Fall is here which means time to breakout all the dark colors. The blacks, the neutrals, the dark blues, the forest greens, and deep burgundies.

If you’re like me I enjoy these colors all year round.

When it comes to makeup dark lipstick is the current trend.

For weeks now I’ve been on a search for the perfect dark purple/red lipstick for someone of my complexion. It’s been an interesting journey.

To be honest, I’m a newbie when it comes to makeup. I didn’t seriously start wearing makeup until maybe my first year of undergrad. Even nail-polish is kinda new for me.

But I adore lipstick, especially a good matte lipstick.

The first dark lipstick I tried was by Mac. It was way too dark. It was very close to a black. A woman working their told me because I have yellow undertones, I should stay away from cooler colors. This of course made me disappointed because all the cool tumblr girls seem to get away with damn near black lipstick and it look killer in it. This also made me realize I’m not a cool tumblr girl either. So my search continues.

I tried a color by Sephora, but Sephora brand lipstick didn’t work for me. I would have to continue reapplying throughout the day.

After having success with a bright purple color from Stila, I realized maybe spending a little bit more money on makeup means I’ll get better options.

So a few weeks ago I tried out some lipstick from Make Up Forever.

Both were ok. I ended up getting the N50.

 

I like the N50, but I felt like I could do better. I almost gave up on the whole dark lipstick thing, when I found the perfect dark lipstick.

Kat Von D’s Rosary

And I was about to buy it when I also started looking for a good nude lipstick. The woman at Sephora helped me find a good one by NARS. Since I really could only afford one lipstick at the time, I decided to go with the nude. I needed a good everyday lipstick. I’ll get the dark lipstick later, after I return the Make Up Forever.

NARS Satin Lip Pencil in Cognac

To be honest? I’m obsessed with this nude lipstick now. It’s kinda perfect. This entire time I was looking for a dark lipstick, but I’m realizing nude looks amazing on me. Will I give up on my dark lipstick? Nope. I’ve spent too much time and money looking for the perfect dark lipstick. Plus it’s good to switch it up.

Throwback Thursday, my story about Hurricane Sandy.

My Portfolio

Bianca Clendenin and her team braces the beginnings of Hurricane Sandy, which started to hit earlier this afternoon. The campus was pretty deserted, besides a few students still craving cigarettes. But overall students who decided to stay on campus are coping with the incoming weather

The brute of the storm is expected to hit this evening between 9pm-12am, according ABC 7 News.

Additional reporting done by Erik Alfonseca.

Originally published for The Purchase Brick

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To seed out all the terrible jokes on Facebook and Instagram about folks who won’t be able to receive their welfare checks or people who just don’t know about the current situation so they leave obnoxious comments, may leave some of you confused about what’s going on in Washington right now.

I’m sorry one Parks and Recreation screenshot was needed! In their fictional town, the government was shut down for 3 months.

If you’re a little confused about this government shutdown, that’s fine! There’s more to this current situation than you see from your social media circle.

Here is a short breakdown of everything you need to know about this government shutdown:

On October 1st at midnight the House and the Senate couldn’t come to an agreement on bill that would fund the federal government. This comes right after the Republican dominated House had recently just voted against the current Affordable Health Care Act, with a 231-192 vote along party lines. This bill was supposed to allow the health care act to be delayed another year. However this bill died in the Senate.

On Monday President Obama came out and said that “no matter what Congress decides to do today. The Affordable Care Act is moving forward. That funding is already in place. You can’t shut it down.”

The problem is Congress basically can’t play nice. The reason why we’re getting our first government shutdown in 17 years is because Congress can’t agree on how to fund our government.  The lack of compromise is daunting, but not surprising.

This isn’t all about the Affordable Health Care Act, Congress needs to agree on 12 different bills to pass that would fund different parts of the federal government. So far they’ve had more stopgag budgets than bills passed. A stopgag is basically putting the bill on hold and dealing with it later. As you can tell this hasn’t been the best method.

So you’re question is, what’s actually being shutdown? The answer would be, let’s talk about what’s staying open.

The Military, air traffic control, emergency medical care, border patrol, federal prisons, most law enforcement, emergency and disaster assistance, overseeing the banking system, operating the power grid, and guarding federal property are some of the many “essential to the protection of life and property of the nation” that will still be open.

Financial benefits like Social Security and veteran benefits will still be put into effect. While unemployment and food stamps will still continue for the time being. However depending on how long the government shutdown lasts, these benefits could soon stop.

The postal service and the federal reserve will still be operating, as well as all agencies of independent U.S funding.

Now you’re thinking, ok so what’s actually being shutdown then?

