Finishing School Friday

Beauty tips. Fashion tips. Etiquette. Open forum.

*Audience Note* As usual, I’m mostly going to sit back and listen. Please feel free to talk among yourselves.

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93 Responses to “Finishing School Friday”

  1. Ali says:

    -These two blogs have been mentioned many times before on this site, but just in case anyone’s missed it:

    http://theartofbeingfeminine.blogspot.com/

    and for style inspiration:

    http://www.vogue.it/en/vogue-black

    -A general ‘finishing school’ tip, especially if you’re looking to expand your social circle, is to take up a ‘non-black’ activity as a regular hobby, right away. I’m not talking about a one time ‘new experience’ type adventure, but something you do once a week at least. It’s crazy to even use that sort of phrase ‘non-black’, but you guys know what I mean.

    The idea is to start getting farther from the BC and forging alliances, even if you can’t physically move yet.

    Depending on where in the country you live and your budget, an activity like horse back riding, sailing, cooking classes, hiking club, watercolor or sketching class, ski classes, yoga at a super fancy studio (fancy yoga studios and super expensive gyms are worth the price, in my book, for the people you have access to who may work out regularly there). . . . . . . . . it’s not even necessarily a ‘romantic’ thing or a search for guy, you may already have a guy.
    It’s just about expanding your circle and making new friends and work contacts and allies that fit your growth and fit in with the NEW you. Sometimes you will need to get an all new social circle because the one you have is holding you back

    - Once you start meeting all these new people, you will need something to talk about! Don’t be the attractive woman with nothing to say. So start now – start reading a newspaper (ny times, washington post, etc.) on a regular basis, online, every morning – just scan the national and international news and keep up with what’s going on in the world, so if you strike up a conversation with someone at your new activity, you’ll have something to discuss.

    STOP reading standard BC magazines like Ebony or Essence and blogs like Bossip, The Root, etc. even just to shake your head at them or laugh at them – if you have the sites bookmarked, delete them, if you subscribe to the magazines, cancel them. This sounds harsh but they are time wasters, and often present a distorted view of what’s going on in the world, outside of the BC. (that includes the ‘black intellectual’ blogs) Start regularly reading other blogs and magazines:

    Gawker.com

    http://www.newyorker.com

    http://www.theatlantic.com

    http://www.vanityfair.com

    Pick a couple and read them on a regular basis, either in print or for free online, but regularly, not just once or twice.

    I guess to sum up, you can start preparing for your new life today, for free or very cheap! Whatever your budget, you can start. Your mental state is part of your ‘presentation’ too, it should be tight.

    By the way – Mariposa Linda, Coffy, shesthedifferencemaker, SweetIslandGirl, Natasia, Chris and everyone – you guys, I didn’t get a chance to thank you for the language advice before last friday’s comments closed! I was starting to feel extremely discouraged about learning french, but now I’m back on the horse.

    thank you!

    • Chris says:

      Hi Ali,

      I think it was your request on foreign languages I responded to last week.

      I want to cosign your post 100%. The easiest way to expand your social circle is to join on-going activities in things in which you are interested. And these days, there’s a group for EVERYTHING. Just go to Google and search your interest and the name of the nearest big city, and you’re sure to find something.

      One of the things I do to make sure I have things to talk about is to spend at least one Saturday or Sunday morning a month at Borders or Barnes and Noble reading magazines on a variety of subjects. I’ve discovered some great magazines and journals since there’s such a great numbers of subjects from which to choose. On several occasions I was the one to arrive at a dinner party with the great bottle of wine that I read about in Wine Spectator – and I’m not much of a drinker.

      My job involves going to a lot of museum/gallery exhibit openings, so having topics to discuss is a occupational necessity for me.

      Good luck everyone!

    • Mariposa Linda says:

      You’re welcome! :)

    • Lisa99 says:

      Good post Ali. In terms of activities, I highly recommend long-distance running. Numerous studies and surveys show that long-distance running tends to attract intelligent people (and folks of higher incomes), and many people in running clubs often form friendships away from the running circle. Sometimes, they even travel to a race, which is another adventure.

      I also recommend yoga and pilates, as you said, and other “new” exercises like ballet barre, gyrokinesis, gyrotonic, etc. These types of activities usually attract smart people with resources that are looking for interesting ways to stay fit. I’ve met some interesting women in these classes.

      And totally co-signing what you said about black media. I find that the more I get involved in life-affirming activities, the less tolerance I have for black media. The perspectives are so off and so diametrically opposed to expectations and standards in the rest of the country… no wonder so many BW have to go through a reindoctrination process when they discover BWE-themed messages! They thought the mess they were dealing with was normal, when in fact, it was TOTALLY abnormal!

    • SweetIslandGirl says:

      Your very welcome. I’ve recently started reading up on Immunology-it was apart of my degree course when I was a undergrad (hint at what my degree is lol). My mom is a breast cancer survivor (3 weeks this past weds-YAY!) and I felt a need to read up on the immune system and how it functions. I’m following my intuition. Something is pulling me to do it so I’m going to oblige. I feel the same pull when I look at my spanish learning CD’s. Speaking of…

      Let me know if you need any more help on languages. Right now I have Michel Thomas’ system for French and Spanish and I must say I love his French Course because he has you speaking the language from the very first CD. Look him up, he is a lot more inexpensive then Pimsler and Rosetta’s Stone but a very good resource non the less. I dont believe you will be fluent by the time your are finished his Advanced CD series (I’m not done yet so I’m merely goling off what other’s have said in their reviews) but you will have a very good foundation to build on should you decide to spend the money on the more expensive systems.

      Happy Learning :)

    • SweetIslandGirl says:

      I actually advised my ex rainbeau man about this a few months back when he told me he wanted to become a police officer. I told him he tends to at times use the incorrect terms in during conversations even though we know what he means. He listened and agreed but deep down I think he resented me for pointing it out. I started reading the local paper online every night for myself so I could have something to converse about should the oportunity arise.

      I havent done it in a while but this is a good reminder to start again. Thank you Ali. I’m really happy about finding this site because its taught me so much in such a short period of time. I am a lot more aware of myself, in terms of how I appear to others, smiling, being happy and seizing the oportunties around me.

      I have a personal tip for those who struggle with the concept of walking around with a semi smile on your face or at least a pleasent look. Think about what you are grateful for that day. Start small with being grateful that you made it in to work safely after travelling “x amount” of minutes on the highway (or freeway I believe its called in the US), being grateful for having a job etc. Just pick something pleasent and think about it.

      You will be surprised how your pleasent thoughts and the feelings they conjure up can translate across your face. Dont believe me? Go look in the mirror and think about a funny or happy thought. Now think about something that makes you angry or is unpleasent and see how quickly your face changes from happy to angry. Its that quick. Your thoughts reflect on your face.

      Be concious of what your thinking. Guard your thoughts and you will find over time its easier to be a more pleasent person and things will change in your life and most importantly your perspective on life and the oportunities around you.

