beauty

Beauty Review – Kara Beauty With You Eyeshadow Palette

It’s been a while, but I was overdue for a beauty product review. So, I picked up one of the eyeshadow palettes I’ve gotten in a previous Beem Box (I reviewed that box here, and I’ll also insert the video below), and decided to give it a try.

The palette is by Kara Beauty, a woman-owned cosmetic company that products cruelty-free and vegan products. I received the “With You” palette in my Beem Box. The palette has 8 neutrals, which can be combined in numerous ways to make some “perfect for every occasion” looks. At first glance, I thought that the colors weren’t dynamic enough; however, as I thought more seriously about it, I realized that these shades are actually perfect. Each color is easily interchangeable with another, and are perfect as transition, highlight and intensifying shades when combined with a more colorful palette.

if you have warm undertones, these are all very flattering shades. The packaging is pretty standard: it’s made of lightweight cardboard material, has a magnetic closure, and also has a mirror. The shades are as follows: Baby, Always, Garden Date, and No Doubt on the top row, Your Smile, Magic Portion, Two of Us and Soft Hug on the bottom row.

Now, for the real test: I swatched the shades so you can see how they show up on brown skin. Here’s how that went:

Needless to say, I’m disappointed in most of the shades. I take no issue in the shades that went invisible on my skin due to them being so close to my skintone, but what was really frustrating was how many layers I had to apply of No Doubt, Your Smile, Two of Us, and Soft Hug, just so it would show up in the picture. The deeper tones are definitely patchy, and I wouldn’t use them unless I was pressed for time and didn’t want to find another palette/comparable shade. I noticed that the website has rave reviews for this palette, but I’m assuming that’s because the reviewers have lighter complexions. On my skin, it takes a lot to make these colors show up, which is why I’m not enamored with the product.

Another concern I had was with the shimmers (Garden Date and Magic Portion). These are gorgeous in the palette but they don’t work well if you plan on applying with a shadow brush. The shimmers are definitely best for finger applications: when I applied them with my fingers, I had much better intensity. I tried this with the deeper shades (specifically, Your Smile and Soft Hug), but again, it came across patchy.

My final thoughts on this product is that I’m not a fan of it. I wouldn’t be opposed to trying other products from this line, but I just don’t think that the eyeshadows were great. I’ll probably end up giving it to my daughter so she can play with them (I already have similar shimmer shadows, so I don’t have to hold onto the palette just for those two shades).

Have any of you tried Kara Beauty’s products before? I’d love to hear your reactions in the comments below! Also here is my video when I give my first impression. I thought the product would perform better when I took the time to do a proper swatch, but I was incorrect (as I’ve already explained). I hope you all enjoy! Take care, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow.

style

Let’s Talk Kibbe Again . . .

Happy Monday, friends! I trust that your weekend was beautiful, relaxing, and enjoyable.

I wanted to start this week off with a topic that I’ve discussed before, that is sorely needs updating. I mentioned in a post a couple of years ago that I’m a Soft Classic in David Kibbe’s style ID system. While Mr. Kibbe has evolved in his approach to style ID-ing (he has created some new exercises to help aspiring style stars to learn their best lines), the fact remains that his previous style ID system works well for me and has led me on a path to having better understanding of what works for me and what doesn’t.

Here’s what I realize about Kibbe typing: the more you work with it, the more intuitive it becomes. Your intuition won’t always scream at you, “Buy it!” or “Don’t you dare buy it!” Something, the intuition comes as simple suggestions, like, “Hmm, this looks a little . . . off”, or “This would be perfect if . . . “. Repeat after me: life is too short to buy and wear clothes that only make you 80% happy. Yes, there may be some ordinary items (like that t-shirt you use when dyeing your hair or the skirt you wear when you’re practicing with your oil pastels) that don’t make you feel over the moon. But the vast (I mean, 90% of our wardrobe) should delight us. Kibbe’s system allows us to train our eyes for what truly works for us. Even if there isn’t much money for fashion in your budget, you can still spend some time training your eye, so when the perfect piece shows up at the perfect price, you’ll be ready. You’ll also save money by not buying any old thing, just so that you’ll feel like you have a “proper” wardrobe.

