Happiness Comes from Within

My husband, Solomon, and I go for walks every other day in our neighborhood. Sometimes we just take a stroll to the park, other times we run errands on foot. No matter the reason, or the weather, we love to get some exercise while spending quality time together. Solo always makes me feel special and beautiful, so when I step out with my Teddy Bear, I like to look my best. That’s why, on this sunny end-of-summer afternoon, I paired a simple black tank top with a vibrant celadon circle skirt from Ashley Stewart. This skirt was a major score in the online clearance section for less than $20! I feel so feminine and chic in this skirt. I wanted the green to be the center of attention, so I kept everything else neutral with black and nude. My flats are some very old Payless shoes and the bag is a gift from my aunt from Christian Lacroix. Shout out to my Teddy Bear for finding the beauty in me even when I am unable to. He took over 70 pics of me before I was happy with one. That’s love! Details for the rest of my outfit are below.

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  1. Jewelry: Shoedazzle
  2. Bag: Christian Lacroix
  3. Bag Charm: Wish.com
  4. Tank Top: Walmart
  5. Skirt: Ashley Stewart
  6. Shoes: Payless

Influenster VoxBox Review: Maybelline Vivid Matte Liquid Lipsticks

013129487c34b3a0ce10aa6a586be2c4a447406f59Maybelline and Influenster have teamed up again for their June VoxBox and I was one of the Social Media influencers chosen to review the  new Vivid Matte Liquid Lipsticks. according to Maybelline.com, these new lip products are designed to provide bold, vivid color which glides easily onto lips for a velvety matte finish. The formula is comfortable and creamy with a smooth feel upon application. With full color coverage, the result is a rich, intense lip look in a range of colors from Nude Flush to Electric Pink to Vivid Violet. These liquid lipsticks come in 10 shades and we were given two for review. Check out my video below for the full review, including best use instructions and my final verdict on this product.

Thank you to Influenster, and Maybelline for providing the Velvet Matte Liquid Lipsticks for free in exchange for my review.

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Blogger Event at Vega Vitality

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Lisa Jean-Francois & Victoria James (Me)

I had the pleasure of attending the Blogger Appreciation event at Vega Vitality Beauty and Wellness Center in Boston, Ma. The event was hosted by blogger, YouTuber, and branding coach, Lisa Jean-Francois (Lisa a la Mode). Bloggers were treated to a beautiful spread of bellinis, baked goods, and cheeses (which were delicious) and we all mixed and mingled. Vega Vitality is a wellness center complete with fitness, holistic therapy, and beauty treatments.

In addition to enjoying great food, and atmosphere, I met a fantastic blogger named Kaitlin (For Love of Carrots) who indulged me in a conversation about vegetarianism, autoimmune protocol, and international travel. I also had a great chat with Stevie (Stray with Me) about cooking subscription boxes and the joys/fears of working for yourself. I caught up with Anthony (The Next Gentleman) who has a very impressive beard. We discussed his blog and his 2 year beard growing journey. He was very charming and handsome.

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Stephanie Moore (Vega Vitality Co-Founder) & Mila Kaluk (Browmuse)

Finally, I popped into the private rooms and spoke with the treatment specialists at Vega Vitality. My first stop was with Tara Krueger, an Intuitive Healer. We discussed what exactly intuitive healing is (alternative practice that relies on the use of the five senses to locate and correct imbalances in the energy flow within the body) and Tara also tapped into my energy flow. After speaking with Tara, I was curious about the lash services offered at Vega Vitality. I spoke with their specialist, Sherice, about the different lash procedures offered. She was very knowledgeable, which gave me great confidence in her abilities and expertise. Finally, I spoke with Mila who specializes in semi-permanent makeup, specifically brows. Mila and I chatted for an hour about her process. It was fascinating. While I do not need semi-permanent brows, I would highly recommend her services to anyone looking to have their brows on fleek 24/7!

Overall, I had a fantastic time at the Blogger Appreciation mixer at Vega Vitality. If you’d like to see video of the event, click play below. Until next time, loves, xoxo!