    • Evia says:

      I totally COSIGN!! I’ve encountered intelligent nonbm and intelligent bm who told me they love talking with me because I can converse on a wide variety of topics. (I mainly attract men of strong intellect.) This means that I’ve engaged their MIND! If you can engage a man’s mind, you’re near to his heart if he’s a Quality man.

      There are obviously lots of women of all types these days who cannot hold an intelligent conversation with an intelligent man. Also, it’s not just a matter of being a talking computer; it’s being able to do this in a lighthearted way with some humor and a bit of wit, thrown in.

      If you can get a man’s libido titillated, you can hold his attention for the short distance, but if you can engage his mind, you’ve got him for the long distance. Make sure the man has a mind before you even bother though.

    • shesthedifferencemaker says:

      You are welcome!! :)

  2. HR Professional says:

    Quite a few posters have written on the merits of wearing the correct foundations under clothes. I am going to take it a step further. The correct foundations need to be the correct COLOR.

    As AA women, unless you have a lighter skin color, nude is NOT your color. Nude for us is beige. For foundations that match closer to the typical AA woman’s skin tone, seek out the chocolate browns. It truly makes a difference. They don’t stand out under lighter colored clothing the way the beige undergarments do.

    As far as foundations go, I am not as much a fan of Spanx as most people seem to be. I like the Flexees line from Maidenform. They fit me better, are not as heavy or as pricey. I can get them for a steal from TJ Maxx and Marshalls.

    • Melissa says:

      I just took a 2 day course on makeup from a professional makeup artist. Many makeup artist schools and community colleges have evening/weekend courses for those wishing to learn more about makeup. I highly recommend them especially if you want to learn the true “art” of applying makeup. Once you learn the basics, you will be set for life. Here are a few tips I learned:

      1. NEVER wear foundation with an SPF in it. It gives the skin that “ashy look” especially on dark skin tones. The “ashy look” isn’t so visible to the naked eye after you apply the foundation but once the makeup has “blended” with your skin for a few hours or you photograph yourself, it becomes VERY visible especially in photographs. Our instructor showed us TONS of hollywood stars (JLo, Nicole Kidman, Naomi Campbell, etc) who had on SPF foundation and their photographs looked horrendous. She explained that this was due to the fact that some celebrity makeup artists don’t know this or often times celebrities will accept “free makeup” applications for red carpet events from sponsors who have inexperienced makeup artists who use SPF foundation. After their makeup application, their faces look okay but once they are on the red carpet and are photographed up close, it looks terrible. Also, apply your foundation with a foundation brush never use the “sponges” only. The sponges don’t provide even coverage the way a brush can. It’s okay if you use the sponges after for touch up but never use it alone.

      2. ALWAYS curl your eyelashes before applying mascara. Applying mascara without curling the lashes doesn’t set the lashes properly and doesn’t allow the mascara to really do its job. Your lashes will come out fuller and longer if you curl it first. Also, be sure to buy the RIGHT eyelash curler- one with a rounded tip not a square one. Sephora has a really good one-

      http://www.sephora.com/browse/product.jhtml?id=P0414&categoryId=B70

      3. Apply foundation/concealer to your eye lids before applying eye shadow for better coverage. For those with dark skin tones, sometimes the eyelids have an uneven skin tone that doesn’t hold eyeshadow color well. If you “prime” with concealer or foundation, it will neutralize the eye lid color and the true eyeshadow color will shine through.

      4. Fill your eyebrows in with a brush/powder not only with an eyebrow pencil. The brush gives it a more “natural look” look and it’s easier to fill in the brows. Also, choose a dark brown powder colour for application NEVER go with black.

      Following up on Ali’s comments on websites to look into, Immanuel Wallerstein has a great website for deconstructing current economic/geopolitical events, the global elites, power structures and their impacts (winners/losers). He’s a highly distinguished economics professor and his “commentaries” are published twice a month on his website. He also has several essays and books. The topics he discusses are cited by many in the upper strata and make for GREAT conversation starters. Also, it will put you ahead of the curve for planning your “optimal lifestyle”.

      http://www.iwallerstein.com/

      • SS says:

        Great Tips, especially concerning the makeup artist schools.

      • Dea says:

        But don’t brown women still need to use SPF, especially if they’re prone to hyperpigmentation or dermotosis papulosa nigra, like me? Should we just avoid SPF foundations for nighttime events with photography? Or would using an SPF moisturizer underneath foundation work?

  3. Sholoray says:

    Good morning! I’ve done some self-evaluation and am focused on purging myself of two bad habits. Perhaps I can help someone else.

    1) The phrase “keeping it real” and all variations thereof needs to leave my vocabulary IMMEDIATELY. I notice that “keeping it real” is being used by people to justify ignorance, stupidity, and foolishness. I want no parts of that. So I am making an effort to just say what I mean without prefacing with, “Let’s keep it real.”

    2) About a week ago, my boss (let’s call him ‘Bob’) and I were walking across the courtyard chatting about sports. I’m walking slightly in front of him. As we approach the door, I jog up to open the door. Five seconds later, I’m thinking, “Why did you jog up to open the door? You should have let ‘Bob’ open the door.” I notice ‘Bob’s’ wife will be walking slightly ahead of him, but will stop before reaching the door and wait for him to open the door. ‘Bob’ has done this for other women as well. This is going to be the hardest habit to break. I failed my first test the other day. I told a male co-worker I was going to close the vent on my ceiling. Before he could finish saying, “I’ll close it for you,” I had already moved the chair and climbed up to close it myself. He even offered his hand to make sure I didn’t fall and I ended up reaching for the back of the chair to steady myself. *slaps my own hand* Pray for me, y’all…LOL!

  4. Angelyca says:

    For beauty, fashion, and cute quotes, I love to browse Tumblr blogs. There are quite a few of them focusing on black women, although this isn’t always the case.

    Here are some nice ones:

    http://bellemichou.tumblr.com/

    http://fierceblackgirls.tumblr.com/

    • ak says:

      Thanks Angelyca. That Bellemichou website is really hot picture-wise; it looks part i-D and part Nylon.

      And some of those woven clutches aren’t half bad! LOL

      Also that Bellemichou has put me in the mood to actually buy navy blue lipstick and wear it possibly with a little gloss…..yeah, you heard me right….LOL

      That’s one last good thing left about living in London. It’s fashion sense and its own style in the face of everybody else’s that they’ve had evolving and continuing from at least the 1960s (Even though esthetics are not the point of it, To Sir With Love was one of the most stylish looking movies ever to have come out of the 60s!)

      Parisian chic and its Nazi austerity leaves me cold, I mean they give you dirty side-eyes or worse if you don’t wear head to toe black all the time, or black and beige out there! Please! And American rich girl chic is very Ralph Lauren but is limited in certain ways too. I much prefer the way the Italians do it. They do chic but with a bit of sexiness and vibrancy. They’re more alive, and use at least some color definitely.

