First Born Daughter = Third Parent in Immigrant Household

Let me preface this by saying I will always be grateful to my parents for everything they’ve done for me. They uprooted their lives, left their parents and siblings so that my siblings and I could have a better life.

Leaving behind everything they knew to come to a country where they had to start all over again with three young kids was scary and difficult to say the least. In the words of Tupac Amaru Shakur, ‘there’s no way I can pay you back/but the plan is to show you that I understand/you are appreciated.’

That being said, there’s a unifying feeling I share with my fellow immigrant sisters who are either like me, the first born, or they’re the first born daughter. When we get together we share similar stories and experiences that are unique to us. It’s shaped and strengthened us. Sometimes it’s a strength we wish we acquired on our own and didn’t have to learn it so young. But we look around and wonder, ‘who else feels this way? who understands this?’

It’s the feeling of being the third parent in the family. That fine line when your parents need you to grow up for a few minutes/hours so you can help them but will without hesitation remind you that you’re the child, so don’t get comfortable.

Those moments when you’ve become the interpreter during the first social services meetings when you just arrive here. Or the facilitator at your school during Parent – Teacher interviews. Or a plethora of times when dealing with superintendents, store clerks, bus drivers, etc. My parents speak English, but the nuance of dealing with new systems overwhelm them. And after years of dealing with service providers that cop an attitude whenever they hear a slight ting of an accent, my parents have nuzzled themselves into the safety of ‘can you just handle this?’

I know to some of you this may sound like I’m an ungrateful daughter, but trust me I’m not. Daily I pray for them and go above and beyond for them. I’m just venting that there’s this odd place that first born daughters navigate where we constantly switch hats from being our parents’ lawyer/translator/financial advisor/chauffeur/assistant to being their child.

The silver lining is that it prepares us for our independence and our own families one day. It creates a strong bond between us. It instills humility and compassion for my parents who have overcome so much to give me a better life. It’s afforded me a tool that has made me a leader at school and the workplace.

But I’m still human and I share this borderless place of parent/child with so many of my friends. Sisters who are like me, first born daughters, that carry heavy burdens silently while managing it all fearlessly. To them I say, you are appreciated.

 

New Natural Skincare – Bahi Cosmetics

Ever since I could remember, I have had acne. Most people experience it as a teenager but I remember hating my 5th grade class photos because of pimples on my face. In junior high I was visiting different dermatologists who all prescribed creams that itched and made my skin peel.

By high school I was growing used to it and just hid behind bangs and my books as much as I could. All the drugstores cleansers and spot treatments couldn’t help. But maybe because every girl around me was also dealing with acne, I felt safe in those numbers. My self esteem took a bigger hit as pimples and dark spots continued to plague me well into adulthood. Here I was in my 30s and still dealing with horrible skin.

2 years ago & the texture on my face is bumpy from pimples above and under the skin.

I tried countless different serums, lotions and chemicals. I even made dietary changes. Once I turned 30, dairy turned against me. I became lactose intolerant so I had to reduce cheese and ice cream out of my diet drastically. I rarely had milk but whenever I did indulge in pizza, lasagna and/or ice cream my skin would flare up. And because I’m Black, any and all pimples left dark spots, aka hyper-pigmentation, that were stubborn to get rid of. As if getting pimples wasn’t bad enough but getting these memorable souvenirs of dark spots all over my face just left me putting on concealer and makeup that much more.

Last year in Jan, as I indulged in gelato fully aware my skin was going to be pissed at me later.

But about a year ago I came across some pictures on Twitter of customers raving about Bahi Cosmetics. A natural skincare line created by Danielle Bahi from her bedroom. Each product hand made and paraben free, I was drawn by the ingredient lists. Simple items such as jojoba oil, safflower oil, raw honey, lavender and more. The reviews by Black women who, like me, were dealing with cystic acne and hyper-pigmentation convinced me to try out the Sunflower Sweets Serum first. That appeared to be their most popular item and I needed to introduce something into my routine that could reduce the inflammation.

