Blog Posts

Celebrating Black History (Black Beauty)

Black Beauty brands have been taking the world by storm. After years of having a difficult time finding colors and shades that compliment the rich and warm hues of African American skin tones, these makeup moguls have taken the world of beauty by storm and not only have they created products for all women, they have done an amazing job making sure that women of color can find make in the shade no matter how dark, light or in between. This Black History we celebrate the following African American women who are moguls in the beauty world.

Pat McGrath

Pat McGrath

Dame Patricia Ann McGrath is a British makeup artist turned makeup mogul.  McGrath is the makeup artist to the stars and has been called the most influential makeup artist in the world.  She was also included on Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People’s List. 

McGrath’s makeup line hosts a variety of colors for face, lips, eyes as well as exclusive merchandise. Pat McGrath has makeup for everyone. Encouraged by her mother to experiment with mixing pigments, the billion-dollar McGrath brand has something for everyone from the earth tone nude makeup lover to the person who enjoys experiment with pigmented colors. 

Melissa Butler

Melissa Butler

Melissa Butler launched the Lip Bar from her Detroit kitchen in 2012.  Frustrated with the beauty industry, Butler decided to create her own lip line.  Fast forward to 2021, Butler’s line is carried by Target and Walmart and includes selections not only for lips, but face and eyes as well. 

Her new product Fast Face offers customers the ability to complete a full-face look with all of the products included in the kit.  The customized color pallete allows women on the go to get everything they need for the fresh, flawless, full Fast Face. 

Fenty Beauty

Robyn Rihanna Fenty took the makeup world by storm when she introduced Fenty Beauty to the world.  Fenty stated that she used makeup as her weapon of choice for self-expression and a way to radiate her ever-changing mood.  She decided to launch a makeup line where everyone can be included.  The focus of the brand was on difficult to match skin tones and skin types. 

For the first year and a half that Fenty was on the market, many of the foundations were out of stock.  With colors and options for lips, eyes and face, Fenty Beauty has definitely become one of the world’s top selling beauty brands.  With colors and options for everyone, Fenty Beauty is definitely here to stay.

Juvia’s Place

Started by Nigerian Chichi Eburu, Juvia’s Place was founded due to Chichi’s struggle to find makeup for her deep skin tone.  Named for her children son Juwa and daughter Olivia, Juvia’s Place offers highly pigments colors for eyes, lips and face.

 Launched in 2016, Juvia’s Place places Black Women and Black Beauty at the center of their brand.  With palletes named the Nubian, the Saharan, the Warrior and the Zulu, you know that this is a brand for women of color, but that could be worn by anyone. 

Crayon Case

Created in 2017 by Raynell ‘Supa Cent’ Steward, the Crayon Case was literally an overnight success.  Steward gained popularity by demonstrating her makeup tutorials on YouTube.  Supa Cent grossed over $1,000,000 on Cyber Monday in 2018 in 90 minutes.  It has been nothing but a success story from that moment on. 

Known for the creative look of her products and the play on traditional school supplies, the Crayon Case comes with the brightest of bright colors as well as options for people who wear more subdued makeup choices, the Crayon Case is brand to be celebrated. 

The Truth Hurts

This will probably be the longest and most transparent blog I have written to date. However it is necessary. Just maybe my transparency may also be able to help someone else. Normally, I schedule all of my medical appointments around my birthday. I used to think of them as a birthday present to myself. However, I recently got off track due to a change in health insurance. So 2017 through most of 2019 saw me fall keeping up with my appointments like I used to.

Fast forward to 2019. New job, new insurance, new healthcare home. It started with some issues that I needed to see a doctor for to address. My body was going through some changes and I needed to understand what was going on. I had tests, a biopsy and just as suddenly as the issue started, the issue resolved itself. However, my body was my temple and it was up to me to take care of it. One of my major health issues is hypertension. I was diagnosed with it at 26. Some of it could have been attributed to stress, I was working a mildly stressful job, but I was also overweight. The most difficult thing during that time was going to the doctor and seeing morbidly obese on the checkout form I was given at the conclusion of each visit.

Photo by Breakingpic on Pexels.com

Now in my mind that was a disrespectful stretch. Morbidly Obese? Yes my weight was in the 200’s but I could move, I was not bedridden and at the time the only co-morbidity was the hypertension. Which I attributed in part to a stressful job. So I though I was fine, and my doctor was mean. Then came he sleep apnea, then the pre-diabetes, then the increase in blood pressure medication. Surely I was wrong and the doctors observation was right.

