My photo
A childhood interest for art and design grew into a passion for all things beauty. Currently, I’m still smitten.


Make-Up by Charly & Women's History Month

Charlene Armstrong is the mother of a six year-old boy, a skin care enthusiast, makeup artist and beauty expert for over 10 years now.  Her specialty?   Bridal makeup…with over 250 weddings under her belt.    Co-owner of Lash to Lens Photography Studio –Makeup Bar since 2010, she’s also worked in film and with several celebrities including Clive Davis and Robin Thicke most recently.  She’s building her brand and making beauty history with each stroke of her makeup brush.
 1.           What’s your morning routine (makeup, hair, exercise, etc)?  After I crawl out of bed (not a morning person) I may do a NIKE Training Club workout,  wash my face, brush my teeth, take my shower, moisturize my face, moisturize my ENTIRE body, get dressed, feed the kid, dress the kid, put him on the bus!  In that order.

2.            What’s in your cosmetic bag?  MAC NC45 Studio Tech Foundation, some cheapy black  liquid eyeliner, Hourglass Film Noir mascara, various MAC eyeshadows,  Hourglass Nocturnal lipstick and various lipglosses.

3.            What is your beauty secret? Arbonne Seasource Sea Mud Mask . . . skin is everything to me!

4.            Name one product you can’t live without. Hard to name one. . . I guess that would be my concealer.

5.            Do you use any natural cosmetic or skin care products?  I use Shikai Borage Therapy Facial Cleanser and their facial moisturizer for dry skin.

6.            Share your favorite DIY skincare treatment or lux treatments?  Honestly, exfoliating is a big deal to me. . . so any deliciously flavored body scrub will make me feel like a million bucks when I come out of the shower.  Currently in use is Victoria Secret’s Secret Charm Smoothing Body Scrub, a gift from one of my besties!

7.            Describe your style?  (Vixen? Classic?  Edgy?  Romantic?  Boho-Bold?) Hmmmm. . . I’d like to think I’m classic with a little mix of everything else!

8.            Who is your beauty inspiration or style icon?  For makeup it would have to be Kim Kardashian (yes, sigh). . . but there are so many beautiful women in the spotlight these days it’s really hard to choose. 

9.            What is your look for date night/girl’s night out? Definitely vixen, lol!

10.        What industry are you in?  The beauty industry . . . helping women look and feel even more fabulous with makeup!

11.        Share your tips for diet and well being.  I try to do a detox at least twice a year, try to eat minimal sugar and I don’t eat dairy. . .when I’m being a really good girl lol.  But when I’m on my good girl kick, I feel great!!! 

12.        What is your strongest feature?  My best feature is my SKIN texture and complexion (especially in the summer).  I haven’t missed a day of moisturizing since I was a teenager and I exfoliate at least once a week.  I use scented, hydrating creams and a lot of natural wonderfully scented soaps.  I have been stopped by strangers in the street asking to touch my skin more than once!

Women's History Month & The Beauty Addict

I remember seeing Jonelle Johnson on a NYC subway in a Chanel-inspired suit, pointed flats and a fierce short 'do years ago.  She was that striking (those almond eyes)!  A few weeks later, she scored a position in the music department where I worked and we've been friends ever since.  Besides being a true beauty, a social butterfly and genuinely good-natured, this women has a serious product addition. She's always in search of the next big thing in beauty and skincare.  

She is a self-professed product junkie on a never ending quest to find the perfect red lippie and the longest, most curliest eyelash extensions. CEO of the "Short-hair-don't-care" team way before it was popular, Jonelle is a lover of life, laughter, good food and good wine.  

Read her beauty story below.
  1. Whats your morning routine (makeup, hair, exercise, etc)?   Shower, wash my face with cream cleanser, apply Cetaphil moisturizer, MAC Prep + Prime Skin Lotion, L’Oreal Magic Nude foundation, eyeliner and eyebrows! 
  2. Whats in your cosmetic bag?  Lipstick, lip gloss, blush and lip liners.
  3. What is your beauty secret?  Eyelash extensions.
  4. Name one product you cant live without.  MAC Cosmetics Ruby Woo lipstick.
  5. Describe your skincare routine.  Cream cleansers and Cetaphil lotion.
  6. Do you use any natural cosmetic or skin care products?  None.
  7. Describe your style? (Vixen? Classic? Boho-Bold?)  Sex kitten.
  8. Who is your beauty inspiration or style icon?  Traci EllisRoss, Amber Rose and  Eva Marcielle.
  9. What is the one accessory you cant live without?  Sunglasses.
  10. What is your look for date night/girls night out? Red lip, light cheek and perfect brows!
  11. What industry are you in?  BEAUTY.
  12. Share your tips for diet and well being.  Live, love, and laugh every freaking day.
To keep up with what inspires Jonelle's beauty and style, check her out on Pinterest.   And follow her beauty blog:  Makeup In The City!  