Another thing I realize about the Kibbe system is how much money and time I save by implementing this philosophy. Instead of mindlessly shopping because I don’t know what my wardrobe is “missing”, I’m very clear on what gaps exist in my wardrobe and which retailers can fill said gaps. Among the clothes I’ve kept, I have an adequate wardrobe that allows me to easily assemble a stylish ensembles that suits me perfectly. No more endless hours hunting for something that looks “just right’ on me; almost everything I own looks “perfect” on me. That could also be credited to the fact that I still, on a lesser level, embrace the Madame Chic capsule wardrobe approach, but it’s important to note that Kibbe’s philosophy and capsule dressing work well together.

I feel that most of the frustration over the Kibbe system comes from people not having an accurate view of themselves their bodies. A lot of people conflate their personality with their style ID, and that’s an approach that can lead you down the wrong style path. It can be hard to accept that your carefree personality doesn’t necessarily translate into being one of the Naturals, or your larger-than-life persona doesn’t automatically make you one of the Dramatics. But, by being honest about your bone structure and facial (and other) features, you can figure out a way to allow your style to be a perfect enhancement for your personality.

And don’t get me started on the “Classic” types: being any of the other types doesn’t mean that you possess less-than-classic beauty. In fact, some of the greatest beauties throughout the ages were Dramatics (Lena Horne), Soft Dramatics (Diahann Carroll), Theatrical Romantics (Dorothy Dandridge) and Romantics (Beyonce), Soft Gamine (Halle Berry AND Eartha Kitt), Flamboyant Gamines (Tina Turner) . . . You get the picture. But, in case the Naturals are feeling left out of the discussion, let me assure you: the vast majority of high-fashion models are Flamboyant Naturals. Janet Jackson, a woman that is objectively beautiful, is a Soft Natural. And these are only a few of the Black entertainers that have been classified by Kibbe: there are TONS of women, of all ethnicities, that are clearly beautiful and have a timelessness to their beauty that can be considered “classic”. However, just remember there is a difference between “classic” (anything that has remained high quality and outstanding over a period of time) and “Classic” (a term assigned to any person that has a moderate frame, fairly symmetrical features and a blend of curves and angles). There are classic (little “c”) beauties in all of the style IDs.

I have some tips for figuring out your Kibbe type without making things too complicated. I’ll share those in a future post, but until then, I hope you found some value in my random Kibbe-related thoughts. Talk to you all tomorrow!

beauty

Review: The Ordinary Foundation and Concealer

You all are aware of my undying love for The Ordinary skincare. But, when the company strays away from offering skin actives, things tend to go left (as you may remember when I reviewed The Ordinary sunscreen).

Well, I decided to try their foundation and concealer. It wasn’t my first rodeo with their foundation, but since the line has expanded its offerings, I figured I could find a better color match now. I was incorrect. However, the concealers weren’t too bad: I liked the color, texture and the coverage. For the price, it wasn’t a bad experiment overall (the products are very affordably priced). I bought the following items:

  • Coverage Foundation in shades 3.0Y, 3.1R, 3.1Y
  • Serum Foundation in shades 3.1R and 3.1Y
  • Concealer in shades 3.1Y, 3.2N, 3.2Y
(photo courtesy of The Ordinary)

The Coverage foundation is formulated for oily skin, and the Serum foundation is for drier skin. The concealer is formulated for all skin types. I swatched the products and did a whole YouTube video on it. You can watch it here:

Have you all tried any of The Ordinary’s color costmetics? What were your thoughts on them? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments below!

beauty · luxury

Review: The 7 Virtues Peace Blend Box

Happy Tuesday, friends! I had some last-minute changes to my schedule last week, so I had to push my posts ahead to this week. As always, I’m delighted to be back and writing per usual.

