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"Thriffin" or Thrifting

Hello Divas!

Well as promised, I am back with more fabulous tips. This post is dedicated to fashion. Oh how I like a great fashion find and of course a bargain. I have a rule, which is never buy anything full price. Absolute rule. So, I am always shopping at discount stores (TJ MAXX, Marshalls, Ross, Loehmann’s or outlets) or end of season sales at my favorite shops. And of course Target. However, my true true passion is searching thrift shops, consignments sales, and estate sales. Oooh how I love the hunt. I always find an awesome item when I go “thriffin” (as we say in Decatur). A few of the great items I have purchased thrifting are silk blouses, high end business suits, a beautiful wool pleated skirt, and an authentic safari style dress all ranging between $3 and $10. UNBELIEVABLE!! Sometimes, I just want to pinch myself. Ladies here are a few tips on how to find great items at thrift and consignment shops plus the name of my favorite thrifts! Enjoy!

1. Come Prepared. Mentally prepare yourself to spend hours looking through each and every piece of clothing for a particular item of clothing you are looking for. For example, if I am looking for a great vintage dress to pair with a great pair of shoes, I venture to the dress section and look through each and every dress that is available. Thus, one must have patience and preserverance when performing this task.

2. Don’t let sizes discourage you. Unless an item of clothing is clearly too small, don’t dismiss an item because it is not in your exact size. I have found that in older or vintage clothing the sizes are bigger than they are in today’s clothing. In addition, if a particular item is too big, remember you can always go to a tailor. The expense of a tailor is a good investment if you are purchasing an item for $5.

3. Don’t always look for high end labels. Of course finding an item by a high end designer on consignment or better yet at a thrift shop is a natural high. However, be open to lesser known designers. I have found some awesome items by lesser known designers that are great quality and very stylish.

4. My favorite thrift shops in Atlanta are the Value Village chain of thrift stores. Some stores in this chain are better than others, but I always find great items at the Value Village in East Atlanta on Moreland Avenue. It is like a hidden treasure. Also, please please check out Upscale Fashions, Inc. in Stockbridge, GA. Upscale Fashions is a consignment shop that features very high end designers. I feel like a kid in a candy store when I visit this store. They have Chanel suits, Hermes scarves, vintage designer gowns, and vintage high end bags (Louis Vuitton, Gucci, etc.) I saw a very cute vintage rectangle shaped Louis Vuitton purse for $75.00! Wow! I know it is a bit of a trek but it is worth it!

Happy “Thrifting”

Who Am I?

Who Am I?

Hello Hello!!!

Yikes! I just realized a whole month and a half has went by without me writing a Post! I do apologize Divas, but I have been so busy being a mom, wife, and career woman. I was so overwhelmed. Well I am back with more Luxe Tips!

First I want to profess my love affair with Iman Costmetics! Beautiful, beautiful lush colors and textures and the price is just right! Iman’s products are on the same level or better than most department store brands, i.e., Lancome, Estee Lauder, Mac, etc. You can purchase Iman Costmetics from Target and……..drum roll please……..Wal-Mart. I am loving it! As a matter of fact ladies, I used mostly Iman Cosmetics on my girlfriend Deslyn for her wedding. Yes, in addition to being so many other things, and a make-up shopaholic, I love doing my friends’ make-up. So check out the picture here. To get this Divalicious but natural look, use the following products!

Love Ya Divas!

p.s. Next time I do promise not to wait so long between posts!

1. As you see in the picture, Ms. Deslyn has flawless skin. To achieve this look, I used Black Opal Creme Stick Foundation in Hazlenut. I simply used a very good MAC cosmetics foundation brush to apply the foundation. Apply the foundation evenly with the brush and then blot with a tissue, (Kleenex) and Viola! A flawless, shine free complextion. Powder foundations need not apply.

