Maintain Your Love For Self and Independence in a Relationship

Sunday, March 29, 2009

It is incredibly important to maintain a sense of independence and and self-worth in a relationship. I've noticed that it is so easy to fall captive to the identity of the other person or the relationship itself, easily losing oneself in the name of love. I have had friends disappear into relationships, never to be seen again (or very rare sightings), and I can speak for myself when I say that I've done the same exact thing and have wondered if I let some of my friendships slide as a result of my interest in dedicating a large portion of my time to my significant other. My situation, however, is a little unique due to the fact that I am in a long-distance relationship and only see my boyfriend once a week to once every three weeks, so I like to spend as much time as possible with him when he is in town. However, I've recently decided to recapture some of my own personal interests from my youth (learning foreign languages, poetry, writing, dance) and explore them on my own, with friends, and also with my boyfriend. Here are some personal tips for maintaining your independence in a long-term relationship:

1) Keep a diary and write down your favorite hobbies and passions that peak your interest.
2) Talk to your partner about some creative ways you can explore each other's interests. For example, my boyfriend and I both love poetry (we actually met through our love for poetry), but when it comes to his love for hunting and fishing or my love for dance, he and I make conscious efforts to appreciate each other's passions and learn more about them.
3) When you are apart, try to recapture your passions a little more in-depth and hang out with friends that share that interest.
4) Do not forfeit your friendships in the name of love - I've had plenty of conversations with girlfriends who hate it when their friends disappear when they find a man. Remember that relationships can come and go, but your friends can be there forever. So don't forget to call them and see how they are doing, go out for coffee to catch up, or do something fun together. Also, if you have a friend in a relationship, you can double date!
5) Make a list of passions you would like to explore in the future on your own - perhaps you've always dreamt about going rock climbing or skiing. Even if your partner isn't into those things, that does not at all stop you from taking the time to explore them on your own or with friends. Remember - you and your partner are not one human being - both of you are two separate people with some things in common, and some things not in common. Do not forget about the hobbies and interests that make you unique and make your heart beat a little bit faster.

One of the reasons why I love my boyfriend so much is the fact that he has an intense interest in several hobbies, and has become an expert in many of them. I have always admired his dedication to those hobbies and was inspired to re-evaluate my hobby interests as well and explore them a little bit further. As a result, I have made it a point to read more Spanish and French literature and practice speaking those two languages a bit more. I want to start learning German and Korean in the near future. I would like to re-start my yoga and pilates exercise regimens, work on writing a novel, re-start fencing lessons, and privately work on some dance choreography and consider taking some ballroom dance lessons in the future (which was recently inspired by "Dancing With the Stars" - yes, I can be corny sometimes! :)). I also plan to re-start my knitting lessons, sketching/drawing art, and delve into literature that I have previously put on the bookshelf to be read at some point in the future. When it comes to my love for traveling around the country and the world, I have always loved traveling alone and figuring my way around by myself, but I plan to travel more with my boyfriend, and share some great experiences together.

Always remember that when you are whole, you add substantially more to your relationship, so why not re-find yourself and remember what makes your heart beat with passion? It's never to late to remember your passions and explore them. So why not start today? :)

My YouTube Commentary on the Tyra Banks Show Discussion of Racism and Stereotyping Today

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Thanks for watching!

The Right Foundation for Brown Skin Beauties

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Are you a brown skin beauty and sometimes have trouble finding the right shade of powder or foundation? Do you wonder why you pick up a color and it looks like the right shade but when you go home and try it on, it is a complete mismatch? Well, don't fret at all - there is hope! While I was doing some internet browsing on makeup, I came across this column that provides an excellent summary of basic tips for those of you who have warmer skin tones and want to accentuate your skin's evenness, etc. with the perfect foundation/powder shade:
How to Select Face Makeup That Complements African-American Coloring
By: eHow Fashion, Style & Personal Care Editor

Since skin tones vary greatly among women of African descent, finding the right face makeup can be tricky. The wrong makeup can lead to an ashen or flat complexion, but with a little insight and a lot of experimentation, you can minimize the guesswork and put your best face forward.

Step 1:
Look beyond your skin's color and examine its undertones. Rich ebony complexions usually have cool, almost blue undertones, while brown and caramel complexions have warm golden undertones.
Step 2:
Choose from shades that appear to be in your color range and may complement your complexion's undertones. Remember that foundation will look different on your skin than it does in a bottle or on a thumbnail palette.
Step 3:
Consider lines that specialize in black beauty products for the widest color selection. Always try foundation on your jawline or the inside of your wrist to get the best idea of a color match.
Step 4:
Set your makeup with a loose translucent powder. If you're blessed with a flawless even complexion, skip the foundation and opt for a tinted moisturizer or tinted powder over bare skin.
Step 5:
Contour your cheekbones with a sweep of blush. Plums, currants and mauves will flatter a medium to dark complexion. Caramel, honey and apricot will complement a medium to light complexion.

Tips & Warnings:

-Bronzer is an alternative to blush for those with a warmer complexion. Dust a light coating over the face, contouring at temples and cheekbones.
-When faced with uneven skin pigment, consult a beauty expert for suggestions on a foundation that will even out your skin tone. You may be a candidate for two colors, that when spread over the right areas, will render the uniform look you desire.
-Think about your skin type when selecting a face makeup. Oilier skins do better with water-based liquid foundations and cream blush, while drier skins benefit from cream formulas.
-Testers in drug stores may not be sterile. Buy with a store guarantee: if the color is not right, then the item is returnable.