Today’s post is a review of a clean fragrance brand that I initially disliked, but, as I started experimenting with the fragrances, the scents started to “grow” on me! The brand is 7 Virtues, and the sampler set that I purchased is the Peace Blend Box.

The 7 Virtues Peace Blend Box contains 7 clean, vegan perfumes that can be combined in order to create a signature scent. I had my doubts about the smells, because they initially seemed a little strong and not quite what I usually go for. I decided to review the scents on my YouTube channel, so I’ll post the video shortly.

As the video goes along, I start to warm up to the fragrances. It’s funny: you can literally see me change my mind from ‘meh’ to ‘maybe’, then from ‘maybe’ to ‘I think I like it’! The set contains the fragrances that use essential oils from various countries. The scents are as follows:

  • Orange Blossom from Afghanistan
  • Rose Amber from Afghanistan
  • Vetiver Elemi from Haiti
  • Grapefruit Lime from Israel & Iran
  • Patchouli Citrus from Rwanda
  • Jasmine Neroli from India
  • Vanilla Woods from Madagascar

The company gets a thumbs up from me, due to the fact that it centers ethical sourcing and fair trade commerce. Yay for good products that support good work! According to 7 Virtues, every purchase serves their mission to “provide dignity and meaningful employment in communities rebuilding after war or strife.” This is such an important cause, as many countries affected by domestic conflicts are left devastated economically as well as culturally. It means a lot to me, to know that I, in my own little way, can support the work that 7 Virtues is promoting.

Without further ado, here’s the video:

If you want to check out the 7 Virtues brand, click here. Let me know if you’d try this brand, or you have any other clean fragrance recommendations!

style

My Latest Thrifted Finds

Happy Monday, friends! I hope you all had an amazing weekend. Here in the DMV region, the weather was rainy on Saturday and then we got typical summer heat on Sunday. I made the best of it, and I’m happy to welcome this new week.

I’ve thrifted for all of my life, though it isn’t always my first choice when it comes to certain ensembles. When I need something specific, I will go to either Amazon, Nordstrom or White House Black Market, where I’m (almost) guaranteed to find what I’m want. But, for unique ensembles and accessories, I prefer to thrift.

Here are some of my latest finds. I often go to one or two thrift stores a week, though there are periods where I don’t thrift for a few weeks at a time (this usually happens when my schedule is hectic). I’m thinking about writing a post on “How to Thrift”. If you’d like to see that, let me know in the comments below!

Peignoir set by Flora Nikrooz
Lace detailing on peignoir
Ceasikery faux wrap dress
Closeup of the faux wrap bodice
Vintage Bergdorf Goodman pleated dress
Closeup of the bodice
Tag inside the dress
Tahari shift dress
Gold detailing on the dress
Maggy London dress
Closeup of the architecture of the dress
Vintage dress by NPC Fashions
Closeup of the fabric
Back of the NPC Fashions dress

That’s it for today. I’ll be back tomorrow, with a topic that I’ve been eager to discuss. Talk to you all soon!

life curation · luxury · style

My Luxury Purchase Goals Are Changing …

This one published before I could finish writing it! Here’s the finished post.

As I mentioned in last week’s post about my 2021 goals, I reflected upon my luxury purchase goals and something about it just didn’t resonate anymore. Make no mistake: I still LOVE luxury and I enjoy spending a bit more in order to have something truly unique or expertly crafted. However, I noticed that nowhere on my list were any designers of color.

And that, dear friends, is unacceptable.

I realize that there is a need to shine a bigger spotlight on creatives – especially in the fashion world – that are also people of color (POC). As a Black American woman that enjoys supporting local Black-owned businesses and creatives, I am eager to extend that same energy into my bigger purchases. So I’m revising my luxury purchase goal list to reflect only Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color (BIPOC) designers. My purchase priority is also in that same order: I’m prioritizing Black American – specifically, American Descendants of Slavery (ADOS) – creatives, then Indigenous creatives (especially Native American and other people indigenous to the Americas), and then other POC.

