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Sleeveless: The New Micro Mini?


The right to bear arms.

Absentmindedly, while giving myself a pedi, I was watching a show on Fashion Television, where Jeanne Beker was interviewing two sisters, who I believe were writers – forgive me,  for I only caught the show well into more than half of it. In the interview, she asked if, in their opinion, people, specifically women, ought to dress their age. This question was met with dead silence, which seemed to have lasted forever, but I’m sure in reality only lasted a couple seconds. The writers looked at each other with a bit of a puzzled look, followed by a smirk, and then a huge grin.

Indeed, a controversial topic, if ever there was one.

Should we dress our age?

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In the end, it seemed that the both writers agreed that it would be recommended, although one was more emphatic about that view than the other, expressing utter shock and horror at women ‘of a certain age’ wearing sleeveless tops… or exposing their necks.

Poor Jeanne, who was visibly shocked at the response, or perhaps I should say more so disappointed. In light of the fact as, in light of the fact that she revealed that, though she was currently wearing a turtleneck, she is, in fact, a lover of the sleeveless. It was evident that she didn’t share the same view, though, though she was aware that, in some circles, this may be considered a major fashion “don’t”, as she recalled commenting on her arms – on camera, during one of her shows. See for Jeanne, she sees fashion as more of a mindset than an age thing.

Or should we dress our minds?

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Maybe there is no black and white answer.

Perhaps we ought to dress how we wish others to perceive us, or at least dress in what we feel most comfortable and powerful in, – outside of sweats *cough*.

“Dress your lifestyle, and you’ll always be relevant.”

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If one’s clothing doesn’t match one’s lifestyle, there will never be balance, and so, perhaps the problem is bigger than the clothes.  Just my opinion.

I’d be the last to condone dressing to please anyone else, but there must be the acceptance that there is a generally understood concept – how you present yourself to the world, is one of the factors which help communicate to the world exactly which point of view you are coming from.  It’s all a part of the ‘body language’ conversation really, and less so rocket science. Though complex as individuals, as a species humans are simple – It the end, it’s all about vibes.

What vibes are you giving off?

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Side note: The writers threw out an interesting statistic – That one in three (3) things we purchase, is a mistake, i.e. it either is not flattering, or is not the best look for us, aka it’s just wrong. E. Gad, say it ain’t so.

Perhaps the whole notion of dressing your age may be related to that. Logically speaking, the older we get, the more in tune with our personal style we ought to be, and so the less mistakes we are likely to make. But of course, it’s never that simple, is it. That high-waisted, fuschia, American Apparel leggings for example that I purchased with a matching navy one, and standard black long tank comes to mind – Yeah, about that statistic, I get you.

Having it all

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Something else that caught my attention was a conversation about “Having it all’. One of the writers said that she found it interesting that at every graduation, at every turning point in young woman’s life, there is a well accomplished woman who, by all appearances has it all, (which is why I suppose she was asked to address the young women in the first place), who is usually the greatest advocator that it’s not possible to have it all. Funny. She later concluded, less often regarded fact to this discussion is that to have it all requires a great deal of hard work, sweat and perhaps more than a few tears. That, perhaps that it’s less so that it’s not possible and more that it’s not a path for the weak willed, or lazy among us.

Right about here the sister of the first writer offered her two cents – that having it all simply means that you are at a point where

“…what you want, and what you currently have are in balance.”

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Simply, it does not necessarily reflect the balance on your chequing account, the number of kids you have, or if you are married or in any sort of committed relationship or not. She then recounted a time when she had just gotten a divorce, was living in a tiny apartment, and was a struggling writer, but at that moment in her life she felt like she had it all – that is to say, she was in a place where she was happy. She was doing exactly what she wanted to do, at that point in time, and felt that she was well on her way to success on her terms.

I’ve read that success is not the key to happiness, but that happiness is the key to success. So ya, I get it. I get it now.

In the end, it always seems to come down to balance, doesn’t it?

b FiercelyFabulous

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How to | Summerize a Simple Frock

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Fall may be fast approaching, sure, but summer is still here.  Starting with a simple dress, even a black one, here are 5 ways to bring some Summer into your life, and your remaining wardrobe, without busting the bank.

1. Add Stripes

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Nautical stripes (blue and white) is the most widely associated with spring and summer, but really any sort of stripes will do. A striped canvas bag/ tote, striped espadrilles, a striped headband – anything striped will work.

Prada’s multicoloured stripes were most popular this spring/ summer season, perhaps evidenced by the fact that it has been so widely duplicated from anyone from H&M to the chinee shop down the road, and everyone in between.