Find the Right Bra Fit and Own Your Size

Thursday, March 19, 2009

It is time to have an extra girly moment (not uncommon on this blog) – let’s talk about bras. 80% of women wear the wrong bra size, so I wanted to take some time to discuss the importance of finding the right bra size. In my last blog post, I celebrated the beauty of curves, and one of the things that helps accentuate curves on a woman is the right bra. You should consider both fit and style: you should be able to move around in it and feel comfortable, and your bra should help accentuate the fit of your clothes, rather than diminish your look. You should also consider the fact that not all bras are made for all occasions. For example, you will not catch me wearing a Victoria’s Secret "Very Sexy" bra while I go for a jog – I instead opt for my black Nike’s sports bra that provides amazing support and absolutely no need for “adjustment” during the run. However, I am a huge fan of Victoria’s Secret bras overall (particularly the “Very Sexy” and “Body By Victoria” collections).

My Victoria's Secret (VS) addiction began around my junior year in college, when I visited a nearby VS store, and was approached by a friendly salesperson who asked if I wanted to be measured so I could find the right bra size. Lo and behold, she revealed a completely different number than I had in my head, and I have to admit – I was incredibly happy to take ownership of my new size number, and of course, went on a bra-buying frenzy, eventually amassing a major VS bra collection in my wardrobe.

If you don’t plan on visiting a VS store soon, you can still find out if you are wearing the right bra size on your own. First, here is some bra lingo to get straight (courtesy of

-The cup of the bra should fully encase each breast.
-There should not be any spillage out of the top or the sides of the cup. There should not be any wrinkling on the cup. The cup should support each breast.

-The band should fit very snugly and be straight all the way around the rib cage.
-The band should not move if you were to do trunk twists for example. The band should not ride up your back or make it difficult to breathe.

With your current bra collection, make sure that they fit the following basic criteria: (courtesy of
->Top of the bra cup should completely contain the breast. If bulging exists, the cup is too small. 
->If wrinkling, the cup is too big.
->Bra band should fit very snugly around the rib cage.
->Back of the bra should stay down on the body. If the back rides up the band may be too large. 

To measure your bra size: (courtesy of
Step 1. Band Size: While standing straight and wearing a regular bra, wrap the tape measure around your chest, above the bust. Make sure the tape is straight all the way around you. Pull the tape until it is taut but not restrictive or pinching.
Now, round the measurement to the nearest even number. That's your band size or rib cage measurement.
Band size: 33 ½ = 34 band

Step 2. Cup Size: While still standing and wearing a regular bra, wrap the tape measure around the fullest part of your bust. Again, pull the tape until it is taut but not pinching or digging into your bust.
Make sure the tape is straight and around the fullest part of your bust. If you are in between whole numbers for this measurement, round to the nearest whole number. If you're directly in between two whole numbers, round to the next largest whole number. Example
: 38 ½ = 39

Now, subtract your even-numbered band size (step #1) from the whole-numbered measurement in step #2 and convert the difference to your cup size according to the [provided] chart (the first chart found on
Note: also offers other alternative methods to measure your bra size, so I encourage you to check out their site for more information. 


Here are some great tips I found in another article, "How To Measure Your Bra Size":
Cup sizes above D tend to vary much less reliably between manufacturers. Some brands go to the next letter of the alphabet for every added inch, while other brands may simply add on the same letter for every inch.

A well-fitted bra should provide support from the band, not the straps. You should be able to take off the straps and still feel supported by the bra.

Always try on a bra before you buy, and keep an open mind about your size.

It is possible to find out your bra size without a tape measure. If you already wear a bra which seems to fit well in the cup, but is roomy around the band, you can go down a band size and up a cup size until you get to a size you can only just fasten - this is the right size. (e.g. 36C -> 34D -> 32DD)

If you have uneven cup sizes, go with the bigger side. You can support the smaller breast by making that shoulder strap slightly shorter, or alternatively you can pad out the cup.

So, whether you are small, medium or large-chested, it is incredibly important to understand your body, to know your size, and wear the right bra that makes you feel comfortable and looks great under your outfits. Also, note that you should consider getting re-measured if your weight has changed, if you haven't been measured in a few years, or if your bras overall do not seem to be fitting the way they used to in the past.

Here is a great Youtube video on how to measure your bra size. It also offers some valuable tips on finding the right bra:

I will be writing a blog post about how to coordinate the right bra with the right outfit at some point in the near future, so stay tuned!

The Beauty of Today's Voluptuous Woman (Of All Sizes)

There is something to be said for the beauty of voluptuous women. I’m very much impressed by the curvy beauties of today. Beyonce, Monica Bellucci, Tyra Banks, Scarlett Johansson, Jessica Simpson, and Jennifer Love Hewitt are just a few examples of beauties in the media today who "own" their curves and wear them well.  However, I did find it strange that people attacked Jennifer Love Hewitt for being too fat based on her photos in a bikini with a bit of cellulite on her size 2 frame:

Leave it to the media to categorize this picture as the epitomy of "sexy gone wrong".

