Friday, December 31, 2010

Song of the Day and Happy New Year!

I love everything about Esperanza Spalding.
Her big hair. Her breezy music. And definitely her bad-ass bass playing!
And now the world has just discovered the Portland, Oregon native's talent.
She was recently nominated for a Best New Artist Grammy.
I hope she wins.
Until then, enjoy this tune called "Chacarera" from her latest album, "The Chamber Music Society:"

And I have to work on New Year's Day so I'm doing my wishes early. Happy New Year to you and yours!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Beauty products that didn't work for me

Josie Maran Argan oil: This oil has got to be one of the most over hyped products I've ever used in my life. I bought it from Sephora for like $13 because of its moisturizing claims. Wish I would've kept my money. I used it in my scalp and skin, which are severely dry in the winter time. I didn't see a difference. And I'm left scratching my scalp about its appeal.

ecotools loofah sponge: I actually like ecotools products but this facial sponge did nothing for me. I did like that it wasn't too abrasive, but I didn't notice a change in my skin.

Konad nail plates: OK, as a lover of nail polish, I had HUGE hopes for these popular nail art plates that I paid $17 for. But I tried over and over again to get the plate image onto the rubber stamper to no avail. This product broke my heart.

**These products were not sent to me for review by companies. I paid for them with my own funds.
Image source:

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

NOTD: Glittery pink

I currently have Revlon's "Plum Seduction" and N.Y.C.'s "Starry Silver Glitter" on my nails.
It's an OK combination; kind of looks like my nails are at a party.
Although I've been loving Revlon polishes lately, I'm not a huge fan of "Plum Seduction."
It kinda has this Barbie Doll thing going on that I don't like.
What say you?

And please don't forget to enter in my Light It Up Holiday Giveaway. I'm giving away a Burt's Bees Wax's Natural Manicure Set and other unnamed goodies. It's so easy to enter: just tell me what you wanted for the holidays and follow my blog through Google or one of the other functions. The contest ends on Friday. Good luck!

Monday, December 27, 2010

R.I.P. Teena Marie

I was so sad to see that R&B singer Teena Marie unexpectedly passed away last night at the age of 54.
A force in the music business, Teena Marie leaves behind a solid body of work. She sang classic hits and remained relevant by appealing to younger generations (The Fuguees remade her 80s hit "Ooh La La La" into their massive hit "Fu-gee-la."
My fave Teena Marie song is "Square Biz."
Can't forget her in "Fire & Desire," a classic ballad she did with her mentor Rick James.
R.I.P. Teena.

Santana's first album is rocking my world!

The last record that completely blew my mind was Santana’s 1969 debut album.
I’m awed by the album’s musicianship, song arrangements and of course, lead singer Carlos Santana’s godly guitar skills.
There’s no doubt that the album is a classic that cemented Santana as a behemoth in the music industry.
“Santana,” which has the most awesome album cover ever (how many lion faces can you count?), is just stellar.
Excuse my ignorance here but I’ve heard “Evil Ways” so many times but didn’t know Santana sang that tune!
From the pulsating drums in the opening number, to the volcano hot guitar rifts in “Persuasion,” the music is just stellar.
My faves include “Jingo,” a song that’s so titillating that you have to shimmy your bum bum.
I also heart the last song on the track, “Soul Sacrifice.”It’s a tune in which the band sings no words, they just play. And play they do.
The Cuban/African vibes percolating from the instruments do the gabbing.
I got this record as a going-away-gift from a former co-worker and it has become one of my fave records of all time.
I may be “Tardy for the Party,” in discovering Santana, but you better believe I won’t be leaving the festivities anytime soon.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

NOTD: Revlon's "Ocean"

I like a nice blue polish from time to time and Revlon's "Ocean" is rocking my world right now.
It's a shimmery blue that's part of Revlon's new Top Speed collection, of which I am a big fan.
Loving this color.
And I hope you had a nice Christmas. I had to work on Christmas day and didn't have time to post.
If you're in Virginia/N.C., be safe. The snow is coming down hard and doesn't look like it's stopping. Be safe!

