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October 1, 2012 Posted by | Customer Service & Skincare Products | Leave a comment

What do you love about life?

this is my lifeWithout a doubt, what I love about life is the ability to live according to my own choices, experience the consequences and benefits of such choices, evaluate those experiences and change course to improve outcomes or to reflect a new purpose.

I really don’t understand how people go through life and keep hitting the same wall again and again all the while saying that they hate the wall. Changing course doesn’t equal failure. Rather, it reflects one’s ability to learn, enough humility to believe and admit that you have room to grow and improve and a degree of self-determination.

About the components that I love so much:
1) The ability to live according to my own choices;
2) The experiences that I have and the consequences and benefits of such choices; and
3) The ability and wisdom to evaluate those experiences and change courses if necessary.

There is nothing more sobering than making your own choices. There’s a difference between doing whatever you want to do and making your choices in full view of the potential benefits and consequences of them. When you know what you’re facing and you decide to let the chips fall where they may and that you’ll deal with outcomes, that’s rich! That’s the difference between being immature and walking boldly through life.

Even when experiences bring pain, the human condition is worth living. Heartbreak and glee are bedfellows. It is your perspective that determines whether the heartbreak is crushing. With every experience, you should make better choices. Although I am not the type who welcomes the heavy lifting of life, I think an increasingly heavy load is useful for those people who refuse to examine themselves.

Last, but not least, the whole idea that a person can change course is awesome! What better way to prove to yourself that you are powerful and courageous by looking at what you’re doing and how you’re living and choosing to continue or discontinue.

March 6, 2015 Posted by | Random (wine, food, books....and random stuff) | Leave a comment

Annalise Keaton’s Hair and Makeup Evolution

Annalise’s style on the 2/12/2015 episode was all that: the picture on the right! What did I love? Oh, let me see: a dark-skinned woman rocking a dark smoky eye with slightly lighter color (maybe a deep grey) in the crease leading toward the brow bone but not all the way up and a plum lipstick. When HTGAWM first started, I think Annalise was supposed to look like the picture on the left; however, to me, she always wound up looking like the woman in the middle. The hairstyle on the left is hard to wear. I used to have a wig just like that. It is impossible to keep it looking as well put together as it should, and I did wind up walking around looking like the pic in the middle. I love it when a woman finds her look! Go Viola!!!!!!!


Is there another reason why I love Annalise’s look? Yes, she looks like what I think a powerful black woman looks like. Yes, there are other power looks; but this one and Annalise do it for me! And after 2/12, I’ve decided that Mrs. Keating MUST stick with this look. I mean, who do I call to endorse this look? I teach as an adjunct, and Professor Keating has made me start dressing up and better for class!

I know that we all like options; however, dark eyes really work for Viola. Check her out! Notice how her brows are well-defined; but not too dark or severe. Following that, her eyes need full liner. I think the full liner must be in place so that any other color eye makeup she wears has a place and doesn’t look like a mass of pigment. She can do anything lip color wise. Her full lips are beautiful and her striking smile and can work whatever they want. Additionally, I want to draw your attention to how subtle her blush is. She has on just a touch. That little embellishment gives her face dimension without making her look like she’s been hit in the face with either a bingo blotter or a Nike swoosh.  Don’t bring up the boobs in the orange dress…that isn’t the point here!

43rd NAACP Image Awards - ArrivalsThe Vera Wang fall 2012 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at the Stage at Lincoln Center on February 13, 2012 in New York City.annalise

One last thing, makeup aside…I love her demeanor in the show. Maybe I’m a psychopath, too. I love how she displays incontestable unshakeable confidence in her work. She eats her adversaries for lunch! I love how she has a fierce comeback for each of her mean opponents. I can’t stand people who are rude and condescending, and the people who come for her always are….BUT SHE HAS READY COME BACK each and every time! I so love that! They always start it; but she is always ready! You go girl!

Dear Viola,

I love me some you!

M. “Blush” Sutton

February 14, 2015 Posted by | Makeup | , , | Leave a comment

The History Tattoos

I’m know I’m not the only person who has wondered about the history and original purpose of tattooing.  I’m always fascinated by people’s varying motivation to adorn their bodies.  From what I personally to consider to be elegant art to extreme decisions, tattoos can always spark an interesting conversation.  As I thought about whether I am brave enough to decorate my body, I balanced what I know about tattoos (they cause pain) with what I wanted to know about tattoos (what is their origin and historical significance).  I grew up in a Christian home and was always taught that tattoos were against God.  I wanted to explore that a tad and came across this article:  Tattoos.

