The Colors I Wear…

As you probably are aware, I prefer to wear primarily dark colors. I am quite specific the colors I wear because I believe colors have meaning and feeling. I also feel more at ease with dark colors (aside from the occasional white/cream/ivory/ecru/what-have-you) because of they reflect me in some way.

Colors are like a filter of what is going on inside of myself. I also believe it goes vice versa: the colors you wear influence what is going on in you internally. In other words, colors are a two-way street between the clothes and the wearer. Here is a look at the colors I wear and how they make me feel, and the other way around.

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BLACK: As some of you might know, I am getting more at ease with wearing all black all the time. I believe black is a mysterious, elegant color. It is also a serious color, and I am usually serious. Meaning, I like to think deep thoughts and connect the dots to all things in life and in the world. Therefore, black suits me because of its mystery and depth. After all, you cannot get any darker than black. It is the endless deep, so to speak.

At the same time, I feel black suits me because I feel dark sometimes. As someone with mental health issues, I deal with depression and anxiety often. So black comes in handy. There’s no way I could ever wear pastels or something bright in order to lift my spirits whenever I am down. It just would not work. I am quite an honest, true person and I used to hide my issues with bright colors, and it just didn’t feel right. Since I believe one’s personal style is self-expression, I am quite comfortable with wearing lots of black.

 

RED/BURGUNDY/MAROON/WINE:  Ah, red. The color of passion. The color of fierceness, passion and rage. The color of sexiness. I admit I wear the red color “family” often because a friend once told me I look good in red. That being said, though, I feel feminine, powerful and sexy in these colors. It is a way to showcase my strength while blending it with my dark depth that is black. It is a good combination – red and black. It represents so much, depending on the wearer. But for me, these red colors are a representation of female strength.

Flavour lace gray kimono

GRAY/CHARCOAL/MISTY: The in-between when it comes to black. The substitute for black. The perfect choice for when I feel self-conscious wearing all-black. It also comes in handy because charcoal is a good color, and goes so well with black. It represents the same things as black – mystery, depth – without the darkness. It takes out the dark emotions I experience and just leaves in the mysterious, deep thoughts. At the same time, though, my emotions are like a storm, so gray represents my inner storms.

Also, gray has it’s own mysterious element to it. Gray makes me think about mists and fog, kind of like how Ireland and Scotland are. A gray cloudy day looks beautiful to me, believe it or not, so I see the beauty in the gray color family.

Ecru sweater

WHITE/CREAM/IVORY/OATMEAL/PALE BEIGE: Seems kind of odd that with all my love for dark colors, these pop in. However, it does reflect me. I believe in personal healing and inner peace, and these colors represent that. You might say blue is that color, but that is color of calmness (I may appear calm, but I’m a storm inside). So healing and peace are a big deal to me, and I would wear colors to reflect that personal value I have. I hope others would recognize that, and make personal healing and peace a must in their lives.

PURPLE/VIOLET:  Oh, purple, purple. The absolute royal color itself. And the grand substitution for black! While I do not wear much purple (I am trying to change that), I do like this color because of its radiance and regal touch. It is also a bold color, and I see it as another form of being powerful. Only this time, it is personal power, rather than feminine. To me, purple reflects courage, braveness, and being at ease with it. It is like, red says, “watch out for me”, while purple says, “I am already here”.

DARK BLUE/NAVY BLUE: Eh, because I am out of ideas. Or because I liked the top or dress or skirt, and there were no other color options. Or I need to look professional during a job interview. Or I am feeling self-conscious over my lack of a wide range of colors in my wardrobe. Yeah, could be it.

So, those are my colors. Would I ever wear pink, yellow, green or any other bright color? Well, I wear green on St. Patrick’s Day to showcase my Irish heritage. But if I were to ever wear a bright color or a pastel again, it has to be worn with black as well. Like pink floral top with a black background or black pants. I’m just not ready to go “full bright”, if you will.

