The Blog

What’s On Your Lips?

lipsticksLately, there has been a resurrgence in makeup with women wearing lipstick during the day. Often reserved for a night out or special occasion, its become the norm now to see women wearing lipstick at any given time during the day.

My mother always pushed me to wear lipstick and would cringe when I’d opt for my lipgloss instead. Its been fun lately playing dress up and trying on various new lip shades. But I have to admit, it took a while to find the right shades that worked for me. When red lipstick became the rage, it wasn’t easy finding the right lipstick for my milk chocolate skin tone. Certain reds made my skin look ashy and some just had me feeling like a clown.

So I visited a few different makeup counters and asked around. Here is some advice I found when I was picking lipsticks for various occasions such as daytime, grabbing drinks with friends or a night out:

1. Minimize or maximize. Depending on the hue and colour, certain lipsticks can accentuate or minimize your lip shape. Darker lipsticks will make your lips look smaller while light hues will make them appear fuller.

2. The nudist. Finding a neutral shade for daytime/office wear is just as hard as finding a dramatic colour. Try to go a few shades darker than your natural lip colour. For me I found MAC’s ‘Touch” worked best, it’s only a shade darker than my natural lip but it is sublte enough for office wear.

3. Skin tones. Just like learning the primary colours in grade school, its imporant to know what are the basic skin tones and where does yours lie. The common two ranges are cool and warm, and within those two are the sub groups of red, orange and yellow. A common way to determine what your skin tone is by looking at the colour of the veins on your inner wrists. If they look bluish then you’re a cool skin tone and if they look green then you’re a warm tone. Cool skin tones lean to yellow and slightly orange under tones while warm are more red.

4. Colours for your skin tones. If you fall within the fairer skin category and cool toned, you should go for nude or a soft mocha color. If you’re warm toned, look for nude peach or pale pinks. Medium skin hues can try a wide range of colours. For medium skin with warm undertones, bronze colours look best and cool undertones should give pinks to cranberry colours a try. Lastly for darker skin with a cool undertones, ruby and wine-colored hues stand out while warmer toned ladies should opt for copper coloured lipsticks, avoiding orange lipsticks.

5. Practice makes perfect. Try, try and try again. Don’t be afraid to try as many colours as you want. There’s a lipstick for every occasion so have fun shopping around.

Kimye on Vogue

kim and kanye vogueThe uproar from the highbrow fashion world coud be heard all over the social media landscape the minute it was announced that Kim Kardashian along with her fiancee Kanye West (annoyingly dubbed Kimye) would be on the cover of Vogue’s Spring issue.

The minute it hit the Twittersphere, there were several tweets from folks who were shocked that Vogue Editor Anna Wintour chose reality star Kim Kardashian to grace the cover. Most notable was actress Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) who tweeted that she was cancelling her subscription.

It is a bit of surprise to see Kim on the cover. Kanye, not so much. He has been forging a path in the fashion world from his Fendi internship to countless appearances front row at fashion shows. But Kim has not been a favourite of Ms. Wintour’s, so seeing her on the cover seems a ploy to create controversy. It’s been speculated that she was banned from the MET gala for years but was only allowed in recently as Kanye’s date, but was kept off Vogue’s best dressed list after she wore that hideous floral print full body table cloth.

The fashion world will say that Vogue needs to stick to models on its cover, or at the very least celebs with talent. That a reality star who had no fashion sense that was memorable until Kanye’s stylist did an overhaul of her wardrobe, hasn’t earned a coveted seat on the cover of fashion’s Bible.

Anna Wintour had to defend this choice in her letter to the editor in the same issue, saying that she wasn’t put up to this after Kanye begged her to put Kim on the cover but that the Vogue team all chose this cover. Stating that as a couple, Kimye are influential in today’s culture.