The list is fairly long. Here are some of the agencies that will be included in the shutdown:

All of the national parks and museums will be closed, including the Statue of Liberty in New York and the Yosemite National Park in California.

Women, Infants and Children program, also known as WIC will be cut off, which allows pregnant and new mothers to buy food for their children. A service that reaches almost 9 million Americans, it is estimated that most States have enough funds to keep the program afloat with federal government assistance until the end of the month.

The Justice Department will suspend many civil cases for as long as the government is shut down. However the FBI and Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) will stay open.

Here’s a complete list of all the government agencies that are closed and open: http://www.cnn.com/interactive/2013/09/politics/government-shutdown-impact/

and

http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/contingency-plans

Now that you have an idea of what this shutdown means, who does this effect?

Well currently about 800,000 federal workers will be send home because of this shutdown. This leaves about “1.3 million “essential ” federal workers, 1.4 million active-duty military members, 500,000 Postal Service workers, and other employees in independently-funded agencies who will continue working”, according to the Washington Post.

For a breakdown of the different agencies what impacts this shutdown will bring. Check out this detailed list by the Washington Post.

What about all the” non-essential” workers? Will they get paid?

This is still unclear. This really all depends on Congress.

How will this effect our economy?

Well considering stocks went up yesterday, you would think our economy isn’t doing too bad even while our government is crumbling.

It’s reported that the local economy for D.C is expected to lose almost $200 million everyday the shutdown occurs.

Going by my research, it’s all still pretty unclear what exactly will happen. It all depends on many factors, ones we may not know for a few days or maybe even in a few weeks. The best we can hope for is for Congress to finally come together to create a way to basically fund the government and then get back to work.

Now that you have a little bit more information on the government shutdown, please go out and read more! My little write up on scratches the surface.

Most of my important came from this super helpful Washington Post Breakdown. For more details check it out here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/09/30/absolutely-everything-you-need-to-know-about-how-the-government-shutdown-will-work/

Ok one more joke and a reference to another show to be obsessed over with. Seriously go watch House of Cards!

Two Sundays ago when Nina Davuluri of New York won Miss America, the racist backlash on social media sites like Twitter was not surprising.

Miss Davuluri is the first Indian-American to win Miss America. Exactly 30 years ago Vanessa Willaims for the first black woman to win.

Crystal Lee, Miss California, was the runner up was also Asian-American.

However on September 15th Miss America was called anything, but her new title. People went to twitter to discuss their hate for the 24 year-old winner. Comments like, “And the Arab wins Miss America. Classic.” or “9/11 was 4 days ago and she gets miss America?

Or even the most grotesque by comparing her to the terrorist’s group Al Queda, “Miss America is a terrorist. Whatever. It’s fine.

These tweets and more only show that many racist Americans don’t know the different between someone who is Arab and Indian and that they love linking terrorism and 9/11 to things that have nothing to do with one another.

People forget that the internet is written in ink. Once you put it out there, it’s kinda hard for it to be erased.

Another image that got circulated around a lot that night was this:

#MissKansas a real miss America ” @nateypoo14 this is why everyone is freaking out over #MissAmerica

To be honest, I forget how big pageants are America. With shows like Toddlers and Tiaras and Honey Boo Boo, beauty pageants are as American as apple pie.

However American is code for white by many people. Use I am technically American, but society pictures an young American girl as blonde, blue, just fresh out of college working where she is. Not me and not Nina Davuluri.

This got me to thinking about the concept of the girl next door.

According to Urban Dictionary, The Girl Next Door is someone who is “someone you could bring home to your parents”or a “sweet, virginal, pure girl who you always admired, but could never actually go up too.”

I most admit The Girl Next Door concept is problematic because it place the Madonna/Whore complex on women. That women can only be one way or another, either prude or a whore. However woman of color rarely have the opportunity to be placed on such a pedestal. They are usually overly criticized, objectified, and sexualized. So being seen as “pure” or “virginal” is usually out of the question.

Women like Nina Davuluri could never been seen as the girl next door in a mainstream concept, even though she has the qualities of one. Miss America is supposed to uphold this idea. A beautiful, smart, and sweet unattainable woman. However her “otherness” cancels this out.

Her racial and ethnic background shouldn’t exclude her from this term (in reality we shouldn’t put such general labels on anyone) or from her being America. Racists White Americans forget that America is melting pot and that there is no one way to be American.

Julie Chen revealed on the daily talk show “The Talk” that she had undergo surgery to enlarge her Asian eyes. Chen, an American news anchor and and producer for CBS. She has done everything from CBS Early News to Big Brother.