BOBB Series: Mischo Beauty

mischo_Stiletto_1024x1024For the final installment of Black Owned Beauty Brands in honor of #BlackHistoryMonth, I wanted to highlight a nail polish company. Nail Lacquers are my favorite cosmetic product to collect, and yet I hadn’t heard about this company until very recently. Mischo Beauty is a luxury cosmetics brand with an emphasis on nail polish with no toxic chemicals. Founded in 2011 by Kitiya Mischo King, Mischo Beauty is a thriving beauty brand with high potential to become on of the premier BOBBs on the market.

An excerpt from the Mischo Beauty website reads “With the recent consumer concerns about nail lacquer chemical formulations, Mischo Beauty assures that its formulation has always been 8 FREE, which means it contains no Formaldehyde, no Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP), no Toluene, no Formaldehyde Resin, no Camphor, no Ethyl Tosylamide, no Xylene and no parabens – all ingredients that have been known to contribute to cancer, birth defects, reproductive issues, nausea, light-headedness, headaches and more. The fashion-forward, and health-conscious lacquers are better than ever! With a smooth, chip-resistant formula, the award-winning nail lacquers offer long-lasting shine in the most current colors. They’re vegan, cruelty-free, and, of course, 8 FREE.”

mischo_Voila_Nail_Lacquer_Set_largeYou can purchase Mischo Beauty polishes as single lacquers, or as a set with a base and topcoat. Kitiya’s current collection is titled “The Year of Yes” which is a title of writer/producer Shonda Rhimes’ latest book. The collection features beautiful, on trend, nudes as well as a gorgeous blue shade. What I enjoy most about Mischo beauty polishes is her packaging. The formula seems similar to that of Julep or other high end, chip resistant, one coat polishes. But the packaging is unique. Sleek, chic, minimal, and functional. This polish fanatic couldn’t as for anything more! Visit the Mischo Beauty website to purchase from her latest collection and her most recent releases. Quantities are limited, so get them while you can!

BOBB Series: Black Opal & Radiance

When asked about the most relevant Black Owned cosmetic companies out there, Black Opal and Black Radiance are in the top 5. These brands have been around for over two decades and are mainstays in the drugstore faves of WOCs. So let’s discuss! Black Opal and Black Radiance, the history of these brands and why they are so popular.

black-opal-beautyBlack Opal Cosmetics, founded in 1994, is a Black Opal is a cosmetics brand for every shade of beauty. Founder, Carol Mouyiaris (Caribbean), and Dr. Cheryl Burgess (African American), were Black women of the diaspora on a mission to address the skin concerns of women of color. A little info one why Black Opal chose its name, “An opal is a precious gemstone that can take on many variations of colors. The black opal is the most rare and most valuable. Skin of color, like the Opal, is varied, unique and precious. It comes in many diverse hues and tones and demands specific skin care products to address its special needs” (Black Opal Beauty). What’s especially wonderful about Black Opal, is that their products range from makeup to skin and hair care. So WOCs can find everything that they need within this brand. Another great thing about this company is that they’ve remained Black owned since inception. Congratulations to Black Opal for expanding their brand’s availability, and product range. We will undoubtedly see more innovation from this brand for decades to come.

BRFor over more than two decades, Black Radiance® has pursued its vision to be the #1 trusted expert and resource for black beauty. Their mission is to enable women of color around the world to be even more beautiful. Black Radiance® offers a variety of sheer to vivid lip and eye color, plus, exclusively formulated face cosmetics that meet the distinct needs of her skin type and not just skin color. All of this at an affordable price point and easily accessible in your local Walgreen’s or online. Black Radiance has also been featured in Black beauty magazines as must have products from 2013 until today! The Color Perfect Liquid Makeup has been awarded Best Face Product of 2015 by HypeHair Magazine. It’s amazing that this brand has managed to deliver such high quality, highly pigmented products for over twenty years at such a low price. One thing is for sure, quality doesn’t always come with a big price tag. You get way more then what you pay for when you wear Black Radiance Cosmetics.

