BB Cream for Dark Skin?!

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Since June I’ve been using a BB cream when I want lighter coverage. I first got it so that I would have a low key make up routine while in Trinidad and Tobago last summer.

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Basking in the Caribbean breeze on the way to Las Cuevas beach

Close up of BB cream on my face. Taken after visiting the Hanuman  statue and Hindi Temple where I got the red mark (a bindi) as part of the prayer ceremony.

Close up of BB cream on my face. Coverage is medium and it is not a matte product, you can still tell how oil I am. This picture was taken after visiting the Hanuman statue and Hindi Temple where I got the red mark (a bindi) as part of the prayer ceremony.

What is a BB cream? BB cream = beauty balm. It’s an all in one option that can replace multiple make up steps (moisturizer, sun screen, primer, foundation). Alone it offers lighter coverage than foundation but you can also add powder over it to get greater coverage. Because it’s so common in Asian markets, when it was introduced in the West there weren’t many options for dark skin. But as their popularity has grown, more companies are offering BB cream in a range of tones (yay!) and now without the skin lighteners that are in many traditional creams (also yay, skin bleaching is not cool).

I buy Black Radiance BB cream with SPF 15 in the shade Brown Sugar. This company caters to dark skin but there are SO many companies in the market that will have an option for whatever shade your complexion is. There are also options that can meet your budget. I buy Black Radiance not just because it comes in my shade, but it is an affordable drug store brand just like Maybelline or CoverGirl. If you have the funds try Smashbox or Estee Lauder. Some awesome cruelty-free and vegan options are tarte or The Body Shop.

BBCREAM

Application: Initially I would wash my hands and using my fingers to apply, but to avoid the mess I started using a Sephora foundation brush (pictured) in a circular motion. I had to retire my bareMinerals kabuki brush but I definitely plan to buy one again to get that perfect circular application.

Verdict: I love using this cream, it was a great option during my on-the-go trip. I continued to use it during the rest of the summer in Arizona’s dry summer. But I absolutely think it was better for drier weather since it moisturizes so well. Trinidad and Tobago was very humid and my face did feel sticky at times compared to when I’ve worn it this past winter now that I’m back in Maryland.

January: Favorite blogs

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These are the blogs I’ve been loving all month long!

I have loved Patricia for years a la her YouTube success but a few years ago she started a blog, Patricia Bright. Her last name isn’t actually Bright, but she has the best (THE BEST) personality and is all about positive energy, and that’s why it’s so fitting. She is drop dead gorgeous and a great source of makeup tips for women with dark skin. Yay!

Lauren of Trash is for Tossers shares her zero-waste lifestyle. Practice what you preach. I love her unique ideas, and now she’s even on the YouTube (aaaaah).

Do you want a laugh? Check out Luvvie at Awesomely Luvvie. Her #50ShadesofShade had me crying. Her pop culture commentary is beyond brilliant, and you will laugh (and cry, it’s that good).

Happy reading! :)

A New Year and Endless Possibilities

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Warning: this is a cliche, inspirational, “it’s-the-start-of-something-new” post. And I have no shame! :D

So much happened last year but with grad school I felt like last year was a blur. It wasn’t an easy time at all. Being far away from friends and family, dealing with Arizona’s cruel summer and poor air quality (I had to get a prescription nasal spray!!), and of course the stress and exhaustion of getting a master’s degree.

But I have no ragrets… not even one letter.

Once the grad school journey came to an end, I was overwhelmed with happiness and emotion for the possibilities that exist now that I’m done with school and on my way to doing something great within my field. That is, once this job search comes to an end. *Fingers crossed*

In the new year I have a lot I want to accomplish now that I’m freeeee and can start adulthood (yay, responsibilities!).

1. Delve into vegan eating again. This goal will definitely have a ripple effect on my health and fitness levels, energy, and reignite my love of cooking insane vegan meals and blogging about them.

