devonly randomonium

Sugar-coated effery and shenanigans.

Older, Wiser, Better

Source: The Hot Glove

Last Saturday, I had the pleasure of attending my favorite little person’s first birthday party. I had a great time watching mesmerized toddlers play with plastic balls, tissue paper and shoes. They didn’t have a care in the world…until nap time rolled around. When the crankiness and crying started, we knew the party was over.

As I stood there watching all of the activity, I thought to myself, “This is how birthdays should be.” Those kids weren’t worried about frown lines or gray hairs. They weren’t whining about how they didn’t want to be alone for the rest of their lives, or talking about the latest diet they were on in an effort to get ready for summer.  They were just there enjoying the moment.

Sure you might laugh because toddlers are too young to comprehend the things I just mentioned. But that’s beside the point. The truth is I feel that it’s kind of ridiculous for us to get all bent out of shape over the aging process instead of appreciating our experiences.

On Monday, I will celebrate 33 years on this earth. And though I’ve had my share of ups and downs, I am grateful for every experience. Those highs and lows helped shape me and make me an even smarter and stronger person.

I almost didn’t make it 33 years ago. I was born prematurely because my mom developed toxemia. I arrived in this world at just two pounds and twelve ounces. But with a lot of prayer, good medical attention, and the care of a stern German nurse, I made it out of the woods.

The story of my arrival helped me realize that God allowed me to live for a reason. It’s now up to me to make the most of my life.  So to me, every birthday is a blessing.

On my special day, I don’t think about bills, I don’t think about hunting for a man, I don’t obsess over Baby Miguel (that’s what I’ve named my gut) and I don’t think about why I haven’t won the Publishers Clearinghouse Sweepstakes yet. I just spend that day celebrating me and looking forward to another year.

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Old Products, Dramatically Different Results

Over the years, I’ve spent a lot of time staking out beauty counters, Sephora and drugstores for mind-blowing, new skin care products.  In my twenties, I spent a good amount of my paychecks on products that promised “brighter skin,”  “a more even complexion,” and “no under eye circles.” What made things worse back then was my love of Allure magazine.

Now I have no hard feelings towards Allure because it really is a good beauty mag. In fact, I dreamed of working there one day and having the chance to try out all of the latest glosses, lotions and potions.  But Allure is like crack to a beauty junkie. If you have a product habit, there’s no way you can resist the goodies in there.

When  Allure would arrive, I would immediately start my research. I always knew about the latest fragrances, lip, nail and eyeshadow colors, hair products and skin care products. And because of that, I got to know a lot of fragrance and cosmetics salespeople at Macy’s, Dillard’s, Nordstrom, Saks and the old Tower City MAC Store. I probably helped them reach their monthly sales goals too!

Now that I’m older, I definitely know better.  I’m also not so quick to fork over my cash for the latest products. Instead, I read reviews and sample products if possible before buying. And if I don’t like something, I have no problem taking it back. After all, it’s about my satisfaction. So I refuse to keep something in my cabinet that’s not getting the job done.

Last month, I re-introduced two forgotten products to my skin care regimen. Those products are Philosophy’s purity made simple and Clinique’s Turnaround Concentrate.

purity made simple

Source: Philosophy.com

Purity has been referred to as a “Holy Grail” product by some beauty junkies. According to Philosophy, this all-in-one cleanser was “formulated to gently cleanse, tone and melt away all face and eye makeup in one simple step, while lightly hydrating the skin.”

I used purity for the first time about six years ago and just thought it was ok. So I gave it to the guy I was seeing at the time. After a month, I noticed his skin looked really nice and I was slightly jealous that mine didn’t look as good!  I think the main reason I gave up on purity was because I wanted a more aggressive, foaming product that helped reduce hyperpigmentation. Later I realized that more aggressive products can sometimes lead to more aggravation and irritation.

The reason me and purity are going steady again is because it is the one thing that melts the Pro Longwear off my face and out of my foundation brush. It also is available in a couple of sizes and since you only need a little, the 8 or 16 oz bottle lasts a long time. Purity also doesn’t leave my skin parched.

Turnaround Concentrate

Source: Clinique.com

Clinique’s Turnaround Concentrate has been an ally in my battle against hyperpigmentation. This concoction helps to smooth out and exfoliate away trouble spots. According to Clinique, this “high-performance cocktail of exfoliating ingredients prompts a renewal process that is multilevel, time-released.” Turnaround concentrate speeds fresh cells to the surface, and continually unveils brighter, more radiant skin.

I totally agree with Clinique. I started using this again two months ago when I received a postcard for a free full-sized bottle in the mail from Macy’s.  In the last month, more and more people have complimented me on my skin. One lady even came up to me at the Clinique counter and said that her and her husband noticed my complexion. She asked if I used Clinique and I showed her what I was using. She then referred to my skin as “smooth chocolate.” I was flattered and a little creeped out by the fact that both of them were looking at me, but I just went with it!

