advice

Say Yaaaas To: Inner Peace

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Inner peace sounds so…Kumbaya-y. What exactly goes through your mind when you hear it? Maybe you picture an advanced yogi (who sips green tea and eats organically grown whatever the f*ck) sitting stoically atop a mountain, completely unmoved by the world around them. Perhaps the actual lyrics to Kumbaya play in your head continuously until you have to drown them out with trap music. To be honest, I never really gave the idea much thought until I had none. Like, I literally had no peace in my life at all. So yeah, after that I felt like it’d be pretty awesome to have some and not go off the deep end and into the abyss. I’m still learning how to make these things an everyday habit. Because once you acknowledge the need for more peace, or peace period, in your life everything isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. But it does get better, and that’s what’s important.

So what steps did I take to achieve the peace that I so desperately needed? Well first, I made the conscious declaration that no one and nothing is worth my peace. I was getting so frustrated and upset because, unbeknownst to me at the time, I was choosing the situations and relations with those around me over my own peaceful state. I felt obligated to put these things before myself and I was drowning in the mess it created. It was exhausting to deal with and so much of my energy was devoted to it, so I never got a chance to do the things I needed to do. Updating my blog, practicing my writing, working on my business ventures, meditating, getting the proper amount of sleep; all of these things suffered because I couldn’t get this sh*t together. “No more, dammit!” is what I told myself.

Next, I stopped trying to change the people around me. People are control freaks, and if you say you aren’t one you’re a liar. It’s in our human nature to control things, and that doesn’t mean we’re horrible people. I guess that’s a survival tactic of sorts, whatever the case is we don’t suck because of it. A lot of the time our control freak ways come from a good place, like with my parents. To me, at times, it seems they’re nagging and complaining is completely self-serving and annoying as hell. And it absolutely may be at times because they’re human, but it comes from a really good place. They love me and they want me to do well, better than they did, and I get that. It may not always come out the best way but I get it. Well now I do.

Before I’d get so mad and frustrated without that understanding and it’d completely ruin my mood, sometimes my whole day. And it still kinda comes off the same way at times, but how I’ve learned to deal with it has changed dramatically. Now I’m just like, “Whatever”. Which seems so dismissive but, well, whatever. My parents will feel how they feel regardless of what I decide to do. They take their stance because they’ve seen me at multiple stages in my life and, to them, I’m still a baby. Today I turned 29 and I’m still a kid to them, I will always be because I’m their baby. I’ll always be inexperienced, or immature, or whatever but does that mean I don’t know how to make the proper life choices? NAH! So why get upset and bent out of shape about it? They’ll feel how they feel, I’ll react to it , and my problems will still be there. So why not take that energy I’ll have expressing those extreme emotions and put it towards actually fixing my problems?

Next came this important thought: “Worry about yo’self!” I saw a four year old tell her dad that in a Facebook video while he was trying to help her buckle herself in her car seat. Out of the mouths of babes! Worry about yourself and your own sh*t! Not your brother’s, or your boyfriend’s, or you coworker’s, or whoever. Yours! You are the only person who is going to take care of your business, because that’s your responsibility and no one else’s. Plus people have their own issues they need to deal with. I had to stop trying to be a savior to those around me while I sank in my own problems like a boulder in quicksand. I’d feel so bad about thinking about me and only me, but I shouldn’t have. Worrying about you and your’s and how you’re going to attack your problems doesn’t make you selfish; that makes you a responsible adult. And you should never allow yourself or anyone else to make feel guilty about that. Acknowledging this took so much stress off of me, it was amazing!

Also, if I can be absolutely frank with you guys, I stopped giving a f*ck about dumb sh*t. Who said this, how that person feels about when I did blah blah blah, what people will think about whatever the hell. Dumb sh*t. How is any of that serving me in positive way? How is this enriching my experience on this planet? If it ain’t then it gets the heave-ho, no questions asked. Like even how I’m writing this I’m thinking about how some people I know will feel about my verbage. Should I speak in a more censored and politically correct manner? Should I write this like a term paper? Or should I just say how the hell I feel and roll with it? What I chose to do is pretty clear, but I had to stop giving so much pointless sh*t space in my thoughts. Things are much, much better now.

