It's a New Year. Are you ready to go to the next level?

It’s been a pretty good year for improving my self-presentation.  I’ve lost 16 pounds, found a fabulous eyebrow threader and developed a habit of not leaving the house without my (very natural) makeup.

I’ve bought some clothes (to shrink down into) and I can get into the clothing I couldn’t wear last year. YAY! (Alhamdulillah)

This year’s goals:

1. Keep a basic mani/pedi

2. Lose the last of the weight

3. Develop my “look”.  I’ve given this alot of thought and am most of the way there.

4. Buy/make my basic pieces/accessories.

5. Keep up on accessory maintenance (shoes/bags polished, knowing where my earrings are!)

6. Try tumeric for fading dark spots.

7. Get rid of everything that doesn’t fit and flatter, unless it’s for scrubbing the house/gardening

8. Put another few inches on my hair length.

9. Keep up on Mr. Foreverloyal’s shoe/belt polishing

10. Iron shirts/skirts/pants weekly in one session to make it easier to get out the door looking pulled together.

What about you? How did you do last year and what are your goals for this year?

Have you decided to go forth and be gorgeous?

We had a lovely Thanksgiving yesterday.  Roast turkey, cornbread dressing, mashed potatoes, all that.  Pumpkin roll, pumpkin pie, apple cobbler.  I didn’t stuff myself but I did eat whatever I wanted.

Today, it’s back to the eating plan that has had me dropping weight as easily as falling off a log. Why?  Because as my husband wisely said, “It isn’t Thanksgiving that’s the problem.  It’s the three and four days after of eating the leftovers.”  So no leftovers for me (except turkey).  It’s back to mesclun salad, sauteed spinach and fresh berries.  It’s about 5 weeks to the new year and I intend on being substantially smaller on January 1st.

So you, there. Yeah you with the leftover mac and cheese.  Put it down and pick up the salad fork.

Go forth and be gorgeous.

Glowing skin and a tiny waist on a plate!

Gotta say I love it.

The tone matches well,

I got mine from Target, and bought a mid-range Kabuki brush (another brand) at the same time.  It wasn’t apparent that the IMAN powder comes with a small brush. 

Moisturizer application came first.  After waiting just a minute to let it fully sink in, I twisted the top to shave off the right amount of powder.  I swirled the brush into the powder, tapped off the excess and then used a buffing motion to apply to my face.  Imagine my surprise when a few dark spots on my temple seemed to magically fade so much as to be nearly undetectable.

It cuts down on shine and hides imperfections and somehow manages to be sheer enough as to almost look like it isn’t there at all.

Thumbs up.

Sometimes, you have a plan for how you want something to turn out (makeup, hair, clothes) and it just doesn’t look right once you execute.  This seems to happen often when you have someplace to go and don’t have a whole lot of time to re-curl your hair, fix your manicure, or go shopping for something that fits.

At that point, it’s take a deep breath and (to borrow a phrase) “make it work” time.

I am pleased to present you with a real life example.  Queeny had a huge event (graduation, congrats Queeny!) and had spent time with all manner of deep conditioners and setting techniques in anticipation of wearing her hair out.  http://insidequeenysworld.blogspot.com/2010/05/some-hair-pics.html

Unfortunately, the result was too Diana Ross.

Not to be discouraged for too long, she pinned it back and ended up with a neo-soul-forties-glamour effect.

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try a bobby pin.

Good stuff

I like to buy natural beauty products.  I can’t say that all my beauty loot is natural, but a fair amount of it is.  The latest thing I’ve tried is Jojoba Hemp Conditioning Shampoo, made by http://www.shescentit.com.  First, the good news:  It is paraben, DEA, and sulfate free!  A reading of the ingredients list reveals one natural ingredient after another.  This is a relief because so many shampoos contain a mere drop of their advertised “natural ingredient”, the rest of the concoction being decidedly unnatural.

