Friday, January 23, 2015

Top 5 Mascara Picks!

If the eyes are the windows to the soul, then your lashes are the drapes that frame them beautifully. Don’t believe me? Ask the ancient Egyptians who first tinted their eye-lashes by using bone or ivory applicators to apply a pigment made from kohl, burnt almonds or lead mixed with honey or crocodile droppings. Yes, it was that serious! There was a time when I wouldn’t leave home without a full face of make-up. These days, I only throw on some tinted moisturizer, a slick of lip balm and numerous coats of mascara before heading out to face the world. While everything else is negotiable, I would never leave home without adding a bit of ‘oomph’ to my lashes. I’ve put together a list of ‘must have’ (or at least must try) mascaras that have allowed me to flutter my way through many makeup free days with complete confidence.




Revlon Grow Luscious Mascara: Revlon claims that this mascara would help your lashes grow longer, fuller and thicker with continued use. I’ve been using this for a hot minute and while I can’t attest to Revlon’s claims, I love how natural this product makes my lashes look. Definitely great for everyday use without making your lashes look fake (Ulta.com, $7.99).
Maybelline ‘The Falsies’ Mascara: If you’re not a wearer of false lashes but want the look of it, this bad boy from Maybelline is perfect for that. Being an avid tester of products, I usually never use too many items for too long as there’s always something new on the market. I have, however, repurchased this mascara every time I’ve run out. A true testimony; it lives up to its claims. No false hopes here ladies, it does what it says! (Ulta.com, $6.99).
MAC Zoom Lash Mascara: While MAC isn’t really known for their mascaras, this smudge-proof formula creates the ideal mix of thick, dense volume while adding a bit of length and definition to your lashes. Your lashes will remain clump and flake free until you remove this product with an oil-based cleanser. For those seeking a good waterproof mascara to add to their makeup arsenal, this is it! (Maccosmetics.com, $16.00).
Benefit BADgal Lash Mascara: By far THE best all in one type of mascara that I’ve ever used. Lengthen, thicken, darken and volumize in one stroke. This product delivers on every claim that it makes. If you’re after a product that you can truly multitask with then this is the one for you. One application gives you soft, natural looking lashes while a few coats can turn good girl lashes into the ultimate lash vixen (Sephora.com $19.00)
Maybelline Colossal “Cat Eyes” Volum’ Express Mascara: The best thing about this mascara is the brush! Thin lashes can finally revel in the plumpness this product delivers while still remaining soft and natural. The curved brush also allows you to be able to ditch your eyelash curler as it helps curl your lashes as you apply. Can you say, meow? (Ulta.com, $6.99)