      So what do the British do best?….They do crazy…but they do it so well, long live Viv Westwood! Yay! And I love it; it’s colorful, different, and always alive.

      Tip: You HAVE to look up or Google ‘Biba’ and ‘Barbara Hulanicki’. Barbara was a Polish immigrant by way of Palestine when she was young to the UK, and the beautiful FANTASTIC Biba shop was her idea. There has never been a prettier, more interesting interior decor in a department store or boutique ever since the end of her era.

      Biba was hot, and the large coffee table books about are the best ever, with beautiful pics all over them. Quite a legend. To those of you young or old, who still want to consider fashion, art, interior design, etc. look up ‘Barbara Hulanicki’ and ‘Biba’ and hopefully it can inspire you.

    • ak says:

      The Fierce Black Girls website is hot as well with some great pics especially the pics of whoever that Vintage Virgin chick is and the pics of Jeneil Williams and of course Alek Wek. Thanks Angelyca.

      • Angelyca says:

        I’m glad you found these websites useful! You’re very welcome. There’s a plethora of similar sites on Tumblr and around the web, usually if you click the links to a picture entry, it will link to another Tumblr the blogger linked from.

        Some of the Tumblr blogs have a lot of nudity, and although nudity does not always = sexuality, I know it’s something to be aware of.

        I will check out Biba and B. Hulanicki. Thank you!

    • belinda says:

      ive been looking for those blogs all my life and never knew it. beutiful images of women of african descent with natural hair…a real blessing to find. i had to thank you. i want to reproduce them and add them to a wall i’ve dedicated to images of african heritage women to inspire my 3 yr old daughters sense of her beauty. khadija, i would be really interested to hear your thoughts on empowering our children, my 3 year old just yesterday was rubbing away at the back of her hand with a eraser as she wanted white skin.

      • Belinda,

        You said, “khadija, i would be really interested to hear your thoughts on empowering our children, my 3 year old just yesterday was rubbing away at the back of her hand with a eraser as she wanted white skin.”

        To sum up, I believe that empowering AA children is an ongoing battle. One that, unfortunately, the vast majority of AA parents don’t realize needs to be fought. AA children are surrounded by a zillion anti-Black messages day-in and day-out. At this point in time, most of these anti-Black messages are coming from the other Black folks around them in their environment (parents, relatives, Black music videos that celebrate every type of woman other than BW, etc.).

        To build up a child’s inner resistance to all of this, intense and ongoing efforts have to be made to do what one can to make sure that the images and people in the child’s immediate environment are healthy and self-affirming as Black people.

        Expect Success!

  5. bered says:

    I’m not sure if someone has mentioned this already, if they have I’d like to reiterate and stress the point.

    I recently got my eyebrows shaped after not having done them for a while and what a difference it makes! Just the simple acting of doing your eyebrows can make your face appear more “polished/manicured/put together”, brighten and open your eyes. It doesn’t even matter how you get them done; I prefer threading vs. plucking/wax, but its a quick, simple and pretty cheap way of making you look more attractive. Plus I think it makes you look like you take care of yourself. Word of caution: Don’t go with an eyebrow shape that is too drastic & strays from your natural shape, just refine the angles, clean up stray hairs etc otherwise you end up looking odd & unsophisticated.

    There are many sites online that you search that show you appropriate shapes for your face etc and you can also ask the threader/plucker.

  6. Monique says:

    @HR Professional

    I agree I think the Flexees are MUCH better and the last longer than the Spanx

    @Ali

    You are spot on about getting a hobby and changing what you read and expose yourself to. I’ve taken up swing dancing because I love t dance, but I’m not that great at partner dancing and I’d like to learn.

    Indeed, most “black periodicals” are a complete waste of time and are not very informative or interesting. It’s important for BW toknow what is going on in the world and unfortunatley, Ebony, Essence, jet, the root and othes don’t give good comprehensive coverage.

    I

    • Mariposa Linda says:

      I’ve been swing dancing for ten years. It’s fun and it’s great exercise. It’s a great way to travel and meet people. I’ll be attending three major events in March in three different cities. I hope you enjoy your adventures as much as I’m enjoying mine!!

    • Melissa Q. says:

      Personally I’m more of a Salsa/Bachata/Merengue fan myself. But at my city NYC there are non-Latinos there as well. Usually it’s a great way to meet people. And another thing, make sure you scope out the neighborhood that you attend your class. It isn’t going to help you if the neighborhood isn’t multiracial.

  7. PG says:

    I love everything that @Ali wrote! (I need to incorporate Ali’s suggestions for more grown up reading in my routine… been spending too much time on Jezebel)

    Since I’ve begun venturing out to wine tastings (actively started in Jan), I’ve met a good number of incredibly pleasant, gracious people (the wine helped *alittle* :P ) who are now apart of my social/professional network. I’d recommend, if you’re up for it, going by yourself and taking notes on the wines that you’re drinking. People will notice and become curious about you/what you’re writing (because you are, of course, terribly interesting!). I’ve found this opens doors to great conversation/socializing.

    • SweetIslandGirl says:

      Wine tastings?? That is an excllent idea! In my city, alot of professionals attend these types of events which makes it an excellent place to start socializing and networking.

      Thank you

    • SweetIslandGirl says:

      Hey, so I searched wine tasting events in my area and I found a really good one, an introduction to wine tasting. The great thing is it offers alot of perks for doing the workshop including a free 1 year membership. My issue is I ama light weight when it comes to alcohol which is why I have a 1 (or half drink in some instances) limit. This event is downtown. I want to go to this event because its new experience and its a great way to network but I am a “light weight” and I’d have to drive home.

      Does anyone have any suggestions for me or is this one type of networking I should sit out?

      Any advice would be appreciated

      • Coffy says:

        I’ve never gone to a wine tasting but from what I’ve seen online they have you spit the wine out in a bucket. You just swish the wine around in your mouth, you don’t actually swallow it (this may or may not be the case for your class). For a virtual wine tasting and to learn more about wine checkout Wine Library TV.

      • PG says:

        Hi SweetIslandGirl! If you are concerned about intoxication, I would recommend “dumping” your sample wine after a sip or two. The tasting coordinator will have buckets/pails available for you to pour your unfinished wine into. Also, if you can, I’d recommend eating a full meal before you begin. Salud!

      • Sylvia says:

        Go go go!!!! Great social outlet!!! Wine tasting is one of the best places to get out and meet new, INTERESTING and socially progressive people. Most wineries hold wine classes for free (or a nominal charge) if you become a member. I live in Southern California in a region that is considered “Wine Country”. Almost all of the wineries here hold tasting and COOKING classes as an added bonus. I took one 10-week course and it was the best thing I had every done that was wine-related. I got to personally meet the winemakers, taste awesome wines from around the world, and got to do some food with wine pairings. I took the class with a friend and we would alternate being designated drivers. Also, if you are concerned about intoxication, I would recommend “Chasers.” They are pills found in any discount drug store (Rite Aid, Walgreens, CVS, etc.) You take them with your first glass of wine. Helps absorb the yucky stuff that is prone to give you hangovers. I can vouch for these and only had to use them twice (many many years ago) before my body became acclimated to wine tasting. Meetup.com is another place where you can find like-minded wine folks. Please give us an update. Would love to hear how it turned out for you.