Here are a few interesting facts:
1)  The oldest tattoos used to be back dated to about c. 2000 B.C.; however, there is evidence that tattooing is more than 5,200 years old;

2)  In Ancient Egypt, tattooing may have been a female-only practice; and

3)  There appears to be come discrepancy about what a tattoo initially represented.  It could’ve been a marker for prostitution, a spiritual practice aimed at honoring and protecting central components of femininity or an indicator of status.  Sailors and miners also employed the practice as a mark and possibly a sign of solidarity.

From another article, some scholars think that tattooing may be a type of rites of passage activity because American culture doesn’t have any such rituals.  Finally, I came across this video,

which provided a nice overview of he practice.  In short, a tattoo is the thing that represents you that you that will never be forgotten.  

History aside, I already know that getting inked (again) shouldn’t be a thoughtless decision.  If you choose a tattoo shop with poor sanitation practices, you open yourself up blood born diseases like Hepatitis C.  Additionally, depending on your body, tattooing could lead to keloids!    Finally, tattoos are supposed to be permanent; therefore, removal is expensive, painless and may not work completely.

Love the skin you’re in, including the skin you decorate!

January 22, 2015 Posted by | Random (wine, food, books....and random stuff) | Leave a comment

Words to Live By….

Words-to-live-by1 I’m committed to working through this list of journaling prompts:  Below is my attempt at #6.  In the table below, I have listed words that I hope describe me in certain facets of my life.  If you had to choose 3 – 7 words to live by, what would they be?  Meanwhile, here are a couple of my personal life quotes:

1)  God will extend grace to you for just about everything except pride and arrogance.  Ask David!

2)  Even if you don’t know exactly what to do, don’t just stand there!  Figure out something!  God doesn’t do idleness.  Ask dude who buried the talent.

3)  While we all have character contradictions, the people who don’t work to reconcile theirs aren’t trustworthy.

4)  If you keep talking about a goal, but I never see you working on the goal, I tune you out.  I am not hatin’.  I just think you don’t realize that you’re lying.

5)  Let people be wrong about inconsequential matters and stop going to war where there are no meaningful spoils to be won.

6)  If you ask a question and the person can’t give you a clear answer, s/he is either lying or doesn’t know.  Don’t let them make you feel stupid.  Keep asking your question until they clarify or until it becomes clear to both of you that s/he is full of it.  On the other hand, accept and don’t judge people who say, “I don’t know.”

7)  Read body language.  Stop ignoring all of what is said in favor of only what is spoken.

8)  Quitting isn’t acceptable, but it is okay to change course when it makes sense.

9)  Indeed, God’s ways are not mine. I ask for what I want, even if it isn’t Godly.  He knows which wishes to grant; that ain’t my job.

10)  Guilt and shame are useless emotions.  Either make a decision to do better or accept yourself.

Soul Condition
Life Approach
Fantasy Self
Treat Others
1.  Grateful 1.  Perseverance 1.  Fearless 1.  Provocative 1.  Studious
2.  Wisdom-Seeking 2.  Connected 2.  Flawless 2.  Malleable 2.  Humorous
3.  Hopeful 3.  Industrious 3.  Selfless 3.  Respectful 3.  Humble
4.  Prayerful 4.  Passion 4.  Genius 4.  Gracious 4.  Idealistic
5.  Contemplative 5.  Fidelity 5.  Statuesque 5.  Principled 5.  Measured
6.  Prosperous 6.  Courage 6.  Elegant 6.  Encouraging 6.  Courageous
7.  Joyful 7.  Expectant 7.  Affluent 7.  Engaging 7.  Warm
*Hopeful *Expectant *Elegant *Gracious *Measured

January 1, 2015 Posted by | Random (wine, food, books....and random stuff) | Leave a comment

Things I’ve Learned to Appreciate with Age

Life is like wine....

Life is like wine….

As the new year approaches, like everybody else, I get all reflective on you!  So, I’ll be posting a few personal posts over the next seven days.  I invite you to add your perspectives in the comments!  Welcome to 2015!

1.  A comfortable home.  My home is no longer just the place I sleep.  It offers serenity and comfort while not being high maintenance.  In short, I go home to rest, unload and recharge.  I don’t invite people into my home who might disturb these elements.