Soon after Bahi Cosmetics added more items to their line up and started producing newsletters that detailed the new items and what areas of the skin they each targeted. Doing more research, I decided to get the Garden’s Galore lotion next. This lotion goes well with the serum. The serum at this point had reduced my acne and helped smooth out my skin’s texture. But the dark spots were still there. Galore’s Garden was promoted as helping reduce the signs of dark spots. I’m on my second bottle of the lotion, which is so light weight and smells great, and I love the results.

Another item I got soon after was the Toner Spray. Previously I was using a witch hazel type of toner that always made my face feel tight. I’d always heard that rose water as a toner does wonders for the skin and helps keep it looking young and supple. So gave their Toner Spray a try and it keeps my skin feeling so soft all day.

My newest additions are the Grapefruit Astringent which came out early December and is effective for oily skin as well as the Sweet Suburban Soap. After seeing the results from my previous purchases, I thought it’s time I used Bahi Cosmetics from beginning to end: from cleansing, to toner, to serum right to moisturizer to lock it all in.

This summer with just minimum eye makeup. Even toned, smooth texture and glowy thanks to Bahi!

Finally, I’m happy to go bare face to work and out with friends. Just a bit of mascara and eyeliner and I feel confident. Now makeup is a fun choice to put on whenever I WANT, not because I felt like I need it.

Let me know which if any skin concerns you have and what you’ve tried to help it. If you’re using Bahi Cosmetics, would love to hear which products you’ve got.

It Is Still Cardi B’s Year

Haters tried to write her off as a one hit wonder following the success of her debut single ‘Bodak Yellow’ last year, but numbers don’t lie and looking at the Billboard charts right now, Cardi B is definitely here to stay.

Unless you were living under a rock last year, there’s no way you missed the pandemonium that was Belcalis Almanzar aka Cardi B. She started as an Instagram celebrity posting videos where she dished out advice and jokes while she was a stripper, upgraded to television and made a flashy and unforgettable two season appearance on Love and Hip Hop: New York  and now reigns on the rap charts. All the while, posting on social media, specifically on Instagram, and taking everyone with her on this journey.

To me, that’s the unique key to her success. Yes, the audiences she performs to a growing, the quality of weaves she rocks are more luxurious and she is working on collaborations with artists and brands that she hadn’t been exposed to before. But Cardi appears to really be that ‘regular degular shmegular’ girl from the Bronx.

Although winter was creeping in, she kept the charts hot with back to back releases in December 2017.  She released her next hit ‘Bartier Cardi’  which features rapper 21 Savage. That coincided with her collaboration with Ozuna, a Puerto Rican reggageton artist, called ‘La Modelo’ where we hear a softer side of Cardi and she sings in Spanish. But it didn’t stop there. She was also featured in the Migos’ song ‘Motorsport’ where in my opinion, she had the best verse (I’m the trap Selena/Dame más gasoline…skrrt).

These songs closed out the year for her perfectly, marking her one of the most talked about and successful musical acts of 2017. Confirming this, Billboard Music announced the other day that Cardi is ‘the third artist in history with her first 3 songs simultaneously inside the top 10 of the Hot 100′. Only a few days into 2018 and Cardi has hit another milestone.

Without taking a break, just 4 days into January and we’re already blessed probably the best of her collabos.  Bruno Mars released a remix to his song ‘Finesse‘ featuring Cardi B. The song and video speaks to the old school head in me. The video pays hommage to In Living Color, a comedy sketch show that ran in the early ’90s that all your faves were on. Bruno Mars even Tweeted that the video was dedicated to his favourite TV show. The song took me back to LL Cool J’s ‘Round The Way Girl’ and Bobby Brown’s ‘Every Step I Take’, very New Jack Swing. I can’t stop playing this song and video.

It’s inspiring and fun to watch Cardi’s climb and growth. From her new line of shoes with Steve Madden to her recent engagement to fellow rapper Offset from the Migos, she dazzles us and keeps it all the way 100.

 

Best Fenty Beauty Mattemoiselle YouTube Vids

Gotta give it to my girl Rihanna when it comes to Fenty Beauty. The line has consistently come out with new products with range since they launched a few months ago in September. Starting off with a primer, 40 shades of foundation, a rainbow assortment of highlight and contour sticks, invisible-like blotting powder and a juicy lip gloss. There was a lot of hype leading up to the launch and the brand lived up to the high expectations.