        • SweetIslandGirl says:

          Thank you for all the suggestions ladies. I live in Canada so I’m not sure there is a “chaser” type pill here as a lot of OTC drugs available in the US are not always available here. I’ll research and find out.

          I’m super excited about the wine tasting because I really want to go and experience what its like.

          I have a feeling this is going to be awesome.

          I signed up for a cooking class at Williams Sonoma today!! *school girl giggle*

          You guys are so awesome. I really love Finishing Friday’s lol

  8. Lorie says:

    Hi All,

    I haven’t been online for the past month but I’m so happy to be back.

    I’m not sure if this was mentioned while I’ve been gone but to get rid of rough, calloused feet, I do the following for a few nights. (more if they are really bad…)

    During my shower before bed, I scrub with a pumice stone or foot file. Then I apply regular lotion, let it be absorbed by my skin and then I slather with a generous amount of Vaseline before putting on my cotton socks. When you awaken in the morning, you should notice significant improvement- smooth pretty feet. Repeat on consecutive nights for superior results. Some ladies even wrap their heels in plastic wrap before wearing the socks. (I’ve never tried that but I hear it intensifies the treatment) This is a good way to prolong a pedicure. Try it if you haven’t done so before…

    • Sylvia says:

      Great information Lorie! Wanted to also share that what many of you may believe to be continually calloused feet may actually be a condition known as “plantar punctate keratoderma”. You will need to have your feet evaluated by a podiatrist to be certain. That stuff in the spas or other “treatments” won’t work to remove this condition. A podiatrist will prescribe a Urea cream (40 percent is the highest dose currently), but after a few uses, will leave your feet as baby feet – so soft and smooth.

  9. MesaATLien says:

    Hi ladies!!!

    First off, I just want to de-lurk (lol) and thank you Khadija for your wonderful blog. I’m 19, and this blog has truly been a godsend for me over the past two years. (I am happy to report that I am scrounging up some money to purchse your book!)

    1) As I continue to move more and more away from watching television, I find myslef looking for more cultural enhancement pursuits. Are there any good novels you ladies recommend? I recently got done with Toni Morrison’s “Beloved” and “Sula”, and I’m currently reading my advisor’s architecture dissertation in my free time (I’m an architecture major).

    2) What type of tinted moisturizer do you ladies use? I have very sensitive skin (I can’t wear foundation), so I wanted something for coverage and moisturizing for my acne (with sun screen). I wanted something to help with the slight discoloration from acne scars. It’s gotten alot better since I’ve been working out and drinking alot of water everyday. I also moisturize with olive oil after I cleanse my skin.

    If there’s one thing I’ve leanred in college so far, it’s stay away from people who don’t hvae the same goals in life you have. Time spent with these people is frustrating, draining, and just flat out unhealthy. When you get headaches around certain folks, that’s a sure sign to get away!!!

    Have a good day everyone!! :)

    • medley says:

      Novel recommendations:

      John Steinbeck – East of Eden, The Grapes of Wrath
      Tony Morrison – Song of Solomon
      Maya Angelou – I Know why the Caged Bird Sings

    • Sholoray says:

      Mesa, I like Laura Mercier’s Oil Free Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20. It’s $42, but I feel it’s worth all $42. Laura Mercier also has a regular tinted moisturizer and an illuminating tinted moisturizer. Checking the website real quick (http://www.lauramercier.com), she has expanded the number of darker shades.

    • Natasia says:

      Woot, woot! Undergrads!
      I would recommend expanding your collection to include novels outside of mostly African-American literature. a) You’ll have more in common to talk about with other non-blacks, and b) you’ll expand your vocabulary. (I’m just being honest- ESP regarding the more recent works). The following is a random array of my favorite novels.

      - Anything by Jane Austen (PRIDE & PREJUDICE, Sense & Sensibility, Mansfield Park, etc)
      - A Clockwork Orange (Burgess)
      - The Hobbit (Tolkien)
      - Prey (Crichton)
      - Ender’s Game
      - The Alchemist* (Coelho)
      - Invisible Man (Ellison)
      - Giovanni’s Room (Baldwin)

      The last two were by black authors, but they’re CLASSIC American novels that MUST be read.

      • MesaATLien says:

        I LOVED Pride and Prejudice! I checked it out from my library a couple of months ago, it was great. PREY was a fun book to read. ;)

        It’s funny that most of the books you ladies are suggesting I’ve already read in my high school and college Honors classes.

        I do want to get Sense and Sensibility and the Invisible Man. Thanks!!!

    • tertiaryanna says:

      If you are doing strategic reading (reading to advance your mind) I’d recommend going straight to the non-fiction. I love fiction far more than non-fiction, but if I had to prioritize my reading time, I’d go to the following:

      *art history, especially artists from your culture or country.
      *music history, same as with art
      *historical and contemporary domestic politics/civics: government at the local and international level
      *international geopolical affairs
      *the environment
      *economics, especially the scheme used in your country, and then of the major world powers.

      If you have access to a good library, the librarian can direct you to some of the major works in each field. if not, Google Scholar, or Amazon references.

      This is essentially the poor-man’s liberal education so if you have the time, you should take notes on what you read, so you can reference the topics for later. If you’re feeling particularly motivated, you can use a wiki to cross-reference the material you use in a digital form. There are free resources online that can do this for you.

      Novels are great, but I think the topics I mentioned above take time to get a good handle on them. Unless you’re studying literature, there’s less of a time demand in understanding the novel (you don’t -need- a foundation to appreciate it.)

      So if you have spare time, use it build a foundation on topics that require some prior knowledge to understand. You’re 19, so even if you only read 1 non-fiction book a month (stick to the ones with good critical reviews), by the time you’ve graduated college, you will be quite impressive with your knowledge.

      Also, finance. At 19, start being ruthless in your savings, and keep saving. Men are great, but compound interest can keep you warm even when he’s running cold, LOL! All humor aside, be ruthless with the savings, because a solid financial life can keep your options open even if you make mistakes in other areas of your life.

      • MesaATLien says:

        I’m American. :)

        Oh, believe me, I am very stingy with my pennies, LOL. I don’t really spend money on things unless I ABSOLUTELY need them. I’m actually saving right now to travel to Brazil for the World Cup in 2014.

        As far as self-improvement, I’m self-learning Spanish and German right now (Rosetta Stone) so that I can do some internships next year, so I’m probably going to start checking out most of my books from our university library in those languages. Hopefully they have alot of literature in different languages to enjoy. Thanks!