2.  Luxurious pajamas.  There was once a time when I was okay sleeping in anything.  After all, I was just “going to bed”.  Now, I like really comfortable pajamas (BTW, I detest satin and silky feeling pajamas).  I like pajamas because I feel more relaxed at night while lounging and less harried in the morning.  It helps me to end and begin my days with a mindset of thankfulness and calm.

3.  Traditions that I’ve created.  It is weird little things that make me feel like the woman I’ve always envisioned myself to be.  Here are three: I love sour jelly beans but only eat them on my birthday;  The only item that I take to holiday potlucks is pound cake; and I try a different type of wine every month.

4.  Minimizing needless or useless possessions. I think this one started, in part, as my subconscious way of dealing with the fire/explosion that I endured in 2013.  I don’t want anything that I don’t actually use, whether it is clothes, furniture, knickknacks, dishes, etc.  If it collects dust, it must go!

5.  Nature.  There’s nothing more peaceful than walking or biking through the woods early in the morning.  The silence, the freedom from companionship and conversation with another besides myself and opportunity to take in the simultaneous simplicity, complexity and beauty of God.

6.  Exploring my values and working on eliminating contradictions.  I’ve never wanted to be a lot like other people because I don’t think others have figured out much more than I have when I evaluate what they say they believe in versus what they do versus what their ideas of happiness and success are relative to mine.  Therefore, my goals are to personally define happiness while working out my own contradictions through introspection and prayer.  I love other people and appreciate various approaches to life; but I stopped esteeming other people over myself.  Some might call this self-acceptance.

7.  Setting mid-range and long-term goals.  It feels great to set a goal that takes more than 30 minutes to achieve and actually get there.  It is a type of success that is difficult to describe.  It is the kind of win that you don’t need others to witness because you know the work you put in.

December 31, 2014 Posted by | Random (wine, food, books....and random stuff) | Leave a comment

30 Things that Make Me Happy

self awarenessA short while ago, I discovered the website for Spirituality and Health website.  On that website, I found a suggestion for things to blog about to help you think about who you are.  I can’t think of many things that are greater than self-awareness; thus, the prompts were right up my alley!  Some of them are things that I think are good shares and will, hopefully, motivate you to do it, too.

30 Things That Make Me Smile (#4)
1.  Babies, particularly newborns and chubby ones – toddlers, not so much.
2. The satisfaction of a new recipe turning out well.
3.  When an old black woman subtly lets me know that she is proud of me.
4.  Uncle Frank.
5.  Asking primary school aged kids questions.
6.  Sexy poetry.
7.  Personal and specific compliments from a long-time beau.
8.  A long bike ride.
9.  Traditional gospel music, particularly when it includes old school moaning.
10.  Puppies and little dogs.
11.  A good-looking drivers license picture.
12.  A new journal.
13.  A good haircut.
14.  Watching a couple, who clearly practices and is good at it, hand dance.
15.  Observing close relationships between brides and their mothers and sisters on the wedding day.
16.  Trying new coffee.
17.  Trying new cocktails, particularly if I made them.
18.  Journaling in a coffee shop.
19.  Long walks in the woods.
20.  New socks and underwear.
21.  Buying something that has been on my list for a very long time.
22. The satisfaction and stoic feel of paying my last respects at a funeral.
23.  Going out for a meal after pay-day.  I always order exactly what I want and never feel guilty about the calories or money.  It feels better than a date!
24.  The peace after a good cry is over.
25.  The first embrace from a family member I haven’t seen in a long time.
26.  The thirst/craving to read once I’ve gotten caught up in a good book.
27.  Things that feel like me, i.e., coffee mugs with cute quotes, college sweat shirts, slightly messy apartment, etc.
28.  A friend who lets me cry the ugly cry.
29.  Standing up for myself when I’m afraid of the backlash but believe the principle to be paramount.
30.  Healed relationships.

December 5, 2014 Posted by | Random (wine, food, books....and random stuff) | Leave a comment

Which is better? Salicylic or Glycolic?



Is a glycolic based product best for my skin?

Vitamin A Boosting Cream with box (1)

Or is a Vitamin A (retin-A) okay, or should I try something else?

  How do I choose?  Which is best?

