SUMMER FUN

We decided to kick off the summer with a fun trip to a sunflower maze. My family likes to visit corn mazes during the Fall, a sunflower maze just makes sense for the Summer. Sunflower mazes are a great, low cost, family friendly outing. It would even make for a great first date if you’re the outdoorsy type. You can get “lost” in the maze, bird watch, butterfly chase, and/or play the damsel in distress (ladies we’ve all done it once or twice in our lives) should an unruly bumble bee decides to get too close.

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#MAKEMYSIZE #MAKEOURSIZE

I’m very excited about this post, for several reasons. First, I get to feature one of my very best friend’s in the whole wide world, Amanda Wright. Amanda has been my BFF for over 18 years and counting. She is a brilliant accountant, loving wife, doting mother, and a loyal friend. She has been one of my biggest cheerleaders since we met at Temple University. She’s supported the blog and the brand from day one. She’s also the queen of coordination. She love’s to style her whole family in the cutest ensembles no matter how much her husband protest and he’s been known to protest…lol Second I’m doing my part to shade light on a very important topic; size inclusion in fashion.

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Amanda and I have a passion for fashion, but we noticed something very unsettling in the fashion world (ready to wear and luxury) a long time ago, designer/brands don’t make cute clothes in EVERY size….

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LET’S TALK MAKEUP

This one has been a long time coming… As many of you may or may not know I’m a makeup artist. Yes we can all agree I do a terrible job about advertising that fact. There’s a reason for this, for a very long time I felt like I was doing way too much. Who do I think I am calling myself a makeup artist?! You don’t do this for a living. This is a form of self expression for you, pure joy, this is not your career… These are all the things I tell myself.

While there’s no denying I’m a certified fashionista and an aspiring influencer but I’m a legit MUA as well. Wearing many hats can be distracting for some and people worry about their “brand” but if it’s apart of who you are, your DNA, your audience will be able to digest it all, assuming you do it right. I’ve always been a Jill of all Trades, master of one, LIFE. I live a BIG, beautiful, full life, and I do a number of things well and there’s no shame in that.

I’ve done weddings, proms, special occasions, you name it. But somewhere deep down I doubt my skills at times because I don’t do it for a “living”. I’ve had to tell myself just because you don’t do something for a living, YET, doesn’t invalidate your skill or passion for it. We’re half way through 2019 and I’m tossing doubt and fear aside. See what positive self talk will do for you.

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Ladies and gents without further ado here’s my latest and greatest. Just in time for Women Crush Wednesday, say hello to Ms. Hadassah Hampton. My Dada, that’s her nickname, she is my adopted daughter aka one of Sanaa’s best friends. Isn’t she stunning?! She was such a little dream to work with. I love me some Dada.

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I was honored when Dada asked me to do her makeup for prom. I’m always humbled when people ask me to be apart of some of the most important days in their lives, weddings, proms, etc.

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So what did I use on this little beauty a few things:

Foundation: I used Cover FX N90 on her face with damp beauty blender. I set the face with NYX Can’t Stop Won’t Banana powder. I set her under eye with Laura Mercier’s classic translucent powder.

Concealer: Kevin Aucion Super Natural Concealer Medium EC06. This was done intentionally, the concealer is indeed lighter than her foundation, it’s meant to be to create a contour.

Eyes/Eye brows: Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow pomade in Chocolate. Mac Veluxe Brown Pencil in Dark Brown. My ride or die pencil.

On the lids I used a few different products. I started with Makeup Geek eyeshadow Bitten in the crease, mixed with a bit of Natasha Denona’s Glory and Citrine from the Sunrise Palette as well.

I finished the eyes by putting Too Faced glitter glue on the lid, than I applied a mixture of Mac’s Rose Pigment, NYX Salmon Roll On Shimmer and Mac’s PINK glitter.

I lined the upper lid, with Make Up Geek’s Immortal Gel Liner. The blackest gel liner on the market in my opinion…period. Applied Ardell’s faux mink lashes, I don’t recall the style sorry guys. I will update later if I figure it out.

Lips: I lined the lips with Mac’s Currant Lipliner and filled them with Mac’s Viva Glam Rhianna Red Lippie, no longer for sale ladies sorry. And voila a real life Barbie Doll.

Photo credit goes to ShotByJacques. This young man is an amazing talent and a real professional. He has an amazing eye, can’t wait to shoot with him again!

Until next time…

xoxo

Andrea

CLASS IS NOW IN SESSION W/ CYRKLE LOMAX- PART 2

In the concluding piece of my sit down with Cyrkle, we got into some deeper topics. We also got a glimpse of Cyrkle, THE WOMAN. It’s only a peek because we got layers over here ya’ll.  How does she keep it all together? Check out the final part of our discussion below.

 Queen Cyrkle

IVN: Let’s talk about Cyrkle, the actress, author, educator, mother, partner, daughter, sister, aunty… How does a Cyrkle keep it all together? I know it takes a village.

CL: It definitely takes a village. But I also invest in myself in therapy so I can get my stuff out, because the REAL is that we are all flawed and if we’re going to stand in front of children, it’s imperative not to take out your issues out on children. They’re just figuring it out. You should have figured it out already. And if you haven’t figured it out, that’s what therapy’s for. But I’m just have an amazing village in my parents, my children’s father, my significant other. I really have an amazing support system.

I’m also just very transparent about where I am when it comes to socializing. If I’m not in the mood to connect with people because I’m using that energy to connect and lead a school throughout the week; I’m very transparent and honest about that. I just have to say NO. No is my favorite word.

IVN: (LOL) No is a complete sentence despite what people think.

