Hello Everyone, due to popular demand and many people asking me about my previous posts on bullies and how people bullied me a lot, and how I overcame those hardships in my life, what I did to stay afloat in life, what measures I took to look past those bullies and make a positive and optimistic life for myself with happiness and joy all around me after many years of suffering this terrible ordeal I had to face when I was going to elementary and high school.
A job is not to become ones life. It is meant to finance ones life. -RLW
A few months ago, I found myself without a laptop. It so happened that I had several blog ideas floating around my brain, so I did what any normal person would do…I pulled out my notebook and started writing. When I got a new laptop, I transferred all the info into the computer and I was back online. But for the next blog post, instead of opening up the laptop, I chose to pull out the notebook again. I had become used to handwriting my blog. I posted a video to Vine and when a fellow blogger complimented my penmanship, I commented that I should write a post on the ‘Art of Handwriting’ and the seed for this article was planted.
A few weeks ago, my first-grade son came to me and said he wanted to learn to write in script. I helped him. Now, I can barely get him to print anything. I wrote out the cursive alphabet for him to follow, and am about to purchase a practice book. A few days ago, a high school chum posted a NY Times article on Facebook regarding the debate over school requirements to teach cursive writing. A few years ago, I was appalled to hear from a middle-school teacher that schools in New York City were no longer teaching cursive. I know that the advent of computers and Internet technology have eliminated the need to write, but sheesh, don’t we still have to know how to sign things?
Now I understand…there are two different issues here. The first is the fact that children are no longer learning script. But obviously there is still some interest. I am thankful that even my first-grade son sees the value of cursive and took it upon himself to start writing in script. And of course, being a typical little sister, my 5 year-old daughter wants to learn as well.
However, the second issue is a much larger one. The idea of writing…I mean actually writing. With email, instant messaging, video conferencing and other modes of on-the-spot communication, handwritten notes are often forgotten. Hand-signed Christmas cards are replaced by computer-generated labels and newsletters to family and friends. Birthday and other special occasion cards have turned into online e-cards. And let’s not talk about Thank You cards…sometimes the sentiment itself is barely expressed verbally, let alone by sending a personal note. In high school and college I made a lot of friends from across the country while attending church conventions. We did not have the money to make a lot of long distance calls, and email was not readily available then to keep in touch, so we relied on handwritten letters to communicate. I recall spending hours at stationery stores buying different color parchment papers and matching envelopes to keep in my stash.
But where have all the letters gone? This weekend, I ran across one of many notes my father sent me after he and my mother moved to Florida some 18 years ago. Even if he was just sending me a check or some piece of business I needed to handle, he would take the time to drop me a little note. It might be some instruction, or just a written “chit chat” to let me know how the weather had been or what was on his leisurely agenda for that week. Handwritten notes are as important as the human touch itself. It is a personal art form that needs to be preserved and passed on to future generations.
Poor Izzy and Yvette – my children will have MANY notes to save from Mommy once they go off to college!
This is a great work-friendly, daytime smoky eye from Simonne Devon. Last year, I created my own “lazy” neutral look for days when I didn’t feel like choosing colors, blending, etc. I simply used concealer, foundation and/or bronzer, eyeliner and mascara. On my lids, I used L’Oreal HIP Color Truth Eyeliner in Brown, which is very close to my complexion.
When I watched Simonne’s tutorial, I decided to incorporate her look into mine, by using the creme liner as a base, and then adding the same lid colors she used. Needless to say, I wore this look to work three times this week! Enjoy Simonne’s video below, and let me know if you decide to try the look!
Spring has been with us for a few weeks, but many of us have not seen too many signs of the warm weather just yet. Here in New York City, next week’s weather forecast includes temperatures in the upper 60′s and 70′s, so this is a great week to practice some quick warm weather makeup tips! During the spring/summer, it’s harder to get up and out in the morning, so I’ve also included a few shortcuts to quicken your morning makeup routine.
Moisturizer – Just because the weather is warm, and skin tends to appear more “dewy,” that does not mean your skin can go without moisturizer. Even though your skin doesn’t feel dry, sunnier days can lead to dry skin – perspiration leaves salts on the skin that can have a drying effect. So don’t leave home without moisturizer, preferably one with SPF. (Don’t forget to properly layer your products – read my quick beauty tip here)
Foundation – Many of us don’t want to be weighed down by foundation in the spring and summer. Don’t worry, you can still achieve even skin tone without using a lot of product. My advice – don’t spend money on tinted moisturizer when you can easily make your own! Take your favorite liquid or cream foundation and on the back of your hand, mix one part moisturizer to one part foundation (change the ratio to achieve your desired coverage). Apply to your face as usual for a light-coverage treat!
