Tuesday, August 30, 2011

New: MAC MatchMaster Foundation

"Who doesn’t want a foundation to look as real as your skin tone? ...Simplified, this technology uses translucent pigments to create a formula that enables a fully personalized finish influenced by the subtleties of your own skin tone.  
Adding to Matchmaster’s true-to-life appeal is its moisturizing demi-matte finish, medium buildable coverage, and line-reducing soft-focus powders that help soften the appearance of lines and wrinkles. Add the fact that this formula reduces excess shine-creating oil, and who could resist?
Matchmaster has the ability to resist humidity and perspiration without losing its smooth skin feel. Launching with a spectrum of 14 light to deep dark shades and making its debut on counter with the 193 Angled Foundation Brush and 190 Foundation Brush… isn’t it time you met this match?"
On September 22nd, MAC is taking things to the next level in their push to cater to “all ages, all races, all sexes” when they'll introduce their latest foundation. If you're a MAC fan and haven't quite found your shade--look no further as this range will have you meet your match from the deepest of deep to the lightest of light.

Also, MAC has made the shade matching process simpler by doing away with NW/NC and will be utilizing just numbers. Here are the shades that will be featured:



12 are pictured but there are 14 Shades in all:
1.0 Medium/Demi Matte
1.5 Medium/Demi Matte
2.0 Medium/Demi Matte
3.0 Medium/Demi Matte
4.0 Medium/Demi Matte
5.0 Medium/Demi Matte
6.0 Medium/Demi Matte
7.0 Medium/Demi Matte
7.5 Medium/Demi Matte
8.0 Medium/Demi Matte
8.5 Medium/Demi Matte
9.0 Medium/Demi Matte
9.5 Medium/Demi Matte
10.0 Medium/Demi Matte

As my faithful readers know, I'm not a big foundation wearer but I have been looking for a great one to have on hand for special occasions.  I'll certainly be trying this one out to see if it fits the bill.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Product Review: i.d. bareVitamins Skin Rev-ver Upper

Description from

"Get a more radiant looking complexion by creating a smooth surface for bareMinerals Foundation. bareVitamins Skin Rev-er Upper was designed to rejuvenate your complexion like a daily multi-vitamin supplement, with the added benefits of glycolic and salicylic acids to prepare skin for flawless makeup application every time. bareVitamins is for anyone wanting a daily dose of facial fitness to keep skin looking clear and healthy. It's lightweight and perfect for all skin types."

Water, Ppg-14 Butyl Ether, Cetyl Dimethicone, Methyl Gluceth-20, Salicylic Acid, Glyceryl Stearate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Oat Kernel Extract, Saponaria Extract, Grape Fruit Extract, Honey Extract, Vitamin A Acetate, Vitamin E Acetate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Panthenol, Bisabolol, Allantoin, Peg-100 Stearate, Ceteareth-20, Glycolic Acid, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Sodium Hydroxide, Xanthan Gum, Diazolidinyl Urea, Tetrasodium Edta, Methylparaben, Propylparaben

This product does NOT contain:
Sulfates, Synthetic Fragrances, Synthetic Dyes, or Phthalates

My Experience:
This. Product...I love it. Originally, this little potion sat in my beauty stash untouched for weeks. In all honesty, aside from the fact that I just wasn't interested, I was put off by some of the ingredients at the top and the bottom of the list.  After giving the ingredients another read, my curisosity was piqued by those sandwiched in between. So I looked up the ingredients I was unsure about and decided to give it a go.

I washed and patted my face dry leaving my skin slightly damp. As I smoothed on this multi-vitamin complex, I noticed it didn't take any time to absorb and I could see instantly that my skin was glowing all the more radiant.  Not one too easily impressed, I used it over a period of months before I made a final decision.

This product is best as a facial prep for makeup application but it can be used alone with a moisturizer.  I prefer to use it only on the days that I don't exfoliate whether makeup is applied or not. A little of this non-sticky formula goes a long way! I only use a dime sized amount for my entire face.

The texture is smooth and it has a looser consistency than a face cream or lotion.  It's ultra ligthweight and non-greasy. I also love the fact that this lovely potion is infused with Vitamins A, C & E!  Vitamins A & C help brighten & firm the skin while Vitamin E helps fight aging and cancer-causing free radicals.
I will be purchasing more of this before I run out.

Price & Rating:
Can be found at Bare Escentuals boutiques (in-store & online) and also at Sephora & Ulta for $21
This product is reasonably priced considering it lasts for a pretty long time. I've been using this product for months now and I'm only halfway through the bottle.
I'll give this product 4.5 out of 5 stars

Saturday, August 27, 2011

My Best Braid Out Yet!

