Archive | July, 2012

On Beauty…

11 Jul

This morning, as I groggily opened my bathroom cabinet to pull out my facial cleanser, I paused to marvel at the entire ROW of different cleansers and moisturizers and creams that sat in front of me. (All Neutrogena, so I’m consistent that way, aren’t I?) Each one boasting the wondrous things it would do for my face, each one promising, essentially, the same thing. So why do I have an array of different beauty products promising the same thing sitting in my bathroom cabinet, you ask? Well, I’ll tell you, since you asked so nicely:

I happen to be a beauty product collector.

Specifically, I’m a 1) beauty product collector with 2) rabid amnesia and 3) a case of paranoia.

1) I walk through the aisles and a few carefully placed words jump out at me. Non-oily formula. Non-greasy. Light and refreshing. All-in-One. Like a Neutrogena Stepford wife, I obey, grabbing as many of those lovely promises as I can. I want what they can give. And so I buy. To further the problem, 2) I have completely forgetten that I already own half these products already, or items similar to them, and do not actually need any of them. However, 3) what if the formulas in the products I already own are outdated? What if some Neutrogena scientist has discovered a stronger non-oily/non-greasy/light and refreshing/All-in-1 solvent that is far more powerful than the ones I already own, thereby rendering my daily skincare regimen utterly useless, ineffective, and potentially poisonous? Riiiight. It’s clear now, isn’t it? I’m a beauty product collector with rabid amnesia and a case of paranoia.

Blame puberty. Like every other girl on the planet, my growth spurt came bearing gifts: pimples, even bigger pimples, oily skin, and a suspicion that me and this guy might be related. At first, I relied on plain old soap and water (which dried out my skin to no end). Eventually, when I started working and earning all my Benjamins (funny how $6.50 an hour meant something when you were 17 years old), the beauty product collecting began. No more soap and water! Now Salycylic acid!  Nevertheless, despite my current purchasing/amnesia/paranoia problem, things are far more stable and, dare I say it, glowy, when it comes to my skin. I try to regularly cleanse and moisturize, I drink far more water than I did as a teen, I takes care of business.

But enough with all the me, me, me, shall we? Let’s hear from my lovely cousin, J (you know how I feel about government names on the interweb), who, hands down, is a veritable skincare expert. I posed a few questions about her personal skincare regimen/ongoing journey with beauty products.

Ok. You’re an expert when it comes to beauty products. Do you research what items will work for you? If so, where do you get ideas on what to buy?

I’m more of a spontaneous product junkie. If I see an ad for mascara, I buy it and try it out. Because of my unique skintone to the demographic area I live in, I do have to venture out to the high end product line. But even with that, i just buy and try. Usually my ideas come from makeup advertisements, the Maybelline commercials on TV, and sometimes in articles fashion articles where I see models with similar skintones, i look to see who the makeup artist is or the product used, and then go from there.

What’s your daily skincare regimen?

My daily skincare regimen is quite sporadic and probably should be improved. In the shower in the a.m., I wash my face with either a creamy Burts Bees cleanser or a light Boots gel cleanser and finish off with a Boots day moisturizing cream. I’m not as diligent in the evening as I should be. I’ll cleanse with a combination of black soap from Ghana called Chocho and Queen Helene’s Mint Julep Scrub. Then I finish off with a teeny dab of choco creme.
What products do you think are good for African-American ladies who have oily skin? Or dry skin?
I have dry skin and so far the best products for me have been Burts Bees “beeswax” brand (can only find this particular line for skincare at Whole Foods and online) and Boots creams and cleansers for normal/dry skin (can be found at Target).
Are you a collector? Or do you stick to one brand?
I am definitely a collector.
Some ladies say to go the natural route for skincare: drink plenty of water and use the simple basics, like Vaseline or Shea Butter, and avoid the chemicals. Thoughts about that?
I say yay and a teeny nay. Natural is always good, but depending on our imperfect skin, we may need a lil extra help. I say if you do decide to use products that are not 100% natural or raw, at least look at the labels. I try to pick brands that don’t have a lot of chemical ingredients.
Any concluding advice for women who are looking for the right type of skincare maintenance?
It is good to be consistent, but sometimes based on changes with our hormones and environment we may need to change up our routine. Don’t always go for the cheapest and you don’t have to go for the most expensive. Try to find that happy medium in the middle.