Bronzer – There is no rule that says you have to use foundation, so go ahead and skip it. Use your favorite bronzer instead! This will give your skin a sun-kissed glow. For many years, I was afraid of bronzer because the only application tip I ever read was, “Brush bronzer on the places where the sun hits your face.” Whaaa? Well, it never hurts to ask questions, so thanks to the lovely young woman at the Estée Lauder counter, I learned the quick way to apply bronzer. Starting at your temple, create a ‘three’ by sweeping the brush in a semi-circle down toward your cheekbone, then complete the bottom of the three by sweeping the brush down along your jawline. For an added highlight, quickly sweep bronzer on the apple of your cheeks, the tip of your nose, the ball of your chin and on your forehead, right between your eyebrows.
Lipwear - In a previous column, I encouraged you to revitalize your lipsticks by pairing them with a different lip liner. Or, skip the lipstick altogether and just use your favorite lip gloss for a quick color application to your lips, with our without lip liner.
Do you change your makeup routine when the weather gets warm?
Ladies, have you ever gotten tired of a particular shade of lipstick? Well don’t toss it just yet – give it a new look!
Here’s today’s quick beauty tip: Try pairing your lipstick with a different shade of lip liner. You would be surprised how a different color lip liner can change the look of the lipstick.
A perfect example is bright red. Normally, you might use a red liner – a color similar to the lipstick shade. It will give you a bright and vibrant red. But use the same lipstick after applying and blending in a brown lip pencil – immediately that red will tone down and, if blended properly, will give you what looks like a totally different shade of lipstick.
Try it and tell us how you did!
When I first started wearing makeup, I dismissed the use of any eyelid primers. Like concealer, I thought it was an extra, unnecessary step. But I soon learned that if you want your eyeshadow to last, or the colors to really stand out, an appropriate eyelid primer and/or base is crucial to sustaining your eye look for the day.
This brings me to today’s post. I stayed away from home overnight, and in my hasty packing, I left my favorite eyelid primer at home (MAC paint pot in Groundwork). Certainly not catastrophic, but I was concerned because I knew I would be having a long day today. I thought quick and wondered what I could do. What I used was not some MacGyver-type solution, but it’s a nice alternative if you find yourself in a pinch. Remembering that some women actually use concealer as a base, I lightly swept my MAC concealer over my eyelids, taking care not to use too much, as concealer tends to crease. To further avoid creasing, or caking up of the concealer, I swept a layer of MAC Mineralized Skin Finish (which I usually as a light pressed-powder foundation) on top, just to set it (also realizing this is the same technique I used to set the concealer in my under-eye area). Now that the canvas was ready, I painted away! We won’t discuss the fact that I had left my second set of shadows at home as well, and only had my highlight color (MAC’s Arena) and crease contour color (MAC’s Embark). But I put those two colors together and made a nice neutral look!
Just remember that here are no real hard and fast makeup rules, but like in cooking, if you know basic techniques and understand some of the ‘science,’ then you can come up with quick solutions to avoid makeup problems.
Ain’t it Time
Where along the line did you get off the track
Thinking the life you’re living is where it’s at
Don’t you feel discontent inside
There’s something about you life just cannot hide
They say home is where your heart is
But I say it’s in your peace of mind
If you go home to yourself
Happiness you’ve got to find
Ain’t it time you went home. Ain’t it time you went home
Ain’t it time you went home. Ain’t it time you went home
Going home, going home
Facing the truth is the first move to make
Then love and dreams are yours to take
There’ll be no love lest you give it
Dreams will be dreams until you live them
Strong belief with a strong pursuit
Is the latest combination to see you through
You be your own master double-denim strong
You wonder how you stayed away from home so long
Once again, I find myself being touched by an Incognito lyric after dozens of times listening to the song. I spoke of my first “late lyrics encounter” in an earlier Lyrics Lounge post, Saying Goodbye to Yesterday. The lines that struck me and inspired this post are, “They say home is where your heart is; But I say it’s in your peace of mind.” That blew me away. I am the child of Southern parents and although they located to New York and lived here almost 50 years, any time they spoke of their birthplaces, they referred to them as ‘home.’ As an adult who grew up in New York, I have expanded the definition of ‘home’ and always called it anywhere my immediate family lived. So I am home, whether in Mount Vernon, NY with my in-laws, in Florida with my mother, or South Carolina with my sister. Why? Because, as the lyrics state, home is “in your peace of mind.” And certainly, connecting with my family gives me peace of mind. As I have always said, I am a lyrics junkie, and so I often look for patterns in a given artists’ lyrics. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a truly sad-sounding song from Incognito, regardless of the message. Their messages sound upbeat, even if the lyrics say otherwise. Like many other Incognito lyrics, Ain’t it Time conjures images of encouragement and hope, despite one’s circumstances. “If you go home to yourself; Happiness you’ve got to find.” What a powerful statement! But my first reaction would be: If you don’t know yourself, then how do you find your happiness? Clearly, Manning and Wyatt answer that question in the second verse, as they provide a roadmap to get you home: Face the truth, give love, live your dreams. And then add “strong belief and a strong pursuit,” the combination that will see you through. But pull all that together and “be your own master double-denim strong.” You truly will “wonder how you stayed away from home so long.”