Personally, I’m not a fan of the Kimye phenom and was taken a back to see them on the cover. Do they cause a stir and are talked about? Yes, but does that warrant a highly coveted fashion cover? For Kanye, yes. He is making waves in fashion and despite his rants and obnoxious behaviour I can’t despite his talent. But Kim, no. There is no talent there and any fashion sense has been curated and handed to her. Which I get is no different than a model, but at least with a model we already agree that’s their job. To just wear the clothes and make us envision ourselves in them. However with Kim, we are being told that this is a standard of beauty and class to be emulated. No thanks. Lest we forget how she got here.

Live From Your Soul

Your Soul RumiEvery now and then I turn to sources for guidance when it comes to food for the soul. Our paths are full of pitfalls and blunders, so sometimes you need a moment of clarity to help you re-group and get back on track. A mental check-in on your soul to know you’re ok, still growing and on the right track.

I was sent an article from this blog called ‘This Is About Love” by Shelly Bullard a while back and after reading a few of her pieces, I signed up to get weekly emails on her posts. Whether its on self-love, how to close chapters from your past, struggling with power dynamics in love or a range of other topics, I found her writing warm and inspirational.

I’m an advocate of seeking help in any form you can: coaching, therapy, counselling, etc. If it takes a village to raise a child, well then it takes a community to keep it going throughout life. We’re not self-made; if we are destined to be great it’s because we stand on the shoulders of giants.

Find motivation wherever you can. I found some helpful words on Shelly Bullard’s blog. Her recent post on “How To Attract Your Soul Mate” stood out to me, especially the part about living from your soul. This is my mantra everyday. To be true to my authentic self and not my ego. To ‘live in a soulful manner’ and let all your joy, warmth and genuine happiness through.

Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

apple cider vinegarLong a health remedy touted by my mother and grandmother, apple cider vinegar (ACV) has been a fixture in our kitchen growing up. From adding a few drops to salads as a dressing to being a cleanser after shampooing your hair to add shine, ACV has recently shown up in the health stores and supplement aisles.

I recently saw some posts highlighting the benefits of ACV and it made me think back to some of occasions when it was used around my house – a tbsp added to warm water if fighting indigestion, a few drops applied to a dry scalp and/or garggling with a few drops in the morning to break up phelgm due to allergies.

Here are some the further benefits of ACV that researchers have found –

Diabetes: ACV is known to help reduce glucose levels by taking a few drops in water before bed.

Blood Pressure/Cholesterol: just a few drops in salads or water 4-5 times a week, has been found to reduce high blood pressure and cholesterol.

Weight Loss: a warm glass of water with lemon and a tbsp of ACV has been found to help with weight reduction and abdominal fat. I personally found it helped reduce muscle soreness after work outs.

There are a few ACV detoxes that I’ve seen online too. Basic ingredients include water, lemon, ACV and cinnamon.

Let me know if you’ve used ACV for any ailments or as just an additive in your water.

Oscars 2014

The stars shine just a bit brighter on Oscars night. The outfits, the hair, the jewels…and of course the awards. But for me, it all begins on the red carpet. The show itself can often be a bore, but with Ellen hosting again this year we had a few laughs along the way.

One of the many highlights of the show for me was Pharrell’s performance of his hit ‘Happy’ from the Despicable Me animated film. He had the often stiff Oscar audience up and dancing, doing a shimmy with Lupita, Meryl and Amy Adams. Even Jamie Foxx and his daughter crashed the stage to dance along. Big step forward for hip hop to see one of its own take over the Oscar stage so fearlessly.

Now onto what matters the most…the fashion.

Best Dressed

This season’s red carpet had two themes – pastels and navy blue. Dramatic difference between the two colours, but both the men and women took inspiration from the oncoming spring by bringing pastels out while others chose to dramatize their elegance with a hint of blue.

86th Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals

Lupita Nyong’o

Hands down the most anticipated outfit of the night. Since her emergence onto the scene, Lupita has dazzled us with edgy and breath taking dresses. Its her risk taking and boldness that has me enchanted. And now we can add Oscar winner to her accolades. Was that not the best speech ever? She had everyone in tears. Not only is she best supporting actress, to me she was the best dressed at the Oscars. Wearing a custom made dress by Prada that she collaborated on with, she had folks on Twitter calling her Cinderella. And she truly did look like the belle of the ball in that dress. Telling reporters on the red carpet that the blue hue of her dress reminded her of her home town of Nairobi, has already got folks calling that colour Nairobi Blue. From her smile, fashion sense, acting chops and memorable winning speech, Lupita is an all around star.

