FOTD: Minimal and Marvelous!

Now introducing my newest series: Face of the Day! I’m starting to get more into makeup and thought I’d share my experiences with different products and applications. There aren’t enough resources out there for women of color in regards to which colors and brands work best for us, so hopefully these posts will help a sister out! 

I’m heading to Chipotle to get a burrito and didn’t feel like doing my full makeup routine, so I decided to a minimal look that still looked pulled together. Below are the products and application, as well as a photo of my finished face!

  My finished Face of the Day!  

Brows: Anastasia Beverly Hills Browdip Pomade in Ebony. Applied with a brow brush and lightly brushed with a spoolie brush for a more natural look. 

Face: Cover FX Blotting Power in Deep. Applied with a powder brush all over the face, including over the brows to set the color. 

Lashes: Benefit Roller Lash in Black and Smashbox Full Exposure in Jet Black. One coat of each (Benefit first) on top and bottom lashes. I love the Benefit brush because it has a smaller side for applying to your tiny bottom lashes!

Lips: MAC Pro Longwear Lip Pencil in Kiss Me Quick and MAC Lipstick in Viva Glam I. Red lips instantly give you a more put-together look. 

That’s it! Just a few products and a few minutes to apply them that still give you a put-together look. Let me know what you think and tell me about your products for a minimal but marvelous look!

 Lipsyncing for my life to Luther Vandross Radio on Pandora–I love old school R&B!

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New Friends!

God brings people into your life for a reason. Growing up in Kentucky, I wasn’t able to connect with many Black women outside of my immediate family. When I moved to Madison, I still struggled to do so. Luckily I met three beautiful Black women that I can call my new friends!

We came together through a mutual friend and attended a brunch/day party in Milwaukee this weekend. We laughed, talked, danced, ate, and enjoyed bottomless mimosas and poinsettias. 🙂 It was so refreshing to meet women with similar goals and life experiences. I feel so blessed to have met such beautiful, intelligent, caring women and I can’t wait to spend more time with these wonderful ladies!

  
L to R: Me, Amber, Angela, Emily, and Sabrina–The Fab Five!

Speak On It

I’ve been talking for, well, as long as I can remember.  My mom told me that my first words were “apple juice,” which is not common for a baby (at least from what I’ve heard).  We were at a store and I saw something I wanted–apple juice–so I spoke on it.

In middle school and through college, I participated in an activity called forensics (a.k.a. speech and debate).  We traveled across the country–sometimes even around the world–to compete against other students.  I was lucky in that I was able to choose a number of the topics I spoke on, many of which involved being a Black woman in America.  That was my experience–and I wanted to educate others about that experience–so I spoke on it.

Sometimes people try to silence you because what you’re saying makes them uncomfortable.  To them I say, “Deal with it.”  There are plenty of things about this life that make me uncomfortable.  In fact, society actively works to make me feel uncomfortable with who I am and what I look like.  When I was younger, I kept quiet about a lot of things that made me uncomfortable.  Now that I’m a grown woman I know that what I have to say is valuable and deserves to be heard.  I will not quiet my voice just because the TRUTH I speak makes you squirm.

My challenge to you is:  Speak on it.  When you see injustice, speak on it.  When you feel strongly about a topic, speak on it.  To remain silent is to remain indifferent, and that won’t make the world better.

“I will come to You.”

I am taking a vow to consult God first. He knows what is best for me and so I will submit to His guidance. I have asked him to speak to me, to show me His plan for my life. If He wills it, I will do it.

In my prayers, I told Him “I will come to You.” Immediately the heaviness on my heart subsided. The worries that consumed my thoughts faded. At any point during my day when I become sad, angry, frustrated, or otherwise out of control, I will turn to Him. All obstacles are just temporary and are part of His greater plan. 

I know I am often willfully ignorant when it comes to God’s messages to me. I ignore His whispers until they become shouts. This cannot continue. I am standing in my own way and keeping myself from the blessings He has for me. I have to constantly remember that He made me in His image and that I deserve the best of His creations. 

This is going to be hard, but I will try hard. I always want to be in control, but now I know that I can’t be. Honestly, I won’t ever be. God is in control and if I obey His commandments and listen to Him, I will always prosper. 

Black and Blue (unknown to you)

Blogger’s Note – April 28, 2015: I’ve been going back and forth in my head over whether or not to post this. It is deeply personal and, honestly, I was afraid to put the truth out there. God sent me a sign, so now I’m sharing this. Thank you to this blogger for allowing God to speak to me through you. I’m not afraid anymore. 

On the outside, I looked fine. 

On the inside, I was black and blue. 

The words he hurled at me left invisible scars. He called me stupid, ugly. He constantly picked me apart: my hair, my clothes, my weight, my job, my family, my friends. He said I deserved all the terrible treatment I’d gotten in the past. He said that no one else would want me. He yelled in my face until I was a puddle of tears. Once I screamed at him, pushed to the edge of sanity, “Why do you do this? Why do you always try to break me down?”

He didn’t say anything. 

He isolated me from my family and friends. If he could keep me from people who valued me, I would continue to feel worthless. I would continue to believe that all I had was him and the world he constructed for me: the feelings he told me to feel; the life he told me to live. 

No matter how hard I tried, I was never enough for him. And I did try. I stopped doing things I loved. I left people behind who had been there for me long before he had. I put him–his kids, his family, his finances, his feelings–before myself over and over and over again. He required–demanded–all of my time and attention. But it was never enough. 

I pretended. When I talked about my relationship, I was intentionally vague or only focused on the good parts. When asked how things were, my response was always “It’s fine.” “He’s fine.” “I’m fine.” But things were not fine. I felt like I was drowning and the person who was supposed to be my life boat was actually the current pulling me under.  

