Saturday, December 6, 2014

A Reflection: Our Nation Under Protests, Divisible, with Liberty & Justice for Some

Warning: literary imagery may be upsetting to some

Black, White

Night, Dark, Fear, Trouble

Bright, Light, Hope, Help

And countless more false dichotomies that create compounding associations, both positive and negative, with these two words: White, Black

I want to write beautiful words about the systemic racism, but there is nothing lovely, nothing delightful about hatred that masquerades as constitutional rights, police procedure, or justice.  Systemic racism produces oppression, because it is the deep-seated mode of thought that subconsciously informs human behavior, which in turn influences the operations of social services such as police, courts, and legislative bodies.  This is bigger than you, bigger than me, its all of us.

Every. Single. One. Of. Us.

Silence is the same as defending the abuser.  Shaming those who are protesting is the same as shaming the victim who finally hits back.  You don't have to like the process to recognize that "the way its always been" or "the way it is" is broken and must change.  You don't have to approve of someone's mode of recourse to admit that "what we've been doing doesn't work."

This is about deep wounds - they are not scars.  They are still bleeding.

I have a loved one who lived through an inner battle that left him with scars up and down both of his arms.

His deep wounds stopped bleeding.
They healed.
They became scars.

Four years later, those scars are faded.  
Four years later, my memories feel distant.  
Four years later, those cuts no longer bleed.

The African American community's wounds are still bleeding.

This nation's soul is still bleeding.  
Hearts are still ripping asunder.

If you go to a doctor with blood dripping down your arms, the doctor doesn't select a healing balm first.  First, that doctor starts assessing the wounds to figure out how to stop the bleeding.  And that doctor doesn't stitch up those wounds when the one who inflicted them is still standing by with a knife.

How dare we talk about healing when there are still open, bleeding, and ruptured wounds?

How dare we try to tidy things up, stop the bleeding, when the abuser still stands in the same room, 
still holding a knife?

The abuser is not whites, not police officers, not politicians. 

 The abuser is systemic racism.

Systemic racism is a form of socially acceptable hatred of another human being.

Our nation has made is okay to hate another person.  Our nation has made it rational to automatically fear another human being based on nothing more than melanin levels.

Until we as a nation refuse to accept this as status quo, we will all suffer at the hands of this silent, comfortable torturer.

I have no beautiful words.
I have no balm.
I have nothing more than this.

I welcome your thoughtful & respectful comments and reflections on this post.
Thank you.

Friday, December 5, 2014

KISS Wave Revealed and Reviewed

I was super excited when KISS Hair Appliances invited me to review their new product, the KISS InstaWave! I am so terrible with curling irons that I threw my last one away over 4 years ago and have never replaced it. This item is supposed to create curls quickly and easily, so I couldn't wait to try it out! 

About KISS InstaWave:

This fully automatic, tangle-free curler creates lovely curls with extreme ease. Not only do you no longer need to book an appointment at the salon or struggle with regular curling irons to achieve beautiful curls for a range of looks. 

The single button that activates the automatic curler makes it easy to handle this appliance with one hand. Additionally, the dual direction button makes alternating curls for the most natural and on trend look a breeze. The 2 settings for heat, with a maximum temperature of 420 degrees, offers flexibility to you for creating your ideal curls.

The device automatically turns off after 90 minutes, which is a helpful way to ease your mind if you ran out the door so quickly you can't remember if you turned it off. 

Finally, the InstaWave's ceramic barrel is infused with diamond particles to assist its durability and conductivity. 

Before diving into my review of the KISS InstaWave, let's first look at how it actually works:

My Thoughts on KISS InstaWave:

The look that I was able to achieve for this video was actually my first time using this automatic curler. I have to admit that I got quite frustrated a few times, and had to pull out my instruction guide to make sure I was doing it right! The instructions provide a helpful guide for selecting low or high heat as well as how long to curl your hair for various desired effects. However, there's a part of me that feels like using this tool ought to be a bit more intuitive; it makes curls quite easily once you figure out how to use it!

Here before and after photos of my later, more practiced use of the KISS InstaWave:


After ~ 20 minutes to achieve this look

What I love about KISS InstaWave is that it is very quick and easy to use. I also really like that the product is heavy enough that the cord doesn't pull it off my vanity. Plus, the curling clips create a sturdy heat-free surface so you can put down your KISS InstaWave without fear of it falling over or burning your bathroom counter-top. All of those traumatic 1990s experiences with curling irons can be put behind me!

What I don't love about KISS InstaWave is the constant, high pitched sound it emanates while plugged in. (Yes, the manufacturer is aware of this noise, but apparently it has no impact on the item's functionality.) I also don't love the learning curve for this tool; I'm pretty sure that it'll take me using this item at least 5-6 times before I feel like its 'no big deal' to pull this out to do my hair for the day.

Despite these qualities that I don't love, I'm extremely impressed with the overall quality of this tool. It is easy to handle with one hand. It eliminates all of those scary moments I had with curling irons earlier in my life - trying to fiddle with the kickstand, hoping the cord didn't pull it off the vanity and onto my feet, and that really annoying clip that was necessary to put your hair into just right.

You can find the KISS InstaWave on Amazon (affiliate link) for approximately $60.  For those of us on a budget who love curls and want a new hair tool, this is worth the splurge!

