Let’s Talk About Books Baby!

In the past I’ve kept this blog’s main focus on the beauty industry. While that is and will always be my first love; I love a lot of other things. Some of you may know that I got my Bachelor of Arts in English. I have always been enamored with a great story and a continued passion for writing. With that being stated, I am going to help this blog continue to flourish writing about what I view as beautiful. From my perspective writing is an art form and novels, poems, and short stories are the expression. I initially chose beautybymbell as my blog name because of my trade and my obsession with beauty products, but as we all know this is a highly saturated blogging market. I need to set myself apart and be true to myself so I am not changing the name but I’m shifting the focus of this blog to more lifestyle related content including the books I’m reading.

So far this month has been one of dramas for me when it comes to novel genres. I’m currently in the middle of reading a series by Lisa Gardner featuring a snappy female police sergeant named D. D. Warren. I actually started reading the books out of order until I figured out they were a series. I started with the fourth book Live to Tell and was hooked. Then I figured out I could get more D.D. by picking up the others so I went back to the beginning. Now I have finished the sixth book plus the novella in between books six and seven. The novella, aptly titled 7th Month tells a short story featuring a bored D.D. on desk duty at the precinct in the seventh month of her pregnancy. A bit of luck shows D.D. favor when a bumbling movie producer stops in looking for a consultant for his film.

D.D. initially accuses him of being a serial killer after he insults her rank by assuming she’s the receptionist. After the unpleasant exchange D.D. discovers that the guy is looking for a police consultant for his film and it pays a generous amount. She quickly decides to take on the role thinking of nursery money for her new born. She ends up getting a lot more than she bargained for when the previous consultant is bludgeoned to death and her team is assigned to the investigation. Shenanigans ensue from there as D.D. tries to catch a killer in the midst of a bunch of wanna-be famous actors.

This was overall enjoyable for a short look into D.D.’s pregnancy. Some other personal facts about the protagonist are revealed in this story that I don’t know if the next book will glaze over or not. However, I didn’t like how shaky the plot in this one felt when it came to the crimes committed and by whom. It just did not feel as authentic as Gardner’s previous full length novels. I guess I shouldn’t have had high expectations for a condensed D.D. book. In terms of characterization Gardner shines as she always does with well developed main and sub characters carrying out this loose plot line about a killer on a movie set. I give this one a B-. I enjoyed reading it but I don’t know that it’s pertinent to the course of events in book seven, entitled Catch Me.

When I am not reading the D.D. Warren books I often listen to audio books on the Overdrive app on my iPhone. If you haven’t used that app check it out! It’s a great one that easily connects you to audio and e-books from your local library. All you need is a library card and you’ll have access to some amazing titles. While I was waiting for 7th Month to arrive from Amazon; I randomly selected a book under the mystery/drama section. I had never heard of the author but before I read one of Lisa Gardner’s books I’d never heard of her either. The book was titled Among the Missing by Morag Joss. The novel is set in Scotland, U.K. as that is where the writer is from. Each of the narrators had a heavy accent, but were not difficult to understand. The book’s limited summary does not give any of the mystery of the story away, in fact it is almost misleading because there is a lot more going on that it reveals.

The story is told from three viewpoints, the first being Ron’s who has just been released from prison for negligent homicide. His former occupation was a school bus driver, until he fell asleep at the wheel one afternoon, killing six children and a pregnant teacher. Ron is a nomad with no place to call home. Despite that event being an accident even his sister will not take him in. She sends money which Ron takes to buy an old Land Rover which he drives around picking up hitch hikers to help himself regain some shred of humanity.

Silva and her husband Stephan are illegal immigrants. They have left a small village in a country that is not named to live in Scotland with their toddler, Anna. They live shrouded in secrecy in a trailer with a leaky roof.  They live in squalor with only hopes for a better life and fear that people will find out they do not belong. Stephan has plans that Silva deems extreme for establishing a new life.

The other female character, who’s real name the author does not reveal, is on a vacation with her new husband. They are staying in a hotel near the town Silva and Stephan live it. It is just across a large bridge. Although she is in her forties, she is newly pregnant. When she tells her husband, Cullen he is not happy at all and gives her an ultimatum. Either she can have a life with him or she can have the child but not both. Tortured at the thought of abortion she contemplates what her next move is. When the aforementioned bridge collapses one day, each of the main characters’ live intertwine. Each of them having a secret unspoken to the other. Assumptions and accusations flare as these three people struggle to figure out how to be whole again in the middle of a horrific event.

Without giving too much away from the novel I will say these things: it starts off slow so you have to stay with it to get to the better parts, you’ll be annoyed at the pregnant character who is given a fake name of Annabelle throughout the story, you will be furious with Silva at some point for being so hateful, and lastly you will be bewildered at the unanswered questions by the end of this book. Overall I give it a B+ for the eloquent switches of point of view, the descriptive nature of the novel itself, and the well developed characters that you will feel an attachment to.  Not an A for the frustrating ending and the subtle undertones that suggest women are weak creatures with no control over emotions.

