culture · style

Learn About Royal Fashions

Happy Monday, darlings! I hope you all had a satisfying weekend. I spent some time perusing one of Daily Mails’s many articles about the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle. The public is fascinated with the California-born beauty, and the Daily Mail recently ran an article on her clothing budget and latest fashions. The truth is, the public LOVES watching what the wealthy wear, especially if the wealthy ones they are observing happen to be members of a royal family.

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In line with this fascination, I just came across another FutureLearn course that I thought you all might want to check out. A History of Royal Fashion is a course available through this online provider until September 1st. The course explores the fashion and symbols enjoyed by 5 different dynastic families. Yes, this course also includes the current royal family, the Windsors.

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A royal guard – yet another fashionable dressed extension of the British monarchy

I’m far too busy to take this course myself, but I figured that I’d pass along the information for anyone interested. The course sounds really fascinating, so if it is offered again, I hope I’ll have enough time to check it out. But for you all that have the time and the interest, lucky, lucky! You can enjoy this course for free, just by signing up on FutureLearn. And, if you pay a fee, you can access the course indefinitely, so you really have nothing to lose by checking it out.

This is shaping up to be a busy week, but I’ll still be on my daily post scheduled. In any case, wish me lots of sleep and plenty of productivity when I’m awake. Thanks in advance! Talk to you all tomorrow.

fitness

Days 8 – 14 of My Fitness Challenge

This week was so much better! More exercise, better food choices, and LOTS more water, sleep and relaxation.

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You may have noticed that I haven’t been including measurements or weigh-ins. Well, to be honest with you all (and I do strive to be honest), those are good metrics if I just needed to change things for the sole purpose of hitting a weight goal. But that isn’t my plan.

Sure, this started as a “challenge”, and I plan to drastically increase the good habits and decrease the bad ones. But hitting a particular weight is no longer my only goal: now, I want to change my way of being. I’m striving to feel great and look great, so I’m concentrating more on my day-to-day “wins” and letting those accumulate. The more daily wins I experience, the closer I’ll be to hitting my weight “goal” but, more importantly, I’ll be closer to hitting the overall health goals that I’ve set for myself.

For that reason, I think I’ll extend this “challenge” beyond 31 days, and make it a weekly update until I’m inspired to stop recording any progress.I’m also not going to commit to follow the Brittne Babe plan religiously, though I think it’s great for those that are inspired to do it that way. I tried, but I didn’t enjoy it at this point: I’ll try it again, before the end of the year, and I’ll see if I’m more inspired at that time.

Anyhoo, that’s this week’s update. I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!

hollywood glamour

It’s a Sheila Guyse Weekend for Me!

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A smile that could light up any screen

A couple of weeks ago, I threw myself into a Lena Horne movie marathon. I love watching old black-and-white movies because beauty, style and class are always worth watching.

A few years ago, I watched the movie, “Boy What a Girl! and I was captivated by one of the actresses. The actress that really lit up the screen was Sheila Guyse. She played Francine, one of the two daughters of the wealthy Mr. Cummings. She was a gorgeous and talented actress – it’s a shame that she isn’t well known today.

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Guyse as Francine Cummings, with Alan Jackson as Mr. Cummings

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Another photo of Guyse, this time with Betti Mays who played her sister, Cristola Cummings

In honor of Sheila Guyse’s birthday (July 14th) I’m watching three of her movies this weekend. Luckily for us, all of these movies are available on Archive.org and YouTube, so you can enjoy them for free.

A radiant Guyse in Sepia Cinderella

Boy What a Girl was my introduction to Guyse, but I’ve never seen the other two movies on the roster, Sepia Cinderella and Miracle in Harlem. I’ve added some stills from each of the movies, so you can see why she was a sought-after actress during her career.

Serving smoldering side eye in Miracle in Harlem

These movies are not only a tribute to Guyse, but a way for me to celebrate the book that I just finished! I’ll be back with fitness challenge updates tomorrow. Talk to you all soon!

 

Ending this post with a wink and smile (from Boy What a Girl)

beauty

Beauty Review: Tarte Tarteist Lip Paint

In my latest Sephora sample goodies, I received a lipstick that I’ve never tried before. In fact, I’ve never tried anything from this brand. I figured that a review would be fun, since it’s all new to me and I have no bias when it comes to the brand.