Music is art, and therefore subject to interpretation. Interpretation can be drawn from one’s own experiences, or even from one’s imagination. The message of “Ain’t it Time” hit home to me, no pun intended! Many times we face difficult situations and ‘going home’ helps us to re-focus and get back on track. A recent trip home to visit my mother in Florida left me energized and renewed, a place where I found peace of mind! Home can be a physical space, or a spiritual place. Sometimes all it takes to be renewed and feel at peace is a talk with God. You don’t have to travel anywhere, or let anyone know where you’re going. It’s a conversation that can change your present mood and ultimately your future circumstances.
Ain’t it time you went home?
- photo courtesy of Cosmetiques Laudun
Jeanne Gabriel Laudun is the inspiration behind Cosmetiques Laudun, a skincare company which offers a line of environmentally friendly and all natural products. According to the company website (thelaudun.com), “Laudun products pamper the skin with ingredients found in the common garden.” Jeanne Gabriel Laudun’s granddaughter, Anna Laudun Beauboeuf, is President and CEO of Cosmetiques Laudun and built the company based on her grandmother’s treasured skincare recipes. Although there are many natural skincare companies out there, this is what drew my interest in Cosmetiques Laudun. I have had the opportunity to communicate with the company’s Vice President and Jeanne Gabriel Laudun’s grand-niece, Sandra Gabriel, who explained to me that her great-aunt used ingredients from the garden to make her own beauty products in her kitchen. Her picture is on the company’s website and she was a beautiful woman. Obviously, her products worked well!
The website also states that “The Laudun philosophy is based on respect for nature, health and protection of the environment.” None of their products are tested on animals, and all of their botanical ingredients are natural and certified Organic.
I was able to try their USDA Bio Facial Moisturuizer (left), which like most of their products, is fragrance-free and feels moisture-rich and nourishing to the skin. According to the site, “MITSY Day & Night Anti-Ageing Moisturizer is a USDA Certified Bio silky moisturizing skin crème that glides over the skin without the feeling of heaviness. MITSY is formulated with 100% pure grapeseed oil, rich in antioxidants, ideal oil to use on your facial skin.”
I also tried the Argile Cleanser Facial Mask (right), which is made of French green clay. I don’t usually use clay masks, but I have to say that this mask did a wonderful job tightening my skin and pores, without leaving my skin feeling dry, as many masks often do. The product description notes, “This is an amazing substance that has been used throughout history for its ability to detoxify and purify the skin, making it a fabulous hydrating mask that effectively tightens and absorbs toxins.”
Aside from the actual products, I love the spirit of this company. President Beauboeuf states, “My grandmother, Jeanne, has blessed me with extensive knowledge on natural skincare recipes, and, with gratitude and joy, I am happy to share them with you.”
Visit them at http://thelaudun.com
Growing up, I enjoyed watching programs like Soul Train and American Bandstand. These were the shows where we heard the newest tunes, watched our favorite artists perform (even if they were lip-syncing), and learned the latest dances. C’mon…y’all know you stood in front of the television trying to replicate the newest moves on Soul Train! This particular Soul Train line is one of my favorites:
I also remember the record-rating segment of American Bandstand. It got to the point where everyone said the same thing when asked how they liked a song…”It’s got a great beat and it’s easy to dance to!”
You will never hear a true audiophile utter those words about a good song. I started thinking about the basic elements of a song – lyrics and musical arrangement. Lyrics – for the non-musician that I am – are the first impression of a song. And as in social situations, first impressions are lasting! When Maxwell’s BLACKSummers’night was first released, I was visiting my mother in Florida. I ran to Target and picked up my copy. But I didn’t listen to it for a week, until I was back at home in New York. I spent the rest of my Florida vacation just reading the lyrics and the liner notes, my favorite pastime (see When I Fell in Love With Music: Songs in the Key of Life) I was entranced by the poetry in his lyrics. So by the time I got to listen to the music, I was already hooked.
Musical arrangement – As a non-musician, arrangements were usually secondary. Although of late, I have become much more in tune with them. And YES, I may get sucked in by a nice beat, but in general, all the musical elements must sit well with me in order for me to really enjoy a tune.
Music IS mood. It can put you in a different state of mind. It can take you where you want to go. Sometimes I listen to a particular genre or artist because I need to calm down or relax – so I’ll tune in to some chill or ambient vibes like Afterlife or The Cinematic Orchestra. I may need to expend some energy, workout or maybe I just need a pick-up, so I’ll turn to some dub-step or house music. MJ Cole and Ten City usually do the trick! If I feel like singing, I’ll usually play some funk or old school – like Slave or Ohio Players – and sing my heart out! LOL
What does music do for you?