I’ve decided to rank my purchase priority in this way (placing special emphasis on ADOS creatives) because oftentimes these designers end up reinvesting into other ADOS designers. I admire any group that prioritizes the fostering and development of talent of individuals that share their background and culture. As someone that admires this trait, I’m delighted that I as an ADOS, can participate in encouraging the development of ADOS talent by supporting ADOS designers.

While I’m excited to start actively supporting BIPOC designers, that takes me back to teh drawing board as regards my luxuruy list. I need to research new designers and figure out who excels in the kinds of designs that I favor. On the bright side, this exercise will force me to be more specific when it comes to filling gaps in my wardrobe. I’ll be more focused on getting items that truly “complete” my closet, instead of just buying things because I feel like spending some money.

In the weeks to come, I’ll share more details as I craft my new luxury purchase list, and I’ll let you all know what items I’ve purchased as I go through the remainder of the year.

That’s it for today! I’ll talk to you all tomorrow. Take care!

beauty

Review: The Beem Subscription Box

Happy Tuesday! Today I’m sharing a fun new subscription box with you all, that I think you’ll really enjoy if you have brown skin.

The Beem Box is a bimonthly beauty subscription service that offers products that are customized for your skin type, skin routine, makeup preferences, and complexion. The color cosmetics offered in each box are selected especially for your skin tone, so you never have to worry about whether the shades will suit you. The box is priced at $45, and the items included in each box exceed the sticker price.

Photo courtesy of Beem Box

I received my first box at the beginning of the month, and I was pleased with the variety of products I received. In my box, I got Ahoy Love Nourishing Cream Cleanser by Earth Harbor, Prep the Pout Lip Kit by Project Lip, With You Botanical Eye Shadow by Kara Beauty, Zaron Highlighter Palette in Gold Rush by Felicheeta Beauty, and Chella Eyebrow Pencil in Delightful Deep Brown by Chella Beauty. I got a chance to do an unboxing on my YouTube channel. Here it is:

I’m looking forward to trying all of these products and giving more in-depth reviews in the weeks to come. Look out for updates soon!

beauty

Review: The Ordinary Mineral UV Filter Sunscreen

Hi friends! I hope you all had an amazing weekend and a great Monday so far. The weekend was a whirlwind for me, so I’m taking it easy for the next few days so that I can restore my energy.

Today’s post is a really quick review of The Ordinary’s Mineral UV Filter Sunscreen. I’d usually hyperlink the product so that you all can check it out for yourselves, but in this case, I have to refrain. I was not please with this product AT ALL. I know, I know: I’m usually such a huge fan of The Ordinary’s products. But this was a big FLOP. As it turns out, I wasn’t the only customer that was displeased with this product. More about that later: let me tell you about this sunscreen.

In my attempt to try every single product made by The Ordinary, I purchased the Mineral UV Filter Sunscreen. I wear sun protection pretty much every day (even when I’m spending the day indoors). So, out of curiosity and to meet the minimum amount for free shipping, I decided to try the sunscreen. I received the product and decided to try it in place of my usual sunscreen. Imagine my horror when my face turned BLUE in reaction! I realize I had on all of my serums and potions, and I applied sunscreen as my last step (per usual). I experimented with using the sunscreen on top of bare skin, and, while I got a better result, I STILL turned blue. Here’s my video reviewing the product – it has a lot more details about my experience:

In conclusion? This is big NO. I’ll use it as a sunscreen for my arms and legs until I use it up, but I can’t use it on my face UNLESS I plan on staying indoors, where no one will see my blue face!

That’s all for today’s post. See, I told you all it would be short! Take care, and talk to you all tomorrow!

beauty · hollywood glamour · life curation · luxury · relaxation

Review: The Harlem Candle Company

Happy Tuesday!

I love candles. I’ve never reviewed candles here on this blog, but I have quite a collection. It’s funny: something that is such a BIG part of my daily relaxation routine has never been featured here before. But, then again, I didn’t have any candles that completely resonated with my essence.