Monday, December 20, 2010

NOTD: Starry Silver Glitter Shield

I'm currently rocking wet n wild's "Shield" topped with a coat of N.Y.C.'s "Starry Silver Glitter."
I like the look, which is very holiday-ish.
By itself, the "Shield" polish reminds me of a cheap Minx mani. I didn't like it in the bottle but it looks lovely on my nails.
And I've been seeing positive reviews of "Starry Silver Glitter" in the beauty blogosphere so I wanted to try it out for myself.
Glitter polishes usually aren't my thing because they're hard to get off but this one works for me aesthetically.
I like the silver and blue specs of glitter in the formula. They look pretty over the shiny "Shield" base.
Overall, this polish look is a winner.

Friday, December 17, 2010

How much did you spend on holiday shopping?

This year, my goal was to spend about $250 on holiday gifts.
Did I make budget? Of course not.
I was off. Waaaaaay off by like about $200.
Yeap, I spent almost $500 on holiday gifts this year.
Go ahead and shoot me in the foot. I was a part of the consumer madness that plagues the holiday season every year.
Sad thing is that I could've easily made gifts but didn't really feel like it.
But you know what, I don't feel bad about my gift-giving amount.
I gave to those that have given me in the past and continue to open their hearts to me.
And call me vain but I also gifted myself. (Hey, you've got to take care of you, right?)
Good thing is I get an extra paycheck this month so I'll be able to pay off my holiday shopping bill, donate to a cause and get ahead in my bills.
So it's really no biggie.
I overspent on holiday shopping this year but it was well worth it.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

NOTD: Revlon's "Sugar Plum"

Revlon's "Sugar Plum" is currently on my tips.
I got this beauty of a color earlier this week from CVS for about $3.
The color is part of Revlon's new Top Speed line of polish colors.
"Sugar Plum" a shimmery color that's not too understated and not too flashy, although I don't mind flashy hues on my nails.
Me loves it. It doesn't make my hands look too old lady-ish and it's a perfect winter color.
What say you?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Polish Haul

From left to right: Revlon's top coat, wet n wild's "Sheild" and "Goldmind," Revlon's "Suglar Plum" and "Ocean," and N.Y.C.'s "Starry Silver Glitter."

Happy Monday!
I bought some more nail polish today. Couldn't help it.
My local CVS had a wide selection of Revlon Top Speed nail polish colors so I picked up "Ocean" and "Sugar Plum." I also bought a bottle of Revlon's top coat; I want to try it out since their base coat has been working really well on my nails.
All bottles were on sale for $4 and came to about three dollars each, after using two coupons.
Then, I bought two bottles of wet n wild from Walgreens. I've used "Goldmine" before but wanted to try "Shield." They were $1 each.
Finally, I copped a bottle of N.Y.C.'s "Starry Silver Glitter" from Rite-Aid. They were having a BOGO half off on the brand's products so I bought that, and another bottle which I gifted to a friend.

And Zoya's remove plus polish remover is rocking my world right now! It removes lacquer quickly and didn't leave my nailbed dry. I bought a small bottle to test it out but am going to invest in a bigger bottle when I get Christmas money.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Light it Up Holiday Giveaway

What are you asking the Beauty Santa to get you for Christmas this year?
The biggest (and cheapest) thing on my list is Burt's Bees Wax's Natural Manicure Set.
This set features lemon butter cuticle cream, almond milk hand creme (which I love!!!), a lip balm, an Emory board, cuticle sticks and a bag to place all the items in.
And it only costs $15!! Not bad for all that product.
Well, I'm giving one away to a lucky reader as part of my Light it Up Holiday Giveaway. It is part of Project Danielle's Light it Up Blog Event.
The rules are simple. All you have to do is follow my blog through Google or one of the other functions, and leave a comment telling me what you want for this holiday season.
Yes, it's that easy.
Contest begins Saturday, December 11 and ends Friday, December 31.
I'll announce the winner a few days after that.
Contest is open to U.S. readers only. Good luck and happy holidays!