 

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Poetry Prowling in Deep Ellum

Feeling inspired to begin writing again is not easy sometimes. With everything I have going on in my professional life right now; at times I feel that I am doing myself a disservice taking the time to pen this blog. However, I am a writer and if I stop writing all together I may never realize my full potential. At this point I could easily launch into an anecdotal story about my favorite college English professor but I’ll save those lines for another time. I’d rather tell you guys about this cool event I went to last week, completely spur of the moment, in Deep Ellum.

My younger sister is still in her adventurous 20s and has yet to experience the body betrayal that is 30. Seriously, I went to the doctor a few weeks ago and she told me I am exhausted all the time because I am Vitamin D deficient. Then the very next week I had Norovirus and was the most sick I’ve ever felt in my life. I digress. I’ve been to one other poetry slam with my sister, but that was last year. I enjoyed it the first time so naturally I was down to attend another.

We went to a small venue in Deep Ellum off Commerce Street (if any of you are familiar with Dallas) called Kemet Kitchen. Very chill vibes with healthy fare and a cute cocktail bar. All eyes were on the stage that evening though for this event hosted by Black Canvas. To my surprise there ended up being all types of acts taking the mic: singers, a 3 piece band, poets, and even a comedian. Despite some of the performances being lack luster; overall it was quite enjoyable.

The best of the evening had to be the featured poet Tro’Juan Henderson. His poems about love, admiration, and corruption had me snapping until my thumbs hurt. There was also an amateur poet that evening who struck a cord with me. Her poem “If I Love a Black Man” described every fear I’ve ever had in my adult life about committing to a Black man. For the life of me I cannot remember her name which is unfortunate because she was amazing. Needless to say I am glad I forced myself to miss my self imposed bed time that evening and partake in the arts Dallas has to offer.

Black Canvas does their events monthly. If you’re interested in checking them out click here.

Outfit information is featured on my Instagram @beautybym.bell

 

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Olive Juice Pictorial

Isn’t it ironic that we get all dressed up on Christmas Day, just to sit in our living room? I didn’t spend the whole day in my living room, but my closest friends do know what I look like without a full face of warpaint. However, they also know makeup is my one true love! Here is a look at the eye look I created that day: step by step. Products used will be listed below.

1: Scotch tape and NYX eyeshadow base in Skintone

2: Transition shade from the Melt Cosmetics Dark Matter Stack in Blurr

3: Melt Cosmetics Dark Matter Stack shade Enigma

4: Revlon Photoready Eye Art in shade Desert Dazzle (shadow end of the duo)

5: Sephora Collection shadow in the shade Snakeskin Dress over the liquid shadow

6: L.A. Splash Art-ki-tekt liquid liner

7: Josie Maran Enlightenment Illuminizing Veil as a brow bone highlight. Glitter end of Revlon Desert Dazzle as an inner corner highlight. House of Lashes Pixie Luxe lashes.

 

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“The” Bobbi is Out of Bobbi Brown

If you’ve been under a rock the past couple of days (or stuck holiday shopping inside the mall) let me shine some light on you. According to Allure.com, Bobbi Brown is departing from her namesake brand in 2017. Bobbi will be turning over the creative reigns to Peter Lichtenthal, Global Brand President of both Bumble and Bumble and Bobbi Brown. That means consumers can still get their hands on Bobbi’s best and most iconic (um…shimmer brick anyone?) products; however, Bobbi will no longer be the creative force behind new products for the brand. Miss Brown (who’s actually Mrs. Steven Plofker) has not commented on what her next endeavor in the beauty biz will be, but stay tuned! I have a feeling that Bobbi is going to throw us for a loop in 2017!

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Estée Lauder Picks Up Too Faced

Photo courtesy of: makeup.nowblogg.com

In my last article I told you guys all about Estée Lauder acquiring Becca Cosmetics, a brand best known for their highlighting powders. Well EL strikes again with another strategic purchase of cult-brand, Too Faced. Headquartered in Orange County, California the brand prides itself on uber cute packaging and “food themed” palettes. Lauder put down a cool 1.4 million which is the largest payment they have ever made for an acquisition. CEO, Fabrizio Freda cites Too Faced’s “unique feminine and Millenial communication focus” as a characteristic that compliments EL’s current brand portfolio. 

Want even more scoop on this new endeavor? Check out Allure’s article here.

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Lauder Acquires Another Small Brand

cosmetics-1543276_640If you aren’t a web stalker like myself, then you may not know that Estée Lauder has once again purchased a smaller, yet well-known (in partial thanks to Jaclyn Hill) cosmetics brand. The cosmetics giant acquired Becca from Luxury Brand Partners for what is being said is a hefty sum. Forbes touts “[the] search for the flawless face” as EL’s reasoning behind the purchase. My personal take on the matter…in the world of beauty it’s EL’s world and the rest of us just live in it. One of the oldest beauty companies, Lauder has been around since 1946 when screen sirens like Eva Gardner were all the rage. Having started with just four products in their arsenal; the Estee Lauder Companies now own over 30 beauty brands. Needless to say, Mrs. Lauter (may she rest in peace) has certainly earned her keep.

