Mami Swagger: Derby Style

[box type="shadow" ]Disclosure: I was provided with some of these products in order to review. Please see below for details.[/box] I was off to Seattle for a few days this past week (I'll tell you about that later). When I got back I really looked forward to the Kentucky Derby Soiree. Why, you ask? I was going to get to dress up!

And dress up I did! I have not felt that good about how I looked in a while. Having the issues I've had in the past few months has meant that frumpy and blah were the norm around here.

The Ensemble

I created a collection on eBay for all the hat options. Truth be told, I got two of them.

Derby_Day_Hat

While shopping for an Easter dress for the Frog Princess, I came across a black and white dress. I took it as a sign. At a whopping $16.99 (Burlington Coat Factory), I could not in good conscience leave it at the store. Especially since it was a perfect match for the hat!

The shoes had to pop and so, I took to social media to get some votes on which pair I should buy.

Derby_Shoes

The Michael Antonio Love Me Bright Patent Platform Pump won (#2).

The Makeup

I use the Neutrogena SkinClearing Liquid Makeup. But before the makeup, I've been trying out the shine control primer that seems to work for me.

Yanira (like every other beauty blogger I come across) has been horrified at my tales of what exactly lurks in my "makeup bag". She took pity on me and sent me these great Mary Kay brushes and cool eye shadow that I thought would be fantastic: springy duo.

Mary_Kay_Brushes

I took close up pictures of my makeup and decided to burn them (beauty bloggers, please feel free to leave me directions/instructions that lead me to take pics that don't make me look like you can land a plane on my forehead, thanks).

Let's just say it looked good. I paired the eye shadow with:

Nails had to be done to the nines as well. Pop of color was the name of the game. And so, Pure Ice's After Hours with the awesometastic It's Complicated (sparkles) completed the look.

Pure_Ice

Derby Day

These are pics from Derby Day. I felt like I was in a photo shoot. I also didn't want to show too many pics of other folks since I didn't ask them (do I need a release for this stuff? People should know if I take a pic, it's probably going up somewhere).

To say I felt fantastic is an understatement. I was reminded of the Mom Sexy post I did a few years back about taking time for you. If you're a Mami you know that's not something that you do often. Leading up to Mother's Day, I felt this was a great reminder to not abandon myself, as Mami used to say.

The one thing you don't see here is the perfume I wore. I got giddy when I heard that Sofia Vergara had a fragrance out. When it finally got to my greedy little hands, I fell instantly in love.

Unfortunately, we don't have smell-o-vision yet. And so, you will have to make due with winning your very own bottle of Sofia. You're welcome. Smooches!

[box type="shadow" ]Disclosure: I was provided samples of the following to review:

  • L'Oreal products
  • Sofia Vergara fragrance
  • Pure Ice nail polish from Influenster

No additional compensation was received other than the pleasure of playing with dress up.[/box]

How Mami Got Her Swag Back

Swagger1.png

There is currently a MASSIVE project going on. I think it spans across 6 bloggers now. It makes me glad that I have the Mission Impossible theme as the ringer on my phone. You see: I'm being styled.

I feel like I should have 6 figures magically appear in my bank account after uttering those words. Alas, that is not the case.

What IS the case is the fact that the more time passes by the more I realize that people can afford a stylist and actually most people (like me) need one.

I hate shopping. I dislike purchasing things that look good in the store and then I can't figure out what to wear it with. I detest having to return and most times, I run out at the last minute to grab something that I might need for an event. Apparently these are not good things for me to do.

I have been giving Yanira all kinds of conniptions for the last few days as we've begun talking about this. She's ah-mazing! She's a fantabulous stylist and her make-up tips are quite impressive.

Not only did she make me a list (y'all know how much I love lists!) but she is sending me out with shopperones.

  

(some of the items on my list)

This way I am not going to be making mistakes. Or buy something crazy. Hot on my trail? Yadira from club de las diosas and Karina from con sabor a kafe. I love those gals.

