Category Archives: Let’s begin

Everything starts somewhere

My skin is angry but I’m working on it…here’s how.

I travel extensively for both work and personal reasons and I am not a stranger to the effects of dry, recirculated airplane air and drastic changes in climate having massive impacts on my skin. Even more, the never ending march forward of time has finally hit my skin like a ton of bricks so it’s time to take action. Let’s rewind…

I turned 40 this year and my skin rebelled. From nothing to hyperpigmentation, redness and extreme dry patches, I got slammed by the skin Gods. I deserved it. Like most, I thought I was invincible. I never moisturized, wore sunscreen or took care of my most face forward asset until it was too late and now I am paying the price but it has given me insight into some of the most amazing skin care which has been life changing so let me give you a peek into the saviors of my skin.

Start from scratch, I paid big bucks and went to a specialist for a skin review and it was money well spent. I got a thorough skin assessment that saved me tons of cash because I didn’t purchase the wrong skin care. Details on that experience are in my blog (I Tried It…An Oxygen Facial).

Once your skin is back to basics, invest in the proper combination of skin care that starts with washing your face, every night. I’ll say that again for the people in the back. Wash your face EVERY night. No exceptions. I employ the Bliss Wipes (picked mine up at Target but they are widely available). Then in with a Foreo Mini and Murad Vitamin C cleanser or the Laneige Foaming cleanser.

Following such I break out the moisture products. Day time, I rotate between the Laneige serum and the Ole Henriksen Vitamin C serum followed by the Bliss moisturizer. I let that sit for a minute and then follow with Murad spf. My regular makeup routine then begins.

At night, we break out the big boys and swap our bliss and Murad for the Laneige water cream in lavender. A little goes a long way so being sparing about application and apply down the neck. Laneige lip mask follows and I’m out for the night.

Let’s talk weekend, without fail I do I mask every Sunday. I am a bit of a fanatic and collect them at every turn so I have built myself a wide variety. I use whatever I feel my skin needs the most at the time, last weekend I did an Anti-Redness mask and coming up I think I will be a coconut water detox mask. I am not super brand loyal but you can get great ones from the Yes To brand as well as the house K brands at Ulta and the drugstore. Take your time in the Walgreens or Target beauty aisles for some gems.

So that’s my current routine that has almost totally changed my skin and the way it looks in less than a year. Yes that sounds like a while but I spent the prior 39 messing it up so, not too bad. I also don’t have a 12 step skin care routine because I am a real person. I have a family, a job, pets and more that don’t afford my an hour a day to move through a complicated ritual. I can get all of the above done within a ten minute window and still have put some effort in. I do some specialized add ons every now and then (see prior blog for I Tried It…Murad Dark Spot Corrector) but generally this is the run down.

I hope by putting it out there I have given you some options to try, a few simple steps to follow and of course the reality check needed to take care of your skin. Some the products I have mentioned are linked below – a few are affiliate links I just listed everything I use, love and have tested myself.

Clarity R

This is not sponsored, is my actual skin care routine and damn if I don’t look good!

The same lightweight sleeping mask you know and love, but now with a new Lavender scent.

Get a FREE Rapid Age Spot & Pigment Lightening Serum ($26 value) Duo Kit on orders $65+ at Murad.com! Use the code SPRING at checkout. Valid 4/1-4/30

I have a problem, with palettes

So with my new discovery of makeup and the never ending information being provided by YouTube gurus such as Tati, Jackie Aina and Kathleen Lights to name a few, my obsession with palettes has become a real problem.

I am looking at the constant influx of new launches and thinking ‘I have to have that one, it’s so different from anything else’ but is it really? I am no a makeup guru and I continue to learn application techniques everyday but there is no aspect of my life where I can pull off the blue and green cut crease or the rainbow eye. Although I really enjoy the artistry these looks require and the incredible skill these people have to create these looks, no where in real life am I able to integrate some of the looks that have been created online.

The question then is, do I really require the rainbow palette launched by James Charles and Morphe that sells out every thirty seconds, or the Take me to Brazil palette by BH Cosmetics that screams with stunning color – no I don’t….but the Caribbean woman in me wants it so badly it hurts. The vibrancy of saturated color is something ingrained into our DNA and without a doubt these palettes were designed for that. Can you imagine to Carnival or fete looks that could be pulled off with these colors? The potential is astounding.

