“An Expression of Gratitude”-An Open Letter

I am currently reading a book by Nido Qubein entitled “How to Get Anything You Want.” I am all about self-improvement and evolving and I love anything positive!  The author suggests in one of the exercises in the book to  write some letters/expressions of gratitude. The whole premise is about acceptance and thankfulness and your attitude.  That old saying is true “Attitude is everything!” Part of the exercise is to think about and list ten positive attributes that you possess and then to create expressions of gratitude based on these attributes   One letter is addressed  to God (you may modify to fit your belief system), to show gratitude for the unique qualities that you possess.  Another is addressed to others in your life and lastly, you guessed it, one addressed to yourself. I would encourage you to try this same exercise and if you are brave enough, I challenge you to share it.  This was an absolutely empowering experience and I am glad that I will be able to reflect on this in the years to come. Emotions are fleeting, so whenever I am having one of those days, I have these letters to remind me of the truly beautiful soul that I possess.  It’s not arrogance, it is confidence.  There’s a difference. I have combined my personal letters and included them below.

Dear God,

Thank you for all the beautiful, unique qualities that you have blessed me with.  Thank you for instilling in me a moral compass.  Thank you for helping me to be a good person. Thank you for giving me the parents that you gave me.  Thank you for giving me the children you blessed me with. I have gained so much wisdom from them and appreciate all they have equipped me with.  Thank you for all the people that you have placed in my life to play whatever role they have played.  Their actions have stretched me and caused me to grow.  Sometimes growing pains hurt but they ultimately made me better.

To everyone who has ever had the privilege of being in my life in whatever role you may have played.  Thank you.  Friends, Family, Co-Workers, Husband, Lovers, Adversary, whatever, I harbor no ill-feelings towards any of you.  Every experience was for my benefit.  Every betrayal, every moment of joy, every ounce of pain, embarrassment, hurt, pleasure- I take ownership of it all.  I know it was designed to make me a better person.  All of those moments and emotions have caused me to grow tremendously . I thank you!  I release you.  I am forever grateful for the encounter and I am better because of it!

And lastly, Self.

I am so very proud of you.  You are AMAZING!  I am glad that you are able to see the beautiful qualities that you possess and not focus on the negative things.  You have faced many challenges in your life but yet you have OVERCOME some things that were designed to kill you-mentally, spiritually, emotionally and physically.  You don’t let the way people have treated you hold you back, even though you have every right to retaliate, you consistently CHOOSE the high road.  Even though that is not always easy, you persevere and continue to grow and develop.

YOU WILL GO FAR.  You are destined for greatness.  You are exactly on the RIGHT path.



Truth.  Everyone wants it- Everyone lives it; in their own opinion.  Some say the truth is hard.  I say the truth is actually easy.

Why do people say they want the “truth?”  The truth of the matter is (no pun intended) is that some people really can’t handle the truth.  People pride themselves on keeping it “100” or lately “1,000.” This colloquialism couldn’t be any further from the truth. No one is absolutely, one hundred percent true, one hundred percent of the time. Now that is the true reality of the situation.

This particular post was prompted by a recent conversation that I had with someone.  I was sharing what may have been a hard “truth.”  Is the real truth ever easy? Many people say that they value honesty and truth but why is it that when truth is available, staring you right in the face, it is shunned or covered up?  Why do people feel like the truth is unable to stand alone?  Truth doesn’t need any additives. Why shouldn’t truth be able to stand alone?  Why are we so afraid of allowing truth to live as it is?

If you are on the receiving end of truth, why is it so hard to accept what someone is saying as what is really true? Are your own truths the reality?  Can you even determine what is true?  I say, yes you can to a certain extent.  You can not observe yourself in totality.  Yes, you can take all the self-assessments and inventories but can you do that without being biased.  Absolutely not!

There are many lessons is life and I believe that this is one of them. Truth is easy. No matter how it makes you feel, it is and will always be real. It will always be consistent.  It will always be able to stand alone. N

The Daddy Denominator

One man, five women and seven children. Doesn’t seem real, but it is and it is more common than you may think.  This is something that has become somewhat of an epidemic, especially within the black community; multiple women sharing children by the same man.

What’s more important sometimes in these situations, is the fact that the children suffer the most.  Sometimes the adults are so selfish that they neglect the most precious and undoubtedly the most positive things to come out of these situations, the children.

I want to speak to women that may be in these situations.  Specifically I want to say, Stop depriving your children of relationships with their siblings because you are angry with the way things turned out between you and their father. So things didn’t work out, that’s no reason to keep your children from getting to know their brothers and sisters. They are family, no matter how you feel about it. That will never change. There is a way that parents can come together for the sake of their children. Let us stop raising children that are angry with people that you won’t even allow them to get to know because your feelings got hurt or your ego was bruised.