I'm so excited!  My braid out actually turned out well and lasted all day without super frizz or swelling.  And yes, even while I was out in the humidity preparing for Hurricane Irene (which I don't think is going to be all that big for my area but you never know). 

Per the rules of the protective style challenge I'm participating in with The Good Hair Blog, I wore my hair all week in an updo with the ends tucked away (I didn't like the style but kept it in so as not to "cheat"). I wore my hair thar way from Friday to Thursday but by Thursday night, my hair was super frizzy and I couldn't take it anymore. 

Since Friday is my usual was day, I decided to take my hair out and braid it up.  I sectioned my dry hair into ten and then braided each one.  I didn't add any extra products because it still felt super soft and moisturized.  I did, however, mist my ends with water and put cold wave rods on the ends of each braid to make sure the look was consistent.  I was so happy with it, I took tons of pics.  Here are the results:
Friday evening when it was time to start my wash process, I stood in the mirror pouting.  I wasn't quite ready to let go of the moment but it had to be done.  At least I got to enjoy it for a day.  What do you think? P.S. Doesn't my hair color look ombre'd? (after the new growth of  I love it!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Recipe: All Crab, No Cake

Apologies: These pics aren't the best, my camera was dead so I took these with my cell :-p
Last week, with Chief's birthday just days away I had no idea whether or not I was going to make dinner for him or take him out to eat.  After giving it a considerable amount of thought, I decided to whip out a favorite secret weapon I knew he'd be happy with--crabcakes!

For almost 10 years now, I have been making this very same recipe and it's a sure winner.  In recent years, I've added cilantro to round out the flavor of the garlic and compliment the lime.  One of the best things about this recipe is that it calls for very little filling as I can not tolerate "cakey" cakes.  This recipe is super easy and no-fail.

  • 1 lb jumbo lump crabmeat
  • ½ lb backfin crabmeat
  • ¾ cup plain bread crumbs 
  • 1 onion, finely minced
  • 2-3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 ½ tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp spicy mustard
  • ½ lime, juiced
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped (it is imperative to use fresh cilantro)
  • 2 tsp Old Bay seasoning
Mix all ingredients except the crabmeat in a large bowl.  Once thoroughly mixed, add in the crabmeat and gently toss with your hands.   While mixing, be sure not to mince or squish the meat.  Once, ingredients are well-mixed, using your hands you may form as many or as little crabcakes as you like. (I usually make 4 to 6 large cakes).  Place the cakes in a baking pan and broil for about 8 minutes on each side or until slightly golden brown.

You can modify this recipe by adding an egg  if you happen to have a heavy hand that you may break the cakes when it's time to turn them over.  When broiling I prefer not to use the egg and would only use it while frying--though I never fry my cakes.  Broiled is best  &  healthier.  :-)

I recommend a homemade sauce as a perfect compliment to any seafood selection:

Lemon & Garlic Aioli

  • ½  cup sour cream
  • ½  cup mayonnaise
  • ¾  tbsp celery seed
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½  lemon, juiced
  • ½ tbsp chives/green onions, finely chopped
  • ¼  tsp smoked paprika
  • salt & pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients, except chives, in a small bowl and mix until smooth.  Give a final taste and adjust as needed (I always end up adding a pinch more of paprika and lemon).  Fold in chives and serve.  Enjoy! 

Possible Accompaniments

cornbread, shrimp, steamed broccoli, califlower & carrots, potato salad, french fries, slaw, salad, white wine (either Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Beauty for the Girl on a Budget (Fall Faves)

  Skin Care
Olay Complete Daily Facial Moisturizer w/ SPF:

This creamy moisturizer will only run you about $8.00 at your local drug emporium.  It's great for girls with dry to combination skin and won't clog pores.  Just apply a small amount to your fingertips and work it in to your face and neck.  Your skin will drink it up and glow all day long (and not of the greasy shine kind).

Where To Buy

Rose Water 

I use rose water as a toner and it also acts as a humectant drawing moisture into the skin which I love.  It's use brings wonderful benefits helping to balance the skin, reduce inflammation and control sebum production -- great for those with oily and acne prone skin but suitable for all skin types.  Suitable for the pockets as well with a price at around $4.00-6.00.

