Beauty Gem: Benefit ‘They’re Real’ Mascara & Gel Liner Pen

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Let me start by saying that I’m no beauty blogger.  I only started experimenting with makeup about 2 years ago.  But, when I stumble upon some good products (I call them Beauty Gems), I’ve got to share.  About a month ago, I was browsing in Ulta and purchased They’re Real! mascara by Benefit Cosmetics.  An IG buddy (Hey @King_Erika!) posted about it eons ago, and I’m late just getting around to trying it.  Well, let me just tell you, this mascara is THEBOMB.COM!  I mean, it’s giving my DiorShow a run for her money ladies.  When I paired the mascara with the They’re Real! gel liner…Fab-u-lous!

Don’t believe me? I can show you better than I can tell you.  So, without further adieu, the gel liner pen…

benefit-they're-real-before-afterI usually end up with one perfect cat eye (the right one) with the other one looking like a 3 year-old did it.   But, not with this product! The eye liner is SUPER easy to use, and I feel like I’m close to perfectly symmetric cat eyes with Benefit’s They’re Real! gel eye liner pen.  When I add the mascara, that just takes everything up a notch! Look…

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Keep in mind, I’m strictly showcasing the fabulousness of the liner and mascara, so photos are sans tinted moisturizer, concealer, or other make up (but with a heavy dose of freckles…giggle.) The gel has a matte finish and does not budge after hours of use.  The tip is flexible and so special that Benefit has had it trademarked.  See more about Benefit’s They’re Real gel liner here and/or pick them up at your local Ulta or Sephora.

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Left – without liner and mascara.  Right – with Benefit They’re Real! gel liner & mascara

 According to Q, Benefit They’re Real! gel liner pen and mascara are a MUST for your makeup bag.  For night time, a dramatic cat eye is definitely in order and this liner/mascara combo can help you achieve the look.  Daytime looks can be more subtle and still achievable with this combo.

Are you a believer in Benefit’s ‘They’re Real!’?  

Will you be picking up any ‘They’re Real!’ products?

Smooches,

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p.s. This is not a sponsored post and the opinion expressed is solely that of the writer.

Style: BET awards

The BET awards aired last night.  I was unable to watch, but I most definitely was stalking my Instagram and Facebook feeds for the red carpet fashions.  I haven’t watched the show yet, but I hear it was a rather lackluster and everyone was waiting for a live Jay and Bey performance that never happened.  Welp.   On to the fashions…

The HOT list

WhiteBETL-R:  Regina Hall, Nelly, Amber Rose

It was an all-white affair on the carpet and I loved every minute of it.  Summer and an all white outfit just go together, no?   Regina and this white suit were fabulous.  Nelly brought the heat with his white ensemble accentuated by gold spiked loafers.  Amber Rose’s maxi gown was perfectly clean & elegant.  Loved ALL of these! (All photos via BET.com)

StyleBETL-R: LaTarsha Rose, Kerry Washington, Natori Naughton

These ladies chose to colorfully grace the red carpet.  Ms. Rose’s crop top and midi skirt look is very popular and I loved the splash of color in the skirt.  I’m not usually into florals, but I thought Ms. Kerry’s look was feminine yet flirty.  Natori’s blue gown was perfection.  I loved the hip detail and her makeup and hair were simple and elegant.  (Photos via MSN.com)

The List of SideEyes

SideEyeBETL-R:  Ashanti, KeKe Palmer, Gabrielle Union

Ashanti just gave me too much with this dress.  I’m really on the fence about Michael Costello…I like him as a designer, but I feel some of his designs are a tad too revealing for my taste.  Same goes for KeKe.  The thigh cutouts were absolutely unnecessary and took away from the entire look.  I usually love Gabby’s conservative style, but these boots in June just threw here whole look off for me. (Photos via BET.com)

SideEye1L-R:  Zendaya, NeYo, Faith Evans

I was okay with Zendaya’s outfit and the sporty chic-ness from the waist up, but it appears to be a totally different, dressier outfit from the waist down.  A little too disjointed for me.  NeYo’s look is most definitely a far cry from the dapper and stylish suit & tie -ish that I’m accustomed to from him.  I’m just not sure about this one.  I loved Faith’s attempt at this double breasted coat dress look, but the exposed bra screams ‘doing too much for my age.’  The shoe color was slightly weird for me as well.  (Photos via BET.com)

According to Q, white was THE color of the red carpet! Regina Hall and Amber Rose were the most stylish in my book.  Who was the most stylish to you?  Who did you give a side-eye to?