2. Deslyn’s eyes were fierce! I used Cover Girl eyeshadow in Golden Sunrise as a eyeliner on the bottom and upper lid. Next I used Iman’s eyeshadow in GEM
on Deslyn’s entire lid. I also applied Iman eyeshadow in Sahara on Deslyn’s brow bone. Lastly, I applied a small amount of Lancome’s Defencil’s Mascara in Noir. I only had to use a small amount because Deslyn had fabulous faux lashes!

3. I applied MAC’s powder blush in Format on the apples of Deslyn’s cheeks. As you recall in a previous post, I raved about orange blush on women of color. It is so natural. It provides just the right amount of flush. Format is a peachy orange blush that gives just the right amount of flush and all natural glow. Deslyn was radiant!

4. Lips! On Deslyn’s lips I used MAC cosmetics! Who can beat MAC’s glosses and lip pencils? As a lip liner, I used MAC’s cremestick lip liner in Cushy. For the final touch, I applied MAC’s lip glass in Viva Glam V.
This combination allowed Deslyn to have a very natural slighly nude lip with a hint of color. Beautiful.

MASCARA PASCARA

MASCARA PASCARA

Hi Divas!

I hope this week is truly a good fabulous week for you all. I am totally obsessed with mascara. And I am telling you that I know I have found the BEST mascara ever. Believe me I have tried them all, every brand in every price range, but I think I have finally found a true winner. However, I will give you my top two, with number one being the BEST! Enjoy!

1. Maybeline Intense Volume XXL. This is it! In my opinion, this is the best valued mascara on the market. This mascara is packaged as a primer and mascara in one. One end of the tube is the primer and the other end is the mascara. The primer is definitely the trick to thick, long, va va voom lashes. You simply evenly coat your lashes with the white primer. As you do this step, you will notice that your lashes will instantly become longer and fuller. Last you apply the mascara, which basically enhances the volume and length of your lashes while adding color. This two-step system also perfectly separates your lashes. I did not have to use an eyelash comb! Amazing! I mean I stared at my lashes for like 15 minutes because I was so amazed by the results. You can purchase this mascara at Wal-Mart for $5.98! What a bargain. I am in love!

I have tried Loreal’s Volume Shocking Mascara, Loreal’s version of this primer and mascara in one package and I was sorely disappointed. The primer brush is too big. In addition, the brush for the mascara allows too much mascara to accumulate on the brush. The result is clumps, clumps, clumps. The brush is actually like an eyelash comb and I thought it would create perfectly separated lashes, but NOT. I mean I constantly had to wipe the brush with a tissue to get the excess mascara off. Messy. Plus it costs $11.99. Maybeline’s is half this price.

2. Lancome Defincil’s. This has been my long time favorite since 1997. The brush is designed to perfectly separate lashes and it is great for lengthening lashes. It is a great mascara. However, at $23.00, it is a bit on the expensive side. Defincil’s used to be my number one mascara, but now since I have found Maybeline’s Intense Volume XXL it is my second.

I Have Become a TRUE Lady

Divas!

I hope you are all having a fantastic week. Over the past two weeks I have attended two weddings and each time interesting questions or issues were raised regarding what are the essentials to ensure we as TRUE ladies keep the “goods” hidden. Because ladies as we all know a TRUE lady never reveals all the goods. NO BRITNEY private parts shots! There is nothing wrong with being sexy and revealing a little, but full out exposure is never appropriate. Thus, check out my must haves that keep the goods hidden…

1. Double Sided Tape. Ladies we all like to show cleavage. However, if wearing a low plunging neckline and the “goodies” are not secure, double sided tape can prevent any peek-a-boobs. Simply adhere the tape to the fabric and your skin and the “goodies” will be protected. Just remember the J-Lo Versace dress with the plunging neckline during the MTV Video Awards a few years back. Double-sided tape is the only thing that kept that dress on.

2. A slip. If you are wearing a dress or skirt that does not have a lining and you can see through the dress and your private undies or parts are showing, you need to wear a slip. I have one black slip for this purpose alone. I am not saying that you have to wear a slip all the time, which these days most of us do not. But if the goods are visible through a dress or skirt, a slip is a must.