And honestly, it is just not me. I feel comfortable in my skin with black and other dark colors. I’ve also been doing it for so long that I have forgotten how at ease I felt when I first began dressing like this. Maybe if I were to put on a pink, yellow or lavendar top or dress, I would. But there must be something black to it. Or else, I’d be totally out of my skin.

 

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My Style Journey…

I think the best way to describe my style is to explain how my style developed. I believe style and fashion is a form of personal expression, so I would say my style has been a journey, just like my development as a person has been.

Firstly, as a teenager, a time where personal style tends to most especially develop, I really didn’t have much of a personal style. I followed trends, wore whatever was popular, with a few personal likes thrown in. For example, I remember in the summer of 1998, khaki pants from the GAP were popular where I was, so I had a pair and wore them often. Nevermind that I felt awkward in those khakis because I felt it made me look heavier; I just wanted to keep critical classmates at bay.

I do remember during my junior and senior year two shirts from Mandee that could be best described as boho-like. I loved those shirts, but tried my best not to wear them too much or else those critical classmates would not be kept at bay.

You see, I didn’t have a lot of self-esteem in high school. In fact, I had zero self-esteem. I was bullied a lot, and blamed myself for it, thus leading to a self-loathing mentality. But the clothes I wore did not reflect that. Instead, I relied on clothes to make me feel better about myself. The prettier the shirt, for example, the better I would feel.

Yet, this didn’t always work. It wasn’t like if I wore a lovely shirt, I would like myself. If anything, the pretty clothes were like a costume, pretending to be something I wasn’t. It was like a role I was trying to assume, and I would do this for many years – wearing clothes to make me feel better about myself.

Yes, I would insert a few outfits that I personally liked, no matter the trends or what people said. Starting in high school, I loooooved skirts and dresses. I felt feminine that way and tried to wear them often. Too bad kids at school would mock me, saying I looked like a teacher (OK, I did), and that made me afraid to wear the clothes I wanted. Basically, I was too concerned with others thought about me, so I never really developed myself as a person. Instead of getting to know myself and explore myself, I was consumed with what people thought of me (or what I thought they thought of me) for many years – and I mean, many.

You might recall an earlier post where I explored my interest in goth sub-culture. It is true in junior high and high school, I admired some goth style, particularly the witchy and the Victorian-like styles. But I didn’t have to guts to explore that side of me for a number of reasons. Among them, fear of being bullied and too self-loathing to truly express who I was.

So, for my teens, 20s, and early 30s, I wore clothes that I felt I should wear, not what I wanted. Yes, I wore a lot of skirts and dresses. But I wore what was trendy, or I would wear something to make me feel pretty, to mask the ugliness I felt inside. Again, I felt the clothes I wore were making up for what I did not have or feel.

You could say, since style is personal and a reflection of one’s self, my style during this period reflected me running away from myself and trying to be something I wasn’t.

Things started to change when I was 31 and moved from Staten Island to Brooklyn. I was on my own for the first time, and free to get to know myself and develop a sense of self. I didn’t expect that to happen, but once it began, it was exciting. And a little scary at the same time. A new world had opened up, and a new me was coming to light. At this time, I remember wearing pastel sweaters with sequins on them, sparkly tops, and gold glittery flats. As in, outfits to make me feel pretty since I felt ugly inside.

But as I got to know myself, and became kinder to myself, I began to eschew these items. I started to go with plainer, simpler clothes, and to my thrill, I did not feel ashamed. I didn’t care anymore what people thought, and it was liberating. I also began to explore the boho-chic look, though not all of it would appeal to me. Some did, like peasant tops and Roman coin jewelry. But I wasn’t fully boho.

Eventually, I began to feel more comfortable in darker clothes, particularly black. But I was still hesitant. I was afraid of being teased for wearing too much black. I wasn’t ready to let that side of me out.

Then came a dark period in my life, so to speak. I was at this job from hell, that caused me to develop serious mental health issues. I began to embrace darker colors, and soon began to explore the goth subculture again. I became honest with myself that I should’ve been a goth as a teen, and felt like I missed out on a major development period in both style and as a person. After all, I had spent years and years trying to be something I wasn’t and not being honest with myself. So, where would I be now if I had done that whole goth phase when I was younger?