It’s easy to see why these two brands are so popular among women of color. They are long standing cosmetic brands who cater to their demographic and are at a price point which doesn’t break the bank. To learn more about Black Opal and Black Radiance, visit their websites. Until next week, loves. Stay black and beautiful – xoxo

BOBB Series: black|Up Cosmetics

blackUp 2black|Up Cosmetics, founded by Ivorian Bernard Fabrice Mahabo in 1999, is the first upscale beauty brand dedicated free and modern black woman who is proud of her roots and absolutely anchored in her era. The Paris-based line is known for its range of professional-quality makeup that is developed by women of color and answers the specific needs of darker skintones. black|Up develops a true expertise answering darker complexions’ specific needs and offers products that pair professional quality and pleasure of use: velvety effects, mat or powdery finishes, perfect coverage, ultra vibrant colors, 100% non-ashy finish. Thanks to its unique offer, black|Up has become a key player in the makeup world that seduces black and mixed women as much as all the makeup addicts of the planet. Today black|Up Cosmetics is distributed in approximately 200 retail locations, including Sephora.

blackUp 3While the current ownership of black|Up Cosmetics is undefined, due to scandal of an unlawful buy out, I wanted to honor this brand and its original founder, because this accomplishment is exceptional. black|Up was created by a black man, for black women and our unique beauty needs. Fabrice Mahabo spent ten years + of his life perfecting his cosmetic line  because he saw a void in the market to cater to our undertones and deeper hues. The colors and formulas are designed to pop off of darker skin. Not only that, his work has reached across the Atlantic, to the states and beyond so that all brown beauties can experience a luxury makeup line with them as the core demographic.

Next week, we will look at Black Opal and Black Radiance in a double BOBB highlight post! Until next week #BHM #BlackHistoryMonth #MyBlackIs Beautiful #BlackBeauty #BrownBeauty #BlackGirlMagic

BOBB Series: Sacha Cosmetics

I’m kicking off Black History Month by honoring black owned beauty brands. Sacha cosmetics is the first in an annual four-part series highlighting BOBBs. Sacha Cosmetics was founded by Kama Maharaj in 1979 on the island of Trinidad and Tobago. With such diversity in skin tones and ethnicities within the Caribbean, this cosmetic brand caterers towards African, Native, Latin, Asian and Mediterranean skin tones and skin types. It is also the first and only Halal certified make up brand in the world! Sacha has a full range of make up and tools for your face and body including color correctors, lip colors, eye shadows (in cream and powder form), and especially their famous buttercup powder for highlighting women of color.buttercup Their products are high-end quality and available in a very wide range of tones which flatter hues from moderately fair to very dark and undertones in golden and neutral. Sacha cosmetics has been the official cosmetics of Miss Universe (1999) Miss USA (2000) and Miss Panama Pageant (2014) as well as other international beauty pageants. The company is an award winning brand for Caribbean Exporter of the Year for both 2014 and 2015. One of the best features of the cosmetic brand are that their powders do not leave women of color looking chalky or ashy in flashback photography, which is ideal for models, youtubers, and anyone who is being photographed. They specialize in creating flattering quality products for brown beauties, which is why I wanted to bring to the forefront Sacha cosmetics as my first black own beauty brand highlighted for Black History Month. If you have not checked out their product line, you definitely need to click this link and get your life! And if you purchase nothing else, make sure that you put the butter cup powder in your cart before you check out! That’s all for now, dolls. Until next week! Make sure that you share like and comment on this blog post and spread the word about BOBBs (black owned beauty brands) being highlighted for Black History Month. Also tell me which black owned beauty brands you love and why in the comment section below. Thanks for reading. Don’t forget to check me out on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter as well as Snapchat (Vikeejeah). Bye for now xoxo

LA Splash Harry Potter Lippies

This one is for all of my Harry Potter lovers out there, and I know there are quite a few of you. Yes ladies, I’m challenging YOU to be bold with your lip color. WOCs generally have full lips, so why not use them as a canvas for spellbinding beauty? LA Splash has debuted 17 new matte liquid lipsticks in honor of the amazingly popular Harry Potter series. These colors are named after iconic spells from the books, and the colors are just as captivating. My faves are Spellbound (a deep, warm, chocolate brown), Nagani (a vibrant jewel tone green), Bellatrix (an iridescent purple), and Sirius (a deep sapphire blue).