US-OSCARS-ARRIVALSAmy Adams

I’m a sucker for clean lines and elegance. Call this dress simple, but to me it was classic beauty. Amy looked amazing in this Darren Le Gallo dress in navy blue. Hair pinned up with coral stoned chandelier earrings, she looked comfortable and composed. Unfortunately American Hustle was not a winner at the awards, but Amy looked great.

Camila Alves OscarCamilla Alves

This Braziliam bombshell has been stealing the show from her husband Matthew Mconaughy at each red carpet appearance they’ve made together during award season. As a former model, you know she understands fashion and what works best for her body. So its no surprise that she finds the best dresses to suit her. Wearing a Gabriela Cadena gown, Camila makes wearing pastel pink appear flawless. But pastel is not an easy look to pull off, especially when olive toned but her glam squad had her makeup done right to ensure it didn’t wash out her sun kissed glow. Just seeing her and Lupita in such bright colours has me excited for spring.

86th Annual Academy Awards - ArrivalsCharlize Theron

Can this woman ever look wrong? Has she ever stepped out wearing a dress that made us cringe? Never. Charlize delivers again. Newly married to Hollywood bad boy Sean Penn, Charlize looks fierce in this Christian Dior all black gown. As the face of Dior’s J’adore perfume, its fitting that she steps out in a stunning Dior number.

sandra-bullock-gravitates-to-the-oscars-2014-red-carpet-02Sandra Bullock

Again, classic lines and sheer elegance Sandra Bullock harks to a golden age of fashion and cinema in this McQueen number. If you recall, when Sandra first started doing movies and thus appearing at shows and premieres she was not the best dressed often times. Yet she has blossomed into her own style wearing dresses that compliment her beauty and appropriately reflect her maturity in this industry. Nothing looks better on a woman than a great smile and confidence, which are Sandra’s greatest accesories.

Worst Dressed

Now everyone can’t be a winner. There were a few ladies that either neglected to heed their stylist’s advice or made the woeful mistake of not having one to begin with. Nonetheless hope they chalk it up to ‘lessons learned’, here are my choices for worst dressed.

anna-kendrick-oscars-2014-red-carpetAnna Kendrick

If my grandmother was to attend the Oscars, this might be what she’d wear so you can imagine how peculiar it looks on the young Anna Kendrick. I’m not even going to to dare name the designer because they should remain nameless for this horrendous piece.

86th Annual Academy Awards - ArrivalsJulia Roberts

This is an example of someone who believes they can dress themselves for the Oscars and most likely doesn’t have a stylist. Not because she doesn’t need one (this outfit alone proves otherwise), but to her she’s Julia I-been-here-long-enough Roberts so she can wear whatever she wants. No darling you can’t. No one should be on the red carpet wearing a dress I can probably find at the mall. Peplum? Really? In 2014? And you’re a certified Hollywood A list that has won an Oscar before. SMH.

86th Annual Academy Awards - ArrivalsJennifer Garner

When you are the wife of Ben Affleck, why are you wearing Christmas tinsel as a dress? Is it a 1920s inspired flapper dress? Is it a Vegas showgirl outfit gone semi Amish? Who knows but its hideous. When you know you are going to be a presenter at the Oscars, you bring your A game. This was a plummeting F. She has a stylist who is either lying to her or doesn’t get paid enough to care. Either way, Jen fire that person and see if Ben can call his ex JLo to send over one of her people.

The Men

Now normally I don’t pay attention to what the men are wearing. I mean, they all wear tuxedos and for the most part all tuxes look a like. But this year the dudes stepped their game up a few notches. Not sure what was in the water, but it was nice to see a divergence from the usual black tux.