Celebrating my accomplishments was another step I took towards achieving this blessed peace I absolutely needed. Like that one Nationwide commercial said, life comes at you fast. And when it does, in the absurdly overwhelming fashion we’ve grown accustomed to, it’s difficult to get excited about what’s going right. I just moved back home to Georgia with my parents, again. I’m trying to save money, again. And get a car, again. And not explode from frustration…again. I’m literally starting over from scratch, step one. AGAIN. I’m back in the same situation which is, I guess, a bit different from starting over. When you begin something new it’s fresh and untouched, but getting back up after a particularly bad fall isn’t as exciting. It kinda sucks because the sting of disappointment is still very present, and your ego is still bruised. But you have to pull it together and move forward.

Yes I’m back home but I have a better job. And I have the opportunity to save a ton of money, which is such a huge plus. I’m not so bogged down with all the obligations of being on my own, which is a blessing. I get to gather all my responsibilities and deal with them while I prepare to go back out into the minefield that is adulthood. Yeah, I’m here for all that. I learned a lot being away from my family and out on my own, that’s helped me make better life decisions. That’s a lot to celebrate about dammit! I’m adulting and at a optimum level, without the unnecessary presence of that awful depressing film that covers you while you’re doing it. Blessings on blessings on blessings, y’all.

The peace of mind I’ve acquired from doing these things has been phenomenal. My mood is better, my creative juices are flowing freely, I sleep better, I have more energy,, my edges are robust and plentiful, my skin is giving me all types of bronze goddess yaaaaaas-ness. Having inner peace has been a real slice, and I’d slice your face clean off if you tried to interfere with that. I’m prepared to protect my peace at all costs. I wouldn’t actually mutilate someone, but I’d sure snatch a wig or two for it. My energy is so important and I’ve make the clear choice to give it only to things that are in my best interest. Taking that a step further, I’m very careful about who’s energy I allow into my space. That’s just as important as being responsible for my own. When someone is operating from a negative space they aren’t able take ownership of that negativity, and it’s up to you to protect your space. Whatever it takes, as long as it’s within reason.

I feel…f*cking fantastic! And I’m glad I’ve had the presence of mind to take back control of my life. My mental and emotional state is at an all time high and that’s manifesting itself into my physical space. So now I’m in a much better position to do thing things that I need and want to do. Sh*t’s amazing, you should absolutely try it. Seriously. Do it and tell me about it, I want to hear how you guys are flourishing. So email me, my contact info is on my About Me page (click on the hyperlink that says QueenMing under my picture and it’s at the bottom of the page). Well I’m about to go enjoy the last little snippet of my birthday, and actually be present during this call I’m on with my best friend (she’s describing her #BlackGirlAngst about Girls). So I’m going to go do that. Until next time my Beautiful Black Queens!

 

Stay beautiful Image result for heart

 

 

Reality Check: Time To Get In Formation

” Your winter is someone else’s summer.”

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That quote unleashes some very visceral emotions inside of me; things I’ve kept tucked away while I try to keep up with the day-to-day busyness of adulthood. But it’s high time I let them go because holding on is doing me absolutely no good. I’ve realized, while amidst the thick of the fuckery I’ve been through this year, that I have a high propensity for being a perfectionist. It’s so high, in fact, that it keeps me from going after the things that I want and need to do. I’ll set out to do something and, midstream, I’ll freeze because I think whatever I’m doing isn’t good enough and the follow through ends up being super wack.

I haven’t updated my blog, worked on my business models, or any of my interests because I’ve allowed my circumstances to get the best of me. This year has been pretty tough, definitely the coldest metaphoric winter I’ve ever experienced. I’ve been homeless, I was assaulted, I’ve been abandoned several times, heart broken more than once, and many other trials and tribulations have ensued. I’ve let those things mold me into someone I don’t recognize when I look into the mirror, and that terrifies me. I’ve allowed myself to become this person who, when standing face-to-face with obstacles, she gets emotional and has a pity party for herself long before she attacks them. And when I finally do, I’m exhausted from the roller coaster ride I put myself through. I’m at the point where I’m sick and tired of not being in control of my own destiny. I’m completely over just existing and I’m ready to start living again.

I’m not sure what point you’re at in your life as you’re reading this. Hell, you could be doing great in life, and if you are good for you. Do that shit! But if you’re stuck in the same old rut and you’re ready to get back to where you were before, or even transcend beyond that point (which is always a good idea), then I’ll offer you three pieces of advice that have jump-started my will to live life more abundantly again no matter what my circumstances are. You can Google the phrase “How to get your shit together” and easily find 1.3 million articles on how to do just that, each one offering fifty plus ways to turn the lemons life has hurled at your poor peanut shaped head into lemonade (all hail #QueenBey!). But I think three is a good place to start. There’s something about that number that resonates with me; I think it signifies harmony, and we could all use a little more of that. Plus, I think these three things open the door to many more good habits that can and will help push you into the right direction. So, let’s begin.

