Monday, May 16, 2016

A Note About My Mom

I was invited to speak last week at the Muffins for Moms breakfast at Bay Haven School of Basics Plus in Sarasota. I talked about how my mom has been my role model and what moms mean to us. Since my mom wasn't there to hear it and she's one of my most loyal readers, I decided to share it here on the blog.

Photos: Cliff Roles

Growing up, my mom wasn't the typical 1980s or 90s mom. She didn't really cook, which I inherited; she wasn't much into decorating, or craft projects, other than some iron-on t-shirts. In other words, if she was raising young kids now, she would not be a Pinterest Mom.

Instead she was the Cool Mom. She has always dressed stylish, played tennis, stayed current on pop culture, and listened to rap and hip hop music. She even made up a dance to a Lil Jon song that she had all of my sister's friends doing. My mom has always been the life of the party and is probably a lot more fun than I am.

She is a working mom who somehow managed to make it to all of our activities. Throughout the years, between my younger sister and me, there was a combination of ballet, pointe, tap and jazz, and dance *team, swimming, which often meant two practices a day, the first being at 5:30 a.m., water polo, Odyssey of the Mind, Optimist Club speaking competitions, debate, Girl Scouts, gymnastics, diving, cheerleading, newspaper, and various honor societies and school clubs.

Even though she wasn't the mom who brought homemade cupcakes, she always volunteered at our school and with our swim team. But now that I'm older and looking back, one of the most important things to me is that she never lost her own identity. She wasn't just Mom. She's a Registered Nurse and Certified Diabetes Educator who earned her master's degree while raising two kids, with the help of my dad, of course. She worked as a nurse in the hospital, counseled diabetic patients and taught college nursing. Many times she brought me and my sister to campus at Houston Baptist University and with her in the car as she drove all over Houston to supervise her students on their clinical rotations. She also took us to health fairs in under-served communities, which allowed to see how we can help those who need it most.

My mom never directly said to me,"go to college, go to graduate school, get good grades, and have a career." Nor did she try to force me to take one path or another. But since she and my dad are both very accomplished academically and in their careers, I learned by example. And I did all of those things with their support.

Although my mom has no experience in my field of broadcast journalism, my job aspirations began very early in life with a love of writing, which I inherited from her. She has always encouraged me through the toughest days of the demanding television news business and is my most loyal viewer. Even though my parents live in Atlanta, she watches the news every night via online streaming.

I am lucky to have my mom as my role model and cheerleader. Mothers come in many different forms, not all are biological. Some are foster mothers, step mothers, mothers-in-law, grandmothers, even mentors, teachers and friends who are like mothers to us. Almost all moms are alike in the way that that they accomplish amazing feats, yet they are unique and special in their own way. Everyone I know, including myself, says they have the best mom in the world. And they're all right.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

What's in My Makeup Bag: Part I

If I had my choice, I would spend at least 75 percent of my life wearing workout clothes and no makeup. If you see me at TJ Maxx on a Saturday, I can guarantee you I will not be wearing any makeup, and I don't care if anyone is judging me. 

But working in television, I have to do my makeup every single day with touch ups throughout the day. I have to admit, some days I wear less than others, which is a total reflection of how much time I have. If you tune in to the newscast and think I look tired, that's probably because I didn't have a chance to put on eyeshadow, or I'm actually just tired haha.

All of the products I'm showing you in these posts are what I would wear if I had enough time to do my full routine. Some days I switch things up, especially when I have some Birchbox or Sephora samples I want to try.

And speaking of samples, about a year ago, I made a pledge to use up as many samples and free gift products as I could before buying anything. I tested them out and if the colors were just heinous on me, I moved on. But those that passed the decency test, I've been using until they run out. I discovered some things I absolutely love doing this and others that I know I'll never buy, but do the job for now.

I decided to split this post into two so it wouldn't be so long. Isn't it sad how many products we have to use to look glam? This is one of those times I start to envy men and realize how much of their time and money is not spent on makeup.

1. Primer

This was a Birchbox sample find and has turned out to be my most favorite primer after trying many brands. It comes in many varieties, some are tinted; I'm currently using the Supercharged Fortified version, which supposedly has antioxidants. I bought that one because the classic version is no longer available on the Birchbox website, for which I had a coupon. I think I like original one better because it seemed a little tackier, so my foundation seemed to stick to it better. However, I still find this one superior to all others I've tested.  I notice a major difference on how my makeup looks hours later and how much better it stays put. What I really like about it is that it's not super silky like most primers. And that makes it a fantastic match for powder foundation, which I wear. I think the silky primers are better suited for liquid foundation. Also, the tube is quite large, and you're not going to be using a ton of it every day, so it's a fantastic value.