Apparently one simple comment about yoga pants incited some sort of blogger defcon5 that I was unaware of. And so, I must now document this journey.

I am going to be VERY honest with you. I'm a little excited. I've been attempting to build my empire and have realized that long with "dressing" the part online (right content, right images, etc) I must also dress the part in real life. I think that after so much time in a rut, this feels like a breath of fresh air, from all aspects of life.

This week, I have a trip planned to an outlet (because I don't have enough going on). After which, I hear that the gang of bloggers will be writing their own posts as they create outfits for me using the pieces I purchase.

To the purchases, I will add some of my favorite things from my closet (sadly, there aren't many). I can't wait to shake up this bag and see what comes out.  Follow the convo on Twitter with the #MamiSwagger hashtag. Also, pray for me.

Saving Face: Makeup 101

I've been talking to you guys about Mami Swagger for a while, haven't I? I talk a good game, don't you think? Well, I can say that like you, I'm trying.  Keeping up some semblance of being fine, sexy and beautiful while wearing yoga pants and attempting to scoop poop out of recently washed panties is not easy. Let. Me. Tell. You. I think I told you guys recently that I had bad acne in high school.  I never really fell in love with makeup.  When I used it, it was to try and cover up the blemishes so there was always a certain amount of stress associated with it.  Looking back, I don't think I ever shook that. So when I met Cat during the Chevy Orlando event and she said she would love to show me a few things I thought, okay.  I'm up for the challenge. Next thing you know, I found myself staring at a beautiful space. I'm not kidding! This is what it looked like:

When she opened the drawers, I felt a little like the way I feel when I open a calculus book (you know, if I were EVER to open a calculus book).  A little queasy and overwhelmed with a slight desire to bolt out of the nearest exit.

Thankfully, Cat is so chill and laid back that I simply took my seat while chit chatting and soon forgot how inept I am with this stuff. As directed I had brought over my (laughable) makeup stock. She didn't laugh. She grabbed some things out and we got right to work.

First thing she called bullshit on: me taking care of my face. I have been using some awesome Neutrogena products lately and my skin has felt so great. But I was telling her that I had sensitive skin that would sometimes flake a bit. Cat touched the exact spot that I was mentally projecting into her head and then proceeded to ask me about my water intake. Um, yeah, about that. I've been slacking. So good news: my skin looks good I just need to hydrate it.

That was the first of MANY things I learned. Ms. Thang talked to me about my moisturizer and for the first time ever explained to me when I should put it on.  And, do you know what serum is for? Because I surely have been lathering it on my face and obviously had no clue what it was really doing. Cat told me that I should NOT put moisturizer on when my face was completely dry. Moisturizer is supposed to lock in the moisture on your skin (DUH!) so if my face is dry, what's it doing? She also explained that the serum gets deeper into the skin and then the moisturizer locks that in thereby letting it to its magic. Did you know that? If you did, why didn't you tell me?!

Cat was patient and SO knowledgable.  I guess it comes with four years of doing beautiful makeup.  We had a good time. Me, trying to take notes. Her, trying to throw on makeup and doing a great job instructing me.  I found out that I had made a good color matching choice when I went with Neutrogena (yay me!).  She took me through how to apply concealer, the foundation, the eye color, the eyeliner, you name it. Oh before I forget. Do you know what primer is? For your face, not your walls. I do!

At some point in time, though I realized there was makeup on one side of my face only. And then the panic set in when she said "let me not get too crazy on the colors since you have to reproduce this on the other side". Eh, what?! I've seen makeup classes on TV, Cat.  And I don't think I've ever seen anyone actually do anything to themselves! Suddenly the room felt really small and I was reminded of the nerves I got when I was taking the SAT.