  1. Get objective feedback from a trustworthy source.

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Emphasis on trustworthy. So not that one coworker who’s always having money problems, or your cousin Ray Ray who can’t hold down a job for longer than sixty days, and definitely not your super “independent”  man hating aunt who hasn’t had a bae since ’86. This person should be close enough to you where they know exactly what you may be going through, but are far away enough to see the bigger picture, and wise enough to point you in the right direction. You could be focusing too much of your attention on a problem at work or a relationship that doesn’t serve you, and that person has the ability to come in with a fresh pair of eyes and give you the perspective you would’ve taken longer to achieve on your own.

I have friends who keep me moving forward even when I can’t seem to pull it together sometimes. When I’m dealing with a tough situation in my personal life, or I’m entertaining something or someone that is challenging my self-worth (it really doesn’t matter what it is) one or all of them will individually or collectively say to me, “Bitch….no!” And they will proceed to snatch my wig to and fro until I get myself back into formation. They’re present enough to know the details of whatever the problem is but also able to take the emotion out of what I’m telling them in order to help me come up with solutions that will work to solve said problem. I am so grateful for them because I tend to be very dramatic all the time  sometimes and I have this annoying habit of making mountains out of molehills. Silly me.

2. Acknowledge what’s working

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You are incredible! You are a work of art, absolutely divine, and so so talented. Never allow yourself to lose sight of how special and unique you are. Focusing on the deeper reality of the spirit instead of where your ego is just may be all you need to pick yourself up and keep moving forward. It doesn’t matter how many times you think you’ve fallen short, it’s really about your perspective. You could be bombing at one thing but blowing something else out of the water in another area of your life.

One of my biggest adulthood boo boos is not saving enough money. And by enough, I mean none at all; I’m the worst at that. I’ll have the best intentions when I’m planning out my bills but then I’ll get so anxious and overwhelmed about deadlines and such that saving goes completely out the window. I have really bad anxiety about being homeless again. It’s at the forefront of my mind when I think about and handle money. “Oh I can’t get those shoes, gotta save for rent. I can’t be homeless again” “Nah, I’ll just eat at home. I can’t be eating out, gotta pay my rent so I’ll have a roof over my head” “I gotta get it together man, I can’t go back to that shelter”

I’ll get so caught up in what could go wrong if all the bad shit I cook up in my head happened simultaneously (which never does), that I rarely acknowledge all the things I’m doing right. For one, I actually care about paying things on time. That’s a win, because a lot of people really don’t give a shit. I’m responsible (did you hear that Mom and Dad?), or at least I try to be as much as I can. And as much as I panic about it, I do pay all my bills. I’m actually coming up with ways to say money that will have many long term benefits instead of short term ones; another step in the right direction. Doing that helps me focus on the future and gets my brain thinking about how I’m going to achieve my next set of goals. When I’m in this frame of mind I’m in problem solving mode instead of panic mode, which does wonders for my nerves. Instead of holding my face in my hands saying “Oh my God, oh my God. What do I do?” repeatedly I ask myself “What am I doing now that’s gotten me to this point?”, “What do I want to see happen in this area?”, and “What can I do to turn this shit around?” And then something amazing happens. I’ll remember that I’m pretty damn awesome and I can do anything I put my mind to. Perspective.

3. Meditate on gratitude and appreciation.

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It may sound super cheesy, but a little gratitude goes a long way. Frustration has a way of making everything seem really really shitty. Your boss may have been a total douche to do in front of some really important people, and you’re so pissed off that you sit there and stew over it all day, then some jerk cuts you off in traffic, and you’re so hell bent on getting home that you forgot to hit up that one place you love because they’re having a 25% off sale on your favorite wine. Then you finally get home, after all that, only to trip over an ant playing soccer on a cotton ball and you hit your pinky toe on that same corner of the coffee table that you have at least two hundred times minimum. Stupid boss, this all your fault.  You work tirelessly to be amazing at what you do and your boss never shows any appreciation at all. You come in early, you leave late, you blow the roof off the place, and you get nothing in return. Not even a nod. Your life is absolute shit and it’ll never get any better, plus you won’t have any more functional toes left because of that damn table. It’ll never get better, right? Wrong. Sometimes a brief moment of stepping out of a disheartening situation to an appreciation of something general, no matter how small, can take you forward a few steps to detaching from what isn’t working. And when you do that you create space that gives you room to shift towards a better view.