At the same time, the major mental health problems I went through left me with some shame and a sense of darkness in me. I felt like I had gone through some sort of an abyss in me, and it took a while for me to get over it. Basically, I was haunted by my mental breakdown, and it took a while for me to love myself again and not feel ashamed about what I experienced (Someday I’ll talk more about my mental health journey, but not right now).

But still, I could not see myself wear clothes that were not dark. It felt like I was slowly, very slowly, stepping into my own skin whenever I would buy clothes that were dark red, dark blue, gray or even black. I still felt uneasy, mainly because I felt I was far too old to be developing this side of myself. But then again, I believe in the saying, to thine self be true. And my truth was reflected in dark clothing.

Over this past summer, I re-embraced my penchant for dark clothes, most especially black. I could not ignore that I felt like I was truly in my skin whenever I wore black. It just felt – and feels – natural. It is who I am.

True, I do get self-conscious still. Even though I am embracing an all-black look more and more, I still tend to wear other colors – red, purple, gray, dark blue and even ivory. I choose to wear ivory sometimes because I believe in healing, and ivory/off-white/ecru/whatever reflects that belief. But I wear other colors because sometimes I like the clothing item I see, or I feel like I should “spice up” my wardrobe by wearing more than just black all the time. I don’t know if it is because I am worried what others say or think, but I suspect this is common among those who wear black all the time.  Like, perhaps we admit we could use a different color now and then, or there’s more to us besides black. Hmmm, that sounds like a blog post topic down the road!

Anyway, I am feeling more comfortable in my skin these days. If dark colors are it, then so be it. To hell with the opinion of others. I am more at ease with my style more so than I ever was, mainly because I have more inner peace and self-liking more than ever. And my clothing choices are a reflection of that.

And who knows where my style journey would take me? Will I be in black at age 50? Who knows?

Just who knows?

 

The 1990s are Back in Style…

The 90s are back in style in a lot of ways. From crop tops to plaid flannels to ribbed materials, a repeat of the 90s is happening all over the fashion world. If you are old enough to remember that final decade of the 20th century, you might have flashbacks to when you were young whenever you pass by a clothing store or two. Heck, you might even be seeing those articles floating around Facebook about the fashion and style of the 90s that you might’ve been guilty of (blue eyeshadow, anyone?).

But not everything is being repeated. I’ve noticed there’s a few items that are not being done again this time around. Maybe they will soon, but with the 90s being back in style now, time is running out to get those fashion items out.

Now, some of these staples of the 90s I am glad are not back. In particular, I am glad pale lipstick with super dark lipliner has not come back in style. It was ugly in the late 90s, and it will always be bad. I mean, I recently went through my high school yearbook (I was Class of 2000) and I am aghast over the amount of dark lipliner that existed back then. In short, ugh! Thumb Ringd

But there are some things I would like to see come back. Such as, thumb rings! Where are they? They were all the rave in the mid to late 90s, and despite all the 90s craze these days, I see no one wearing them. Maybe some women are, or this fad is on the horizon, but I genuinely miss this fashion staple of the 90s. Of course it helps that I love jewelry, including rings, so that is why I am yearning for this trend to return.

But still, thumb rings are fun and I think should always stay in style. Why is that lone finger left out of the ring department? It’s a cute way to decorate the digits, including the thumb, and I think thumb rings should have never gone out of style. And I really hope the return one day.

What about you? What 90s trend would you like to see return? Or better yet, which one has returned, that you wish had not?

 

Snapchat Dysmorphia

If you follow the news like I do, there’s been some recent coverage on a rising problem in the age of social media, and it’s called “Snapchat Dysmorphia”. Basically, it is when people are going for cosmetic surgery so they can resemble the filters on Snapchat and other social media apps. In other words, people want to look good on their selfies so badly they are willing to go under the knife for it.

Yikes. It’s really sad that social media and its fun – just for fun! – filters are contributing to people’s insecurities. I think social media is meant to be fun, and to share ideas with, and be social with people in every corner of the globe. Maybe that is just me. But I do find it sad that social media is driving people to spend thousands to look like filters.