Friday, December 10, 2010

NOTD: Revlon's "Emerald"

Revlon's "Emerald" is currently on my nails.
This polish is new, part of the brand's Top Speed collection.
I love this green.
It's not too bright and not too morbid.
The formula didn't dry fast enough for me, but the color is definitely a win.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Song of the Day:

Today's Song of the Day is another gem from Betty Davis, "Shut off the Light."
I want to have her fearlessness when I grow up.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Polish haul and NOTD

Happy Monday!

Picked up a few polish goodies from Ulta and Walgreens this weekend:

Top: Revlon's "Emerald" and "Golden." Bottom: Nic's Sticks in "Silver-Ella" and "Home By Midnight."

"Golden," which is part of Revlon's new Top Speed line, is currently on my nails:

It's not an earth shattering color but it's a very festive hue. What do you think?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

NOTD: Sephora's "Disco"

This is "Disco" from Sephora's crazy $1 polish sale that's currently going on.
It's a pretty jeweled fuscia and perfect for the upcoming cold weather.
Me loves it.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

More books to read!

More books to read:)
I picked up these babies from my local bookstore and can't wait to read them!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

DIY: Bookmarks made with nail polish

I always try to reuse things instead of throwing them away and recently came across what I thought would be a cool idea after finishing a box of green tea: DIY bookmarks.

These tea separators came in the box of green tea. I thought they were perfectly shaped for bookmarks.

Of course, I used old nail polish to paint designs the bookmarks.

Here's one side of the finished products. I also designed an old envelope because I was curious to see how it would turn out.

And here's the other side. My books will love these bookmarks!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

NOTD: Sally Hansen's "Mystic Lilac"

I currently have Sally Hansen's "Mystic Lilac" on my nails.
This color has been very popular in the beauty blogosphere and I see why.
Although it is a light purple, it has a gray/taupe look to it.
And if you look closer, it has these very small, green sparkles mixed in the formula.
I'm so used to wearing loud polish colors so it's refreshing to wear a hue that's low-key.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Sante nail polish review

My SANTE order also came with lots of samples!

Always on the lookout for new natural and organic nail polish removers, I recently ordered a bottle from SANTE, a German company.
This product has been popping up around the beauty blogs, which fueled my curiosity with it.
I liked the pump bottle that the remover came in. It dispersed a nice size amount of the polish remover, which is made with organic alcohol.
The remover worked surprisingly fast.
I liked its orange organic oil, which left my nail beds and cuticles moisturized.
The smell is slightly medicinal but I can live with that, and this product.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Recent Nail Design

I was going to do a half moon/ruffian look with my nails but ended up with this:

I used Sally Hansen's "Wet Cement" as the base, then Sally Hansen's "Dazzling."
Nothing special but something different.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

facial cleansers

I've been using these products to keep my skin refreshed and even.

Water. Fresh produce. Good spirits.
My skin has been looking really good these days and I'm sure it can be attributed to the above reasons.
But the products that I've recently started using have also been helping my face look it's best.
In the morning, I wash my face with fresh soy cleanser. It's about $15 and you can get it from Sephora.
After that, I add some khadi rose water that I got during my India trip last year.
I finish my morning facial cleansing ritual with Shea Moisture's shea butter, which gives me a nice, natural glow.
At night, I follow the same routine but I use philosophy's facial cleanser. I also get this from Sephora for about $20.
I've also been using Freeman's Mega 8 Complex Superfruits facial mask,which uses natural antioxidants to purify and detoxify skin.
Feels like my face has been given an new lease on life. It's even, bright toned and fresh.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Song of the Day: "I Want to Be Free"