I get so bogged down about bills, and adulting, and how I should be so much further along in life than I am right now. I beat myself up about not writing enough, or not having the funding to start my businesses, or about how bad I am at remembering to do laundry that I forget to be grateful for all the things that I do have and have been blessed with. I have a great living space that’s warm, and inviting, and it’s my sanctuary. When my mind becomes cluttered and I can’t think straight, I’ll look around and see that the state of my thoughts have manifested themselves into my living space. So I’ll clean it up; wash dishes, do laundry, clean my bathroom, reorganize my closet, everything. And when I’m done I get this overwhelming feeling of pride and gratitude; I’ll look around and say to myself “Wow, this is my place. This time last year I was staying with this person and that person, then I ended up living in a hotel, then a shelter, then somebody else’s place, then a place where the roof was leaking. Now I’m here, safe, warm, and back on track. Thank you Lord”.

That one moment gives way to many more that allow me to see just how far I’ve come in such a short amount of time. I thank God for everything, and every time I do the Universe takes note of it and I attract more great things my way. When I spend money, on whatever, I always thank God and the Universe for allowing me to have it; and I say to myself “There’s more where that came from”. When I’m cleaning up and I find a dime or a penny I say thank you out loud. When I make some bomb fajitas, I say thank you (out loud), because God didn’t have to bless me with the resources to make that party in my mouth happen but He did and I’m grateful. Gratitude really does go a long way and soon you’ll begin to realize just how much you really have, which takes the focus off what you don’t have and that makes room for you to get what you want to have. See how that works?

Life can serve a pretty mean uppercut, but that doesn’t mean you have to settle with getting your ass kicked everyday (bob and weave my G). I promise if you do these three things every time you face a problem, you’ll get through it and with a level of style and grace that may surprise you. It’s 2:30 in the morning and, as I’m writing this, my problems seem to be much smaller than I thought they were before I started this post. There’s freedom in that, I feel lighter. And my goals seem much more attainable. The same can be true for you, all you have to do is apply what I mentioned above and you’ll be Gucci. So go knock it out the park, kiddo.

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How To Knock Out Negativity’s Two Front Teeth & Keep Your Sanity While You’re Doing It

pow

Dealing with negative people is a fact of life, you will never be able to escape it. Have you ever had a day where it seemed like everyone was barking at you or was in a bad mood? Or maybe you have a boss or coworker who always seems to be in a really negative space? When placed in those situations it’s hard to keep your spirits up, isn’t it? I totally know how you feel.

I work at a very dysfunctional chiropractic clinic, and it is very draining—physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually—the said dysfunction is internal and external, so I get it from the front and back end. The doctor I work for is always in a terrible mood, and I know you’re probably thinking, “Come on Shaniece, nobody can be in a bad mood all the time”. Oh, but they can be. And I don’t mean to sound like I’m complaining, but it really is too much to deal with. He’s rude to management, he’s rude to patients, and last week he became belligerent and aggressive towards me. This horribly timed blow-up came at the worst possible moment, my grandfather just passed and I’m not coping with it too well. My boss knew this but that didn’t stop him from acting like a complete donkey. So saying that I’m emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually drained would be more than fair.

On top of the normal day-to-day hardships of working with people (I love my patients, they’re the absolute best) and they’re different personalities, quirks and sometimes inflated egos, I have to deal with a middle-aged man that behaves like a two year old. What gives, man?! How could I possibly deal with all of that, the death of my grandpa, searching feverishly for a new place, and other unnecessary negativity? Firstly, I decided to take back control of my energy and my emotions; a person, group of people, or situation cannot take you out of your element without your permission. Then I implemented the following, and you can do the same:


1. Arm yourself with positives.

Load up with whatever positives you can before you tackle a new week. Watch funny movies or Youtube clips, read an inspirational article or two, have a chill day with your friends and put your phone in Airplane Mode, do whatever you need to do in order to get into a positive place. Enrich your life with as much positivity as you can, because everyday is an opportunity for you to be robbed of it. Your job, unexpected emergencies, family hardships and drama, traffic and morning breath from that one coworker who cannot seem to grasp the concept of personal space can all take a toll on you if you’re not prepared.

