In Remembrance of Dr. Maya Angelou

I was in 7th grade when I was first exposed to Dr. Angelou’s work. For most students, the first (and possibly only) work they read by her is I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings.

The first work I read by her was a poem: Phenomenal Woman.

This work came to me in a time where most teenagers are reaching that awkward stage. You aspire to look, and be the same as your peers, and when you can’t realize that aspiration, it becomes about you as opposed to society’s backwards thinking. You don’t know you can be a rebel.

We were preparing for the Black History Month program at school, and they wanted people to write and perform poems. I had a couple of pieces written, but my drama teacher brought me a new poem. I looked it over. I thought to myself, man, this is so good! But this is really long, can I do this? Do I even believe myself to be a phenomenal woman? What does that even mean?

My teacher sensed the skepticism. “You can do this. If I didn’t trust you to do this, I wouldn’t have brought it to you. Let the words marinate, and we’ll start practice tomorrow after lunch.”

I nodded, and took it home to read again.

Here it is, for those who haven’t read it:

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.


I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman


Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.


Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.


Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need for my care.
’Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.
When my mom came home from work that night and saw what I was reading, she was excited. She asked if I would be performing it. I nodded, trying to convince myself I could do it. Look at that poem, I thought. How can I be any of those things? I’m fat, I have bad skin, I have crooked teeth. Nothing about me is phenomenal, unless you’re describing “ugly”. But my teacher trusted me with this, so I will do it.
“You sure?” my mom asked? I nodded again, “Yes, I am. I can do it.”
I practiced and practiced that poem. I had the cadence down pat. I don’t know if I started to believe it or not, but I thought that hey, maybe this could be me. Maybe this could apply to me in certain cases. And that was enough to keep me going.
The day of the program, we had some great performances. The students were pretty bored in the stands, but happy to be free of class for a couple of hours.
Then it was my turn.
I hate public speaking. I hate it so much, because I get stage fright like you wouldn’t believe. And here I am, 12 years old, staring at the entire school in the bleachers. And they’re staring back. I felt my hand shake a bit on my way to the podium. “You don’t have to come from behind the podium if you don’t want,” my teacher whispered in my ear. I nodded, petrified. But when I got to the podium, I put my notes on top, and came around the front.
And I performed. This wasn’t just reciting. This was a performance, hand movements, gestures, slowly walking back and forth before the students.
I never practiced that. It just came. I don’t know if it was nerves or Dr. Angelou’s spirit covering me in that moment, but I felt like every word was being absorbed into my soul. Every move kept these students engaged, and by the time I finished, I had a standing ovation. My drama teacher was ecstatic. My other teachers were in shock.
So was I.
I’d always loved the written word in any form, but it was then that I understood how much it could touch others. And I knew that not only did I want to be a lawyer, I wanted to write as well. I wanted to do spoken word, and touch people with my writing as Dr. Angelou’s writing has touched me.
Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.
Thank you, Dr. Maya Angelou, for being a rainbow in mine.
Heartbreak Positivity Stories

BeautyCon 2014 with Bonus Nail Adventure!

Hello my lovelies!

I hope you all had a lovely Memorial Day weekend and that it was safe.

So, this past Saturday, I had the pleasure of attending BeautyCon. For the uninitiated, think like Comic Con but for fashion, makeup, and You Tube celebs.

Pretty cool, right?


So, I put on my game face and got going. I have on browns and greens (I used Stila’s Dare to Bare palette and BH Cosmetic’s 120 color palette) because I had on a coral skirt. I was all comfy and breezy, because I figured it would be hot.


Outside Shot!

So, the event took place at Pier 36 on the lower east side. Long, long, LONG, train ride, but worth it. It was nice out, and the walk wasn’t bad. Shout out to the friendly FedEx driver who helped me navigate!

Once inside, it was…absolute pandemonium. Lines on lines on lines of people waiting to try out makeup, meet the latest You Tube sensation, or to buy clothing.