While working as a local news reporter in Dayton, Ohio, Chen’s boss allegedly told her that she would never sit at the anchor desk due to her Chinese heritage. ” ‘Let’s face it Julie, how relatable are you to our community? How big of an Asian community do we have in Dayton?’ ” she recalled him saying. ” ‘On top of that, because of your Asian eyes, sometimes I’ve noticed that when you’re on camera and you’re interviewing someone, you look disinterested. You look bored.’ “

via The Hollywood Reporter

Here is another woman who was openly criticized for not looking American enough.

Even though she was born in Queens, New York, because she is of Chinese decent, this erases her Americaness.

When asked about her opinion on Julie Chen’s surgery, this is what Nina Davuluri had to say “Unfortunately, I don’t agree with plastic surgery, however, I can understand that from her standpoint,” she replied. “But more importantly, I’ve always viewed Miss America as the girl next door, and the girl next door is evolving as diversity in America evolves. She’s not who she was ten years ago, and she’s not going to be the same person come ten years down the road.”

Regardless of how you feel about plastic surgery, to see someone change their looks to appease people’s racial insecurities is upsetting. As someone who hopes to work on TV one day, maybe even on screen, the idea that you may have to change your natural looks to fit into a more European Beauty Standard just be successful in this line of work is frustrating to say the least.

Women like Nina Davuluri and Julie Chen, are reasons why I want to work in media. To show that woman of color come in many different molds.

We can talk about how beautiful Nina Davuluri is, but we can also talk about how smart she is. Right now she is going to use the money she won with Miss America to apply to medical school, in hopes to become a cardiologist. Davuluri graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in brain behavior and cognitive science, earning Dean’s List, Michigan Merit Award, and National Honor Society Award honors along the way.

Is she the girl next door? Maybe or maybe not. But she’s our new Miss America and she really can be whatever she wants.

“Statement Making Compton Tee”: http://www.forever21.com/Product/Product.aspx?Br=F21&Category=top&ProductID=2000074051&VariantID=

“N.W.A Muscle Shirt”: http://www.forever21.com/Product/Product.aspx?Br=F21&Category=top&ProductID=2000110593&VariantID=

“Ice Cube Cropped Sweatshirt”: http://www.forever21.com/Product/Product.aspx?Br=F21&Category=top&ProductID=2000110158&VariantID=

Hip-Hop has been commercialized for years now. There’s no denying that. Your parents or grandparents probably know a few Biggie or Tupac lyrics, or at least are aware of who they are.

The know Jay-Z as the rapper and the business man.

They know that people couldn’t stop talking about Kendrick Lamar’s verses on Control.

Like any other genre of music, portions of Hip-Hop is mainstream cool.

People have been complaining that hip-hop has been completely white-washed. Thanks to the popularity of rappers like Macklemore and Iggy Azalea. However you feel about them, you can’t deny the fact that in mainstream pop music they have become the faces of new hip-hop. Easily digestible for people who may not have been raised on rap and hip-hop culture. They also have crossover appeal because of their whiteness.

As someone who listens to all kinds of music, I find it refereeing to know other people who a diverse taste as well. This summer I went to an old school hip-hop show and was surrounded by a bunch of white fans who were rapping along to the MC’s like Big Daddy Kane and Naughty by Nature. Hip-hop has become universal and there’s nothing wrong with that.

However my biggest problem with Forever 21’s N.W.A shirts is because of lack of knowledge of what the words and faces on those shirts mean.

For one, N.W.A stands for Niggaz Wit Attitudes. N.W.A was popular rap group that rose in the late 80s in Compton, California. They were considered the pioneers of gangsta rap on the west coast. Their music, heavily criticized at the time for being violent, disrespectful to women, glorifying drugs and other criminal like behavior. However it was also a response to what was happening around them at the time. Drugs, crime, poverty, and violence was what consisted for people living in urban areas. They were able to take what was going on at the time and talk about it on a worldwide stage. Folks who lived in urban areas all over the the nation was able to relate. This is at it’s core what made N.W.A great and want makes them a legendary group in hip-hop.

So why can’t pretty young blonde girls not wear a N.W.A shirt? The majority of buyers at Forever 21 probably know nothing about N.W.A. The fact that the website’s models are conventionally pretty, skinny, blonde, white girls who are wearing these shirts seems ironic. A group that almost 20 years ago who would have never cater to this audience is now being sold at a store where 13-18 year old girls could spend all of their allowance.

I wonder what was going through the heads of the designers at Forever 21: How can we sale edginess and Miley Cyrus to our preteen set?

Hip-Hop and Black Culture will always be discussed and dissected. Because it’s not created in a vacuum, black people aren’t the only ones who will appreciate it. However how can we distinguish between appreciate or appropriation?

What do you guys think, do you believe Forever 21 was right for having white models wear N.W.A shirts or do you think that they should of used black models? Or do you think they should have never made the shirts in the first place?