Where To Buy
Trader Joe's
Whole Foods
And if you're a DIYer, here's a tutorial:
How to Make Rosewater

Shea Butter & Olive Oil

There are huge benefits to using both shea butter & olive oil.  Those include improved skin tone & elasticity, protection from sun damage, minimized appearance of stretch marks while soothing dry skin--need I say more?  Both of these natural products are favorites & staples because they pack so much punch.  To use: Combine 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil to every 1lb of shea butter and with a hand mixer, whip it to a smooth consistency (no heating/melting required).  Because shea butter is thick, I use this combination regularly in the fall & winter months to ward off dry, itchy skin. 

Where to Buy
Camden Grey

Make Up 
NYX makeup is super afforable (most single items sell for less than 10 dollars), is ultra-pigmented and applies like butter.  The only thing that I don't care for with NYX is that I've noticed the shadows area bit more powdery than I prefer.  Even with that, I don't experience much fall-out.  NYX has a color range suitable for all skin tones & is the perfect go-to shadow for the makeup junkie on a budget.

Where To Buy
NYX online
Ulta (Online & In-Store)
Many Asian Beauty Supply Stores

Revlon ColorStay Liquid Liner

This by far has been the best felt tip liner that I've owned as the applicator is pointed for a more precise application. This smudge-proof, stay all-day liner is super easy to apply and there's no room for complaint with a price of $2.00-4.00.  Play up your eyes with a little liner & mascara and in less than 5 minutes, you're ready to rock.

Where to Buy

Stila Cream Convertible color

Stila made me fall in love with cream color. At first, the thought of spending $25.00 on a single cheek color stings but I have to tell you, this convertible cream color is well worth the money because 1) it performs double duty as a lip color & blush and 2) a little bit goes a heck of a long way.  The sheer, creamy formula lends a natural flushed look to the cheeks so no one will know you're wearing blush, if you don't tell.  For fall, my favorites are Lillium & Peony.

Where to Buy
Stila online
Sephora (online & in-store)
Ulta (online & in-store)

What favorites do you plan to stock up on for fall?

Friday, August 12, 2011

For The Shoe Obsessed - Volume II

I was going to add other shoes to this post but they'll have to wait in line for Volume III.  This young lady right here just does it for me and I feel she deserves a post all her own. These really rock my world.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Natural Hair Regrets & Inspiration

What took me so long to realize you were this beautiful...

 ...and beyond compare
My only regret is that I didn't take this journey sooner.
[pics sourced from]

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Protective Styling Week 2 - Style #2

My usual wash day is Friday night and it's for a specific reason.  That being because I hate to have to rush doing my hair on Sunday night and should something not turn out right the following day, I have time to fix it.

This week (as explained in my previous post) I didn't have the time to do my hair.  I was tired of the old roll, tuck & pin from last week so I decided to try something a little different.

Not my best work but it was 8 o'clock at night and I had a 3AM call

What do you think?

If you're wondering about Week 1-Style #1, I never posted it because it was something you may have seen from me before.  If you want to know what I did it was the same roll, tuck & pin style I've done before--click here to check out the post.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Twisted Sister - A Wedding Date Makeup Look

Friday night, as I took down my roll, tuck & pin hairstyle for wash day, my lovely fiancĂ© *giggle* reminded me that we had a wedding to attend the next evening and asked what I'd planned to do with my hair (yes, y'all, he's so involved).  For a second, I almost panicked because I had no clue. A protective style would have taken all night (it was already 8pm) so I opted for dampening my hair, smoothed it with my paddle brush and put in some bantu knots.  

(Don't worry: Sunday night, I washed my hair and it's back to protective styles.)
I'd already had my dress picked out so that was an easy fix (I should have done an outift of the night!) My dress, contained quite a few colors but still managed to be earthy with purples, greens & tans mixed in.  I wanted to compliment the dress with a make up look that was earthy with a splash of fun color. Plus, I considered this a date night for me and Chief because no kids were allowed--I wanted to look stunning for him.

Before I got started, I had no clue how I was going to accomplish what I envisioned for my make up but it came out damn near spot on.  I'm so proud of myself.

What I love most about makeup is that it's a challenge and I love feeling like I've improved in an area that I was completely clueless about before.