But back I run to my neutral palettes for everyday, a little shimmer on the lid if I feel exciting. It the practical part of me unable to reconcile my desires with my abilities or my reality. I will say I have been trying more color lately in my own little way, a pop of color under the lash line being my favorite subtle intro of a bright or bold color. I will continue to to try to mesh my palette obsession with my real life and who knows, maybe that Brazil palette may be here sooner than you think.

Subnote: My current favorites are as follows;

1. Urban Decay Born to Run – the vibrant pops of deep green and stunning and have enough neutrals for me not to be too intimi7

2. Kathleen Lights x Colourpop Zodiac – there are some intense plum shimmers in here that make the whole thing worthwhile, a few lighter shades to mix with but the plums makes this a keeper

3. Desi x Katy Friendcation Dose of Colors – by far my favorite I was pretty shocked at how quality the shadows are but the perfect blues, gold and greens in this make it a showstopper and ever one with less blending skills (like me) makes this look amazing.
ASOS.com USA

Colourpop Cult

This is not an original title for all those that follow the makeup world know of the well established IG account @colourpopcult (I myself am a huge fan) who covers all things makeup, not just Colourpop but who’s name is perfect for my tirade so credit due of course.

For those who don’t know Colourpop is a highly established company with a wide variety of products for lips, eyes, skin and more with a incredible price point and a never ending launch schedule. As a recent makeup convert, finding Colourpop was a boon to both my willingness to experiment and my wallet by allowing me the chance to try on trend color combos without breaking the bank.

Then came my YouTube phase. In the last year I have discovered Shayla, Kathleen Lights and more who changed my world. Suddenly makeup became accessible and less about brand more about effect. It was a life changing turn because when I picked up the Shayla x Colourpop collab called Perception my world changed forever.

Sound dramatic? A little over the top? Sure, maybe. But remember all of this started at 39, so a person who has maintained pretty much the same look and style their whole life now has the opportunity to change and be more flexible. I felt pretty, more confident at work, more polished and put together so yes, my world changed. Colourpop allowed me to experiment with my look and find a way to express myself without impractical price points and created the opportunity for my sense of self to evolve.

As a result, I am more experimental with my looks now, I have been complimented regularly and it has done wonders for my self esteem and sense of ego that often have older women doubting their beauty or their ability to feel feminine and confident beyond a certain age.

Especially with Caribbean women, youth is worshipped and I found myself well past that point. I am no longer a size 6, nor have the perfect skin of my youth but thanks to the Colourpop Cult, I continue to evolve and experiment without fear.

Clarity R

Popsockets

The New Year Fallacy

Our tale of woe ends with the flight back. As expected, I can barely manage to keep my temper as it has been a great expedition in the impossible. We have discussed the past inability of women to not take on the responsibility for the happiness of everyone around them, but a week of Disney has been a great experience when it come to the true test of this.

That aside, there have been moments of pure joy. The expression on the kiddo’s face when she got to hug Donald Duck. The excitement of riding high in the air on a dinosaur (I kept my eyes closed) and the amazement that everyone had great treats for her to which she was not allergic (food allergies are the bane of her existence but more on that in another post).

What can and always will get under my skin is how to people who are so dissimilar can end up together for so long. We don’t like the same kind of food, we don’t watch the same movies, we have no hobbies or habits that intersect so I am not quite sure where to go from there.

Again, responsibility taken. I should be more involved in the things that interest my partner but sometimes I am at a loss as to how to communicate without getting frustrated. I am not known for my flexibility to say the least. I am stubborn, bull headed, and known to be immovable when I have my mind set on something but that still doesn’t answer the question. What do you do when there’s nothing to talk about? When conversations become more easily arguments because neither is willing to budge or compromise.

So herein lies today’s theme dear readers, New Years resolutions. I have always found them to be absolutely useless. Just empty echoes of promises made to ourselves, kept for a week, a month if you’re really good, only to fall back into old, comfortable bad habits. So here’s my very public resolution.

I cannot be responsible for everyone else. I can only be responsible for myself (and with reason, my kiddo). That does not mean I acquiesce the ability to be a part of something but rather stop driving everyone crazy (including myself) by taking control of every situation and its outcome. Lay back, let others do their own thing, make their own mistakes and have their own successes without feeling like I have to drive that every time.

