These Are a Few of My Favorite Things…(Summer Edition)

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Last week while I was at work, a new natural asked me about this blog.  She wanted to know if I ever posted favorites and wanted to know what my favorite items were for hair and beauty.  I’ve only done it once because my favorites are very consistent.  I thought about her request though, and realized that I have been using a lot of new items that I love that replaced some of my old favorites.  I thought I would sit here tonight and share some of my summer favorites with you guys and get some of your opinions on these items as well.


 

Hair:

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You already know a lot of my hair favorites.  I love the conditioning creme from Renpure Organics and have been a die hard fan of it since I first purchased it.  It has simplified my whole wash/conditioning routine and added with a little Apple Cider Vinegar (which is a favorite that is not pictured), my hair thrives on wash day.  I never have issues with excessive shed, breakage or detangling.  This product is a keeper.

Castor Oil is also one of my all time favorite hair products.  My hair adores it and eats it up wet or dry.  Since the use of my Castor Oil and Vatika Oil tag team, my hair has become thicker and fuller and more manageable.  A little of this product goes a long way.  Of course, I am out of Vatika Oil, which is another favorite…that’s why it is not pictured.

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All of my favorites in my hair at the same time…also wearing a few of my makeup favorites with Ruby Woo by Mac on my lips.

Can you tell I love the Leave In Conditioner from Mixed Chicks?  I do.  It smells awesome and works beautifully in my hair.   My curls are moisturized and pop when I use this leave in.  I had to get the sample size because I used up my other bottle…I will be heading to Target later this week though!

…and last but not least, I love spritzing some rose water and glycerin in my hair when it’s extra dry.  The smell is very pretty and the glycerin and rose water mix keeps my hair and skin so moisturized.


Beauty:

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I was turned on to Lancome a few years ago by one of my good friends Amy.  She swore by their products and when I visited a Sephora in Paris, I left with a bag full of Lancome sample goodies.  Since then, I fell in love with their beauty, fragrance and skin care products.  My current favorite from Lancome is the Dual Finish in Suede 555 (C).  The lighting in my house made it look warm, but because of my neck area, cooler color foundations/powders work well with my complexion.  Since it’s hot and humid in Louisiana, I wear this when I want little coverage or when I want to make my foundation matte…which is my other favorite item: the Teint Idole Ultra 24H in Suede 555 (C).  This foundation is all that and then some.  I cannot in express to you how much I love the finish of this foundation on my skin, how it looks so natural and beautiful and matte and lasts throughout my entire workday.  These two items will be my staple from now on.  LOL.  They just look soo good on me.  LOL.

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My face using the Dual Finish in Suede 555 (C) and matte lip stick from Kat Von D with a little highlight around my Cupids Bow.

I’m trying not to make this post solely about Lancome, but their products have been some of my favorites for a long time.  I picked up the Youthful Radiance Advanced Genifique Regimen Set which includes the Advanced GÉNIFIQUE Youth Activating Concentrate, the GÉNIFIQUE EYE Youth Activating Eye Concentrate, and the CRÈME RADIANCE Clarifying Cream-to-Foam Cleanser.  The CRÈME Radiance works so well and removing dirt and oil from my skin.  I love it sooo much and use it in the morning and evenings when I am removing my make up.  I also noticed that the dark puffiness under my eyes is starting to slowly fade away after using the GÉNIFIQUE EYE Youth Activating Eye Concentrate.  I love them all.  My skin is soo even and looks awesome.  When I leave the house without makeup on, I don’t feel the need to have any because I feel like my skin looks good.  I’ve even gotten complements about my natural skin from plenty of people after using these products.  They are very much my favorites and will stay in my bag indefinitely.  LOL.

becca…and of course, I cannot live without my Becca Beach Tints.  I got a few of them for my birthday and Christmas last year and they have been a die-hard staple in my makeup routine.  I love the subtle flush of color that they give to my lips and cheeks on days where I want a more natural look.  I pair this with a light application of the Dual Finish from Lancome, a not so light application of the Definicils Mascara and a thin stroke of black eyeliner and I have the perfect soft and natural look.


Other Beauty Faves:

IMG_1365If any of you follow me on Instagram or Facebook…or even Twitter for that matter, you know that I hand make my own Soaps.  I know exactly what my skin needs so I usually make formulations to combat some of the skin problems that I’ve consistently suffered from.  I also love making my own soaps because it gives me a creative outlet to make something that I can share with others, sell or gift.  I love this particular bar that I created because it has Golden Seal, Chai, honey, Patchouli, Rose Water and Glycerin…and of course Shea Butter.  These are all of my favorite things wrapped in one bar…and it feels so decadent when I use it.