2. Add Shimmer

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Replace your customary blush with a bronzer, which you can layer under your blush when you re-introduce it in the Fall.

Mix a bit of loose golden/ bronze pigment/ shimmer powder/ loose shimmer eyeshadow – whatever you have, with a dab of your normal lotion and apply it to your skin – particularly your arms, legs and whatever else you will be baring. Blend well. Of course you can just buy shimmer lotion if you want to, but I try to find ways to use the ridiculous amount of coloured cosmetics that I own, don’t use and have a difficult time throwing away for whatever reason.

I find that moisturized skin that shimmers looks instantly healthier and toned. Seeing that I haven’t been to the gym all summer, that’s an optical illusion that I can work with.

3. Add Colour

Colour can come from anywhere really

- Makeup

Coloured lips, either lipgloss or lipstick – your preference, is the easiest way to add some colour to your makeup. Pink and coral tones are most widely used, largely because these tones are easiest to wear and most flattering on most skin types. Coral lip colour will carry you through fall, so feel free to still cop one that flatters your skin tone.

Adding a coloured eyeliner, like a teal, turquoise, forest green… can up the ante on your summer nights look, as would coloured mascara. But please, unless the  eyeliner and mascara are the exact colour, do either or.

- Shoes

Pumps, moccasins, sandals, wedges, Keds, Vans, whatever you choose to wear, add some colour or patterns to the mix.

Please, flip-flops are for the beach and belong nowhere near an office.

- Bag

Choose whatever style of bag matches your personality. A fanny pack if you are a no-fuss minimalist. A tote if you have a kazillion must haves. A knapsack. A messenger bag if you are more the ‘ready, set, gone’ type. Whatever bag your personality craves, get a coloured/ patterned one.

- Accessories

Add hair accessories like bandeaus, flower pins/ clips, stack statement tatement bangles/ necklaces OR add brightly coloured earrings. Choose one and work it.

One thing to make sure when earring shopping – most bold earrings tend to be heavy so make sure to check out the weight of them before purchasing. 5lb laptops are near passe, why would you want to carry a 10lb earring? Stretched earlobes, much like a back injury, cannot be reversed.

- Belts

Thick/ thin/ woven/ metallic/ leather/ pleather or otherwise, a coloured belt can take your wardrobe up a summer notch.

Tip: Let your physical size, both girth and height, be your guide to choosing the width of your belt. The more petite your are, the more flattering slimmer belts will look. Likewise, the taller and/or wider you are, the more flattering a wider, brighter, coloured belt will appear.

4. Add Sandals

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I’m a stiletto girl myself eh, but even against the fushia-est, peep-toe, stiletto pump, there’s really no mistaking the ability of  the simplest, nude-leather, thong, flat sandals, to make even the blah-est dress feel like summer. Perhaps it’s because, unlike the pump, there’s no thought of wearing thong sandals in any other season without risking a dread frostbite in ya tail.

If you must go tall, wedges are a lot more summer-y than stilettos. Throw in cork, or the woven espadrille typed soles and you’re even more in the mix. Also, peep-toe (rather than closed-toe) or sling-back, styled wedges, look more like you consciously opted to wear wedges, and less like needing to wear them for orthopedic reasons.

5. Smile

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It’s summer for crying out loud. Longer days, ripe for patio dinners and sangria with friends and family over a never-ending, ever-amorphous convo. Festivals. The beach. BBQs. Road trips. No  jackets.

*Spoiler Alert*: If you can’t find a reason to smile now, then your life would really suck in a few months.

Carry on.

b Freakin’Fabulous

The Male Capri | Are You Man Enough?

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Image | Tommy Ton

The Male Capri. Not entirely a new concept, but boy has it evolved. Tommy Ton, international photo-blogger, helps me tell this sto ry.

As the temperature rises, so do hems – both male and female. The Capri of today’s Man has a body fat percentage of no more than 0.83%.

It’s purposeful and well thought out; Just short enough so that it is impossible for you to take yourself too seriously, but just long enough to make a subtle, but definite statement that you mean business. No mid-calf madness, aka “three-quarter…” I’m not sure what exactly, but they sure as hell can’t be called a “pant”.<<< Shudder>>> Remember those? Made of heavy ass denim, and at least 4 sizes too big. Sheeeeeeeet. So, so wrong. There are definitely perks to being Grown.

Then Male Capris went to College. Made of lighter-weight cotton, they were still choofy, and plump around the midsection, but at least now they were khaki- coloured and not acid-washed. Only now they were sometimes tattered, and had enough pockets to pack house and land. Good times all around for sure, but couldn’t take ‘em home to mama, for certain.