3. Nipple Covers. If you are fortunate or not fortunate (lol!) enough to not have to wear a bra all the time, then you may need to wear nipple covers to prevent visible nipples. In addition, nipple covers come in handy when wearing formal wear or other types of outfits when you can not wear a bra. Nipple covers are also called pasties. Nippits are a great brand of nipple covers that are practically invisible through clothing.

4. Seamless underwear. Visible panty lines are never attractive. But you can alleviate this problem by wearing seamless underwear. In addition, boy cut underwear is also great. I know these days not wearing underwear has become fashionable and sometimes may be necessary when wearing very snug dresses, however, G-strings and the like should be good solutions. Also Spanx, created by Atlanta’s very own Sarah Blakely, are footless pantyhose that can be worn in place of underwear when wearing snug outfits. They also provide great tummy and hip support.

Until next time…….

Leopard Print

Leopard Print

Hello Hello Divas!

Long time no post! I do apologize, but I have been busy busy busy. But I am back now in full effect and over the next 5 days, you will receive tons of tips and advice fromn Luxetips! So, sit back and enjoy what is and what is to come!

I received a call from a good friend Hope regarding Leopard Print shoes. Her question was what type of outfit or ensemble goes great with leopard print shoes. And I had lots of good advice. Her goes…..

When wearing leopard print shoes neutral colors are the best. However, I have found that RED is the best color with leopard print shoes. I recommend wearing a pretty red dress with leopard print shoes. It is such a lovely complement to leopard print. In addition, black, brown or tan/beige are also great colors for leopard print shoes. If wearing jeans, I recommend a funky black or beige shirt. I would maybe wear a simple leopard print belt or carry a very small leopard print purse as a complement, but that is it. Too much leopard print becomes very Italian lady from Queens. lol! Otherwise, a neutral color bag is best. As far as jewelry, keep it simple and basic. Understated diamond, silver, or gold. If costume jewlery stay neutral.

Another question I was posed was “Is it appropriate to wear leopard print pumps with a professional suit?” And yes it is. As a matter of fact, I saw a friend, who is a true Diva, strutting down Peachtree Street in Atlanta with a black suit and leopard print pumps and she looked stunning! However, I would not wear them to a highly important business meeting especially if I was meeting with clients. I would keep a pair of professional conservative black pumps for that purpose, but around the office, ABSOLUTELY!

Lastly, whatever your budget, there are tons of brands that carry very cute leopard print shoes. Of course, Christian Louboutin, in my opinion have the absolute best pair. But at around $600 a pop, I can only dream girls. Otherwise, Stuart Weitzman, Steve Madden, Victoria Secret, Nine West, and Target all carry great leopard print pumps.

Until tomorrow

Au Naturale

Au Naturale

Hi Divas!

I hope life is just fantastic for everyone! My lovely sister Zipporah sent me a comment that I just had to address today. Her comment is:

‘My hair is natural it’s has been for some time now. What kind of tips would you give to me. Managing natural hair is very expensive. What would be your suggestion to an African American with natural hair. That would be less expensive.”

Well Zip, I do have some suggestions for you that many many African-American women with natural hair swear by! As you stated, bi-weekly or monthly natural hair care maintenance can be very expensive. However, you can use certain products designed for natural African-American hair that will maintain your natural hair do while also promoting healthy growth and appearance. And the best part is that they are made by African-American Women! Cool right? Here are my top 3.

1. Miss Jessie’s Hair Products. Miss Jessie’s Hair Products are specifically designed for curly and kinky hair. They have several products that many of my friends love. They are Miss Jessie’s Curly Meringue and Miss Jessie’s Curly Pudding. The Curly meringue creates nice soft curls. It retails for $38.00 for a 16oz. jar. I know for you Zip that may seem steep, but you only use a palm size drop with each use, so I think it lasts for a while. Miss Jessie’s Curly Pudding is specifically for more kinky hair. It is excellent for smoothing hair edges, two strand twists, coils, braids, cornrows, and all natural dos. This product turns kinky hair into soft curl or waves. If I ever go natural, I will definitely buy this product. It retails for $38.00 for a 16 oz. jar. You can purchase these products from www.missjessies.com or at Urbanbella Hair Salon in Buckhead.

