15. A New Look

 
Photo courtesy of  Pixistock

Photo courtesy of Pixistock

 

Happy Friday friends!

You may have noticed that JTM Writes has a new look! I took an honest look at my site and it really didn’t resonate with me, so I decided to make some changes. When I launched JTM Writes, I made the switch from Wordpress to Squarespace, and I’ve found that making theme/layout changes are so much easier in Squarespace. There’s a learning curve for Squarespace for sure, but once you get the hang of it, it’s easy to figure out how to design things to your liking.

The biggest change I’ve made is the Squarespace theme - I switched to the Five layout. I also turned on the right sidebar to share some additional information. I also took some time in Canva (my favorite program currently) to make a header for the website as well. I think the changes fit my overall aesthetic and outlook for the blog, but let me know what you think in the comments!

Please be sure to add JTM Writes to your RSS readers (like Feedly or Bloglovin) and you can also subscribe to the JTM Writes email list to get updates as well.

I also updated my professional website as well as my offerings for JTM Consulting. I’m offering a 60min Ace the Interview Prep Session for any job seekers who are looking to practice their interview skills!

Things I read this week:

The Wild Story Behind Aretha Franklin’s Long-Delayed Documentary (Vulture)

This Is Kirstjen Nielsen's Legacy (Jezebel)

Oh, Yay, Flexible Jobs Actually Make Your Work-Life Balance Worse (MEL Magazine)

Invisible Middlemen Are Slowing Down American Health Care (The Atlantic)

These bamboo nursing pads are great for taking off your makeup (Just Good Shit)

6 Things You Didn’t Know About Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” (High Snobiety)

Will Apple Just Kill iTunes Already? (Lifehacker)

Privileged | By Kyle Korver (The Player’s Tribune)

Mandatory paternity leave might be Wall Street’s best bet for gender equality (Quartz)

‘The Unthinkable Has Happened’ (Vulture)

The Urgent Quest for Slower, Better News (The New Yorker)

Here Is The First-Ever Image Of A Black Hole (Buzzfeed News)

Budweiser's Emotional Ad Shows How Dwyane Wade Has Touched People's Lives (Buzzfeed News)

Are You A Generous Tipper? (Design*Mom)

Listen up bitches, it’s time to learn incorrect things about someone you’ve never heard of (The Outline)

Marie Kondo-ing My Closet Made Me Confront My Own Internalized Fatphobia (BUST)

Beyoncé Meets Netflix: Everything We Know About the Upcoming Beychella Project (Vanity Fair)

How abortion became a partisan issue in America (Vox)

Why More Couples Are Getting Married by a Friend (The Atlantic)

Watching My Parents Bicker Taught Me How to Love (The Cut)


Things I’m loving this week:

Last week I got my bonus at work and I did something responsible with it - I paid off Sallie Mae! This loan was from my senior year of undergrad and I’m so glad to have at least one burden taken care of. Also, nothing is morning humbling than seeing your original principal balance, and then doing the math on how much you’ve actually paid over the years, and comparing the numbers. But I won’t dwell on that, I’ll just celebrate this milestone and work towards paying off my last two student loans.

 
Bye Felicia!

Bye Felicia!

 

I also went a little crazy after my March No Shopping challenge, including getting everything on my Sephora wishlist. I walked out of the store with several new Tatcha products, Nars foundation and concealer, and a few other goodies. I won’t be keeping it all (some products didn’t work for me) but it was fun to go see all the new products in stores.


Enjoy your weekend!