Check out this supposedly "not-so-flattering" picture of Tyra Banks in her suit:

Now, I have to wonder: What is it about “curvy” celebrities that sends the media into a crazy tailspin? It is almost as if these women didn’t have a right to gain some weight because they, as celebrities, have a contractual duty to the public to remain as slim as possible in order to perpetuate the social consciousness of “thin is in.” How dare these women rebel against the skinny ideal by eating food! Who ever heard of such a thing?


Both of these women handled the criticism well and in a very mature fashion, helping “real” women to feel comfortable in their own skin. Tyra Banks discussed the above swimsuit photo on the Tyra Banks Show and said that the picture was “so outrageous” as she stood in the same swimsuit next to the tabloid photo on a screen, stating that the photo was “taken three weeks ago,” she only weighed 150 pounds, and she just happened to gain 10 – not 40 – pounds around the holidays. She thought the photo was “curvy,” “sexy,” and “beautiful”, but noted that it was not her real figure at the moment. Furthermore, she noted that even if she did look like that, it would be fine. She noted that the tabloids are obsessed with weight, waiting for a not-so-flattering angle in order to sell magazines. She even showed other photos from the same day that were not retouched with angles that were very flattering and very "curvy slim". Because of the not-so-slender photo, she was labeled by the media as “Tyra Porkchops” and “America’s Next Top Waddle.” When she checked out people’s comments about her online, she noted that someone had circled a little love handle that was visible during her last Victoria’s Secret fashion show in a photo. She found that to be so ridiculous, noting that if she had lower self-esteem, she would be starving herself right now. She tearfully exclaimed a message to those women who criticize those who are naturally curvy: “Kiss my fat a**!”. (See a portion of it here on a YouTube video):

Jennifer Love Hewitt had a similar message. When the tabloids freaked about the bikini "cellulite photos", Jennifer, on November 29, 2007, posted this message:

“I've sat by in silence for a long time now about the way women's bodies are constantly scrutinized. To set the record straight, I'm not upset for me, but for all of the girls out there that are struggling with their body image. A size 2 is not fat! Nor will it ever be. And being a size 0 doesn't make you beautiful. What I should be doing is celebrating some of the best days of my life and my engagement to the man of my dreams, instead of having to deal with photographers taking invasive pictures from bad angles. I know what I look like, and so do my friends and family. And like all women out there should, I love my body. To all girls with butts, boobs, hips and a waist, put on a bikini -- put it on and stay strong.”

My response? I agree 100%. I honestly think the tabloids are obsessed with Tyra and Jennifer’s curve - not because it is necessarily “bad looking” - but because it stands contrary to the “thin standard” that they used to fit into and helped them gain fame several years ago. Now, I am a fan of “healthy curve” – curve that is natural and not brought on by unhealthy lifestyles. However, these tabloids and the media in general don't really care if the curve comes in unhealthy or healthy form – if you have curve, you are automatically fat, and therefore unattractive. According to society's illogical logic today, it is completely unrealistic to be “curvy” and not be fat (and therefore unattractive) on some level.

Today, Jessica Simpson seems to be the newest tabloid obsession.

Her latest "curvy" pictures have been broadcast across every single visual medium, and bloggers and newspapers have been tearing into her weight gain like wolves on prey. Her photos even prompted to ask its readers, "Fast Jessica Simpson: Still Hot?," encouraging a whole slew of readers to positively and negatively opine on her weight gain. In a US Magazine article, Jessica Simpson stated, "Do you think the guys . . . are all really looking at all those skinny girls and thinking, 'Wow, I want to get with her?' Or are they looking at the girls with the curves and thinking, 'Yeah, I want to get with her'!" Simpson said. Simpson added, "I don't get the whole rail thing. It's not good for your heart, it's not good for your mind; it's emotionally destructive, it really is." My thoughts on Jessica's weight gain: As long as she maintains a healthy diet and exercise regimen, she should embrace her curviness and show it off without hesitation.

Meghan McCain (Senator John McCain's daughter) has also faced some very recent criticism about her weight from Laura Ingraham, who clearly dislikes (or is perhaps jealous of) Meghan's latest claim to Republican pundit fame.

A recent photo of Meghan:

Laura stated, "Do you think that anyone would be talking to you if you weren't kind of cute and you weren’t the daughter of John McCain?" Ingraham continued, imitating McCain using a "valley girl" impersonation: "OK, I was really hoping that I was going to get that role in 'The Real World,' but then I realized that, well, they don't like plus-sized models. They only like the women who look a certain way." Meghan's response? A reincarnation of Tyra's "Kiss My Fat A**!":

If you are a woman with curves and occasionally doubt the beauty of your natural size, I encourage you to consider the confidence and beauty of more than a handful of curvy celebrity beauties out there, including: 

Beyonce and her wonderful frame:

And the curvy and celebrated European beauty, Monica Bellucci:

The article, “Monica Bellucci’s Proud Curves”, states:

“Monica Bellucci is proud of her sexy curves. The sultry 'Matrix Reloaded' actress takes great care of her voluptuous figure and refuses to feel guilty about her body. She told Esquire magazine: "My body is so important to me. My face, my arms, my legs, my hands, my eyes, everything. I use everything I have. Today, if women look or feel voluptuous they feel guilty but beauty has no law and there is no way to be beautiful . . . She believes playing strong, passionate characters will help women change their body image perceptions . . . "Beauty is like a Ferrari because you have got to know how to drive it. Beauty can serve you if you know how to deal with it. . .”