*originally curated for The COCO Magazine

Monday, January 19, 2015

Ceola B- A Style Less Ordinary

COCO Blogger Spotlight: Ceola B- A Style Less Ordinary
Whether you need tips on how to create the perfect smokey eye, deets on a recently opened local restaurant or an honest review on the latest skincare product on the market, the internet offers a wealth of information suited to what you’re looking for.  My full on obsession with makeup and skincare related products began in 2010 whilst I was pursuing legal studies in London and had access to a variety of products from a diverse cross-section of companies. The problem was, however, that I didn’t know where to start. Instead of randomly purchasing an item, I did what any smart consumer would do. I hopped on the internet, read blogs and watched YouTube videos. The internet became my source of information and the bloggers and YouTube gurus became trusted friends whose opinions allowed me to make an informed decision.
Being a Caribbean gal myself, it became extremely important to me to find persons who were from the Caribbean or of Caribbean descent. My YouTube playlist and blog rolls are saturated with bloggers and vloggers who rep the Caribbean at every opportunity. This week, we focus on one of my favorite lifestyle bloggers: Ceola Belix from A Style Less Ordinary.
Ceola is a Trinidadian born blogger whose love for good eats and locally manufactured items shines through her blog. She spends most of her time blogging about local eateries, fashion designers and artists who would never have become known to the public had it not been for her blog. I came across Ceola a few years ago whilst browsing Trinidad Lookbook for bloggers to add to my blog roll and have been an avid reader of her blog since. I used to live in Trinidad and always declare that whilst I am Vincy to de bone, I am Trini to de marrow! Yes, I live vicariously through Ceola’s blog and enjoy her social media posts immensely. Get to know more about stylish Caribbean gem below!
Rep your heritage. Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself?
I’m from Trinidad & Tobago – born in St. Joseph and bred in the borough of Arima located in the East of the island. I studied Communications at the University of Leeds and I’m currently employed as a Digital Content Producer & Strategist/Social Media Manager at one of the leading advertising agencies in T&T. I also am a freelance writer for Metro Magazine, which is circulated every Friday with the Trinidad Guardian. I love style, and food, and travelling. If I could find a job that encompassed all three I’d be a very happy girl, but for now, being able to write about those things where I can find them in my life is a great comfort to me.
What’s the mission of your blog? How did you get started?
The ‘mission’ of my blog is primarily to give exposure to designers, artists, artisans, musicians, chefs, events, etc, that otherwise would not have it or who I feel deserve more of it. I basically want to be seen as a source of information on local happenings/products/services. When I’m not doing that, I’m being purely indulgent and just writing about random things that cross my mind. That doesn’t happen very often though…I’m always trying very hard to keep it focused. I started my blog about two years ago. I posted much more erratically then. It was just as Anya Ayoung Chee was competing in Project Runway and there was this huge sense of national pride and optimism concerning Trinidad & Tobago’s creative output. I wanted to talk about some of the jewelry I had bought from a local designer, so I started a blog to talk about it. More and more I found more things I wanted to share – markets I’d been to, local designers I’d found at these markets or on Facebook. I started on Blogspot and eventually migrated my content to Wordpress. I’ve had many other blogs and writing outlets in the past, but this was the one I decided to stick with. My Twitter account, Instagram account and Facebook profile and page are all an extension of my blog.
How do you represent your heritage on your blog?
I think I’m pretty disciplined about representing predominantly local creatives on my blog. I suppose that’s the only way I can say I ‘represent’. I will feature regional designers, etc, but it’s highly unlikely that I spend a lot or any time promoting retailers and that kind of thing. While I do shop at retailers from time to time, I don’t necessarily see my blog as a space to promote them, unless they also carry locally produced items.  My blog is all about Trinbagonian experiences…not all of them of course; there are some things I’m much less experienced in than others and as such, won’t talk about as much, but I certainly promote the lesser known, but incredibly amazing things about my country.
Describe yourself in three words.
Honest. Passionate. Neurotic.
If you’re not blogging, what are you doing?
I am out to lunch/dinner/brunch/tea with friends, binge-watching TV shows with my boyfriend, reading random things online, online (window) shopping, exercising or attempting to sleep.
If you could eat one thing for the rest of your life what would it be?
I’m sure this will vary from time to time, but right now it’s Michelle’s Corn Soup (from the Savannah Strip on the Queen’s Park Savannah…in case ya didn’t know)
Do you have a Signature Fragrance?

