Make-up for Dumb Dumbs

I am not a beauty junkie. Make-up application is not my strongest skill. I do have a serious looking make-up case from Holt Renfrew, a gift I requested from my mother a few years ago. Right now, it’s full of crusty old products and 3 identical shades of silver nail polish. Once again, my make-up shortcomings are a product of the abject laziness I described in my last hair care post. I don’t really care for make-up shopping. I don’t like trying on products at the drugstore (because eww!). I get overwhelmed after about 2 minutes in Sephora, and slink out empty-handed every damn time. The make-up counters at department stores are a bit better, but I hate being sold things and would rather go about my business shopping without the help of an employee. As a result, I buy nothing.

So what is a girl to do when she wants to step up her make-up game? Internet!
I hit the beauty blogs on a quest for product recommendations and stumbled on the whole Beauty Product Subscription industry. Now you are speaking my language. Beauty products delivered to my house for a low monthly fee? Sign me up!

I signed up for 3 monthly services (Glymm, Ipsy, Glossybox); and one quarterly service (LuxeBox). I’m also on the waiting list for TopBox. Why so many you ask? I thought it might be interesting to review them for my blog. I have brown skin (if you didn’t notice) and I want to see how well the products are suited to darker complexions (and black hair!). I figure, I’m a good guinea pig. I have average skills in make-up application and no brand loyalty. There is only one product I am devoted to, Armani Face Fabric.  That stuff is magical.

Since I only applied for most of the boxes this week, I am not sure if I will be getting November boxes from all the companies. You will be happy to know that I did receive one box today. I’m unpacking it for review tonight! I’ll be sharing shortly.



White Mom + Black Hair

I love my natural hair. It’s really lovely if I do say so myself.  I am not the type of girl who likes to spend hours getting ready for anything. That is because I am lazy. This presents a problem for me because my natural hair requires serious upkeep just to keep it from becoming a tangled mess. Combing my hair is the grooming activity I hate more than anything. It’s the worst, up there with dental visits.

A little back story here. My mom is an amazing, wonderful, beautiful human being. She moved to Zambia with my dad when she was only 18 years old and was promptly blessed with a chubby bundle of Jasmine. Everything was fine for the first couple of years, but then my hair exploded. Hair combing became an epic battle.We are talking about the type of nuclear meltdowns only 3 year olds can produce. I would only allow her to comb it when I was in the bathtub, because it was less painful when wet. It was easier for everyone if my hair was cut short, so I wore a little fro until I was old enough to have an opinion about my hair.

Mom and me in 1979

Despite her amazingness, my mom wasn’t equipped to teach me how to manage my hair. These days, you can find whole websites on the topic. I was a child in the 80’s, in Canada! You could barely find a black salon in my town. Subsequently, I grew up to be a black female with zero hair skills.

It’s one of my personal goals, to improve the health and appearance of my natural hair. This requires discipline and routine. Keeping my hair tangle free is the biggest challenge I face. Recently I discovered the magic of two-strand twists. If you want to see how that is done, I recommend this tutorial by Alicia James.  The two-strand strand twists give me a new look with very little commitment other than time. It does take hours, but I do it while watching movies.

My Two-strand Twists

After I’ve worn the twists for a few days, I take them out and my hair looks awesome! It also tangles less, so that is a mega bonus. Behold my magnificent twist-out! Isn’t it fabulous?

Magical twist out.

Now, the one thing I’m missing from my routine is product. My hair is parched. It is thirsty. It could really go for a big gulp right now. So, imagine my delight when I learned that a friend of mine had started her own hair care line!  I’m all for supporting local business and Sheena’s  products are made in Canada. Sheena was kind enough to send me a sample of her leave-in conditioner, it’s called Nourish.

  I’ll be conducting my product review next week. In the meantime, you can check out Sheena’s youtube channel.

The Ninth Step…

In this series of posts, I am working through 12 steps I created to help refresh my wardrobe for fall. If you would like to follow join me in the challenge, you can find all the steps here.

What do you need? Make a list of things that you need for fall. I’m sure we can all think of a zillion things we want, but what are the essentials you must buy for your wardrobe to function for the season. Make a Polyvore of these essential items.