2. Blog. blog. bloggity blog. Seriously.

3. Get creative. I miss getting my right-brain activated with fun projects. I’m basically wasting my innate left-handed/artistic abilities. Time to get my Pinterest/Canva on.

4. Release my photos from iPhone imprisonment. Like my entire festive graduation… at this point that trip to Boston technically didn’t happen because Facebook doesn’t know.

3. Start a YouTube Channel (eep!). Obviously it’s already a saturated market but I love it so much and I really want to be more than just a fan.

First Impressions: Eylure London Lashes & Rimmel London Scandaleyes Show Off Mascara

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Over my Fall break from school, I purchased two new products to wear for my Ugandan Independence Day look.

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First, I tried out the Eylure London individual lashes. Pros: The kit comes with 3 different lengths of lashes, glue, and lash remover. The packaging is extremely pretty! Cons: I was excited to try out the the flexibility individual lashes give me but this actually just turned into a lot of extra time and stress and squinting as I tried to get each lash on. Sadly, I didn’t have tweezers with me since I was traveling and the kit didn’t come with a tool so I used my fingers. While I’m pretty dexterous with regular lash extensions, I couldn’t get the right angles against my lash line. Eventually I just gave up. Other issue: you we supposed to pour out some glue and then dip the end of the lash in the glue blob. But the glue blob start drying seconds after and I couldn’t dip anymore lashes in after 15 seconds. Then I would have to get more glue (what a waste). Eventually I started just dabbing a little glue on each instead of pouring out a blob in order to save glue. Verdict: If you are already skilled at applying individual falsies, this kit is great because it has a variety of lengths and comes with glue and remover. But don’t forget your tweezer! 

I also tried out Rimmel London Show off Mascara. HUMUNGOUS sad face. This was going to be my first time trying a new mascara in a long time, and I’m pretty sure that for eternity I will stick with Maybelline, the pink and green one, you know the one! ;) I want to try Benefit’s They’re Real one day ($$) but I just saw this review from Natasha Sofia comparing Benefit to Maybelline, so maybe I will stick with what is cheaper and familiar. Cons: As you can see from the packaging, the wand has this little bulb part that is supposed to help with lift but it just really irritated my inner eye and got in the way. I prefer the tapered wand on Maybelline. Also, the entire thing was dried out! I think this is a manufacture/retail issue and I want to possibly contact them about it because perhaps this is a great product. When it is this dry, it doesn’t cling to your lashes and give them that jet black look. Verdict: huge disappointment. Huge.

Airplane Snacks!

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I am visiting home for Fall Break and I had some awesome vegan snacks aboard with me to get through a long day of travelling. I reviewed them below for today’s foodie Friday.

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Lentil Snaps: I am so in love with the rich flavor of the tomato basil flavor. I’ve tried a few others like thyme time but none are as good as the tomato flavor these have. They are pretty light on the basil taste though, which I like. They are crunchy, low cal, and have protein.

Barnana: I wanted to try these after I saw them in Akushika Gonenatural’s Vegan Cuts unboxing. They are organic chewy dehydrated bananas covered in chocolate. Yum! I wish they just had a light coating of chocolate and I think next time I might just get the plain kind without chocolate so I can enjoy the banana flavor. The company has a cool story too, check them out!

Kind Bar: I have had these tons but recently sampled the blueberry vanilla and cashew flavor and loved it! So I went and bought another with my own money now that I knew it was delicious. It’s refreshingly different from eating a bar with cranberry or chocolate, which is so much more common.

Larabar: Does this even need a review? These are so yummy! Just a few ingredients in each bar to make a fruit and nut bar (sometimes they add chocolate too). The cherry pie flavor is pretty tart though.

Hail Merry Raw Almonds: Raw foods are always cool and the flavor of these vanilla maple almonds was on point. BUT as far as raw nuts, I still don’t feel like I ever get the same type of nutty flavor that comes from roasting.

Desert living and skincare routine

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I decided to stay in Arizona and work on my master’s thesis this summer. I must say I was really nervous to spend my summer here, I was told by a friend that grew up here that a summer in the Phoenix valley was like living in “a wasteland.”