 

86th Annual Academy Awards - ArrivalsJared Leto

Taking the first award of the night, my crush from My So Called Life (if you didn’t watch this show as a teen, then how do you even understand angst?) Jared Leto melted my heart. His speech to his family was moving. But his suit: the white jacket with the blood red bow tie was killer! And his hair! Also, I just read that he’s 42 years old! Clearly him and Pharrell Williams are drinking from the same fountain of youth.

pharrell-williams-wear-shorts-on-oscars-2014-red-carpetPharrell Williams

Speaking of the Virginia native, Pharrell Williams showed up in shorts. Now I know this isn’t conventional but its Pharrell. Whether its because he’s a great looking man with a heart stopping smile or because he’s a humble musician, we give him the pass on this. Pharrell can do no wrong in my eyes. He’s been making hip hop anthems since I was a teenager so he’s already won me over. Plus his performance of ‘Happy’ that had everyone dancing has cemented him as a musical genius. Wear whatever you want Pharrell, just keep making music.

kevin-spacey-oscars-2014-red-carpetKevin Spacey

How refreshing to see such a dashing twist to the classic tux. Navy blue was everywhere at the Oscars and Kevin looked fierce in this suit. The colour is dark enough that he played it semi-safe but that hue makes any man stand out in just the right way. Great look and I’m sure we’ll be seeing more navy blue tuxes from here on out.

 

What were your favs? Which outfits made you cringe?

 

Miley Cyrus for W Magazine

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Didn’t even recognize little Hannah Montana in this picture. Her look has definitely changed but is it evolving or just falling to attract the lowest common denominator? Is this just to shock people into paying attention?

That type of PR only lasts a few minutes. Long careers are built on talent, not award show mishaps and magazine covers.

Hollywood Issue of Vanity Fair

Vanity Fair 2014

Because I honestly can’t get enough of her. Lupita slays in the 2014 Hollywood Issue of Vanity Fair. The cover was shot by the famous Annie Leibovitz and features this year’s hottest actors who have films out now.

Its so great to see that in the 3 page fold out of this year’s Hollywood issue, there are six black actors. From seasoned actors such as Idris Elba and Chiwetel Ejiofor to young faces such as Michael B. Jordan and Lupita Nyongo. Hope this becomes a norm as opposed to a rarity.

No coincedence that Jared Leto is sitting right by Lupita as there have been rumours the two are smitten for each other. Get him Lupita!

The journey to the Oscar’s continues.

Grammy’s 2014

Of all the award shows, the Grammy’s are my least favorite. The outfits are more bizarre than haute couture and the awards rarely go to artists that I find deserve it, but seem to be the most easy to digest.

However, the Grammy’s have been the platform for memorable performances. It was during the 1984 show when Michael Jackson debuted the moonwalk while performing ‘Billie Jean’. An unforgettable moment in music when a legend showed the world why he was the King of Pop.

So although I didn’t tune in last night, I followed along here and there on Twitter (you can find me on @RealDelina) and there were three performances that stood out – Beyonce’s ‘Drunk In Love’, Kendrick Lamar and Imagine Dragon’s ‘Radioactive/m.A.A.d. City’ and lastly Pharrell and Daft Punk with Stevie Wonder for ‘Get Lucky’.

Beyonce-Jay-Z-Grammys-2014

Since Beyonce secretly dropped her last album, the song ‘Drunk In Love’ has been a huge hit. I probably play it once a day. Do Not Judge! So you take the formula of gorgeous Beyonce and her track record of being a power house on any stage, this performance was guaranteed to be off the charts. But maybe it was over hyped for me, because I was left feeling less than satisfied.

grammys_beyonce__jay_z_e1

Don’t get me wrong, she worked that chair and that stage was steaming afterwards, but between the awkwardness of Jay-Z and the crowd who looked like they were all caught accidentally stumbling on a couple in an intimate act, there was a disconnect somewhere. There have been folks on Twitter who had an issue with how racy it was saying that there were kids who tuned in. I may not have kids, but I wouldn’t allow them to watch the Grammy’s to begin with. What exactly is there on the Grammy’s that an 8 years old needs to see? It wasn’t the provocative nature of the performance (she’s a grown woman comfortable enough to express her sexuality to her husband. Kudos to her!) it was the subdued nature of it after she got off the chair. Nonetheless, Beyonce still delivered.