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Ok…so I said that I wouldn’t make this post all about Lancome, but my two all time favorite fragrances are from this company.  I love the fresh scent of Miracle.  This has quickly become one of my all time favorite fragrances.  When I wear this or La Nuit Tresor, my other favorite fragrance from Lancome, I get tons of complements.  I think I love La Nuit Tresor so much because of the Patchouli.  LOL.

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…and last but not least…I won this Naked Manicure Professional Set from Zoya on Twitter a few weeks ago, and since then, I’ve fallen in love.  My nails are in such an awesome condition after using this set and I can verify the claims that this product “…provides intense therapeutic, long term benefits for stronger, healthier nails.” I love the Naked colors and the color correction that they provide.  The colors last a full week without chipping and you cannot even tell because they are truly ‘Naked’.  I’ve been looking for a more natural looking manicure for my nails for times when I do not feel like the bright reds, blues or greens that I sometimes tend to rock.  I’ve been embracing a more natural look lately and this set came right on time!


I hope that you enjoyed my favorites.  I know that I enjoy them everyday.  LOL.  I am a beauty junkie and collected tons of cosmetics, skin care items and hair care products.  These are the ones that I consistently go to and they give me a feeling of satisfaction when I spend my money on them and use them…LOL…so naturally, I had to crown them as my Summer favorites!  ♥

Until Next Time…

What I’m Currently Listening to…


…and

Guest Blogger Post: PERCEPTION vs REALITY

In this photo taken Tuesday, April 21, 2009, sixth-graders Adam Honore, right, and Isaiah Stanton write about the federal stimulus package in their personal finance class at Ariel Community Academy on Chicago's South Side. The sixth-graders in this class may be brand-new to bear markets and have a hard time pronouncing "diversification." But they have a wealth of knowledge to share about how to survive the meltdown of the stock market and the economy. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

You all know that I love posts from guest bloggers.  Today, I will be sharing a post from one of my favorite male feminists: Robert Isaac.  He had somethings he wanted to share with you guys and upon completing my first review of the article, I knew that you would enjoy.  I hope that you read with an open mind and motivated heart: 

PERCEPTION vs REALITY

We know that the deck has been stacked against us for as long as we have been in this country. We know that the value placed on the lives of people of color, in this country, is minimal at best. Two sets of rules have long been the standard when it comes to interpreting the rule of law: for these reasons, it is imperative that WE stop worrying about the latest shoe that’s coming out, the hottest song on the radio, the latest drama on the Real Housewives…the list goes on and on. We have to focus on the things that will actually make a difference for us: EDUCATION… In addition to working to elect politicians who have a sense of what the needs of African-Americans are, we need to actively prepare our youth to become these politicians. Instead of steering clear of police officers, we should be preparing our kids to go to the police academy. Instead of fearing the practices of judges who legislate from the Bench, we should steer our kids to an undergraduate degree in criminal justice, and motivate them to go on to law school to become the next generation of lawyers…and then the next generation of judges. We have to put an end to the way people perceive us by showing respect for ourselves. Pull your pants up! Speak clearly and intelligently. Promote the good being done by people who look like you instead of spreading the negative things that happen. The news does enough of that for us.

I know that not everyone has the financial means to go on to college, but that isn’t the only avenue to pursue higher learning. For those of us who have been fortunate enough to grace the halls of an institution of higher learning, it is our responsibility to spread that information to anyone who will listen. We have no right to withhold this information from our neighbor who wasn’t able to go to college. At the same time, we have no right to waste our time waiting on other people to do things for us. If you stand by and do nothing to make things better for us as a whole, then you are just as responsible for the dismal conditions and the continued faux perception placed on us as those who are actively trying to make the world see us in this light. No, you won’t be able to do it alone. But if you reach out to a few people who are undoubtedly in your circle of friends who could benefit from your knowledge and each of your friends did the same, then it won’t be long before you notice that everyone close to you will be in a better situation on some level.

The “trial” of George Zimmerman in Florida should shine a spotlight on “perception vs reality”. The perception of “us” was on full display by the defense attorneys throughout the case, it was on display on news channels like FOX News, and it was on full display via Conservative talk radio. Instead of making the case focus on Zimmerman, they successfully put Travon Martin on trial as if he was to blame for his own death…And they won because the perception of what a black person is all about in this country overruled what we as African-Americans know to be the reality…no matter what “Reality TV” suggests. Mike Brown in Ferguson, MO was portrayed in the same manner. Conservatives often suggested that Mike’s death was his own fault and immediately pointed to his actions BEFORE he had even encountered the police officer in the street. The reality is that what matters is what happened while he was in the officer’s presence. Unfortunately, perception won the day. Conservative talking heads in the media are doing the very same thing with Sandra Bland. It has even been suggested that her refusal to put out a cigarette was the catalyst for the escalation of events on the day she was pulled over for a traffic violation. The perception is that she was non-compliant, when in reality, the police officer overstepped his boundaries, violated the public trust, and used his lawful authority in an illegal manner. While we have been, and continue to be, wronged in our supposed just society, we must also look inward to whole-hardheartedly change the perception of how we are viewed for the sake of our friends and families.

