.  For now, check this out:






What I Used:

Eyes:
Lid & Crease: Light Pink from CS 26 palette
Berry Pink from MAC "Mystery" quad
Outer Corner & Crease: black-brown shadow from MAC "Mystery" quad
 UD Pigment in Protest
Highlight: MAC Ricepaper
Liner: NYX Liquid Liner - Black
Mascara: Maybelline Falsies - Black
Cheeks:
Highlight: #1 Blush from CS 26 palette
Blush: Milani Mineralized Blush - Desert Rose
Contour: #2 Blush from CS 26 palette

Lips:
Lipstick: Rimmel Moisture Renew Lipstick - Dusty Rose
Gloss: Maybelline Gloss & Shine -Clear
I'm also going to name the shadows in my MAC "Mystery" Quad...I'll think of some names and tell you all about them.
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YouTube | Twitter | Facebook
Tell me what you think :-)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Pretty Spirals - Bantu Knots Revisited


So I decided to give my bantu knots another go.  This time on dry hair so I wouldn't have to wait nearly 24 hours for my hair to dry.  It actually was not as frizzy as the picture made them look but throughout the day, my hair did start to expand. 

That night, I re-did my bantu knots before bed but I decided to apply just a tad of Taliah Waajid's Lock It Up Gel and a bit of Naptural85's (from youtube) sticky pomade.  The results aren't shown but my hair was still light and felt far more moisturized than it did originally (I'd used Mizani Coconut Souffle Moisturizing Hairdress to do the original set--not all that impressed with the product.)




As a refresher, here's what my Bantu Knots looked like when I knotted two-strand twists as opposed to the single strand twists as above.  As you can see, the single strand knots give a much better length pay off:



Tell me what you think :-)

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Sunday, April 3, 2011

Black Lace (FOTD & OOTD)


I made this video two weeks ago and I meant to share it with you all.  I think this is the first time where I was completely happy with my makeup and hair at the same time.  My boys took me out to dinner and I had to get all dolled up for them.  I think this is the first time where I was completely satisified with my makeup and hair at the same time. Here are the results.  Tell me what you think:



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Friday, April 1, 2011

Body Rock: New Inspiration

Sourced from Google
During my usual internet surf, I came across this picture of Nicole Murphy, otherwise known as Eddie Murphy`s ex wife, she is the mother of five,--count em--5 children!!!  Look at those abs--it's egregious--just remarkable!  That woman bore five children and is currently sailing through her 40s with a sick body like that! 

While I'm looking to only trim and define my obliques, this is a sure testament to what can be done.  I'm in my 20s, she's in her 40s--I can do this!  I'm SO inspired right now.

Meanwhile....

I've been doing great at the gym and as of last week, I've changed my workout regimen to High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) using the Tabata method (more on the in an upcoming post).  While I was already familiar with HIIT, my brother, introduced me to the Tabata method and once I tried it, I was hooked.  I've already seen a dramatic improvement in my arms--bye-bye saggy, baggy triceps!  With this method I get to compete with myself on a higher level which I am LOVING.  I can't wait to reveal my new bod in a swimsuit!

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