        • tertiaryanna says:

          “I’m actually saving right now to travel to Brazil for the World Cup in 2014.

          That sounds like fun, but that’s not what I meant by savings. That’s “saving up for something”, which is an excellent habit to have.

          However, what I meant was long term savings. Specifically, the power of compound interest. So if you took a dollar, put it in the bank, and didn’t touch it for 20 years, how much interest would your dollar have accrued?

          Because you’re 19 if you start saving for your retirement now, you’ll have at least 40 years of accrued interest on any savings you make right now.

          The implications of this are if you saved from 19-39, and then stopped, you’d be better off than the person who started at 39 and ended at 59. There are online calculators that will do this math.

          So this is what I mean by savings: the money that, once set aside, is not pulled out for decades (except for vehicles that will perform better, like perhaps investments or property.) Think of it like the money you save for your golden years, or to pass along to your own children.

          Also, I think it’s a great idea to improve your fluency in the areas where you plan to do your internships.

          But for general conversation with people, having a working knowledge of world, current and historical events is important.

          We have differing tastes in what we may enjoy reading, and we’ll self-select into those categories. But history and events don’t self-select. They happen, regardless of our choice to be there. Understanding what’s happening now, in real life, allows you a common access to what other people (not like you) may be experiencing.

          It also poises you to make better -formed opinion on what should be happening. If you understand why (let’s say) what the current agricultural policies are, you would have a good understanding about factors contributing to the obesity epidemic, or why food prices are getting higher. That conversation is going to be more broadly applicable than one about Jane Austen (not knocking her, because I love her more than cookies. But it’s just not of the same import, to me.)

          That’s what I mean by strategic reading: the kind of reading that gives you a broader sense of what is actually happening, so you can both discuss and act upon those issues.

          I like fiction, to help put a human character or narrative to an event.

          But it’s important to know how to approach the true events themselves (and admittedly, a lot of that non-fiction reading at least to me, can be quite dry, or overwhelming) and that (IMO) comes with practice and time. At 19, you have the time to engage in that practice.

    • Patrice F says:

      I’m a self-professed bibliophile, so there’s variety in genre here.

      Moll Flanders- Daniel Defoe

      Typee- Herman Melville

      Gulliver’s Travels- Jonathon Swift

      Red as Blood–by Tanith Lee

      True Grit–Charles Portis

      Pick Up–Charles Willeford

    • ak says:

      MAC, Becca, Bobbi Brown, and Laura Mercier make good tinted moisturizers in lovely brown colors, and Becca definitely has the variety in their colors, but as we’re talking about tinted moisturizer which is very sheer, you don’t have to be as exact with your color as you’d have to be with foundation, concealer, or powder.

      At some time later on in the year, Nars will be coming out with tinted moisturizers too.

    • medley says:

      More Novels:

      To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee (Movie was great too)
      Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
      Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
      The Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
      The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
      Catcher In The Rye – J.D. Salinger
      A Study In Scarlet – Arthur Conan Doyle
      The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
      Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
      Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy

      • MesaATLien says:

        Haha, I’ve already read the majority of the books on this list (Gatsby, Mockingbird, WH, Catcher, Count of Monte Cristo), and I enjoyed them as well. I will check out the Three Musketeers! Thanks!!

    • ak says:

      The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

      Crash by JG Ballard

      • Melissa Q. says:

        I love the dystopia type fiction as well .They are a bit slow in the beginning (but definitely not boring.)

        Fahrenheit 451
        Brave New World

        And a bit of philosophy
        Nietzsche classic: “Thus Spoke Zarathustra”

        I know that many people consider slow reads = boring, so they tend to shy away from them. But tackling them will help you be a bit more open minded. Try 1-2 a month.

  10. Coffy says:

    Hair conditioner as shaving cream has already been mentioned, (I’ve actually been using an old tub of Noxzema which works great) but I also like to put a thin layer of oil on before the cream. Not only does it act as an additional barrier of protection between your skin and the razor blade–but it leaves your legs feeling silky smooth.

  11. Karen R. says:

    One tip my best friend gave me over 25 years ago was that when going on a date, wear a skirted outfit or dress. I’m not talking mid-thigh, but rather just above the knee or knee-length.

    Most men like to admire toned and shapely legs so use that to your advantage either when on a date or when in a venue to attract a mate.

    • SweetIslandGirl says:

      LOL I have to whole heartedly agree with this. I wore a skirt Feb 14th and walked into a electronics store on lunch and I watched as the salesmen ignored male customers and went out of their way to say hello, smile and ask me if I needed their help. Even the male customers smiled (though they were the ones being rudely ignored) and said hello.

      I’d walked into the same store a week earlier in pants and less then thrilling “boring” footwear with the same smile on my face and was virtually ignored by all except the girl at the front handing out flyers for their sale.

      Dont underestimate a woman wearing a smile and a skirt. There is A LOT of power in being feminine and pleasent.

    • ak says:

      Yeah I’ve been getting into skirts and dresses these days and I’m a jeans (loose) freak! I love the pantalones! LOL But when I wear skirts and dresses these days it’s the long, maxi, down to the ankle ones made out of jersey (t-shirt-y) material. It’s not too cling either.

      • Melissa Q. says:

        I know a skirt is more preferable, but if you have to wear pants you have to dress them up a bit. Try dark wash form fitting jeans, with a skin tone complimenting, colorful figure flattering top and a cute pair of heels. Don’t estimate the power of a good heel. (I noticed they they make men more inclined to help a woman :-) .

      • SweetIslandGirl says:

        Skirts are amazing. Pencil skirts are my favorite! I’m not also getting into dresses as well. I plan to buy some “work” dresses that are fitted down to the knees. Pair them with a great pair of heels and your golden. Stand back and watch the men drool and trip over themselves to open doors and be chiverous (sp). All you have to do is smile and bat those eye lashes.

        Speaking of…

        a trick to voluminous lashes is to wear a good lengthening mascar then putting on a voluminous one. Maybelline Falsies is an amazing mascara and really helps to give you that va-va-voom look on your lashes.

  12. Robynne says:

    Here are some great tips on how to keep your hair moisturized, for all you natural ladies out there –
    Here is a tip on how to create a simple, home made moisturizing spray. This is especially good for twists and wash and go’s:

    Start with a clean spray bottle. I use an old spray bottle that used to contain another product – I thoroughly washed it out first. Or, you can simply purchase one at a pharmacy, particularly the small ones, which can fit into your purse. You then fill your bottle up half way with an inexpensive moisturizing conditioner. Then, add a few drops of your favorite oil – use up to one half tablespoon. Some good choices are coconut oil, olive oil, jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, and grape seed oil. I personally prefer castor oil. Only one oil is necessary, but you can mix the oils to experiment.Fill the rest of the bottle up with filtered or distilled water.

    I also mix castor oil with shea butter or coconut oil to create my hair twisting butter. It stays moisturized for days!

