Friday, September 25, 2015

Weekend Report: Warm Autumn

Hey, guys!  Well, it's official.  We have officially crossed the seasonal threshold and entered into the vestibule of fall.  Not too hot, not too cold, it's one of my favorite times of the year.  So to help usher in the cooler months ahead, I decided to jump right into the swing of things and "autumnize" my weekend look by bathing my face in a wash of oranges, rusts and browns.  And I knew just the eyeshadow palette to recruit for such an occasion...

MAC's Call Me Bubbles has sat in my stash untouched for quite some time now, so I'm pretty proud of myself for having finally broken it in.  With its array of orange tones, I painted my lids with all of its shades except for the the cantaloupe in the bottom left-hand corner (Full of Flavor).  In addition to a primer, I used the tangerine-orange out of Revlon's Eternal Summer cream shadow quad as well as L'Oreal HIP's brown cream liner as color boosters to help add a little "nutmeg" to my soft, "pumpkin" eye.

To finish off my face, I used a dab of MAC's Format blush on the apples of my cheeks and tip of my nose, allowing my CoverGirl Queen's bronzer to take most of the credit for bringing life to my face via a soft contour.  And I went dark with my lips, opting for a rich mahogany from Prestige called Pudding with a highlight of orange in the middle of my pout, leaving my face to look like this:


Well, there you have it!  I am all pumped up and ready for fall, y'all!  And I didn't realize until I started prepping for this weekend that, even with all the variants that I own, I have never worn orange as the main color on my eyes before.  NEVER!  Wow, I gotta do better.  And with the new season spurring me on, I most certainly will. 

So here's to having an awesome autumn!  And my season opener of traditional oranges and browns notwithstanding, I look forward to rocking a bevy of bolds and brights these upcoming months.  You know how I do.  (Wink, wink!)

Friday, September 11, 2015

Friday Flashback: Love Lace

Hey, guys!  It is Friday and I am so ready to whoop it up and indulge a little.  I haven't really been playing in my makeup too much as of late, but I came across a shadow that just may take me off my casual hiatus.  You know the drill: I've only used it once even though it's been in my stash for a mountain of moons now.  I picked it up from one of MAC's past collections.  Soft and smoky all on its own, it's actually a nice segue into the more darker colors usually slated for fall.  And so, if you care to revisit this oldie but goodie with me, I'd love to chitchat with you about a lovely eyeshadow from MAC called Love Lace.

Love Lace is a stormy, blue-gray.  It has a pearl finish and, in MAC-speak, is considered a Veluxe Pearl.  Smooth to the touch, it is potently pigmented and easily yields ample color for opaque coverage without much finagling at all.  Not only does it perform well on the eye, lasting all day on my lids with the aid of a primer, but it also plays well with other shadows by not fading or turning muddy.

Well, there you have it!  It's such a pretty eyeshadow.  I really need to make more use of it and incorporate it into some looks.  It's kind of a unique color, too - at least in my collection; I don't think I own anything else exactly like it, which is definitely a good thing.  Although it's not a permanent shade and is not currently available via their stores/website, MAC has been known to re-issue past shadows from time to time in addition to having many of these "pastured" shades turning up for sale at various CCOs/CCSs (Cosmetic Company Outlets/Stores).  So keep your eyes peeled it you're at all interested!

In the meantime, I'm going to try and show Love Lace a little bit more love... and appreciation.  It deserves it.  It's a rock-worthy shade that would complement a wide spectrum of skin tones and I'm happy that I got a chance to add it to my stash.


Friday, September 4, 2015

Dream Killers

You know, you really have to be careful who you share your dreams with...

I consider myself a pretty determined cookie.  When I set my mind on something, a goal, I like to fully envision it first then write down the necessary steps to achieve it.  I abhor the thought of starting something and then not seeing it through; from the small to the more grandiose, I pride myself on tilling my fertile field of dreams until I reap a harvest.  I'm not easily shook nor swayed, either, and am generally impervious to discouraging forces, especially those of the two-footed nature... or ones I like to call "dream killers".  You know who they are: people who love to curb your enthusiasm for certain dreams and goals (and the pursuit thereof) by shooting them down. 

"Well, how are you gonna do that?"  "Ooh, I don't see you doing that!"  "Why are you gonna do THAT?"  "Hmph!  I wouldn't do THAT if I were you!"  "That's not gonna work."  "Now, that just sounds dumb."

Inflated by a false sense of privilege and a distorted sense of duty, dream killers always seem to want to attack your dreams by destroying it at the very root: your purpose.  If they can confuse you and keep you from confirming the "why" of it all (even to yourself), it's really hard to gain traction to pursue the "what".  But your purpose is connected to and fueled by your passion, which makes up the engine that drives your dream.  They know this, too, which is why they also like to throw fear into the mix.  If they can keep the passion pistons in your dream's engine from pumping by clogging them up with fear then it will seize up, keeping you at a standstill and kill the momentum towards fulfilling your purpose.