Our lives, and our children’s lives, are literally at stake.

Robert Isaac

Product Review: Renpure Solutions Cleansing Conditioner, Sweet Pomegranate

Renpure

Overall Impressions and How I Use the Product:

I really like this product. I’d been wearing my hair up for the past week and noticed that it was dry as a bone with a lot of tangles. After adding the 10 – 12 pumps as instructed on the bottle and waiting for 3 – 5 minutes, I noticed that it was a breeze detangling my hair. I never noticed any hesitation when using my detangling comb. I went a step further by rinsing the product out of my hair and adding another 10-12 pumps while deep conditioning with olive oil. I keep the product in for about 15-20 minutes and rinsed it out. I also added 2-3 pumps as a leave in. While styling, I noticed that my hair was well moisturized, conditioned and completely detangled.

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I was pretty impressed, especially after reading a lot of reviews online that seemed to be negative. People accuse me of having good luck with every hair product that I use. I just know that I use the product as instructed and if I know that my hair needs a little more treatment, I add a little more to my routine to make sure that my hair gets the moisture and conditioning that it needs to thrive. I was definitely satisfied with the outcome of my hair after the use of this product and for the price, I will definitely make it a part of my routine.

Let me preface by saying that I only used the Cleansing Conditioner and my hair is color treated and dry. This one product replaced multiple products that I normally use during wash day. I applied the Cleansing Conditioner as a cleanser, a deep conditioner, a leave in conditioner and a detangling cream.   And of course, this product performs quite well in all of these functions. When I used the cleansing conditioner, I applied about 12 pumps of the product for cleansing. I saturated my hair with water for a few minutes, divided my hair into four sections and used 4 pumps of the Cleansing Conditioner for each section of my hair. As it states on the instructions, I splashed a little water to equally distribute the product and left it in for about 5 minutes. I used my wide tooth detangling comb to gently detangle my hair and after, I rinsed the product thoroughly, making sure that the water from the shower head massaged my scalp to ensure that my hair and scalp were clean. After, I divided my hair into sections again and finger combed 10 – 12 pumps of the product with a quarter sized amount of olive oil. I applied my conditioning cap and kept the product in my hair for 15-20 minutes. After deep conditioning, I washed the product completely from my hair and added 3 to 4 pumps as a leave in with coconut oil as a sealant.

Price:

I purchased the 16 oz. bottle of the Sweet Pomegranate Cleansing Conditioner at Target for $6.99. I used less than a quarter of the bottle in one shampoo/conditioning/leave in session. The price is phenomenal since you can get a whole lot of use out of it for only 7 bucks. What also is awesome is that Renpure has an impressive ingredient list and are very conscious about animal testing and how their product affects the environment.

Ingredients:

Purified Water, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Cetyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, Behentrimonium Chloride, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil (Argan), Hypnea Musciformis Extract (Red Seaweed), Gellidiela Acerosa Extract (Red Alga), Sargassum Filipendula Extract (Brown Seaweed), Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil (Sunflower), Cocos Nucifera Oil (Coconut),REnpure3 Punica Granatum Fruit Extract (Pomegranate), Hydrolyzed Pea Protein, Pisdium Guajava Fruit Extract (Guava), Butyrospermum Parkii Oil (Shea), Sorbitol, Amodimethicone, Trideceth-12, Cetrimonium Chloride, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Glycereth-26, Silicone Quaternium-17, Diazolidinyl Urea, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Butylene Glycol, Disodium EDTA, Fragrance

My Overall Comments Regarding My Experience Using the Renpure Cleansing Conditioner:

Since using this product, I noticed that my hair has been retaining moisture…which is something that I’ve been struggling with for the past few months. I’ve introduced a lot of exercise into my daily routine and had a time trying to achieve a good moisture balance with my hair. The way that I use the Renpure product in my regimen has helped me in keeping my hair nicely moisturized and easy to manage before my next wash day. Of course, as you guys saw in the teaser, I cut a few inches off of my hair due to damage that happened prior to the use of this product. I’ve only used this product once since cutting my hair, but I noticed that my hair is bouncier and healthier than ever. My twists are actually twisting out now and holding the twist out.

As you guys already know, I’m a recovering product junkie, so to defeat myself in purchasing tons of products, I’ve only been using the Renpure Cleansing Conditioner with JBCO, Coconut Oil or Olive Oil. I am very excited about the price for the item, the access to the item at Target and the company’s commitment to not animal test or produce products that are harmful to the environment. My only complaint about the product is the pump. The bottle that I purchased had a defective pump and I had to use a pump from another product to dispense the product properly. I’m not saying that all of the pumps are defective…but I noticed that mine had a problem.