    Also, here is an article on hair thinning. It applies to both natural and relaxed hair. This article, along with a number of links after the piece, contains very useful information for the ladies who prefer to wear their hair in a straightened state:

    http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/363044/what_causes_thinning_hair_ends_and.html?cat=69

  13. Faith Dow says:

    I wanted to share this post the featured a lovely black woman fashionista — http://www.redcarpet-fashionawards.com/2010/04/12/star-spotlight-shala-monroque/ She’s got style for days!!

  14. Sholoray says:

    If you have oily skin, here is something to try. Aztec Indian Healing Clay has become my go-to facial mask. It costs about $7 for a 16-oz jar of the clay in powder form. You mix it with either water or organic apple cider vinegar. As it dries on your face, you will feel a pulsing sensation. Wash it off and all of that excess sebum is gone. Perhaps it does too good of a job because I follow it up with Korres Yogurt Mask, which I keep on my skin overnight.

  15. Rhonda says:

    A well-done BBC documentary: The World’s Most Dangerous Place for Women

    Twenty-three-year-old Judith Wanga grew up in London but was born thousands of miles away in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Sent away by her parents to live in Britain as a small child, she’s now returning to Congo – two decades later – to meet them for the first time.

    She wants to understand the childhood she missed and the country she was forced to leave. After reuniting with her parents in the capital, Kinshasa, Jude heads east to an area of the country that’s been devastated by war.

    It is the most dangerous place in the world to be a woman, where rape has become a weapon of war. Jude meets survivors – women and children – as well as perpetrators, and finds out what’s driving this brutality – the precious minerals that make our mobile phones and laptops work.

    The expiration date for online viewing is February 28th. (Last week’s shows was The World’s Worst Place to be Gay, which is Uganda, and which I found very difficult to watch: every person whom the interviewer spoke to advocated the murder of homosexual men and women, because they found homosexuality disgusting and to be a Western sickness imposed on their African culture.)

    If you are outside of the UK, you will need to configure your computer to show an UK IP address, here are a few ways you can do that:

    1. The easiest way is to go to ExpatShield[dot]com and download the ExpatShield software. (Expat Shield does not work on Macs.) Then you can watch the UK equivalents of the US’s Hulu. (Here is their Facebook page, which is a good place to go to for information on the software, if you should have trouble with it. It went kaput a few weeks ago, for about a week. I thought the problem was with my computer, but found out that other people around the globe were having trouble, too.)

    2. The more difficult route is, using the Firefox browser: install the FoxyProxy and Grease Monkey add-ons. You must install both. Once you have these, then you go to xroxy.com, then choose a UK proxy, click on the Firefox symbol in the box on the left-hand side, then the screen will change (this takes about a minute), wherein your new IP address will appear. With this method, you can also choose IP addresses from anywhere in the world. Also, do a search in YouTube (you’ll find a few instructional videos there) for a more thorough explanation for using this method (If I find the youtube link from which I learned how to do this, I’ll come back and post a comment with the link.)

    3. This method is sometimes hit-or-miss, but it is easy to do. Also, you can choose to hook up to proxy servers all over the world (see #2, above). In the Firefox browser (this works in other browsers, too, but the steps will be different, but once you do it in Firefox, you will be able to figure out how to do it in Safari or Opera or Explorer):

    1. Tools

    2. Options

    3. Advanced

    4. Network

    5. Connection — settings

    6. Manual Proxy Configuration

    7. HTTP Proxy: 195.200.128.52* Port: 8080**

    8. OK

    9. OK

    *This IP address might not work. If it does not, go to xroxy.com and pull an UK proxy address from there.

    **I find that an 8080 port number works best.

    Lastly, to find out what your IP address is, so that you know if your connection was successful or not: What is my IP address?

    • KimP says:

      Thanks for sharing this!

      • Rhonda says:

        You’re welcome.

        If you use ExpatShield, you should know that it sometimes disconnects. When it does this, you can click on the icon to reconnect. If that doesn’t work (which is often the case), then you will have to restart your computer, then connect after the restart.

  16. shocol says:

    Melissa said…

    3. Apply foundation/concealer to your eye lids before applying eye shadow for better coverage. For those with dark skin tones, sometimes the eyelids have an uneven skin tone that doesn’t hold eyeshadow color well. If you “prime” with concealer or foundation, it will neutralize the eye lid color and the true eyeshadow color will shine through.

    This is so true. For most of my life, I hadn’t been able to wear eyeshadow. My eyelids are darker in tone, with reddish brown undertones vs. the yellow undertones of the rest of my skin, and slightly oily. All eyeshadows no matter the color would end up as a muddy brown color after a few hours. Then I saw this video on Youtube that recommended the Painterly Paint Pot by Mac and now the true color of my eyeshadow comes through. Makes me very happy.

  17. Adrienne M says:

    If you have a smart phone, you should have a closet app. It really helps to organize all of your clothing and outfits. After you’ve done all the grunt work of photographing your clothes, you have a very handy and organized catalog of your wardrobe. It really has helped me decide what clothes were important, and helped establish a signature “look”. It also helps avoid “I have nothing to wear” days. I put all the outfits I’ve been complimented in in my “favorites” list. Here’s a link about the closet app I use:
    http://appstruck.com/2010/01/iPhone-App-Review-closet/

    http://appstruck.com/2010/01/iPhone-App-Review-closet/

  18. SweetIslandGirl says:

    If you want a atural finished look without the heavy make up look try this trick.

    1. Take your favorite concealer and dab it on the discolored areas on your face.

    2. Take a buffer brush and blend in the concealer into your face (use a shade closest to your skin tone)

    3. take a powder that also is closest to your skin tone and take a good foundation buffer brush and blend it into your skin. This will set the concealer and further even out your skin tone.

    4. I am blessed with io skin( which is why black wont crack when I’m in my 40′s) so to cntrol the oil I dab on MAC’s finishing translucent powder.

    Et voila!

    Foundation is done and you can move onto to eyes and lips.

    A great fashion blog I frequent is http://www.fashionpaparazzis.com. These girls took a fun hobby and parlayed it into a business.

    They give you great ideas on how you can keep an eye out for inexpensive alterntaives to the expensive looks that are trending right now.

    I succssfully used African Black Soap to get rid of dark pigmentation that had come over my face. I had gotten about 1 shade darker then I normally am. It took about 2 months but it worked.

    What I did was:

    1. Washed my face with the BS, then pat dry (never rub)

    2. I pat JBCO on my face let it soak in then go to bed.

    Oil Pulling

    I dont exactly understand how this works BUT it does and I plan to do this again but this time coupling it with the black soap regimen.

    1. Before you brush your teeth in the morning take a swig of olive oil, swish it around in your mouth for a few seconds then spit it out. Dont swallow it. Brush your teeth as normal after wardsl repeat the same procedure before bed,

    Your skin becomes radiant within a few days and you start to have a bit of a natural glow happening. I did it for a few weeks and (like I said I dont know how it did this but it did) after a while I didnt need to wear foundation as much anymore.