I like to pray  before I go to work (if that’s not your thing fine, but we’re #TeamJesus over here). “Lord, please allow me to have a great and productive day, allow me to get what needs to be done taken care of in a timely manner, give me the strength to do it, joy to keep me pushing forward…and please don’t allow me to go to jail for choking someone. Amen” I’m just being real but, on a more serious note, I find writing to be so therapeutic; I like to listen to music while I write, I’m actually doing that right now. Classical music has always allowed me to keep a calm demeanor and I focus way more when I’m listening to it. Find whatever positive thing you can and engage in it when you encounter negativity, it’ll become your lifeline.


2. Choose not to mirror others.

Vibes are contagious, and sometimes others’ negative vibes subconsciously influence us. If someone’s rude to you, your defenses go up, and you dish out what’s been served to you. It’s not your fault, you’re human. We all unknowingly become trapped and mirror the negative energy thrown at us to a tee. If someone’s being negative toward you, and you notice it’s influencing for the worst, make a conscious effort to get back in control.

Instead of mirroring their energy, try to help them mirror yours. If they raise their voice, speak calmly. If they’re rude, be and stay polite. That’s how you play it, never react to their negative behavior. Maintain your energy, and stay the course no matter what. You’ll know you’ve got them when they start matching your tone. I once had a patient that, once I said something that he didn’t want to hear, started yelling and hurling obscenities at me. I paused the conversation, told him whatever he had to say could be relayed without yelling, and that I was being respectful to him and I expected him to do the same for me. He immediately changed his tone and apologized for his behavior. After that he was able to express his frustrations in a calmer way and I was able to help him. Problem solved. Always remember your tone has everything to do what message you’re trying to relay, try to keep it as neutral as possible.


3. Allow others to talk your ear off without ruffling your feathers.

Let me offer you this disclaimer before I make my next point: It is not healthy to always listen to someone vent. You have to set boundaries, because letting people treat you like a punching bag is not the move; but when you’re dealing with customers or clients, you can’t exactly ignore them. In those cases just let them vent their frustrations without taking it personally, most of the time it’s the situation that’s making them angry and not you individually. If they are angry with you  (perhaps you unknowingly made an error) put your ego to the side, be honest about it, apologize, and move forward. Create the least amount of friction as possible by shifting the negativity away from you. The same can be done for non-customer interactions, like for someone you actually know. I can honestly say when I sit and let someone vent about why they’re angry I find out exactly what the issue is; this isn’t always easy (because I can be a prideful moth…person sometimes) but it’s definitely doable. Knowing what caused the miscommunication is the most logical and unbelievably simple way to solve it. This is where thick skin becomes a valuable commodity, so develop some.


4. Kindly compliment others whom you dislike. 

Key word kindly: meaning without malice, sarcasm or shade. When you do find yourself disagreeing with someone, make your best effort to find a point they came up with that you actually agree with. Then genuinely take the time to compliment them for their idea. Craziest thing to do during a disagreement but I promise it works. Doing this subconsciously creates a small bond, and it sets a foundation that you can build on for a better relationship in the future. I know it sounds sickeningly Kumbaya, but it’s always better to leave a conversation on a good note rather than leaving behind seeds of negativity.


5. Treat yourself when you feel the negativity getting to you.

This doesn’t necessarily have to be a new pair of shoes or jewelry, treating yourself could be something as simple as your favorite food or a great book your friend keeps raving about and a glass of wine. Whatever you choose will be the perfect distraction to help shift your mindset and lift your spirits when you’re down. I just treated myself to an enchilada, a taco, and a quick run through my iTunes and I feel a lot better. You should reward yourself, even a small one, at the end of the day or week. This gives you something mentally positive to hold onto and it’ll help you get through a tough time.


Your positive actions make you a leader, not a follower.

Negative people exist, you can’t really change that; and even positive people can succumb to negativity on a bad day. But you can definitely change how you deal with their behavior, you just have to allow yourself to. You have to change how you react. Is it easy? That my dear is solely up to you, you control how difficult or how smoothly this transition goes (and no one else, remember that).  At the very core of it’s existence, negativity is how you perceive it. You can choose to stay positive no matter what negative people throw your way, and you could even change their moods in the process. In the end, it all benefits you and gets you one step closer to being a more whole and grounded person. Take control of your life, lead it where you want it to go. Don’t let others dictate how you should feel, who made them the boss of you anyway?

(Nobody)

Exactly.