In reflecting on the current state of the “United States of America,” we are more divided than ever. We are divided as a nation, we can’t afford to be divided within our own communities. Now, more than ever, it is time for us to join together. It’s time out for acting irresponsibly and immaturely. Our children are watching us and counting on us. How can we expect things to get better if we aren’t willing to show them the right way.

Parenting is all about sacrifice. We have to put away those hurt feelings, move on with our lives and stop making our children pay the ultimate price for our mistakes. Our children aren’t mistakes–allowing ourselves to get involved with someone outside of a healthy relationship is on us. We have to own that.

The sooner that this ownership takes place, the sooner we can come together for the sake of our children and for our communities. The children are our future. If we don’t teach them the importance of unity within their own family, how can we expect to come together to unite for the good of the community, for the good of the world?

“The Animals”

Cancer is truly life changing. Obviously, right?  But even the way that I watch and respond to television has changed. Don’t worry, this is not “another blog about cancer,” but I can’t help thinking that it caused me to be a tad more sensitive  As a Pisces, that is just what I need, to be more sensitive,  but now I feel as though I  am “hypersensitive.”

Season 4, Episode 12.  The title of this blog, “The Animals,” shares the same title of the episode of “Orange is the New Black” that let me know that I am either getting soft in my older age or that having cancer and going through treatments have turned me into a whining,  sobbing, cry at the drop of a hat, mush ball.   Never have I ever cried so much over the death of a fictional character.   Oops, I forgot to add “spoiler alert.

I have been binge watching this show for about 2 months now.  Every chance that I had, I was watching the show.  Things were going good until this episode.  Since watching this episode, I have been on an emotional rollercoaster !! I have not been able to get through full episodes.  I stopped watching everyday because I just couldn’t take it.

However, I pulled myself together and was able to get through the end…I have just completed the Season Finale for Season 5 of OINTB and can I just saw “Wow!?”   The talent for this show is amazing–from the writers to the actors.

That’s all I got.  Season 5, by far was the most challenging to get through due to the circumstances. The good news is that the show has been renewed for at least 2 more seasons!  If you are an OITNB fan, share your predictions for some of your favorite characters in the comments. Also, what other things are you watching on Netflix?

Orange Creamsicle-Product Details

This is a list of products only used for the “Orange Creamsicle” look.

  1.  Apricot Facial Scrub       http://www.stives.com
  2. African Shea Moisture Problem Skin Toner   https://www.sheamoisture.com/african-black-soap-problem-skin-toner.html
  3. Benefit Cosmetics Poreless Primer https://www.benefitcosmetics.com/us/en/collections/porefessional?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIlqHL1Myx1QIVCxCBCh2B-QYAEAAYASAAEgKvWvD_BwE
  4. Ruby Kisses Concealer   http://www.samsbeauty.com/service/Ruby-Kisses-CAMP;C-Concealer-g-933091.html
  5. E.L.F. Eyebrow Kit   http://www.elfcosmetics.com/p/eyebrow-kit?dept=eye-eyebrows&color_id=10399
  6.   Tarte Shape Tape Concealer   http://tartecosmetics.com/tarte-item-shape-tape-contour-concealer?locale=USA&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIp4iB0dGx1QIVgzRpCh0u7gggEAAYASAAEgJUA_D_BwE
  7. L.A. Girl Pro HD Concealer  https://www.lagirlusa.com/products/hd-pro-concealer?variant=7709998789
  8. Real Techniques    www.realtechniques.com
  9. Maybelline Clear Mascara    https://www.maybelline.com/eye-makeup/mascara/great-lash-clear-mascara
  10. Ofra Cosmetics Pressed Blush    https://www.ofracosmetics.com/products/pressed-blush?variant=9048794883
  11.  Coastal Scents Ultimate Palette    https://www.coastalscents.com/pages/hot-pot-reference-guide
  12. NYX Jumbo Milk Pencil   http://www.nyxcosmetics.com/jumbo-eye-pencil/NYX_001.html
  13. Maybelline Master Graphic Eye Studio Liquid Eyeliner https://www.maybelline.com/eye-makeup/eyeliner/eyestudio-master-graphic-liquid-eye-liner?gclid=Cj0KCQjwh_bLBRDeARIsAH4ZYEPaKTaLT7bN5v4sJTLZMw5Nmg-UD7FNKmoazquaP91w94TW4hXpnoMaAtEzEALw_wcB
  14.  Two Faced Better Than Sex Mascara   https://www.toofaced.com/p/mascaras/better-than-sex-mascara/
  15. Urban Decay All Nighter Liquid Foundationhttps://www.urbandecay.com/all-nighter-liquid-foundation-by-urban-decay/ud778.html
  16. Makeup Revolution Vivid Baked Bronzer    http://www.ulta.com/vivid-baked-bronzer?productId=xlsImpprod12781039
  17. Makeup Revolution Vivid Baked Highlighter    http://www.ulta.com/vivid-baked-highlighters?productId=xlsImpprod12781073&_requestid=12861278
  18. Mario Badescu  Rosewater Spray   http://www.ulta.com/facial-spray-with-aloe-herb-rosewater?productId=xlsImpprod6200727&cmpid=PS_Non!google!PrestSkin_Mario_Badescu_TF&CAWELAID=330000200000488660&CAPCID=109169910030&cadevice=c&agid=27591798750&catci=aud-168557346510:kwd-11874613803&gclid=Cj0KCQjwh_bLBRDeARIsAH4ZYEO6JsHc12MFRIsVUWsGFkxDpkSNDdnYPBFutoVRACu_3q0xZUdmfl4aAunrEALw_wcB
  19. Mary Kay Consemetics  https://www.marykay.com/en-us/products/all/nourishine-plus-lip-gloss-beach-bronze-140503
  20. MAC Studio Fix Plus Primer Spray http://www.maccosmetics.com/product/13825/32212/products/skincare/primers/prep-prime-fix