Without any hesitation, I bought the foundations (shades 380 and 370) and the lip gloss on the first day of launch. I’ve been using both happily ever since. So with each new addition to the Fenty Beauty line, I’m excited to see what’s next.

The most recent addition was the new matte lipsticks called Mattemoiselle, which come in 14 strong shades. They’re a creamy matte and before I gave Sephora more of my money, I went to YouTube to see what some of my fave beauty vloggers were saying. And I found two great vids that convinced me (which was like leading a child to candy, let’s be honest) to purchase some of these lipsticks for myself. I settle on four shades: PMS, Candy Venom, Griselda and Ma’Damn. Look out for a review to come.

First is from across the pond (London, UK) with the lovely Patricia Bright. I’ve been following her for years and she’s so enthusiastic and honest. I can always count on the truest review on everything from beauty, skin care to fashion. And her reactions are EVERYTHING!! Grab a tea, sit back and enjoy.

The next one is from Alissa Ashley who has grown and excelled so much in terms of her makeup videos this year. Her photos, video editing skills and even her brand collaborations have been amazing to watch this year. She’s based in LA and I always look forward to seeing the fantastic looks she creates with makeup. She’s super talented and she was one of the first to do a video on the Mattemoiselle lipsticks, changing outfits with each colour to pull a full look. As a consumer, I appreciate makeup vloggers going that extra step to really show us how new products will not only work but to also offer inspiration.

Both different styles of videos but both on point in terms of showing you how this matte lipsticks are going to glide on and look.

Let me know if you’ve tried anything from Fenty Beauty and if you’re looking at trying the new Mattemoiselle lipsticks.

New Beginnings

I know, I know. It’s been a while. Quite a while. Almost 2 years since I’ve made it back on here to post anything. I’ve lost count on the number of drafts I started then stopped, got close to posting then would delete all together. Just didn’t have it in me to write or share online. The internal voice that dissuaded me grew stronger and the excuses mounted. Then as the length of time from my last post grew, the doubt set it in.

But the nagging voice telling me to get back to writing (“just write anything, anything at all”) was louder and more annoying. Because it was my own voice. Not the self doubting voice of my ego, which has it’s own nails-on-chalkboard sound that irritates me, but my own comforting voice telling me that I needed to get back to this to regain my confidence.

I’ll be honest and say that the reason for my withdrawal is so small and silly to me, but the mole hill grew into a mountain with me adding excuse after excuse to not write. It started with a comment from a ‘friend’ posted on here saying that the blog was ‘useless’. I took that one negative comment from someone I thought would be supportive and ran with it. It was like I doubted I’d ever gain any joy, comfort and (even scared to type this out loud) success from this blog. So that negative comment gave me an out. It was my safe victim hood exit strategy. “See, I knew I’d suck at this”, “Well there you go, proof I’m not going anywhere with this blog”. Self fulfilling prophecy.

I had dinner with a girlfriend a few weeks back and when she asked me why I hadn’t written a blog post in so long, I finally came clean and told her that this one negative comment just gutted me. I’d been telling people that I just wasn’t motivated, that I was busy or that I was working on something else. But I don’t know if it was the weight of it all, avoiding the real reason or just missing this creative release which let me open up to her. She was quite frank and asked me why I gave this one comment, from a supposed friend so much power over my happiness.

Silence. I had no answer. Really, I couldn’t explain or excuse it away now. She caught me. Why was I actively stunting my chance to find what makes me happy based on this external factor from someone who wasn’t even in my life? It’s crazy what we allow or disallow ourselves to do based on perception. I perceived that my creative outlet, my work to find my happiness was ‘useless’ because of this person’s judgement. Time truly is a great teacher and since that dinner with my friend, I’ve been able to drum up the courage to put words back on this screen and slowly get back to working on journey.

Maybe it’s the Christmas lights, the longer dark nights, the end of the year that brings out the reflective mood in us all. But let me use this season to shake off that heaviness of doubt and use the upcoming new year to wipe the slate. Give myself the chance to start fresh and wipe away the dust.

Here’s to focusing on the positive, basking in the gains and cultivating our own futures.