Stay beautiful loves ❤

16 Lines Of Perfection

The right man for you will want all of you, and he won’t want you any other way than how you are at this very moment. You won’t have to dress a certain way, act a certain way, or hold anything back—you’ll be enough, and never too much. Your strong personality, dorky laugh, and insane love of anchovies will all be quirks that he finds irresistible. Before I met my boyfriend I thought I had to always “be on my best behavior” every time I met a guy. I didn’t want my weird quirks and opinions to scare him off, so I’d only show shadows of my true personality. That, my dear, is total bullsh…crap!

Literally five days before I met my boyfriend I went on a date with another guy, it was a really great date but I just wasn’t into him. When I was with him I wasn’t being myself, I mean I was but not really. After the date I decided to just chill out by myself for a while, dating was just becoming exhausting. Five days later I met the man of my dreams, and it only took me two days to decide that he was the one for me. I’ve been able to be myself and completely honest with him from the beginning. I haven’t held back my thoughts or ideas ever, in fact, he always can tell when I am and he encourages me to tell him how I feel—even if its something he may not want to hear or disagrees with. And I’m not afraid to disagree with him, that’s a big one for me. I used to avoid conflict in past relationships so I wouldn’t make waves because I thought a disagreement would turn into a fight, and we’d break up (either he’d leave me or I’d leave him).

We had our first really big disagreement the other day, and it was over something so insignificant. There was yelling, over-talking, and a little profanity peppered in for pizzazz; he couldn’t see my point and I could see his but I continued to disagree with him. I stormed out of his apartment and sat on the stairs for a while, I was really upset; not by the argument itself but by the way he was speaking to me. The same man that made my heart melt with every kiss he planted on my forehead was now the same man that I now wanted to punch (well not really punch, it’d be more of a “hey you’re being a complete jerk” love tap). I thought about leaving and going home, but something rose up from inside of me and said, “Oh no ma’am! You two are going to work this out, now get in there and fix it!” And we did which, again, was huge.

I’m loud, bratty, and a total control freak. I nag him about his health, fuss when he leaves the toilet seat up (there have been so many times where I’ve gone to the bathroom in the middle of the night and literally fell inside of the toilet), and leave my wigs laying around when I get dressed even though I know it freaks him out (totally unintentional). I pout when I don’t get my way and look like the crypt keeper when I wake up in the morning. And he still loves me, exactly how I am. I’m a handful, I know I am, and he still puts up with me. The man of your dreams, your knight in shining armor, will accept you completely—flaws and all. When you find him, everything will make sense and it’ll be perfect. And if you haven’t found him yet don’t worry, he’s probably just stuck in traffic.

Stay beautiful my loves ❤

Helpful Hints: Makeup Tips for Cocoa Buttered Beauties

Being a woman of color and shopping for makeup has to be one of the most frustrating experiences ever. The big name brand cosmetics companies often forget about those of us who have darker toned skin, and it often times makes us feel like we don’t matter. And if, by some stroke of luck, you do find a brand that carries a darker shade it almost never matches your complexion and that only adds to your frustration. Why is it that, in an industry that publicly claims to celebrate the beauty in each and every race, black and brown girls worldwide have issues finding cosmetics that cater to their needs? Worry not my loves, I’ve rounded up some tips straight from industry professionals that will put your beauty bummers to rest once and for all. So without further adieu, here are some helpful tips for you black and brown bombshells:

1. FACE

Flawless.

       

Avoid makeup that is too light, as it can make your skin look chalky. Yellow-based foundations work best for women with darker skin, you don’t want a color that is too cool (or warm) for the undertones you have. How do you figure out your undertone? Glad you asked! Cool toned women have pink, red, or blueish undertones. While warm toned ladies have yellow, peachy, or golden undertones. And neutral toned lassies have a mix of warm and cool tones. I know this may feel like you’re reading a car manual in Chinese so here’s a cheat sheet:

CoolToneWarmTonechart

There’s a really good method that makes figuring this out a cinch, but I’ll share it in another post. With foundation, the goal is to see the makeup disappear after applying it on your skin with no visible boundary between. Always test foundation colors in natural light, fluorescent lights like the ones in your bathroom can be a little iffy sometimes. Seeing it in natural light will also let you know how it’ll look when you’re out and about. If you have trouble finding the right color, try mixing two shades (one darker than your natural color and one lighter). I always do this when I’m low on my favorite color concealer, it works like a charm. Now as far as bronzer, the pros all say this: brown and copper compliment black and brown skin tones perfectly, and a touch of shimmer highlights cheekbones wonderfully. Blush is always a fun tool to work with, I love experimenting with different shades. Pink always seems to be the shade I go for. The great thing about pink is that it compliments all skin tones, so play around with different hues to see which one works best for you.