Pharrell Williams, Daft Punk, Nile Rodgers

I’ve been a huge fan of Daft Punk ever since I was 16 and saw the video for ‘Da Funk’ featuring a human size dog lost in NYC. That album ‘Homework’ still gets played in my car every now and then. And their follow up album, ‘Discovery’ featured another track I can never forget, ‘Harder Better Faster Stronger’. You might remember it as the track Kanye sampled in  his song ‘Stronger’. This French duo are known for never showing their face and doing interviews in various disguises, which I admire. In an industry that focuses too much on what musicians look like, what they wear, how fit they are and so on its refreshing that these two have gone the distance to hide their physical identity to contain their anonymity. With them its about the music and just the music.

pharrell at grammy 2014

So its no surprise that their recent album ‘Random Access Memories’ garnered Grammy wins last night. But this performance seemed so disjointed. Not sure if having Stevie join them threw things off, but it seemed like they hadn’t rehearsed. Although the crowd got up and were dancing, Pharrell looked like he didn’t know what to do with his hands and feet half of the time, bouncing from Stevie to Nile Rodgers (gentleman on the guitar). Always great to see Stevie but I think this would’ve been better if Daft Punk was allowed to do a medley of their hits and Pharrell was left to rock out.

Kendrick Lamar Grammy

Hands down the best performance of the night was Kendrick Lamar and Imagine Dragons who teamed up to do a mash up of rock and rap together. I couldn’t find a clip on YouTube but the best clip I saw was on HipHopDX. It started of with Imagine Dragons doing their song ‘Radioactive’ then Kendrick  jumps into his track ‘m.A.A.d City’. I’m not familiar with Imagine Dragons, but Kendrick I know. His second album ‘Good Kid, m.A.A.d City’ was nominated for Album of The Year. This album is a poetic look into Kendrick’s life growing up in Compton, California. When it first dropped, critics to hip hop legends hailed Kendrick for bringing back story telling to hip hop. It is a remarkable album that I suggest you check out if you haven’t already.

Mixing two genres is hard. Mixing two genres at the Grammy’s….almost career suicide. But this performance had the crowd jumping. Imagine Dragons backed up Kendrick perfectly while he rapped and Kendrick even got on the drums when Imagine Dragons sang. Random, but my favourite part was seeing Steven Tyler from Aerosmith rock out as I remembered him and Run DMC being the first guys to merge hip hop and rock. Although both genres have grown so much since then, they are still close in audience impact.

Even though Kendrick didn’t win for rap or best album and there has been a lot of social media buzz about whether Macklemore deserved to win over Kendrick, in terms of owning the stage Kendrick won hands down.

Did you guys tune in and if so, which performances did you enjoy?

The Cure Is In The Kitchen

food collage

Growing up, my mother and grandmother would always point out certain foods and tell me what their benefits were. Such as, if you’re feeling nauseous they’d suggest you warm up some water with lime.

Often written off as just wives’ tale, these tidbits of advice often stem from true nutritional knowledge.

Here are some of my favourite foods and their health benefits.

What are your favourite foods and their hidden cures?

Obsessed Over Lupita

Lupita

I can’t be the only obsessed by Lupita Nyong’o. The Kenyan actress is being dubbed 2014’s surprise breakout style star. With it being awards season, Lupita has been everywhere rocking bold outfits that are absolutely stunning on her.

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There is nothing sexier on a woman than confidence. Okay, one other thing – a killer smile. Lupita has both so she’s a winner on all fronts. When was the last time we saw a mocha sister with short hair own the red carpets the way Lupita has? Yeah, I’ll wait.

lupita-Nyong-o-lg

What I’m also adoring is her Instagram page. She’s a real fan, taking pics with celebs she’s meeting at various awards shows. You can see her excitement on the road to the Oscar’s. But its the air of calm she carries while taking risks with such eye catching colours and avant garde dresses. 

Lupita at SAG

Can’t wait to see what she wears to the Oscar’s!