So there’s my two cents. I can now add them to the rest of the money I’m saving since I cancelled my subscription to Allure!

Note: I was not compensated in any way by Clinique or Philosophy for this review. Just wanted to share my experience with you! But if Clinique or Philosophy ever needs me to test out new products, you all know where to find me! Lol!

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Me and Mr. Banana Legs Part Two: Meringue Madness


Source: 2Kad Blog

Last week, I challenged myself to make the Mr. Banana Legs cake from the CakeLove cookbook. How did it go? Well the experience was not entirely bad. I think I was just super nervous about making a cake from scratch. I don’t know why because I’ve made a number of things from scratch before with no problems. But to me, cakes are more delicate than brownies, bars and cookies. It seems like one mistake could make them fall or ruin how moist they are. Who knows. Maybe I’m just paranoid from all of the years of watching my Mom fret over her pound cakes.

Making the cakes was a breeze. They baked up well and were super easy to split for the filling. The problem was the Italian Meringue Buttercream icing. The buttercream I make for my cookies is simple and takes a few minutes to make. The Italian Meringue Buttercream icing  is another story.  You basically have to make a meringue and then add hot sugar syrup to it. After that, you cream in four sticks of butter….one tablespoon at a time.

This icing has been my albatross. It’s irking me that I have yet to nail it. When I tried making it the first time, I made the mistake of not letting my butter sit out long enough before adding it to the meringue. It ended up being a lumpy, sugary mess.

I tried to freestyle during my second attempt because I was afraid the icing might be too sweet for the cake. So instead of using the four sticks of unsalted butter that the recipe calls for, I used two sticks of salted butter and two sticks of unsalted butter. The icing came out better and tasted like buttery rum heaven. So I built the layers, iced the cake and popped it in the fridge.

Later that evening, I pulled the cake out of the fridge to taste it. The banana cake was light, fluffy and delicious. The icing however was like a shield. And it no longer tasted like buttery rum heaven. Instead, it was like eating sugary butter.

So I’ve decided to take another crack at this cake. If this icing keeps giving me hell, I’ll just use my own buttercream recipe.  Stay tuned folks!

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Zumba Groupies, You Gets No Love From Me

I heart Zumba. It’s a great way for non-Pussycat Dolls like me to shake our hips and sometimes drop it like it’s hot. I attended my first Zumbathon a couple of years ago and decided that since I didn’t die after three hours of shimmying, spinning and shuffling, I would stick with it. I enjoy hearing Latin music along with hip hop and some pop during class. I also enjoy being among regular women and laughing with them as we try to figure out all of the steps. But what I don’t enjoy are the screaming banshees in the front of the class. I call these broads “Zumba Groupies (ZGs).”

Now I’ve attended Zumba classes at different gyms before and I know there are the Zumba enthusiasts. These are the women, and sometimes men, that wear their Zumba tees, bracelets or sweatbands to class and yell out “eye ya ya ya,” during routines. And that’s cool because they’re really feeling it. But the ZGs in my regular class are another story.

Example of a ZG...hope I don't offend this lady.

Source: Zumba Fitness NJ

I have never seen such Zumbasity (I just made that up) in my life. First of all, these chicks come to class dressed like extras from the Zumba infomercial. They wear the cargo pants or cargo capris with bright-colored Zumba tags on them, bedazzled Zumba shirts, headbands, spray tans, sunglasses and much more. Then during class, they like to bust out their freestyle routines or dance up on each other like those drunk chicks at the club that are trying to get guys to notice them. The other thing they like to do is shriek during songs. And don’t let a Brittney Spears song come on because blood might spurt out of your ears!

To the ZGs in my class, I’m glad you know all the routines since you make a point to go to every class taught by our instructor, but could you please take all of your commotion to the back of the class? Me and the rest of the normal people can’t see the steps when you all are acting like 16-year-olds at a Justin Bieber concert. And if you decide to come after me during the next class, I’ll be ready for you. All I have to do is throw some Zumba rubber bracelets on the floor and turn on some Brit Brit. Then it’s exit, stage left for me!

 

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Me and Mr. Banana Legs

I bought the CakeLove cookbook last week and I am glad I did. The book has a lot of helpful tips and great recipes. I can’t wait to try them all out. This week, I decided to tackle the Mr. Banana Legs cake. I want to make this cake for one of my best friends. My friend has fond memories of eating banana cake with her mom when she was little. And now that she has a little girl of her own, she wants to keep those memories alive and that tradition going.

It was my honor to take on this challenge. Baking is one of the things that I truly enjoy. It’s a wonderful thing to mix some flour, sugar and butter in a bowl, throw it all in a pan and pull something great out of the oven. But it’s even better when you share the fruits of your labor with others and put smiles on their faces. If I can make this cake successfully and give my friend something that is close to what she had when she was little, I will be very proud of myself.