As you guys know, my hair is different from everyone else and may react differently with this product than yours. I am providing this general review for your investigation and hopefully if you try this product, you will be as impressed as I am.

Since I didn’t use the Cleansing Conditioner as instructed on the bottle, here are the product directions from Renpure:

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Rinse hair thoroughly.  Make sure hair is wet from roots to ends.  Apply 10-12 pumps.  Work from roots to ends.  Add a splash of water if needed to help spread.  Massage through hair for 2-3 minutes.  You can also comb through hair to help detangle.  Leave in for 3-5 minutes.  Rinse thoroughly.  You may also use a small amount after you have towel dried your hair as a leave in and detangle.

Here is a link to another review of a Renpure product…

Until Next Time

What I’m Currently Listening To…


and

What Happened After the First Juneteenth

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Originally posted on TIME:

It was back in April that we marked the 150th anniversary of the surrender at Appomattox Court House. But word of the Civil War’s end didn’t reach Texas until June 19, 1865.

As TIME explained in 1997:

Texas got the big news a little late. On June 19, 1865–nearly a month after the Civil War ended and more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation–General Gordon Granger of the Union Army landed at Galveston, Texas, and read aloud General Order No. 3: “The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.”

Spontaneous celebrations broke out in Galveston and spread around the state–and thus the holiday of “Juneteenth” began.

What followed, however, was more complicated than the early celebration suggested. Proof could be found in a New York Timesstory

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It’s Time to Think About the Defeminization and Over Sexualization of Black Women in Social Media

Image credit: http://eji.org/

After seeing many things on the Internet that made my skin crawl, I decided to sit here and write this particular blog about the defeminization of Black Women.  It started with Serena Williams winning the French Open and becoming the first woman to win 50+ career matches in all four Grand Slams in the Open Era.  When that information was released, the haters of the world really became salty.  I would sit there and read articles on my phone regarding her greatness and right after that, my eyes would drift to the cancerous words of Internet trolls who compared her to a man, a monkey, a horse…anything that could be defeminizing and dehumanizing.  I know I should avoid the comments sections to these articles at all cost, but I am only a human, and my eyes often take me to places that I should not go.   You would think that “Americans” who are quickly ready to kick you out of this country for not being “American” enough, would support someone who is achieving greatness while representing this country.  At the end of the day, in the eyes of the worse critics, she is not American enough because she does not look white enough.

I know my words may seem tough and as tough as they sound, the rhetoric of the haters are ten times that of which I say.   Since Serena is a notably public figure, she gets it worse than we all do, but at the end of the day, what are we doing to defend her beauty?  It’s tough for us to agree, but we should all realize that femininity comes in all forms, colors, shapes and sizes.  This reminds me of the words of a song from the early 90s from Lisa Stansfield: “I may not be a lady, but I’m all woman.”  I don’t need the quaint characteristics of European femininity to describe me as a woman.  I can be as tough as I want to be, as small and dainty as I want to be, as athletic as I want to be and still be a positive representation for women.  (By all means, I am not striving for ‘perfect images’ but we as a nation deserve more balanced images of Black Women in Social Media).

Last night, John showed me a YouTube video of someone proclaiming that First Lady Michelle Obama is a man.  They took the time to defeminize all of the qualities about her that I admire to support their claims of her being a man.  At that point, I could not watch the video anymore.  I sat in bed and thought about all of the times I heard that something that I did or wore was not feminine enough.  I wondered who came up with this text book definition of womanhood and why they had so much say in what makes Black Women…well women.  At that exact moment, I knew that we need to take responsibility of our images to the world.  We should not be seen as over-sexualized or allow others to defeminize us.

You may ask why is this all important…Why am I sitting her upset, and blogging over this.  Why do I even care when there are plenty more people that feel opposite of the haters.  All of this is over awareness.  When we walk around asleep, and not knowing about cancerous rhetoric, that little bug can implant itself into our young black women.  They may see their subtle quirks about themselves and not feel beautiful enough.  They may start to believe that because they do not fit into this cookie cutter image of womanhood that they have to emulate something that they are not to feel beautiful.  Think about it…how many young talented black girls we can deter from greatness because we dehumanize the one public figure who they can aspire to become.  By all means, if Serena Williams was doing anything other than breaking records and achieving greatness, this post would not exist, but since she is an achiever, and an example of how you can go from Compton to the French Open…I had to share my feelings.  I know that the rhetoric will not stop…I may even get backlash from this post…but I do know that ultimately, I am doing something to stop the effects from the defeminization of the black female in Social Media.  Think about what you can do…because the lives of black women and girls matter as well and the constant degradation of our black heroines cannot and must not be tolerated.

Until Next Time