life curation

Currently Watching . . .

Happy Saturday, darlings! A series of related YouTube videos led me to this TED talk from 2015 (yes, it’s an older video). The term “multipotentialite” was new to me, but I quickly identified with the traits ascribed to this label.

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Emilie Wapnick’s discussion about why some of us lack “one true calling” really spoke to me. I have had several successful “careers” (paralegal, tax analyst, financial analyst) but never felt that I was in my “sweet spot”, that one place I was meant to occupy. I enjoyed aspects about each career but nothing felt like a “calling” to me.

I appreciate everything I learned throughout my careers and I’m in awe that I was able to transition effortlessly from job to job. My current position is my favorite and feels more like a dream job than any other I’ve had. And yet, I’m preparing for the next transition, because I’m being drawn to a career in the art world. But my calling? I don’t know that I have a singular one. And that’s okay.

If you haven’t found your “calling”, take heart. You may just be one of “us”, the multipotentialites. Talk to you all soon!

beauty

Review: Beauty Benefits Haul

It took me longer than I anticipated to write this review, for two reasons:

1) I bought a bunch of products, so it took time to try them all; and

2) I was underwhelmed each time I tried a product, so I didn’t know if I needed to even bother writing about them.

But, since I bought the products, and I know that some of you may enjoy reading about inexpensive beauty hauls, I figured, why not write about it?

Initial excitement about the products soon turned to apathy LOL

I enjoy using super-luxurious products that deliver BIG on their promises. But I’m also intrigued by bargain brands. I know, for a fact, that many exclusive brands use the same manufacturers as the companies that can be found in a local drugstore. So well-made products can be had at any price point.

However, Beauty Benefits is not a maker of those products. I overwhelmingly disliked the brand but there were a few items that I enjoyed and will use until they are used up.

Here’s what you need to know about Beauty Benefits:

  • The products are CHEAP.  Each product cost $1 at a local Dollar Tree store.
  • The cost correlates to the quality. That isn’t the case for all cheap makeup, but for this brand, it applies. Overall, they don’t apply that well and the textures are subpar.
  • The powder products that should be matte actually have quite a bit of reflective ingredients in them, so you get a little unintended shimmer. That may be find for eyeshadow or blush, but foundation powders shouldn’t sparkle on your face.

Let’s talk for a moment, beloveds. I don’t expect miracles from cheap makeup. Low investment = low expectations. But note that these were the deepest “foundation powders” offered by Beauty Benefits. The lighter shade, Tawny, isn’t so bad: it’s neutral and could work as a setting powder on my complexion. But the deeper shade, Carob? #trash I’ve not seen such a gray foundation shade in years. It makes a good contour color, since it wouldn’t match any living person’s complexion. And WHY do these companies insist on adding sparkles to pressed powders for the face? It doesn’t look dewy: it looks cheesy. Oh well: it was $1 per powder #yougetwhatyoupayfor #cheapmakeup #bargainbeauty #thebronzebutterfly #thebronzedbutterfly #bronzebutterfli

A post shared by Missy Delano (@bronzebutterfli) on

That moment when your pressed powder is shimmery and you have to speak up about it

  • The shades aren’t labeled on the products, so once you throw away the packaging, you won’t have any way to recall the name of the shade. I used some stickers to keep them straight, but that’s a bit much for such an inexpensive product: would it really have hurt the manufacturer to put the shade names on the actual product, instead of just on the exterior package?

The blushes before I opened the packages

Blush swatches (with color details in the caption)

 

  • The eye products are surprisingly good. I really enjoyed the eyeliner (the applicator brush isn’t very thin, but the product applies smoothly, albeit with a touch of shimmer. I also liked the lengthening mascara, though it doesn’t “length”. It did a good job of defining the lashes without clumping. Avoid the volumizing mascara: it doesn’t have an interior “rim” to wipe excess product off of the wand before applying to your lashes. You’ll end up with a ton of mascara on your wand EVERY. TIME.
  • I also liked the lip liner. It applied smoothly and is VERY pigmented. I’d purchase it again.
  • I also enjoyed the lip glosses. Shiny, not too sticky, easy to remove (which also means they need frequent reapplications, but that is normal for lip gloss), and doesn’t stain the skin.

With and without flash. (Top to bottom) Lip liner in Red, lip gloss in Terra, Rouge (yes, rouge is basically clear), Geranium, Berry and Ballet

  • While I disliked the brand overall, these actually make really good “intro to makeup” products for young girls. These are great to gift to your daughter, niece or goddaughter, when they want to play in makeup but aren’t responsible enough for the more luxurious stuff.

So, while I disliked the powder products from Beauty Benefits, the liquid liner, mascara, lip liner and lip gloss were okay. And since each product was only $1, I’m not mad at this minimal investment!

Do you all enjoy any bargain beauty brands? Let me know all about them in the comments below!

life curation · style

Re-Imagining the Classics, Part 2

This post is a continuation of the Re-Imagining the Classics theme. We continue to look at some of the classic wardrobe pieces and see some suitable alternatives that retain classic appeal but give it a fresh spin.