 

 

 

Four people were killed and eight more were wounded Monday at the Washington Navy Yard when gunmen armed with assault rifles barged inside and opened fire, officials said.

Police shot one of the intruders, who later died of his wounds, the Associated Press reported.

The other was believed to be pinned down in the Naval Sea Systems Command Headquarters building, besieged by police, according to local media.

Two police officers were reportedly among the wounded, including a Washington D.C. cop who was hit twice in the legs and was evacuated by helicopter.

The other victims were all said to be civilians who work at the base in southeast Washington, local media reported.

It was not immediately clear who the gunmen were, but everybody from SWAT teams to the Marines were on the scene and overhead a half-dozen military choppers were circling the base.

Navy yard workers interviewed by CNN said they were fired on in a hallway by a rifle-toting gunman who opened fire without any warning.

“He was tall,” Terry Durham said. “He appeared to be dark-skinned.”

“He was a tall black guy,” said her co-worker, Todd Brundage, who is also black. “He didn’t say a word.”

The New York Daily News, “Deadly Washington Navy Yard Shootings” (via inothernews)

With her second full length album finally released, The Electric Lady, we see Janelle Monáe continuing with her android Cindi Mayweather concept, that had helped her become a musical powerhouse. This is the 4th and 5th Suite of her concept album.

Ms. Monáe has been on my radar for years now. The first time I heard her EP The Audition and then her “official” EP Metropolis: Suite I (The Chase), I was blown away by her voice.

Her whole concept is loosely based on the 1920’s film Metropolis, was different and interesting. With heavy influences from Afrofuturism and science fiction, there wasn’t a sound like this happening in mainstream R&B. She excited me, but part of me felt like she wasn’t going to crack into the Top 40 Pop scene. Three years later, Monáe’s debut album appeared. The ArchAndroid was her follow-up to her first EP. It still continued with her android concept, as the 2nd and 3rd Suites.tumblr_mst7rc3kt21sttfo1o1_500

From there her music exploded. You couldn’t get away from her. Performances at The Grammy’s. Becoming a Covergirl. Becoming a fashion ‘it’ girl because of her “uniform” of black and white tuxedos and Pompadour hairstyle. Hit songs with bands like Fun. 2007 me wouldn’t believe this would be happening, but I was sure glad for her success.

This summer can be nicknamed the “Summer of Reminiscence”. Two of the most popular songs of the summer of 2013 had hints of this retro 70s feel.

With Get Lucky by Daft Punk ft. Pharrell, even down to the minimalist music video screams a throwback to the era of disco. Then there was Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke ft. Pharrell and T.I, minus all the controversy of the song (from the anti-feminist lyrics and video to the alleged ripping off of Marvin Gaye), we can all admit the song has a certain disco-esque feel to it. Maybe Pharrell is the one to thank?

There have been countless other acts that came out with music this year with the same feel. Artists like Empire of the Sun, Justin Timberlake, and even Bruno Mar’s single Treasure, all remind me of a decade long before me.

So The Electric Lady coming out at the end of the summer seems like the perfect ending to a funky summer.

An eccentric musical landscape, The Electric Lady combines the futuristic sounds of Cindi Mayweather’s fight for survival in a apocalyptic time, while reminiscing of the Motown-esque sounds of the past.

Musically, this album pulls from many different inspirations. Also having many heavy hitters on her album also bridge together many of these themes. The Jazz of Esperanza Spalding, the funkadelica sounds of Prince, the soul of Erykah Badu, and neo-soul pop of Solange and Miguel, meshes together musical melting pot.

She also works with the band Deep Cotton again, who help produced her album.

The songs where Monáe’s voice really shines, is what makes this a great record. Don’t get me wrong, songs like “Dance Apocalyptic” or “Givin Em What They Love” make me want to get up and dance like the badass rocker I like to pretend that I am. Janelle Monáe gives 5ft girls like myself the confidence to act like we’re 6ft tall. Check out her recent performance on The David Letterman show where she rocks the funk out:

Standout Songs:

“Electric Lady” (featuring Solange)

“Givin Em What They Love” (featuring Prince)

“Dorothy Dandridge Eyes” (featuring Esperanza Spalding)

“Ghetto Woman”

“Can’t Live Without Your Love”

“It’s Code”

“PrimeTime” (featuring Miguel)

Overall, this has been one of my favorite records to come out this year. It’s nice to see an artist you’ve been following for a few years now grow into this mega star, without completely selling out creatively.
What makes her special for weird black girls all over the world, is that she is apologetically making art. She doesn’t fall along one label. She’s fun. She’s fireceless. She’s funky. She is the goddesses of weird black girl coo.