    Khadija:

    I’m so focused on mentally empowering myself that I find myself stalking your blog and other BWE blogs on the subject. I try to read every little thing I can and I found myself repeating your tagline in my head,”expect success” intermitantly (sp) throughout my day and when I’d hear it I would feel motivated and happy. Some days it would pop into my head without me even thinking about it.

    I think I’m going to incorporate it into my personal mantra. It motivates me. Thanks :)

  19. Vinindy says:

    One good and low cost way to expand your social circle is a book club. For instance, my local library hosts a monthly book club that rotates at the branches. I read In Cold Blood by Truman Capote and the “voice’ of my local NBA franchise and his wife were at the discussion. It goes without saying to read the book, and have at least one comment to offer. The librarian usually moderates the group.
    Running – In advance of the half marathons (13.1 miles is a long distance!) there are training groups that assist in preparing for the race. The training lasts about 14 weeks, and in addition to getting in shape, you have the opportunity socialize with a group of healthy minded individuals. Not a runner? That’s okay, many of the groups have programs just for walkers.
    Does your city hosts large or small conventions? Volunteer. Check with your local tourism department or chamber of commerce. Its a great way to engage the civic fabric of your community and also meet movers and shakers.

  20. Rhonda says:

    Someone above posted a comment wherein she mentioned Oil Pulling.

    Oil Pulling is an Ayurvedic technique that cured a tooth/gum problem that I had; thus, saving me about $2,000 in dental work. If you click on the link, you will be taken to instructions (on how to do it “properly”) and information and the experiences of some people who have practiced it.

  21. MNLouise says:

    *Coming out of lurking status*

    Hello Ladies,
    This is my first time posting…but I’ve been reading since last summer. Love the site Khadija, thank you for having the foresight to create such a place!

    Ladies, good information that has been posted here. I wanted to tell a few things that I try to do.

    For my hair I conditioner wash (co-wash) roughly 3 days after washing. Before I twist it, I use olive oil and Vit E mixed in with a moisturizer. It makes my hair very soft. I also take Vit E and biotin which are good for the integument (hair, skin & nails), as well as drinking plenty of water.

    For my skin, I try to use as little as possible on my skin because it can become irritated quickly. I use Cetaphil, or dove or some glycerin soap and keep it moisturized. I haven’t tried it yet but according Dr. Oz, pumpkin is good for tightening the skin.

    I heard a woman say something that I found to be quite interesting. She said if the product you’re putting on your face is harmful if you were to ingest it, it may not be good for you.

    OK, that’s my $.02 for now! I’ll definitely be back!

  22. miss cosmic says:

    Hello ladies.
    Any recommendations for sunscreen? I’m NW45 usually but lately I’ve been unable to wear that because I’ve become darker (spending a lot of time outside). Most sunscreens I’ve tried either leave my face looking grey which worsens once I’m in the sun and is so unattractive, or are so heavy/greasy and just slide off my face, so that I tend to do without. Please help I’m really desperate. Also, sunscreens I can purchase off of amazon as I can’t go to actual shops. I’ve looked at reviews and googles too, but I’m scared to waste more money on sunscreen I can never wear outside the house!

    Thank you!

    • Rhonda says:

      Studies and research, from the past decade, have shown that there is little, to no, benefit to wearing sunscreen, except for the increased profit margin of the manufacturers of the product. In the decades that people have been slathering the stuff on their skin (with the big push starting in the late 70s; and another advertising blitz, starting in the late 80s, to scare brown- and black-skinned people, who really don’t need this stuff, to use it, too) the rates of melanoma/skin cancer has increased. But, don’t take my word for it, do your own research. You might want to do a “sunscreen” search on the health websites http://www.mercola.com and http://www.marksdailyapple.com

      One other thing about sunscreen for brown- and black-skinned people: The sun is the best source of vitamin D. If you are a “displaced” brown-/black-skinned person (you are living in latitudes far north of the equator) and you do not spend much time outdoors during the daylight hours, and given that darker skin people need more daily sun exposure than those with white skin in order to absorb adequate amounts of vitamin D, and the times when you do venture outdoors into the sun, you prevent it from nourishing your body with vitamin D by blocking it with sunscreen, then you are essentially, over time, damaging your health — not just your skin, but your bones, your heart, your hormones, your brain, your mental health — heck, your whole darn body.

    • Sylvia says:

      I use a mineral facial powder recommended by my medical aesthetician which has sunscreen included. The line is by Jane Iredale. A bit pricey but leaves me with a nice, natural looking, smooth face.

  23. Chris says:

    For all dance and theatre fans, check these out:

    http://www.dancechanneltv.com/

    http://www.broadway.tv/

    And don’t forget Masterpiece Theatre and the other wonderful and thought-provoking programs on PBS!

  24. LorMarie says:

    Not sure if this had been mentioned already but I wanted to provide a tip to those who still use relaxers. Be very careful using permanent dyes on top of relaxing your hair (even if you dye it two weeks after relaxing it). It can cause breakage like you would not believe. After my experience a few years ago I was advised to deep condition more often while having to chemical processes in my hair. I hope this helps.

  25. GoddessM says:

    Hey everybody. I’ve been lurktastic when it comes to these forums because I’m usually the one having to learn so much. Thanks for all the information and I hope what I share isn’t just reposting :-) :

    I LOVE to dress vintage but as a college student I’m working on my financial wellness. Mod Cloth is a great website. They sell really reasonable clothing which is vintage inspired. They’re customer service is fantastic and even take your measurements to help you shop.

    http://www.modcloth.com/

    Also for those hobbies to expand your horizons, may I suggest a leisure sport. There’s many that tone the whole body. Everyone should learn to play a decent game of golf especially if they plan to work in a business field. I am partial to archery. It tones the arms and increases focus. Compound bows are a great investment that stands the test of time and the fact you play the sport itself is quite a conversation starter.

    • Chris says:

      Hello Goddess M,

      I have to say that I agree with you on the ModCloth website. The clothes are wonderful.

      And I cosign on the leisure sport suggestion, as something to do IN ADDITION to your workout routine. I like archery, I don’t do it enough to buy equipment, but I can see why you would enjoy it. I enjoy rock climbing – both indoors and outdoors – another great conversation starter.

  26. Joyousnerd says:

    OK, this isn’t exactly a beauty tip, but it will help greatly with your self presentation. Ladies, if you have allergies, please for the love of god, take some medicine! I don’t know what it is about BW, but we are the only group of women I have seen who will walk around snorting wads of mucus up the nostrils over and over and over, rubbing the nose vigorously and making honking sounds… :( This is so unattractive! As Khadija has pointed out, it is in human nature to flee from disease. If you have some issue where you are sneezing, snorting and snuffling 24/7/365, please correct it! It’s not cute. It literally repels people. It is gross to hear and see. And please, blow your nose in the bathroom. Nobody wants to see that.