The brand, (you already know what it is if you read the title!), is Tarte, and today I’m trying the Tarteist Creamy Matte Lip Paint. I am a huge fan of liquid lipsticks and glosses, so I was stoked to try a new one. I looked up Tarte and I was really impressed with the eco-friendly stance of the brand, so I had really high hopes for this product.

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Tarteist Creamy Matte Lip Paint in Birthday Suit (photo courtesy of Sephora)

Tarteist Lip Paints come in two different finishes (matte or glossy) and over 40 different shades. I received Birthday Suit, a pinkish nude that I suspected would be a bit too light for my complexion. As always, my eyes didn’t fail me: Birthday Suit was not the nude for my skintone. It was too light, too much salmon/peach, and it came across a bit chalky. To be honest, the color was hideous. That isn’t Tarte’s fault, nor is it Sephora’s: I was sent what was available, and it was free, so no complaints from me!

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My sample of Birthday Suit

However, I don’t believe in quitting, so I figured I would fix it up. A little bit of inexpensive dark brown lip liner, some blending, and I had a wearable nude shade that didn’t look pasty nor did it clash with my cool/neutral undertones. I wore it for several hours before reapplying, and it did a pretty good job of holding up during lunch.

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Before liner and blending: Yikes!

 

After liner and blending: MUCH better!

As part of my review, I looked at some of the comments on Sephora, made by others who tried this lip paint. The consensus was that the formula was drying, and most people really didn’t enjoy the product. I wondered why I didn’t have the dryness that they reported, then I remembered: I used a lip balm about 10 minutes before I applied the lip paint. I tried this later, without lip balm as a base, and I too found it a bit dry. For that reason, I can’t give it a glowing recommendation but I can offer this tip: if you find a shade of Tarteist Lip Paint that you love, just know that you can prevent dry lips by applying balm to your lips first.

Overall, if I had to rate the product, I’d give this product a 3 out of 5 stars. The fact that you need to apply a balm first is a bummer, especially since this product is $20 per tube. For the price, there should be more moisturizing ingredients included. However, it’s a matte liquid lipstick, so too much moisture would probably keep it from having the matte finish that is expected from the product. I hope that Tarte continues to experiment with this formula and perfect it, because I love the company’s environmental and ethical stance, and I would love to support hem in the future! It’s worth a try if you’re committed to using vegan, eco-friendly products and don’t mind using additional products to preserve the moisture in your lips.

 

life curation

My Book is Done!!!

I finally finished my first book!!! This is the how-to book that I’d been revising for some time, and there was just a little work left to be done on it. If you all recall in my most recent Goals Update post,  I had to complete the supplemental/resource material section of the how-to book, and then the text would be pretty much done. I had done the bulk of the work a while ago (as in, over three years ago) but I had been dragging my feet when it came to finishing it.

book

However, a few weeks ago, a friend expressed interest in the book, and just a few days ago, a different friend brought up a topic that confirmed the need for this book. So, after getting those very CLEAR signs that it was time to finish, I spent a little time pounding out the last few pages, and then I whipped up a cover using some copyright-free images. I converted everything to PDF and sent it out for my friends to read.

Sure, this book still needs the critical eye of a professional editor, as well as some spectacular cover art that doesn’t involve my rudimentary photo editing skills. I want it to be GREAT before I offer it on this blog or anywhere else. But that’s neither here nor there, because the book is DONE. My book is DONE, DONE, DONE! I’m so excited that I’m ready to get to work on the next one!

food · international

Trying My Hand At Portuguese Food – Vegan Caldo Verde

I’m still studying the Portuguese language (more on that in a future post) but I know that part of learning about a culture includes exploring the cuisine. And, as a self-proclaimed foodie, I find that immersing myself into the culinary aspects of a culture does wonders for my overall excitement. So, I tried my hand at preparing a traditional Portuguese dish. Here’s my story about it.

