Wednesday, April 1, 2015

My Signature

Jackie O. had her over-sized sunglasses.  For Billie Holiday, a cascade of white gardenias tucked into the left side of her hair.  Lots of people have their own unique fashion ID or signature, if you will; their own personal stamp on style forged from their fashion sensibilities and/or creative inclinations.  I, myself, don't really claim to have a signature look per se; I'd like to think my tastes are far too eclectic (and sometimes manic) to be sated by a routine roster of items and/or looks.  While I will admit that I tend to round up the usual suspects when it comes to certain articles of clothing, it's in the styling of my accessories where I most often tend to leave my mark...  

If there's anything that has been absolutely consistent in my appearance over the last several years, it's got to be my hair.  More specifically, my bangs (or fringe).  Time and time again I have threatened to grow them out and trade in my hairstyle for something new... but I never do.  At least not as of yet.  My full, over-the-brow bangs have definitely become my one true signature; borne out of curiosity and boredom, they have served me quite well.  I like the way they look on me and, despite my railings to the contrary, am kinda reluctant to let them go.

OK, this should come as no surprise.  I like jeans.  A whole lot.  On any given casual weekday, and especially during weekends, you will find my derriĆ©re (and hips and legs...) awash in the cottony goodness.  What can I say that hasn't already been said about them?  They're the perfect article of clothing.  You can dress them up or dress them down, they come in a boat load of colors and styles... *sigh*  They're magical.  And I love them.  Yes, I heart them mucho...

Ahhh... sneakers.  So comfy.  So easy.  So me.  I have a deep, impenetrable love/love relationship with the rubber soled footwear.  Even though I have rebuked many of my tomboyish ways and have steadily infused my collection of foot candy with those of a loftier nature, if I had to choose between wearing a pair of sneakers all day versus a pair of heels - sneakers would win out every time.  Yep, they are the no-brainer fashion go-to I rock most often.

Now, when it comes to jewelry, I like to keep it understated.  I usually wear simple studs in my ears, a simple necklace, watch... etc.  However, I do like a little whimsy, too.  And this is where my signature style comes into play; I like to wear customized pieces that I make myself.  I've been doing it since I was a wee one, painting characters on T-shirts... wearing colored Chinese jacks on my ears as earrings.  I can't help it.  It's the restless creative in me.  Y'all know that I love to re-purpose and reconstruct.  When I bought this two-strand, wood bead bracelet from a discount department store, "Rescue 911" was written all over it.  So I doctored up the plain Jane and added a playful charm to it.

For this piece, I took a pair of broken earrings, a cushioned silk string and an articulated, silver coy charm that I bought when I was in middle school (yikes!) and made a choker.

And, man, do I have plans for this one!  It's a tiger's eye and turquoise medallion set in sterling silver and it is gorgeous!  I bought it years ago off of eBay, but have yet to procure all the suitable pieces to make this baby really purr.  But I'm plotting... and thinking.  It would be really dope as some type of statement ring even though it's already been designated by design to go around the neck.  Hmm... we shall see.

So there you have it.  Again, outside of my hairstyle, I don't really have a definitive style/color/accessory that can honestly lay claim to me.  Oh, I've flirted with the idea of having coral pink lipstick be my signature shade and just rockin' that on a daily, but I can't.  I like too much stuff.  I like the excitement that comes with variety, you know?  And although I don't necessarily have a signature look, I will say that I pride myself on creating and rockin' signature pieces.  I love being eclectic and wearing unique articles of my own design.  It's my low-key fashion ID... my very own "John Hancock" approach to style.         

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Barbie: Basics No. 1

You know, there's something to be said about the whole "less is more" movement when it comes to certain things.  A bit more explicit in doctrine than "everything in moderation", the saying holds a verifiable amount of weight - especially when it comes to fashion.  Oh, there's a time and a place for an armful of bangles, a stoned-out bib necklace and other ornate accessories, but simplicity has its place, too.  And is always right on time.  So, with that being said, I would love to show you how Ms. Barbara Millicent "gets down" and strips down to the bare essentials.  It's a lesson in Chic 101 and the ultimate fashionista herself is teaching us all about the basics.