Enter the twenty-first century, and I refer to the current evolution of this style of trouser loosely as a ‘Capri’. I say this because sometimes it is purposely cut to be shorter than a normal pant leg – definitely above the ankle, so typical of a capri, but sometimes it appears to be just a slim trouser/ pant that’s rolled up. Either way, Swag is at an all time high with this one.

It’s definitely one of those trends this year that boarders on the absurd on it’s own, but, when compared to the ‘Meggings’ and ‘Meotards’, which debuted Fall ’10 Fashion Week, it seems super normal. Generally, I found it, when worn in a casual setting, pretty easy to understand. It’s the  Capri suit that took me a couple shots of Patron to figure out. The latter is still pretty questionable, but I suppose when you are really, really rich,  run your own empire, and don’t want to look like the masses, you can do – and wear -  as you damn well feel. I ain’t mad at that at all.

That said… there are some capri looks that I wouldn’t recommend

but otherwise, there’s a lot of room to work with. Lets start with:

1. Colour

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The bold colour-block trend that’s large and in charge for Spring and Summer [SS], made it’s way well into the Male Capri. Coral and pinks were the most common colours – most flattering on all skin types, but the usual suspects for SS colours like lilac, and aqua, though they offer less of a shock value,  work with the capri trend just as well. The key here is to have ONE piece of colour, so ground the look elsewhere with some sort of neutral colour, like a grey, or blue – light or dark.

This coloured-trouser trend is radical enough for most men, so even if you choose the pant at full length you’ll be well fashionable.

Oranges like that, you can take into Fall. You can opt for colour without shock value…

If pink trousers aren’t your thing, you can always work this colour trend another way…

2. Shoes

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It goes without saying that with a pant leg this high, it is understood that your shoe game needs to be on point. Go loafer, or go home.

That’s just my preference. But you can get away with other, whole, closed, shoes.

Go all star on ‘em.

or not. Either way, if you choose to go sockless, invest in a super moisturizing cream and ensure that it befriends your ankles.

Pair with higher cut shoes/ boots  shoes to dress the look up…. or keep your ankles warm.

I feel like you’d be making the wrong kind of statement if you wear this type of capri with open-toe sandals. For one your proportions, head-to-toe, will not appear balanced in the sort of way that you might look like you’re about to topple over. Then, I mean, if it’s really that hot outside, you might want to consider wearing shorts.

Just no white, gym shoes. Please and thank you.

3. Socks

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This trend is going to go well into Fall/ Winter [FW] ’11. When the temperature dips, just add socks to the fray. The colour and fabric of the capri may sober up, but the fun isn’t lost as the colour of your socks and shoes kick into high gear. Who said there’s no fun in Male Fashion.

4. Casual

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Casual ones

and of course the North American fabric staple, Denim.

5. The Dress Capri

Or a full on suit [or blazer/ pant option], just with a pant with a precariously shorter inseam.

Pure swag.

In summary, today’s Male Capri:

- Is slim fitting

- Possesses no bulky side pockets

- Varies in length.
As a general rule, the shorter the hemline (between the ankle and the knee) the shorter, and stumpier, your legs will look. So the taller and slimmer you are, the higher you can take your hemline without risking looking like a dwarf.

- Should be worn with whole, closed shoes, rather than open-toed sandals.

Carry on.

b Freakin’Fabulous

A contributor at GQ.com, Tommy Ton’s work can be found here.

Elevate Your Summer Style.


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Summer Staples: A wide-brimmed hat. Vintage shades. Sandals. A good book. Sangria.

Carry your Summer Style to another level with these few tips.

1. Lighten Up

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In every aspect of your life. Starting with your:

- Clothing
Starting with the colours and fabrics of your summer wardrobe. Cotton blends work best to beat the heat and still look fashionably crisp. The words ‘wool’, ‘ flannel’ and/ or ‘tweed’ have no place in a summer wardrobe.

- Makeup
Start with swapping your cream foundation for loose (or compact) powder, and coloured cosmetics in deep rich hues for fresh, golden ones. Or skip the powder altogether and just apply a bit of bronzer on cheeks and the bridge of your noze, a coat or two of mascara and some lip gloss. No long talkin’.

- Food
Swap ground provisions and hearty soups for lighter fare that doesn’t weigh you down, and keeps you hydrated while you check out the various scenes and festivals of the season with your chosen few.

- Drinks
Substitute the hard liquour for the season’s crisp wines. If you insist on beer, try the ‘lite’-r versions.