Now, I don’t do well in lines. At all. But I did stand in a couple (and by couple I mean exactly 2!) of lines to try out some new stuff. In the above pic, I have on nothing but your standard lip balm. StyleHaul and Maybelline were sponsoring a lip color try on booth. So I thought, hey,why not? I love lip color!


Maybelline’s Color Elixir in Mauve Mystique

I have Color Elixir in a fuchsia shade, but it doesn’t show as well on me as this one does. The gloss on here is beautiful, and as the color fades, it goes into a matte stain that is lovely.

I also waited in line to try out some of the new Revlon products. They have colorful liquid liners! Also, they have a new mascara that claims to have the darkest black pigments ever. I am a mascara junkie, so I am looking forward to giving this a try.


I even picked up a pencil liner in a dark green. I don’t normally do pencil liners, as I am clumsy and manage to poke myself in the eye EVERY TIME (grr!), but when has ability ever stopped me from trying something? Practice makes perfect. They were actually doing makeup at the Revlon booth, however, I was there with a fully done face. The artist was kind and let me pick out some goodies anyway.

Did I mention there was a dance floor?


And bounce houses?


I was so sad I had on a skirt and couldn’t go play in the bounce house. Seriously. 😦

There were also temporary tattoos!


Won’t lie, I felt pretty fancy with my fake tat. 😀

There were also some seminars going on. I think, if I had to pick one beef with BeautyCon (besides there not being ATMs…cause really? How does this happen?!) was that the seminars were sectioned off from the main floor with only sheets and not, well, walls. Makeup is exciting. Adding a bunch of people talking about said makeup loudly only a few feet away makes it hard to hear what’s going on when you want to hear about how other bloggers and vloggers got started. I didn’t even make it through a whole one because it was just. too. noisy.

All in all, it was a great afternoon, and I got to network (Shout out to Dark Skinned Divas!) and try new products.

Oh, and my nails:


You know my nails and my business card had to coordinate, right?

I didn’t do that on purpose, but it definitely made for an ice breaker in conversation! I have on Julep’s Karen and OPI’s I Reached My Gold.

Great Saturday, all in all. And now? I’m preparing for Full Figured Fashion Week! Excited!


Makeup Looks Nail Adventures Reviews

Thank You


Here in the US, it’s Memorial Day (Hi to all my international readers!), a day of reflection for those who perished fighting battles for our country. I just want to extend a thank you to the Armed Forces for their service, and to wish peace and healing for those who lost loved ones.

For everyone going out to celebrate: have fun and be safe!

Regular posts resume tomorrow.


Fatshion Friday: Trends that Scare Me

So, to close out my week of things that scare me…and the challenges I’m issuing myself, let’s talk about clothes.

You know I love me some clothes. 😀

Often, what I choose to wear is dictated by two things: what I love, and what is best for my body type. But sometimes being so safe makes me think I’m missing out on some good trends. Sure, every trend isn’t for every one, or every body, but it’s good to test out new things.

I wasn’t sure if skinny jeans were something for me. Sometimes I think that just because it’s made in my size doesn’t mean it’s for me to actually wear.

Bought three pairs, and I love their versatility. I even have them in pink!

Now, I wore a body con dress for the first time a couple weeks ago. Folks with bellies are not advised to wear body con dresses, because it accentuates the belly.

Wore it anyway. Rocked it.

And yet, there are still some things I would love to try and I’m scared to do so. Different attracts attention, and I have to be ready for what it brings. Curious about the things I’m digging? Here are a few things I’m challenging myself to buy and wear this summer:

1. Short Shorts:

From Torrid

Image 4 of ASOS CURVE Exclusive Denim Short With High Waist

From Asos

These shorts are so cute! And I fear they are not going to be as sexy on me as they are in pictures. Now I do shorts, but normally I wear longer shorts like these because I worry about them riding up and looking weird. This has not stopped my lust, and perhaps all I need is the right pair to work for me. I’m up for the challenge.