I looked through various online sources to find out what makes up the bulk of the typical Portuguese diet. What I found was a lot of seafood and vegetable dishes, and a wide array of pastries. Fortunately, I love ALL of these, so I was excited. I wanted to start with something simple, so I decided to try making caldo verde, a traditional Portuguese soup that gets its signature green color from its sole green ingredient, kale.

Only one problem with caldo verde – it normally contains chourico (chorizo), a type of pork sausage. I don’t eat any pork, so I had to adjust the recipe. I tried making it twice, and both times turned out well, though my second attempt (using a combinations of Trader Joe’s soy chorizo and Field Roast Italian Sausage, though next time I’ll replace the Italian sausage with Field Roast Mexican Chipotle Sausage) was more of a success.

First try: caldo verde with Field Roast Italian Sausage only

I also used a blender, as opposed to mashing the potatoes by hand. It’s much easier for me to get the consistency I desire by using the blender. It also made the food prep portion easier – I could chop the potatoes and onions coarsely because the blender would take care of the rest of the work for me.

The soup is luscious, filling and very easy to make. It’s also pretty inexpensive: it contains a lot of common ingredients and can easily be tweaked for your taste. I’m going to share my recipe below, as well as the recipes I reviewed while coming up with my own version of caldo verde.

Second try – even tastier since I added the Trader Joe’s soy chorizo along with the Field Roast Italian Sausage slices

Caldo Verde (serves 6)

  • 1 yellow onion, chopped into large pieces
  • 1 tsp minced garlic (approximately 2-3 cloves)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 gold potatoes, chopped into large pieces
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 cups veggie broth
  • 4 cups kale, chopped into bite-sized or smaller pieces
  • 1/2 pack Trader Joe’s soy chorizo, sliced to the size that you prefer (it’ll crumble up so the sizing doesn’t matter)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 pack Field Roast Sausage of your choice
  • salt and pepper
  • Add oil to a large pot, and warm over a medium heat. Add onions and garlic, and stir. Cook until translucent (about 4-6 minutes).
  1. Add potatoes, water and veggie broth to the pot. Stir to combine, cook until potatoes are soft (about 15-20 minutes).
  2. Turn off heat, and scoop out potatoes and onions, using a slotted spoon or straining spoon. Place potatoes and onions into a blender, along with some of the broth. Blend until smooth.
  3. Return blended ingredients to the pot, and stir well with the remaining broth. Add chopped kale, and cook over a low heat. Cook for 15 – 20 minutes, or until kale softens. Season with salt and pepper
  4. Add chopped sausage, and stir well. Warm for an additional 5 – 10 minutes (make sure the the sausage is heated thoroughly).
  5. Serve while hot.

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Close up of the finished product, second time around

I used AllRecipes, Olivia’s Cuisine and Leite’s Culinaria to create my recipe. Many thanks to them for such clear directions! I couldn’t have done it without their recipes as templates. Muito obrigada!

 

words of wisdom

Words of Wisdom: Judy Garland

quoteprism

One of my favorite singers of all time was Judy Garland. Like most people, I got my first introduction to Garland when I saw “The Wizard of Oz” but as an adult, I got acquainted with her other songs, as well as her life story.

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This petite powerhouse felt with feeling ugly, awkward, and unloved. She was undoubtedly talented but never happy and secure in who she was. That unhappiness bled through her lyrics, making many of her songs heartbreakingly sad. But there is beauty in everything, including sadness. Even in her most painful songs, there is still so much elegance, warmth, and passion: she took heartbreak and turned it into art.

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Garland had such naturalness when she sang: it was never forced or overwrought. I’m sure it was quite a sight to see her perform live, with such an enormous voice coming out of such a tiny woman (only 4’11”!). Recordings of her voice give me shivers now: can you imagine what it was like to hear her live?

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It’s difficult to listen to her recordings and to not be moved by them. I only wish she could have known how beautiful, special and loved she was. I hear her singing and I wish I could have hugged her and reassured her of her immeasurable value. She deserved better, and her tragic death at the age of 47 is a reminder to continue to love and affirm those around us.

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Judy Garland had some poignant musings, and I’m honored to share a few of them with you all today. I hope that Judy’s words move and inspire you. Take care, and talk to you all tomorrow.

(photos courtesy Pinterest, StatusMind, AZQuotes and QuotePrism)