- Attitude
Quit taking yourself so seriously. Noone else does.

Half the year is gone. There is great opportunity for physical and emotional cleansing during Summer; Take advantage of it.

2. Accessorize

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Layer chunky necklaces, bangles, and rings. Don statement bags, hair, lightweight scarves/ pashminas (for when the temperature drops in the evenings). Step out of your tunnel and get creative.

And colour it up. Add colour wherever you can – busy patterns, loud and proud brights, neon nails, coloured capris (guys included), colourful kicks… just one at a time though.

3. Keep a clean scene

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Hygiene. It is imperative that this is kept at an all-time high.

Keep nails clean and at a decent length. Exfoliate heels regularly and moisturize with a thick cream at night. As gloriously, luxurious as reality TV may make this appear, this process doesn’t have to be expensive. Invest in a nail file, a nail clipper, a foot file (or pumice stone if you prefer). In terms of moisturizing, you’d be surprised how effective cocoa/ shea/ coconut butter, applied to heels at night before bed, is against ashy feet/ cracked heels. Even olive oil from your pantry can work, so there is really no excuse.

Keep hair at bay, especially in the pits and nether regions. For women it’s best if the pit area is all clear. For men, well the jury is out on that, but at least control the “RARH” effect with a trim every so often. Line up the nether regions and keep it low, if not only because the heat and humidity of the summer climate increases the chance of [foul] odours.

Ladies, I think it’s generally accepted that all hair be removed from legs if you are going to put them on display. Different hair removal methods are discussed here.

In a crunch and didn’t have time to wax/ shave? Wear sheer, coloured, leggings under a short frock. The general public would be non the wiser, unless of course you are over 2 weeks overdue. In that case. opt for opaque ones.

4. Underwear

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Because of climate and temperature restrictions, there’s only so much $$ I’m willing on spend on summer gear that I can wear for, and within, a maximum of about 8 weeks from the purchase date.  As such, my Summer season wardrobe is probably the collection that consists of the most ‘disposable’ elements – You know, brand, spanking new items  that cost $21.50 or less, tax inclusive. The jersey dresses, maxi or otherwise, the light-weight knit bodycon  dresses, and the ever present racer-back-tees-and-lightweight-knit-pencil-skirts combo are staples. Simple, easy to pack and carry, can be dressed up or down, and effortless to pair with anything at anytime. Can go from work to patio dinners to the club. Plus no ironing necessary; Everything in life should be this simple.

Perfect for the most part, only thing is that lightweight materials provide very little structure in terms of holding the body parts in. Invest in some decent shapewear with the money that you’ve saved on copping inexpensive summer gear. And most importantly of all use it, especially under that white, stretch, H&M, tube, Maxi dress… O_o

Oh, and brightly-coloured, thong underwear under white clothing naaaaaah mek it.

5. Swimsuits

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Surprise us. Do something different and try a fashion forward, one-piece why not.

Carry on.

b Freakin’Fabulous

Colour-Blocking 101

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Image: Denim Magazine | Aug ’11

Tips on working on of my fav. Summer trends ever.

1. One trend at a time.

Either Colour-Block OR Animal Prints. Not both. The end is never good when two divas are placed in the same room. Opting for the color-block look is eye-catching enough; Having one trend compete with each other just screams trying too hard.

My two cents would be to choose colour for now and save your animal prints for Fall – it’s right around the corner.

2. Choose your colour battles.

Keep colour in the same family, (oranges with reds, pinks with purples, use the same colour in different shades) …  or not, if your personality would allow you to get away with it. Pair fuschia, orange and light-but-bright blue as Malinda Williams does on the cover of Denim Magazine here, but remember to ground your look elsewhere.

“Either boldly coloured clothing OR accessories OR shoes.”

The “Nicki Minaj” fashion statement only works on Nicki Minaj.

If you choose to wear boldy coloured clothing, keep accessories to a tasteful minimum, and ground the look with nude shoes/ sandals. to pair black shoes with such a multi-coloured, get-up would be a tragic, amateur mistake.

If you choose boldly coloured shoes, let that be the focal point of the look and go with a more neutral or mono-toned clothing choice. The same goes if you choose to wear bold accessories.

P.S. – Neon nail colour also counts as accessories on Grown folk.

Taking heed to this either, [either], or, will be the difference between looking skillfully put together, and looking a saucy mess. It’s a razor thin line, but the results are worlds apart.