What I Used:

Base: Iced Mocha Jumbo Pencil (NYX) on inner 2/3 lid, Black Bean JP (NYX) out 1/3 lid
Lid: Mocha  & Maroon shadows (26 Coastal Scents Pallette)
Twisted (Rock & Republic)
Crease: Light Brown (26 Coastal Scents Pallette)
Highlight: Ricepaper (MAC)
Waterline & Tightlining:  Black Cocao (Pixie endless silky liner)
Lid liner: Cafe (Sephora smoky cream liner)
Falsies: ICE #104
Mascara: Maybelline Volume Express - Collosal Volume

Sakura Cream Color (Stila)
Innocent Flush (L'oreal)

Trainwreck - (Rock & Republic)

No foundation, just a little concealer for my tired eyes (NYX in CJ06), threw on a little Photo Finish Primer (Smashbox) and some translucent powder by Mineral Veil (Bare Minerals) to keep my T-Zone from getting shiny.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Body Challenge Check-In #4

On Vacation, Key West - July 2011
 Since my vacation began on July 8th, the gym has not seen me.  I said I'd workout on the ship but when it really came down to it, all I wanted to do was relax.  I did actually search out and find the gym on board though.  It was a beautiful facility with state of the art equipment, panoramic view of the ocean, offering spin, yoga & kickboxing classes.  It was wonderful but somehow I seemed to find that I liked the pina coladas, mojitos & sun-soaking much better.

On Vacation, Port of Miami - July 2011
 At my last check-in I'd reported my measurements and talked about how I should have been further along with this challenge but after I looked at the pics for that post and then looked back on the pics from my Reality Check post, I realized that I was doing an exceptional job.  I went from flab to almost fab in four months! Yes, I said almost.

My purpose was to begin a healthy lifestyle by eating right and exercising on a regular basis which would result in attaining an amazing, stallion-like body and then maintaining it.  I did meet one of my goals, though, which was to have a bikini-worthy body by the time my vacation came around.

On Vacation, South Beach Miami - July 2011
 I haven't gotten to the point where I want to maintain as yet and I'll admit I've been in serious vacation mode even after my vacation.  But play time is over.

I've taken my measurements--thank God I haven't gained anything--and all is still in tact.  Since I was only 3 weeks into the Jillian Michael's 30-Day shred program before my vacation began, I'm going to start fresh and beast it out from Sunday, August 7th (tomorrow) until September 7th.  Then I'll begin the Turbofire program by BeachBody immediately thereafter.  I expect that by the time I finish Turbofire I'll be an amazon. Score!

p.s. sorry two of the pics are dark, my honey isn't the best photographer...LOL

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Clearing Hyperpigmentation(Dark Spots): Quick & Easy Remedies

[image sourced from google]

Tired of unsightly scars after pimples are long gone? These dark spots are often unsightly niusances that take forever to fade on their own or become darker after exposure to the sun's rays.

Before you hightail it to the dermatologist for expensive mircodermabrasion sessions or slather on a bleaching agent that can be harsh & drying to the skin, consider trying these tried & true (and natural) methods of fading those dark spots within a few weeks.

What it is - An increase in melanin in the skin causing the skin to appear darker.

Why it happens - When skin is damaged it increases it's production of melanin to protect itself.  The more melanin that's produced, the darker the skin will appear.

How to Treat:

Milk & Honey Treatment: The lactic acid in milk & gluconic acid in honey combined acts as a low-grade chemical peel as they are mild Alpha Hydroxy Acids (natural exfoliants & skin brighteners).  Mix about a tablespoon of milk & 2 tablespoons of honey and apply the entire face.  After about 15 minutes, since with luke warm to cool water. This can be done at night 1 to 2 times a week.   Alternatively, for a thicker and less messy mixture, use plain yogurt in place of milk.

Lime or Lemon Juice: Lemon & Lime juices both contain citric acid with pH's of about 2.4.  Because of the high acidity, these juices act as a natural peel and will quickly fade dark spots & marks on the skin. Take about a cap full of the  Dab each spot with the wet Q-tip and allow to dry.  After it has dried, wash & moisturize face as normal.  Either fresh or bottled juice may be used.

Vitamin E:  Vitamin E Oil can effectively fade blemishes and also improve the skin's elasticity and fight free radicals.  Vitamin E can be purchased in capsules where ever vitamins are sold. Simply break open the capsule and rub the contents on your blemishes in the morning and at night before bed.

Also if you're feeling like having a spa day, an effective and wonderful treatment can be found here on my Rhassoul Clay Mask Recipe post (notice it contains milk & honey).  I'm telling you, after I use this, my skin is glowing & soft when I wake in the morning.
If hyperpigmentation is a constant issue, always be sure to use a moisturizer or sunscreen with at least SPF 30.  SPF 50 should be used if you are in the process of treatment.

I've used these methods for years and they indeed work, you've seen my skin in the raw--but if not, check out my most recent pics with absolutely no make up here. The above recipes along with a few other recipes are how I keep hyperpigmentation from taking over.

Please remember: Attaining & maintaining 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.

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