If you are serious about putting together a wardrobe that works, it is imperative that you create a list. Actually, you should create 2 lists but we will focus on this one for now. Your first list should include your basics. These are the basic, standard issue items you need for every day use. Your essential shopping list will be determined by the demands of your lifestyle. If you work in a corporate environment, you may need a new suit. If you work with children, stretchy jeans might be a priority. Think about the missing pieces. When I reviewed my own wardrobe in step 3 , I realized I need jeans and trousers. I have several great shirts, jackets and sweaters but no pants to wear them with! Since the weather is cooling down, I also need wool tights to wear with skirts and dresses. Most of the pieces are not big ticket items; I need a selection of t-shirts and a simple tank dress for layering. You can find these items at any price range.

Since the weather has taken a turn for the rainy and cold, I am desperate for a coat and boots. If you are going to invest in anything, these are the items to splurge on. I would suggest sticking to classic and versatile styles, you can pick the crazy and wild stuff after you have a solid base to work from. I used to turn my nose up at basics, because they don’t have pizzaz (yup, I said pizzaz). Truth is, a closet full of pizzaz can be hard to navigate. You often end up with a bunch of stunning pieces that don’t work together.

I put together a collage on Polyvore to help illustrate my list. Now, when I go shopping I can just refer to this visual for a reminder. That will keep me from wandering aimlessly around the mall spending money on things I don’t need. I’m not going to buy the exact items pictured. These are just suggested styles, the actually purchase may very once I start trying things on. Once I complete my shopping (step 12), I’ll be sure to come back and share my haul so we can compare it to this list.


Basic Fall Essentials

T By Alexander Wang tank top dress, 97 CAD / Short sleeve top, 76 CAD / Scoop neck top, 72 CAD / Acne jersey tank top, 100 CAD / Scoop neck tank, 62 CAD / Edith A. Miller scoop neck tank, 56 CAD / Double breasted coat, 135 CAD / River Island , 7.96 CAD / Old Navy jeans, 29 CAD / J.Crew ribbed tight, 26 CAD / Vivienne Westwood , 70 CAD / Falke opaque tight, 45 CAD / ASOS leather boots, 115 CAD / Madewell ballerina flat, 98 CAD

The Eighth Step…

In this series of posts, I am working through 12 steps I created to help refresh my wardrobe for fall. If you would like to follow join me in the challenge, you can find all the steps here.

Confidence booster! Is there an outfit in your closet that makes you feel unstoppable? Describe or photograph it and share with us.

Confession, I am cheating a little with this step by using a picture that is approaching 2 years old. I’m quite a few pounds lighter in the picture, and that is the magic of this outfit. I feel confident in it when my weight is up or down. I apologize for the cut off head and shoes. This outfit can be worn casually with flats or amped up with heels. It looks great on my no make-up days, but it is also strong enough to handle a heavy make-up look. I don’t think I have a more versatile outfit in my current wardrobe.

Leather Jacket- VEDA
Dress- H&M
Necklace- Thrifted
Ring- Stephen Webster

 The goal of this step is to define what type of clothing gives you confidence. For me, the answer is covered up, but not uptight looks. I love comfortable clothes that allow me to move freely from one social situation to the next. These are the types of items I can comfortably splurge on. That is important to keep in mind during the next steps of this challenge. Coming up, I will be preparing for my fall wardrobe shopping. I want to make good decisions, so I’ll be creating a game plan before I hit the stores.

The Seventh Step…

In this series of posts, I am working through 12 steps I created to help refresh my wardrobe for fall. If you would like to follow join me in the challenge, you can find all the steps here.

Break your color habit! Now that you have described your safety zone, try something different. Put together an outfit that doesn’t include your default colors.

In my last post, I described my comfort zone when it comes to colours. This week, I challenged myself to break the habit and put together an outfit without black, blue, grey or jewel tones. This was easier said than done. Originally, I had planned to build an outfit around an oxblood coloured H&M dress. I have been wearing the dress a lot lately, but always with paring it with dark items. When forced to match it with something other than black, I found myself at a loss. I took a bunch of trial photos and hated them all. I looked okay, but I didn’t feel like me. Back to the drawing board.