3. The Fit-&-Flatter Concept

Bold clothing will attract some level of otherwise unintended attention, so this concept right here is key. With so much going on, colour-blocked items usually work best when worn in a body-conscious silhouette, meaning that the clothing fits very close to the body. Be sure to wear the right underwear/ shapewear if necessary. the tag may say “One size fits all” but all what? All models? All size 2-8s? Definitely not all human beings on this planet. That is physically impossible. What is it made out of? Ballon plastic? Even that has a breaking point. There is a reason why even condoms come in different sizes.

The hotter the trend, the less room there is for mistakes. Know your size and the tensile strength of the fabric that you are wearing. And oh, Spanks don’t catch everything eh, especially if the brand is “fanks”.

4. Tone down the makeup

Another secret to pulling off this bold trend is to keep makeup to a minimum. There is never an excuse to wear red lipstick with this trend. Please and No.  No neon-clothing-with-fuschia-lips-and-blue-eyeshadow combo.  At least not for normal daytime activities for you will look like a 0.99c special. Clown days are over. Less is more.

5. Confidence

As with all other statement trends, the real clincher is here genuine confidence. The kind that emanates from the depths of your soul. The kind that is reflected in the pep in your step, and not store-bought, or BS kind – that’s not substantial enough. It’s very important for you to be comfortable in whatever you are wearing. Pick your peonie and ROCK. IT. HARD.

Carry on.

b FiercelyFabulous

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5 Things NOT To Do To Your Skin this Summer.

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5 of the worst things you can do to your skin during Summer.

1. Aggressive Facials

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By aggressive I mean any treatments that involve advanced exfoliation techniques, or includes terms such as chemical peels or microdermabrasion.

Also any facial procedures involving invasive techniques – cosmetic surgeries, nips, lifts, tucks – anything that pierces the face, should also be put off until the fall or winter, unless you would be recuperating in some retreat, indoors and far, far away from the hustle of life in the fast lane where the rest of us will be. If you would be at such a retreat, gwaan on along with your treatment and please do us all a favour and, like a good friend, not mention how ‘ super awesome’ it was.

Exposure to UV rays already increases skin’s sensitivity. No need to make this sensitivity worse by dousing your face in glycolic acid. This combination can result in your worse nightmare, including, but not limited to blisters, darkening of skin areas and disfigurement.

2. Skipping moisturizer

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Typically most skin types are more oily during the summer months. Those of us with naturally oily/ acne prone skin tend to forgo moisturizer altogether, thinking that this excess oil means that the skin moisturizes itself on it’s own. Increased oil production is usually a sign of dehydration, therefore it is important to replenish water levels in skin by increasing the amount of water you drink yes, but it’s said that only something like 10% of the water we drink actually make it to the skin. This is not something that you can quote me on, but considering that most of us barely pass the 2-glass mark daily for water, anything less than 115% absorption of this water we drink is cause for concern.

Therefore, applying a water-based, oil free moisturizer can help replenish the water levels in the skin. These types of moisturizers usually are labeled as such, may be referred to as a ‘gel’ or ‘fluid’ moisturizer and usually list ‘Water’ as the first ingredient.

Stay clear of anything that is labeled a ‘cream’, passes the ‘Dairy Queen’ test (you can turn the opened jar upside down and the contents not fall out), or contains mineral oil (or any such oil) in it’s ingredient listing.

3. Showering less

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“So many fun things to do, so little time!”

No papi. Not so fast.

It’s summer. It’s warm, and it’s humid. Bacteria are in love. They breed, and they multiply, which inevitably results in an odour. YOUR odour, aka B.O.

Hygiene in general needs to be thrown into high gear, and on autopilot. Automatic. Noone wants to out more fires than necessary at the BBQ lime.

Let’s remember the Summer watchwords – Shower & Shave.

4. Not exfoliating

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Closely related to #3, exfoliation of the body helps to remove excess oil buildup that may occur during the day. It helps skin to breathe, look instantly refreshed and ‘glow’, as manually exfoliating the body increases blood circulation.

You can cop one of those kazillion commercial body scrubs on the market and and get it on in the shower. However, I find most of them oily, and hardly worth their cost as most contain very little exfoliating ingredients.

Alternatives?

Dry brush your skin using a dry body brush before you shower, brushing in strokes that lead toward your heart (the direction in which your blood flows). I’ve read that dry brushing, among many other benefits such as shedding dead skin cells, rejuvenating the nervous system and assisting in lymphatic cleansing to name a few, also assists with decreasing the appearance of cellulite… could be as good a reason as any to try it I’d say. Hey, I’ve done more for the promise of far less.