"No one's ever done THAT before!"  "So and so tried that once, but they never succeeded.  What makes you think YOU will?"  "Maybe you should just play it safe and get a regular job like the rest of us."  "What if you fail?  What will you do then?"

Experience, therefore, has taught me to play my dream cards close to my chest, intimating only via general proclamations the progress of some of my plans while never revealing the full blueprint.  However, even these guarded precautions were not enough to keep me from the middle of someone's verbal cross-hairs recently.  It was a friend-of-a-friend that I haven't spoken to in years who, without the buffer of any type of pleasantries, felt privileged enough to immediately take aim and rattle off a litany of judgements at me based on a simple affirmation I posted on social media.  I mean, I didn't even attempt to have a real conversation with this person because they were so consumed with trying to knock me off my square based off of ASSUMPTIONS that I chose not to engage them.

"Why haven't you achieved such and such yet?"  "Why are you taking so long to pursue such and such?"  "Do you even want such and such?"  "If not, then why not?"  "Everyone else is doing such and such.  Why aren't you?" 

You know, I love how people always have something to say about your life and how you should live it, especially the ones that don't even know all the details of what's going on behind your life's curtain.  They just love to assume and make rash judgements.  And whatever they don't know, they just fill in the blanks with their own faulty assessments.  The timing for my life is NOT your timing; it's solely my own.  And I have my own pace by which I'm living my life and owe no explanation to anyone.  My thing is, if you think I'm doing something so wrong, so out of whack or off track then why not pray for me to get back on track?  Send some positivity my way instead of all the harsh criticism.  And stop comparing my life to yours.  Trust me, I love being me and doing me all day long and wouldn't have it any other way.

"You're not smart/tall/skinny enough."  "You're too fat/short/OLD to do that!"  "If you haven't made it by now then you probably never will."  

So I wanted to give you guys the heads up.  Dream killers are out in full force and are on the prowl, ready to strangle the ideas/dreams/visions of those who are not properly armed with the right amount of fortitude and ambition.  Guard your dreams as if they are the most precious things on earth... because they are!  You do not need to share every little detail with everyone who asks.  Keep a select few on a need-to-know basis, and most DON'T need to know!  Labor Day is coming up and I am here to tell you that that's exactly what I'll be doing in lieu of hanging out and partying.  After encountering the flood of negativity from my most recent DK, I will be laboring double time to get the plans I've been yammering about for the past few months more fleshed out.  I've got things I wanna do, both big and small, and I'll be damned if I let some errant dream killer swoop in and sabotage me!  Nope!  Uh-uh!  Ain't nobody got no time for that!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Started From the Bottom, Now I'm HAIR!

Hey, guys!  And so... without much fanfare or ballyhoo... my hair has quietly decided to reward me for my efforts.  After keeping a diligent regimen of cutting, trimming and "soft styling", I have finally reached the personal hair length goal I set for myself a little while back.  Boob-wise, my hair no longer rests on the "peaks", but rather in the "valleys", if you will.  I am officially a couple of inches past bra strap, which I think is pretty neat-o!  Now, to all you waist-length Rapunzels out there, this may sound like no biggie.  But for me, it's quite a feat considering I started off with hair that just touched the tops of my shoulders a few years ago and had to make significant chops many times along the way!  It feels pretty darn good to set a goal and reach it.  And I must say that I am very pleased with the results...   

I wanted to take a pic in a light shirt so that you could see the thickness of my hair.  Thickness, to me, is way more important than length because it denotes your hair's overall health.  Maintaining a consistent thickness throughout instantly makes your hair look longer no matter what its actual length is.  Working from the middle outwards, my hair goes from blunt to lightly layered, forming a flattened out "U" shape.  And below is a pic in a dark shirt so you can better see the shine.


Well, there you have it!  And to think... my journey to healthier, longer hair pretty much started after I had gotten the shortest haircut I'd ever gotten in my life!  Led by a strong referral, I walked into a salon some moons ago and gave the stylist carte blanche with my hair.  My only request was that it would be long enough to put into a ponytail.  I originally went in there for color, but she - instead - opted to cut it all off, shearing my mid-back locks to shoulder-length.  The haircut she gave me was the bomb, though!  I rocked it proudly for a while and did not bemoan for a single minute my missing inches.  But then she all of a sudden closed up shop and disappeared.  And so I let it grow out, this time with a serious determination to maintain its health AND gain length at the same time... on my own.

So now that I've attained my desired hair length goals, what's next?  Well, believe it or not, I may cut it.  I mean, I guess I can try for waist length since I'm almost there, but I dunno.  I may get too antsy to wait that long; someone may have to hide the scissors from me!  And I still want some color!  A light caramel of some sort.  But we'll see.  In the meantime, I'm happy.  I've come a mighty long way, baby!  I started from the bottom... and now I'm HAIR, y'all!  Growing it out has been a modest labor of love, but it's been soooo worth the effort.  #MISSIONACCOMPLISHED!  (And how!)  