    Maybe the cause is being around smokers? Or maybe the reluctance to take allergy medicine comes from growing up without health insurance? I don’t know, but it’s not a good look. Please. Claritin can be purchased in the pharmacy for not much money.

    • Sylvia says:

      Not entirely on point, but I can commiserate with how you feel on this issue, Joyousnerd. It is a turn off and absolutely disgusting to me. I have not been ill since 2002. I can count on one hand the times I have been ill in my entire life (I’m in my mid-40′s) with the common cold or “allergies” or any sort of the “usual” illnesses. Seriously. Neither I nor my children have ever had the the flu, ear infections, etc. So I tend to have a very low tolerance for those who are “sick” all the time. (I’m working at being a bit more compassionate but it is difficult.) Allergies can be as simple as seasonal, to stemming from unknown food allergies, to necessitating a visit to an ENT doctor who can do some further study on what the allergy issue is stemming from because it is not always the seasonal stuff.

      • Joyousnerd says:

        A Neti pot can help flush out the passages, too, and keeping the air moist in your home will really help. If all else fails, some tissues in your purse and a trip to the ladies room can help matters at least temporarily.

        It makes me disgusted when people are snorting a wad of mucus back and forth like it cost them good money. Blow your %$#@ing nose, I want to shout! {But of course a lady must pretend not to notice the poor manners of others and never curse in public.}

        Actually, I honestly feel disrespected when people do this. It’s as though someone were to pass gas in my company- they are saying they don’t respect me very much to carry on that way in my presence.

        I don’t know why so many black women do this but it has GOT to STOP. I can think of little else that is less ladylike.

    • Sylvia says:

      Oh! Forgot to mention – A friend who is an ENT doctor HIGHLY recommends everyone (especially with those prone to “allergies”) to use a saline solution daily. (I use it several times throughout the day.) There is an inexpensive one out on the market called “Simply Saline” – white and red aerosol type of can. It keeps your nasal passages moisturized so that you don’t get the drips. I know, sounds counter-intuitive. He explained that when passages are dry, it signals the “drips” for moisturizing, and that you keep the drips away by moisturizing. Great for keeping away common colds too because you are continually “flushing.”

    • Firstly, I want to say that the behaviors listed (snorting, honking, and nose rubbing) are gross. They are not only unattractive but unsanitary: even if you don’t give a hoot about how these things look to others, at least care about how dirty it is to touch your nose, or snort your mucus, then to come into close contact with others. Ick.

      Secondly, I want to speak directly to the allergy sufferers as someone who symnpathizes, because, unlike the previous commenter, I spent the first 7 years of my life in and out of hospitals and my health has continually caused me problems clear into my adulthood (though nowhere nearly as bad as when I was a child.) The product recommendations are helpful for people who do not have serious allergies/sinus issues. As someone who has tried quite a few of them, I can comfortably say: go straight to a specialist if you continue to have symptoms past a week or two. I’ve been on 4 rounds of antibiotics within 6 months for a recurring sinus infection that causes frequent sore throats, throbbing facial pain, occasional ear aches, and a headache that I have to take BC powder for every day. After explaining this to the 5th doctor I’ve seen this year, I was finally referred to an ENT specialist. Claritin, Allegra and the like won’t do a thing for you if you have an infection as opposed to an allergy. Only a ENT doctor or allergist can pinpoint what is causing the problem. I look forward to getting to the bottom of this when I visit the ENT doctor.

      To anyone suffering from allergies, please know this: an ordinary physician and the methods typically recommended will likely be of little help. They will give you a prescription for allergy meds or tell you take an OTC product like Benadryl, which may relieve symptoms, but doesn’t do a thing as far as getting control of your problem. OTC and many prescription meds are for SYMPTOMS, not to treat the problem. Only a specialist can help you determine WHY you are experiencing certain symptoms, and help you design a plan to both alleviate symptoms and remedy the cause of your problems. Don’t ever be satisfied with just taking medication: know what’s causing you to need the medication in the first place, so that you can do something about controlling it.

  27. Musicalle says:

    Someone was mentioning vintage. For inspiration I really love
    Sisters of the Black moon: http://www.facebook.com/#!/photos.php?id=298574997265 They sell all of the stuff in an ebay store, but they are popular so it all gets bid way up.

    They are AMAZING stylists and their pieces go for a 70′s boho rock n roll look for anyone who appreciates this aesthetic.
    I wouldn’t be able to wear a lot of their stuff, but from an artistic perspective, I do love to look at it.

  28. Natasia says:

    Underarm odor and discoloration!

    I found out that my skin is allergic to antiperspirant (the aluminum makes my underarms darker than the rest of my skin) so I have to use non-antiperspirant deodorant. At first, I was worried about my underarms smelling bad without antiperspirant, BUT sweat isn’t what causes the odor. It’s bacteria.

    Sooo, this is what I do:
    1) After you shower, wipe some rubbing alcohol onto your armpits
    2) Use your favorite non-antiperspirant deodorant
    Voila!

    My underarms have never smelled better!

    • Melissa Q. says:

      If you have really bad underarm odor you can use this old school remedy my mom used. You slice a piece of lime, dip it in a little baking soda and rub the underarm with it. Leave it for a few minutes, then wash the entire thing off.

      It sounds insane but this always cures the terrible underarm smells. (Especially the ones young teens have during puberty.)

  29. Ladyeam says:

    Hello Ladies,

    For those of you who have not heard of Jeannie Mai, here is her website: http://iheartjeanniemai.com/. She is the host of “How Do I Look?” on the Style Network. I love her impeccable style and down to earth personality. She also has a page on Facebook where she actually interacts with her fans. She’s worth checking out! :)

  30. yancy says:

    For those wanting to learn basic make-up 101 skills I HIGHLY recommend Celebrity Makeup Artist Sam Fine’s DVD Fine: The Basics of Beauty. Using three models he goes into detail on the correct way to apply foundation, concealor, lashes, eyeshadow, and lipstick. You can get it for about $24 on Amazon. He is truly one of the best in the business, working with everyone from Iman, Jennifer Hudson, Vanessa Williams, Beyonce, Monique, Mary Blige etc.

    Also celebrity makeup artist Danessa Myricks has a bunch of DVDs detailing everything from lashes, eyebrows, shadow, highlighting and contouring. Her Step by Step Make up Basics Vol I is also a great jumping off point.

    In general I would recommend make-up DVDs from celebrity MUAs as opposed to Youtube tutorials for the sheer level of expertise.

    Keep up the great work Khadijah!

    • Musicalle says:

      Thank you! This looks like just the kind of thing I’ve been looking for. I’d also generally prefer this to a yotube tutorial. I’m also considering finding a profession make-up artist for a session. It would probably be worth it to invest in both. Does anyone in the L.A. area know of someone good to try?

    • Yancy,

      Thank you for your kind words; I truly appreciate it!

      Expect Success!