I find dry brushing more effective than brushing your skin in the shower (wet brushing I presume, though this term makes me feel like I need handcuffs), as  the bristles of the brushes, shown to the left, get softer in the shower.

I prefer my massage-pressure firm though, so if you are more of a light-pressure person, perhaps an in-shower brush-exfoliation may work. I do this twice a day – morning and evening.

For good measure, once a week I also do a body scrub, using a combination of cornmeal, honey and, for some slip, a bit of whatever body wash I’m using at the time.  Sometimes I just use ground coffee beans and body wash. Whatever is convenient. For more on body exfoliation see Smooth Criminal.

5. Not using sunscreen

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To my melanin-challenged folks, we aren’t all skin-kissed, bronze goddesses, I get that. But that is no reason to opt to play Cancer Roulette. Besides, sun-burns aren’t sexy, no matter what reality TV says. If wanting a tan is your reason to ride the sun-wave buck nekked, get a sun-less tan. There are tons on the market. I’m familiar with the brand Fake Bake – it’s fairly easy to use, it’s sold where I work, doesn’t leave you looking like like you belong on the Jersey Shore cast, and so this particular brand comes to mind, but there are many other brands. Try that route.

For those of us who are doing backstrokes in the melanin pond, don’t believe the hype that “Black Don’t Crack”. Not only can it crack, it can get mad spotty and unslightly – dark spots, light spots, uneven skin tone – you name it. Skin damage is not known to discriminate.

Be responsible with your skin, and, for wrinkles sake, use sunscreen.

Party on!

b FiercelyFabulous

image credit

Spring Clean Your Sunscreen.

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To be brutally honest, yes, I am aware that this post maybe a tad late – about a month or two. If I knew exactly how late it was, I probably would have uploaded it on time. BUT, to my defense, I was actually waiting for Spring to arrive; A concept that worked a lot better penned in my journal than executed. I was sitting idly by, all freezing, awaiting Spring. Seeing that I am now sitting, idly by, all …misty… , with umm… *mist* beading down my calves, awaiting Spring, I figured that, perhaps, it would be a good idea to discuss it now.

People watch me funny when I say that it’s hot outside. I can only imagine that is because, of course, being a child of the Caribbean, I should be accustomed to the sun. But, dare I say, there is a difference between the Caribbean sun and the sun a country where the mere presence of it indicates a change of season.

For starters, there is no sea breeze. There is no sight of beachy paradise, and there is, on average, 14+ hours of it, everyday. My grandmother used to tell me that “Too much of a good thing is good for nothing”, and I do believe that that phrase can be applied here.

I will preface this by saying that that, I am in no way complaining about Summer. I love Summer in TO, at least the concept of it. My Prince gets a [welcomed, no doubt] break from the Velvet Hammer, and gets an all-expenses-paid vacay with his dad and grandparents, who he, quite politically, loves equally. “No favourites” he maintains. With any luck, I too will posses said tact one day.

There’s lots for a girl to love about summer in TO too. She gets to eat on patios with people whom she’s never met, and probably will never see again in life, so any fear of being judged because of any preferences regarding, eating with fingers, enjoying the taste of well-seasoned bones, or that fact that she may find people-watching, for hours on end while sipping herbal tea, entertaining. She can eat, or be otherwise entertained for free, go out on weekends, [or week-nights] and not have to be back before 6pm. Hell, she doesn’t have to be back, period. Why? Because apparently these are just some of the many options available to single folk. Or so I’ve heard. How novel.

So ya. Summer does have it’s perks.

But, right now it is rass hot, Period. When the weather man said this morning “a high of 32, but feels like 42″ he wasn’t lyin’. Then, you blink and it is too rass cold for that strapless-frock-and-thong-sandal that you decided to don because it is actually above zero today.  HOLLA! Made sense, at the time sure. I mean, 32 degrees? How often does that happen? Just the thought transports one into a state of orgasmic euphoria. Must be, because some of the things that I see Grown people wear because it’s ‘Summer’ blows my mind. Three words when considering your kit:

  1. Size
  2. Disposition
  3. Age

The phrase “You’re as young as you feel” is misleading, don’t believe the hype. Please dress responsibly. Just because you feel like a 10 year old girl doesn’t mean you should dress like it, regardless of your gender or sexual orientation.  There’s enough fodder in that thought for another post - probably why I can sit on a patio all afternoon and “sip herbal tea”.

But back to the sunscreen. In all of our spring cleaning efforts – too warm or too small clothing, too dark or too long hair, too much extra weight, too flabby muscle, too much idiot or stupid people, do remember to renew your sunscreen.

If you purchased the sunscreen that you are currently using this time last year, REPLACE IT.

