Tuesday, January 27, 2015


There was a period during my undergrad years when I felt as if I were drowning.  Some self-imposed and invisible forces of pressure, serious academic challenges, and near depression made me insufferable and part of my college experience miserable.  Thankfully, this didn't last forever and I graduated at a much better place.  But because of this I feel extra cautious about balancing my workload.  I fear taking on too much might send me over the breaking point and I would prefer not to experience that again.  Erring on the side of caution sometimes makes me so afraid to fail I don't even want to try to prove myself wrong.  And that is unacceptable.

A few weeks ago, in the face of this new semester, I felt this fear.  Immediately ran a Google search because I was sure there was some sort of motivational quote floating around to fit my situation.  And there it is:  "Don't be afraid to fail.  Be afraid not to try."
Because don't they say that you regret the things you didn't do more than those that you did?  For the most part. [To rant a little, I've always hated that one Star Wars quote "Do or do not, there is no try."  Every time I see it I think "What the hell do you know, Yoda?!" First of all, he's fictional.  But second of all, I think I know what he means but I do protest too much lol]
Anyway, cheers to the freakin' semester!  To the first six months of 2015! To doing life!
About trying...I've recently realized that several of my 25 before 25 goals are not finite, not something easily crossed off a list.  Some are continuous and some are quite non-specific.  A consequence of last-minute brainstorming, I guess.  While January has already had more than two posts, I think I may have forgotten that I am a graduate student and posting at least twice a month might not happen...let's see.

*Cracked open the thesaurus for that title word, "embolden."  
That's a bold-faced lie.  Do regular people even own thesauruses in print for their personal use in this day and age?

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Misadventures in Makeup: Eyebrows on Fleek

Before and after: just the brows
This was truly a misadventure.  I want to be on the same level as all these gorgeous girls I see in real life and anywhere else.  And that level requires your eyebrows to be on point (or on fleek, shaped to the gawds, filled to perfection).  I have not had mine properly shaped since May 2014.  I know, I know... I've had a case of the vocal lazies-- I'll look at a mirror, see the unruly bushiness of my brows, and say aloud "I have to do something!"  Then...you can guess the rest. 

During Thanksgiving I attended a Black Tie event and my friends did my makeup for me.  They tried to tame my brows, hiding the stray hairs with minimal tweezing and concealer.  Amazing trickery.  They made me look glamourous.  And I thought that if they could do it, I could do it for myself.  Still not making time to professionally tweeze, wax or thread my eyebrows, after my final exams I headed to Target for the e.l.f Eyebrow Kit and e.l.f concealer (both in medium).  I had researched online for affordable and effective products.  e.l.f seemed like a good choice.  I had also been watching several Youtube tutorials.  They all make it look so simple.  But this simplicity requires a bit of skill and for me, a lot of practice.  

The first photo above shows the before and after.  Not quite what I was going for but considering my circumstances, the after was definitely tamer and more defined than the before.  I mean, I actually used real makeup brushes to comb my brows and blend the concealer around the shape.  Once I finished doing the brows I thought "What the heck, let's makeup the whole face!"  The after after is right below.
So the concealer is too light and the foundation is a little too dark and the eyeshadow looks like I have two mismatched black eyes.  But I tried.  That's really all that matters.  And I didn't leave the house with this face.  I went straight to the kitchen to make pasta for dinner. 0.o

What's my final grade?
Happy Monday!

After after: foundation and more too
behind the scenes
behind the scenes: not so beautiful mess
(this is so large!)

Monday, January 5, 2015

High End/Low End Resolution

How many sparkles, sequins and metallics are necessary to qualify as an NYE outfit?  I want to pretend I wore this to welcome the new year but there may not be enough sparkles to pass that off.  Plus, I've never attended any kind of NYE celebration before (at least not one requiring the kind of outfits inspired and presented by fashion magazines, blogs, and clothing store sales).  I've always been at home with family.  A little prayer, a little moscato or champagne, and possibly pajamas.  That's all I need, but what I want...that might shift come 2016. 

Anyway, I put this outfit together with pieces borrowed and new for a birthday dinner and afterparty that was not at a nightclub of some sort as initially believed but at a regular pub (where I was a tad overdressed).  My family went out of town for Christmas and I packed specifically for three days.  Having nothing to wear to go out with my cousin called for improvisation.  I wore a high end top by Kate Spade (a lovely Christmas gift) paired with a low end skirt from Forever 21 (borrowed from my cousin).  The clutch is likely from a "fast fashion" type of clothing store, also borrowed from my cousin, while the wedges are one of my favorite purchases, from Seychelles.  Higher end and lower end clothes balance each other out!