2. Undereye Concealer 

This does not crease, let me repeat, this does.not.crease. I've been wearing this for years and years and only once considered switching when a Sephora employee gave me a sample of Amazing Cosmetics Concealer. I will admit that was slightly better at covering dark circles, BUT, it settled into those little lines under the eyes. It's a very thick formula and the creasing was noticeable.

I do not have severe dark circles, apparently that's genetic, thanks Mom :), but what I do have, this Lancome concealer fully covers. And I can wear it all day with not a single sign of creasing. That's a big deal, people. It's a light texture, non-greasy and blends like a charm.

I wear it in a shade lighter than my skin color, (Porcelaine 1), so it almost doubles as a highlighter. A couple times when I've gotten my makeup done and they've put a concealer that exactly matches my skin tone, I feel like I don't look like myself! I also usually put this on my eyelids for brightening and to serve as a eyeshadow primer when I'm short on time. It's funny, a guy friend of mine once said to me, "once you put that concealer stuff on, it's like you don't even need any more makeup." Score.

3. Blemish/Multitasking Concealer 

This can be used for undereyes as well, but I mostly use it for pimples and uneven skin. If you get the right shade, it blends like a dream! The fact that it comes in a wand form makes it super easy to use.

4. Foundation

By now you're finding out I'm quite partial to Lancome makeup. It's the first counter my mom took me to when I wanted to start wearing makeup. And since then I've tried many brands, but I keep relying on Lancome for most of my makeup needs. I find the quality fantastic and the brand consistent. 

I love this foundation because it's incredibly easy to use. I apply it dry with the (really nice) sponge it comes with in less than a minute. The finish is flawless, smooth and matte, for those who don't want a dewy finish. It feels completely weightless on your skin. You can wet the sponge to get a more full-coverage look. The compact also comes with a little puff that you can use for touch ups. This foundation can also be applied with a brush and would work as a finishing powder if you're a liquid foundation person.

I, however, am NOT a liquid foundation person. It find it takes too long to apply, it gets greasy as the day goes on and I hate that feeling of having something on my face. Now, if I ever was going to switch to liquid, I would use Hourglass IMMACULATE® LIQUID POWDER FOUNDATION. It's incredible and hands down the best liquid foundation I've ever tried! 

And stay tuned, I just purchased Mary Kay's Endless Performance® Crème-to-Powder Foundation, which is a nice happy medium between liquid and powder.

5. Finishing/Setting Powder

I recently ran out of my MAKE UP FOR EVER HD Microfinish Powder, which I loved. But I was looking to possibly change things up. I wasn't crazy about the change they made to the packaging; the loose powder is now separated by a screen-type thing instead of little holes. It just looked a little messy to me. 

I'm really liking this Mary Kay one! It's definitely the more economical choice. They seem pretty similar, the only difference I've noticed is that this one has a tiny hint of shimmer. I could do without that, but it's not a deal breaker. I love the packaging. You can slide it open and closed, much like a salt shaker, so that the powder doesn't spill all over the place. Both of these powders help smooth everything and give you an airbrushed-like appearance. The reason I started using this type of powder in the first place was mostly for HD television cameras, but it's great in real life, too. 

The one thing you have to be careful about with these translucent powders is so-called flashback. In pictures it can make your skin appear very white. I haven't noticed it with either of these brands, but I did when I received a sample of Tarte smooth operator™ Amazonian clay pressed setting powder. It gets good reviews, but I personally would not recommend it.

6. Blush

I've been using Lancome blush since the beginning of time, save a short stint with Tarte Amazonian clay 12-hour blush, which, in contrast to the pressed powder, I really liked. But, tragically, I dropped it on set one night, it shattered and somehow I found myself safely back home in the arms of the Lancome counter. The woman there suggested I try the Plum Noir shade. I couldn't exactly imagine it on me because it looked so dark. But it's beyond fantastic! It's the perfect color on me, and since it's highly-pigmented, I don't need a lot so it's lasted me a long time.  Which is great because it appears this has been discontinued, another great makeup tragedy! Tear.

Luckily one of the great things about Lancome blush is it comes in many gorgeous shades, so I'm hoping I can find another one I love. Or I'll get desperate and buy Plum Noir on Ebay. Either way, I've found that no matter the shade, this blush goes on smoothly, is not overly powdery and stays all day.

7. Bronzer

I was quite disappointed when Victoria's Secret discontinued its makeup line, because I loved the bronzer. It took a lot of trial and many errors before landing on this budget-friendly choice. I find it stacked up better than many of its high-end peers. It's just the right color and seems to very slightly lean to the pink side vs. brown, which is fantastic if you have pink undertones in your skin. It also has the perfect amount of shimmer. This shade can be difficult to find because not all drugstores/Walmarts/Targets carry the same colors. I've found I have to go one specific Walgreens near me to get this shade.

Part II coming up! Please let me know any of your makeup must-haves because I am ALWAYS looking for new fabulous finds.