Suddenly it was my turn and dammit wouldn't you know it? I can do makeup! I was sooo happy! Now, don't get me wrong, I made a few mistakes but, I did it.  Thankfully I did it well enough so that my face didn't look all mismatched.  Cat put me at ease by telling me that the good thing about makeup is that it can always be fixed.  After looking at the finished product I realized that 3 hours had passed. THREE HOURS PEOPLE! Where had the time gone?

I was left with a beautiful face and so much information on how I can add a little something to my day to up my Mami Swagger.  I felt like a million bucks.  But you know what the BEST part of the entire experience was?

Cat worked with what I had. Not just my face but my makeup bag. She was able to tell me what was good in there and what wasn't so good.  And then, she didn't give me the $500 alternative.  She gave me choices based on my budget and my spending habits. I left with a shopping list of things that I needed in my bag that wouldn't drain my wallet.  I don't think I would've gotten that if I went to a makeup counter.

Having a private session put me at ease but you know what? I think it would've also been fun with a couple of my friends. Either way, I am ecstatic with the end result which is multi-prong:

  1. I got to wear pretty makeup
  2. I got to learn about pretty makeup
  3. I got to experiment with pretty makeup
  4. I didn't spend the kid's college fund on pretty makeup

Now the challenge will be whether or not I'll keep this up. I love the fact that I was sent home to practice because, practice makes perfect. Next time you see me out and about, check out my face (or my Instagram). I hope to be making Cat proud by wearing makeup that's simply me.

Have you been to a makeup artist and if so, what was your experience like?

If you're in the Central Florida area and want to book your own makeup lesson with this terrific makeup artist, give her a shout on her website. Tell her I sent you!

Mami Swagger: Picture This

I will turn 37 at the end of the month.  Excuse me? How the hell did this happen?  And can I just say that I still feel like I'm in college? Because I do.  And I look it too. Well. Kinda.

In the last month my body has decided to remind me that I am over 35.  I have developed this "I could be pregnant but I'm totally not" bump.  I don't like it. You know what I also don't like? I don't like bending down for something while sitting on the toilet (I have a toddler, don't ask!) and feeling my belly on my thighs. It's an odd feeling and one which I certainly did not feel in college.

This past week I started trying to get my life organized.  After laughing for a half hour once I said that out loud to myself, I decided to get some things in order:

  1. Set office hours (um, this is a work in progress)
  2. Go to sleep at a reasonable time (for me that was BY midnight)
  3. Work out (eh...)
  4. Eat right (coffee counts as part of eating, right?)

So, I've been doing not horrible on the first 2.  I was doing okay with #4.  But #3? Not so much.  So guess what? I had to up the ante.

I want to do a little photo shoot for my birthday.  I have this dream of my slick body wrapped in black and with some cool lighting on my tattoo.  My hair flowing to one side (though I can't figure out if I want it to be curly or straight).  This pic will appear all over Pinterest and businesses will contact me to see if they can buy oversized prints of it to adorn their waiting areas. But, um, I have some work to do.

I already reached out to my boy Zach over at Dynasty Photography (if you go to the link, you'll notice my fine pregnant azz on there. I'm not gonna lie, ya'll, I felt like the finest woman on earth when I was waddling).  I figure if I tell him I want to do this, he'll ask me about it after I weasel out and then I'll have to do it.

This is my motivation to wake up early and see what Jillian Michael's is going to do for me (though I'm currently working with less than 30 days).  And maybe to check out some of the on demand yoga I've skipped on the guide.  Before you leave hate mail, please know I have different goals than most people.

I want to be able to sprint without running out of breath (and without peeing myself but, that's a different blog). I want to gain my dancer's thighs back so that I can, well, go back to dance.  I want to be able to lift my luggage into the overhead compartment without help (because I almost dropped my bag on an old lady's head on my way to BlissDom as my arms turned to jelly. I wish I was making this up).