So me and Mr. Banana Legs will duke it out in the next few days. I will fill you all in on the final results later this week.

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Current Fixations

I don’t think I’m the bomb all of the time, but when I put on a special outfit, swipe on some lip gloss or spray on my favorite fragrance, I go from bum to bombshell in no time. If you’re one of my Facebook friends, you know that I love to share some of my obsessions. So I created the Current Fixations section to spotlight the things I’m feeling.

When I buy clothes, I usually stick with my holy trinity…Banana Republic, Gap and Old Navy. I can usually find great deals with my friend Clarence (clearance), or online. And if there is a higher priced  item that I want, I have no problem playing  the waiting game. The pieces hold up well and some even stay in my closet for years.

I haven’t been too inspired lately when it comes to buying clothes. But I think  the weather had a lot to do with it. When it’s cold, I’m more concerned with staying warm than being fly. That all changed when I made a little visit to Gap last week. You get inspired real fast when you see those sale signs. I bought two button down shirts, a wrap top and a ruffle cardigan. Thanks to a gift card, I only spent $50. That was great considering some of the pieces have much higher prices online!

Anyway, after the trip to the store, I went online and found this stunner:

 

Gap's Maxine Dress

 

Source: Gap.com

Say hello to the Maxine dress. Yes it’s a LBD (Little Black Dress), but it has a lot of possibilities. You could wear it to work or for a night out on the town. My stylist, otherwise known as my friend Dana, suggested that I try this dress out with another one of my current fixations, nude/flesh-toned, patent leather shoes. I think gladiator sandals would work well too. The Maxine dress is exclusive to Gap.com and is currently listed at $69.50. I’m going to wait for it to drop before sealing the deal.

As I mentioned before, I have this thing for nude/flesh-toned shoes. I’ve seen celebs and celebutantes alike rock this trend and I think the average woman can pull it off as well. I love how slick nude, patent leather  shoes look. For some reason, when I see them I always think of that perfect nude lip.  The look is simple yet oh so chic.

Thanks to Aldo, I can try this look out for a reasonable price. At first, I was a bit skeptical about Aldo. I didn’t think their shoes could handle my monster truck feet. But I bought a pair of cute wedges from there for $40 last year and I really loved them. So  I think I might splurge on a pair of these:

 

 

Aldo's Withey Pump

 

Source: Aldo.com

These suckers are a little higher than what I’m used to, but my stylist said the platform makes them feel more like a pump.  If I go to the store and get overwhelmed by the thought of being a glamourpuss, I’ll just try this trend in a sturdy wedge.  Lord knows the last thing I want to do is hobble around a club or lounge with a confused look on my face while carrying a cute pair of shoes. To me, that is the ultimate walk of shame.

 

 

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The Mom Jean Menace

 

No girl, you don't look hawt.

Source: That Cool Broad

 

Hello, my name is Devon and I hate mom jeans.

It never ceases to amaze me when I see a woman rocking mom jeans. Especially when her  jeans are hiked up  to her boobs and secured with a belt.  I don’t know if it’s a midwestern thing or just pure laziness, but this look needs to be banned. Last time I checked, it was 2011. Heck, if you’re still sporting this look, you might as well bust out the scrunchies and off-the-shoulder sweatshirts too!

Nothing cracks me up more than when I see a woman who thinks she looks so hot…in mom jeans. Truth is, she really looks busted and behind on the times.

Honestly, I don’t think these jeans should be blamed on moms. I have friends who are mothers and they happen to be quite stylish. So I think they would be very offended if they were associated with those monstrosities. Instead, mom jeans should be called “I don’t give an eff jeans.” Why? Because that’s what you are telling us when you throw those bad boys on.

If you are as victim of this fashion nightmare, you need to realize one thing in order to stop the insanity. Jeans were not created to hold your gut in. If you are using them to do so, stop. Hey, I am a full-figured gal so I know it can be tough when you’re working with a little extra in the midsection. But looking like a marsupial is not cool. And when you hike your jeans up to hold your gut in, it makes you look straight dumpy just like this:

Source: Bruce Littlefield’s Life 101

If you’re looking for something to minimize your pouch, invest in a good body shaper.   You can even find jeans from   ShapeFX and Not Your Daughter’s Jeans that can help flatter your figure. They might be pricey, but anything’s better than camel toe.

If you need some guidance for buying new jeans, check out this month’s issue of InStyle. On page 259, you’ll find an article called, “What Goes with Which Jeans.” The article gives you tips for paring shoes and tops with cropped jeans, boyfriend jeans, flared jeans and non “don’t give an eff” high-waist jeans. Start here, and you should be good to go. And after you buy some great new jeans, make sure you burn your marsupial ones!

 

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