I mentioned before that it takes a lot of guts to do a lifestyle blog and Instagram account. It puts you out there for criticism and even ridicule if you are not perfect. I am not thin; I have some weight on me. I know it is only a matter of time before someone calls that out in a mean-spirited manner. Who knows how I’ll react to that. But I hope it won’t lead me to totally hate my appearance. Snapchat Logo

But what is perfect? Does perfection exist? Isn’t beauty in the eye of the beholder, and even the beheld? What is beautiful to one person is not to the other. Beauty is subjective. All these people getting surgery just to resemble their filters may not be so beautiful to someone at all. They are spending so much money and energy toward perfection when in the end, perfection does not exist.

And really, true beauty is found within. I confess it has taken me over 30 years to figure that out. When I was a teenager, I thought I was the ugliest thing alive. When I got contact lenses for the first time at age 18, I wanted cosmetic surgery because I felt awful after seeing my face sans glasses. For much of my early 20s, I was upset my parents wouldn’t get me a nose job.

But eventually, I outgrew all these worries and insecurities. Why? Well, part of it is because I found other things to worry about. They include: work, paying bills, making enough money, having good health and a good set of friends that have the same values as I do. Really, when real-life problems come along, I mean real problems, the way your face looks takes a back seat.

Another reason why I outgrew my insecurities is because I began to gain self-esteem and self-confidence in my 30s. With that, I began to feel better about myself and that also means what I saw in the mirror. Granted, I feel self-conscious about my face sometimes, especially as I edge closer to age 40. I am self-conscious about my puffy eyes, the wrinkles beginning to form on my forehead and so on. But what saves me is that I realize that I have more to offer the world than just my face. I have a good personality, good values, a good sense of humor, and so on. To be short, there’s more to me besides my face.

And that is why I find Snapchat Dysmorphia so sad. It’s true our society puts a heavy emphasis on what we look like on the outside rather than on the inside. But no one is in charge of your life but you. You are the most important person in your life; you’re your own boss. Don’t let the words of others get under your skin. OK, OK, easier said than done, I know. I may be talking out of my a** now, but I am just sharing what I’ve learned. Hopefully, it help someone out.

But trust me on life’s real problems. They do make you forget your physical insecurities. Believe me.

How I Choose My Earrings

I’m a total earring addict, and have been since my early teens. I especially got more into earrings as I increased the number of piercings in my ears – 4 in each ear! I am picky on how I decorate my ears, even if no one really notices them but me. Since I am such an earring addict, I consider these to be part of my everyday outfits and part of my personal style.

I have three holes in each lobe, and one in each upper cartilage. For the latter, I always choose the larger stud earring since it needs to stand out, being alone up there in my ear.

For the lobes, I usually go by a hooked earring in the middle or a hoop earring, with a medium sized stud on one side and a smaller stud on the other side, normally the one closer to the face. In fact, it is always the one closer to the face. I rarely break from my earring styling, and find no reason to do so.

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How I wore my earrings recently

In the past, I used to randomly pick earrings, usually trying not wear the same ones over and over. But recently, I started paying close attention to which earrings go with what. Call it an obsession, but to me it is like putting together an outfit. Everything must go with the other and the colors should also blend together.

To do that, I usually go with the most important earring of the bunch – the middle earring in the lobe. I choose that one first, and everything else mus match well with that one. Note the photos I have here; the earrings blend well together, for the most part.

I am also careful about which style I choose. I wouldn’t put two floral or two pearl or two zircon studs together for the day. That would mean there’s an overload of that particular style. I try my best to not mix ball studs on the same day, but since I have so many and sometimes not too many studs to choose from (more about that later), I just have to go with it. Then I tell myself very few people would notice my earrings, so get a life, LOL!

I also try my best to have everything match, including colors. Not easy, since I have more “middle” earrings than I do compared to the others. But I do what I can.

The reason why I don’t have too many studs to choose from is because, well, I do have more “middle” earrings than stud earrings. Sometimes I try to make an effort to buy more stud earrings, but then I wind up buying more bigger earrings for my middle hole.