I really had to reach for this one, but I’m very pleased with the results. This is a vintage dress, presumably from the 80’s. I consider it one of my greatest second-hand scores. It’s got an exaggerated silhouette, the shoulders are poofy. In that way, it reminds me of a lot of traditional African dresses.   You will have to excuse my goofy poses. I just bought a remote control for the camera and it’s fun to play with!

Dress: Vintage
Belt: Came with some other skirt
Boots: Dolce Vita purchased at Winners

Now, some of you astute readers might have noticed that this print does have black in it. I apologize for cheating a little. It was either  fudge it a little or go buy something new. As tempting as it is to go shopping, I’m trying to hold off until I’ve worked my way through all the other steps of this challenge. By the end of this series, I should have a very good idea of what I need to buy to make my wardrobe more functional. In the meantime, I’m working what I’ve got!

As a side note, I’ve been experimenting with my hair a bit lately. I have a whole hair post planned, but for now I will explain what is going on in this series of pictures. I spent a couple of hours putting my curly locks in to two-strand twists. That’s a simple, do at home technique that gives me the look of locs without much commitment. It also keeps my hair from becoming a tangled mess, and that is a minor miracle.

Why am I always looking sideways?

In the next step, I’m going to be putting together a power outfit. I’m not 100% sure what that means yet. I hope you will join me and find out!

The Sixth Step…

In this series of posts, I am working through 12 steps I created to help refresh my wardrobe for fall. If you would like to follow join me in the challenge, you can find all the steps here.

What is your default color palate? Describe the colors your usually wear. You can share an outfit if you would like.

When I was a teenager, I went through a very serious goth phase from which I never fully recovered. This has left me with a serious penchant for black clothing. I can’t help myself. Incongruously, I also love wild prints. My favourite prints are geometric or painterly. If I opt for a solid colour, it’s usually a bold jewel tone such as magenta or cobalt blue. I usually feel most comfortable with dark colours on the bottom, but I’m working to get over that. Back in my retail days, I often struggled to encourage women to try new colours. If you have ever worked retail, you know that black outsells other colours by a large margin. Old habits die hard.

There are definite benefits to working within a limited colour palette when trying to build your wardrobe. It does make it easier to mix and match. It’s less stressful if you lack confidence in your ability to put items together. The problem strikes when you avoid certain colours because you don’t think you can pull them off. I’m here to tell you that is nonsense. You can start small, with a scarf or a pair of tights. Try different shades until you hit on the winners. If you feel a colour isn’t working near your face, you could try the same colour as a skirt instead. Sometimes, you just need to switch your make-up palette to make a particular garment work for you.

When I went back and looked at my own wardrobe, I discovered that my palette is very cool. I don’t own many warm colours. That will be one of my personal challenges, adding more warmth. In the 7th step of this challenge, I’m going to put together an outfit that omits my safety colours. There will be no black, no blue, no grey and no bright jewel tones. Stay tuned for the results!

The Fifth Step…

In this series of posts, I am working through 12 steps I created to help refresh my wardrobe for fall. If you would like to follow join me in the challenge, you can find all the steps here.

Make a new outfit! Using the item from assignment number 4, make a new outfit . If it’s appropriate, wear it out of the house!

The weather here in Vancouver has taken a turn for the chilly and wet. I’m more motivated than ever to get my wardrobe in order. If I don’t take care of it soon, I’m going to freeze to death. The outfit I’m about to post would not be wearable under these conditions. I’m going to have to buy some new boots and wool tights to make it seasonally appropriate. Still, I wanted to show you how I styled that ASOS dress in order to ease myself in to wearing it more often.I opted to layer it under a high-waisted fuchsia skirt. This particular skirt has slits on both sides, so having a fitted skirt underneath it is very practical. If I throw a blazer over this, I can wear it to work. As shown, I would definitely wear it to a party.  Excuse my cranky face in this picture, I’m new to this whole tripod self-portrait thing.

Dress- Asos
Skirt and Necklace- Thrifted
Belt- Came with another dress
Shoes- Kenneth Cole