Styled effortlessly and devoid of any fanfare, Barbie clearly has a PHD in rockin' an LBD with deft sophistication.  Her off-the-shoulder, mock cowl-neck knit is every bit the classic "little black dress" and then some.  Form fitting, the frock softly frames her curves while skirting quite a few inches above the knees.  Scant in length, but confidently modern and sexy, this LBD allows her to serve up ample legs for days all while still leaving mucho to the imagination.


Keeping in step with her fashionable ode to minimalism, she dons black, peep-toe slides in Italian leather as the only other extension to her ensemble.  No bling-bling.  No jingle-jangle.  No sparkle... choosing rather to crown the look via embellishments of color, starting with the pink polish on her toes and fingernails...


... and ending with an artistic symphony of golds, browns and mauve adorning her cornflower-blue eyes.  Baby pink lips help complete the look while her waist-length, flaxen blonde locks are swept up in a chic, but understated "half 'n' half". 

Well, there you have it.  Sometimes it's the simplest rendition of elegance that is the most profound as Barbie has so smartly proven.  It's time to put away the all the clamorous extras and take notes - class is in session.  This inimitable style maven is going to show us exactly how it's done.  It's Chic 101: the beauty of how less is definitely more... when expertly edited right down to the basics.  

Friday, March 20, 2015

Friday Flashback: Prestige Mermaid

Hey, guys!  Today is the very first day of spring!  (Woo-hoo!)  And to kick off the start of my favorite season I have three spring-related shades of pretty I'd love to show you.  Now, I have this listed as a Flashback since I snapped this up many moons ago from a discount bin at my local Rite Aid.  However, more recently, I happened across this palette while perusing an Ulta in another state.  Soooo... yeah, it may still be available depending on the location.  Anywho, enough with the jibber-jabber and please allow me to showcase a little palette whose quality took me quite by surprise - Mermaid by Prestige.

Mermaid is a trio of soft hues: a pale pink, which is a satin; a golden brown, which is a pearl; a grass green, which is also a satin.  The shadows, which are housed in a mirror-equipped, hard plastic case with simple closure, can be worn traditionally or transformed into a liquid eyeliner via its Line Creator Liquid.  It is from Prestige Cosmetics - a drugstore darling with a huge catalogue of beauty items.  I'm a huge fan of their eyeliners, lipliners and lippies, but had never tried their shadows... until now.  And I must say that I'm pleasantly surprised.  All three shades were richly pigmented, had a very nice texture and performed very well, lasting a day's wear with no issues of muddiness or fading atop an eye primer. 

The Line Creator Liquid comes in a small, narrow tube with an equally narrow, pointed applicator.  It can be used in cahoots with any eyeshadow to create a liner by simply swirling the wet wand in the desired shade. 

And while the Line Creator held true to its boasts of creating an adequate eyeliner, which dried down fairly quickly into a virtually smudge-free liner, I would recommend using a different applicator as I found that the one provided was a little too "dainty" to create a consistent, robust line of color.  The wand doesn't pick up enough product in one go, so I had to make multiple dips in the shadow just to gain enough product for one complete line.  Also, I fear that its tip may not hold up under the rigors of constant swiping and swirling.  But the shadows themselves held up well in transformation.

So there you have it!  Three lovely eyeshadows that can be used wet or dry, just in time for the change of seasons.  And if you can get your hands on this palette, I definitely recommend scooping it up.  It's a watercolor-hued pastiche of some of the visual dictates associated with spring and I'm so happy that I was able to add it to my collection!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Mud Power

OK, so I don't use a lot of face masks, but that's not because I have a disinterest in them.   As you already know, I'm a true minimalist when it comes to my face saving routine (i.e., washing with a simple cleanser/soap and finishing with a moisturizer).  However, I do have a peel-off mask from St. Ives that I use on rare occasions as a source of entertainment more than anything else since I find the peeling process kinda fun.  But masks do have their value.  So when I got a mini of one in particular with a recent purchase, I was gung-ho to try it.  It's the POWERMUD Dualcleanse Treatment from GLAMGLOW and, if you don't mind affording me a minute (or five), I'd love to tell you about my initial experience with it.