The gorgeous Aishwarya Rai

2. LIPS

If you’re looking to glam up your kisser then go for lips colors in earth tones, neutrals, pinks, and dark burgundies. And choose a lip liner that is close to the shade of lipstick you’re wearing. If you aren’t feeling as dramatic that’s cool too, a dab of lip gloss will give you a more natural and laid back look. The same lip liner rule applies to gloss too, sticking to a shade closer to what’s on your lips will help avoid a dark outline. No one likes chalk outline lips.

Yes ma'am!

3. EYES

dramatic metallic

Shimmery and metallic eyeshadows look amazing on black and brown skin tones. Feeling a little daring? Then try mixing two complimentary colors, like purple and gold (Lakers?), to intensify the drama. One huge point that many women of color don’t know is this: the darker your skin, the brighter the colors you can pull off. One of my dearest and most beloved older cousins is a woman who has a deep dark chocolate complexion. Absolutely flawless! The things she’s able to do with colors are amazing.

Sooo pretty!

I remember this one time in particular I was at her house while she was getting ready for a night out with her husband. Her foundation was set, lashes were all in place, and all she needed was a little blush to polish it all off. She pulled out her cute little compact and flipped it open nonchalantly. My mouth dropped in shock, it was orange! And not some rinky dink kinda sorta orange, like bright Orange is the New Black orange. As she lifted the brush to her cheeks, I watched in horror, trying my best to stifle the urge to smack it out of her hand. But my fears fizzled out when I saw how absolutely gorgeous it was. And then I got jealous.

To all my dark skinned divas I’d admonish you to not fear bright colors, they are your friends.

chanel iman

Accentuate your eyes with brown or black eyeliner. Brown liner is a great choice for a more natural look, and black always adds an element of drama. The same goes with mascara. I love using black mascara to make my lashes stand out, and when I’m going for a softer look I use brown. And if you feel like channeling your inner Hollywood it girl, false lashes are always a must. I have small hooded eyes, thanks to my granny (she’s Korean and Jamaican), so I use falsies to give me the appearance of a bigger and brighter eye.

A gorgeous neutral eye.

Falsies are forever <3

Despite the limited selection of brands that cater to women of color, there are some that are doing it right. In 1994 fashion superstar Iman Mohamed Abdulmajid, professionally known as Iman, launched IMAN Cosmetics. The brand holds on to the truth that women of color represent many races, cultures, and ethnicities. Her line of cosmetics, skincare, and fragrances are designed for African American, Asian, Latina, and multi-cultural women with skin tones in a host of different shades. Her products are sold throughout the world including the US, Canada, the UK, France, Brazil, Africa, and the Caribbean. Other noteworthy lines include the Cover Girl Queen Collection, M.A.C., Black Radiance, and Fashion Fair

 

The beauty industry may not be hip on how awesome women of color are, but that isn’t a reflection of how we view ourselves. All skin tones are beautiful and unique in their own right. Embrace your melanin, it’s what makes you you. Zoe Saldana said it best: “Glamour is about feeling good in your own skin”. Nothing is more true than that. You are fearfully and wonderfully made! Every freckle, stretch mark, and hair on your head is there for a reason, learn to love them. There is so much beauty in imperfections, being perfect is for losers. Be comfortable in your skin and revel in the fact that no one in the world can pull it off better than you. Stay beautiful loves ❤

Girl Talk: First Date Prep 101

Okay so you meet a great guy, he asks you out, you giddily accept, then you freak out. In that order. What should you wear? Which YouTube makeup tutorial should you re-create? How should you wear your hair? Suddenly none of your cute clothes are cute enough and you feel the onset of an anxiety attack coming on. Relax, girl. First off, you should always wear what accentuates your best features. If you have great legs, then pull those bad boys (or girls) out. Most importantly, you should wear what you feel comfortable in. Beauty is not pain, pain is pain. The more comfortable you feel, the more relaxed you’ll be. *Woo!*

Now for the beauty prep. With date night beauty, the proof is in the prep. You need to make yourself accessible to being hugged, smooched, and touched. Below are some helpful tips to get you ready for a romantic night with your honey that’ll rock his socks off.

1. The Prep

How to prep in the shower or bath: Hop in the shower and apply a moisture mask. Vitamin E oil also works great too. The heat of the shower will allow the moisturization to penetrate skin. This will create a dewy, touchable face that is snuggle ready. And while you’re at it, apply some whitening strips to your teeth for a picture perfect smile (Instagram selfie anyone?).