2. Crop Tops

master piece crop top plus sizes

From CustomPlus

From Forever 21+

Sigh. I love everything about the concept. I see how they are styled. I know that crop doesn’t equal my belly on full display. I still can’t wrap my mind about how it would look on me, and if I could pull it off. I still want to try. I just hope it doesn’t go horribly wrong. The crop top brings me to the next trend:

3. High Waist Jeans

From Plus Size Fix

I can’t figure out how high waist jeans work. High waist skirts, yes, because more than likely they’re so stretchy I can make them come completely over my tummy and sit comfortably. Now, if one adds a zipper and button to the mix…does it dig? Do they go up high enough to not create a higher muffin top? There are logistics that I just don’t get. And yet, if I find a pair in the store I can try on (*stares at companies that make me shop for these things online*) I will, just to see if I can make it work. Don’t know if I’m brave enough to buy, but I’ll try it on.

And finally…

4. Rompers/Jumpsuits

From Monif C.

From Kamishade


From Forever 21+

Rompers confuse me too. I think they’re adorable, and super comfy, but having to get naked to pee…well, it’s a bit disconcerting. What if it’s an emergency? Is there an emergency drop thread that would allow the garment to fall quickly when pulled? Also: it’s very belly focused, not that it’s stopped me before.

But this is one trend I’m taking by storm. That last romper I posted from Forever 21? I bought last week. And I’m going to wear it next week on one of my off days.

Stay tuned. 🙂

Retail Therapy Shopping

Quick Hit: Neutral Nails–An Adjustment

I couldn’t take all of the super pale nails, even with the shimmer. So I made the other nails pink.

Here they are:


I know, I know. But I made it a whole two days! Pink is Lois by Julep, and grey accent is Mona by Julep. Still neutral, but a bit more uniform. This makes me a little happier.

Uniformity isn’t bad sometimes. 🙂

This is a good look for a fashion interview, by the way. It’s natural enough to not take away from your look, but still gives a hint of personality.

See you tomorrow with a fashion post!

Nail Adventures

Nail Adventures: Nude and Neutral Nails

I love color.

I have to wear black to work every day (beauty jobs represent!), so I try to inject color wherever I can.

I either have on super sparkly earrings and loud shadow, or loud lipstick or lip gloss.

But usually, to make sure I actually attract customers (purple shadow can put some folks off), I have loud nails. Blue, purple green, all manner of glitter or rhinestones. Flowers or tuxedo, french or stripes.

But what you don’t see me in? Are neutrals and nudes.

I don’t understand it, personally. If everything else is understated, I need at least one something for a pop to make me happy.

And since I’m doing things that scare me a bit, I decided I would do a nail look featuring nudes or neutrals. This week’s supplies:


Before y’all say it: yes, that sparkly orange is in fact a neutral. With my skin tone, you get just a hint of shimmer, and you don’t focus much on the color. That’s what makes it neutral. Now, an earthy tone that blends with one’s natural skin color is what makes it a nude; that will vary depending on skin tone. Kennedy (that neutral yellow-beige there) is my nude, as it blends with me. For those interested, that sparkly orange is called Karen. 🙂

Nudes scare me. Neutrals scare me. At least, if I have to stand out in some manner, it needs to be my hands! Don’t take my color away. 😦

So, I had to narrow down the pile of polishes I have but can’t be bothered to use 98% of the time. I decided on these four:


From left to right: OPI’s Ski Slope Sweetie (sheer white with gold shimmer), Julep’s Lois (pink shimmer creme), pale tan creme polish by Julep (the sticker has fallen off and I have no clue of the name!) and Julep’s Mona (slate grey creme). I did opt for some rhinestones because let’s face it: it’s enough as it is I don’t have any real color in this mani besides the pink. If you think I’m pouting, you’re right.

Heh. I just wanted to be dramatic for a bit. All that complaining was totally unwarranted. Here it is:


So, even with the shimmer, this manicure is pretty understated. I layered No-Name tan with Ski Slope Sweetie to make this shimmery tan/gold thing. I painted Lois on my ring fingers, and a triangle in Mona. And again, because a manicure without a rhinestone or stud makes me very unhappy, I did a small row of clear stones down the center. Kind of like a reverse tuxedo nail. So cute, and the accent nail is a true accent!