Smooches,

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Olivia Pope + The Limited

While perusing FaceBook a few days ago, I came across an announcement from one of my favorite stores, The Limited, that I had to share!  The hit show ‘Scandal’ has made me fall in love with Olivia Pope & Associates and the way they “handle” business, but every week I’m also swooning over Olivia’s wardrobe.  The coats.  The handbags.  Her always professional and polished attire.  Yaassss, Liv!!

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Photo via US Weekly

Imagine my excitement when I came across the collaboration with The Limited and Scandal costume designer, Lyn Paolo.  The Scandal fashion line will include 42 pieces for the “sophisticated professional.”  The collection will boast a neutral palette with tailored, wide- leg trousers and chic feminine blouses.  Kerry Washington described the collection in US Weekly as a “Collection that embodies the elegance and power of the Scandal aesthetic for real-life gladiators and everyday fashionistas.”

IMG_1177IMG_1178I consider myself to be a gladiator in a white coat, and if these sketches are indicative of the fabulousness to come, I.  CAN’T. WAIT.  I know for sure that I’ve got to get my hands these pants and that coat by any means necessary.  Any other gladiator ladies with me??   Read more about the upcoming collection here.  It will be in The Limited stores late September and will retail for $49-248.

According to Q, this is one hot collaboration! If you love the Target designer collaborations just as much as I do, this one shouldn’t disappoint.

Smooches,

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Camo without the Camo + Angela Simmons

A couple of weeks ago, I was scrolling down my Instagram feed and ran across an Angela Simmons post that literally knocked my socks AND shoes off.  It was worthy of a repost, that’s how much I thought she werked the look.  It was a simple outfit really, but she brought the heat with those pants!!!  Psst…Claire over at The Fashion Bomb has scouted where to buy them.  The neutral, military-inspired color palette with the pop of red just did it for me, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked at this picture.

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I was truly inspired by Angela’s color palette, so I decided to recreate the look my way AND with pieces I already had in my closet.  That’s pretty major as I’ve really been attempting to shop less and explore my closet more.  Pray for me, please.  That’s/I’m most definitely a work in progress.  Anywho, it was hot as fish grease that day, so I decided to throw my hair up in a messy pony (alá Jenny from the Block).  I grabbed oversized gold hoops, a gold cuff, and leopard clutch to complete the look.

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Style File ~ Faux Leather Tee: Express/ Pants: J. Crew/ Sandals: Enzo Angiolini/ Clutch: Antonio Melanie

Sunnies:D&G/Mani-Pedi: CND Shellac & Vinylux ‘Cream Puff’

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According to Q, a military color palette looks great with a pop of color! Camo prints are überhot right now, but if that’s too much, grab those colors and get “camo” without the camo.   Make it your own and werk it!

Smooches,

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Business + Casual

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending my first nurse practitioner conference.  I was super ecstatic for the opportunity to network within the industry and add to my knowledge base/practice.  I’m kind of a nerd like that.  The attire of the conference was clearly stated as business casual and was held at the gorgeous Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention center.  They warned us of the possibility of cold freezing temperatures, so I knew my business casual outfits most definitely would include blazers.  And then I thought, why not kick business casual up a notch?  No boring black, navy blue, and gray basics.  Although, I did stick with a black and white palette the first day, I thought I add a little color (and leopard) to the mix for the rest of the week.  Side note: leopard is the new black.

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Blazing in Red for Day 2

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Style File ~ Blazer: J. Crew/ Cropped Pants: J. Crew Factory/ Top: Loft/ Handbag: Kate Spade

Sandals: Shoemint/ Necklace: J. Crew/ Mani-Pedi:  CND Shellac & Vinylux ‘Cream Puff’

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According to Q, business casual doesn’t have to be boring! It can be a fun mix of colors, prints, and separates that display your personality.  Pair that with the ‘handling business’ confidence and you’ll be business casual at it’s finest.