   So, you’re standing in the middle of the aisle in the drug store or at the beauty county.  You see tons of products, and   they all have some sort of “acid” in them, whether alpha hydroxy acid, beta hydroxy acid, salicylic, glycolic, lactic, kojic, or something.  You’re probably overwhelmed, and it is easy to feel that way.  Below is a simple chart to help you understand some of the basic differences between salicylic and glycolic acid.  As you read the chart, you’ll see that becomes clearer and clearer that the answer is, “it depends.”  This is really true.  Whether one product or ingredient works best for you depends on what is going on with you.  This includes your skin type, skin sensitivities and lifestyle.


Salicylic Acid Glycolic Acid
Chemical peels and over the counter skincare products commonly contain both of these products. You should choose the product according to how your skin is behaving and in consultation with a skincare specialist.



Comes from plants and one of its derivatives is aspirin. If you have an aspirin allergy, avoid salicylic acid products until you speak with your doctor.



Derived from sugarcane; however, it can be produced with synthetic ingredients.


Regardless of your skintype, acne needs three ingredients to send bumps up on your face: bacteria, oil and a clogged pore (the acne trifecta).


A beta hydroxy acid (BHA)


BHAs are used for people with acne-prone or oily skin types because it penetrates the pores and actually dissolves what’s actually in the pore, including oil. Also exfoliates.


An alpha hydroxy acid (AHA)


The primary benefit of an AHA is exfoliation. Great option for keeping skin looking fresh and keeping that dull, aged look at bay.


Exfoliation works by loosening the bonds in the skin so that dead skin can be more easily sloughed off.


Both products work on reduces the acne trifecta, but in somewhat different ways.


Generally more drying because it dissolves oil. Can be drying; but may also be more irritating. The higher the strength, the more the penetration.
Both can make the skin dry and peel depending on strength and how frequently the product is used.


Helps with hyperpigmentation (dark marks). Helps with hyperpigmentation (dark marks).


Both products help with hyperpigmentation. The product you use depends on your skin’s reaction and tolerance level. Further, you’ll generally need 4 – 8 treatments depending on the severity of your acne and/or hyperpigmentation.


November 19, 2014 Posted by | Skin | Leave a comment

Dirty Makeup Brushes!

I hope I caught you before you put on your makeup this morning!  Let me ask you something:  when was the last time you cleaned that brush?  That lipstick brush hasn’t been cleaned in so long that you’re wiping lint off of it:  STOP THAT RIGHT NOW!  And there’s so much build-up on that eyeliner brush that you don’t need to put the shadow on it for perfect brows!  Again, STOP THAT RIGHT NOW!

Acne needs three things to grow:  bacteria, oil and a clogged pore (dirt/debris doesn’t help either).  So with those “haven’t been cleaned in at least 2 months brushes”, you’re providing the bacteria and probably some dirt, too.

If you don’t have brush cleaner, use baby shampoo or schedule a chemical peel to get your pores unclogged :)!

November 12, 2014 Posted by | Makeup, Skin | Leave a comment

What’s Your Style?

Style - fashionclimaxx(.)comSkin and makeup sit in the same saucer as style and demeanor.  These are the pillars of personal presentation and individual style and fall under an umbrella called “branding”.  Branding is a jazzy term that really means all the things that you do consistently, both behavior and appearance-wise, that tell people how to think about you.  Essentially, you help people judge you by managing what you give them to talk about.  There’s one additional caveat:  the entire branding concept requires consistency.

Let me explain why consistency is important:  have you ever known someone who was normally very chatty and then you encountered them one day, and they were kind of quiet?  Did you wonder whether they okay or having a bad day?  This is what branding does:  IT TEACHES PEOPLE WHAT TO EXPECT.  Like it or not, people need to know what to expect because it helps them think about which box to put you in.  People need to know which box to put you in in their mind because they tells them two things.  First, it helps them think about how they might help you.  For example, with my makeup regular makeup clients who hire me for important business meetings, head shots and formal events, I pay attention to how they normally present themselves.  I want the makeup that I do to be consistent with how they want to be seen, thought of, regarded.  If someone wants to be known for fashion makeup (a dramatic look), I don’t want to give them a natural look…unless they ask for that for a specific purpose.  Second, when you deliberately choose the box that you want to be in, that tells people that you are good at what you do…unless, you suck at what you do (and that’s a different blog post!).  For example, most people who really know me know that my makeup style is very clean, soft and natural.  They know that brides and special occasions are my thing.  NOBODY ASKS ME TO DO BODY PAINTING because nothing about me says that’s what I do.