Today's "Song of the Day" is from the Ohio Players.
"I Want to Be Free" just feels so good in my ear drums.
Plus, it's nothing but 70s cool.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Shecky's Girl's Night Out

I recently attended the Shecky's Girls Night Out event in D.C. with my very good girlfriend, Jaedda.
If you're a beauty junkie like I am, then you NEED to go to this event!
It had all kinds of jewelry, lip glosses, nail polish, clothes, shoes, bags and event martinis.
And Shecky's is famous for its "Goody Bag," which comes equipped with enough stuff to restock your beauty arsenal.
This was my second Shecky's Girls Night Out event and Jaedda's first. I treated her to the event for her birthday and she loved it.
Check out event pix below:

There were so many people in attendance that we could barely walk.

I bought a nice candle from this place. OMG it smelled so good that you could smell the candles from down the corridor!

Me and Jaedda having fun and taking it all in!

Here's the cuteness that is the Goody Bag. I'm going to reuse it as a shopping bag.

The Goody Bag featured products like room spray, lotion, toothpaste, hair clips, lip balm, dental floss, perfume, coupons and samples.

Here are some things that I bought from the vendors like earrings, nail polish, candles, soap and eye and lip liners.

Monday, November 8, 2010

NOTD and Haul

Happy Monday!

This gorgeous baby of a color is currently on my tips:

I don't do too well with blue nail polishes.
They're either too dark or too light, but I've found a blue hue that works well for me.
My former co-worker and good friend Lauren gave me Avon's "Lagoon" at her going-away party.
"Lagoon" is a creamy, pastel blue that is suitable for springtime, but I'm going to rock this baby during the fall and winter months.
I love it. Do you like it?

And I went to Sephora today:

Been working hard lately and wanted to treat myself.
I got a bottle of Josie Maran's Argan Oil and some nail polish drying drops.
The Sephora sales lady also put a couple of samples in my bag too.
Expect reviews soon.
Have a good week!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Rejuvenate and Relieve Nail Spa review: works like a charm!

What could be better than a trip to the spa?
An at-home spa treatment, of course!
Well, I picked up a Rejuvenate and Relieve Nail Spa that was on clearance for $7 from Marshall's not too long ago and it is a charm.
It's lightweight, compact and has lots of features like a cuticle tool, smoothing disks, nail brush and several kinds of files.
Check out some pix of my new fave beauty tool below (sorry for the lighting):

In the box. It's so cute and compact.

Out the box. It has lots of tools and features.

Drying my polish. This is my fave feature.

Overall, this is a product of quality and the cheap price tag enhances its value.
The spa made my nail polish process easier because of the filing and cuticle tools and the drying feature which I think is just so cute.
I usually don't go out to get my nails done and thanks to the Nail Spa, I can stay in the comfort of my home and continue doing my tips and toes.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Finding ways to spend less

My goal for early 2011 is to pay off my entire credit card bill.
The balance is currently about $1,000 and I have been putting at least $200 a month on it.
Lately, I've been looking at ways to help me pay off my credit card bill so I tracked my spending habits for the entire month of August.
I wrote down EVERYTHING (and I mean every purchase) and it was pretty eye-opening.
Aside from necessity bills like rent, utilities and groceries, here's a breakdown of miscellaneous things I bought in August:

-$52 on stuff from Marshall's

-$3 nail polish from Walgreens (Why doesn't this surprise me?)

-$4 on treats from the local chocolate shop

-$22 on a Red Lobster dinner

-$10 on a jacket from the local thrift store

-$8 on Dollar Tree finds

Now, all of the miscellaneous purchases that I made in August weren't included in this post, but when I calculated all of them from my journal, they came to about $315.
Yes, you read that right: $315.
That's a lot of money!!
Too much dinero to just be spending on nothing but stuff.
To solve that problem, I'm currently trying figure out how I will cut back on miscellaneous spending so I can put more money on my credit card.
I hope to put an extra $50 to $100 a month on the card so it's paid off in full by February or March.
I think I can make it happen but we'll see how it goes.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

NOTD: Sally Hansen's "Adoring Amethyst"

Now this is the kind of berry polish color that I've been searching for to wear during fall and winter months.
It's called "Adoring Amethyst" and is a part of Sally Hansen's Maximum Growth line.
I got this baby on clearance from Walgreens for $1.29.
The deep berry hue and metallic shimmer compliment my skintone and make my hands pop.
This color will probably spend a lot of time on my tips and toes.
I'm very impressed; I like it.