Photo by Olya Kobruseva on Pexels.com

Then I dated someone who was diabetic. Not only diabetic but non-compliant and diabetic. He didn’t want to take his medication, which consisted on pills and insulin injections, he did not take his health serious and it was not a good thing to witness. He had several hospitalizations. His lab numbers were through the roof. I am sure many physicians felt that he was just a person who was living on borrowed time. His life was a lesson for me.

Shortly after we broke up I looked in having weight loss surgery. I had seen how life as a diabetic could be, the worst of it, however I wanted no part of it good or bad. I went through the steps. Anyone who thinks having weight loss surgery is easy has absolutely no idea how hard it is. The one or two hours of My 600 lb life, don’t even begin to touch the surface of the lengthy and emotional process weight loss surgery is. It is not for the faint at heart or the undetermined.

Photo by Natasha Spencer on Pexels.com

So fast forward almost 5 years post weight loss surgery, where I should be living life at my goal weight, which I never reached, and here we are again. Where is that you may ask, lab numbers not reflecting what I want. Addition to the blood pressure medication. The worst is that since we have been at home in quarantine, I have gained 12 pounds. 12 frickin pounds!!! I feel like I have failed. Honestly, I have and there is no one to blame but myself.

I have to admit, there were some dark days during quarantine. I could definitely feel depression creeping in. I am fortunate to have a wonder life mate an talking to him helped me to put things in perspective and feel better. I also conquered my fear of leaving the house and started to get out, just to go to get groceries or to the doctor, but it was out of the house. I had also acquired a taste for specific fresh baked peanut butter cookies, which became my afternoon companion while I attended afternoon work meetings. So when I went to the doctor, maybe I should not have been that surprised but it still hurt.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Taking an honest look at myself I now know and understand that I set myself up to fail a long time ago. I am a very intelligent woman and being a psychologist, I know the truth that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. I have never really had a plan. A real plan. A plan that would sustain me and keep me from never reaching my goal weight because the honest answer is I never really had a goal weight. Yes, I could give the doctor some numbers a range that I thought was right for me. Did I really think I would make it there, no.

Did I think surgery would solve all of my problems, no. Did I think it would give me a good jumpstart, yes. Is that what it was supposed to do? Yes. But there was more work that I needed to do that surgery could not solve. So now what?

I know that I have to take a good, long and difficult look at my life. Where did my relationship with food become this co-dependent, dysfunctional spiral that has led me to be morbidly obese? What do I need to do to change this relationship and what is my goal or ideal weight? What do I want and need from my body and most importantly what does my body need from me? I need to figure out the answers to these questions.

One thing that I do know is that it will be a journey. I did not become morbidly obese over night and it will not go away over night. It is going to take some soul searching, some hard work and some dedication to make the necessary lifestyle changes needed to become the person I desire to be. I am documenting this journey here because as I said at the beginning, my transparency may be able to help someone else.

Photo by Olya Kobruseva on Pexels.com

I know that I am not alone. Obesity is a major issue in our society and one that far too many people suffer from. I know that I am not alone on this journey. I have a wonderful life partner who is on this journey with me and now I have more people with me because I am sharing my life changes with all of you. WE can do this. I can do this. I will do this.

I will keep you all updating on my progress.

Be Blessed, Be Fabulous and Be Healthy!

Christmas Shopping in January

Yes the title is correct Christmas shopping in January. This has been one of my favorite activities for years. If you have a big family, purchase gift for coworkers or maybe you are just someone who likes to have gifts on hand for spur of the moment occasions, a shopping trip in January can have you set for the rest of the year.

After Christmas you begin to see the sale of all of the leftover holiday items that did not sell but were specifically packaged for the holiday season. The same is true for holiday decorations as well. As it gets closer to the new year, the percentage off goes higher. In January the percentage is even higher. Then you get into the after the season sales which are another way to take advantage of the deep discounts offered by retailers.

Even though it has been years since I put up a Christmas tree, when I was putting up a tree every year, I would use the end of the season sales to purchase decorations for the following year. It gave me the opportunity to change my decorations each year. One year it was blue and silver, the next year silver and gold, the following year all crystal decorations you get it some variety. The best things is when you can purchase the decorations for 75-90% off, you end up with a collection of expensive decorations for a fraction of the cost. This is also the perfect time to purchase Christmas cards as well. I have purchased beautiful boxed Christmas cards for as low as ten cent per box.