Not really…at the moment I’m alternating between Marc Jacob’s Daisy and Miss Dior Cherie.
Describe your personal style.
Toughie. It’s hard for me to really describe it wholly since I bounce back and forth depending on the day. I’d say it’s very casual chic though, with a lot of oversized elements and emphasis on accessories – jewelry and shoes mostly, since my handbag rarely changes. I am still heavily influenced by the years I spent in the United Kingdom, as well as the time I spent in the Netherlands and other parts of Europe.  The colour palettes that are widely, and consistently popular there still dominate my wardrobe – lots of neutrals and black and white. I rarely do colour.
Where do you like to shop and why?
I shop online quite a lot, mostly on asos.com. Otherwise, when I travel, I shop at Zara, Mango and H&M. I also recently started thrifting. Pretty much for the same reasons cited above – I love European style and those stores make it very accessible. Almost all of my jewelry I purchase from local jewelry designers like Koko Karibi, Cocoa Vintage, Denise Hendrie and many more. I also buy a lot from local clothing designer J. Angelique and have recently begun purchasing from Adrian Foster. My closet also includes pieces from Christian Boucaud, Afiya Bishop, Rhion Romany, Indie Swim and Chandra Maharaj. 
What do you splurge on?
I splurge on local jewelry and shoes. Those are probably the two categories I spend the most of my own money in. I love handbags as well, but I opt to ask for them as gifts for my birthday or Christmas.
Biggest pet peeve about being a blogger?
Keeping a schedule and posting regularly enough to keep readers and yourself happy. I suppose that’s just a peeve I have with myself. I also really dislike when people ask me to promote something that isn’t consistent with my content.
How have you managed to keep the creativity with your blog?
I try to cover a range of topics. So I won’t just stick to style…I’ll do a restaurant review, or share my experiences from an event I attended. Honestly, I have far more creative ideas for content than I actually execute. It’s a combination of busyness and laziness really. I’m hoping in 2014 I’ll be able to structure my time and my mind more effectively, so I can really start to produce interesting features.
Who are the other bloggers from the Caribbean that we should know about?
I really enjoy reading Kathryn Nurse’s blog Cities and Islands . She’s a Trinidadian who currently resides NYC but started the blog while she was studying for her Masters in Luxury Brand Management, which took her from Shanghai to Florence to Paris. Another blog I enjoy is Introvertly Bubbly . Another great resource is TriniChow.  Yes I like food blogs…a lot. And last but not least (though it’s not really a blog) is my friend Mel’s online magazine Trinidad Lookbook.
Best tip for other Caribbean persons wanting to start a blog?
Just go for it. But be prepared to do the work. Be prepared to spend your own money on products and services just for the sake of reviewing them. Be prepared to find yourself roaming Belmont or St. James, or Couva, looking for that one place where you can find a certain jewelry designer, clothing designer, homemade soap, homemade pepper sauce, or spoken word poetry night. Be prepared to be slick with sweat, pushing through a crowd so you can get your hands on a coveted, exclusive piece. Be prepared to make friends, and to be kind to the people you meet, because at the end of the day, you’re doing it for them as much as you’re doing it for your readers or for yourself. Be honest, because people like when you’re honest. Don’t feel pressured into being someone you aren’t…or to have a voice you think you have to have because you want to be a blogger and that’s how other people do it. Stick to what you know and what you love and you’ll be fine.
You can find Ceola on Twitter (@ceolab), InstgramFacebook Ceola Belix: a style less ordinary, Pinterest and her blog Ceola: A Style Less Ordinary.


Curated for The COCO Magazine 

Jamaican Blogger: Natalia Oh!



COCO Blogger Spotlight: Natalia Oh!



