Small Things (tech, fashion, beauty, accessories and more!)

I am not a fan of large things: from pieces of meat (i.e. steak) to handbags to jewelry, large (desktop) computers, bottles of lotion, you name it. Yes, I know that in most some cases you get a better “value” by purchasing things in the larger size or in bulk as we like to call it – I just tend to not do that. Particularly when it comes to beauty, my Small Things approach allows me to “cycle trough” products faster and try new things more frequently (fun!) without becoming a hoarder! When you purchase the big/value size you are locked in for what feels like forever!!!! 😩 The smaller version also makes for easier travel – you don’t have to spend time figuring out “what fits” in this bag or what fits in that bag, you can just take everything! One other factor that has recently become a bigger influence in my purchasing decision is packaging. For example, beauty products with no pump, spray or that doesn’t come in a tube? Count me out!

This post features a few of my favorite Small Things in tech, fashion, beauty, accessories and more! Some items I own and a few are on my *wish list. Most are also great ideas for Mother’s Day. 🌸 Enjoy!

 

Compact mirror – Yes, darling! A super cute item to splurge on. Keep it in your purse or give it as a gift!

 

 

 

 

 

Key pouch – This is my wallet… really! Why carry around 10 or 20 cards everyday?? On a typical day I only need 3 cards (ID, credit card, insurance card) and they all fit comfortably in this pouch with room to spare. Hook this to my keys and I’m out the door! Need to add cash? Also no problem. (I do own one regular-size wallet but I rarely use it!) #downsize

 

 

 

 

 

Hand cream and hand sanitizer in the smallest sizes available. OK, this one is really a twofer; but, they go hand in hand (get it? ha!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TSA Approved Quart Size Bag. Great for short weekend trips home or take it with you to the beach!

 

 

 

 

 

Bluetooth Speaker – Compact,  cute and the sound is good enough.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everyday Handbag: LOVE! Do I have larger handbags? Yes (a couple)! BUT if I’m not traveling or going to work this beauty will likely be at my side.

 

 

 

 

*Jewelry case. How much jewelry do you own? (I’ll wait…….) How many pieces do you consider to be staples, meaning pieces you wear regularly…. 🤔 For me, it’s 2-3 rings, a couple of bracelets, 2 pairs of earring studs (pearl, *diamond) and 1-2 necklaces, that’s it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Laptop – Small, portable, gorgeous! Get rid of your dinosaur and DOWNSIZE!!!

 

 

 

 

 

Moisturizing cream (night time only) – This is 1 of 2 of my pot-type exceptions for packaging; but, I do always buy the 0.5 ounce size for maximum freshness. This is one of very few exceptions for me when it comes to packaging, thanks to these mini disposable spatulas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lunch box. The perfect size, easy to clean and also includes a fork, knife and spoon. Plus it looks cooler than the typical tupperware 😬

Google to HBCU for the win!

THIS is how you change the game… go straight to the source. #STEM #HBCU #ComputerScience #BlackSoftwareEngineer <== 🙋🏽🙋🏽🙋🏽

Read more about Google and Howard’s partnership here. Here’s to hoping this business-to-hbcu trend continues and my Alma Mater is next in line…. 🤔

 

Smart Jackets

Hey peeps, it’s been a while 🙂 Honestly, I really haven’t had anything important to say. So, instead of putting out a post just for the sake of it, I choose not to blog at all until, something interesting and/or exciting comes along.

I’ve already told you that I ❤️ collaborations and that I hope to see many more! Smart Jackets is a collaboration between Levi (yes, the jeans company) and Google and it’s exactly what it sounds like – a wireless enabled jean jacket – that will cost you $350. Mashable notes, “…for now the jacket is mainly used to control core features of your smartphone, like starting or stopping music, answering the phone or reading text messages, as well as Google services like Maps and Calendar.” iPhone users are out of luck – at least until Apple announces a similar partnership with another popular jeans brand and we all are again, forced to pick sides… sigh.

You all know I love technology; but, I do just have to say one thing here, especially in the age of leaks, breaches and hacks. The more connected we are, the more vulnerable we are and our (perceived) “safeness” lies solely in these company’s ability to protect their infrastructure (severs, databases, etc.) from outside intrusions. I’m not saying you shouldn’t buy this jacket or that you should be paranoid about everything that’s connected or that we should all go back using to flip phones. What I am saying is everyone needs to be aware. Fortunately or unfortunately (depending on your perspective), this is the economy we live in and the way of the world/future (see also Drones).

You can watch Levi’s smart jacket in action below.

Amazon Go

The future of shopping, according to Amazon, includes no lines, no waiting and no cashiers. For the past 4 years, the company has been working on technology that will allow customers to walk into a store, grab what they want and simply walk out – no checkout required. Amazon’s version of this tech-enabled brick-and-morter store, Amazon Go.

How does Amazon Go work?

Our checkout-free shopping experience is made possible by the same types of technologies used in self-driving cars: computer vision, sensor fusion, and deep learning. Our Just Walk Out technology automatically detects when products are taken from or returned to the shelves and keeps track of them in a virtual cart. When you’re done shopping, you can just leave the store. Shortly after, we’ll charge your Amazon account and send you a receipt.

All you need to shop at an Amazon Go store is an Amazon account and the free Amazon Go app on your smartphone. Employee’s at Amazon’s Seattle headquarters are testing out the first store as we speak. It will open publicly to consumers in early 2017.

Take a look below.