Oh, and I want to not feel like I may be pregnant or drinking a 6-pack a day. I put up a nice front since holding my tummy in is second nature thanks to my dancing most of my life.  But my mami swagger seeps out of me when I turn in front of the mirror and look at this sideways view. It reminds me of my mami.  Now she had a great body and was in good shape prior to getting sick but, she had acquired the Buddha belly after her hysterectomy.  And she was in her late 40's when that happened.

This month is about Spring cleaning and renewal.  And part of that for me is not only physically but spiritually and mentally as well.  All these things will guarantee that I will feel better and that I will perform better.

Not just as I launch my social media management and freelance writing career but as I try to be the best mami I can be.  And we all know (though we don't always stick to this) that we have to take care of ourselves first so that we can take care of others.

The airlines have it right: secure your air mask on first prior to helping others.  So that's what I'm going to do. And I will start with a picture.

When was the last time you got in front of the camera for a "just for me" photo shoot?

Mami Ink: The Art

Many of you who follow me on The Twitter and Pinterest know that I have been diligently trying to get my thoughts in order so that I can get inked in memory of my mami. This has been a longtime in coming. From the moment shortly after she passed away last February I knew I would do this. After thinking about it, I spoke to my brother who is not only an awesome guitar player with the band A Dying Regime but he is a very talented artist and soon to be professional graphic designer. In typical "us" fashion, he set out to do some research and delivered the devastating news that the tattoo that I originally thought about getting would not be a good choice.

I wanted a gardenia. It was one of mom's favorite flowers and my grandma used to actually call her that. But, after researching it, my bro explained that my skin probably would absorb the white in and then I'd be left with a crappy tattoo. So off to the drawing board I went.

It wasn't until a couple of weeks ago that the thought hit me. Birds of paradise. Mom loved the flower because it was unique. She was all about things that were different, never wanting to just go with the crowd. I started researching and created my cool Ink board on Pinterest. The same day I decided that I would work with this particular flower, I went to the backyard and realized I was being sent a message. By the gazebo, mami had planted birds of paradise. Last year, after a couple of freezes, the plant died. Or so I thought. On the same day that I made the decision I step outside and find this:

So off I went to try and put things together. Let me start by saying that I am talented at many things! Art and music are not on that list (much to my chagrin and disappointment). I guess God knew what He was doing because if I did have those talents, I would be too big for my britches (question: what are britches and, why don't I have any in my closet?).

So I did what a creative person would do. I printed then cut and paste stuff the way I thought it might look. I like to call this the "concept" stage:

Following that I sent it to one of my very talented friends who wanted to show me what the quotes would look like in the tattoo (except she didn't have anything good to go off of):

Upon the recommendation of a friend, I sought out Jorge from Trinity Tattoo Company in town. I walked in after a play date and gave him my rendering. He told me he'd draw something up and get back to me. After a little back and forth (and some Pinterest references and viewing some of Jorge's awesome work) he got it beautifully:

Once the man had it right, I had no more excuses other than a few thoughts on fonts. Which of course meant I had to send him two pages worth of my quotes in a variety of fonts for inspection. Well, are all set to go. I'm out of excuses other than a lingering fear that this is going to hurt. But, I went through 40 hours of labor so, this is going to be cake, right?

If you are in town and want some ink, go check out the boys at The Trinity Tattoo Company. Be sure to tell them Mami sent you (who knows, they might take it easy on me). Now that I've shared, got any ink you want to tell me about?