Verdict: Yay!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Brandbacker and made possible by KISS InstaWave. Products were provided in exchange for my time in assessing their quality and writing an honest review about them. All product information is gleaned from the manufacturer's product description.  All opinions are my own based on my experiences with the product.  All photos are my own. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Joyal Beauty Timeless Skin Renewal Serum Review

I have thoroughly enjoyed reviewing Joyal Beauty's Timeless Skin Renewal Serum.  This product is such a treat for your face!  

If you love natural bee products, like I do, this product is a great addition to your skincare routine.  Its enriched with royal jelly, bee propolis, honey, anti-oxidants and plant bio-actives.  These ingredients encourage gentle cell renewal, remove lines,  and reduce redness and puffiness.  Additionally, Joyal Beauty's unique formula ensures that this serum is non-greasy, light, and quickly absorbed by the skin.  Finally, vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, and B6 as well as minerals such as zinc promote general skin health.

After Joyal Beauty's Timeless Skin Renewal Serum in the morning and at night for about a week, I've noticed considerable improvement in my skin's texture and tone.  It is noticeably more moisturized, less puffy, and has a healthier overall sheen.

I think that this product works very well under nightly moisturizer as well as daily foundation or bb/ cc cream.  It is lightweight and feels great on my skin.  It has a pleasant scent, but is not overtly fragranced.

If you are searching for a new skin serum, I highly recommend trying this one out by Joyal Beauty.  It is available on Amazon for $24.95.  

Disclosure: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Foxbrim Ultra Lift Treatment Review

I thought that Foxbrim's Vitamin C Lotion was so good that I leapt at the opportunity to review their Ultra Lift Treatment Professional Formula with Hyaluronic Acid, CoQ10 + Vitamin B5.  

This fragrance free lotion addresses visible signs of aging with CoQ10, Hyaluronic Acid, Retinol, Peptides, and Vitamin B5.  At first I was unimpressed with the fragrance-free scent of this line of lotions.  However, I have come to more fully appreciate the benefits of fragrance-free lotions for my face.

The lotion feels rich and luxurious.  It applies easily and moisturizes quickly and thoroughly.  I noticed that my skin felt firmer and more supple after using for just a few days.  I have fewer dry patches, which are especially prominent on my nose during fall and winter months.

I love that this lotion offers an excellent compliment to other lotions by Foxbrim.  Like their Vitamin C Lotion, the dispenser utilizes an easy pump-action that ensures no product is wasted while the cap protects the dispenser from any accidental pressure.  

A few final reasons to consider loving FoxBrim: their products are made with all-natural and organic ingredients, they are not tested on animals, made in the U.S.A. and packaged in recycled materials!

Foxbrim's Ultra Lift Treatment is available on Amazon for $18.99.

Disclosure: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Jubees Unboxing and Review

I heard great things about Jubees' Subscription Box a little while back.  This company is just now entering into its second year of operation!  Jubees is a monthly stud earring subscription box.  They offer three different plans: 4 pairs of earrings recurring monthly, a single month of 4 pairs of earrings, and 1 pair of earrings recurring monthly.

 So, when they finally ran a subscription box deal, I had to try them out for myself!  Right now, they're offering their plans on discount (4 pairs for $10 instead of $14!).  I had a little confusion when signing, and I must say, their customer service is quick, helpful, and polite.

My earrings arrived in a lovely sturdy little box.

The product card sat on the very top.  The other side announces the month and how to enter a contest to win a free pair of earrings!

I love the little linen bags that hold the earrings.  This might be a little weird, but I love the paper filler in this box!  Its so soft!  Its also a wonderful shade of lilac!  (I would totally peel the Jubees sticker off the front of this box and reuse it for a gift!)

The earrings are actually wrapped in plastic, but I took them out for the sake of the picture.  I love the variety of these earrings.  There's something for every occasion; work, daily wear, date night, and that day I feel extra girly!  They even have cute names (Clarabelle, Clover, Eve, and Sophie), and belong to the Royal Collection!  I love these little touches!

While the quality of the earrings material isn't top-notch, its also not the lowest quality I've seen.  These are great pieces to keep your looks on trend, and their cost won't make your heart break when its time to retire them.  When you consider $10/ 4 pairs of earrings = $2.50/pair, this a fantastic deal!  This is a great idea for the earring enthusiast in your life (even if that person happens to be you)!

I was so pleasantly surprised by my Jubees earrings . . . until I turned them over.  Oh, these little plastic backings make me so sad.  I'm really nervous about trusting these little bits of rubber to keep my cute, new earrings on my fat little ear lobes.  After wearing a pair all day, running errands, doing lots of cooking, and walking the dog, I've had to reconsider my initial impression of these backings.  My Rose Pink Clarabelles stayed put through a 12 hour day of errands, dog walking, cooking, and hanging out!

Loving these little flower stud earrings called Rose Pink Clarabelle!  

Overall, I'm quite pleased with Jubees so far.  Their customer service is very good.  Their products are solid, and they take time to consider the details in naming their earrings, packing and presenting their products.  I'd definitely keep your eyes on this subscription box, ladies!


Do you subscribe to Jubees?  What do you think of their products either through your own experience or through this review?  Do you know of other earring subscription boxes?  I'd love to hear from you!