April 23, 2009

Making It Up, Part 2

As part of this makeup process, I've read that you should find inspiration pictures of sorts. Many people look to celebrities, so I thought I would do the same. Finding a celebrity who shares my complexion/shading was kinda tough. I had to really think about. Who'd I come up with?

Ms. Tia Mowry! I mean I guess she sort of is the same coloring as me. By the way, she's all grown up now. She's not the same little girl that used to be in "Sister, Sister" with her twin sister, Tamera. 

She's be married now! Here's a picture of her from her wedding last year. I like the make-up in this shot although the eyes may be too much for me (Yes, I know, I know...let me ease into this please). 

She's turned into a beautiful married lady. I thought her makeup here was nice too. I've recently been trying not to knock pink as it really can look good on me. 

Don't get wrong though. I still loves me so neutrals. There's something wonderfully natural about them. 

By the way, can we talk about the fabulosity that is her dress? It's a couture design by Kevan Hall.

Have you ever looked at a celebrity for a makeup cues or inspiration? I'm pretty new to this. 

April 21, 2009

Making It Up, Part I

Things have been heating up here as I've definitely felt that the details of the day keep jumping up in my face like "WHAT! Yeah, I'm here? Whatcha gonna do about it?!" Maybe I just have a very hardcore inner voice. 

Moving on...this weekend will be the first of a few make-up trials. Make-up and I are not particularly good friends, or should I say that we don't know each other well. I NEVER wear make-up. Essentially  that trip to the MAC counter a few months ago with Special K was my first time even buying something like foundation. I only ever really wear lipgloss or lipstick, but nothing else..nothing...sometimes I feel like I should, but I've been scarred. Yes, that's right scarred!!!!

I'll tell you a story about a little girl who once had Clown Day at her daycamp. She had to put on this awful white face makeup and by the end of the day all the little girl wanted to do was scratch it all off. It felt like aliens were trying to take over her skin. From that day forward, the litte girl never wanted to put anything on her face again... THE END. 

Well I'm sure you guessed that that little girl was me. It took another 23 years to essentially get me to put anything akin to a foundation on my face minus a handful of times. Of the few times I've had my makeup done, it's been done in a way that I felt made me look...well...ugly. Often it was done by people who clearly know nothing about Black women's skin tones and what colors look best on them. Also even when not getting makeup done, I hated makeup shopping because I found it hard to find items that would even look good on me.

The makeup industry has changed drastically to the point where even Queen Latifah hawks makeup.

(source. She look fabulous, by the way)

I think the situation has changed for the better since I was a teenager and now there are many options from a variety of lines that will complement Black women's skin. I finally found MAC several years ago and have been a devotee for quite some time (as are many of the Black women I know). 

Now that I am staring down my first makeup trial, I've had to psyche myself up for wearing makeup for a whole day and trying to figure out what I like and what I don't. 

Perhaps I'll start with a few possible celebrity look-alikes (if you can call them that..I don't really know if I have one..yikes!!!) as a source of inspiration. 

Stay tuned for more as the saga (or trauma..at least in my head anyway) continues.....

source for top pic

April 16, 2009

Planning the Marriage

Last evening was a part of our hectic week as we had our first meeting/counseling session with the minister who will be marrying us. 

I have always been a believer in the idea of pre-marital counseling for EVERYONE. I guess I just beleive that it's important to talk as much as possible about your ideas, beliefs and expectations not only of your future life but also of marriage. Okay...I'm not completely Dr.Phil-like here. I also deep down think that I have to be prepared or over-prepared for almost everything and that I do, and I guess marriage is one of those things. Even before Mr. Swan and I got engaged, I made sure we went through this great set of questions from the NY Times as well as this book, 1001 Questions to Ask Before You Get Married. Yeah, I'm a bit crazy, but I really wanted to make sure that Mr. Swan and I had talked about as many things as possible before I accepted ANY proposal. I think this was especially important for us since we come from very different backgrounds and experiences. Knowing that we were both on the same page or at least talking about our differences was comforting to me. 

Ofcourse now that we are engaged and the wedding inches closer day by day I am requiring us to do even more soul searching. We are going to have not one but TWO different sets of counseling. As I stated above, we started our first set of counseling with the minister that will marry us. Her church has a specific workbook with discussions and...gasp...homework for us to do. It will also be more from a biblical perspective as well and require reading the Bible and understanding marriage from that perspective. While I know my way around a Bible pretty well, it will be interesting to see Mr. Swan navigate this.  I am pretty thankful that he is open-minded about this process and moving forward with our counseling. Our minister seems pretty cool so far, and I am looking forward to working with her (I am also excited that our minister is a woman).

In addition to the counseling with our minister, we'll also be taking a one day workshop for engaged and newly married couples. This one will be completely secular and really emphasize communication and other issues related to keeping marriages alive. 

Why more than one set of counseling? Well I think in the end I knew that almost any minister that we picked to marry us would require us to do some form of counseling anyway. I also wanted to have both religious and secular versions as I think both will have something to offer us. 