Chemical sunscreens, sunscreens that list active ingredients such as Homosalate, Oxybenzene, Octisalate, Avobenzene, Octocrylene or anything of the sort, are considered drugs, and as such, have an expiry date – usually 12-18 months after opening.

Indeed, exposing such products to summer heat, for example when stashed in beach bags, or in cars, can cause a chemical breakdown of the product, which may result in a shortening of its shelf life; In other words, the product spoils faster. Applying expired sunscreen to your skin can result in anything from increased skin sensitivity/ breakouts to sun burn.

For further explanation on the difference between a physical and a chemical sunscreen, see previous post, Sun and Skin type.

It is said that ‘one shot glass’ (1 oz.) of sunscreen is needed for a full body application. However, well, my body and your body doesn’t necessarily equate to the same ‘body’, so If you think that your body is a “little bigger than average”, then apply a little more. If you think your body is “more bigger”, well then apply more still. That’s all.

Regarding the face, a quarter sized amount of sunscreen should suffice. And yes, your foundation or loose powder may contain sunscreen, great for you. However, it’s not nearly enough in terms of real time protection from UV rays, especially during summer, so… gets to squirting.

Think sunscreen isn’t for you? See some common myths regarding sunscreen are discussed in the post Slip, Slop, Slap and Wrap.

b Freakin’Fabulous

Photo: Africa / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Documentary | “Food Matters”

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“You are what you eat”

We hear this time and time again, but what, if anything does it really mean to us.

Came across a documentary,  Food Matters, which goes into some fair depth (it’s 77 minutes long!) and gives some insight into the relationship between nutrition, health and our relationship with food here in the western world.

Among other things, the documentary also looks at:

1. Our [western] society’s “Taking a pill to cure an ill” approach and it’s obsession with use of drugs.

2. Methods of cleansing the body and the concept that “Food can affect your mood”

3. Cancer and the war against it – how it works and the ability of the human body to fight it… or not.

4. “Education” vs. “Medication”

5. “Superfood” diets – The argument foroOrganic, plant based, and raw foods

I’ll admit, it does come across a bit “The Secret”-ish in the way it is presented, BUT it does highlight important points -

1. Why is it that most of us pay more attention to what we wear than what we eat and

2. That a healthy diet is an important component to us feeling our best and achieving happiness.

See direct link to documentary here.

What are your thoughts?

b Freakin’Fabulous

Photo: Eman / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Springing Forward —–>


Spring time!

Well, with the temperatures that I’ve been experiencing over the past week in these parts, it feels more like summer but I know better than to say it too loud let alone BELIEVE temperatures may not dip again until September.

Still, gotta love Spring though.

It brings with it a sense of renewal, endless possibilities and just a general feeling of rebirth. And why not? The days are longer – extended by an easy 5 hours at least, the sun is out, the place is brighter and the great depression that is winter season is but a distant memory. Hell, I feel like I’ve moved cities. Winter blues what? Arguably, the best of all, there’s little [no] need to pop those ‘happy’ [Vitamin D] pills – Goodbye Seasonal Affective Disorder!

It’s like the ‘April showers’ washed away the proverbial death, darkness and gloom and have made way for the reawakening of the earth.

Just yesterday, I peered out my window – my view of the road below obscured by bare and barren sticks attached to branches on the grandfather tree that appeared to have called it quits after the winter had it’s way with it; All signs of life removed.

Only to wake up this morning and there is it – LIFE. Leaves a’ sproutin’, branches be swayin’ in the wind, and once again, there is abundant life. As harsh as the winter wants to be, with every spring hope returns. Without fail, there is renewal every year.

“Do you worst…”, said the tree, “.. for I have what I need to weather your fiercest storm”.

You see, though all of the auxiliaries may be lost – the flowers, the leaves, even some of the branches – the root… the core… the soul remains in tact, and therefore regeneration is always possible.

Likewise, in our trials, sometimes we may lose some stuff along the way – people, possessions, sometimes even family, but as long as we hold tight to our core self, we are possible. It is when we are stripped down to our bare selves, that we find there is opportunity to re-emerge – Fresher. Healthier. Happier, and with any hope, smarter.

After all, when we’ve hit rock bottom, and dug downward the furthest we can go till we hear the ‘klang ‘klang of metal against metal, there is really no other direction left to go but up. And on this trek back upward, with the help of the sun shining  though, we can see clearly now, because guess what, we’ve past it all on the way down!

Only now, we’re armed with the knowledge of what is and isn’t for us this ’rounds. So it’s really up to us to choose not to pay that tuition twice.

