Monday, November 26, 2012

My Favorite Things: Skin Care Edition

It Girl Fam,

Many of you have asked me about my skin care routine and the products that I use.  So this post is dedicated to you. 

Me / Pre-makeup 

First and foremost, I believe that good skin starts from the inside. I drink a ton of water.  I find it odd when people tell me that they don’t like water. Perhaps, it’s an acquired taste. Hmm… Anyway, I love it and it loves me back by keeping my skin hydrated.  Water also flushes the system, which is also a great benefit to the skin.

In the morning, I wash my face with Cetaphil's Gentle Cleansing Bar which is hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic, and mild.  An esthetician recommended it to me many years ago and I have been hooked ever since. Cetaphil has a liquid version too, but I prefer the bar and I purchase it from Wal-Mart.

Every 2 days or so, I follow that up with an exfoliating scrub. I use St. Ives Apricot Scrub.  If you don’t exfoliate normally, then please be aware that there is a slight learning curve involved.  The danger is that you could damage your skin if you apply too much pressure or exfoliate too often.  I love this scrub because it is very affordable, can be found almost anywhere, and it keeps my pores open so that grit and God-knows-what does not stay trapped in my skin.  If I do have any blackheads or whiteheads, then they tend to vanish after a few days.  Tip: Do not exfoliate anywhere near your eye area.

I swear by my Murad Oil-Control Mattifier lotion with SPF15.  I learned the hard way that black folks burn too, hence the SPF 15.  Also, I love this product because it truly moisturizes my combination skin, it’s not oily and it does not interfere with my makeup game. Check. Check. Check.  It’s a grip though.  I always feel some-type-of-way when I dole out $40 for a 2-ounce tube of face cream.  However, it lasts for a few months and I am able to rack up points at Sephora with every purchase...which helps to soften the painful impact on my pockets.  I have to add that I have never found another product that comes close to Murad’s efficacy.  In the Fall and Winter months when my skin feels particularly dry, I will apply Neutrogena’s Oil Free Skin Moisturizer with SPF 15 around my mouth, jaw line, and neck.  It's a good product, but feels heavier on my skin than Murad and is not as makeup friendly.  Tip: Use your forth fingers (ring finger) to moisturize around your eyes and use gentle upward strokes.  This helps to preserve the skin around the eyes, which is delicate.

I apply a smidge of Burt’s Beeswax Lip Balm to my lips and that’s it.  Then I apply my makeup. (I’ll post a separate blog on my makeup routine and the products that I like to use.)

In the evening, it’s all about getting that makeup off and removing any evidence that I even had makeup on in the first place.  My skin is not super-sensitive, but it will react if makeup gets stuck in my pores.  I do not take any chances, so I double- or triple-wash my face with Cetaphil soap. 

I usually go hard on my eye makeup so it requires another cleansing step.  I use Sephora’s Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover to get the mascara and any remaining eye shadow or eyeliner off.  Sometimes, I use a Q-tip or a cotton round. It just depends on how much eye makeup is hanging on.  Other than moisturizer and soap, this is the only other beauty care product that goes near my eyes. My lip gloss hangs on too, so I use a little petroleum jelly and a cotton round to remove it.  Tip: All cotton balls and cotton rounds are not created equal. Check the packaging for "100% pure cotton" or you could end up with scratches on your face.

My toner is witch hazel.  To me, it is a commodity like rubbing alcohol so I am not brand loyal where this is concerned.  It’s around $1 per bottle and can be found at any pharmacy or mass merchandiser like Wal-Mart or Target.

If I notice any random white heads or bumps on my skin at this point, then I will use a Q-tip with a dab of pure tea tree oil to spot treat them.  Tea tree oil has antibacterial properties.  It’s very effective, but should be used sparingly.  My friend burned her skin because she used too much. Pure tea tree oil is not hard to find and there are many brands available. I like Derma E Tea Tree and E Oil and I get it from the Vitamin Shoppe.

When I have time, I will give the tea tree oil at least 15 minutes to be absorbed before I apply my Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion.  This lotion is thicker than Murad and Neutrogena, but not oily and does not clog my pores.  It leaves my face feels dewy when I wake up the next morning.

Hope you enjoyed my post and that you have found it to be helpful.  For formal skin care advice, please consult with your esthetician or dermatologist.




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© It Girl Industries 2012

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Curly Nikki Chicago Meet-Up

It Girl Fam,

About a week ago, I had the pleasure of attending a CurlyNikki Meet-Up at Japonais Restaurant and Lounge in Chicago.  If you are a woman of color with natural hair or are transitioning, then you probably already know that Curly Nikki is a beautiful blogger that promotes natural hair and provides practical advice on how to maintain it. 

