Fashion Review: Elie Saab & Zuhair Murad Haute Couture Spring 2018

This week is Haute Couture Fashion Week in Paris, and I love it when these shows happen. That is because it is likely someone is going to wear one of the gowns at these Haute Couture at the upcoming Academy Awards.

It is also a good chance to take a look at two of my favorite designers, Elie Saab and Zuhair Murad. Sometimes I think these two never fail. Other times I think they could’ve done better. This time it was in-between for both of them.

Let’s take a look at Elie Saab…

Click on link to see more at Zimbio

This season’s collection featured a lot – and I mean, a lot! – of bows and fuzziness. It appeared that Saab was experimenting with something different, which is fine, but I felt it was too much this time. There were a few gowns that I really liked, the one on the left is among them. But overall, I wasn’t too enthralled with the feathers and bows for this collection.

Now onto Zuhair Murad…

Click here to see more at Zimbio.

I liked this season’s collection a lot. Plenty of red, jeweled dresses and pure beauty. The one thing I am concerned about is Murad may be accused of cultural appropriation by incorporating Native American designs and styles into this collection. If so, then whoever wears one of these gorgeous dresses may also be accused of such, and there will be a lot of controversy going on. Even so, I feel Murad topped Saab here this time around.

What Color Lipstick to Wear With a Red Top?

I like my lipstick with a reddish hue. The one I prefer to wear the most is Covergirl’s Plum Fury, which is like a red color with a dash of purple in it.

But I also have some red tops that I wear to work or to go out with friends. So with the possibility of Plum Fury clashing with my red tops, what should I wear then?

Usually, I wear my other favorite lipstick, Laura Mercier’s Dulce de Leche, which gives a midbrown nude color. Sometimes I add Maybelline’s Untainted Spice to it just to make it darker. But either way, I think this is the perfect lipstick color for the NY & Company red button down shirt that I like to wear to work. As you can see, Dulce de Leche give a kind-of reddish look, but it isn’t either.

Or, I could wear a certain shade of pink. I prefer Makeup Academy’s Blush for my H&M top that I like to either hang around in or wear to spend time with friends. This color works because it is not too reddish pink, and also the H&M top has black threads in it, taking away from the solid red look. But there’s clashing here either!

The goal while wearing a red top is not to wear red lipstick, in my opinion. It would be took matchy-matchy that way. Luckily, with all the choices we had in lipstick colors these days, there’s no way to be at a loss when you wear a red top!

How about you? What lipstick colors do you wear when you wear a red top?

Well, Hello There!

I know it has been a long time since I’ve blogged here. But I am ready and committed to doing this blog, especially since it is the new year, and a new me! IMG_4198

I took some time off from blogging because life had gotten too busy. I moved from Staten Island and returned to Brooklyn after a nine-month hiatus. I then was super busy with work, and job hunting. These days, I am still doing pretty much the same, but I am focused on doing this blog in order to keep my sanity as I work and search for a new job. I’m sure many of you are aware that looking for a new a job is not easy, so anything to reduce the stress – in a healthy matter, of course! – is necessary.

Plus, I want to do this blog because I have a whole new attitude these days. Before, I was kind of glum and unfocused. But now I am more upbeat and focused, and I want to share that with others what I have learned.

Another thing that is new is how I am viewing fashion and beauty. I’m really coming out of the dark, so to speak. But that doesn’t mean I’ll be changing the name of this blog. I still am The Dark Pearl. I still like dark colored-clothes, even though I have been leaning a little bit more towards more color in my wardrobe. Yes, my experimental semi-goth days are done. However, I still love gothic jewelry, and the color black, so that remains. So, maybe I am not really done after all!

I also plan to discuss my love of coffee shops. I’m in Brooklyn after all! I’ll be sharing my thoughts and reviews of coffee shops around this borough. I’ll also give my reviews on fashion while I share my own fashion loves. Meaning, I may just review fashion shows and red carpet events. It is award season after all.

Anyway, I am back and here to stay!

  • Megan

Mismatched Earrings – Cool or Uncool?

Image found on The Fashion Tag Blog

I know I am very late with this topic, but I only heard about it recently and I do want to chat about it.

As some of you may know, supermodel Kate Moss recently declared matching earrings “uncool”. Mandy Moore was seen at this year’s Met Gala with mismatched earrings, as did Ivanka Trump while visiting Germany with her father. As someone who adores earrings and has multiple piercings, it did get me asking whether mismatched earrings are indeed a trend and one to follow.

Personally, I think mismatched earrings only look good at certain places. I think if you work at a uptight, professional atmosphere, mismatched earrings may look juvenile and unprofessional. But if you are out with friends or at a party, sure! Go for it!

As for me, I really don’t think I’ll be wearing mismatched earrings anytime soon. I am too much of a neat freak to wear mismatched earrings, and besides, it can look sloppy if you don’t pick the right earrings to mismatch. Take Charlize Theron at this year’s Oscars for example. She wore dangled diamond earrings, but one was shaped like a pear while the other was shaped like a heart. That’s totally fine. But if she were to have worn a dangled pearl earring with one of the diamond earrings, I think she would’ve done the mismatched poorly. As for Mandy Moore, it looked like one of her earrings lost their bottom part.