Will we be as over-prepared for marriage as I hope? I doubt it, but I guess we'll at least try. 

April 12, 2009

For Love and Healthcare

I came across this article in a local paper, and its definitely a reminder of the times we live in. 

The funny thing is the idea of getting married for healthcare has crossed our minds here in the CPF household. As you may recall, Mr. CPF was laid off a few months ago. We've been chillin' with severance, but that along with healthcare will run out soon. COBRA is expensive (aaahh the frustrations of a recession!!), and a quickie City Hall wedding would have costs a little bit less than a COBRA payment.  We decided otherwise, but the temptation was strong. 

What I think this article speaks to though is the shift from the our collective thoughts about weddings particularly since the over the top "Platinum Weddings" have seemed to rule our imaginations and our television sets. I welcome the idea of people downsizing in life, but at the same time I think it's still okay to have a larger wedding full of people and good times...as long as you have the means to do so. To some our wedding will be all out, to others "normal," to some nothing special.  We're excited that we're going to be helping many small, local business owners. I think the only thing we can do now in these economic times is make the decision that's right for us whether that means the full dinner and dancing for 200 or the small intimate City Hall wedding. 

Do what's best for you under your circumstances! 

April 10, 2009

Shall We Engage?

Some time after picking our photographer I began thinking about engagement pictures. Engagement pictures you may ask? I did not even know what they were until I started reading wedding blogs. I realize that I've never really talked much about my wedding helpers (the "vendor" word seems so distant to me) much less mentioned our photographer, Dante Williams

I really enjoyed our photographer search, and I'll definitely lay it out here. It may sound weird, but I always thought that Dante would be our photographer. I had discovered him while looking at the website of the wedding planning team from Always a Bridesmaid. Dante began his wedding photography by taking many of the detail shots from many of the weddings that they designed and coordinated.  I remember seeing a great picture of a couple near the Brooklyn Bridge. I immediately Googled Dante and loved much of what I saw. 

While taking pictures for the fun of it is not something I normally do, I've realized recently that Mr. Swan and I  have very few pictures together. Sad, isn't it? I thought it would be nice to have pictures from this special time in our life together. It also helps that it was part of the package that Dante offered (although now he no longer has set packages but can put one together for you). 

Here are some of the engagement pictures Dante has done recently that I've absolutely loved. Engagement pictures, anyone?

April 6, 2009

Thank You!

Actual Conversation

Mr. CPF: Hey, did you order something? UPS made a delivery today.

Me: Nah, I'm too broke. I wonder what it is?

Mr. CPF: I don't know. 

Me: Let me stalk our registry....Oh yes! YES!!!!

That excitement came from my discovery that this had come in the mail for us:

The Lovely Cuisinart Dual Blender/Food Processor.

I will be the first to say that I have been salivating over this for some time now. I tend to cook quite a bit, but I am the world's SLOWEST chopper. There are so many things that are faster and easier to cook with a food processor. Why the dual? Well, we've got one of those small NYC apartments that just doesn't have much cupboard space. This handy-dandy gadget will definitely help conserve that (especially when I get that big 'ol Kitchen Aid Mixer!!)

Thanks to FMIL CPF for our very first wedding present. We really appreciate it. 

Is there anything on your registry that you do/did really want? 

April 4, 2009


I'm actually not referring to the usual frying and other kind of pan, but rather the steel drum otherwise known as the steel pan. It's an instrument that was created in the Caribbean in the 1930's on the island country  of Trinidad & Tobago. 

The steel drum is a descendant of the hand drum and is essentially a large oil drum container that has been dented to produce a specific tone. Actually it's now very common for many steel drums to make sounds that correspond to standard musical notes. Most of the time they are printed on the portion of the drum that will produce that particular note as you can see below. More advance players don't need the notes printed on their drum. 


There are also different types of pans like the lead tenor, double tenor, bass, etc. with each having its own tone and purpose in a large steel drum group. 

Steel pan music is now very common all over the Caribbean, and many islands have steel pan competitions included in their carnivals. Steel drums have a uniquely Caribbean flavor. 

Why am I writing about this? Stay tuned.  

April 2, 2009

Well That Was Easy

Here it is:

My lovely wedding band. I was not as interested in wedding bands as I thought I would be. They started to look the same after awhile .

I knew I wanted: 

(a) thin
(b) nothing that would compete with my engagement ring
(c) nothing too expensive
(d) something I could wear by itself and still get a little sparkle in there

Blue Nile was quick and easy. Mind you, we did go to the store where Mr. Swan bought my engagement ring. I was not feeling the $2k plus large diamond kinda bands. Heck to the nah, y'all. 

Here's a pic of the two rings together (and a chipped nail..sigh):

(per me)

By itself

(mi foto)

What this part of the process did reveal to me is that I do not enjoy the parts of the planning that focus on me :) Thinking about food, invites, decor...fun. Jewelry, hair, makeup...oy vey! 

Has anyone been enjoying jewelry shopping and the other personal shopping aspects of the wedding? Good! I need to learn a thing or two from you :)