February 7, 2010

Quarter Party

I went out to a friend's quarter century birthday party over the weekend. It was a lot of fun. I got these shots before I went out the door.



Other than that I thought I'd just share some pictures I took of jasmine after a nice rain. The weather here has been exceptionally good lately.



February 5, 2010

Black History Month: The Music Edition

I thought I would continue the little Black History Month segment with information about musical artists of this generation who I really like.
I really do enjoy artists like Jennifer Hudson as style icons, but I'm not really a fan of her music. But there are some artists who have the whole package: style and the ability to perform. Sure we all know about artists like Seal and Will.I.Am from the black eyed peas, but here are some that are a little off the beaten path.

The Noisettes is an indie band from the UK. I want to say thank you to Aziza of Specktra for turning me onto this band. The lead singer, Shingai, is amazing. Her mother is from Zimbabwe and left the country (at the time Rhodesia) and I wonder if she was old enough to remember that. According to her wikipedia page, she said the experience of her mother's move comes through in her music but I wonder if she was speaking of adjusting to the UK herself or her mother's adjusting to the UK and some sort of cultural gap between the two of them. She has a very classic voice but she also has the ability to integrate it very well into modern songs. I also love her fro. It is gorgeous.
"Every Now and Then"

Corneille. Yet another German born musical success. His family is actually from Rwanda and when his family moved back there, his father encouraged him to follow his dream of being a musician despite that not being a socially befitting career choice. He fled the country during the Rwandan genocide and began to use his music to express himself, in both English and French.
"Too Much of Evertyhing"

Erykah Badu. She's fairly mainstream now, but still, I really like that she is a chameleon of style.
"On and On".

Well, back to optimality theory.

February 3, 2010

A little bit of color theory

Well Adriana asked for information about undertones so here it is to the best of my understanding. I know her question was about specific products, but I think that before you understand the undertones of lipsticks, it's important to know something about undertones of the skin. If anyone here is a professional and would like to add or correct something, feel free to tell me.

This, my friends, is an exploding color wheel. It's quite an old one and needs to be retired, but it gets the job done.

The way this is organized, all of the primary and secondary colors have white closest to the center of the wheel. The tertiary colors have black near the center of the wheel.
Most of the colors you need to know undertones are going to be in the red-yellow category. All of these are warm colors, but makeup artists will use a finer distinction:
Yellow undertones are cool
Red undertones are warm

If you've ever seen MAC's system which lists NC and NW, the N means "Neutral", C "Cool", and W "Warm". The most popular shades are the neutral cool (yellow/golden undertones) and neutral warm (red/pink undertones). There are some things which fall in the neutral category (one of my favorite foundations happens to fall here). Other brands will have different ways of calculating this, but they all have the same result. If you have a cool foundation, but your skin is much warmer, your foundation will look sort of ashy (the same happens with foundation that is too light). If you have cool skin and your foundation is too warm, you could look kind of burnt. Not tan, burnt. If you are having trouble finding your shade:
1) Get color matched at a makeup counter and if that doesn't work
2) Talk to someone at Perscriptives. They have a very nice system for breaking down different undertones and if premixed colors don't work they can make a custom foundation for you (it's not going to be cheap though).

Another thing to look at on the color wheel: Find the orange and go to the lighter colors. You will find peachy colors there. Now staying within orange, go to the darker colors. You will find two browns before you hit the black stripe. The point of saying this, is that these generalizations of coloring in respect to warmth and coolness are applicable to different levels of pigmentation.

It is very possible that you have several undertones in different parts of your face. The inside of my face is generally NC where as my forehead and around my hairline warms up to N. The gradation is smooth enough that I like it and I keep it when I apply makeup by using two powders and blending them together. In the summer I usually use a warmer foundation (mostly all N), and in the winter if I don't get much sun exposure, I use more of the NC. But sometimes there are smaller coloration variations that some people might want to minimize before putting on foundation for a more even color. Now here is where we look at the other colors on the wheel.

Just like a color wheel without tertiary colors, this is arranged in such a way that you get complementary colors directly across from color you want. So find the red (at 9:00) and then find its complement at 3:00. I haven't worked on the tertiary ratios, but as far as primary and secondary, here are the groupings:
1 yellow: 3 purple
1 orange: 2 blue
1 red: 1 green

Now there are fun things that you can do with this in painting, like split complement work, but there is an advantage to knowing this for makeup. You want to go with the complementary color of the problem area to minimize it's visibility before applying your foundation. MakeUpForEver (MUFE) has a concealer section of the website where they show different concealer palates for different skin tones and warmths. That should give you an idea of the conventional colors used for different ranges.

February 1, 2010

Black History Month: The Fashion Edition

Since it's February, I deiced to do a couple of short features for Black History Month. As far as I know, this is something that is primarily in the US, but I wanted to go ahead and do a global spread in short articles. This week I wanted to highlight models who have helped shape the fashion world.

My absolute favorite model today has to be Liya Kebede. From the first time I saw her, I absolutely fell in love with her effortless grace. And what's more to love? She has her own foundation that focuses on improving the health of women and children (especially pregnant women) not just in her native Ethiopia, but around the world. She is able to balance her fashion career with being a role model for her daughter. Go... check out her foundation:

Alek Wek is another model that I really like. She is a Sudanese refugee from the Dinka ethnic group. For me, that right there says a lot about the personal character that she brings to the table in addition to jaw dropping photos. Not to mention that she was the cover girl for MAC's luxury winter collection Stylistics.

I know not everyone likes her and many people think that she's really self centered, but I still love Tyra Banks. I like that she is so focused on giving back to her community and even has a foundation which focuses on building the self-esteem of young girls.

Last, but not least, I also like the work of Chanel Iman. She is still very young in the industry but she can definitely hold her own and is able to talk about the history of the industry and how certain models have been driving forces in the industry.