Natalie Outar is a fashion blogger from Jamaica with a knack for putting together extremely stylish yet affordable outfits suitable for the COCO Woman. A mother of two, living in Jamaica, Natalie started posting her pictures of her outfits and DIY projects on Instagram where followers encouraged her to start a blog and armed with this encouragement, Natalia Oh! was born. The rest, as we say, is blogging history.     
Rep your heritage. Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself?
I was born in Clarendon, Jamaica and grew up in a small and rural area of GimmieMeBit until I was three years old. I was later 'adopted' by my older brother and his family and moved to Mandeville and that is where I currently live. 
What’s the mission of your blog? How did you get started?
I started blogging at the request of followers on Instagram who loved my explanations of my fashion choices and my DIY projects. Also, the ability to stay fashionable on a budget has been a huge appeal to my followers and I show them how to save money. The mission of my blog has always been to share my fashion inspirations and to help to gain publicity for others. 
How do you represent your heritage on your blog?
My blog is international and I try not to pigeon hole myself to just Caribbean fashion- though I live in Jamaica, I try to maintain current fashion trends and make them suitable for the Caribbean weather. Also, I highlight local stores and local designers on my blog, so that is a way of maintaining Jamaican heritage on the blog. 
Describe yourself in three words.
Strong, resilient, unfiltered. 
If you’re not blogging, what are you doing?
Running behind my children, shuttling them to various after school programs, keeping them on task or probably drinking coffee somewhere. 
If you could eat one thing for the rest of your life what would it be?
The brick over pizza from Jack Spratt in Treasure Beach 
Do you have a Signature Fragrance?
I do, but I never share it, I don't think anyone should share their signature scents. It takes years to find one fragrance that gels with your body oils and I think each individual should find out what works for them and stick it. However, one fragrance that I love [but not my signature] is ChloĆ©. 
Describe your personal style.
Classic chic with a trendy edge. 
Where do you like to shop and why?
ASOS online because of their pricing, they ship worldwide and they are always ahead of trends. Forever21 for basics and Steve Madden for shoes. 
What do you splurge on?
I really don't splurge on anything anymore, in this economy I have gotten very frugal. However, when I splurge it would be on top shelf single malt whiskies. 
Biggest pet peeve about being a blogger?
The notion that you have to post everyday- I am very guilty of not posting regularly, and anyone with children and a job can understand that it affects your creativity. I would rather quality posts than 'empty' posts just to post every day. 
How have you managed to keep the creativity with your blog?
I read other international bloggers, not only the ones who have gained huge publicity, but those who are very good but not so popular. In fact I try NOT to be influenced by the bloggers who are too popular as I assume like me, my followers have seen them. So I look for the rare gems. I prefer tumblr to Instagram for fashion inspiration, seems less saturated. 
What’s the biggest fashion mistake that you’ve seen women (and men) make? 
Wearing clothing that fits poorly. Men wearing suits that are too big, and women wearing clothes that are too tight or too short. Comfort is key and tailoring costs in Jamaica is minimal; there's really no excuse for poorly fit clothes. 
The item of clothing that I currently wear the most is…
My skinny stretch black belt from Forever 21- I paid $2 for it years ago and it is my go to accessory because it is basic, just a simple small gold buckle. It does not compete with anything when I wear it. 
Who are the other bloggers from the Caribbean that we should know about?
I love Monique Solomon from www.iriediva.com because she's hilarious and also a mom blogger and I quite adore her. Also, everyone knows Lauren Dunn from laurenOLauren, she's so uncensored, always ahead of hot topics and she's just hilarious. 
What was the last good book you read?
The Alchemist from Paulo Coelho
Any guilty pleasures?
I love to spend hours in bed watching back to back TV shows, particularly House of Cards, Luther, Breaking Bad and Homeland. Catching up on the Oscar nominated movies of last year were fun to watch in bed too :) 
What’s in your makeup bag?
MAC studio fix powder, all over face brush, MAC Girl About Town lipstick and I love it more when I top it with a Khroma lipstick in pink. 
Best tip for other Caribbean persons wanting to start a blog?
Just go for it! Find a niche and utilize social media to get your blog out there. Don't be afraid to promote yourself, there's no modesty in blogging. Also, know that it is hard work and focus on the positives because there are always going to those who are negative, just ignore them and press on. 
We define a COCO Woman as a woman who embraces herself, her unique beauty and is not afraid to show the world who she is. Are you a COCO Woman?
I am! Unapologetically so! ;) 
Catch up with Natalia Oh! At the following:
  • Twitter: @imajumaican
  • Facebook
  • Instagram: imajumaican
  • Blog

*Curated for The COCO Magazine

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Tinted Moisturizers For Women Of Colour


It is safe to say that we’ve entered the months of the sun warming up our skin, the sand (hopefully) between our toes and the endless days of sandals and maxi dresses. As I bare my shoulders and put my hair up, I love keeping my foundation routine to a minimum. Enter the tinted moisturizer- with enough coverage to even out your skin tone but not so much that it leaves you looking like you caked on your face of the day. The best part about tinted moisturizers, is that they allow your skin to breathe which translates into sexy, healthy, glowing skin! Here are a few of my favorite tinted moisturizers for us brown girls and as always, let me know if you give any of them a go.