POWERMUD Dualcleanse Treatment is technically not a mask, but a deep cleansing treatment formulated to remove dirt, oil and makeup via the detoxifying power of mud and a harmonious blend of various oils.  It is from GLAMGLOW, a skincare brand once reserved exclusively for use on those perched behind Hollywood's "velvet rope".  Now accessible to the mainstream consumer,  POWERMUD is regarded as a powerhouse amongst its list of products as the taupe-colored concoction works diligently as an exfoliator, astringent as well as a gentle wash to achieve soft, clean skin.

When I applied the Treatment to my already cleaned, dried face per the instructions, I noticed it had a "fresh" scent to it.  Nothing heavy or offensive, just light.  It didn't take much product to cover my entire face and once it dried down after 5-10 minutes (again, per instructions), it left a sheer white cast on my face that still allowed my face mobility.

After massaging it into cleansing oil "mode" with water then rinsing, my skin looked pretty good and felt considerably clean sans any tautness.  My face didn't feel/look drawn or parched, either.  Much to the contrary, it felt conditioned enough for me to skip the moisturizer just to see how I would fare.  And guess what?  No dry patches in sight.  Also, no burning during or after application.  Not bad.  Not bad at all...

So there you have it!  While this was just my first go at it, POWERMUD may be the power move for me right now... or at least until my sample runs out.  Do I consider it to be a necessity for my routine?  At its recommended use of once or twice a week, not really.  And I'm not having any major skin issues to speak of, so there's that.  But it's a nice reprieve from the day-to-day wash/moisturize/repeat routine I've been keeping, you know?  A spa-like indulgence in a tube.

Once again, I took a chance on a skincare product and ended up with mud on my face.  But this time it's a good thing.  So far, a very good thing indeed!

GLAMGLOW POWERMUD Dualcleanse Treatment is available at Sephora and retails for $19/0.5 oz jar; $69/1.7 oz jar.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Friday Flashback: Imaginary

Hey, guys!  While fumbling through my makeup stash the other day in prep for an impromptu eye look, I came across an oldie, but veritable goodie that I still had yet to crack open.  Literally.  *sigh*  Yes, I know, I know... but at least I've gotten a little better with this whole "holding on/delayed gratification" thing.  Well, haven't I?  *crickets*  Anywho, I do not recall exactly which of the many MAC collections this beauty hails from, but its gorgeous coloring has more than compelled me to take it from the "storage" to "usage" column ASAP!  So, without further ado, I'd like to take you on a trip down memory lane and re-introduce you to one of MAC's Paint Pots from yesteryear called Imaginary.

Imaginary is a potent hybrid of blackened navy and violet with a dose of purple pearl/shimmer added to its creamy mix.  It is a Paint Pot, which - for those unfamiliar - can be used as a base to boost and prolong the wear of powder eyeshadows or can be worn solo as an eyeshadow itself.  Although fit to act as a primer on many a person's lids, I always use a separate eye primer underneath to ensure crease-free rockability and have never had a problem when employing this one-two punch.  With Imaginary, the pigmentation runs deep and the texture is very smooth as it had no problems gliding across my skin then quickly drying down to a budge-free pearl finish when swatching.  And the color?  Whoa!  Ab fab, y'all!  AB FAB!  

I have a handful of MAC Paint Pots and think they are excellent products to have on hand.  Not only are they super convenient when in need of a dash of color, but they are dutiful bases and come in a wide variety of shades and finishes.  I really like them a lot and cannot wait to put Imaginary to the test and see what I come up with.  Ooh-wee!

In the meantime, if you happen to come across this limited edition baby at a CCO/Cosmetics Company Store (where they sell discontinued MAC items at a discount) and you're totally into blues/purples/violets then I highly suggest you pick this one up.  It's an undeniably lovely looker and you'll be mighty thankful for the second chance given to add this to your collection.

You're welcome.