Orange Creamsicle

Disclaimer:  Beauty Blogs will primarily focus on the products used when creating the look featured.  Please be reminded that I am not a professional MUA nor do I aspire to be, I am only a MUE (Makeup enthusiast).

Here are the details for this look in the order of application:

  1. Cleanse.  I cleanse my skin in the shower with St. Ives Apricot Scrub. (www.stives.com)
  2. Follow up with African Black Soap Problem Skin toner.(https://www.sheamoisture.com/african-black-soap-problem-skin-toner.html)
  3. Apply The Pore Professional Primer to the visible areas of large pores.  I usually don’t place this all over my face but to my cheek area.  This is where I have more pore visability.  I This was just applied with my fingers.(https://www.benefitcosmetics.com/us/en/collections/porefessional?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIlqHL1Myx1QIVCxCBCh2B-QYAEAAYASAAEgKvWvD_BwE)

    4.  Color Correct. I used the Ruby Kisses Concealer in RCR18 (Peach).  I picked this one             up from a local beauty supply store but found that you could order it online as well.           I use my fingers for blending.


    5.  Brows, Brows, Brows. For today’s brows, I used the E.L.F.  Brow kit in Medium.                    (http://www.elfcosmetics.com/p/eyebrow-kit?dept=eye-eyebrows&color_id=10399) I            applied with the E.L.F. Eyebrow Duo Brush                  (http://www.elfcosmetics.com/p/eyebrow-duo-brush?dept=eye-brushes)  I outline and fill my brows with the product and then I blend with spoolie on the other end of this brush.

5.  Once my brows are done, I clean them up with a  lighter concealer on the bottom. Today, for the bottom I used the Tarte Shape Tape Concealer in the color “Tan Sand” and the E.L.F. concealer brush. (http://tartecosmetics.com/tarte-item-shape-tape-contour-concealer?locale=USA&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIp4iB0dGx1QIVgzRpCh0u7gggEAAYASAAEgJUA_D_BwE) For the top, I used the LA girl Pro Concealer in the color “Beautiful Bronze.”  (https://www.lagirlusa.com/products/hd-pro-concealer?variant=7709998789)  I use a Real Techniques Brush for blending the concealer.  I can’t find the name of it but it is like a tapered foundation.  It is my favorite Real Techniques brush.  (www.realtechniques.com) I blend the light color on one side and the darker on the other side.

6.  Once my brows are done, I set them with Maybelline’s  Clear Mascara. (https://www.maybelline.com/eye-makeup/mascara/great-lash-clear-mascara)

7.  I didn’t use any extra eye primer for my eyes today because frankly, I just didn’t have the time.  I just pulled the concealer down from when I cleaned up my brows.  So the color used on my lids would have been the Tarte Shape Tape in Tan Sand.  I blended my lids with my fingers.

8.  Eyes. For the base, I actually used a blush as my base.  I just love the way that it looks; it is very natural looking.  The color is called “Rendezvous.”  This was applied all over the lid.  Next I started with the color “Orange Crush” from the Coastal Scents 252 Ultimate Palette.  This was applied to the inner corner and spread to the middle of the lid.  I then added the color “Marmalade.” from the same palette.  I lined the under eye. with the NYX Jumbo milk pencil and then smudged the “Marmalade” on the waterline.  I used the Maybelline Master Graphic to create a wing.  I was planning to wear lashes but they did not want to cooperate so instead, I put on the Two Faced Better Than Sex Mascara.