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Tech-assisted Black Friday Makeup Haul

I spent a couple of hours on Black Friday in a single store, Sephora. If you’re a girly girl this place really can feel like heaven on earth and it is EASY to spend HOURS mulling over the thousands of beauty products at your fingertips. My goal here is to not talk so much about what I purchased (although I will share that); rather, I want to explain the PROCESS I use to identify and select my items BEFORE I even step a  foot into the store. So, let’s get started!

top-cosmetics-brands-in-pakistan-their-product-rate-price-imagesThere are so many makeup lines and products out there. Some great, some not so great. My theory is that every brand is not good at everything. So when shopping for makeup, my strategy is ALWAYS the same: identify the brand with the best concealer, the brand with the best foundation, the brand with the best lipsticks, and so forth. At the end of all this identifying, the result is a diverse makeup portfolio from many different lines. I never go all in with one makeup line, it just simply is not always the best choice.

My first step is RESEARCH. I will go to (mainly) saks.com AND sephora.com, search for a keyword and then sort the results by Best Sellers. You can search for “concealer” or “lipstick” or “face wash” or “foundation” or “blush” or “lip liner” or “eye liner” or “eye shadow (palette)” or whatever you need. This method is tried and true and you can VERY EASILY find out what most people are buying. Take note of each brand. I mean like literally, write it down in your planner or start a note on your phone and call it Beauty. Also read the reviews (from multiple sites) to gain maximum insight. If you REALLY want to be thorough add in searches on additional sites like beauty.com and amazon.com <== comments are most valuable!!!!!

screen-shot-2016-11-26-at-7-25-03-amNow you have a list of brands to investigate. Step two is YouTube. If you determine that lip gloss by Anastasia Beverly Hills is something you want to try, search for “Anastasia Beverly Hills lip gloss swatches” or “review of Anastasia Beverly Hills lip gloss”. There are TONS of videos with people demo’ing each and every shade 😳 for every company and talking about the product itself. I’m not joking here – Urban Decay has 100 shades of lipstick and Youtuber sonjdradeluxe has a 7 minute review of them all, watch here. Urban Decay also has an awesome app to try on all 100 shades (iOS). This is NOT uncommon! You can find swatch videos for Nars, Kylie, Urban Decay, Kate Von D, MAC, Bite and many more brands. This an important step as it will allow you to get a quick preview of all the shades in a collection to identify ones that tickle your fancy.

By this time you will have a narrowed down list of list of potentials (brands, products, shades/colors). Head on over to the Virtual Artist on Sephora’s app (iOS only). Snap a pic of yourself and try on the shade(s) you picked. This is the fun part! and time can get away from you while you’re at play. (check out the app in action below).

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screen-shot-2016-11-26-at-7-44-37-amNow it’s time to hit the store and you, my friend, will be on a mission to try out, in person, the brands and shades you selected. There will be no wondering around the store aimlessly because you have done your homework and will have a better chance coming out feeling like a #winner. Why? Because it’s in the store that you will (in) validate what you think you like. While you’re there, get one of the workers to find your ColorIQ – it will recommend foundation, concealer, lipstick and more all based on your skin tone! You can even view recommendations on the Sephora app! #trulywinningnow

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Few additional tips (sorry so many, I got excited 😩):

  1. If your budget does not support a particular brand, there’s an easy fix for that. Simply Google the Brand and color followed by the word dupe. You’ll find lost of suggestions for a color that will give you a close match at a fraction of the cost. Here is one of the results that came up when I searched for “MAC lipstick dupes”
  2. I mostly stay away from product placements in magazines, like this one in InStyle. (I believe) They are almost always paid advertisements and thus, may not be your best bet. If you take a suggestion be sure to also do your homework.
  3. You can and should use this approach for any product: shoes, refrigerators, clothes, makeup, handbags, cars, you name it! Go into a purchase, especially an expensive one, as an informed shopper.
  4. If you go into a department store (i.e. Macy’s, Dillards), find the the makeup artists who DO NOT work for a particular brand, like MAC, and ask for their opinion/suggestions. They have no allegiance to a particular brand and all they need to do is sell (anything). From personal experience, they are the most objective. I know Macy’s and Dillards have these type of in-store pop-up like shops.
  5. Instagram, like YouTube, is your friend. Do watch other people trying on and talking about the thing you want to buy. You may save yourself time and money by finding out (in advance) that a lipstick is super sticky or the opening on that handbag is super small.
  6. If, after doing all your homework, you’re still unsure, ask for a sample. ESPECIALLY WITH PERFUME at Department stores.
  7. Know the store’s return policy for beauty products. In many cases, if you’re unhappy with your purchase (just like with most other items), you can return/exchange it for something else. This is why I almost always prefer to shop at Nordstrom. I know their return policy like the back of my hand!
  8. Finally, even if you have not done your homework, don’t be afraid to still hit the store anyway! Find people who look like you and ask“what brand has the best foundation?” Or whatever other question is on your mind. It’s their job to know these things!

img_0198So now on to what I bought during my Tech-assisted Black Friday Makeup haul at SephoraA grand total of 4 items: 2 lip glosses from Anastasia Beverly Hills, 1 lipstick from Urban Decay and 1 concealer from Nars – all after doing my research and all of which showed up on my ColorIQ #proudmoment. Earlier in the day I also purchased Philosphy’s Purity Made Simple One-Step Facial Cleanser to be used with my Clairsonic. Philosophy was 40% off! and Clairsonics are still 20% off, including free engraving.) #thatisall Happy researching and trying on and testing and shopping and #winning. 💁🏽💄