Mami Swagger: It's In the Smile

Here we are again, chatting about mami swagger. We've covered the shoes, I've told you a little about the hair (though I have more to say on that topic), about not working out, I've given you glimpses of the beleh swagger and now we must cover a very important topic. The smile. Haven't you seen some hot guy at some point and then when he smiles you turn the other way and introduce him to your BFF instead? Face it, a bad smile can kill a first impression.  Am I right or am I right?  Let me start by saying that while I have a great overall smile, I have been bothered by something in my adulthood that I don't very much talk about.  Teeth crowding.  You can't really tell because, hello?! I know my personality just shines through all of that!  But alas, it's there. I've always had super tight teeth. How tight you ask? I had a temporary crown in a few months back and went to wax and the darn thing popped right on out when I tried to pull out the string.  It's why I don't eat corn (that and the fact that I can't get the idea that the corn will actually be in my poop! Why eat it, I just throw it in the toilet and flush then, I don't have to worry about flossing).  Mami used to always say "you have no room for more teeth" when my adult teeth were coming in but, they settled in nicely.  That's until the wisdom teeth came in. My front bottom teeth had nowhere to go! Wisdom, really?!  Because let me tell you, I was making bad decisions left and right when they came out! Maybe the wisdom was IN the teeth and when they popped out of my head, oops there it went. But, I digress.

I've talked a little with my dentist about it but the last time I was half drooling and so, I thought we should leave the discussion for a time when I didn't look like I needed that saliva sucky thingy permanently installed in my mouth.  But let's face it, I'm 36 thirty something, I'm EXTREMELY particular about what I put in my mouth and I can tell you that metal, isn't on the list. So what do I do?

I'm looking into something that will allow me to gain my winning smile and help me retain my mami swagger in the process: Invisalign!  Do you know what it is?  Well, allow me to bring you into the 21st century.  They are clear braces. That you can take off to brush, floss or, if you are particularly daring and don't mind finding kernels in your poop, eat corn!

It sounds so futuristic to me.  You get impressions made and they map your treatment from start to finish.  You get a set of aligners that you change every 2 weeks. They gradually move your teeth into the position they should be.  Doesn't it sound simple? The best part about it (and I'm talking to my mamis with teens although I say leave them with crooked teeth for a while to keep them out of trouble because unlike the metal braces, these aligners won't mess with their appearance) they now have them for teens! How great is that? I'm glad because if the frog princess needed braces, I'd be sad to put her in the metal gear, you know? I didn't have them growing up but her dad did and, it doesn't sound like he had a good time with them on.  Ultimately, they work the same. Pressure is still applied over time except that with Invisalign, you don't have to go into the office and let Igor tighten your metal in the medieval torture device.  I mean, what year is this, right?

So, back to the swagger.  I love the idea of these (and I love the idea of getting this grill fixed).  I also love the idea that you can still participate in sports or a fashion show (or a mami brawl with the heifers in the playgroup that have been talking about you), they are comfortable (I have a friend who wears them now and he loves what they're doing for him), and who can beat how great they look? Unless of course, you like to set off the metal detector at the airport.

I mean, look at the difference:

Anywho, I'm seriously considering getting these.  I've been feeling a little self-conscious of my big smile lately and I would love to get my smile swagger back.  How about you? Are you (or your teen which you had when you were 12) in need of braces? Are you looking into Invisalign? And if not, you and I may need to talk.

Disclosure: I've been checking these guys out for a while so it made sense for me to do this post.  I got paid in wine! NO! I keed, I keed! This is a sponsored post and I told you I'd tell you when these came up.  However, you should know by now that if it's not for me and I don't like it, I won't talk about it (unless of course, you'd like to give me one meelleeon dollars - I say in my best Dr. Evil voice - and then that's a strong maybe).

Mami Swagger Through Stressful Times

It's been a fun couple of weeks.  And by fun I mean not so much!  I will say that I have tried hard to keep my swagger up and going. It's not easy. It's not fun. But dammit, I'm doing it! I won't bore you with the details of my personal life.  But, I will tell you all about this monster inside me. About 8 years ago, I was in a book selection meeting when I noticed a blur in my vision.  That led me to the doctor who informed me that it appeared I had toxoplasmosis.  The what? Isn't that a cat thing? For those of you not up to speed with Monster Inside Me on the Animal Planet, toxoplasmosis is an infection due to the parasite Toxoplasma gondii.