2. Carol’s Daughter Hair and Body Products. Carol’s Daughter is a 100% nautural hair, skin, and body beauty company. Celebrities and Natural Divas love these product.
Jada Pinkett Smith and Mary J. Blige are spokeswomen and part owners of the company! Jada Pinkett Smith attributes Lisa’s Hair Exlier ($17.50) and Hair Balm ($11.00) to her hair’s growth and healthy apperance. Zip, I believe your hair texture is closer to Mrs. Smith’s. I personally have purchased the Black Vanilla Leave-In conditioner. I LOVE IT. It retails for $11.00. It makes my hair super soft and it smells soooo good. It is much better than the Isoplus leave-in conditioner I had been using for years. The Khoret Amen shampoo also promotes hair growth and the Tui Shea Butter Hair Smoothie is a good deep conditioner. You can purchase Carol’s Daughter’s Products at www.carolsdaughter.com or Sephora.

3. Taliah Waajid Hair Care Products. Taliah Waajid is a premier natural hair care stylist in Atlanta. She is located in the West End. She also carries her own line of natural hair products named Black Earth. She carries one product that I would especially recommend for you. It is Crinkles and Curls Styling Lotion. This lotion holds natural hairstyles in place longer. The best part about this products is that it retail for only $7-$8 dollars. I know this is your type of product! She also sells really good natural shampoos and conditioners also for $7-$8. You can purchase Black Earth products at www.naturalhair.org or you can visit her salon in the West End at 1180 Ralph D. Abernathy Blvd., Atlanta, GA.

A big hug and kisses to all my natural fly Divas! Please email me if you have any other natural hair care tips!

Parfum Anyone?

Parfum Anyone?

Hi Divas!

I hope everyone is having a fantastic week! This post discusses the difference between Parfum, Eau de Parfum, and Eau de Toilette. My friend Renee and I were discussing perfumes because over the weekend she discovered Prada perfumed body lotion. She was so excited about this new scent she decided to tell everyone about it! She said it smells great and she kept getting compliments. So this lotion is a winner for sure. However, we discussed a recent situation in which a co-worker of her’s came into her office and stated that she smelled like one of those old ladies who wear so much perfume you can still smell it hours after they have left the premises. I of course asked her was the perfume a Parfum, Eau de Parfum, or Eau de Toilette. Well, Ms. Renee said she thought it was a Parfum and later confirmed it was and that she sprayed it on. I gasped! My friend used too much of the Parfum. So here it is ladies, the difference between Parfum, Eau de Parfum, and Eau de Toilette:

1. Parfum has the highest concentration of the scent’s oils. Thus when applying Parfum you should only lightly apply a drop to each wrist and a drop or two on the throat area or behind the ear. Because of the high concentration of the actual oil, Parfum is a bit expensive. For example, my signature scent, Coco Mademoiselle, retails for $95.00 for a quarter ounce! Ouch!

2. Eau de Parfum is the closest in strength and character to the Parfum. Eau de Parfum usually comes in a spray bottle. When applying Eau de Parfum lightly spray the scent on one wrist and rub both wrists together. Also lightly spray it on your throat. Apply the Eau de Parfum once in the morning and once in the evening if your day runs longer. Coco Mademoiselle Eau de Parfum retails for $80.00 for 1.7 ounces.

3. Eau de Toilette has the least concentration of the scent’s oil and has more alcohol than the other two. When applying Toilette layer it over the scent’s body lotion or bath gel. This will allow the scent to last longer. Otherwise you will spray on the toilette and within hours the scent is gone. You can spray the Toilette more liberally than the Eau de Parfum. Coco Mademoiselle Eau de Toilette retails for $60.00 for 1.7 ounces.

