Archive | May 2013

Stay Cute Mondays – Eyeliner Woes



No matter where I am going I wear three things: lip gloss/stick (usually with a lip liner, which could make it four), mascara and eyeliner. On weekends, my look tends to be: mascara, a light glossy lip and dark, funky eyeliner or mascara, dark lip with golden, shimmery eye liner. About two years ago, something terrible happened. I got an eye infection. Well, what I thought was an eye infection. It started with reading an Essence article on the fact that a great eyeliner suggestion for Black women is royal blues and eggplant purples. I disagree about the purple because I have yet to see this executed well in real life and I don’t care what those pictures claim. But back to the blue, I went to my stand-by M.A.C., which I think makes perfect liners. All of them, lip and eye. The other make-up is on a case by case basis. I purchased the absolute perfect blue.  It gave me exactly the magazine look without needing to bother with stupid gel pots. I hate gel pots. This could me due to the fact that I refuse to pop for pricey brushes. But even when you use the brush that comes with the gel pot, it takes a tremendous amount of dipping to get enough to line an eye.

I started wearing my perfect eye liner pencil and my eye started twitching and then my eye developed this not quite awesome white gooey discharge. This happened while in San Diego and I couldn’t really figure out what was wrong. I took out my contacts and they felt better. I never wear eyeliner with glasses because why bother. I went to the doctor who pronounced an infection and I moved on. I cleaned, sanitized and threw out make-up. I let eyes heal and returned to my routine. It was then I made the discovery. I had an allergy! I was allergic to my precious new eyeliner. I stopped using it immediately. I always used MAC eyeliner pencils and Maybelline liquid eyeliner but suddenly my eyes were rejecting them both. I was forced to resort to some automatic black eyeliner pencil I got from the beauty supply.

I like precise crisp black eyeliner for everyday work wear. This is not, unless you are a professional, accomplishable from an eyeliner pencil. We already established that me and gel and powder pots do not get along. I tried, but I only put less than five minutes of effort into my face (which honestly in my work environment is more than 90% of the women I see). These things require a lot of effort and patience. I do not like effort or patience for make-up application unless I am becoming a news anchor. The hunt was on. My criteria:

  1. Available in a drug store. I hate travelling to Macy’s or the like for eyeliner since I need to buy it at least once a month.
  2. Deep, inky black. Too many of the blacks aren’t dark enough and I am a brown person.
  3. Easy Application. I like precise, clean lines and too many of the liquid eyeliner require an expert touch. This could be due to the brush that comes with it or difficulty getting it out of the case.

My beloved Maybelline was out. I first went a little too cheap. I tried E.L.F., which my eyes hated. Hated. I was scared that I would need to go back to the doctor (same thing with Rimmel, which made them all itchy). I hilariously tried Wet N Wild. I have no real clue why except that it had a felt pen I like felt tip pen applicators despite the fact that Maybelline had a brush. It was good saturated color but dried too slowly. I would need to hold my eyes still forever for it not to smudge. Maybelline didn’t need that and I moved on…

I next tried the cool Cover Girl LineExact. It is shaped like a marker and so easy to apply. The black wasn’t the depth that I prefer, but I let the applicator sway me. The problem: storage. You have to store it completely upright with the pen facing down or it would dry out in two weeks or less. It was like a temperamental Sharpie. That was too much stress considering my unhappy eye issues.

I next attempted Prestige. It looked pretty but the color was off. It created this wispy little line that I surmised is for fairer skin tones. After store brands (Ulta – too messy and Sephora – completely dried out), I finally tried L’oreal Telescopic Precision Liner. We were getting along fine. It had the nicest angled felt tip that when held correctly (this took some practice) created the perfect little line. However, it suffered from the slow to dry problem. I was always waiting for it to dry. I spent a lot of time with my q-tips removing smudges and wayward dots of liquid liner. The worst problem is that it just decides to flake with no rhyme or reason as to why. I will look in the mirror about two hours after application and see clumps of black liner stuck to my face. And no one tells you! No one says, “Hey, what is that black stuff on your cheekbones?” I finally go to the bathroom and realize it’s there. I am constantly checking myself in the mirror, which cannot be healthy. This weekend the relationship ended after having the biggest chunk yet, right underneath my eye for the longest time. Here I am thinking I look great and I have make-up stuck to my face.