Wonderfully stated.

Does Your Hairstyle Fit Your Face?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I love to vary up my hairstyle on occasion, but I pay very close attention to how the hairstyle will fit my face shape, proportions, etc. A hairstyle, for example, may look amazing on Halle, Rhianna, Gabrielle Union, Beyonce, Tyra, etc., but I absolutely refuse to copy a style if I have a gut feeling that it may not suit me well. Furthermore, I am more than fully aware that those celebrities have a team of hairstylists to keep every curl and flip in place, so I purposely avoid hairstyles that require too much daily maintenance.

Your face shape plays a major role in the way your hairstyle fits your look overall. I found a great hairstyle guide on (copied below), and wanted to share it with you! Perhaps you may be inspired to change up your look, or pat yourself on the back for choosing the right style for your particular face shape! :)
Did you know that a certain hairstyle will compliment your beauty depending on the shape of your face??

Below are a list of shapes and descriptions to assist in determining a style that's truly you!

Many of us know what styles look good and some of us do not. You may ask yourself. Certain styles will enhance your face while other apply a negative affect. To determine hairstyles that compliment you, one must learn about facial shapes. The most common shapes are: Oval, Rectangular/Oblong, Round, Square and Heart. There are some that will fall into the category of Triangular or Diamond.

Finding the shape of your face will not only bring spark to your image, it will save you from having many, many bad styles!

A ROUND shaped face is displayed with full, round circular cheeks. Layers on the top and longer length near the back elongate your face. Round faces look great with longer, layered styles with lots of curls.

*Keep the sides close to the face and promote height at the crown. The goal of this style is to create an oval appearance and lift the face*

A SQUARE shaped face is described when the angular jawline is the same width as the forehead. This facial type looks best by trying a short style that is wavy on top. A wide forehead and jawline is softened by wispy edges.

*Soften the edges of your square-shape face by directing soft wavy bangs down over your temples.*

A HEART shaped face is characterized by a wide forehead, high cheekbones with a "V" shaped chin. Try a short, cropped style that is tapered at the neck. The long, wispy fringe softens a round and peaked forehead. This style is achieved when layers are long at the crown, graduated at the sides and tapered at the nape. The hair should be past the chin area.

*The best looks for this facial shape are full, curly and bouncy styles that create width around the narrow chin.*

An OVAL shaped face is well-porportioned. The length of the face is longer than the width. A classic oval shaped face looks great with any hairstyle! The preferred style would be long with graduated layers.

A RECTANGLE shaped face shows a narrow forehead and a wide chin. Try a shapely layered look or a curly style. Layers and heavy fringes build fullness on top to soften a wider crown.

*Select styles with more width and volume. Adding bangs will help to shorten a long shape face.*

Great Advice for Those Moving to A New City

Thursday, March 12, 2009

As a lover of change, I am more than ecstatic that I will soon be moving to a new city to start my legal career upon graduating law school. I (along with many others who are making a moving transition this year) very much appreciate tips and advice on how to make a move as fluid as possible, and acclimate to new surroundings with as much ease as possible.

I have lived in various cities in the United States and abroad, and can honestly say that each move brought new challenges, new experiences, new friends, and new hopes and dreams. While browsing around online, I tripped on the fabulous Redbook Magazine, and found this article gracefully appetizing in light of my pending big move! If you are planning to move to a new place (or know anyone who will be) or you are relatively new to a location and want to make it a more enjoyable place for yourself, this is definitely an article worth a quick read!

"5 Steps to Take Before Moving to a New City" by Nicole Yorio, Redbook Magazine

Why is moving to a new place so fraught with emotion?
There's a fear of the unknown and doubt as to whether you've made the right choice. And there's a sense of closure — every move brings completion to a chapter in your life, so take time to reflect on the experiences you've had and be grateful for the people you've met. Also, you'll feel excitement in trying new things, meeting new people, and having new opportunities. It's as if life has given you a blank slate to start fresh, so find the joy in that possibility.

How can I make moving easier?
Instead of tackling everything at once — and feeling totally overwhelmed — set small goals and reward yourself when you complete each task. (Get a manicure after you box up your bathroom or take a walk after unpacking your kitchen items.) Celebrating successes reenergizes you to keep at it — and ensures that packing doesn't take over your life.

The toughest part of a move is leaving people you love. My family lives in Europe, and I live here, so we've created a system. I'll text them if I'm on the train, e-mail them about a great concert I saw, or Skype with my nieces and nephews to see how they're growing. Keeping one another updated on life's big and small moments helps love flow.

How can I make new friends without appearing desperate?
Focus on doing what you love, whether that means taking a yoga class or volunteering at a shelter — it'll help you meet like-minded people and keep you occupied with activities you enjoy. And savor any alone time: Rent movies, write in a journal, or do whatever nurtures your soul. Soon enough, someone or something else will start filling up your time. Life has a natural way of unfolding — and you will eventually meet everyone who should be in yours.