Retailers like the The Body Shop and Bath & Body Works are also great places to shop at after the holiday season is over. The Body Shop always have holiday gift set which prior to Christmas can be upwards of $70 but after the holiday and the initial discounts, I have been able to purchase that same $70 gift set for as low as $5 in January. At Bath and Body Works you could get full sized holiday scented lotions for as low as $2. What a great way to stock up and have gift on hand for that surprise birthday. I used to work in a clinic and I would use this time to stock up on gifts for Nurse’s Week for the Nurses I worked with.

So you can see why i enjoy Christmas shopping in January. I normally have a tote that I keep my purchases in so that I know where the purchases are. This is a great way to save money and time and to get a jump start on the next holiday season. It is also a way to have nice gifts on hand for those unexpected birthdays or occasions where you may need a quick gift.

There is still time to head out and take advantage of the sales this year. Don’t let the good merchandise get sent back to the warehouses. Even though things are a lot different these days, there is still the opportunity to take advantage of the deep discounts. Let’s get a jump start on Christmas 2021.

Be Blessed, Be Fabulous!

20 Things to do in 2020

20things2020.png

We have reached the year 2020. A New Year of endless possibilities and new experiences to be had. Following are 20 things that you can do this year.

1. Visit 20 places in your city that you may have never visited or experienced before.
Is there a museum or art exhibit you always wanted to see? May there is a cultural neighborhood that you can spend a day exploring. Most cities have so many places and activities that we have never seen. Get out and explore the area right in your backyard.  Living in a big city like Chicago the possibilities are endless.  Every city has something to explore or discover.  See what your’s has to offer.

2. Try 20 new restaurants.
Many times we tend to frequent the same places. Try something new this year. Maybe there is a local restaurant you have been waiting to try and it is impossible to get a table. Plan early and make your reservations for later this year. There may also be a cuisine that you want to experience. Venture out of your comfort zone and try some new food while also visiting a new restaurant.

restaurant-1218743_1280

3. Spend 20 minutes a day journaling or meditating.
This can bring some calm and relaxation to your year. If you cannot quite commit to making this a daily practice, try committing to 20 minutes at least one a week. Notice how much calm and peace you add to your life.

4. Donate $20 per month to a great cause or organization.
It feels good to give, and it feels even greater donating to a cause you support. With most organizations a little goes a long way. You don’t have to only donate to just one organization, you can pick several organizations and donate to a different organization each month. Also, at the end of the year you have the option to deduct your donations if the organization is a non-profit. Here are some recommendations: Operation Young Santa (Chicago), Sickle Cell Disease Association of American, and any organization focused on Autism Awareness. Knowing that you had an impact in the lives of others is a great feeling.

5. Get an envelope and save $20 per month, don’t touch the money until the end of the year and then treat yourself to something you want.
This is one that I am going to definitely work at. I have a tendency to tap into my stash at times and then commit to paying myself back (which doesn’t always happen). Commit to doing this for you and at the end of the year you can treat yourself to something you want, or something you need. Regardless of what you do with the money, you will have it on hand to do whatever it is you need to do.

6. Read 20 books.
Expand your knowledge base or take in some leisurely reading throughout the year. Expand your mind and your horizons or just escape with one of your favorite authors and favorite characters. I used to be an avid reader. I guess that all of the reading and researching I did in pursuit of my doctorate lulled that just a little. I am getting back into the habit of enjoying a good read.

books-read-book-pages-literature-wallpaper-preview

7. Throw away or purge 20 items from your closet.
We all have those items that we have never worn, or something we have been hanging on to since high school. Why are we still holding on to those things? Or maybe you have lost or gained weight, the things that no longer fit are taking up space. Make space to dress the body you have, not the one you desire. Go threw your closet and take those 20 items to a shelter or donate them to a Goodwill or Salvation Army. Let someone in need use those items.

apparel-attire-blur-boutique

8. Spend 20 minutes weekly deep cleaning one room in your home.
You will benefit greatly just from this one thing. It will save you time when you don you weekly, monthly deep cleaning. I recently realized how the top of my refrigerator looked. I was devastated and disgusted. I am not sure why I thought that it would not get dusty up there, but out of sight out of mind. Choose an area a spend just 20 minutes a week giving that area a deep through cleaning.

9. Send 20 just because cards to friends and/or family.
I always say that people like to receive something in the mail other than bills. So be the person who surprises the special people in your life and send them some sunshine through the mail.