So happy new year, we go back to come regularly scheduled posting but it’s been quite the ride

Clarity R

Makeup on the run.

So as we all know by now, I’m off the Disney and the packing scenarios has been epic! ( I am posting a whole blog just on Disney prep and packing for those who have interest) This blog is focused on my glam on the go routine.

For those who are now coming on board, I am a new found lover of makeup and skincare (I know, a little late but give me a break, I was busy living off my good genes for years) and with that comes my natural inclination the research the bejesus our of it. As a result, you get the bonus of having someone else go through the hard knocks for you before your hard earned coin is spent. This particular post of focused on what’s in my makeup bag for Disney

Step 1. If you don’t do it at home, it’s not happening on the trip.

Ever fall victim to that ‘yes I’ll do a mask on my trip because I’m on vacation and will have time’ uhhhh…no. This should be a pared done version of tried and true steps with elimination of as many in betweens as possible, so here we go

Step 2. Pack the bag as you walk through the order of your routine so you don’t forget anything. For me that’s moisture, primer, foundation, concealer, powder, eyes, brows, bronzer, highlight, lips. Sound like a lot. It is, I can be that girl sometimes.

Step 3. Cut it down. Think about where you are going, what you want to tote, and if you will really use it. I am doing Disney so let’s face facts, glam is not my priority but I am taking a million pics so maybe just a good baseline to work with.

Step 4. Pack! Here’s my list and why I am taking all of them (keep in mind that I have dry skin with hyperpigmentation on both cheeks that I want to cover)

Moisturizer- Tatcha water cream – the travel size is amazing and really makes my feel like my skin is plush and hydrated

Primer – Hourglass veil primer – a super luxe finish that gives a smooth surface to work with and helps reduce texture

Foundation – Colourpop no filter liquid foundation – this has been my sleeper and what an incredible find. With the right base products coverage is very buildable , lasts all day and has a smooth finish (use a sponge to apply)

Eyes – Kathleen Lights Zodiac Palette by Colourpop- a great mix of base and shimmer colors for easy one swipe application over the kids in a wide range of shades so for New Years Eve I’m covered and no I have no special affinity to Colourpop!

Brows – Milk Makeup Kush brow gel in grind – since of found this baby I have never looked back for full brows without 30 mins in front a mirror

Highlight – I ordered the Amrezy highlighter since it came back in stock and sent it straight to the hotel, will keep you updated on its performance

Lips – Also a Black Friday buy was a the Dose of Colors toasty lip set of 4 (all nudes) so will also keep you updated on its wear

Subnote – also brought Laniege lip balm, I’d die without it and Drunk Elephant Lippie Balm for the kiddo (She likes the elephant and wears it without complaint)

All of this fits in 2 Ipsy pouches which are pretty small (except ordered items) so it’s not a huge haul and makes my feel like my stash is not overwhelming

So although I sound like I have a a few more steps in my routine than others (and I forgot mascara! Which I didn’t bring, that’s melt off central) I will be fine taking tons of photos that will probably get framed in my home and not be worried about every little spec visible.

Might even take a selfie!

Clarity R

Image via Pinterest

The inevitable blow up.

So continues the Disney saga, which I think is less about Disney and more about the trials and tribulations we submit ourselves to as mothers, partners and women when it comes to everyone else’s happiness.

Morning started out ok, kiddo got to meet some characters, breakfast wasn’t so exotic that dad freaked out and we all were in the park by 12. Of course within an hour or so I caught on my most tragic mistake that I can’t believe I missed. Neither my kiddo nor my partner has an ounce of patience so unless I had a cheat access to a ride (booked ages in advance) waits could be from 30 minutes to 2 hours! Enter the no way am I doing this crowd, followed by the mom are we there yet chorus.

Ok, let’s take a break, get back to the hotel. Decompress and be fresh for round two. We get there and we get 3 rides! The park is packed and we still have a great time! And then it begins again. The adults haven’t eaten on schedule. Dinner is at 8:30 but we don’t get seated until 8:40 and then by the time we are walking out it’s 10:00. A fight breaks out at the table in typical parent fashion, angry words are whispered through gritted teeth to each other. Everyone is starving but no one wants to eat because a point has to be made now. My head still hurts thinking about it (and I still haven’t eaten)

Am I blameless in this? Absolutely not. I am a direct part of making this worse by losing my patience long after everyone has lost theirs but more so for overcompensating. This disease I suffer from to try and make everyone happy has effectively made everyone miserable.