2. Soak & De-Bloat

If you don’t feel as fit or maybe need to reduce a little bloating, take an Epsom Salt bath. Add in two cups of Epsom salt to your bath and soak for ten minutes. The Magnesium in the salt will help pull toxins and excess fluids from your body.

3. Exfoliate

All you need for this step is a gentle scrub and exfoliating gloves. The gloves will make getting every nook of your body a cakewalk, and the texture of them will rev up your circulation and energy. Vroom vroom! Remember to exfoliate your hands and feet to get them mani/pedi ready. He won’t be able to let them go.

4. De-Hair

Post exfoliation is the perfect time to de-fuzz your body. Since the dead skin cells have been removed, this allows a closer shave. Apply a moisturizing shaving cream and get to it woman.

5. Fragrance Yourself

Next lather up with a scented, moisturizing body wash. Are you noticing a pattern here? Moisturizing is vital for healthy skin. Now its time to start layering your favorite scent. It should be one that makes you feel sexy and beautiful. Mine is Pure Seduction by Victoria’s Secret. The smell of red plums and freesia send me into fits of sheer euphoria, and the body butter leaves my skin soft, supple, and ripe for the picking. I like to start with the body wash, follow with the body spray, and finish with the body butter. I found using the butter after the spray helps lock in the fragrance for a more lasting effect.

6. Mini Mani/Pedi Time

After your shower apply cuticle oil to your nails (hands and feet). Then push back your cuticles and apply a therapeutic moisturizer (yes again) to your hands and feet. And finally, choose a shade of polish that you love. I usually do bold colors, but my last mani I went with a pretty green with a teal undertone. It was a nice change from the black I had my last go-round. You can really get a feel for the teal (rhyming master, what what!) in natural light, and under florescent light its a gorgeous green. I loves it.

7. Romantic Hair

If your hair is long, loose curls with a one inch curling iron or a nice side braid is a lovely look. If you choose the curls: After sectioning your hair in to equal parts, take another section (about an inch thick) and curl it with the curling iron. Once released hold the curl in your hand and let it cool, this will give it more volume and bounce. If you’re feeling waves: Follow these steps and once you’re finished curling, brush out the curls. Take a dime sized amount of your favorite volumizing conditioner and rub it into your palms until it becomes translucent. Next, scruntch it in starting in the middle and work your way down to the bottom. Use what’s left on your hands and massage it into your roots. Bam! And short lock babes fret not, there’s some sexy for you too. If you’re rocking a bob, try a deep side part with a swept bang for a sophisticated and romantic look. Waves on short hair look absolutely amazing as well, so go for it sister!

8. Romantic Makeup

Start with an illuminizing primer and follow with a foundation to give the skin a dewy, fresh look.The illumination will shine through and give the illusion of glowing skin, while the primer provides the perfect base. Next apply a pink-toned blush to the apples of your cheeks. Eyes can be pale and soft or extra smokey.

For sultry, smoky eyes: Try a grey-toned palette. Begin by applying the darkest color by your lash line and gradually lighten the shade as you move up. Follow with black eyeliner rimming your top and bottom lashes. Finish with two coats of black mascara. And for a softer look: Get romantic with a nice pale color and sweep it across the lid. Add a soft brown liner on top and bottom. Follow with two coats of brown mascara.

9. Soft Brows

If you are a brunette, try lightening your eyebrows 2 shades to create a soft, feminine look. If you have blond hair, your eyebrows should be 1-2 shades darker, but be careful not to make them too dark. And try to keep the shape and length as natural as possible ladies, no one likes Anime eyebrows.

10. A Smoochable Kisser

Exfoliating is not just for the face, show a little love to those lips too. Exfoliate your lips with baking soda and a cotton swab to create a nice, smooth feel. Take  about a  teaspoon of baking soda and mix it with water to make a paste. Next, use an old toothbrush (with soft and straight bristles) or washcloth to rub the paste across your lips in a circular motion. Rinse off your lips. Neither baking soda nor water moisturize your lips, which is why you should apply a moisturizing lip balm after the treatment. Follow with a red, pink or nude gloss. If you use a hydrating gloss it’ll soften the look of your colored lips without skimping on the drama.

Well girlies, I hope this helped. You’re all set for a romantic night with your cutie. You look amazing which also means you feel amazing as well. Have fun, be safe, and stay beautiful ❤ 🙂