I could barely get into the foyer because it was so packed with local hair-nistas from relaxed to natural and everything in between.  Once inside, I was immediately greeted with passed horderves. The timing was perfect, because I walked in there a little hungry. ☺

I was delayed and missed the formal presentation from Curly Nikki but I did secure a gift bag with Motions new line of natural hair products appropriately named NaturallyYou! and a package of Strawllers.  As a community, we have a healthy appetite for credible and practical information as well as products that actually work for our hair.  This Motions sponsored event answered all of the above. 

One of my blog subscribers will be chosen to win my new box of Strawllers.  For very obvious reasons, I cannot use them but I’m happy to re-gift it.  If you’re interested in being chosen, you must SUBSCRIBE by EMAIL (top/right of this page) no later than midnight on November 1, 2012, have a US mailing address, AND comment on this blog post about your natural hair experience.

Below are the pix from the event.


(Why am I cheesing so hard...hmmm...)

Marc Wells, Founder of Strawllers

Ms. curlBOX aka Myleik...
Have known each other over a year, but finally met in person. 

Rachel O wears many hats. 
One of them is the founder of the Chicago Natural Beauties Meetup.

New friend Dominique Covington of Skin Deep Natural BodyCare

Event Planner Anika Kai

Crowd on the lower-level of Japonais

Treats in my gift bag
Package of Strawllers, Motions Naturally You! Smoothing Conditioner and Deep Conditioning Masque

To stay connected & receive real time updates, you can subscribe to my blog at the top/right of this page

© It Girl Industries 2012

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Shecky's Girls Night Out Chicago

It Girl Fam,

If you are not familiar with Shecky's Girls Night Out, then you should be.  It's a fun shopping experience for all women to enjoy.  My first Shecky's event was about 4 years ago and I loved it.  As a matter of fact, I still receive compliments on the handbag I purchased back then.

The concept is simple: Shecky's chooses up-and-coming fashion, beauty, and lifestyle proprietors to takeover a popular and easily accessible venue in a major metropolitan city for up to two evenings.  The space is designed to feel like a party with branded signage, colorful d├ęcor, upbeat music, an open bar, and their signature Goodie Bags for guests.  Back in the day, general admission was free but now the entry fee is around $15.

Yesterday, Shecky's descended on the Great Hall at Union Station in Chicago along with hundreds of local fashionistas looking for good deals or unique finds.  I was happy to be in the mix!  From the handbags, to the skin care products, to the jewelry, the vendors did not disappoint.  Oh, but wait...there were freshly baked Guilty Pleasurez cupcakes too!! I couldn't resist the red velvet. Yum!

I love how Shecky's provides a forum for existing and burgeoning female entrepreneurs to be successful - both the vendors and the guests.  For example, Jockey sold clothing at Shecky's but also introduced their new Person-to-Person initiative.  It provides women with the opportunity to sell Jockey clothing at privately hosted events with friends or family and then earn a percentage of their sales.  This sales model is not new, but I'm only familiar with makeup companies like Mary Kay Cosmetics or jewelry companies like Stella & Dot offering women these type of business opportunities. Kudos to Jockey for starting this trend in women's apparel. 

I encourage you to Follow or Like Shecky's, so you will know when they are coming to (or near) your city and you may receive advance notice of discounts.      

Below are pix from my Shecky's experience. There was lots of girl power in the atmosphere!



Rolled solo to the event
Top-BCBG, Jeans - Charlotte Russe, Watch - Vintage 

But clearly, I wasn't alone.  
Everyone and their mother was representing yesterday.

A $250 Gift Certificate was up for grabs at Jockey.

I bought this wicked clutch laden with pearls and crystals from Betty, the owner of FLY2BUY. Betty finds haute accessories during her travels as a flight attendant and then sells them for reasonable prices at events like Shecky's. Isn't that cool?

Cute clutch bags made from bamboo courtesy of Five Accessories.
They also sell accessories made from recycled materials.  
If you're down for sustainability and fair trade while staying fashion forward, 
then you should definitely check them out.

Handmade candles, anyone?  
Soyful Fragrant Candles smell wonderful and are made from soybean plants, which burn cleaner and longer than traditional candles. They have a ton of scents to choose from and some of the name are hilarious like Butt Naked. Ha!

If you need some dating advice or know someone who does,
 you may want to check out Rachel DeAlto's book Flirt Fearlessly.
She sold and signed books during the event. 

Tracey Glover is the founder and creator of Guilty Pleasurez Cocktail Cupcakes.
We met last year, so it was great to reconnect with her again.
I'm smiling from ear-to-ear, because I can't wait to tear into the red velvet cupcake that I'm holding. You already know how I roll, so this one was actually non-alcoholic.☺ 

Racheal Kash, founder of Lulu Blossom, makes her skincare products from natural ingredients. I'm going to sample some of her line and post a product review very soon.

I think I'm feeling these bright blue feathered earrings!! What do you guys think?!  
Well, Nicole Harry of Nicole Designs All is rocking a shorter purple version. She designs these wonderful creations as well as non-feathered accessories like rings & bracelets with semi-precious stones. 