9. Foundation/Face. I used Urban Decay All Nighter Foundation for my face.  This foundation is full-coverage and is slowly becoming one of my favorites.  I am the shade 9.75.  (https://www.urbandecay.com/all-nighter-liquid-foundation-by-urban-decay/ud778.html) I used the Maybelline Fit Me in the shade 330 as a finishing powder.  Next I used another favorite of mine,  Makeup Revolution’s Vivid Baked Bronzer in the shade “Rock on World.” A quick spray all over the face with the Mario Badescu Rose Water before applying the Makeup Revolution Vivid Baked Highlighter in the shade “Rose Gold Lights.” I did not do any baking or highlighting.

10.  I did not use a liner for my lips today, as I just wanted a natural looking lip.  I used the Mary Kay Lip Gloss in the Color Beach Bronze.  I sealed the complete look with MAC Studio Fix Plus Spray.   I think in the future, I will have a separate blog with just a list of links with the products used.

I hope that you enjoy the look and would love to see if you try it yourself. If you are not following me already, please do so at surviving_beautifully_ on Instagram.  Thanks for reading.  Until next time.

Common Misconceptions About Women Who Wear Makeup

Disclaimer: It is of my own opinion that ALL women are beautiful, with or without makeup. What makes a woman beautiful, in my opinion, is how she confidently carries herself and her attitude.
This is not my first blog about makeup and I am almost certain that it won’t be the last. I don’t want to turn this into a beauty blog however; I feel that it is a part of the journey of womanhood. When it comes to makeup, it would appear to me that there are two kinds of women in the world: Those who wear makeup and those who don’t. No one is born with the perfect highlight and contour so they have at least at one point in their life been the girl/woman that didn’t wear makeup. The decision to wear makeup could have been influenced by their favorite celebrity/artist, cultural influences or their own perceptions of beauty. There was a point in my life where I can honestly say that while I was “the woman that didn’t wear makeup,” I had some of these same misconceptions about the women that did.
When I was younger, I did experiment with makeup. I wore foundation and eyeliner and lip gloss. While in college, I was introduced to liquid eyeliner. I was never taught the proper application of makeup, so I just winged it, no pun intended. There were no online tutorials and not nearly as many recognized makeup artists that are so easily accessible to us as there is now. I was always the woman that openly complimented another woman if I thought she was dressed nice or if I thought she was pretty. It came natural to me. I was inspired to write about these misconceptions because they seem to cause so much division and separation amongst women. There is already so much happening in the world that divides us as a nation, I think that a woman’s decision to wear makeup or not, is something that doesn’t deserve anymore of our time or attention. By no means do I claim to be a feminist, but I believe that women are the strongest people on the planet. If women would work harder to encourage, uplift and inspire other women, I do believe the world would be a better place. That’s another blog for another day, let’s get to the misconceptions.
I initially planned to create a list of ten, but I enlisted the help of some of my Sweetbeats, and together, they helped me come up with a more exhaustive list. “Sweetbeats” is an online community for women of African Descent that just so happen to be makeup lovers. The group is comprised of aspiring MUA’s (makeup artists), established MUA’s and everyday women. It’s a community of sisters, in every sense of the word, which leads me to my first misconception:
First misconception: “Women of Color wear makeup to look white.” No one wears makeup to look white. Not even white women. No elaboration needed.
The next misconception is a combination of statements, all having to do with men. “Women wear makeup for men or the woman that wears makeup is out to steal everyone’s man.” This couldn’t be further from the truth. In reality, men don’t really care if your winged liner is perfect or if your highlight is “popping.” I think what men care about is the fact that the woman took time on her appearance. Personal grooming and pride in one’s appearance is very attractive, for both sexes. As far as makeup wearing women being “man stealers,” there is no direct correlation to someone wearing makeup and being a man stealer, let’s be clear. That’s a moral issue, which leads to the next misconception, “Women who wear a certain color lipstick, denotes a certain sexual behavior.” I am sure you already know the color lipstick.
“Women who wear makeup have bad skin.” Ask yourself this question, if a woman has bad skin, would she still get talked about?
“Real Women don’t wear makeup.” This is probably the most absurd argument that I have heard regarding the issue. A woman is not a “real woman” because she wears makeup? What then is the definition of a “real woman?” I know this is usually something that it is thrown around in the “natural” community. It is commonly believed that a woman that wears makeup dislikes her natural beauty, that she hates herself. This couldn’t be further from the truth. On the other hand, the argument is that a “woman that wears makeup is stuck up believes that she is better than others.” It can’t be both. It’s like you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t. So am I confident or insecure if I wear makeup?
I have said this before and I will say it again: There are many reasons why people wear makeup, but the most basic reason is because we love it and we want to. If you are have been guilty of believing these misconceptions, stop and ask yourself these questions, are any of these misconceptions credible? How did I come to this conclusion? Have I sat down with women and asked them why they wear makeup? And lastly, why does it matter to me so much what another woman decides to do with her face? What does this say about me and how I feel about myself?
That’s the real question.