What mistakes do people make when they move to a new city, and how can I avoid them?
Some people set too-high expectations: You're not going to get invited to the greatest party in town on your first day. Other people think they're going to love their new city immediately, but it takes time to form a relationship with a place. To adjust, stick to the schedule that works for you, whether that means reading in the local café on Saturday mornings or grocery shopping on Sunday nights. The quicker you put your normal routines into place, the sooner you'll feel comfortable. And give yourself credit for following through with your decision to move. You jumped in and took a risk; you'll make mistakes along the way, but on the other side, you'll find self-esteem and a new inner strength.

Setting Down New Roots: Top 5 Steps to Take
1. Make a plan. Create a checklist for everything that needs to get done — from packing to canceling utilities.

2. Say good-bye. Don't avoid discussing the move with your circle. Sharing your excitement and reservations will make this change easier for all of you.

3. Get the lay of the land. Before you move, buy a map and a travel book that tells you all about your new state or city. Once there, take a leisurely drive or walk to locate your neighborhood post office, dry cleaner, grocery store, and pharmacy.

4. Psych yourself up. Think of the move as an adventure. Appreciate each new discovery, from an out-of-the-way art-house movie theater to a great Thai take-out place.

5. Be patient. Settling in takes time, so go easy on yourself and let your new life evolve on its own. Little by little, all will fall into place.
—Nicole Yorio

Low Maintenance Beauty Every Day

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

When it comes to skin care and makeup, I am all about low-maintenance beauty. We live in a day and age where time is of the utmost importance, and yet we read magazines and watch television ads and YouTube videos that highlight some of the most complicated beauty regimens. However, you should not feel the need to invest hours in your beauty regimen every day – you should instead specifically fine-tune your beauty routine to your needs in the morning so that you do not waste time overdoing your makeup and potentially appearing “overdone.” You will also save time by fine-tuning your regimen and refocus your energy on facial features that you want to emphasize for the day and/or night.

Here are some of my tips for a quick, low-maintenance beauty regimen:
1) Invest time and energy in understanding what you like about your face and emphasize that feature with the right makeup for you:
For example, I really like my eyes and my lips, so I enjoy spending energy and money on good products that highlight them. For these features, I only tend to wear deep black eyeliner that does not run easily, and muted red lipsticks that don’t rub off easily, and have a smooth matte look.

2) Invest energy in maintaining a nice and clean, bright complexion:
Despite what makeup advertising may say, a great foundation will not function at its best on skin if the person does not really take care of the skin by washing it with the right facial soap, exfoliating it regularly, and using the right lotion, astringent, toner, etc. (if needed). You need to find the right skin care regimen for you and stick with it. You also need to take care of your skin in the morning AND at night. For example, you may have a great beauty regime in the morning, but do not forget to carefully remove all of your makeup and wash your face at night – otherwise you may frustrate your skin, and potentially cause skin issues in the future. Avoid the potential headache and remove makeup every night, and go through whatever motions are necessary for your particular type of skin.

3) Organize your beauty items in order to save time:
If you want to save time in the morning and at night, make sure to place your beauty items in the right location on your beauty stand, bathroom, etc. so that you can utilize them efficiently without any frustration and/or complication. I like to take some time to organize my beauty table once a week so that everything is in its right location so I can sit down at the table, put on what I like, and then continue on with my day (I’m not a fan of spending a long time searching for a misplaced eyeliner or mascara tube in the morning!).

4) Regularly replace old makeup:
Don’t hold on to makeup for too long. I know a lot of us may have eye shadow or mascara that we hold dear to our hearts and would never want to throw away, but - if the item is too old, you may be applying bacteria, etc. to your skin and potentially cause annoying skin problems. Fitness Magazine explored this topic in their article, "When Should I Throw My Old Cosmetics Out?" (excerpt copied below):
Cosmetics - both skin care and makeup - aren't meant to grow old with you. "Products are developed to last a year or two," says Peter Pugliese, M.D., a skin physiologist in Reading, Pennsylvania. However, contamination can occur at any time, since makeup is always in contact with germ-prone areas like your eyes, mouth and fingers. In general, always toss anything that has changed color or consistency or has a bad odor. Otherwise, use these guidelines to assess the shelf life of common beauty products.

-Most powders, concealers and lip balms are anhydrous (they don't contain water), so they can last for a couple of years, says Dr. Pugliese.
-Cleansers and moisturizers often contain fatty acids, which can turn rancid quickly. Toss after six months.
-Multiuse products such as 3-in-1 sticks and creams can spread germs from lips to eyes and cheeks. Wipe the surface before switching areas, and discard or replace after six months.
-Pencils can last several years unless you wet the tip with saliva or water. To be safe, sharpen before each use.
-Mascara should be tossed after three months without fail. The tube is a breeding ground for bacteria," says Dr. Pugliese.
-Foundations can last up to a year if you keep your fingers away from the bottle. Instead, use a sponge to apply.
-Store cosmetics in a cool, dry place outside the bathroom to extend their shelf life.

And my final tip:
5) Vary up your quick routine and have fun with it!
Don’t feel locked into the same beauty routine – you may eventually get bored with it all together. After you have thrown out your old makeup, why not visit a beauty counter and see what else strikes your fancy? You have the luxury of varying price point makeup options, so figure out how much you are willing to spend, and have fun with your look. You are a beautiful, living and breathing palette to be explored, and as your own personalized artist, you may as well take advantage of your unique creativity and have fun with your look every now and then. ;)

Don't Let The Economy Affect Your Love Life

Monday, March 9, 2009

Yes, the economy is in the toilet, but that does not mean that your love life should follow. I just skimmed Essence Magazine's most recent issue (April 2009), and found a great article that I thought would be quite useful to those of you out there that are interested in "recession-proofing" your love life.