Monday, November 1, 2010

What books are you reading?

Since I'm a writer, it's extremely important that I read anything that I can get my fingers on. After all, good writing comes from good reading.
So lately, I've been spending lots of my free time reading books for leisure.
And to increase my exposure to different types of authors, I've joined the book club at work.
The first book we read was Lorrie Moore's "A Gate at the Stairs," which both amazed and perplexed me.
The next book on our list is Kathryn Stockett's "The Help."
I just finished reading books on reflexology, detoxing, inner simplicity, financial security and meditation.
As you can see, they are all self-help books; I'm trying to improve my life so don't judge me:)
Since I'm curious to see Tyler Perry's film adaption that's coming out next week, I recently read Ntozake Shange's "for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf."
The choreopoem was both depressing and beautiful. It will be interesting to see how it translates on film.
Currently, I'm reading the classic Frank McCourt book "Angela's Ashes."

And I hope to go to Barnes & Noble soon to use this $50 gift card I won at work to read more classics- and new treasures:

My father was an avid book reader and he had stacks and stacks of books in his apartment and would read everything from pop culture to politics.
He was intelligent to the tenth degree, and he retained all of the information that he read. He could tell you what the third paragraph of whatever book said, that's how smart he was.
This sounds crazy but I guess me reading is my little connection to him and his spirit, especially since he passed a couple of years ago.

What are you reading?? What's on your reading list?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Beauty products I'm loving!

Please excuse me but I'm slightly behind on my beauty product reviews so I've decided to share a few with you that I really, really heart:

-Revlon Pedi-Expert Kit: This kit is a dupe of the very popular Pedi Egg but Revlon's version kept my feet smooth this summer. I got it on clearance for about $5 at CVS. Good buy.

-PeaceKeeper Cause-Metics' lip balm and polish remover: I love this company, whose profits help support human rights issues. The $4 lip balm left my pout cotton soft and the $10 polish remover smelled slightly medicinal but worked like a charm.

-essie drying drops: This product is similar to Sephora's version but left my polish dry within minutes after application. I got this on clearance from Target for about $7.

-Sephora shadow shields: If you're like me, you're always dropping eyeshadow bits on your cheeks when applying it. These shields provide a guard for the shadow to fall on, leaving me with less of a mess to clean up.

-Priti soy nail polish remover: Hands down, this is my fave polish remover of all time. It doesn't take long to remove the lacquer and smells like fruit. It's 100 percent biodegradable and at $22 a bottle, it's worth the price tag.

-Physician's Formula mascara: I love this mascara for its lash lengthening properties. Plus, it's made without harsh chemicals, parabens and synthetic preservatives. Holla.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Nails, nails, nails!

Here are several looks I've recently rocked:

Maybelline's "Berry Fancy."

Confetetti's "Papa-Razzi."

"Maybelline's Gray-T-Glamour."

French manicure featuring kimmykat kolors' "Dream" and Maybelline's "Gray-T-Glamour."

Monday, October 25, 2010

Um, some things just leave you speechless...