So, if you choose to go mismatched, make sure you pick the ones that do sort-of match anyway. Pick a fraternal twin to one of your twins rather than an identical. Or, stay identical! You’d look more put-together that way, depending where you go.

 

Every Lady Needs Three Kinds of Pants

I love skirts and dresses. There’s nothing better than to feel feminine whilst wearing those items. However, during the cold winter, pants are a must, and I believe there are three certain pants that belong in every woman’s closet.

They are: the black pants, the gray pants, and the pinstripe pants.

We all know black pants are a must, but gray pants are essential too in case you have a black top to wear. Never wear gray on gray, though. You can wear black on black, but never other colors. It just doesn’t look right.

Unless, of course, you have pinstripe pants. As in, black pants with white or gray lines going vertical. These pants allow any tops, including black, gray or white. I recently wore a gray button down top with the above pinstripe pants, and I have to say, I rocked the outfit!

So there you have it: black, gray and pinstripe. All other kinds of pants – beige, dark blue, red, etc. – are just nice little extras.

 

Finding the Perfect Lipstick

Earlier this week, I posted a photo on Instagram of me wearing Maybelline’s Untainted Spice. I had bought the matte lipstick because it resembled my Laura Mercier Dulce de Leche lipstick, which is running low, and also because with my tight budget, I couldn’t afford the Laura Mercier kind (sob!).

Anyway, I have been wondering if I wear the right color for my lips. I was once told that I have the perfect skin tone to wear red lipstick – the bright, pinup style. So, I wore that kind of lipstick often, only to be told it didn’t look good on me.

I even have a Mulberry Luster Matte lipcolor from Sephora that gives, well, a mulberry color, which I’ve received quite a few compliments on. It’s a bold color, and when I bought it, I was in the mood to be bold.

But I’ve been debating lately what looks best on me. It looks like some of the lip color that I own don’t look too good on me. I do like dark red colors, so I hope to find the right lip color for my complexion and hair.

Finding the perfect lipstick feels like a pain. Heck, finding all makeup that looks good on you feels like quite the hunt. It is all trial and error.

Yes, that’s it: trial and error. Finding the right lipstick, eyeliner, eyeshadow, etc., is all trial and error. Sometimes you pick something that looks right, only to realize some time later, it never looked good in the first place. Other times you put something on, unsure if it actually looks good, only to receive numerous praises.

Trial and error. That’s how a woman tries to look good.

 

I Finally Did It!

I did it! I finally did it!

Took me 14 days, but I finally did one of my New Years’ resolutions: exercise regularly.

After days of saying I need to exercise more following the holidays, while also stuffing my face with too many snacks, I finally set some time aside today and worked out. I did push-ups, squats and sit-ups. All 25 each, which is the most I can do with my weak body (I’m not really weak, just quite out of shape). Hopefully as time goes on, I bring that number up to 50, 75 and even 100.

I have gained a little weight this past year. Thanks to the meds I am on, my metabolism is slower. I also have been eating the wrong foods lately. This is all deja vu from when I first became overweight, back in 2010. It was then that I topped my heaviest at 210 pounds. I do not want to weight that much ever again, so I am making an effort to slim down, firm up and also get my heart rate going.

In case you are wondering, I joined Weight Watchers and then moved to Brooklyn and did tons of walking. I then slimmed down to about 165 pounds. But I still wasn’t really slim. I have – and always had – heavy thighs and a flat tire. Even though I used to squeeze into a size 6 pair of pants, I still had some flab. Imagine if I lost enough to go into a size 4?

Right now, my scale tilts at 178 pounds, which leaves me in dismay. One of the reasons why I started this blog was to keep tabs on eating healthy and living healthy. The fact that I typed this post up is a way of committing myself to living a healthier life.

Monday is a holiday, so I’ll be off from work then. I’ll exercise that day as well, and possibly Wednesday or Thursday. I want to start by exercising three days a week for a few minutes before moving it up to a half hour.

Maybe if all goes well, I’ll look super amazing this summer.

 

Review: Blue Lagoon Iceland Silica Mud Mask

A former roommate gave me a sample of Blue Lagoon Iceland Silica Mud Mask that she simply wanted to get rid of a few months ago. I kept it around all this time, promising to try it, until tonight. I decided to give this mus mask a try, since I have been experimenting with masks lately.

In case you don’t know, Blue Lagoon is a famed geothermal spa in Iceland, and this mask comes from the mud around the location. Here’s an article from Bustle and another from We3Travel about this spa.

As I applied the white mud, the skin on my cheeks started to sting. I got concerned that I was probably allergic to this, and wondered if my face would be left with red irritated spots – or worse.

The stinging continued and it felt a bit like my skin was being burned. Slowly, though, it subsided. Once the white mud mask hardened after about five minutes, I was able to remove it.