Love ya!

Follow-up to Tricks of the Trade!

Follow-up to Tricks of the Trade!

Hi Divas!

Hope you are having a fabulous weekend! My dear best friend Cindy J. shared one of her tricks of the trade. She stated

“What about the eyebrow? Ladies invest in an angle eyebrow brush (average price $7-$10) plus eyebrow shading powders (average price $9-$10) of chocolate, brown/black or chestnut for a defining look.” Enjoy ! Cindy in LA

Thanks Cindy, hugs and kisses. Great tip!

I also wanted to mention how to highlight the under eye area. As we get older, many of us develop dark circles or wrinkles underneath the eye area. Also on some days some of us have bags underneath our eyes or have puffy eyes. Cucumbers can get rid of puffiness underneath the eyes, but for dark circles and bags a good concealer can do the trick.

However, I have learned over the years you can also use a lighter shade of eyeshadow to hide darkness or wrinkles. I usually use a matte off white or champagne color to highlight the undereye area. Sephora has great matte eyeshadows in their Sephora Collection that are great for highlighting. They retail for $10.00.

But the absolute best tip is to use a lighter shade of powder foundation underneath the eye to lighten the area. I learned this trick from my make-up artist Kisha. She is a Mac make-up artist at Macy’s Cumberland Mall. The results are just fabulous. I recommend purchasing an expensive foundation for this purpose. Black Opal has fabulous make-up for women of color for the low price of $8.65. Well known make-up artists use this product regualarly on African-American skin.

Tricks of the Trade

Tricks of the Trade

Hello Divas!

Today I was thinking about little tricks I use to enhance my make-up and ultimately my look. My good friend Renee C. and Jackie H. are always admiring my make-up and this post is dedicated to them. Here are my top tricks of the trade:

1. A good eyelash curler. A must have for knock out lashes. Most mascaras are the same, except for a select few. (Conversation for another post). The trick to achieve long voluminous lashes is not necessarily in the brand of mascara you use, but in your lash accessories. Invest in a good eyelash curler. An eyelash curler gives your lashes a nice curl that usually lasts all day long. Eyelash curlers are particularly helpful if you have straight lashes that do not naturally curl up. The grand dame of all eyelash curlers is the Shu uemura curler. This curler’s claim to fame is that it accomodates all eye shapes. It retails for $18.00. Sephora also sells pretty good eyelash curlers with a price range of $5.00-$16.00.

2. An eyelash comb. To achieve perfectly separated lashes, you must use a good eyelash comb. I recommend Rubiglo eyelash comb. This flat brown eyelash comb is safe to use on the eyes because it is flat and made of plastic. I definitely do not recommend sharp metal eyelash combs. We don’t want to poke our eyes out. In addition, the Rubiglo eyelash comb comes with a protective covering which keeps the comb fairly clean. The best thing about this eyelash comb is that it retails for only $2.75. You can buy it at most major drugstores or online at www.rubiglo.com. You basically apply one coat of mascara and let the mascara dry. Then use the eyelash comb to separate eyelashes. Next apply another coat of mascara and let the mascara dry. Use the eyelash comb once more to ensure perfectly separated lashes. Apply one last coat of mascara. The effect is stunning.

3. Face Bronzer or Highlighter. To achieve glowing dewey looking skin all year round, (extremely important in the winter) check out Wet n’ Wild’s MegaGlo Face Illuminator. I learned about this amazing product from another blogger, Julia Coney. For the very low price of $2.99, you can achieve glowing skin like Hollywood Celebs. This bronzer is cream based and comes in five different shades. I use the shade Toasty which is picutured here. I simply use my fingers and blend the bronzer on my cheekbones usually above my blush (the apples of my cheek) on my brow bone and on my jaw line and chin. The highlights wake up your face and people will notice the glow.