I thought Antoine Dodson's 15 minutes were up already??
Seriously though, this is ignorant funny.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

NOTD: "Dream" from kimmykat kolors

I've been looking for a cute purple polish and I think I found it.
New polish company kimmykat kolors has a gorgeous purple named "Dream."
It's shimmery and gemlike and sooooo purdy.
I got this color at Shecky's Girl's Night Out event in D.C. yesterday. (More on that in a later post.)
The only caveat with the polish is that it's formulated with formaldehyde, toluene and DBP:(
That' sucks and it broke my heart but I still shelled out $5 for the bottle.
I think the color is cute. What say you?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Weekend Beauty Haul and Nail Swatches

I paid a trip to Ulta and Target yesterday and here's what I bought:

-Almay lipcolor in sugarplum ($3 with coupon)
-C. Booth body wash and butter (these were BOG1 half off so total came to about $10)
-method soap ($4)
-Shea Moisture ($8)
Rimmel Extra Super Lash mascara (free with $3 off coupon)
-Goody hair barrettes ($2)

I used a $5 off a $10 purchase in Ulta and my goodies came to $12. I spent way more in Target because I had to get an air bed for upcoming company and a water filter but my beauty purchases came to about $10 there. Review and swatches coming soon.

And I have most of the Revlon polishes I bought last week on my left hand:

From pinky to thumb: Plum Seduction, Steel-her Heart, Plum Night, Vixen and Orange Pop.
My faves are the Plum Seduction, which are also on my toes, Steel-her Heart and Orange Pop. Orange Pop is pretty cool because it is a scented polish that smelled like fruit when dry.

And I had Cherries in the Snow on my hand last week:

For some reason, I don't care for dark pinks and this is one I'm not feeling.

And this gorgeous color from Covergirl's Queen collection called Rhythmic Blue is on my right hand:

I got it for free at my local K-mart by using three $1 off Covergirl coupons. Now this is a color that I can get down with. It's a bright and happy color. Me likey.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Book Review: "Nikki Giovanni's "Bicycles: Love Poems"

Not too long ago, I had the pleasure of seeing literary legends Nikki Giovanni and Sonia Sanchez at my Alma mater Norfolk State University with my big brother.
Both women were dynamite and came across as two cool, little 'ol grannies.
They spoke about politics, education, family, love and sex.
Trust me, no topic was off limits!
Afterward, I bought Nikki's latest book of poems, "Bicycles: Love Poems," for about $11.
Nikki said that the book title is a metaphor for love because it is similar to riding a bicycle, which takes patience, perseverance and trust.
The poems are written in both a traditional and non-traditional format.
Some rhyme. Some don't.
She writes about everything from love, living, history and pop culture.
There were lots of poems that I fell in love with in Nikki's New York Times Bestseller.
"For Huey" was written for Essence magazine and is a tribute to Huey Newton.
"Deal or No Deal" is a funny look at how she sees the popular game show.
"I Provide" reads like a woman wondering why she's not enough for her lover: "I am the wish/On the flame of your candles/When they sing/Happy Birthday/I am yours/Everything you need/I provide/Now tell me/Why/You're not happy."
Dam. I've been there before and it's not a good feeling.
One of my faves is "Shoe Jazz Blue Jazz," in which Nikki writes "...His shoes/Those shoes/Miles Davis/All Blues."
I also admire the power and strength in "We Are Virginia Tech," which was written in response to the 2007 campus shooting that killed 32 people.
Nikki is a professor there and wrote this poem to uplift the campus community after the senseless tragedy.
Poems like that are why lots of people have come to admire Nikki and her work.
And it's why a collection like "Bicycles" is a literary gem.

Photo from

Monday, October 4, 2010

Almay natural eye shadows from the dollar store!

I bought these babies from the dollar store. They are "Cinnamon," "Oatmeal," "Apricot" and "Cocoa."

It truly is a shame that my local dollar story has natural beauty products. It really is.
I recently scooped up these four Almay eye shadow singles and am happy with the purchase.
They last long and are made with 95 percent natural ingredients.

Here are swatches of them.

And here's my favorite, "Cinnamon," on my eyes.

I don't know what's up with me but I've been into shimmery products lately and this one has a subtle shimmery affect that I love.
Dam you Dollar Tree!