I saw a commercial for the new L’oreal Infallible Super Slim and it looked awesome. But I just cannot risk it. So I think I will try Revlon products, though I am losing hope. I never in a million years imagined that I would need to replace my preferred eyeliner pencils and liquid eyeliner and that it would be so difficult. I might need to – gasp – upgrade to department store brands for the liquid liners. I did marginally successfully switch my funky eyeliner pencils to Urban Decay, though I think that it is too soft with not enough. The stick suggests more of a color family than the actual color.  However, they have completely expanded their slate of colors. So this might have improved.  Otherwise, the hunt for an everyday black continues.


The Second Week of May Edition

This last week was a doozy. Nothing to do with the fabulous top ten lifestyle but the dreaded “W” word.  I can honestly say that this birth year so far hasn’t been good, especially on the professional and budgetary front. I will admit my current job appealed to me for its boring stability that would lend itself to a more interesting personal life. Lately, this has not been anywhere near true. Now I just want to work from home somehow and get me a cute little dog. By the way, I saw my dog last night—a black French bulldog with adorable little ears. I would name mine Onyx after my graduating class of course.

alice_russellAnyway but back to the second week of May…Last Thursday, I went to see Alice Russell. I discovered Alice through the magic of Amazon. She was suggested to me and her MP3’s were on a $5 special. I played her music incessantly at work, when I could, as it really lent itself to creative stimulation. I slowly realized that this was a weekday show that started at 9p. and I’m not 24. I was beat, completely exhausted. I saw there was an opening act, so I decided to make my appearance around 10. I got there at 9:45 to see the opening act was still performing,  no slight against the performer, but I just hope for a short first set and that Alice would be on no later than 10:15. That did not happen. She started at exactly 10:38 (this is when you know you are tired). I will admit two things: first, the audience was extremely eclectic. Apparently Alice was on NPR that afternoon and I could see the NPR crowd, the stereotypical U Streeters, and the hipster set. Seeing Alice Smith was diverse and rather young, but this event drew folks who are 50 plus.  Second, Alice Russell needed another venue. Seriously, her kind of show and audience required another venue. It goes unsaid that I thought it should have started earlier. Alice was lovely. Her voice is gorgeous and lush. This made the sound system issues more frustrating as it clouded the perfection of her voice. In the end, I needed to duck out earlier to get the wonderful opportunity to watch road construction.

The rest of the weekend was a blur. I went to a Zumbathon. This was three hours of straight dancing capped off with a performance by E.U featuring Sugar Bear. I managed about 2 hours and 15 minutes as I got there a little late and it ran over. My thighs still hurt. It was fun and exhilarating and exhausting. I don’t plan on making this a regular habit out of consideration for my poor thighs. Finally, I finished the weekend with a pig roast. I haven’t eaten pork since I was a freshman in college but everyone else seemed plenty excited. All the event did was made me yearn for home. Every year my family has a pig roast for Memorial Day and I won’t be there this year. Hopefully soon I will have a wonderful Michigan edition post to share…

The Wedding Edition

So, last weekend was not conducive to writing a wonderful post. However, I did spend the third weekend in PimlicoApril celebrating the occasional fabulousness of Living Social. I spend that Saturday at one of my new favorite events, Decanter at Pimlico Race Track in Baltimore. Decanter allows participants to taste local Maryland wines while watching the ponies. Last year, it was cold, rainy and empty. This year it was sunny, brisk and crowded. I do wish that they had better food options. You really needed more substantial eats to soak up all the wine. I found some wines that I just loved. This included a rather new winery, The Winery at Olney, a unique retailer that imports grapes and makes the wine onsite. The fruit wines were so delicious and I am not a fan of sweeter wines, but I was happy. I also purchased a bottle from Detour Winery and wrote down a lot of wines that I will be taking to my local spirits store for when I finally run out.