Eventually, I want to challenge myself to do a manicure with no shimmer, glitter, or rhinestones.

That made me sad just thinking about it. 😦 But I can do it! One day.

I think.

Nail Adventures Stories

Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone

In continuation of my going bold theme, I took some time to take a look at some things that scare me.

Things that scare me in both fashion and in beauty.

Things that I don’t do because I always have a set of rules that say why I can’t, but I ignore the one reason I can:

Because I want to.

So much passes me by because I think it won’t be flattering or that I have no business wearing it because I’m not “built properly” to rock it.

An example: I never really got on board with the whole jumpsuit thing. I kept seeing them everywhere, and I’m all “Someone like me with a belly has NO BUSINESS  wearing that!” And then I bought a bodycon dress for my birthday dinner. Technically, it’s along the same lines of what I “shouldn’t” be wearing: I have a belly. I should be dressing to camouflage my belly, cause that’s what conventional fat girl fashion wisdom says. At the same time, I have to understand that for as long as I’ve been on this earth, I have had a belly. It isn’t gonna disappear in a larger dress or shirt or whatever. So I can keep trying to hide it and let some good fashion pass me by yet again, or I could just rock the thing.

I felt amazing in my dress. No regrets.

So, by association, I ought to be able to wear a jumpsuit or romper and feel just as amazing, right?

This week’s postings will focus on trends that scare me. Either because it isn’t something I’d normally do, or because it’s something I’ve been trained that I’m not supposed to do.

And for fun, here’s a pic of me in a lipstick color most folks have trouble with: red!


This is the MAC Viva Glam Rihanna lipstick and lipglass.

See you tomorrow with a new Nail Adventure!

Makeup Looks Positivity

Nail Adventures and New Goodies, Part 3

I have a lot of nail products.

Stop side-eyeing me. I’m going somewhere with this! 🙂

Even though I have a lot of nail products, I always love to try out companies that are new to me. Especially when they have nail gadgets I’ve never tried before.

What nail gadget, you say? A stamper!

Now, I’ve seen other nail bloggers using nail plates and I’m all…what in the world is a nail plate? Naturally, I envisioned something made of artificial nails.

That is not what it is, of course. 😀 It’s one of these:



This is by Essence. So, you put the polish onto the plate, transfer it to the stamp (usually a bit of rubber) and stamp it onto the nail. A bit advanced for me, but hey, it cost me $3. What do I have to lose? I also picked up some french manicure striping tape and some glitter (because I can NEVER have too much glitter.)

In addition to the nail goodies, I also got a new pineapple mask (great for giving a glow to dull skin), an excellent honey and oatmeal body scrub, Nyx eye pencil in Milk (great for bright eye looks), and a set of Real Techniques eye shadow brushes. Oh, yeah, and a lovely lip and cheek palette from Pop Beauty. Here’s the full haul:


Before this week’s nail look…storytime!

So, I am currently writing up this post. My computer says it is 2:03am. The picture I am about to show you is the third attempt at this nail look, but it wasn’t because I couldn’t get the design right. It’s because the supplies were being ridiculous. So, for full disclosure, these are the original tools I had slated for this look:


The idea I had was for a white pearl nail with black and pink accents. I picked up these beads (great for caviar nails) by Sally Hansen and I thought, why not use the beads as part of the accent? And with my basic design in mind, I got to work.

Once I laid down my base color, a pure white (Tini Beauty’s Cream) with a sheer pearl overlay (OPI’s Kyoto Pearl), I started to do my black french tips and hated it. The black tip on the icy white was too stark. So, I started over.

So then, I did a sheer grey base (OPI’s Skull and Glossbones) with a semi sheer pearlized silver (OPI’s Birthday Babe). Now the black french didn’t look harsh, but it stood out like I wanted. So, the next step was to take a screaming pink (Orly’s Hawaiian Punch), do a line underneath the black tip, and sprinkle pink beads on top. I also used my new nail plate, and laid a heart formed from a treble and base clef on each ring finger.

All of this worked perfectly! Yes, even the stamping!  The problem came in when I did the top coat.