Although, I'm not sure that balancing principle works for my photos.  What looks high res on my iPhone becomes terribly low res uploaded and enlarged on my computer (so please forgive these ones).  Sometimes the iPhone takes crisp and beautiful photos and other times, the light is poor or the lens is temperamental.  Whenever a hopeful image comes out grainy I wish for a Samsung Galaxy or Nokia Lumia.  But not really, because I plan to use my current phone until it dies.  No matter if Apple releases the iPhone 6 Plus S or 6c or 6.5.

Oh happy day!

What I'm Wearing
Kate Spade Tatiana top // Forever 21 floral skirt // Seychelles wedge boots // "fast fashion" clutch // JewelMint Forever Audrey earrings

Friday, January 2, 2015

25 before 25

Welcome to 2015! 

That five looks so authoritative, like this year is guaranteed to be strong and firm for everyone.  A good sign of what's to come appeared to my family on the first of this year.  My dad traveled this holiday season so the mother-daughter trio went to New Year's Day brunch at the Blue Mesa Grill. Oooh, the food was delicious! While my momma and I were focused on our waffles and mimosas, a woman approached our table.  She said that she wanted to cover our brunch, in a small act of kindness, a pay it forward gesture.  We were so surprised and overwhelmed by her generosity. Brunch buffet for $20 per person is no small thing!  My family has experienced some not so pleasant moments, especially in the last quarter of this year. So to ring in the new year with such a beautifully positive and unexpected gesture speaks volumes. That five looks fierce for a reason! 2015 will be especially special.

A month ago, in the midst of all the 2014 round-ups, reflections and reviews posted and presented online and on television, I did not purposefully think about my 2014.  Outside of sweeping generalizations and transitions, 2014 was just cool. Nothing traumatic or devastating and nothing life-changing or amazing, but still blessed and with gratitude.  
Long ago, I had traded New Years resolutions for new year themes.  I kept the same theme for years: gorgeousness.  To me, to be gorgeous emcompasses everything: inner beauty, confidence, health and fitness. expressing myself in words, voice and style. To be gorgeous means to be strong and smart and fearless, even when fearful. I thought a theme was clever, but nothing was specific or explicit.  I don't even think I bothered with resolutions or themes in the last two years. Resolutions come as they come, whether that be at the beginning of a new job, a new semester of school, the summer or Black Friday.  It shouldn't matter when they happen.  If a change is gonna come and you want it to, it very well can come about.

Now, instead of a list of resolutions or a new theme (although gorgeousness will never go out of style), I've decided to create a 25 before 25 bucket list.  A few months after I turned 24, I read a Klassy Kinks post about the founder, Ijeoma's 24th birthday.  She solicited her readers for ideas for her 25 before 25.  And I thought "I should do that.  Why didn't I think to do that?"  But I let time pass by, unable to think of 25 things I would and could do before next August. And now I've cheated myself out of four months.  I've got less than 8 months to inspire change and challenge my comfort zone before I reach that mid-twenties mark.  I still can't believe I'm this old.  Sometimes I give the wrong age when asked and then immediately realize "Oops, I'm actually not 23 anymore." 

Let's get to work
Well, here they are.  Maybe I should have counted one of the 25 things as "Think of 25 things," because it has essentially taken me four months to come up with this bucket list (and most in the last 30 minutes).  Tsk tsk.  
  1. Learn enough conversational Igbo to say something more than odimma and kedu (I'm serious and I've already got the iPhone apps to show a lil' somethin' lol) 
  2. Treat my parents to a nice dinner (somehow I've never done this)
  3. Run a 5k
  4. Get the flu vaccine
  5. Sing to an audience (karaoke counts)
  6. Learn how to change a tire 
  7. Learn how to cornrow my hair (or flat-twist in any direction)
  8. Find and reach out to a professional mentor (eek!)
  9. Fortify bridges (as opposed to burning them): connect to colleagues regularly
  10. Be okay speaking in front of people (Toastmasters maybe?)
  11. Read at least five novels for leisure
  12. Relearn how to cook stew
  13. Get stronger (i.e. perform more than 5 push-ups non-stop)
  14. Visit half of the museums in Houston's Museum District (there are A LOT)
  15. Post on this blog at least twice per month
  16. Perfect one makeup look
  17. Address my edges (i.e. what exactly am I supposed to do with this thick castor oil?)
  18. Learn how to cook five new meals
  19. Learn how to swim 
  20. Become certified in first aid and CPR
  21. Attend a conference or convention (for public health or blogging or faith or cultural celebration or whatever)
  22. Figure out and write out a specific career goal (what, when, where, how and know the why)
  23. Finish transcribing my grandfather's unfinished memoirs
  24. Save $1000 (towards a camera and accessories or a trip)
  25. Make a new friend, keep a new friend
Whew, done!  Cheers to the things on this bucket list!  I'll update along the way and I'll do my best to complete them all.  But since time is short and 2015 continues past my birthday, I think a little leeway would be acceptable.  Don't you?  
Happy New Year to all you beautiful people!