"Love Don't Cost a Thing," By Chloe Hilliard (Essence Magazine, April 2009 issue, p. 82)
Even though times are tough, there's no reason for your dating life to plummet like the stock market. Try these tips for high-romance, low-finance fun.

Before the recession, your date night might have been spent at a chic restaurant. But times - and disposable incomes - have changed. "Now I have to be a little bit tighter," says Rhamon Daley, 33, a teacher who used to think nothing of dropping $120 on a date with a special lady. The next time your leading man asks what you want to do, keep these fiscally responsible ideas in mind.

Expand Your Horizons
"There are several things you can do other than dinner and a movie," says Jess McCann, author of You Lost Him at Hello: A Saleswoman's Secrets to Closing the Deal With Any Guy You Want (HCI). Instead of heading to a dark theater to sit in silence, try an unconventional outing like visiting a local monument, going to a bookstore for an author reading or signing, venturing to a museum (many have free nights), or volunteering for community service together.

Break a Sweat
What better way to get an idea of his stamina than to test it? Try renting bikes to cycle around the city, borrowing some tennis rackets from friends and heading to an outdoor court, or going to a local track to run a few laps together (it's ok to go at a chatting pace). To get even closer (and avoid messing up your hair), ask your guy to join you at a Chicago step or tango dance class - some dance studios offer the first class for free. Or go for an afternoon stroll hand in hand through a scenic park.

Work the Web
Search online for great information on free concerts, events at a discount and cheap eats., and can help you uncover local jewels that are trendy and inexpensive. If you forget to plan ahead, don't worry. has a new application for iPhone users that will offer restaurant suggestions based on price, cuisine preference and the neighborhood in which you're located.

Dine at a Discount
"Don't take advantage of your date," says Dorothy Robinson, coauthor of Dating Makes You Want to Die: But You Have to Do It Anyway (Collins Living). Just because he's likely to pick up the tab doesn't mean you should order from the steak side of the menu. And you shouldn't turn your nose up if he takes you to a chain restaurant. Better yet, spend the afternoon picking up delicious ingredients at a local farmers' market, then cook à deux. Things will heat up!

President Obama Has a Teleprompter Obsession?

Friday, March 6, 2009

President Obama has a tendency to look right, then left, then right, then left, quite often during his speeches, which made me wonder why he didn't look directly at people on varying angles, or directly at the camera more often. Reason: he likes using a teleprompter a lot during his speeches. But overall, I don't see what the big deal is. Despite what some people may think about his use of the teleprompter, he clearly is a master orator - and besides, how many people can be placed in front of a teleprompter and deliver a speech with that much oratory talent? I don't think the teleprompter operates as the President's crutch - it rather operates as a device to maximize his incredible rhetorical skills in order to not only inform the American public to the best of his ability but also implicitly counter the obvious and sometimes amusing inarticulateness of our last President. See Politico's article below about President Obama and his use of the teleprompter:

"Obama's Safety Net: The TelePrompter," Carol E. Lee, "," March 5, 2009

President Barack Obama doesn’t go anywhere without his TelePrompter.
The textbook-sized panes of glass holding the president’s prepared remarks follow him wherever he speaks.
Resting on top of a tall, narrow pole, they flank his podium during speeches in the White House’s stately parlors. They stood next to him on the floor of a manufacturing plant in Indiana as he pitched his economic stimulus plan. They traveled to the Department of Transportation this week and were in the Capitol Rotunda last month when he paid tribute to Abraham Lincoln in six-minute prepared remarks.
Obama’s reliance on the teleprompter is unusual — not only because he is famous for his oratory, but because no other president has used one so consistently and at so many events, large and small.
After the teleprompter malfunctioned a few times last summer and Obama delivered some less-than-soaring speeches, reports surfaced that he was training to wean himself off of the device while on vacation in Hawaii. But no such luck.
His use of the teleprompter makes work tricky for the television crews and photographers trying to capture an image of the president announcing a new Cabinet secretary or housing plan without a pane of glass blocking his face. And it is a startling sight to see such sleek, modern technology set against the mahogany doors and Bohemian crystal chandeliers in the East Room or the marble columns of the Grand Foyer.
“It’s just something presidents haven’t done,” said Martha Joynt Kumar, a presidential historian who has held court in the White House since December 1975. “It’s jarring to the eye. In a way, it stands in the middle between the audience and the president because his eye is on the teleprompter.”
Just how much of a crutch the teleprompter has become for Obama was on sharp display during his latest commerce secretary announcement. The president spoke from a teleprompter in the ornate Indian Treaty Room for a few minutes. Then Gov. Gary Locke stepped to the podium and pulled out a piece of paper for reference.
The president’s teleprompter also elicited some uncomfortable laughter after he announced Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius as his choice for Health and Human Services secretary. “Kathy,” Obama said, turning the podium over to Sebelius, who waited at the microphone for an awkward few seconds while the teleprompters were lowered to the floor and the television cameras rolled.
Obama has relied on a teleprompter through even the shortest announcements and when repeating the same lines on his economic stimulus plan that he's been saying for months — whereas past presidents have mostly worked off of notes on the podium except during major speeches, such as the State of the Union.