Cover FX Skin Tint Moisturizing Treatment and Tint SPF 20 $42.00 







*Original article curated for The COCO Magazine 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Interview with Isabel Brash of Cocobel Chocolates (Trinidad & Tobago)

Who doesn't love chocolate? I had a blast interviewing Isabel, the owner of Cocobel Chocolate (located in Trinidad and Tobago) for The COCO Magazine

Described as hand-crafted, artisan treats, Cocobel Chocolates embody what it means to be a true Trinidadian and by extension, a Caribbean person. Made with 100% local trinitario cacao beans, the chocolates are pure works of art- the kind that forces you to eat with your eyes first before biting into its chocolate coated bit of heaven. This is no surprise, though, as the artist behind these beautiful confections is a trained architect turned chocolatier. So how does one go from designing buildings to creating mouth watering chocolates infused with local fruits and spices like gingerbread spice, rich dark sorrel, ponche de creme, honey passion fruit, cashew coconut or mango pepper? We caught up with Isabel Brash who showed us that chocolate is more than just a sweet treat reserved for holidays and special occasions but as a way of telling a story of culture, tradition, patriotism and learning how to trust your instincts. 



Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your business? 
I am a 6th generation Trinidadian, grew up in South Trinidad. At the core I am a designer, I must create – does not matter the medium – it sustains my sanity! I am an architect who fell into chocolate making by the curiosity of “how to” and the need for a new project – for personal fulfillment. It was an innocent approach to a craft in the beginning – an exercise in transformation - and then turned into this wild journey that is Cocobel. We started in 2008 and since then have been trying to tell our stories of taste through Cocobel. We use local fruits and spices and infuse them into the chocolate to create truly Trinbagonian chocolates.
I’m always intrigued to see how someone’s hometown (or adopted hometown) affects their style or influences. How does Trinidad & Tobago shape who you are and what you do?
Every decision I make when it comes to new flavors I keep my culture and my traditions in mind. When I say mine, I mean ours, Trinbagonians. We are unique in Trinidad and Tobago, to have so many pinches of different cultures to make up our sweet pot of callaloo – I try to dig up the collective memory and put it into the chocolate. It is my identity. I must be honest to my craft – it is the best way to design/create, to be honest and let your gut shine through.
It’s not every day that a person goes from being in the architectural field to creating such luscious looking, edible creations. How did you get into making chocolate?
I was curious about the process and needed some creative stimulation away from work. I started researching stuff online and got more and more intrigued. I had a bee in my bonnet – the obsession grew from there. After I got the ball rolling on transforming cocoa bean to chocolate, I dug more into “what do I do with this now?” – I wanted to make “cool things” with it and give it as gifts to my family for Christmas that year. 6 months later, I named my obsession Cocobel and made it official! I still see her as a project with no completion date in sight 














Read the rest of our chit-chat here: http://bit.ly/1E4Mu0Q

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Lyric The Jamaican Makeup Artist

Lyric Rochester- a tiny woman with a BIG personality- has been a makeup artist for over three years. A dedicated Christian who shares her faith with those that watch her channel, Lyric is also a singer possessing the voice of an angel. If there was one person in the YouTube beauty world that I would want to ‘beat’ my face, it would be her, her skills are that on point! Come journey with me into the world of Jamaica’s number one make-up artist. We bring you Lyric Uncut! 