So what is Becca, also known for being a cruelty-free brand, saying about all of this? The official statement can be found on their website under their FAQs. “Our #BECCAbeauties are our guiding light. The past few years have been amazing and we have grown tremendously. We appreciate all of your support and love to help get us where we are today. As we continue on our journey, we are excited to join The Estée Lauder Companies family. With their extra support, we will be able to bring our products and vision to even more #BECCAbeauties worldwide.” Other cruelty-free brands such as Urban Decay and NYX have also joined the EL Companies and maintained their commitment not to test on animals. Will it be the same for Becca? Only time will tell.

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Talk Thru Eyes and Lips Anastasia Modern Renaissance

To watch my latest video on the look above click here

Products used:

Hard Candy Sheer Envy Hydrating Primer Mist

Hard Candy Sheer Envy Shine Free primer

Revlon Colorstay Combo/Oily foundation

Colourpop brown pencil in Bangin’ Brunette

Anastasia Clear brow gel

NYX Highlight & Contour Pro palette

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Diffused Heat

Colourpop highlighter in Butterfly Beach

Laura Geller Baked Gelato Swirl Illuminator in Peach Glow

MAC Pro Longwear Paintpot in Soft Ochre

Anastasia Modern Renaissance palette

L’Oreal Telescopic mascara in Carbon Black

Koko lashes in 501

LA Splash Arkitekt liner

Dose of Colors matte liquid lipstick in Cork

NYX Matte Finish setting spray

 

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Thermal Highlighting?

Thermal-Highlighter-TrendPhoto Credit: popsugar.com

If highlighting is not the most talked about trend in the beauty community right now; I don’t know what is! I’m fully aware that my last post was about colored highlighters, but when I came across this stunning photo and article this afternoon I couldn’t resist giving my thoughts. While some are covering their entire faces in moondust for the full-face highlighter challenge; the more daring are taking on thermal highlighting. I know what you’re thinking…what the??? Thermal highlighting is intended to mimic the same pigments given off during a thermal body scan. Think The Predator circa 1987. Now while I wouldn’t wear this look in public I appreciate the bold statement. I personally am dying to try it. I’ll be sure to post the link to my recreation video when I do!

Original Photo from  MUA, Iry Randrasana’s Instagram  

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Colored Highlighters are a Thing

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Photo Credit: chrend.com

It’s been more than a little while since I last posted any content. Honestly, I have been in kind of a rut with the highly saturated Beauty Blogger market. However, I still feel that I have a unique point of view that I want to continue to share so don’t worry this blog isn’t going anywhere! I hope it will only continue to grow and become better.

With the above being said; I want to clue my readers into where they can still purchase one of the most popular products on the Beautygram (Instagram) as I like to call it. Yesterday the talented Jeffree Star released his new Skin Frosts on his website and others that carry his products. Full transparency, these bad boys are SOLD OUT nearly everywhere, but there seems to be one shade available that didn’t race off the shelves as quickly as the others: Mint Condition.

I think the idea of a minty highlighter was a stretch too far in the cosplay direction for some, but I disagree. Industry trends show that multi-colored highlighters are having a moment. Here are links to a few that have been coveted by the masses:

Prism by Bitterlace Beauty: completely rainbow highlight with a 7-8 month long wait list

Solstice palette by Sleek: contains a lavender highlight shade

You Glow Girl by Ofra & Dupethat: this pinky highlight was SOLD OUT when it first launched on Ofra’s website

Fireball by Urban Decay: duo-chrome shade with orangy, gold, and greenish undertones

Mermaid Fantasy by Artist Couture: an iridescent turquoise with a hint lime shifts

Strobe of Genius palette by NYX: the palette contains a wide range of highlighters in different colors including a lavender and a golden pink

If you want to get your hands on Jeffree’s Mint Condition click either of the links below. Happy shopping and you glow girl (or boy)!

Jeffree Star Cosmetics

Morphe Brushes

Beautylish

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One Brand Tutorial-Maybelline

Don’t forget to check out the video here:

Products:

I have inserted pictures for the palettes so the positions make more sense. They are not my photos nor do I claim any rights to them.

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Maybelline Nudes Palette: 5th shadow in the top row: muted grey brown as a transition shade, 2nd shadow in the bottom row: cool toned brown used in the crease, 3rd shadow in the top row: cream color used on the brow bone, and 1st shadow in the top row: shimmery white used on the inner corner for highlight.

Maybelline Eye Studio Color Plush Silk Eyeshadow in Coral Oasis

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Fourth shadow in the quad: warm chocolate brown used in the outer corner, First shadow in the quad: warm beige shimmery shade used on the lid.

Maybelline Face Studio Master Conceal in Medium/Deep

Maybelline Volume Express The Falsies Push Up Drama mascara

Mayebelline Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel liner in blackest black

Maybelline Baby Lips Moisturizing Lip Gloss in Life’s a Peach

 

 

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