I have three jewelry box drawer-full of earrings, and I see no reason to slow down. Yep, I am pathetic and need to chill.

So, that is how I dress my ears. I am earring obsessed and there is no sign of slowing down on it. Perhaps I’ll burn out with this obsession. One day. Someday. Yeah, it may happen.

 

The Joy of Almonds

I’m trying to eat more healthy these days. It’s not easy, given I have such a sweet tooth and also its summer, so bring on the ice cream. But really, I need to watch what I eat for a variety of reasons.

Almonds
Munching on some almonds one fine summer day.

Lately, I have been eating – or rather, indulging in – almonds! I’ve always liked them, but never made them my go-to snack until this past week. I choose Blue Diamond’s Lightly Salted almonds for my fix.

I don’t like too much salt on my almonds, and besides, too much salt on anything is never good. I think this brand’s almonds are just perfect. I’ve tasted the kind you get at Starbucks (I don’t know the brand), but Blue Diamond seems to be on target with its lightly salted nuts.

Now, I have to be careful when I eat almonds – because there is too much of good thing. Since one of the best things about almonds is that they are high in fiber, which is great, too much fiber could lead to problems in the bowels. I am not going to go into a lot of detail here, of course, but yeah, I did at one point eat too much almonds. Let’s just say I now ration my almond intake per day.

So although almonds are the almost perfect snack, there are two things to watch out for: salt/sodium and fiber intake. Remember, there is too much of a good thing.

Happy eating!

Loving The Skin I’m In

I have to admit doing a lifestyle blog takes a lot of courage. Not only are you putting yourself out there to random strangers worldwide, you also are showing what your body looks like, even if it is not supermodel beautiful. It makes body issues arise, especially if they are there to begin with.The-Dark-Pearl-Blog7.8.18

I measure 5’8″ and weigh somewhere around 185 pounds, which is a lot. I’m not thin; I have a bit of a belly along with heavy thighs. Somedays I do not care, other days I accept my body, and other days I feel upset about the way my body looks. It is especially not easy to fully accept my body as it is because I used to be thinner. Only two years ago, I was wearing a size 6 and weighed about 165 pounds. But a combination of side effects from lifelong medication and overeating due to stress, I am a bit pudgy now. Sigh.

I used to compare my body to that of the lovely Kate Upton. Like her, I have large breasts, love handles and a nonexistent butt. But since my weight gain, I wonder if we really do have similar bodies. Because if she’s still hot, then so am I !

Some say love the skin you’re in. Others say embrace body postivity. I follow some lifestyle bloggers like Noelle Downing who speak about having a positive attitude towards your body, no matter what it looks like. Her posts give me strength to post photos of myself, despite not being slim.

So, again, being a fashion/lifestyle blogger takes bravery. I guess that is why I took time off from this blog. Besides being busy with life, I also felt insecure about how I looked in my photos. Making sure I took the right angles and positioned my body well took the fun away. But I am hoping with this time around, I will be more confident and courageous enough to show my body as it is. Hey, perhaps I can talk about how to dress when you have a few extra pounds!

We shall see…

 

 

Why I’ll Always Wear Black

Hi there,

Yes, I went on a hiatus after life got in the way,It's me again! and I went into a bit of a funk that led me to doubt whether or not I should do this blog or my Instagram account. But things changed the other day when I went shopping, and it inspired me to start The Dark Pearl Blog all over again.

See, the reason why I call this The Dark Pearl Blog is because of my penchant for wearing dark colors, particularly black. I started dressing this way a few years ago during a dark period in my life. But in recent months, I began to feel like something lifted from me, and a light appeared at the end of the tunnel. My confidence came back and I had better self-esteem. So it made me wonder whether or not I still should wear dark clothes.

However, when I stopped by H&M earlier this week, that all changed. I picked out a few items, one a white top with black floral designs, a simple dusty pink top and a shift dress that was white with blue floral all over it (I adore flowers). At that moment, buying that dress was a step towards lighter clothes, thus a lighter view on myself and life.