Until now. Recently, I came across some candles on the page of one of my Facebook friends. I’d intended to invest in more luxury candles, but other than Diptyque and The Clean Candle Company (I did a review of their candles here), I was stumped over which candle to purchase next. I’d planned to try Trudon’s Josephine candle, but the company has consistently sold out of the size I wanted to purchase. And so it goes: fate conspired to make me amenable to other suggestions.

Enter the Harlem Candle Company.

This company crafts candles themed after literary and cultural figures from the Harlem Renaissance period. And the candle that most intrigued me was Josephine, named after the bronzed goddess herself, Ms. Josephine Baker. I also purchased two other candles – Speakeasy and Ellington – in both the regular and travel sizes (respectively).

These candles are lush, complex and timelessly elegant. I love the fragrances that the company offers, as well as the charming backstories that explain the inspiration behind the scents. The company also ships their products quickly: it took me only a few days after purchasing to have my candles in hand. I enjoyed these candles so well that I made a YouTube video about it! Please check out the video, and give it a thumbs up if you enjoy it.

That’s all for today. I’ll talk to you all tomorrow. Take care!

Uncategorized

Why The Level Up Movement Is Full of Failures

Happy Monday, friends! I hope you had a great weekend. My weekend was busy, and my typical tiredness was compounded by a small bout with allergy symptoms (headache and sinus stuff). Aside from that, it was a good weekend overall.

Today’s topic is probably a bit surprising to you all, since this is not a subject that I speak on frequently. After all, my blog has been about my own journey, and I’ve only casually observed others who may be on the same path. I believe in keeping my figurative eyes on my own paper, so being invested in the activities of others always seems futile and distracting.

That being said, this topic has come up several times when chatting with some of my ambitious friends, especially since they and I are often part of online/virtual groups aimed at providing education, resources and advice to women that want to improve their lives. One thing that my friends and I have observed is how many ladies that claim to aspire to “leveled up” lifestyles are failing miserably at achieving their goal.

This is a topic that has been on my mind for a while, mainly because it always takes me a while to clarify, within myself, what patterns I’m seeing and what those patterns mean. When I see certain behaviors repeating themselves, I like to take a look at WHY this is happening, and how can I avoid falling victim to the same thing.

Here’s the pattern I’ve noticed: a woman decides that she wants to improve her life in multiple areas. So, she joins groups that claim to support these lifestyle changes. She makes a lot of surface changes quickly (new hair, new makeup, new clothes, and learns the “lingo” used within these groups). She posts her “before and after” pictures, and is quickly praised for the changes she’s made, then she goes out into the world, ready to get whatever she wants.

Except . . . The world does not hand her what she wants. In fact, most of what she experiences is only a fraction better than what her life was before. She is perplexed because she’s done all of the things that she was told would lead to her ideal life. But all of her efforts lead to miniscule rewards, and she sometimes gets a lot of criticism and coldness from people that were once her good friends and beloved family members. She doesn’t understand why her new life is still elusive, even after all of the changes she’s made. She ends up feeling discouraged, and before you know it, she’s stop maintaining her “new look” and settled back into the mediocre lifestyle that she was living before.

There’s a simple explanation for why so many women in the level up community end up failing. They are doing the steps backward! Changing the exterior and trying to pass yourself off as “leveled up” is only good if you’re trying to impress in a one-dimensional world (like virtual/online groups). But when it comes to the 3-D world, your facade will crumble if you think that you can skip doing the inner work. If the change doesn’t start with the inside, then you can be certain that whatever progress you’ve made will be difficult (pretty much impossible) to maintain.

One of my mentors from years ago said, “Life is a mental game”. I knew this to be true, but the older I get, the more I see it play out in real life. A lot of people really want to bypass the “hard” work of changing their mindset because, let’s face it, doing the superficial stuff is a lot more fun and easier. But the lives we want are right on the other side of our limiting beliefs, bad habits, unsatisfying lifestyles, and shoddy networks. Our wildest dreams can’t come true until our inner worlds are up to snuff.

I have more thoughts, but I think I’ll save those for another day. I hope you all are doing well! I’ll talk to you all tomorrow.