4. Nars Blush in Exhibit A. I heard about this product and I did not believe it would work for me. I mean it does look like an orange red crayon. But I am telling you that this shade rocks on african-american skin. Trust. The orange color gives brown skin a naturally flushed glow, which is what blush is supposed to do. This is not blush from the 80’s. I kept hearing wonderful things about Nars Blush in Orgasm and tried it. It did not work for me. As a fluke I tried the Exhibit A and it was right on the money. Just try it. It works on the lightest tones to the absolute darkest tones. The Best Kept Secret Around. When I where this blush everyone says “Wow” Your make-up looks so good.

So there it is folks. My tricks of the trade. Email me if you have any tricks you use that you would like to share.

I did it. I finally started my Blog.

I did it. I finally started my Blog.

Okay. I have been discussing the possibility of starting a blog for 6 months now and I finally did it. I am so excited. And it was so easy to do. This Blog is dedicated to glamorous and luxurious fashion and beauty tips whether you are on a budget or not. Like most women, I love looking good. In fact, I love looking glamorous whether I am going to the grocery store or attending a charity ball. Looking good makes me feel good and feeling good puts me in a great mood which in turn puts people I encounter in a good mood. So positive energy all around. When you are feeling good, it boosts your self esteem and your confidence level rises. So this Blog will focus on achieving that feeling of supreme confidence and off the charts self esteem.

My first post will focus on Ten Things every woman should have to look and feel glamorous.

1. A signature Scent. Scents are such a huge part of feeling good. Great scents not only make you smell like a million dollars they also put you in a great mood. Every woman should have that one scent that she wears that makes her feel awesome. I wear a scent everyday. Whether its Chanel or Bath and Body Works, I always leave the house with a scent. My absolute favorite scent is Chanel, Coco Mademoiselle. I always get compliments. Just grown up and sexy. I also wear Clinique’s Happy. The citrus tones just make you “Happy.”

2. Well manicured eyebrows. Great eyebrows can make a face. A perfect arch adds dimension and depth to your eyes.

3. Good Mascara. Long luxurious lashes are always in. They make your eyes pop. Most days, perfect eyebrows, long lush lashes, and lip gloss is all I need. If you don’t believe me, just try it. lol

4. A good lip pencil and a great lip gloss. These items are your best friend. Mac’s Chesnut and Lip Varnish in Soft Tease take me from work, formal affair, workout, grocery store. Just perfect.

5. Regularly scheduled pedicures and manicures. Besides the fact that Men absolutely love them, they are such a necessity. Whenever I get a pedicure and manicure, I am automatically relaxed. Plus it shows that you take care of yourself.

6. A great pair of sterling silver or gold ball earrings or a pair of pearl of diamond studs. Regardless of your budget, you should be able to afford at least one pair of the above. If not, fake it until you make it. They are simple, elegent, and classy. Most importantly understated glamour. They complement ALL ATTIRE.

7. A great everyday, quality bag. If you don’t have the Louis Vuitton budget, you can always find a great name brand quality leather bag from discount stores such as TJ MAXX, Ross, or Marshalls. This Furla Bag is mult-functional and cute. They are always on sale at TJ MAXX or Marshalls. Target also has cute everyday bags.

8. Good Skin. There is no subsitute for Great Skin. A twice daily skin routine is sufficient for most women. However, if you have problem skin, try a dermatologist and or facialist to achieve a good skin tone.

9. Great Moisturizing Lotion. Never walk out the house with ash. Body Butters and Body Souffles are great if you want a scent. If not, good ol Eucerin, Vaseline Intensive Therapy, or plain Vaseline will do the trick. Vaseline is the best.

10. GREAT HAIR. All of my friends know that I am obsessed with my hair. Your hair can make you look good or make you look bad. Always maintain a well kept hair do. Make sure your hair is neat, shiny, and healthy. If you must pull it back, make sure it is in a cute little bun. A weave is acceptable to but make sure it matches your hair texture and color and that we (the public) can not tell that it is a weave.

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