Ari Fleischer, a former spokesman for George W. Bush, said while it’s entirely a matter of personal style, using a teleprompter at these smaller events has its drawbacks.
“It removes you from the audience in the room,” Fleischer said. When speaking from notes, Fleischer said, the president can pick up his head and make eye contact with those in the audience, as opposed to focusing on the teleprompter to his left and right.
Bush, Fleischer added, “would use the teleprompter for his major big events, but when he would travel around the country or do events, he would almost always work off of large index cards.”
The White House says Obama’s point of reference is insignificant.
"Whether one uses note cards or a teleprompter, the American people are a lot more concerned about the plans relayed than the method of delivery. This is not always true of the media," said Bill Burton, deputy press secretary.
Obama has never tried to hide his use of a teleprompter. It was a mainstay during the final months of his campaign. He brought it to county fairs and campaign rallies alike — and once had it set up in the ring at a rodeo.
In a break from his routine, Obama did not use a teleprompter during his pre-Inauguration speech at a factory in Bedford Heights, Ohio — and his delivery seemed to suffer. He paused too long at parts. He accentuated the wrong words. And overall he sounded hesitant and halting as he spoke from the prepared remarks on the podium.
As president, the stakes in what he says are higher. Governing is not campaigning, and, as a former first-term senator, Obama has not held a previous elected position where his words carried even close to this level of influence.
“In this kind of environment, you don’t want to make mistakes — on the economy you’re talking about doing things that affect the markets,” Kumar said.
But be it extra precaution, style or a mental crutch, Obama has shown in the past that he needs the teleprompter. And while he still has his prepared remarks placed on the podium in a leather folder, the White House has shown no sign of trying to wean him off of it.
Before Obama entered a room in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on Wednesday to announce his crackdown on defense contracts, a CNN reporter asked an Obama aide if the teleprompter could be moved further away from the podium or lowered. The answer was an unequivocal ‘no.’
“He uses them to death,” a television crewmember who also covered the White House under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush said of the teleprompter. “The problem is, he never looks at you. He’s looking left, right, left, right — not at the camera. It’s almost like he’s not making eye contact with the American people.”
Wednesday’s event posed another scenario photographers and television crews have to work around. Obama had five others join him at the announcement, including Sen. John McCain. The takeaway shot was of Obama and McCain. But the teleprompter on Obama’s left was almost directly in front of McCain.
“You couldn’t get a good angle on him with McCain,” said a White House photographer who also covered Bush. “So if there’s someone else important in the frame, it’s hard to get a shot without the teleprompter.”

My Face Care Regimen (Youtube Video)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Enjoy! And if you have questions, please feel free to ask!

The “Right” Man for Me – and A Beautiful Goodbye to All the “Wrong” Ones

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

There is something to be said about finding the “right” person for you – it is a wonderful experience. Everything fits, you love the person, and you are looking forward to your future together. However, what determines a person “rightness”? To what degree are they inherently “right,” or to what degree are they “right” because you experienced “wrong” ones? One could easily respond – “Who cares? If you find the right person, then the other ones shouldn’t even matter.” My response? Agreed – but my question specifically focuses on this question: To what degree did the wrong ones actually shape the existence of someone being “right”? Perhaps, if you never dated the wrong ones, you would have never known what you did or did not like in a partner, and perhaps may not have met one that specifically fits your interests, personality, lifestyle, etc.

Now, I know this is not at all the most appropriate forum to discuss my dating history (I reserve that for my journal ;)), but I will say that I have a peculiar penchant for men who share my faith (I am Christian), are emotionally in tune with me, have similar career/lifestyle interests, and are gentlemen through and through. I also admire a man who knows how to court a woman – and yes, that may seem old-fashioned, but it works for me.

In addition to my man’s “rightness” overall, his courtship skills won me over. We started off as friends, at a time when I was not in the mood to date anybody. But he said something that stuck in my mind: “I like you a lot, and if you ever gave me the green light on the door, I would walk through.” Simple, and to the point. It gave me the space and time to really think about him as well as “us” as a couple. His statement pretty much meant – I was giving him the red light at the moment, and if I always chose to give him the red light, he would respect that. But if I ever gave a green light signal, he would court me and then commence a serious relationship. It is a statement that I will never forget. Ever since I gave him the green light, it has been on ever since. We cherish each other, and we love each other through and through.

Caution for those who would like to avoid repeating another bad relationship: Fine-tune your “choosing criteria.” For example, I purposely made it a point to go through my prior relationships and think about what it was that I liked/did not like about the relationships, and figure out what I did right/wrong as well as what he did right/wrong, so as to make a more educated decision when the right guy came along. Result? My “choosing criteria” thought process was one of the best things I could have ever done – I became more aware of what I wanted, but most importantly, I knew what did work/did not work for me. As a result, I saved myself a lot of headache by avoiding certain relationships and instead chose to wait it out until I knew the right person was standing in front of me. Caution: Do not automatically shut yourself off from a potentially great partner just because they remind you of your ex (their national origin, race, religion, whatever). I have noticed many people do this, but I have always thought that it was better to get to know a person before automatically putting them in the “eek, he reminds me of my ex, and that really creeps me out” category.