The results? My skin was glowing a little, and felt softer. But not as soft as the time I tried putting avocado on my face, and my skin has glowed even more before. So I give the Blue Lagoon Iceland Silica Mud Mask an so-so, like a B- rating. The stinging was not necessary but at least my face was not red or anything afterwards.

 

Letting Go of Grudges

As 2017 gets underway, I am aiming to do better than I did last year, and this time, I am determined to do so. There’s a lot that I do want to repeat from 2016. Among these are bearing grudges against those who harmed me.

Last year, I carried a lot of weight from previous years around, and it took a toll on me. I ended up suffering from deep depression, angry outbursts, and cynicism. While I knew I was better off letting go of what was done to me, rather than holding on to it so tightly, I simply couldn’t let go of the grudges. I felt it was justified. After all, I had been slandered, bullied and harassed. I was scorned for things I did not do. I suffered a severe mental breakdown as a result.

So why not carry around a grudge? I had every right to be angry at those who hurt me.

But as the clock struck midnight this Sunday, I was beginning to realize that if I wanted a better year and better me for 2017, I needed to let go. I needed to let go of all the anger I had. That anger was not doing me any good, and it certainly was not hurting those who had hurt me. They went on with their lives, unharmed and unaffected by what they did to me. It sucks, but that’s reality. Karma is supposed to be a bitch, but sometimes it is unreliable.

As for me, I was turning into a moody, angry and/or depressed person. You know the saying, “refusing to forgive is like swallowing poison and hoping the other guy gets sick”? Yep, that was what I was going through. And if those who had hurt me were to know I was still suffering, I’m sure they would’ve laughed.

So, I am taking steps to let the hurt and anger go. It is not doing me any good. It is not making me healthier. It is not making me happier, more confident, or more nicer. It is making me unstable, unreliable and unhappy. I’m still letting those who hurt me have power over me.

It is good to know that forgiveness is not about trusting someone or willing to be friends with them again. I think Lauryn Hill said it best with this song:

It is not easy to let go of grudge, but I think the key is to soften up one’s pride and ego, and stop playing the victim. Of course, we were all victims once of someone’s malicious ways, and we have a right to be angry. But after a while, that anger turns into victimhood and it doesn’t turn you into the best of human beings. And honestly, do you want to be as bad as those who had hurt you?

Sometimes Jesus Christ’s teachings about forgiveness sounds absurd, even to this Christ follower, but in the end, holding grudges no longer makes sense.

One day at a time, I’ll be letting go. I want this year to be so much better than last year. And I can’t have that if I carry my grudges.

I’ve learned that carrying grudges ruins your self-respect because you’re allowing those you don’t even like to have control over you. I remember one church sign that read: “He who angers you controls you.” If you don’t like someone, why give them control over you? And turn you into a mess?

Let it go…

 

Good-Bye Caffeine, Hello Smoothies!

Before 2016 even ends, I am taking steps to reduce my caffeine intake and replace it with more nutritious drinks. I’m not even waiting until the ball drops on Saturday night. I’m starting today.

I am a coffee addict. I could drink three or four cups a day. I like mine with milk and sugar (two spoons), and I adore that sweet aroma. Like many, I also cannot start my day without coffee.

I’m also a coffee shop enthusiast. I’m also on the lookout for a new coffee shop to check out. I’m one of those freelancers who likes to find a place with outlets, so I could drink my caffe while doing my work.

I also like to meet friends over coffee. Bars just don’t do it for me. Occasionally, they do. But I prefer chatting with a friend over the steaming smell of coffee.

Unfortunately, I have been noticing that downside of being a coffeetarian. It really has negative effects on me. This year, in 2016, I’ve experienced a lot of emotional roller coasters over basically nothing. Things that weren’t a big deal spiraled me out of control. This past week, I finally realized why: the caffeine has a negative effect on me.

My therapist once pointed out to me that I needed scale back my coffee intake after one breakdown. And I did, briefly. But soon I was again knocking back the java nonstop.

Well, it is time for me to stop. I can’t be this emotional mess anymore. I need to reduce my caffeine intake.

So what do I substitute coffee with?

Smoothies!

I’d been considering making smoothies as a way of maintaining a healthier diet. But now, with my need to fill the void that coffee will soon leave, what do I drink? Sure, there’s always decaf. But I want a healthier diet. Plus, I like to experiment with recipes.

So, I am now on a mission to make smoothies. Today, I completed my first smoothie, and it was a success! It was the mixed berry smoothie, inspired by a coffee shop I briefly worked at.

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup full of raspberries, blueberries and strawberries

1/2 a ripe banana

1 cup of plain yogurt

1/4 cup of orange juice

a drop of milk

Blend it all up, and voila! You’ve got yourself a satisfying, delicious smoothie!

As I move on from here, I am going to try – try! – to maintain a healthier diet by eliminating foods and drinks that wreak havoc on both my mind and body. For me, it is not just about being physically healthy. Mental health is very important to me, so I want to do everything I can to make sure my mind and brain are well-taken care of.