10. Delete 20 old emails a day.
I won’t admit to how many emails are in my mailbox. But there are a lot. A whole lot. It is time to get the mailbox under control. One way to get the mailbox under control is to devote a little time each day to deleting old emails. You can also use the time to unsubscribe from marketing and other emails that are sent multiple times per day.

Delete emails

11. Try 20 new recipes.
If you are like me, you may get tired of cooking the same meals. This year why not make a conscious decision to spice things up in your kitchen and with your cooking. Websites like Food.com and others have hundreds, maybe thousands of recipes for you to try. One of the most creative ways to try some new things is to experiment with seasonings. You can also follow your favorite chefs on Facebook and/or Instagram and get new recipes from them. Meal delivery services also provide a way to experiment with new recipes. So commit to trying something new in the kitchen this year.

12. Work out for 20 minutes a day. If you already work out regularly, pick one day a week and add an additional 20 minutes to that workout. Maybe you don’t work out at all. Then pick at least 3 days out of the week and move for 20 minutes. You could walk up and down stairs for 20 minutes. You could take a brisk walk for 20 minutes. If you swim, you can swim for 20 minutes a few times per week. Whatever you decide to do, get your body moving. You will feel better and you will have some added health benefits.

13. Take a 20 minute walk once a week.
This is related to #12 but also related to #3. This can be a great way to break up your work day whether you work from home or work outside of the home. Many people tend to just sit at their desk for hours, maybe getting up for restroom breaks or to attend meetings. During your lunch hour take some time to go out for some fresh air and a short walk. You can also do this while you are our shopping. If you go to mall or even to Target, walk for 20 minutes before you begin your shopping trip. This is a great way to move the numbers on your pedometer and get in some extra steps. Remember a little goes a long way.

shoe_walking_walk_person_parking_lot-7352

14. Find 20 minutes a week to unplug from everything and everyone (this would be a great thing to practice daily).
The practice of unplugging should be sacred. We have become a culture tired to devices from our smartwatches, to smartphone or tablets. Put all of the devices down. Better yet silence them and place them in a different room and walk away and unplug. You could use this time to work on #3, #6, #7, #8 or #9. Or you could take a nap, a hot bubble bath or do nothing at all. How odd does that sound, doing nothing? Its possible and it can bring you piece of mind and some relaxation.

15. Find 20 items in your home that you no longer need, want or use and throw them out or donate them.
This is similar to #7 but includes other areas of your house. For instance, I had an addiction to purchasing school supplies. I had always done it for my siblings and then when they got older for church book bag drives. However, I would always have extra, a lot extra. So one day I got a box packed them up and gave all of the extra supplies that I had away. They came in handy for a family that needed them. Now the only time I purchase school; supplies is for my nephew before he goes back to school, and I don’t buy extra.

16. Make a list of 20 people you haven’t spoken to in a while and reach out to them. This can also tie in to #9.
In our overly connected life we can get disconnected from some people who mean a lot to us. Not on purpose, but because life happens. It’s really that simple. So reach out and call someone you have lost touch with and who has been on your mind or in your thoughts lately. And how cool it would be to follow that call up with #9, a card or letter in the mail, letting them know how great it felt to catch up.

17. Increase your daily water intake by 20 ounces.
We could all use a little more water. So here is to better health and glowing skin.

more water

18. Add 20 new words to your vocabulary.
Learning is a lifelong venture. Our parents and grandparents learned to use computers and cell phones so we can add some new words to out vocabulary right. Here’s to a year of learning.

19. Invest $20 per month.
There are a few new apps like Stash, Acorns and Robinhood that make investing easy and accessible right from your phone. Pick one, try it out and commit to building a portfolio for yourself this year.

20. Write 20 letters to yourself and mail them throughout the year.
I find that when I am having a difficult time, writing a letter to myself and mailing it with the written assurance that things will be better, serves as a great reminder. It would also be a great thing to write yourself a letter this month put it in your planner and mail it on Christmas day. In this letter talk about the things you plan to accomplish this year. Open the letter on New Year’s Eve to help with your goal setting for 2021. But also, when you open the letter you have something else to celebrate on New Year’s Eve. All the goals you accomplished. You will be surprised how you feel when you receive them.

letters_cards_penpal_paper_leave_envelope_post_love_you-1087632

I hope this list inspires you to get just a little more out of your 2020 than you may have already planned.  You can always do more or less depending on your level of commitment and your desire to get the most out of this year.  There may be some things that I did not think of or add to this list.  Feel free to add yours to the comments.

Wishing you happiness, success and productivity in 2020!

Be Blessed, Be Fabulous!

pink-lips