Sunset on 30

I’ll be 31 in three days.

Hmm.

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Sunshine and melanin.

Last year, I was getting ready to turn 30. I had a lot of expectations for myself that I was supposed to reach before I turned 30.

I was supposed to be a lawyer.

I was supposed to be married.

I was supposed to have children.

I was supposed to have a Master’s degree.

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But do I HAVE to take this pic, though?

Since I’d done none of these things by 30, I felt as though I really didn’t have too much to show. Like, what am I even doing with my life?

I’m not a lawyer.

I’m not married.

No children.

Can’t even decide what to study to get a Master’s degree.

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Smile!

However…

I made new, wonderful friends.

I co-own a business.

I’m getting published.

I’ve tapped into my creativity in ways I’d never done before.

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Grass + bare feet= happiness

Most importantly…

I’m happy. I’m the happiest I’ve been in a while.

I’ve learned that success is measured by different factors.

I’ve learned that all accomplishments should be celebrated.

I’ve learned it’s important to never stop believing wonderful things can happen for you.

I’ve learned how to really embrace me and all of my facets.

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Here is my fierce. Let me show you it.

30 has been so good to me. I can’t wait for what 31 brings.

Happy birthday to me. πŸ™‚

Photo credits go to my wonderful business partner, friend, and lil sis Stephenie Valentino. See more of our work on our Instagram!

Positivity Stories

Metallic Neutral

*taps mic* This thing on?

Hi!!!!

Did y’all miss me? I sure missed y’all!

More info on my radio silence to come Friday, but first: can we talk about my nails?

I feel like it’s been a million years since I’ve really had time to paint them up all pretty. Since I had some time on my last day of mini-vacation, I figured I’d treat myself to a nice manicure.

And…it’s in a neutral color. AΒ pinkΒ neutral color!

I know, right? Who AM I!

πŸ˜€

Now, of course there had to be some sparkle, because…well, this is me we’re talking about here. But it’s suprisingly subtle.

And I absolutely ADORE it.

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Such a fresh, spring manicure!

The pink (pictured) is Julep’s Abby, and the silver is Essie’s Apres-Chic. I used some chevron stickers to help make the design and topped it all off with some tiny pearls. I love this manicure. It’s fancy without being too much and it hides nicks well (because working freight is hard on a manicure, honey.)

See y’all Friday for an awesome announcement!

Nail Adventures

Nail Adventures: Tropical Sparkle

Y’all, vacation is so close I can almost taste the fresh seafood that awaits me in Myrtle Beach!

This also means that it will feel like time is ticking backwards because I’m so ready for it to be here, but I digress.

The week before vacation is always a rough one: trying to get the house cleaned up, get things washed and folded, get new luggage if you need it (mine has a hole the size of a football field in it) on top of making time for a wax and a pedicure. Added is making sure work things are squared away so I can actually ENJOY vacation without having to worry about (or do!) any work.

Whew.

I had to keep the nails simple for this week, because I’m up to my elbows in spring cleaning (cleaning out the closet, OMG!) but I still wanted some pretty colors.

So, what did I come up with?

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So, this yellow glitter polish. This was…underwhelming. *sigh*

I didn’t realize it was so matte, and even with a shiny top coat still remained pretty flat. It does have a bit of a metallic sheen to it though. This is OPI’s Pineapples Have Peelings Too. The pink is Orly’s Hawaiian Punch, and what would a Char manicure be without a rhinestone?

You know I’ve already knocked that off. Oh, well. πŸ™‚

And now, I’m in the home stretch of my workweek. I can make it, I can!

Happy Wednesday, folks! πŸ˜€

Nail Adventures

Watercolor Eyes

I originally wanted to put this up on Friday, but my phone camera just did not capture all of the colors like I wanted. And there are a LOT of colors in this look.

πŸ˜€

I’m still celebrating Spring even if the weather isn’t cooperating, and I showed y’all the video that inspired this look in my previous post. Here’s another (from the same YouTuber) that gave me more ideas:

He’s fabulous, y’all!

So I thought, why not come up with something that looks like a painting? Still bold, but I won’t feel like I’m about to go to a costume party.

Which, let’s just be real–I’d still wear that look above to go grocery shopping. Cause color junkie. πŸ™‚

Tools used:

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It isn’t as much as you think…

Alrighty! So, I am always complimented on how nice my skin looks in my pictures (Thank y’all! πŸ™‚ ), and to be honest? Most of it is just good makeup application/layering and filters. Yep, no shame. πŸ™‚ Once I don’t sound like I’ve been gargling gravel (yay congestion! *side eye*) I have plans to do some videos on that. Till then: I use really good primers. So, Miracle Skin Transformer (white bottle) technically is meant to be used as a stand alone product (moisturizer, blurs, sunscreen, etc.) but I found that for my oily skin it is AMAZING under foundation to keep everything matte. Just, whoa.