I Conquered My Fear Of Wearing A Red Lip, And Now I'm Obsessed

I got into the makeup game late. Unlike other girls who experimented with makeup in their teens, I waited until college to start wearing lipstick and mascara. My first introduction to makeup was MAC Cosmetics, which is a fave brand of many a woman of color. I remember my very first purchase - a chestnut lip liner and a beautiful bronzy brown lipstick, which I wore faithfully for years. As I got older, I experimented with different shades like plum and berry, and even a nice pink, but I was too afraid of red lipstick. Red lipstick may seem like an innocuous thing, but it carries with it numerous connotations. Ask your average Black woman, and they'll tell you that someone in their family - be it Mama, Big Mama, or Auntie - cautioned them against wearing red lipstick. In some families, red lipstick and red nail polish were reserved for "grown" women, not little girls or teenagers. For some, red lipstick was a sign that a girl was "fast" - too sexy at a young age. Others said that red lipstick was not for women of a certain skin color - I can't be sure which one, because I've heard that both light-skinned and dark-skinned women should not wear red lipstick (and who even comes up with these rules?).

I can't say that any of these so-called rules were handed down to me in-person, but I picked them up over time. No one ever said to me "you can't wear red lipstick!" but something in me felt like I shouldn't. A little voice inside me said "no, it's not for you!" and I didn't have the strength or desire to drown it out. I'd see the magazine spreads proclaiming that red lips were in, but I never thought I could pull it off. Browns, plums, pinks - they were all safe and expected, easy to wear with no stress and no fuss.

Overcoming My Fear

I can't say there was a moment or event that caused me to tackle my fear of a red lip. I suppose it was a gradual change, that started as I also started to embrace and love more of myself. That started when LM came into my life - his love and admiration of me has rubbed off on me. I've become more bold in my fashion choices, and my overall outlook is changed. I feel better and that translates into how I look, and I take more care into my appearance. All that coupled together has given me confidence to try new things...including a red lip.

I took the plunge during a makeover at Sephora. I was having my face done for my bridal shower, and I wanted to try a lip color that I could wear for my wedding. On a whim, I told the makeup artist about how I'd always wanted to wear a red lip, but I was worried I couldn't pull it off. He listened, studied my face, and walked away. He returned with a YSL glossy stain and carefully applied it to my lips. I turned to look at myself in the mirror, and I immediately loved what I saw. I was wearing a red lip, and it looked great! I had done it! I decided to buy it and use it as my lip color for my wedding, and the compliments I received at my bridal shower confirmed my purchase. I loved wearing the YSL glossy stain on my wedding day - it held up through photos, kisses, and even the delicious food and drinks at our cocktail hour. I only needed to reapply once through the entire night!

Clinique Chubby Stick Chunkiest Chili

After that first taste of a red lip, I was hooked. I started making more frequent trips to Sephora, to try new products and different shades of red. My next purchase was the Clinique Chubby Stick Intense Moisturizing Lip Color Balm in Chunkiest Chili.  Its listed as a brown red, but I don't see the brown in the color. Normally lip balms are more sheer, but I love how pigmented this chubby stick is. I started wearing this color everywhere, especially because it provides much-needed moisture for the lips.  Around the same time, I also received my Sephora birthday gift, which was two NARS lip pencils, a satin rosy pink, and a velvet matte in Cruella, which is a scarlet red. Now this was a red lip! Bold, bright, and matte! I loved how the satin lip pencil wore, so I also picked up one in Majella, a garnet red with plenty of shine. This was my absolute favorite to wear, and I wore it faithfully every day. I remember the first time I wore it to the office - I felt so bold!

NARS Satin Lip Pencil Majella

My current favorite red lip color is Le Marc Lip Creme in So Rouge, which was the gift in the Sephora VIB Rouge 2015 welcome kit. BTW, I hit VIB Rouge at the end of 2015 - yay! I did not expect to love this color so much, but it's so vibrant and wears so beautifully, you can't help but love it. It's so gorgeous that I have to make myself alternate it with the YSL glossy stain and the NARS satin lip pencil.

Le Marc Lip Creme

It's been a little over a year since I decided to be bold, and finally try a red lip. Verdict? I'm so happy I did it. It's given my confidence a major boost, and I see now why so many women say that wearing a bold red lip makes them feel powerful. I never thought that a lip color could affect your mood and your confidence level, but I'm now a believer. Since I've started wearing red lipstick, I've added several to my collection and I wear a red lip almost everyday. How's that for conquering a fear?

Do you wear red lipstick? What's your fave?