My first week of summer here was pretty awful, lots of Advil to combat the total dehydration headache I had every night! I had just come back from 4 weeks of traveling to the East Coast then to Trinidad and Tobago, two places with plenty of humidity, so the dry AZ weather was brutal for me. But eventually my body adjusted and I started eating more salt. I don’t usually put salt on things so I had to be more vigilant about that.

Funny though, is how people think sunny weather skin care stops with dark skin. Skin is skin, and it needs protection! I was really surprised to find out that Bob Marley passed away from melanoma. He was very famous and of African descent (I hope everyone that reads this knows who he is already), yet people still think that having dark skin means your are protected from the sun. Here’s what I’ve been using to protect my skin from the sun and keep it hydrated during my time in AZ:

Organix Hydrating Moroccan Argan Oil Lotion

1. Organix Moroccan argon oil lotion. I love this lotion, it has an amazing smell, a bit of glitter, and Moroccan argon oil.

My favourite oils

2 + 3. Another favourite has been coconut oil and jojoba oils. I just put them on after bathing to really seal in the moisture from the shower. Trader Joe’s has the best deal on both oils if you have one of their stores near you.

4. Now to protect my skin from too much sun exposure, I just use a basic “sports” or “active” sunscreen from any brand. I just like the ones labelled with sport, etc because they are more sweat proof and of course at 108 degrees I’m sweating quite a bit!

Ultimate necessity!

5. My most coveted summer necessity is this Maybelline Baby Lips lip balm with SPF 20. It helps keep my lips moisturized and protects them from the sun. It has the perfect feeling when you put it on, not too greasy or heavy. I am pretty picky when it comes to lip products, so I was happy that Baby Lips lived up to the hype!

 

Getting back into blogging and an amazing Kale Salad

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I haven’t blogged in so long but I am getting a bit bored with the daily grind and feel the need to get creative again. Hopefully I can make it a goal to blog once a week!

Since we last spoke…

I have officially been in Arizona for grad school for 2 months now! I sure do miss Maryland though and thanks to my wonderful sister I will be visiting home for fall break in just 2 days! It has been a lot of work, I’m learning interesting theories (literally there are so so many theories in sustainability science) and I can’t wait to get my hands dirty by starting on my own research projects. 

Every Tuesday and Thursday I bring a lunch to campus because that is when I have most of my classes. I’ve made this delish kale salad the past week and it really satisfies. This recipe is fairly easy to travel with. Kale does not get as soggy as most other greens/lettuce so I actually take the entire salad with the dressing poured into the sides of the container and then I mix it a bit better once it’s lunch time. This recipe is inspired by my friend Jill. She had me over to her home in D.C. for a summer salad shortly before I moved and since then I love making kale my main salad green. It’s refreshing, lighter, and filled with amazing nutrients from super food like kale and goji berries!

Summer Kale Salad

Dry ingredients (mix to your liking)

3 kale washed leaves, ripped up into smaller pieces (about 3 cups)

6 sliced strawberries

half an avocado, sliced or cubed

Salad dressing of choice… this is best with a vinaigrette, I used a sesame ginger vinaigrette 

2 tbs each pistachios, dried cranberries, slivered or chopped almonds, candied or regular walnuts

1 tbs each coconut flakes, dried goji berries

Lemon slice to keep things fresh (optional, explanation in directions)

Directions

To eat right away: Mix it all together and chow down!

Pack for later: In a larger container pack together the kale and top it with the strawberries and avocado. Squeeze the lemon on top to keep the avocado and strawberries fresh. Around the sides of the container, pour dressing, avoiding the avocado and strawberries in the middle (those might get soggy from the dressing, unlike the kale). Store the kale and fruit mixture in the fridge until it’s time to eat.  In a small container store the rest of the ingredient outside of the fridge. Later when it’s meal time, top the dry ingredients on the kale mixture. 