Random note: What is “right” for me is not necessarily right for you (and likewise, what is “wrong” for me may very well be “right” for you). “Right” is a relative term with a basic and very important level of objectivity (does the person treat you well, respect you, etc.). The term is mostly “subjective” and is determined by your own perception of what works for you, and what you want (and what you do not want) in your present and future.

I encourage you to take your family and friends’ advice for your relationships (from an objective standpoint, they may be able to see not-so-great qualities in that person that you may not notice, especially if you are already infatuated with the person), but keep in mind that only you will be in the relationship, not them, and you are the one who will ultimately have to deal with your partner. So make an educated decision, and be happy with your finely-tuned definition of “right.” ☺

Michelle Obama's "Right To Bare Arms"

Monday, March 2, 2009

Yes, Michelle has that right, and she exercises it well! Plus, she is the only first lady who has inspired me to fine-tune my own fitness regime and resume my pilates workout! Some people have made a big deal about Michelle's sleeveless outfits, but in consideration of the constant comparisons to Jackie-O and overall obsession with Michelle Obama's style overall, I am not really all that concerned with the fashion world's critique of her look.

"Up In Arms: Michelle Obama's Sleeveless Style Sparks Controversy," Huffington Post, February 27, 2009

Michelle Obama made the sleeveless dress something of a signature look this past week, choosing to bare her arms four times in seven days.

The First Lady impressed many, but also made a few waves on Tuesday night when she broke with tradition and wore a sleeveless Narciso Rodriguez dress to the President's address before Congress. Opinion was divided over whether it was appropriate to show so much skin at such a ceremonial event.

"'Does the lady not understand that these Big Speech Events are serious and important? Not a cocktail party?'" wrote one Chicago Tribune reader. "''The season is winter. The occasion is business. Dress was wrong place and time.'"

Social Secretary Desiree Rogers defended the decision, telling the Washington Post that Mrs. Obama's feeling is "If I want to wear no sleeves to hear my husband speak, that's what I'm going to do."

After appearing in a (relatively) conservative houndstooth suit last Friday, the First Lady went sleeveless in a purple Jason Wu dress to speak to culinary students in the White House kitchen on Sunday afternoon. That night she co-hosted a black-tie dinner for the nation's governors (along with her husband, the President), donning a sparkly strapless gown by Chicago native Peter Soronen.

The next night, on Wednesday, she went sleeveless again with an emerald Kai Milla dress to the White House's Stevie Wonder concert.

On Friday, the First Lady again went bare in her official portrait released by the White House, in which she appears in a black Michael Kors dress, and on the cover of People magazine, for which she wore a pink Tracy Reese sheath.

"Michelle Obama's Right To Bare Arms," People's StyleWatch Section, February 27, 2009:

It may be February and freezing, but Michelle Obama is heating up D.C. with her toned arms — often bared and on display in the First Lady’s fearless fashion choices. From the Inaugural Ball, where Obama showed off her shoulders and arms in a Jason Wu strapless gown, to the pink Tracy Reese frock she chose for her PEOPLE cover, her lean limbs are what everyone is buzzing about. But don’t think they come that easily. Her workout regimen includes cardio, calisthenics and weights, she told PEOPLE when she was on the campaign trail in 2007, and don’t forget good old-fashioned pushups. “It’s jump squats, you go down into a pushup then you jump up,” she said then about her routine. “What does [my trainer] call it? Squat thrusts! That’s the one I really hate. Squat thrusts with a pushup.” Celebrity trainer Elisa Gulan said not only push-ups, but probably light weights and heavy repetition helped sculpt her arms. “She has amazing tone and definition, but her arms are also sleek and streamlined,” said Gulan, whose clients include actress Becky Newton and host Terry Seymour. “You don’t get arms like that just from being on a diet.” And how does the American public feel about her predilection for sleeveless dresses? In a USA Today poll, 2,600 readers weighed in on whether it’s appropriate for the First Lady to go sleeveless so often. Forty percent said, “Yes, she’s a modern first lady,” 11 percent said, “No, it seems too informal.” The remaining 49 percent said, “Who cares [DASH] it’s her decision.” After all, voters did choose change in November!
Yes, it is winter, and yes, bare arms have not been such a common stylistic choice for many first ladies, but Michelle is quite young and therefore has various options that would not be suitable for older women. Plus, her arms are incredibly toned (and rightfully so, considering her very dedicated work out regime to maintain her sleek physique). Despite a relatively widespread desire to watch and critique Michelle Obama's every beauty move (from her hair down to her nail color), I am a big fan of women defining their own beauty and choosing what works for themselves. Have I always liked Michelle's dresses or hair style choices? Nope. But do I respect her right to choose what works best for her? Completely. I'm sure there are some people in my life who have questioned my love for wearing eyeliner, red lipstick, or a certain hairstyle, but do I care? Nope. I do what works for me (I spent a good deal of my college years trying out different hair colors, haircuts, braid styles, contact lens colors, and even wore bindis for a while, so I can honestly say that I have experimented with various looks and evolved my "look" over time). I think women should follow the lead of Michelle's independence and choose their own style, despite what others think or say.

A photo compilation of Michelle and her lovely arms: (credit: has also compiled a nice list of Michelle's photos (23 total) - Click on link below:

Michelle Obama on