It’s scent is light, and it lathers well.  My hair was left soft and fresh, but not stripped.  I used it on my son last night and it was great for his nearly straight hair as well. (which probably means I’ll catch my husband using it soon, but that’s another post. https://foreverloyal.wordpress.com/2009/08/07/if-he-cant-use-my-comb/)

Unfortunately, the shipping was a little slow.  Perhaps I’m just spoiled by larger online stores.  However, the product is worth it, and of course I love supporting small business.  Here’s hoping more people will patronize shescentit so she can upgrade to warehouses and drop shipping.

In the meantime, I’ll just be sure to order well before I run out of this bottle.

Go forth and be gorgeous.

Fitting in with the fly crowd

I hang out with some fly mamas.

No, really.  Annie has 4 kids under age 10  and still manages to keep a fresh mani/pedi and go to the salon every few months at least for a haircut.  She switches up her haircolor sometimes too.

Mary has 3 as well, and the only time you might catch her out without her makeup is if you run into her at the grocery store at the crack of dawn on a weekend. 

Lainey  is trim enough to look like she never even had children, and “mom jeans” are out of the question.

They are all stay-at-home moms with husbands and young children who particpate in many activities.

They give the lie to the assertion that frumpyness and dumpyness are an inevitable part of mothering young children, to the idea that it just comes with the territory the way cold air comes with winter.  Such an idea can be easy to cave to.  Especially if all of the women you socialize have.  Sitting on the bench at the playground watching your toddlers, you commiserate.  “The baby spits up on me all the time.  I don’t bother with nice shirts anymore.”  “Who has time for a manicure?  It’s all I can do to get a shower everyday!”  “I’m just too busy.  I’ll wear makeup again when the kids are older.”  And so you give each other permission to settle for the “not-as-bad-as-I-COULD” look

It’s a different scenario when you hang out with fly mamas.  You all have little kids and husbands and houses.  Everyone has diapers to change and dinner to make.  They manage to bathe the kids, do the laundry, cook dinner AND step out of the house with an attractive, casual “mommy on the go” look, so why can’t you?  You start to think about trying for “As-good-as-I-can” look.   The three ladies I mentioned above are proof that it can be done, a subtle message to the less-fly mommies around them:  “You could look like this, too.” 

And if you want to look like that, it’s encouraging to know that it can be done.  If you befriend a fly mama, she’ll probably be willing to help you out.  Recently Lainey helped a friend clear her closet of all unflattering and hopelessly outdated clothing.  Next, she and Mary teamed up to take the friend shopping and critique outfits, Clinton and Stacy style. (Meaning, the friend agreed not to buy anything that Lainey and Mary deemed unattractive on her).  I wouldn’t be surprised if a trip to the salon for an updated cut and makeup consultation was next.

Then there will be yet another certified fly mama in the area.  If this keeps up, it could really catch on.  “Pssst.  Come with us to get mani pedis.  Throw out your mom jeans.  Let’s meet for pilates at my house.  Come on… all the cool moms are doing it.” 

Sure, it’s peer pressure.  But it’s the positive kind.

Tenderheaded.com

May 18, 2010

Gorgeous hair.  We all want it, don’t we?  Many women will drop $$$ on deep conditioners, shine serums, even hair vitamins.  However, it seems many of us overlook  a key component of healthy, beautiful, long hair:  the proper tools.  I get mine from http://www.tenderheaded.com .

The right comb, the right pillowcase, even the right ponytail holders and hairpins can make a huge difference in the length and beauty of your hair.  Beautiful amber combs, handmade and seamless glide thru your hair instead of ripping it.

Satin pillowcases don’t suck moisture from hair and preserve your style.

Large, smooth pins keep hair in place and glide in rather than having to be forcefully shoved in, reducing breakage.

They are all “must haves” as far as I’m concerned, and I get mine from http://www.tenderheaded.com .  Relaxed or natural, the products from this store have never disappointed me.  The shipping is fast and the orders are always accurate. 