Pillars 1 and 2:  Skin and Makeup….. These two pillars are important to manage because they affect your confidence.  They affect how you see yourself.  Personally, I NEVER LEAVE THE HOUSE WITHOUT FILLING IN MY EYEBROWS.  I always do my brows because I look unfinished and unpolished without them.  My brows are naturally sparse and have no shape.  I want to look like I care about my appearance.  Besides, how can a makeup artist/esthetician look like she doesn’t care and attract clients?

Pillars 3 and 4:  Style and Demeanor….. These pillars have to do with what you show the world and affect how people see you.  I dress in a manner that is classic and elegant.  On any given day, I can go from a studio doing makeup for headshots into a corporate office for a client who needs makeup for a dinner time business meeting.  While I could probably get away with wearing whatever I want for the first obligation, discretion is more valuable in the second environment.  Therefore, my clothes need to be versatile.  No matter how great my brush work is, the corporate office (second client) isnt the setting where “turnt up” is okay.  Because of this need to be versatile, I have to be what I call “comfortably elegant”.  To work, I must be comfortable, and I need to be personable to make clients comfortable.  I need to be elegant in my behavior because that allows me work with different types of clients in various settings without standing out in a negative way.  Funny enough, I am not changing my personal style to fit my clients.  My work and clients actually reflect who I am.  I don’t feel stressed because I am not code-switching all day.

What do you do consistently? Whats your style?

October 18, 2014 Posted by | Your Image, Your Brand | , | Leave a comment

What’s Your Type? Skincare Tips!

Image credit:

Image credit:

Oily Skin:

Cleansers:  Foams and gels are best.

Sunscreens:  Even though you hate it because you think it makes you oilier, you must wear it!

Therapies:  Products containing benzoyl peroxide & salicylic acid will work to help reduce oil.

Notes:  Oily skin should not be washed excessively, nor should oily skin types avoid moisturizer.  Either situation makes the skin produce even more oil.  A consistent skincare routine that focuses on fighting oil at night is imperative to minimizing the potential for acne and clogged pores.

Dry Skin:

Cleansers:  Creamy cleansers won’t aggravate dry skin as much.

Sunscreen:  Creamy products that combine sunscreen and moisturizer are awesome for you!

Therapies:  Although dry skin can be acneic and subject to clogged pores, dry skin types should approach keeping pores open and fighting acne by including low-dose alpha-hydroxy acids into the skincare routine on a regular basis, i.e., every other night depending on the skin’s ability to tolerate the product.

Notes:  Dry skin tends to be more sensitive as well.  In order to treat the skin’s dryness without appearing greasy during the day dry skin types should have a regular night routine that includes high moisture.  Depending on how dry your skin is, you can skip morning cleansing in favor of a mild toner.  Too much water is NOT your friend.  DO NOT USE over-the-counter cortisone without the direction of your skincare professional or dermatologist.


Cleansers:  Gels

Sunscreen:  A light-weight product that introduces moisture to the skin, but isn’t extremely heavy

Therapies:  Combination skin types should focus on “middle of the road products” when looking for items that need to go on the entire face, i.e., cleansers.  It is important to avoid drying out the cheeks while attempting to control the t-zone oiliness.

Notes: Combination skin types want to pay attention to how extreme the variations are.  The t-zone tends to be oily while the cheeks tend to be normal-to-dry.  Spot treatments are the best approach to managing the different areas.  Finally, controlling skincare issues will be easier when combination skin types have a regular night-time skincare routine that treats the different problems.


Cleansers:  Gels and light-weight creamy cleansers during cooler months.

Sunscreen:  Your challenge is every person’s challenge:  finding a sunscreen that you like!  In general, unless you’re getting particular skin treatments like chemical peels or using Retin-A, you can use SPF 15 during cool months and SPF25+ during summer months.

Therapies:  Although there are awesome scrubs available, many people tend to apply too much pressure to the skin with the hands which can make the skin tender and extra sensitive.  Therefore, I recommend using serums and enzymes.

Notes:  Normal skin types want to exfoliate, but not aggressively, on a consistent basis.  As you mature, the body needs a little help keeping the pores open. There are tons of products that will gently exfoliate your skin on a daily basis like gentle scrubs and serums or at regular intervals like chemical peels.  As long as the skin doesn’t experience consistent or acute painful acne, normal skin types are challenged with maintaining good habits like not sleeping in makeup and washing your face immediately after working out and adding regular exfoliation with age to maintain a bright and healthy appearance.

October 5, 2014 Posted by | Skin | Leave a comment


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