Smooches,

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Here’s a look at a few of my other business casual OOTD (snapped via iPhone & the dreaded bathroom mirror)…

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Day 1:  Top – J. Crew/Pants – Gap/ Shoes – Nine West/ Belt – The Limited

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 Day 3: Top – Peter Pilotto for Target/ Blazer – Zara/ BF Jeans – Gap/ Shoes – Tory Burch Sally 2 Wedge

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The ridiculously ah-mazing view from my balcony at The Gaylord Opryland.

 I enjoyed every moment of this for 5 days! 

Prints I’m Loving…

I absolutely love my neutrals, but no closet is complete without a fabulous print or two five.  Here are a few of the printed picks that I’m loving lately…

 

Printed Picks...According To Q

 

According to Q, prints are a great way to show your wardrobe personality.  Mix them with basic neutrals to let the print make a statement!

 

See anything you like?
Smooches,
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Summer Days + Printed Shifts

Summer is hands down my favorite season!   The sun.  The summer breezes that make us feel fiiine (cue The Isley Brothers).  Patios for lunch and dinner.  Ahhh, the life.  Not to mention, summertime style is so easy.  Enter the shift dress…loose fitting, cool, and flattering for all body types and sizes.  The accessory options are endless and can be tailored to every personality and style.

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When I saw this dress at Ann Taylor, I knew that it’d be perfect for a summer day of family gatherings and patio fun with friends.  I fell in love with the print, and what I loved even more that it gave me the look of mixed prints without the effort.  Super easy, right? Now, all that was left was to grab some simple accessories, pop my collar, and let the look take me from day to night!

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Style File ~ Dress: Ann Taylor/Handbag: Kate Spade/ Sandals: Brian Atwood

Sunglasses: D&G/ Mani-Pedi: CND Vinylux Bicycle Yellow

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According to Q, shift dresses are another easy summer option!  A print gives infinite styling options…think metallics, neutrals, or the ever classic black.  Depending on the print, a pop of color may also be a fun choice!

Smooches,

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A Short Story

Summer is here, and it has hit me full force.  So much so, I’ve really had my eye on shorts lately.  As a tall girl, I have an issue with purchasing shorts as nowadays, it seems I can only find them on the hootchie end of the spectrum or the grandma end.  Hardly anything in between.  While I love my legs and think they’re one of my best features, I simply CANNOT have my glutes and goods out for all to see.  Nope.  Can’t do it.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not totally against bermuda shorts, but somewhere in between would be nice.  Any tall girls with me??  Alas, I’ve found some great shorts from the Hampton Collection at Banana Republic.

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Hampton-Fit  Multi-Stripe Short

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 *Please excuse the messy dressing room*

I’m talking supple cotton fabric that’s a dream to touch and complete with a 5″ inseam.  Yes, a whole 5 inches!!!!!  Yes, I’m excited!  I didn’t grab the striped ones I tried on, but I did pick them up in black, chambray, and I had to go all the way to Cool Springs, TN to find the black/white polka dot ones from the Marimekko collection (top left corner in the picture above).  Okay, so, I might have a slight problem with purchasing multiples, but these shorts are just that AWESOME!  And you know they were an additional 20 or 30% off.   Dare you to go try them.  You’ll thank me later.

I also got a chance to grab the beauties below with an additional 40% off at J. Crew recently.  Pssst…they’re still on sale!  I can’t wait to pair the purple cuties with my Zara lace-up sandals seen here, and there are endless possibilities with the red ones.  I think I’ve gotten my shorts fix for the summer (with the exception of the perfect distressed denim pair).  However, this means that squats, lunges, and running will be my BFFs for the next few months.  Not a bad trade-off though, right??

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Pleated Crepe Short 

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Pleated cotton piqué short 

According to Q, shorts are a closet staple and an absolute summer must have.  Grab a flowy blouse or peplum up top with flats, wedges, or a strappy sandal below and you’re all set to chicly beat the heat.