But when I came home and tried on that dress, I knew instantly I made a mistake buying it. In no way did it reflect me. It wasn’t me at all. I felt awkward and uncomfortable in it, like I was trying to be somebody I wasn’t. Luckily, I saved the receipt and will return the dress soon.

That made me question what colors should wear and why. However, maybe it is not worth overthinking. Dark clothes, particularly black, suit me. They fit me. Yes, I did buy that dusty pink top, and you see me in a bright red top in the photo for this blog post. Certain colors suit me, especially when mixed with black. That dress had no darkness to it, so it didn’t go with me.

There’s something dangerous yet mysterious about black clothes. There’s something beautiful yet intimidating about black clothes. There’s something strong yet depressing about black clothes. I love that. That is what I like about black clothes, and even gray, purple and other dark colors.

Colors mean something to me, so I can’t wear just random colors like some people do. It appears I will always be drawn to black, no matter what. It feels so natural on my skin. It just suits me.

No, I am not trying to get in touch with my inner goth like I used to. Perhaps I am, to some degree. All I know is black is my color. And that is how it will stay.

 

Coffee Shop – Coffee Rx

Believe it or not, Bay Ridge has a good number of great coffee shops. Even though that neighborhood is kind of isolated from the rest of Brooklyn, thanks to the lousy R train, this area boasts plenty of good places to grab coffee and other snacks. The first I am going to review is Coffee Rx.

Formerly known as The Coffee Lab, Coffee Rx’s prime location is at 6903 3rd Avenue, right off the R Train’s Bay Ridge Avenue stop. There’s a good selection of basic coffees, from drip to lattes to cappuccino. However, you also have the option of having rose lattes – which is literally a latte with flecks of rose petals in it! It tastes amazing! Coffee Rx

Then there are the other drinks including the popular Nutella Monster (a latte that speaks for itself) and eight teas to choose from. And yes, this place has matcha drinks as well.

And then come the sandwiches, waffles and other thing to chomp down on. I recommend their Nutella and Ricotta cheese waffles, as well as their strawberry and ricotta cheese waffles. I think there’s even Nutella and banana waffles. In addition, you have your variety of wraps and sandwiches to choose from.

The place is clean, has an outdoor space, and even has Wi-Fi. Unfortunately, there is no Wi-Fi outside. As for the bathroom, it is also clean and spacious. It also has a toilet and a urinal together in the same bathroom! Talk about being gender neutral!

Overall, I give Coffee Rx great reviews. If you want, you can try its other locations, such as its stand on 88th Street in Bay Ridge. You may also want to try its latest opening at 1504 86th Street in Bensonhurst. Clearly, Coffee Rx is expanding and more of Brooklyn should enjoy their great coffees!

Removing Your Eye Makeup on a Budget

Even though there are so many ways to remove your makeup these days, I stand by using Vaseline. Yes, it may get greasy but it so effective. It is also good to buy when you are on a tight budget like me.

I used to use those Neutrogena makeup wipes, but I had to buy a new pack every six weeks or so. It also did not fully remove my eye makeup, particularly my mascara. I would wake up to black smudges under my eyes every morning.

Vaseline_Opened
Image via Wikimedia Commons

That is, until I started using Vaseline. When I decided to tackle my budget more, I bought a large tub of Vaseline – and I’ve been using it for nearly two years now! (Don’t worry, it has not yet expired). And it is really effective! Just use cotton balls, rub the eyes as much as possible, and the eye makeup comes off. It even works well for lipstick.

Some may disagree, and say that makeup wipes are best for the eyes and lips, but I say nay. Since resorting to Vaseline, I’ve rarely woken up to black smudges under my eyes. I also have maintained my budget by not buying new wipes every month.

So there you go: effective eye make up removal and saving money. Killing two birds with one stone. What more can you want? Now granted, I only wear eyeliner, mascara and lipstick, so I cannot speak for full facial makeup. But I do think if it ever comes to that, I will use Vaseline because it has always been a faithful makeup remover.

If you want to check out other cheap, DIY ways to remove eye makeup, click here for a Bustle article.