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.

French & The Artist Webseries

Came across this new webseries on Twitter and thought I’d give it a few minutes. Before I knew it, I had watched 3 episodes. Clearly I binge watch everything now.

The series is centered around two young ladies, Erin (Artist) and Sarah (French) based in London, UK sharing their day-to-day lives. They are both in the arts and use this series to showcase London’s talent as well as their ongoing personal creative journeys.

It’s shot on a handheld camera and feels like a mix between an intimate vlog and a snap your friend would send you after a fun night out. They’re hilarious, cute and genuine.

 

Toronto Teen With Autism Dances His Way To Ellen

This story had me crying with joy. It is so rare to turn on the news and hear anything that makes you smile, so when I saw this it moved me to write about it.

Sam is a 17-year-old barista at Starbucks who likes to dance as he serves up drinks. A viral video of him busting some moves while making a drink went viral on YouTube. Doesn’t sound like a big deal, right? But what makes Sam’s story unique is that he has autism and despite this perceived deficiency, he is able to do his job and do it with joy. That, to me, is a gift. Not a setback, challenge or obstacle. None of the terms used to describe someone with autism who was told that he would never be employed.

Thankfully that narrow thinking doesn’t exist in everyone and one day Sam met Chris at Camp Thrive, affiliated with Integrated Services for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders (ISAND).  Chris is also a manager at a local Starbucks in Toronto and when Sam told him that his dream was to be a barista, he gave Sam a job. Chris looked past the autism and saw Sam, a young capable man with an aspiration. Not a disorder.

The viral video caught the attention of Ellen DeGeneres and she invited Sam along with Chris to her daytime talk show.  Sam spoke about how dancing at work helps him concentrate and how appreciative he is to Chris. That’s when my eyes got misty. Where so many may have seen a hindrance, Sam found a fun way to help him work. And his boss Chris empowers him by letting him dance away. I applaud Ellen for using her show as a platform to draw attention to the discrimination towards people with disabilities and celebrating Chris and Sam. Seeing how happy he was to be on her show and how moved he was by her gift pushed me over the edge. I couldn’t stop crying as I watched this.

This story really hits home for me. Someone very close to me is autistic and my whole life I’ve seen how small minded people have treated him cruelly and told him he was different. It has impacted his confidence and social skills. It’s a daily struggle to encourage him to try new things, to reassure him that if he can’t succeed today there’s always tomorrow.

I wish there were more people like Chris who look past the disability and reach out a hand to a fellow human. If we all expanded our minds, practiced humility and offered empathy to one another, could you imagine how enriched our lives would be? I hope this story teaches those that are quick to prejudge someone because they may appear or act different, to think twice and open their hearts.