Maybelline co-sponsored the event and provided makeovers to many of the attendees.

Ran into friend and fellow blogger, Dee Dee of The Sassy Peach.


To stay connected & receive real time updates, you can subscribe to my blog at the top/right of this page

© It Girl Industries 2012

Friday, September 28, 2012

Uptown Magazine & Buick's Artful Infusions Event

It Girl Fam,

Last night, Buick and Uptown Magazine joined forces to present “Discover: Artful Infusions” at Venue One’s beautiful event space in Chicago.  It had an ‘all white everything’ feel – a very open, sophisticated, and upscale lounge atmosphere.  Great venue choice!

Buick has been actively engaging the Chicago market for years. This is the 3rd Buick event that I’ve attended.  In my opinion, they have successfully created these lifestyle experiences that organically merge urban tastemakers, top chefs, delectable bites, premium beverages, and affordable luxury vehicles. There were no test drives this year. Instead the program was more informal.  It was a classy soiree with the 2012 Buick LaCrosse & Enclave on display, live music, appetizers, and beautiful people.  Oh, and the Ciroc was flowing as well.

There was a brief pause during the evening as Uptown’s Co-CEO Len Burnett and featured chef Cliff Rome spoke a few words of welcome and appreciation for Buick’s support ongoing support.

It was an enjoyable evening.

Below are a few pix from the event.



Uptown’s Co-CEO Len Burnett 

Standing in front of the 2012 LaCrosse
(blurry...may bad)

You know I had to get inside and check it out too. 

Live music by Knights Ova Egypt was off-the-chain!
Singer Dani Jackson was amazing!

Dani Jackson

 My dudes, Kevin Williams & Kevin Stone, from the SWAY Agency
Some of the best dressed men I know. Squeaky clean!

Chef Cliff Rome was featured in a looping video projected on the wall. 

Chef Cliff Rome

One view of the venue with in the background 
(The space is huge, so this really does it no justice).

ⓒ It Girl Industries 2012

Monday, September 24, 2012

Christian Fields Style Bar 5 Year Anniversary Celebration

It Girl Fam,

On Saturday, I attended the 5 year anniversary celebration of Christian Fields Style Bar. It’s a gem on the south side of Chicago. Once inside, it feels and looks like a salon that could easily be found in Manhattan or downtown Chicago. Christian Fields specializes in natural hair care and styles like locs, twists, and transitional styles, but braids and weaves are also available to their clients.

Within a few steps of the packed entrance was an ornate mock runway complete with white rose petals and short cylinder vases with flowers lining both sides.  So I quickly realized that this would be much more than an anniversary party and couldn’t wait for the start of the fashion show. I heard great music in the background courtesy of DJ Wyld Chyld and received a warm reception as soon as I checked in.  Not only was I escorted to my seat, but I was also offered a beverage. Nice touch! I’ll admit that I showed up later than planned, but had the opportunity to network with other attendees before the show started.  Owner Christian Fields and Salon Manager Se Bakunzi Matemane opened up the program by welcoming guests, providing a brief overview of the salon’s history, and introducing their incredible staff.

The show began with a beautifully choreographed dance piece performed by Tempestt Jackson. It was really unexpected, but totally on point.  The models were a mix of staff, clients, and friends to the salon.  Each displayed cutting-edge hair styles and wore fashions from local designers like Suzette Opara of The 828 Collection and Naketa Grant of Hand Candy Couture.  After the show, the music was turned up, the chairs were removed, food was served, and gift bags were given to guests.  I had a blast!

If you’re looking for a natural hair salon in the Chicago area, then you don’t have to look any further.

Janice, thank you for the invitation.

Below are pix from the event.



A flurry of activity outside of the salon including photo opps

Inside the salon, guests are waiting for the show to start

Flower arrangements found along sides of the runway

Salon Manager Se Bakunzi Matemane 
saying a few words before the show.

Some of the Christian Fields Style Bar staff

Let the show begin!  
Look at this fierce model and her intricate hair style. 

These models have locs and are also wearing The 828 Collection.

Beautiful model with Christian Fields

Another model, who is part of the CF Style Bar staff also.
I loved her hair & outfit. She 'werked' it!

An impromptu group shot with several models
Christian Fields and designer Suzette Opara are in the center. 
I tried to squeeze in behind Christian. :-)

Se Bakunzi Matemane and model with amazing locs

 Designer Tameka WeathersbyNicoh David, and designer Naketa Grant

Janice Bond & Artist Jennifer Bridgeforth 

Believe it or not, these ladies did not model for the fashion show. 
However, Michelle Major (on the right) is featured on 
CF Style Bar's website & in their marketing materials.
I wonder how many years it would take for me to grow locs that long. Hmmm...

There is Michelle in the 3rd position on the outdoor signage

ⓒ It Girl Industries 2012