Go forth and be gorgeous.

I went to get some maintenance done on my face at the salon the other day.

A basic face takes only 5 minutes. And you're worth it

I didn’t wear makeup there, and once done, I would ordinarily run my one or two post-salon errands makeup-free as well.

But, in the interests of looking polished at all times, I implemented a new policy.

After I was all done, I went in the salon’s restroom and took 5 minutes to do my everyday routine.  As Khadija said, we should strive to always step out looking our best.  Or, as Miss Monica Mingo puts it, “Be more vain!”

http://muslimbushido.blogspot.com/2008/11/inner-sanctuary-part-4-are-you-ready-to.html

Ok, not actually flawless.  Perfection, after all, is Allah’s.  But let’s talk about making the most of ourselves–operating at Maximum Flyness–with limited resources.

 

I do not spend alot of money on my upkeep.  I will share what I do and hope to pick up some tips in the comments.

Haircare: 

–I don’t use fancy pre-treatments.  I love to mix coconut and castor oils and add a dab of honey.  I put it on damp hair, top with a shower cap and leave it in.  There are three ways to do it:  Sleep in it, sit under a bonnet dryer for 10-15 minutes on medium setting, or jump around a little.  The heat will help it penetrate your hair.  Shampoo it out with a drugstore shampoo, finish with a drugstore conditioner and work a bit of coconut oil in as a leave-in.  Presto!  Soft, shiny hair.  I have used this on my hair relaxed or natural with equally impressive results.  A 16 oz jar of coconut oil can be had for cheap at your local Indian/Arab grocery, and you can get castor oil in the laxative section of the supermarket.  If you can’t find coconut oil, try olive oil.

–Check the remnant section of your local fabric store.  Remnants are sold at a discount.  Pick up some silk or satin remnants and make yourself some pillowcases or sleeping scarves.  These keep the hair from snagging and reduce breakage.

–Ditch the professional rollerset and blowout and wear your hair wavy.  Twirl sections of damp hair around your fingers, roll into a ball (resembling a cinnamon roll) and pin.  Dry overnight or under a bonnet dryer.  This works for natural and relaxed hair (and naturally straight hair). 

Hands and Feet: 

–Do your own manicures!  I like a very natural look, so I use a Sally Hansen manicure tool.  It has an emery board and buffer built in.  I can shape my nails and buff them to a high shine, no polish required. (Although following up with a coat of clear polish makes it look even better).   This saves on polish as well as the hassle of having to touch up nail color

–Once a week, use a cheap drugstore scrub (Like St. Ives Apricot Scrub) to wash your hands.   Follow up with coconut oil, lotion, or petroleum jelly.  Top with gloves and go to bed.  The moisturizer and gloves can be done nightly.

–I LOVE the ped-egg.  I just use it once a week, then dampen my feet, put on moisturizer and wear socks to bed.  The Sally Hansen tool can also be used to buff and shine the toenails.  A few minutes once a week is all it takes.

Depilitation

Sally Hansen wax strips are the truth!  And much cheaper than getting it done at the salon.  Underarms can be tricky, though, so it might help if you had the assistance of a friend.  And for your legs, there’s always the good old fashioned razor.

I’ll add more later, but I hope this is a good start. 

Here’s an article at http://www.youngmoney.com/lifestyles/advice/061115

A blog on the subject of lower-priced fashion:  http://www.thebudgetfashionista.com/

Sephora Goes Fabulous

July 2, 2008

monica

Well, it looks like Sephora has decided to up their “fabulous quotient” by having the good sense to invite Monica Mingo to guest blog on her favorite products.

If you aren’t familiar with Miss Monica, I can tell you that she is fashionable, inspiring, witty, and entertaining.  I bought two actual handbags for the first time in years and it’s ALL HER FAULT!  Anyway, check out the link.  http://blog.sephora.com/2008/06/guest-blogger-monica-mingos-five-faves.html