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I chose these colors from the collection, because liquid lippies have been a huge trend lately, so I am already maxed out on the traditional shades. I’ve even ventured into the unconventional nudes. Now I want unique colors. I believe this collection is a great opportunity for us all to step outside of our comfort zones and do something a little bit daring. Often times we are timid about wearing bold color on full lips for fear of ridicule. I say, use those soup coolers as a billboard for boldness! I’m going to purchase the four colors I’m loving on from this collection, and I will post pictures on my Instagram account. Check me out over there, follow me, and show me some love. Let’s inspire each other to embrace our natural features and showcase them in amazing colors without no fear! Let’s take a cue from Harry Potter and face our fears head on with the power of magic, aka makeup (lol).

Becca Cosmetics: Champagne Pop by Jaclyn Hill

As a Youtube beauty guru, I am a huge fan of Jaclyn Hill. She has a great personality, excellent techniques, and has garnered a huge following of over 2 million subscribers! JHill, as I affectionately call her, has collaborated with several brands as of late. Her Morphe Favorites Palette sold out twice and is coveted by makeup enthusiasts of all skill sets. Her collaboration with Gerard Cosmetics continues to sell extremely well (1995 is one of Gerard’s most popular lipstick shades), and her most recent collaboration with Becca Cosmetics has solidified her as a highly influential Youtube beauty guru. Champagne Pop is one of the most universally flattering highlights out there.

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I decided to put it to the test myself. I watched a few videos before purchasing my own highlight, because I wanted to see if it would be WOC friendly. Jaclyn mentioned, on her channel, that she had her sister in mind when creating the highlight because her sister is very pale. It’s difficult for those who are on the extreme ends of the skin tone spectrum to find bronzers and highlights to flatter their skin tone. So Jaclyn worked with Becca to create something that would work for as many shades as possible. The undertone of this champagne colored illuminator is peachy with a hint of beige and a mix of gold/silver shimmer. I’ve seen WOCs with golden undertones handle the highlight better than cooler skin tones, which tend to bring out more of the silvery tones of the product. You can check out the highlight below on my video review. I also show you how to apply the highlight using different brushes.

If you’re interested in purchasing the highlight, you can click here. You can also visit your local Sephora to swatch it yourself. Becca’s Champagne Pop by Jaclyn Hill is a limited edition shimmering skin perfector, so act fast if you want to own a bit of JHill’s shine!

BH Cosmetics: Missy Lynn and Dark Rose Palettes (Review)

The first time I heard about BH Cosmetics was when Destiny Godley, a YouTube Beauty Guru, used their brushes during one of her tutorials. I was so fascinated by the large fan brush and the packaging of the Pink-a-Dot brush set, that I had to see what this company was all about. So I checked out the website, and was blown away by the prices. I’d already seen their makeup products in action on various videos, so I was convinced that I needed to try both their makeup and tools myself. I recently placed my first major BH Cosmetics order, and I’m officially addicted! Since joining the world of YouTube Beauty Gurus, I’ve heard a lot of talk about the Missy Lynn Palette, named after one of YouTube’s most popular makeup personalities. Since the palette was on sale, I decided to go for it, along with a few more items. BH Cosmetics was offering a surprise give with purchases of $25 or more. I met the limit, and received the Dark Rose Palette (value $25, on sale for $9) as a gift! I feel like that’s super generous of BH Cosmetics to hand out full size makeup as gifts, when their prices are already so reasonable.

After purchasing lipstick, blush, shadows, and tools, I decided to try out a full makeup tutorial using BH Cosmetics as the main brand. You can check out the video below. Don’t forget to subscribe!

I highly recommend checking out BH Cosmetics. They’re an affordable, quality, cosmetic company with great customer incentives. And the best part is, it’s all cruelty free!