Thanks, J! For the good advice, the good tips, and admitting that you, too, are a collector! Incidentally, I will be pursuing some, if not all, of the products you mentioned. Unsurprisingly.

The Big Fat Bloggy Stew. Shall we?

5 Jul

Long time, huh? I wanted to acknowledge that in my last post, but decided to just stick with my thoughts on that particular topic. But yeah, it’s been forever and ever and a zillion days. Why, you wonder?

  • I don’t know. I suppose my current, diminished desire to write creatively (more on that later) affects my desire to visit the Marvel, as well. And it’s summer, it’s super hot, and I’m super blah. And hot. Really, really, hot.
  • Uh, the above captures it all in a nutshell. Only two bullets, I know. I’m obviously losing it.

So what’s been going on with me?

On Life.

Let’s see. I took a significant step in fulfilling a life goal related to my spirituality and learning a foreign language. Pretty, pretty awesome. So far, 1) all my French teachers and professors were right. I should have taken my French conversation far more seriously than I did in the past, instead of causing most of them to sigh and throw their hands up in frustration over my stubborn unwillingness to dig deeper and speak (I imagine they all got together one evening over croissants and wine to complain about me). As a result, all these years later, today, it’s a bit difficult for me to utter a complete sentence in French without throwing quite a bit English into it. But I’m giving it time. And I’m constantly learning. So it’s all good. By the way, don’t ask me why I was so stubborn back then when it came to speaking. I thrived when it came to French vocabulary, art, history, culture…but conversation? The pits. I don’t know. My attempt at school-related rebellion. Anyway… 2) I’ve met new, wonderful friends in the process. A bunch of us even traveled together. And we survived without any tales of woe or attempted murder. Good times, indeed.

What else? The fam is ok; my beloved little Bro had some health issues a few months ago (and I suppose a large part of me not posting had a lot with being worried about him and that worry taking over everything), but things have significantly improved, which is fanstastic.

On Work.

Oh, work. When things begin to run their course, you begin to look elsewhere. Actively. That is all. For now…

…Although I would like to add that–well–let’s just say that posts similar to this and this will be coming soon. Somebody help me…

On Love Shmove.

Lest you get all excited for yours truly, all is quiet on the Love Shmove front. What I do want to say, briefly, is the following (welcome back, bullets):

  • Every woman deserves to be properly wooed. I mean wooed, like courted and treated well and flowered and candied and listened to and the like.

    Yes, indeed.

    While it’s unrealistic to want what you’ve seen in any Hollywood rendering of “love”, it’s not unrealistic to want proper wooing. And I certainly don’t think the wooing should stop once you marry, either. If anything, it should grow. Spoken by someone who intends to be wooed.

  • Men are not boys. Boys are not men. There is a marked difference.
  • I will never have an open mind about brussel sprouts. (Seriously, never.) But I’m starting to understand that having an open mind when it comes to Love Shmove can be a beautiful thing. You just never know what the possibilities are and from where they will come.

On Writing.

I have my creative highs, where I write like crazy and I’m thoroughly in love with the process. I have my creative lows, where tumbleweeds roll across the vast, super dusty stretches of my creative mind. Then I have what I’m currently feeling: creative laziness weirdness. The plots are there. The characters, the middle, the ending, the everything–all there. But I cannot summon the desire to write. Where is this laziness weirdness coming from?

No, no, let’s be honest, shall we? It is laziness. I have absolutely no desire to write. And I don’t want to. I just don’t.

So what are we going to do about it? Will telling myself to write something, even if it’s one sentence, be a delusion of grandeur, destined to never come to pass because I will undoubtedly break my own promise? Perhaps. But in the research I’ve done on blocks and laziness and everything writery under the sun, the key is always: write something, anything, every day. So I will, starting next week. (We are in the middle of the week, after all.) So who will keep tabs on yours truly? Who will follow up to see if I actually follow through and write something, anything, every single day starting next week? We’ll just have to go all honor systemy, won’t we? We’ll see.

Let’s end here for now. Onwards and upwards…

Welcome back, officially, Kitten Heel Marvel.

See you tomorrow?



Sincerely, Taj

Dear World, I have stuff to say, so get cozy. Here, I've got cupcakes.

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