Just now to pull out the microfiber and dust off our [vintage] glare blockers, aka hater mace, and, with a little a pep in our step, move smartly along with our determination to push on through.

b Freakin’Fabulous

Photo: razvan ionut / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Parabens and YOU

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Parabens. Parabens. Parabens.

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I’ve just cursed you in skincare language – 3 times too. Ha!

Parabens have received a pretty bad rep in skincare recently, resulting in large part from a UK study back in 2004 that looked at paraben-containing deoderant and it’s relation to breast cancer.

But before we get into that…”I know they are bad but…”

What ARE Parabens?

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Parabens are preservatives that are commonly used in the cosmetic, pharmaceutical and food industry to guard against bacterial and fungal activity, and prevent the growth of other possible organisms such as mold and yeast. They are widely used because they have been found to have the least ability to sensitize (cause redness and irritation, among other reactions) the skin in preparations that are left on the skin.

Parabens are easily identifiable as they would normally contain the word ‘paraben’, as in methylparaben, ethylparaben, etc.

Why use preservatives cosmetics?

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Well… let’s think about it for a second.

Take your everyday skincare cosmetics – Your cleanser. Your toner. Your moisturizer. – Chances are water is listed somewhere on the ingredient list.

This would be the case unless of course you are using something that contains no water at all, like 100% of an oil based substance – 100% Shea Butter for example, or perhaps loose powder (or ‘baby’ powder) which is basically 100% talc – no water present. We’re not talking about these. No water means no disease carrying organisms to worry about.

Think about mixing a concoction of different (edible) ingredients from your kitchen with water in a container, covering it and putting it away on a shelf. Then think about opening this container 12-24 months later. Would you drink the mixture? If not why not?

Cause it will be wrenk that’s why. Eww.

Bacteria and fungi have a field day and multiply in water (with the presence of oxygen), unless there is something, in this case some ingredient present that inhibits it’s growth.

The same concept applies regarding water-based skincare cosmetics – basically different ingredients suspended in water.

Therefore, it is important to use a preservative(s) in these cosmetics when it is required that they remain safe for use after sitting on a shelf in a store, on your dresser or worse – under the face-basin in your bathroom for a year… or two.

Okay… But what’s the deal?

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So back to the initial sentance, the real jibber-jabber with parabens came around 2004 when a UK-based study looked at the use of parabens in deoderants, and it’s connection to the development of breast cancer.

The Issue: Parabens have been shown to have estrogen-like qualities and they’ve also been shown to be absorbed into the body when applied topically, hence begging the question – Are they somehow cancer causing?

Studies and tests have shown that:

1. The estrogenic effects of parabens are thousands times lower than the most estrogenic compound in the body and that

2. Once they enter the body, parabens are incapable of imitating estrogen. The U.S Food & Drug Administration [FDA] has also stated:

“FDA is aware that estrogen activity in the body is associated with certain forms of breast cancer. Although parabens can act similarly to estrogen, they have been shown to have must less estrogenic activity than the body’s naturally occuring estrogen.”

Moreover, the Milady’s Skin Care and Cosmetic Ingredient’s Dictionary indicates that plant substances including but not limited to soybeans, strawberries, sage, dong quai, pumpkin, red clover and rosehips are considered to have natural estrogenic effects 1000 to 1,000,000 times stronger than parabens.

Righto. I type this as I inhale a bowl of fresh strawberries I just copped for 99c a carton.

So with no solid proof that parabens are related to [breast] cancer then…

Why the controversy?

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Who really knows?

There’s not nearly as much fuss over the use of tanning beds and its relation to skin cancer, and it can be argued that the case is much stronger for that link.

Perhaps, as with most other skin care myths, it’s just a marketing strategy, which means that the ‘controversy’ is being fueled by the skin care manufacturers – Those who have replaced the use of parabens in the skin care cosmetics with some other preservative, never mind they don’t state exactly what that preservative is, other than stating “Paraben Free” on the label.

Given that parabens were shown to be the least sensitizing, could it be that the replacement preservative(s) is/ are more sensitizing/ dangerous than the use of parabens?

Or perhaps, I don’t know, the replacement preservative used is less effective than parabens and therefore puts the user/ user’s skin at more risk if the product is either used past it’s safe-by date (which usually goes unchecked), or after having endured unfavourable conditions, like being out in the sun for example.

I can ponder forever.

Definitely something to think about while you sip your overpriced soy latte after making a trip to the local tanning salon.

Just sayin’.

b Freakin’Fabulous

Photog: Nualpradid / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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