Not sure when I will learn from my mistakes but maybe tomorrow

Clarity R

Image via Getty Images

On our way…

So when I last left you, I was in full freak out mode trying to sort out how on earth I could keep the almighty surprise Disney trip under wraps. Looks like mission accomplished I got quite the shocked reaction from my partner and my 3 year old was excited but I don’t think she will really grasp it until we get there.

As I write this I am on the flight filled with anxiety. The worst is over right, why would anyone be anxious? Because like many women I know, we put it upon ourselves to take responsibility for everyone’s happiness, state of mind and satisfaction. As I write it, the intelligent part of me realizes how asinine that is but until they make another model of me, this is what you get.

So now, as we sit in our very comfy first class upgrades (thanks to miles baby) my kiddo is snuggled in with her blanket, lambie and some Ryan’s Toy review. The other half sits across the aisle with movies I made sure he downloaded, made sure he had the right headphones and is looking slightly less than super comfy but at least he has not saying anything yet.

Me? I am writing this and planning ten steps ahead about the rest of the day, the unpacking, the washing of new items (preordered and sent straight to the hotel) and the entertainment for the rest of today. We land by midday and I am not sure how aggressive this trip will be but if possible I’ll keep you updated and you can go along with me on this insane and totally self imposed penance/vacation

Breathe deep

Clarity R

Prepping for disaster … I mean Disney

So my partner and I sat down a couple of weeks ago and said wouldn’t it be great to get away for the holidays, really sink into a real vacation somewhere as a family and do it at the busiest time of the year? A few internet searches and a heart stopping total later, we realized it was out of our price range and dropped the whole thing.

Here’s the thing, I now have this seed planted in my head that I CANNOT get out…Disney World.

So I get on the phone make some calls, check my bank balance, cash in every voucher, points, and frequent flier mile I have and Voila! It’s in reach. Cute right? That’s just it. As a glutton for punishment I decide it will be a complete surprise to both him and my 3 year old and (wait for it) I will have them unpack Disney sweaters on Christmas Day in a suitcase and say Surprise! We leave tomorrow at 6 am for 10 days.

This is the point where some people will say awww. And others will see the truth. This is a disaster in the making. I am trying to pack and organize Disney secretly. I’m shipping winter clothes and custom Disney T Shirts to the hotel. I am arranging all my daughters medication and specialty items with no one to double check. I am trying to make sure he has the right clothes for the weather and not take any jobs or make any plans between Christmas and New Years because he won’t be here.

I am thoroughly exhausted. I am frustrated and I can’t even say why. I am throwing fits when anyone around me even says anything plane related lest they give away the surprise I have kept for WEEKS! And I am slowly going insane.

Stay tuned as I will be blogging about the entire experience, how they react to the surprise, and of course all our experiences on the trip. Wish me luck, a pinch of sanity and a great vacation

Clarity R

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We all start somewhere

Let’s start with the basics, I am not by any means an expert in any of this. Not fashion, not beauty, nothing. What I am is an educated consumer with a real frustration as to how single note most information is out there for people in the Caribbean.

We are a really difficult group to get a hold on, from our huge range of ethnic makeups to our massive affection for all things holiday (I’m looking at you Trinidad, you guys can take a holiday for everything!). It is time to take the information out there and start customizing it for us.

So what will you see here? My daily struggles (And successes) with modern brands. Does this foundation really work when it’s hot every single day? Can I wear knee high boots in Barbados in August if I’m not Rihanna? How do I take the latest trends and make them my own.

Reality check: it doesn’t cost a thing to have an opinion and this is mine but I do look around for deals, sales, coupons and more and pass these onto you mostly though my Facebook (www.facebook.com/clarityreviewed) or Instagram (@clarityreviews). I will carry some affiliate links to support this page but will never post anything I haven’t tried or bought for myself and believe in. The page is call Clarity after all, so here it is crystal clear.

Here we go….