The doc asks me if I've been out of the country recently (why yes, yes I have).  Then she tells me that not only can you catch toxomplasmosis from cat poop (I had cats years prior) but that you can also get it from undercooked meat and from salad (kind of like e. coli).  I also learned that a lot of people actually get this and don't realize they have it.  I guess I just happen to be one of the lucky ones.  High stress combined with a lowered immune system can wake up the beast.  Off I go to radiology because did you know that toxo can go into your lungs? Yup, it can!

I go to a retina specialist and go through a battery of tests and get confirmation. All they can do is give you antibiotics.  A MONTH'S WORTH.  My body loved this part (the ladies will know what I mean by that).  Then voila! The beast slumbers.

Fast forward to last week. I wake up with a floater in my eye and think: shit! I've been wanting to set up the appointment with the Lasik guy because I want to be done with contacts and glasses.  Off I go to contact the eye magician. I'm told they can see me and figure out what's going on with my eye.  I go, spend an entire morning there because who the hell knew how long this would take (I'm sure they did but it was never communicated).  Oh and did I mention that I had to sign a consent to get my eyes dilated. I've had my eyes dilated before but I've NEVER had to sign a consent.  I remember reading something like: it could take up to 24 hours for the effects to pass.  I thought nothing of it. I've had glasses since senior year in high school, I'm an eye expert.  Um, no. Not so much.

Hours later, I find myself at work unsuccessfully staring at my Mac while trying to make out the blurbs in front of me.  And the phone? Well forget about that! I managed to dial a few people because I had pictures next to their text messages.  I had to call my boss to let her know that I couldn't work.  Thankfully, I was able to decipher the little black blob and longer black blob as her name and I hit call (mental note: set up the voice dial on the phones!).  All that and I STILL had to go back to the retina specialist.  Two days later, I found myself doing the same thing. Driving with dilated eyes (I'm not going to lie, it was kind of cool having Cheshire cat eyes but I hoped I wouldn't get pulled over because I'm sure the officer's first thought wouldn't be "oh, dilated eyes!").  Thankfully Dr. Lehr did not take all day.  He was in, he was out and I had myself a prescription for some new antibiotics.

I started taking them this morning.  I worked from home today as my eyes just make me feel all kinds of ways.  It's funny because when your vision is slightly impaired, it really affects your attitude, and your internal vision to a certain extent.  Well, I'm glad I stayed home.  I had yummy Mexican food for lunch yesterday and I remember one of the guys commenting about how his anal orifice was going to be on fire after all that food.  When my stomach started feeling not so hot I thought ah! It must've been the Mexican food.  Nothing crazy, nothing major.  Just some bubbling intestines.  I go through my day, pick up the frog princess and tonight manage to go take my antibiotic dose.  Something told me to read the label.  That's when I saw it: Take this medication with plenty of water (which I'm pretty sure I did not!).  Do not lie down for at least 10 minutes after taking this medication (what?! What can happen? I need examples on this one).  May cause diarrhea.  If persists or becomes severe notify doctor or pharmacist.  Aha!  Jackpot!  So it wasn't the Mexican food after all!  I'm typing this blog with bubbly intestines and there's nothing I can do about it.  Other than share, of course!

I sit here staring at my computer not wanting to because I'm blurry in my right eye and after a long day sitting in front of the computer, my eye is irritated and strained. I hope to remedy some of that by getting some cheap new glasses tomorrow (with an upgraded prescription that I refuse to admit to because I am convinced that the reason my eyes aren't "equal" as they've always been is because of this crazy floater that impairs my vision when I'm trying to read tiny ass letters from across the room).  Let the record show that I have had the same prescription in BOTH eyes all the time I've worn glasses.  It's a balance thing that comes with a certain level of OCD.  Don't judge me.

I have a parasite in my eye and I STILL have mami swagger! Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go lie down, close my eyes and try not to get sick with the thought of a little parasite hanging out so close to my brain.