Thank God for the breaking point. Thank God for that night when He whispered to me, “Enough is enough. You were not meant for this,” and I finally heard Him. Too many times I had ignored His subtle revelations, but this time His whisper was a shout that woke me up. 

I’m a firm believer that God sends us trials to teach us. Not because He doesn’t care or wants us to suffer, but because He has a lesson we need to learn to get to the next level in life. I’ve learned my lesson. I will never forget it. 

“Enough is enough. You were not meant for this.”

On the inside now, I’m healing. 

 

The Best Laid Plans

You know how I know God is real?

When I went back to Kentucky, I had every intention of placing flowers on my Granny Aloma’s grave in the morning on the anniversary of her passing. I got up, got dressed, and went to the florist to buy a small arrangement to place on her grave. I planned to take care of that first, before I ran any of my other errands for the day and before the forecasted rain showers began. 

…But the florist didn’t have any fresh flowers. She wouldn’t get any until early afternoon. Silk flowers were not an option; my Granny Aloma loved fresh flowers and that was what I would bring to her. I was initially upset and considered going to another florist–the only other florist–in town but agreed to come back around 2:30 that afternoon to purchase some flowers. 

I picked up flowers at the scheduled time, a small but beautiful bright spring arrangement. I placed them, leaving a single stem on my infant cousin’s grave, and had a good conversation with Granny Aloma. I walked around the graveyard and paid my respects to so many other members of my family. And who pulled up to the graveyard but my Aunt Sybil and Aunt Rhonda, two of my Granny Aloma’s daughters.

God has a plan for all of us. He knows what is best and guides toward it. My plan was to place flowers in the morning. But God knew that if I placed them in the afternoon, I’d be able to see my Aunt Sybil and Aunt Rhonda–two women who watched over me when I was young, who I otherwise wouldn’t have seen on my trip to Kentucky. He placed me there, at that specific place and time, for a reason. So we could comfort each other, spend time together as family, before the rain began to fall. 

The best laid plans–our best laid plans–mean nothing compared to God’s infinite grace and wisdom. 

My Old Kentucky Home: Final Four Edition

I am a Kentucky girl born and bred. I love my Commonwealth (yes, Kentucky is a commonwealth not a state) and since I moved to Wisconsin almost five years ago I really look forward to taking trips back home. Seriously–these Wisconsin winters are *not* something this Southern belle appreciates much. 

I started the nearly nine hour drive to my hometown early Wednesday afternoon. Overall it was a pretty easy trip; just a few traffic snags outside Chicago and Indianapolis slowed me down. Once I finally made it home my mom and stepdad were waiting up for me. We chatted for a few and then headed to bed. 

Thursday morning, I did mostly nothing–and it was FABULOUS! I slept in, visited my high school speech coach, watched Jerry Springer and Maury, and indulged myself in a Hodgenville staple: Laha’s hamburgers! 

   

 Those burgers are so greasy and delicious. 

I also went to visit my great-aunt’s grave. It has been two years since she passed and I miss her all the time. I’m glad I was in town on the anniversary of her death so I could pay my respects. I also ran into two of her daughters there–my great-aunt is still bringing our family together even though she’s in Heaven. 

  Rest in peace, Granny Aloma. 

I picked my brother up from basketball practice and I do believe he has grown more since Christmas–if he keeps this up he’ll be seven feet tall! I call him “my big little brother.” Once my mom and stepdad got in from work, we ate dinner–I made chicken tortilla soup–and relaxed. President Obama was in Louisville making a speech and it was all over the local news. 

 Someone needs spell check…#ecomomy

On Friday my stepdad headed to Indianapolis to watch the University of Kentucky play in the NCAA Final Four. Kentucky is known for college basketball! I always tell people that on the day you’re born in Kentucky you have to choose a team: University of Kentucky (UK) or University of Louisville (UofL). My mom and brother are UofL fans; my stepdad and I are UK fans–a house divided most definitely. Makes for interesting times when the teams play each other…

Anyway, the big game wasn’t until Saturday but my stepdad wanted to get up there early to meet with some of his Air Force buddies. My brother was spending the weekend with my grandfather, so my mom and I went to the outlet mall with my grandmother. I know where I get my good taste and unquenchable appetite for shopping from! I got a ton of good deals and I got to spend time with two very influential women in my life–a great day indeed. I also visited with my grandfather and his wife for a bit. 

  One of my MANY purchases–found it on clearance at The Loft Outlet!

Saturday Mom and I met with our cousins and took a trip to Indy ourselves! We went to the children’s museum and met up with my college friend Katie for lunch. 

              

Kids (and adults) having a good time!

Then we headed to Lafayette–I got us a free room with my hotel points–and watched UK play Wisconsin in the Final Four. UK lost by just a few points, which was devastating, but I live in Wisconsin so I guess if we had to lose I’m glad it was to them. Mom and I had cake and wine to ease the pain. 

Sunday morning Mom and I had breakfast, then parted ways: she headed south toward Hodgenville; I headed north toward Madison. It breaks my heart every single time we leave each other. She is truly the best mother on the planet and I love her more than life. But I know I’ll get to see her again soon–not to mention we talk almost every day. 🙂

So that was my trip! I had a great time hanging out with my family and friends and can’t wait until I get to spend more time with them in the Bluegrass State! 

Check out a few more pics from my trip back home:

  Rainy Kentucky days–still a beautiful place. 

  Honest Abe chillin’ downtown. 

  Finally got to see the speech state champion banner with my name on it!

  Awesome Easter gifts from my awesome parents. 

 Crossing the bridge on my way back to Madison.