CL: Right. Now if it’s someone that I really care about, they know why I’m saying no and sometimes I’ll give them an explanation, i.e. I have professional thing, I’ve had a tough week at school, I have another obligation that I need to prepare for, sorry no. I create boundaries, that, and a very, very, strong support system is how I keep it all together.

IVN: That’s awesome. It’s really important that we (working mothers) create boundaries. Do you have any projects you’re working on? You did a one woman show, The Queens Chains, a little bit over a year and a half ago. Are you doing another show? You have to do another show! (Squeals in excitement)

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CLASS IS NOW IN SESSION W/ CYRKLE LOMAX PART 1

Here’s the back story on my little love affair with Ms. Cyrkle Lomax. I met Cyrkle circa 2014-2015. She taught my eldest child Sanaa at Excel Academy. Sanaa would come home raving about how cool Ms. Lomax was. She said she was a lot like me, small but mighty, a disciplinarian, that played ZERO games with the kids.

She commands respect but gives it willingly and in abundance when it’s is deserved and earned. She has an endearing quality, that children, my child specifically gravitated towards. Sanaa has never connected with an adult outside of our family the way she did with Cyrkle. When we finally met, I could see why. She was all those things and more.

When she introduced herself, she was so sincere, “Hi my name is Cyrkle, like the shape”, because her name is spelled non-traditionally and to ensure you didn’t misunderstand what she just said, that was indeed her name, the intro was necessary. I immediately thought I love the creativity of black folk, we sure will recreate something real quick, but I love it, it was unique just like her.

When she left Excel for bigger and better things, there were definitely tears from all her babies; Sanaa included. Sanaa and I, aren’t what you call big criers, so if this kid was in tears over a teacher you know the love was real. The love has remained real. We’ve cheered her on when she starred in her very own, one woman show, The Queen’s Chains, which received rave reviews. Purchased her memoir Love Addict, it sits on my coffee table beside Michelle Obama’s Becoming.

We celebrate our educators during the first week of May during what is affectionately called, “Teacher Appreciation Week.” This year I wanted to highlight this special woman. We met at our “local” Starbucks and chatted about a whole lot of things. Check out the Q&A below. We got in to so much during our little “tea session” I had to split the conversation into two parts, so stay tuned, this is a two-parter.

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GYM READY LIPS

We all know when we look good, we feel AMAZING!! A large part of feeling good is self-care and living a healthy lifestyle. It’s no wonder someone got the bright idea (note to self come up with a bright idea) to bring the feel good vibes to the gym for the ladies. That someone in this scenario is my good friend Terrell Givens.

I recently caught up with Terrell, owner and operator of Soza Wellness and the beauty brand Gym Ready Lips at the Prince George’s County Chapter of the Links, Inc. The Links recently hosted their 40th Annual Anniversary Gala at the MGM Grand hotel at the National Harbor. Terrell was there doing what he does, promoting Gym Ready Lips. He and other small business owners served as vendors in the curated market place created especially for the gala attendees. I couldn’t want to miss the opportunity to cover the event and catch up with Terrell in his element.

We chopped it up about what his vision for Soza Wellness is and how Gym Ready Lips came to fruition.

Take a look at the video

Oh the Blossoms…Shop Your Closet 2.0

So I’m still in full spring cleaning mode. It’s going at a snails pace for several reasons. I just got back from a fun filled trip to Vegas with the kids and hubby. Hence no post earlier in the month, planning, packing, traveling… As most parents know there’s a difference between a “vacation” and a “trip”.

Trip= Almost non-stop activities that involve very little consumption of alcohol or downtime. The focus is almost entirely on the little people, with one goal, keep them going until they’re too tired to ask to do anything by 10/11 pm so you can enjoy a glass of wine and some grown up time.

Vacation= A state of complete and total relaxation, a faux Nirvana, if you will. A place where copious amounts of alcohol are consumed. Sleep isn’t optional, it’s a requirement  and breakfast in bed is pretty much the standard. This place does exist, I promise you it does.

Now that everyone’s clear on that point, the other reason I’m moving so slow is because I’ve just been plain ole tired after work. I zero incentive to clean after a long day at work. And I know what you’re thinking, what about the weekend Andrea? What about it? Who’s spending their two day weekend cleaning? Not this girl! So slow it goes!

During my marathon spring cleaning event, cause it’s marathon at this point not a sprint, I continue to find gems in my closet. Am I surprised by this no, but delighted just the same. Kaneisha and I decided a while back we wanted to capture the beauty of the Cherry Blossom trees this year, can I just say mission accomplished.

Let me just say there were an ungodly number of people (myself included) up at 6:30, roughly 7:00 am in Washington D.C. on the Saturday morning we decided to shoot this. I get it, totally, you get the best shots of the Cherry Blossom Trees when they are in full bloom and what a sight they are to see when they are in full bloom.  The days the trees are actually in full bloom are limited hence the crowds. And there’s a whole festival, it’s an event I get it but the people traffic was totally unexpected that early in the AM.

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We literally circled around the basin several times before we could find parking semi-close. We ended up parking near the African American museum and catching an Uber back to where we wanted to shoot. Now this may seem a bit wasteful and maybe a bit lazy but I assure it wasn’t. The parking angels were looking down on us and said these ladies need a break; so they hit us up with a little blessing. As I stood in line to pay for parking at the meter machine, the women in front of me mistakenly paid for parking twice and gave us the extra ticket, WINNING!! Hence the Uber and we avoid sweating unnecessarily. I’m all about the sweat but for the right reasons. Le Struggle was real my friends. But it was definitely worth it.

Read more about my Cherry Blossom Adventure