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Enjoy!

 

Inches, goals, and perception

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“The next time you feel yourself reaching for unhealthy food, ask yourself why. Why are you doing this? Why do you think you need this? Is this going to make you feel better? For how long? How will you feel tomorrow after you’ve made this decision?” – CalorieCoach.com
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I just finished reading this article from February called “Why You Shouldn’t Make Weight Loss You Primary Goal”. It was posted on MizFitOnline.com as a guest submission by Tony Shroder of CalorieCoach.com (I quoted him above, from a different article though). And it really touched on how difficult it really is to focus on other aspects of measuring fitness because weight, like age, is just a number. So many of the fitness bloggers I follow weren’t always experts/fitness gurus but instead normal people that woke up one day and decided to put one foot in front of the other until they reached their personal goals. The fact that this was written by someone that knows how hard  it is to take stock of your goals, celebrate small achievments, and stop playing mental games really inspires me to focus on other aspects of fitness even thought I KNOW it’s going to be a huge struggle to break up with my scale.
   
I’ve been struggling for so long with numbers. A few months ago I seperately emailed two of my closest friends in fitness and told them how I weigh XXX and it’s frustrating because I’m the same clothing size as high school yet a good 30-40 lbs heavier. Of course both of them told me how I need to stop being a mental prisoner to the scale and took a good look at the image in the mirror and the immense progress I made to get back into my regular pant size and the muscle I built that alters what the scale says. Just a few weeks ago an old friend messaged me saying “you look good… You looking really f*cking good.” And now that I’ve managed to turn my eating habits around in the past 6 weeks and actually stuck to it, I feel GOOD!
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How I look and feel leads me to beg myself “Hello you? Yes, you! You are wearing the same freaking clothes, you look the same, everyone is proud of you! If you actually lost 40 pounds and tried to weigh what you once did, you wouldn’t be any of the things that you love about yourself. You wouldn’t have hips, boobs, a butt and all the muscle that comes with your new found fitness! And you have those all in a nice curvy FIT package.” I have other goals, I KNOW I’ve reached a huge one (though I rarely admit to myself that I’ve completely turned my health around) but of course I want to “slim down and tone up” more, feel 100% comfy in my current clothes, and get into just one (possibly 2) smaller pant sizes…. all the while focusing on INCHES.
 
But honestly the constant goals to go beyond my current success is driving me nuts and leading me to not even enjoy my body right now. I can’t think of a time since I lost the originally 60 pounds where I said to myself “YOU ARE AMAZING! Take the day off! Enjoy the fruits of your labor superstar.” Instead every meal good or bad and every workout was done to reach some far off goal that I might not ever attain because it is so damn unreasonable to continuously put that kind of pressure of oneself physically and mentally.

So I want to challenge myself with these four things as markers of my success:
1. Taking my weight with a grain of salt and focusing on inches.

2. Measure my progress, literally, with a tape measure. I love my “Inches Saturday,” the day of the week where I record my current measurements. I’m always surprised by what the tape says, much better than the stupid scale.
 
3. Focus on toning up and eating as cleanly as I currently am.

4.Wake up every day and be grateful that you are in this body. Because if you were a twig you would be searching for all the missing curvy girly parts that bring all the boys to the yard.

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In terms of fitness, I’m really proud of myself. I’m trying to get back into lifting weights and more intense workouts now that I’m finished with physical therapy and it’s lighter outside later at night so I just finally have more TIME. I also am proud of the fact that it’s been 6 weeks since I had one of the many candies lying around the office. Go me! 

In the past 6 weeks I’ve lost 10.25 inches all over, including 5 from my waist (of I love being pair shaped) and about 7 pounds. SUMMER is soon and Spring weather is finally here! I am really happy that I’ve dug deep the past few weeks, it made the transition to dresses and sandal a snap since I didn’t have a bunch of winter weight to shed hehehe! The nicer weather motivates me even more and I’m excited to feel 150% by the first day of summer :)

All photos via pinterest.

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