My eyeshadow primer is Urban Decay (classic non-colored one), because that is the first I’ve tried and it remains my favorite.

So, prime first, then foundation. There’s two foundations there, but I don’t use them for contouring–because I am lazy and can’t be bothered. I actually have to mix shades to match my face, because these makeup companies have not yet realized brown folks ain’t all the same color. And it does not matter whether it’s an expensive or inexpensive brand, either. So, I buy inexpensive so I can afford to buy two and mix it. CoverGirl’s Ready, Set, Gorgeous is a fave because it gives a matte finish.

And finally, concealer. I use Vera Moore Cosmetics concealer because the coverage is amazing. I have both the liquid and the creme concealer, and for the purposes of this look I have the creme one (Concealer Plus, in #3.)

Whew! It looks like a lot typed out, but application takes me less than 10 minutes. I do my brows next, and I use Milani brow pencil and Brow Fix Kit for that.

And then: the meat of the look: all about the eyes. I used my Urban Decay Electric palette (Chaos, Gonzo, Jilted, Urban) and Stila Dare to Bare palette (Playful and Birthday Suit). Liquid liner is by theBalm (Schwing!<–no really, that’s the name of it!) and mascara is CoverGirl Clump Crusher in very black. Lips are Maybelline Color Elixir in Mauve Mystique.

And the final look?

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This is why I had to reshoot the look.

See how you can’t see any of that hard work? So I had to do a reshoot so y’all could get a good look:

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That’s better!

Once I get back from vacation, I have plans to do a video tutorial of this look. Till then, a quickie: Take Chaos and line the inner corner of the eye, both top and bottom. Take Gonzo and tap just a bit towards the inner eye, take Jilted and tap it in the center of the lid, and take Urban and tap on the outer corner. Line lower lashes with Jilted, then Urban. Put Playful in the crease; blend. Then take Birthday Suit under the brow line and blend. Do a little eyeliner, two coats of mascara, then done!

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Both eyes.

This was a lot of fun to create! And now, I think I’m going to head to the grocery store with my face all done up just like this. Because, Sunday. Why not? πŸ˜€

Happy Sunday, y’all!

Makeup Looks

Let’s Talk Lipcolor

As Spring approaches (hopefully the Weather Deities are considering my request), it’s time to refresh wardrobes and makeup bags.

Now, I’ve decided I’m living in all things breezy and comfortable for the warmer months (we’re talking maxi and swing dresses, and cheeky t-shirts and shorts), but I am always on the lookout for more shades of lipstick.

Honestly, it’s the quickest way to a makeover–add color, any color, and you’re sure to have people asking if you went to the spa or had a good night’s sleep or something.

Try not to wonder if you looked bad before you added the lipstick, though. You didn’t. Your coworker/best friend/boss just isn’t that observant sometimes.

πŸ™‚

Now, I’m a lover of all things bright, so for the most part my eye makeup stays neutral and I want to see the rainbow on my lips. Consider this look:

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I swear this is my color (and t-shirt) of the year! So, this lip color (it’s a cross between a lipgloss and lipstick) is from BlackUp Cosmetics. It’s called a Lip Lacquer, and the color is VL06. It’s super creamy and shiny, but also highly pigmented. I was on my way to a shoot and didn’t have to touch my lips up once!

If you love the tee, it’s from Feminine Funk. πŸ™‚ It’s out of stock, but maybe if you ask nicely, they’ll bring it back!

Now, besides bright purples and pinks, which are always in rotation, I’m all about oranges too. The issue I’ve had with finding a good orange is that it tends to turn pink on my skin tone. So coral is a waste of time for me, as all I see is the pink and none of the orange. But! I found some items that bring me joy:

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Now I had to find a pic that made it look the proper orange color (depending on the lighting it can look red), but I adore this color from L’Oreal. This is Color Riche Extraordinaire in Orange Tempo. Another creamy, glossy, moisturizing lip color.

So, not into super glossy? I hear you. Just Sunday, I tried a demi-matte finish lip color. Here’s the final look:

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So this was more neutral than I thought it would be but I still love it. This is OCC Metallic Lip Tar in Authentic. It goes on with a gloss, but it sets to this finish you see here. It’s sparkly, but not so shiny. The wear is also really nice. I had another shoot this past weekend, and it held up in the snow! It could feel a little drying if you did it alone, so I layered it over a lip balm first so that it wouldn’t dry out my lips.

Looking for a classic pink? Here you go:

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I was going out to run some errands and have dinner. Felt like being foxy. πŸ™‚

So, this lip color is from Maybelline. It’s Color Elixir in Mauve Mystique. Super pretty neutral, every day color that feels nice on lips. Shiny, but not overpoweringly so. The earrings are from Rachel Stewart Jewelry.

