Moving Blog Onto "Ultimate Beauty"

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Hello Brains and Beauty readers!

I apologize for not posting any new posts recently! I've actually decided to start moving a lot of my blog posts onto a new website that my boyfriend, Kwan, and I, have created: Ultimate Beauty - a website (a ning) dedicated to building beauty on the inside and out for all women! Definitely check it out! Just click on the "Kris's Blog" tab to see my latest postings!

How Men Feel About Women and Makeup

Monday, October 19, 2009

How do men really feel about women and their makeup?

Perfection - Is it Possible?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Black Men's Opinion on Natural Hair

Monday, September 28, 2009

Natural Beauty Products for Your Hair and Skin?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Creators of "Mixed Chicks" beauty product line

The "natural products" phenomenon is nothing new - plenty of women have been interested in only applying natural products to their hair and skin forever. I am particularly interested in checking out those sorts of products - I have been drawn to companies like Origins, which has a lot of natural products for your skin that refresh your skin and provide it with an enhanced and refreshing feeling and look (I specifically recommend my fave Origins product of the moment, "Modern Friction"). If you know of any natural hair and/or skin product sites, please let me know! I found a few sites that look really great, and I plan on purchasing some products or testers in the near future to try them out and do a blog post and Youtube video on them: Afrokinks and Mixedchicks. If you've tried their products and like or dislike them, also please feel free to let me know!

Have Independent Women Forgotten How to Let A Man Be a Man?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

In Essence Magazine's September 2009 issue, I noticed an article entitled "Who Wears the Pants?", where a man named Keith McQuillon, 42, tells an Essence reporter that independent women today have forgotten how to let men be men. Here is a snippet from the article:
"In 1996 my ex-wife and I split partly because she always wanted to be the one in control. Since then, I've been in only one serious relationship. Too many of the Black women I've dated wanted to call all the shots. Whenever I've tried to lead, I've repeatedly heard, "I'm not going to let a man run my life." Good, because I don't want to, but I do want someone who respects my opinion and wants to meet me halfway. I'd marry a woman who says, "Baby, why don't we do things your way this time?" I've noticed that women of other races seem more willing to let a man be a man. But I'd prefer to find a Black partner to build my future with. And when I find her, I'll treat her with the same love, care and respect that my dad showed my mom."

In my opinion, that quote in and of itself represents a growing divide between men and women today along the line of one particular question: Who really wears the pants in a relationship these days? And what does it really mean to say, "let a man be a man?"

First of all, I find it disconcerting that Keith lumps black women into a category and women of "other races" into another category. While there may be slight cultural (not racial) distinctions among independent women of different ethnic backgrounds, the overriding culture of "independent womanhood", in my opinion, does not really fall along racial lines. Women of all races and cultures today are finding themselves within their own independence and defining their financial and career independence without a boyfriend or husband dictating their steps. Many women, regardless of race, will hesitate and perhaps get very defensive if a man tried to harp upon their independence. In my opinion, black women are not the only women who would tell Keith, "I'm not going to let a man run my life." Even the intense popularity of "Sex and the City" (a show without black female protagonists) illuminates the increasing trend of independent/don't mess with my goals/you can't run my life-type women around the world today.

That said, I will address the main question posed in this article: Have independent women forgotten how to let a man be a man? I have not done any statistical studies on this question, but I can speak for myself when I ask the follow-up question: "What does it mean to 'let a man be a man?'" I find that as a society today, we collectively compare ourselves to generations of the past - the "the way way it used to be, sigh!" mentality that has often led people to make blanket and uninformed statements about gender divide issues today. In the beginning of the article, Keith explains that when he was growing up, his dad was the head of the household, and his mom followed his dad's lead. He states:

"When they disagreed, they talked it out, but he got the final say. Before you get all riled up, you should know I don't expect that. I like an opinionated and independent woman. But I believe in compromise, and I take issue with ladies who aren't willing to."
While I don't take issue with the latter part of Keith's statement, I would note that Keith appears to be torn between wanting to mirror his dad's role as a husband and Keith's own desire to respect a woman's independence and the concept of compromise. And Keith isn't the only man in the world with the same issue. With the increasing trend of independent women in today's world, I really do believe that men have been forced to make an adjustment, and either adapt to the trend or choose to reject it and only seek women who either don't want to be independent or are independent but prefer the man to lead on most decisions in a relationship.

As gender roles increasingly evolve, the question of "who wears the pants" is not an easy one to answer in 2009. On a literal level, both men and women put on their suits every weekday, report to work and earn their money. On a conceptual/figurative level, "who wears the pants" is a case by case situation, where men and women in relationships explicitly or implicitly make an agreement to let the man or the woman make the decisions, or whether they will choose to compromise on their decisions.

Take Charge of Your Credit

Saturday, September 12, 2009

As you probably already know, your credit score plays a very important role in your life, and it is crucial that you know how to maintain a great credit score. In Essence Magazine's September 2009 issue, I found an excellent article entitled "Take Charge of Your Credit!" by A.M. Rusin. It encourages readers to protect their credit scores by 1) opening all mail, 2) making timely payments, 3) staying out of the credit danger zone, 4) reassessing credit, and 5) getting a fixed rate on credit cards. Among all these tips, it is important to highlight #3: staying out of the credit danger zone. Be aware that "issuers are looking for red flags indicating a consumer is in trouble ... Late payments, high balances and cash advances could be a sign of cash flow problems and prompt a change in terms. If issuers sense you're at risk, they may assess a monthly fee, lower your credit line, or raise your APR," says Gail Cunningham, spokesperson for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling ( (cited in "Take Charge of Your Credit").

We may live in a "spending is cool" culture, but I very much encourage you to think twice before purchasing something on your credit card if you don't believe you can really afford it. My personal motto with credit is: if I can't realistically pay off my credit card this month if I purchase this item, I can't afford the item right now. The motto may sound a bit restrictive, but it definitely helps to maintain a good credit line and reduces the opportunity to rack up a exorbitant amount of credit card debt. In Essence's "Take Charge of Your Credit" article, it provides 4 ways to protect your credit score:
Payment History. "Grace periods are shrinking," states Gail Cunningham, spokesperson for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. "Open your statements the day they arrive."
Amounts Owned. "Don't carry a balance that is more than 30 percent of your available credit because having higher ratios can begin to negatively affect your score," says Bruce Cornelius, chief marketing officer for
Length of Credit. "Don't get angry and close an account," warns Cunningham. Your credit history is calculated as an average, so a one-month-old account averaged against a ten-year account will shorten the history and lower the score.
Types of Credit Used. Be wary of 0 percent interest or no-money-down offers. If you do use credit for a large purchase, know that installment terms have a more positive impact because the terms are fixed.

For those of you that are trying to increase your credit score, don't fret. I very much encourage you to check out the Suze Orman Show or go to the library or bookstore and check out her books. She offers sound and excellent financial advice, and is very clear and concise with her commentary. I would also suggest ordering a copy of your credit report (you can get it for free at once a year).

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