The COCO Mag: Rep your heritage. Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself?
Lyric: I am from Jamaica, I am Jamaican. I also sing, write songs, poems, and I LOVE to make people laugh. When my friends and I get together A MADD TINGZ!
The COCO Mag: How did you get started in Makeup and who did you initially learn from?   
Lyric: I got started when my friend Yori told me about a local makeup school. I went. Loved it. And never looked back. I started learning from Julia Graf on YouTube, then I started coming up with things on my own. And through trial and error it's made me who I am today
The COCO Mag: What inspired you to start your YouTube channel and how do you represent your heritage on your channel?     
Lyric: Who. And again, it was Julia Graf. She can't do anything wrong for me in makeup. She's amazing and is the reason I have my YouTube channel. Reppin' my heritage isn't hard. It's me, it's natural. Even in this interview I had to throw some patois in there. I love my culture and heritage. 
The COCO Mag: How has starting a beauty channel impacted on your life?       
Lyric: Greatly! People notice me on the road. People taking pictures. Blush when they see me. Scream. Wanting hugs. It's sooo surreal I'm just this Jamaican who makes YT vids. I'm no one. But it's VERY cool
The COCO Mag: What’s in your makeup bag right now? 
Lyric:: Ahhhhhh This is a set up! Lolol. Well my foundation, which is Elf and Black Opal. Powders which are MAC MSF, Avon Pressed powder and Ben Nye banana powder. And lipsticks and glosses. With a couple of sleek pallets. 
The COCO Mag: If you could eat one thing for the rest of your life what would it be?  
Lyric: Grapes
The COCO Mag: What is the toughest part about being a beauty guru?     
Lyric: Guru? Wow. That word lol. I'm still learning. Haven't yet mastered my craft. Fashion changes so quickly. I have to change with it. Learn with it. The toughest part is keeping up
The COCO Mag: Who are some of your favorite gurus from the Caribbean or of Caribbean descent? 
The COCO Mag: If you had to choose five beauty products to use for the rest of your life, what would they be?  
Lyric: Foundation primer, foundation, banana powder, avon powder, mascara.   
The COCO Mag: Anything exciting happening on your channel in the near future?  

Read the rest of my interview with her for The COCO Magazine here:http://bit.ly/1gC2Q5n

Trinidadian Makeup Artist: Makeisha A. Augustine

I love meeting talented artistes from all over the region. Makeisha A. Augustine who runs Metamorphosis - Makeup by Miki A. is one of those extremely talented, extremely knowledgeable makeup artistes that I interviewed for The COCO Magazine

I discovered Makeisha while scrolling through Instagram one day on the search for makeup artists and beauty bloggers in the region. Always on the hunt for new talent, I was immediately impressed by her skill and the way in which she applied makeup- clean lines and soft contours- the type of look that I try to wear whenever I decide to do my face. Many Trinidadians would know her as a model and makeup artist but through this interview, I’ve gotten to know her as a true COCO Woman. Meet Makeisha- who shows that a makeup artist can not only touch your face but your spirit as well.
Tell our readers about yourself. Who is Makeisha? Where are you from and what is your background?
 I am most widely known as “Miki”, a childhood nickname that I decided to use on my social media profiles. I spent most of my life, quite the tomboy, with my mom and older sister in Central Trinidad. It shocked most of my family that the athlete who didn’t care to even comb her hair grew to become a model and makeup artist!
I think the best answer to the question “Who is Makeisha?” is “It depends on where she is.” 
There is quite a bit of dichotomy: I am known as a model and “social butterfly” but it would surprise many to know that I have been a Life Insurance Administration professional for over a decade. I love the excitement and energy of our Carnival, but I am passionately committed to my family and spend as much time as I can with my nephew. I love a good party, but I love to read and my TV-watching is restricted to documentaries and psychological thrillers. (And Scandal. Don’t judge me lol.) I love makeup and dressing up but a great time for me would likely be a day outdoors without a stitch of makeup. 
Above all else I think I remain true to who I am at my core: quirky, fun-loving, opinionated, outspoken and driven. 



When did you decide that you wanted to be a makeup artist?
I made the decision to formally pursue makeup artistry in November 2013 when I paid my tuition at Ephraim Hunte International Makeup Academy. Before that point, I had only done ONE face, apart from mine and my sister’s. I decided that I would do it the right way, and be a trained professional if I were to pursue my art as a career. 
Since then I have broadened my training to include the Hands on Makeup Skills Conference hosted by international educator Buntricia Bastian, which has expanded my skillset to include airbrush makeup and eyelash extensions.




Read more from that interview here: http://bit.ly/1CJHZLh

Pantone Color of the Year for 2015: Marsala

I was extremely excited when Pantone announced Marsala as its color inspiration for 2015. Described as a deep reddish brown color, Marsala is a throwback to 90’s inspired makeup and completely wearable for all skin tones. Who doesn't love deep, wine colored lips or even a blush? Here are a few of my product picks for this extremely wearable look.