And there you have it! Some of my favorite lip colors and looks. If you aren’t sure what color to try, take some time to really play around at a counter and see what you love. If you can’t choose between two shades: pick the one you would NEVER do and wear it. Live on the wild side a little. πŸ™‚

Makeup Looks Retail Therapy Shopping

Nail Adventures: An Appeal For Warmer Weather

I feel like it’s been winter for 1,000 years now. Weather can’t decide between Cold, What The Fuck Cold, and Fuck It Cold.

Fuck It Cold is when you step outside your house to run an errand, the wind/snow/chunks of ice hit you and you decide “Fuck it; I’m staying home,” and go back indoors.

Guess which one we’ve had up here in NYC as of late.

It’s now March, when warmer weather is supposed to start creeping back in.

Apparently the damned woodchuck/groundhog/beaver/whatever the hell ran the idea of Spring off.

*side eye emoji*

I’m here to see if I can make an appeal to the Weather Deities. I’m not certain what I must sacrifice to get some warmer weather (first pair of peep toe heels? Two crop tops and a pair of shorts? Glittery polish?) but I’m thisclose to figuring it out and doing an offering dance to get some actual spring weather.

In lieu of me dancing (trust me, nobody wants that) I decided to make my nails bright and colorful like spring. Perhaps if the Weather Deities see my colorful fingers, they’ll be more inclined to paint the landscape to match.

Please?

So, I took some of the loudest polish I could find and added some metallic finish, glitter, and rhinestones. The result?

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I was hoping to channel ocean water and mermaid tails and warm breeze…You know, the kind of weather that makes you want to search for mermaids you’re 99.9% certain don’t exist but you look anyway?

Yeah.

I used Rimmel London 60 Second Polish in Districtly Come Dancing for 8 fingers, and Orly’s Luxe for two fingers. This is my first time using Rimmel polish, and I have to say I’m pleasantly surprised. Even though it’s a quick dry polish, it doesn’t go on streaky, and one coat will do–but I wanted more intense color so I used two in my manicure. The glitter is from Fingr’s–it looks blue in the container, but looks more gold on the nail. Super pretty. They come in a set of 4, so now I want to try all of them to see how they blend. And because it’s me we’re talking about, I put a blue rhinestone on each pointer finger. Because why not. πŸ˜€

Oh, dear benevolent Weather Deities, please hear my plea and accept my offering. I hope my aquatic nails please you.

If they don’t, please know I’m prepared to give you full neon. Anything! Just bring back the warmth!

Nail Adventures Retail Therapy Reviews Stories

Love, Glossybox

Hey loves! I’m back to regularly scheduled program his week, and I have an amazing Glossybox review for you today!

Now, if you wondering what happened to last month’s haul, I actually received a duplicate of the exact same box I’d gotten a few months ago. Down to the highlighter.

I wasn’t ready. I was also disappointed.

But this month, Glossybox redeemed themselves. I mean, look at how cute the box itself is:

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For the record, I keep these boxes and reuse them for nail polish and jewelry. So here’s what I got:

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Teadora Nourishing Exfoliating Bar in Rainforest at Dawn:
The card insert says that it’s an exfoliating soap packed with Amazonian super fruits that promise to firm and hydrate skin. I like how it smells, citrusy and woodsy without feeling like I’m rolling in grass.

Rituals Cosmetics Foaming Shower Gel Sensation in Yogi Flow:
The big thing about this shower gel is that it looks and functions like a can of shaving cream, but it’s a shower gel. So instead of putting it on a pouf, put a bit on your skin and foam it up, then rinse. It smells wonderful. The main scent is rose, and while I’m not a huge fan of rose, it’s subtle enough to not overwhelm.

Unwash Bio-Cleansing Conditioner:
This is another take on the ever popular cowash products I’m seeing more and more in stores. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, cowashing is when one uses a conditioner in place of a traditional shampoo to wash up. It is more gentle on natural, curly hair than foaming washes. I personally don’t do them because I have a flaky scalp and product build up like whoa, but I could see using this on a quick wash day. It smells like a delicious fruit bowl.

Royal Apothic Tinties Lip Butter in Pink:
This is the cutest little tin of lip butter ever. See:

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Bonus: it’s full of argan and grape seed oils plus shea butter. Good for nourishing lips with a touch of color.

Julep Color Treat in Heartleigh:
It’s been some time since I shared a Julep shade with y’all, and this one is super cute. Chunky white glitter, micro silver glitter, and red heart glitter collide into a really cute topper polish. Because of the chunkiness of the glitter, I wouldn’t do this by itself because it will not be even. Here’s some closer shots of the polish and a quick one coat swatch:

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I was about to cancel my subscription, but ok Glossybox, you pulled it off!

Opinions Reviews