Yours in Shorts & Stilettos,

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p.s. Can’t quite picture it? Need a few ideas?  Here ya go!

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Summer Whites

What’s better than an ABE (all black everything) ensemble???  The clean, crisp chicness of all white.  Especially during (but not limited to) the summer months.  In the world of fashion, boundaries have been placed on the wearing of white for years…eons…pretty much since the beginning of time.  Some still believe that one is to only wear white bottoms and dresses between the months of May and September.  Are you one of them?  Come on.  Be honest!  No one will see you if you raise your hand.
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I definitely remember adhering to this strict boundary as if it were gospel and dared anyone else to commit the faux paus of wearing white outside the lines.  Crazy, huh?  Now, I look back and say to our mothers and grannies in the most non-sassy way possible, “I wear what I want, when I want, and how I want!  And yes, that includes white all year and black to a wedding!”  This past Monday, Memorial Day, marked the beginning of this so-called “white season” and I couldn’t help but think about some chic white ensembles.  Here are a few of my thoughts…
Summer Whites
According to Q, jazz up your little white dress or white denim with metallic, animal print, or nude accessories.  Choosing one solid color is pretty predictable, so mix it up and have fun with it!  And no, you don’t have to be confined to a few summer months!
Are you a fan of white from head to toe?  Which of these looks would you wear?
Yours in stilettos,
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Maya Angelou: Literary Legend & Renaissance Woman

The passing of the great Dr. Maya Angelou was heard like a resounding alarm around the world this morning, May 28, 2014. It’s no secret that Dr. Angelou’s health has been failing for many years, however, that didn’t lessen the shock.  I’m not one to grieve and get all sad and sappy when a famous person dies.  Somehow this one is different.

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My first introduction to this literary phenom was as a girl.  I was given the task of memorizing the poem “Phenomenal Woman” for a black history program.  I remember the words leaping from the page and becoming a part of me.  With every sassy neck roll and voice inflection I used to recite it, I felt like the phenomenal woman Dr. Angelou was talking about (an age appropriate version, of course).  I thought I was the bomb.  Some would definitely argue that “phenomenal woman’ attitude is very much present and alive in my spirit today.  Thanks Dr. Angelou (and mom).

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She was inspiring then, and she left us with more inspiring words than we probably can handle.  She spoke with such calm and peace.  It made you stop and listen.  ‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings’ was my next experience with the words of Maya Angelou.  Reading about her life and how she overcame multiple hardships will always be motivating.  Think about the trivial challenges we face and how we’re full of complaints.  Makes me think twice.  I’ve never had the pleasure of hearing any of her words and thoughts in person.  I’m kicking myself now as I think about the opportunity I missed when she was in Memphis some years ago.

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Her body left us, but her legacy, great works, and especially her spirit will live on.  Dr. Angelou was (and will forever be) a literary legend.  A great renaissance woman. Phenomenally.  I’ve seen many of my favorite “Angelou-isms”  floating around the internet all day, and this post would not be complete without me sharing them with you.  Ironically, many of her quotes are still VERY relevant in today’s society.  My generation needs  to hold on to them, apply them daily, and share them.  Our young people truly, truly need exposure to her great words, so they, too, can begin daily application.  Maybe, just maybe, it’ll make a difference.

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Dr. Maya Angelou (1928-2014)

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“Do the best you can until you know better.  Then when you know better, do better.”  -Maya Angelou

“Nothing will work unless you do.” -Maya Angelou

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” -Maya Angelou

“Love recognizes no barriers.  It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.” -Maya Angelou

“Everything in the universe has a rhythm, everything dances.” -Maya Angelou

“I do not true people who don’t love themselves and yet tell me, ‘I love you.’  There is an African saying which is: Be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt.”  -Maya Angelou

“When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”  -Maya Angelou

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, come humor, and some style.” -Maya Angelou

My favorite stanza from “Phenomenal Woman” is the last:

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
‘Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

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Do you have any favorite “Angelou-isms?”  If so, please share.  

Feeling inspired,

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