I also went to the Broccoli City Festival, which I fear I was too old for. How do I know? Well, Phil Ade has about a dozen rappers on stage with him and I thought: “Who are all these people? Why are they on stage? Will all of them be rapping? When will this end?” Yes, so I stole a picture from the twitter feed to illustrate why there shouldn’t ever be that many MC’s on stage. Look, I appreciate that Wu Tang Clan has (had) 10 members, but really only four of them rapped with any regularity. Black Alley did appear, but I was ready to go and we did.

I spent the last weekend in April at the latest edition of Liner Notes. See my first post. It was as fun as always. And then I went to a wedding! I haven’t been to a wedding in about seven years. It’s not that I haven’t known anyone who has gotten married, it’s just that they either had a destination wedding or headed to the Justice of the Peace.

Here’s a truth about me. I am a bit of a humbug about weddings. I blame my first adult weddings. I always weddingwanted to go to a wedding because they look so glorious on television. I couldn’t really remember the weddings from my childhood, even the one where I was a flower girl. Though, I acknowledge that I was probably an awesome flower girl. I finally got my opportunity in college. My first adult wedding was okay. Okay, it was long. There were poetry readings, ballerinas, a choir, a soloist, someone read a psalm. It was a lot. Then we headed to the reception, which was ho hum. This is when I discovered that receptions are pretty mundane. It is hard to describe what I don’t like about them. They are like proms, but not. The food is okay. There are a lot of activities that need to happen: toasts, dances, bouquet throwing, cake cutting. The music is iffy. I have been to two weddings in my life with great DJ’s. That is not a lot.

My next wedding scarred me for life. Terrible is not the word. I was told by someone that it wasn’t a terrible wedding as it was just a terrible day. Fine, I will allow that. Most people I discover judge bad receptions by the food selections and the availability of an open bar. I’ve only been to two open bar receptions. One I was in the wedding party and the other I had a long drive, so I probably had a glass of wine at each. The terrible wedding started late because someone lost the wedding license. Very late. Not Colored People’s Time late, but is this going to happen late? This also taught me to drive everywhere. In fact, my date taught me to drive myself everywhere, because she suffers from the “I don’t know how to make a graceful exit” disease. The lateness of the wedding led to a late reception. I was ready to go, but alas I did not drive. So the caterers left. Straight up departed. They did not feel like waiting any longer. Unfortunately, when the caterer departed they forgot to leave utensils to which to serve and eat the food. So the delicious food sat there, while the guests stared longingly at it. Some in the family was forced to head to the store to find utensils but it was a holiday and everything was closed. So we sat for an hour. Then there was a medical emergency, then people started slipping out and finally the bridal party looked around and there were about 20 people there and the activities hadn’t even started. Sadly, I was part of the 20. Boy, did I want to go home. Boy could I not, because well…things fell further apart.

So in hindsight, I attended a terrible wedding that I was stuck at for hours and was forced to console the bride in the end (see above). I served as a bridesmaid in a wedding, where I didn’t eat, at all because of an oversight by the waitstaff. In fact the entire bridal party wasn’t served and a couple of us went to I believe Applebee’s afterward. I went to a perfectly boring wedding reception where no secular music could be played. A wedding that was shuttered by Hurricane Isabel. The wedding turned out beautifully–getting married by candlelight–and the reception had to be at the in-laws.

So, on my way to the wedding last weekend, I started to panic. What if I was some kind of bad wedding juju? Then I remember when I was cleaning my second bedroom, I found a wedding favor for my friends’ wedding and realized that they would be married for 10 years in 2013. That was a great reception, but I did miss the wedding because I got locked out of my apartment. Uh oh. Hey, the weddings I attended are batting about .500, which is the national standard anyway. It cannot be me! I swear.

At the wedding last weekend, I remembered the beauty of weddings: the joy of seeing the bride for the first time in her gown and the happiness of seeing the bride and groom recite their vows and place the rings. It was all too much. It was glorious.

To quote American Beauty:  Sometimes there’s so much beauty in the world, I feel like I can’t take it, and my heart is just going to cave in.