When I laid the top coat over the beads, all of the color bled off onto the brush, and so streaked onto my pearly base color. And it bleached the color of the beads from vibrant to Pepto Bismol.

😦 *sad trombone*

This isn’t an issue I’ve had with other caviar manis in the past, but I had it tonight. I basically ruined a perfect mani in one fell swoop on ALL 10 FINGERS. This is because I was chatting with the bestie as I did my nails and he wrote his paper and I wasn’t paying attention and…

Dammit, man.

So, start over again.

This time I just did a coat of Birthday Babe, did the black french tip and did a line of a darker pink (OPI’s Flashbulb Fuschia) underneath. Ring fingers were tipped in Flashbulb Fuschia (shown in pic) and dunked into Essence’s Multieffects Glitter (in Call Me Galaxy). Then there was a black line of rhinestones underneath the glitter line. The result?


Super simple, and super pretty. This is a case where third time’s the charm! And…the glitter didn’t bleed color everywhere (yay!) I would have done another stamp, but I felt like it would have been too much with the simplicity of this look. I promise to do it again and show y’all how it turns out!

Considering the time and the pop of sparkle, I’m calling this the Bright Shot In The Dark manicure.

And now, bed because I’m acting like I don’t have work later this morning.

Have a great weekend! 😀

Nail Adventures Retail Therapy Reviews Stories

Quick Hit: New Nail Goodies=New Nail Look

So, yesterday’s post was part three of what should have been a three part series.

If y’all are wondering what in the world happened to part 2: it’s still in my drafts folder, waiting to be completed (and I edited the title of yesterday’s post to cut down on confusion!)

So! I mentioned I’d bought some goodies, and the nail post this week is part of my new goodies I bought.

You’ll get the full scope of that purchase tomorrow, but for now: here! Have a sneak peek at the tools I used for this week’s mani.


That’s a nail stamper in the back there.

I’ve never used one before.

Are y’all ready for this?

See you Friday. 🙂

Nail Adventures Retail Therapy

New Goodies Part 2: April Glossybox

Now, I know. I need more makeup and skincare products like I need a hole in my head…but I have resisted the siren call of Glossybox long enough!

I couldn’t decide if I wanted it, and went back and forth over if it was worth it. I have quite an arsenal of products as it is from working so long in the industry (and being a beauty junkie as well, naturally!)

But hey, it never hurts to try out some new things, right?

So, I finally placed my order and waited anxiously for it to arrive. I hoped I would be happy.

First, let’s discuss how beautiful the packaging is. It’s like you’re getting a lovely gift!


Fancy, right? So pretty! And the goodies:


So, you get 5 goodies in your Glossybox, and most of them are full sized. I got a Ciate paint pot in Beach Hut, LaSplash Eye Shadow Primer, a Bellapierre lip gloss in Vanilla Kiss, a Caldrea body wash in Coconut Fig Leaf, and a body creme from Aqua Spa in Lavender Chamomile.

I’ve spoken about Ciate products before, and I love their kits. This polish is a pretty, shimmery orange. It’s pretty sheer, but glossy (see what I did there? ;D ) This swatch is three coats of color, no top coat:


Lovely for summer (It’s spring, but I don’t know that the weather is aware as yet…)

The body wash and body creme smells so good! OMG! That is a long weekend kind of body wash; one where you linger in the shower for a while and enjoy the aroma wafting about. The body creme is one where you relax and massage it in (as opposed to slapping it on quickly ’cause you’re about to be late. Not that I know anything about that.)

I haven’t used the shadow primer, but I notice that, in putting a bit on my hand, that it’s sticky. The info card says it’s good for glitter, so I’ll have to remember that when I’m doing a glitter heavy eye look.

The lip gloss I wore in last week’s Update post:


It’s a lovely neutral, not too glossy, but still moisturizing. Very good with bright eye looks that even a too pink gloss could detract from. It looks a bit similar to Kitten from Stila on me, but Kitten is way more gold (That’s what I wore for my birthday look.)

I have to admit, Glossybox was worth it. Can’t wait to see what May brings!

Makeup Looks Reviews