Monday, August 17, 2015

Barbie: My Scene

You know, there's nothing wrong with changing things up once in a while.  Exaggerated eyes with a profusely plumped up pout, she's an obvious break from the traditional Barbie aesthetic.  Upon their novel debut some years ago, Bratz dolls - with their overplayed facial features and funked out fashions - rode an overwhelming wave of popularity as the new "IT" girls.  Armed with youthful bravado and sass, they let their presence be known with a rebel yell.  As a response, the line of My Scene dolls was born, giving direct notice that Barbie (and friends) could be just as hip as the "new girls" on the "doll block".  Out of the many iterations that came from the line, I did grab a few.  But right now, if you're at all interested, I'd like to tell you a little bit about one of the originals.

No stranger to the elements of funk, Barbie decided to take it "old school", getting totally "funkdafied" in a burgundy leather jacket with a faux fur core and split flared sleeves.  Underneath it all is a gauzy, printed tee.

She decided to match the "up top" funk with something just as groovy "down below":  cream leather bell-bottoms with a serious set of split flares as well.  Burgundy wine seams with thick trimming at the waist earns her a few extra notches on the groove-o-meter.

On her feet are a pair of chunky heeled, over-the-ankle platform boots.

And hanging from her shoulder to help keep her unmentionables from being mentioned is a brown leather satchel.  A mean throwback to the 60s, it has a snap closure with whipstitching along the edge of its flap.

Her remaining accessories (in addition to the scarlet red shades perched atop her head) are a pair of silver hoops...

... and a silver belly chain.

Not only does she come sporting a groove-tastic outfit, but she comes with one to spare!  Perfect for a quick change without the fuss, she has a printed bandeau, "barely there" leather mini and flower-printed go-go boots to round out the surplus ensemble.

With her water-blue eyes and cushioned lips already on the bold and overly expressive side, Barbie decided to keep the makeup slightly more subtle.  However, that doesn't totally rule out the use of frost in her mind as she adds a little pink pizazz to both to help up the ante without going too overboard. 

So there you have it!  The My Scene dolls were a whole new visual take on Barbie (spurred on by a dose of healthy competition) and, for me at least, I think it worked.  I don't think they still make the line here in the states, but may have some editions available overseas.  Whatever the case, I'm just glad I was able to get my hands on the ones that I do have and am overjoyed to have them, including this saucer-eyed beauty, as part of my collection!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Friday Flashback: Packed To Go

You know, usually if I'm not totally in love with something - or at least in strong "like" - I have no problems with promptly returning it.  However, I have to admit that this little palette kept me emotionally hostage in a saga-sized quandary for a very long time.  Oh, all the back and forth!  Should I keep it?  Can I make it work?  Should I make it work?  Ugh!  I just couldn't take it anymore!  So I ended up keeping it... in a drawer... kinda out of sight.  But, as you guys are already aware, I'm not too keen on keeping stuff just for the sake of having it.  I've got to use what I got; I refuse to have a "makeup museum" of sorts.  And so I have unpacked the Packed To Go palette (Warm, Smoky edition) from MAC and decided to make a concerted effort to show the palette some love. 

Packed To Go was a limited edition release from MAC that compiled six eyeshadows into one palette.  Color coordinated to create smoky eye looks, there were two versions: Warm and Cool.  Since the latter had shades of berries/purples (of which I have an abundance), I opted for the former, which includes MAC staples Shroom, Tempting and Naked Lunch.  Housed in a simple black case, it came equipped with a mirror as well as a handy little brush to use on the go.

(Top Row, L to R: Shroom, Naked Lunch, Tempting)

(L to R: Shroom, Naked Lunch, Tempting)

(Top to Bottom: Shroom, Naked Lunch, Tempting)

(Bottom Row, L to R: Greensmoke, Stormy Love, Showstopper)

(L to R: Greensmoke, Stormy Love, Showstopper)

(Top to Bottom: Greensmoke, Stormy Love, Showstopper)

I thought perhaps after many moons of not even giving it a glance that swatching Packed would incite some type of creative fire in me.  Maybe "hope" is a better word.  But, to the contrary, it has only awakened my ambivalence for the sextet of shadows.  Outside of Greensmoke (a gritty, iceberg green) and Stormy Love (a slightly more saturated version of MAC's duplicitous green/brown Club), there are no standouts for me.  And the color payoff left me pretty unimpressed, especially from Shroom and Naked Lunch. 

Technically, MAC does not have a a time statute on returns (at least that's what the customer service rep told me over the phone).  And although I am not totally in love or "like" with this palette, I'm going to tough it through and make it work.  Showstopper's brown is, no doubt, universal and I can definitely see Greensmoke as an overlay atop another, so there are options.  I just wish it had lived up to its hype for me.  If only...

But I'll make it work.  You'll see.  I'll pair it with some superstars... get the right bases underneath.  Oh, yes, you'll see.  I will definitely make it work!