Instead of a Wrap DressTry a Shirtdress

Wrap dresses have been incorrectly identified as “flattering on every body type”. That isn’t true, though it flatters many different women. Likewise, the shirtdress isn’t for every body, though it looks great on many women. This generally requires more maintenance that the wrap dress (shirtdresses usually need ironing to look their best), but the finished product is more structured and looks crisp.

These shirtdresses from iLover are inexpensive and adorable. They are available in many different colors and designs.

Instead of a Jean JacketTry a Leather (or leather-like material) Jacket

 The leather (or leather-looking) jacket adds edge and coolness to almost any outfit. It also tends to look more polished than its denim counterpart. This material can be designed to fit loosely or to mimic the shape of the body, so there is a leather jacket style for everyone. Bonus: leather substitutes can give you the look of leather without the cruelty, so it’s easy to find beautiful designs made with vinyl or other vegan leather materials.

This genuine leather jacket by BGSD is fitted, edgy and flattering.

This faux leather jacket by Chouyatou is affordable and has a striking, flattering shape

Instead of Ankle BootsTry Riding Boots

When you live in a region that gets chilly in the winter, you want a boot that covers more than just your ankles. Riding boots – both the rugged style and the more refined and elegant rendition – cover most of the calf and can be styled with dresses, pants and skirts.

These BareTraps Riding Boots have a low heel, plain shaft, and strap-and-buckle detail across the vamp, making them a flattering option for a variety of ensembles.

Instead of Black PantsTry Charcoal Pants

Black pants are everywhere, and, to be honest, the look can get a little boring. Instead of reaching for black, why not try charcoal? The shade is still dark and neutral, but it provides a fresh interpretation on the solid pant look. Charcoal gray comes in varying degrees of depth, so it can be a mid-range gray or a shade-above-black hue. In any case, it’s a look that can add a hint of color to your wardrobe.

These Eddie Bauer pants have a flattering straight leg and come in a luscious graphite hue

Instead of a Knit SweaterTry an Elegant Sweatshirt

Sweaters are lovely, but they normally have to be handled with care (washed on delicate or dry cleaned, air dried, etc.). Why not try an elegant sweatshirt instead? The key to keeping the look from being too sporty is to avoid any designs featuring thick cuffs or heavy ribbing around the neckline. Also check the fit: the more fitted to the body, the most elegant it looks.


This Sarin Matthews sweatshirt fits closer to the body and comes in beautiful deep shades.

That is all of the re-imagined classics! Make sure to check out Part One for additional recommendations. Talk to you all tomorrow!

art · hollywood glamour

A Glamorous Touch For Your Snail Mail . . .

Recently, the United States Postal Service announced that Hollywood icon and civil rights activist Lena Horne will be honored on a commemorative stamp.

The stamp, depicting Lena with her signature wide and warm smile, is a fitting tribute for a woman that lived a full and fascinating life. I am especially fond of the fact that the stamp depicts a mature Lena (the photo used for the stamp was taken in the 1980s, when Lena was in mid to late 60s).

See the lovely stamp for yourself:

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I’ll be ordering my stamps before they sell out! I advise anyone that’s interested to grab a few sheets and keep at least one of them for your collection. These can be purchased at your local post office or through the USPS website.

 

life curation

Do You Know Your Black Art History?

In honor of Black History Month, I want to share some of my favorite Black women artists. These gifted creators established themselves during a time when most Black women were relegated to the roles of maid, cook, or caretaker. I love that these women dared to share their gifts and provide a diverse representation of Black womanhood.

Because I’m a geek for 3-dimensional art, I’m focusing on Black women that created sculptures. At one point, I was interested in sculpting as a profession: I even competed in art contests (and won a prize to boot!) So today, I’ll provide a list of notable Black sculptresses and then I’ll include some photos of their most famous works. There are literally too many of them to write mini-bios for each, but please take the time to check out a few of them. Their stories and their works are fascinating.

Tina Allen

Camille Billops

Erlena Chisolm Bland

Selma Burke

Fern Cunningham

Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller

Ruth Inge Hardison

May Howard Jackson

Harriet Forte Kennedy

Edmonia Lewis

Winnie Owens-Hart

Alice Patrick

Nancy Elizabeth Prophet

Augusta Savage

Beulah Woodard

Here are some of my favorite works by a couple of the artists above (I’m skipping Edmonia Lewis because I featured her in my Current Favorite App post, that I’m sure you all read and enjoyed):

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George Washington Carver, by Tina Allen (In the Missouri Botanical Garden)

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Bust of an Ethiopian Woman by Tina Allen

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Sojourner Truth by Ruth Inge Harrison

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Maudelle by Beulah Woodard (1937-1938)

The Talking Skull, 1939, Bronze

The Talking Skull by Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller (1939)

 

If I left out any Black women sculptors that you think should be added to the list, let me know in the comments below! I’d love for this to be a comprehensive list with lots of good links to information on how Black women have contributed to the world of sculpture.