Unravel Your Relationship & Women's History Month

Dedicating her life to the betterment of the many people she comes in contact with, La Shell is passionate, insightful and unafraid to tackle life’s most daunting challenges.  Her personal affirmation -- “You can’t help the mental or emotional without giving the spiritual a good massage first” is the bedrock of her life philosophy. Having such an open and expansive way of thinking helps her and her clients deal effectively with personal and/or familial issues, as well as conflicts that arise in the course of their daily lives. 

The cornerstone of her work is her seminar coaching business, Unravel Your Relationship.  These “real-life classes” are the culmination of her academic, personal and professional experiences over the last two decades.  These workshops have focused on commitment issues, parenting in a digital world and learning to love one’s self.  She tailors her curriculum for each and every workshop and is constantly expanding on the issues that are tackled.  La Shell Wooten is a phenomenal life coach and counselor. 
  1. What’s your morning routine (makeup, hair, exercise, etc.)?  Wake at 5:30am, cook breakfast, prep the kids for school, shower, do make-up (some days)…and I am out the door.  My morning exercise is walking about 2 miles in my commute.
  2. What’s in your cosmetic bag?  Crap!  I have a mix-match of foundation, bronzer, eye shadow pallet, chapstick, eyeliner and lipstick, oh…and a few brushes.
  3. What is your beauty secret? I drink lots of water, I sleep well and I try not to wear make up every day.
  4. Name one product you can’t live without.  I can't live without a lip moisturizer.  I have a full lips need to be soft.
  5. Describe your skincare routine.  It sucks, I think.  I wash with warm water and I moisturize with Vaseline. I think that is bad but it works for me – for now.  I also clean my make up off with Vaseline.
  6. Do you use any natural cosmetic or skin care products? No, not really but I want to.  I never have the time to figure it out.
  7. Describe your style?  (Vixen? Classic? Boho-Bold?)  Classic, sexy, fun. 
  8. Who is your beauty inspiration or style icon?  I love Sam Fine as a makeup artist. As for style, I like Eva Mendez, Kerry Washington, Queen Latifah (on her talk show). I am making this up. I don’t pay much attention to people’s style.
  9. What is the one accessory you can't live without? I love bangles and bracelets. 
  10. What is your look for date night/girl’s night out?  Date night, I like tight pants, low top, curly hair, nice jewels and heels.  Girls night out – same thing with less cleavage and funky boots.
  11. What industry are you in? I am a therapist, salon owner (of Rhapsody Beauty Salon)and entrepreneur in life coaching. 
  12. Share your tips for diet and well being.  Drink lots of water, minimize sweets and laugh A LOT.  Be faithful, not fearful.


Being Well & Living Healthy & Women's History Month

"Making YOUR health a priority!" That's Lydia Andrew's mantra.  She believes as you feel better physically, you’ll be better mentally which creates a ripple effect in your life. This holistic health coach created Being Well + Living Healthy, a wellness transformation program.  With each session, she educates her clients to make changes in their everyday life through a personalized healthy action plan.  In my book, Lydia is another women making history. 

Lydia's journey to the health and wellness industry was a natural progression since she was always fascinated with how food affected the body and how our thoughts directly affected how we ate.  Lydia firmly believes that food can heal the body.  She is certain that If we focus our minds on wellness and eat nourishing foods, we can begin to live our best life. Her purpose is to empower, educate and enlighten others to do exactly that!  At the School for Integrative Nutrition, she was trained in more than 100 dietary theories, as well as a variety of lifestyle coaching methods. Always drawing from the unique nutrition philosophy she was taught,  she took a holistic approach to wellness and encourages her clients to consider everything from relationships, work, exercise and spirituality as essentials to building good health.  Working together, she creates a personalized "road map" to health that suits the client's unique body, lifestyle and goals.

And, she shares her beauty story here.

What’s your morning routine (makeup, hair, exercise, etc)? My morning routine is very simple: prayer, meditation, 10-minute stretch, oatmeal for breakfast. If I'm going out for the day, my makeup is always simple but makes a statement: foundation, pressed powder to take away the shine and eye makeup: eye shadow, mascara then I fill in my eyebrows.

What’s in your cosmetic bag? I have lots of stuff in my cosmetic bag:  
a palette of different colored lip glosses, eye shadows (a range of colors cause I like color!) various brushes, eyelash curler and blotting sheets.

What is your beauty secret? I guess my beauty secret would be always 
put Vaseline on your lips at night so as not to dry them out especially in the winter months and always lotion your hands and feet.

Name one product you can’t live without. I cannot live without lip balm.
I think I'm addicted to it (smile).

Do you use any natural cosmetic or skin care products? I use this natural soap that is made from olive oil.  Olivella Virgin Olive Oil Soap -- it's very moisturizing.

Share your favorite DIY skincare treatment or luxe treatment.  I just 'created' this natural facial mask to help gently exfoliate: honey, olive oil and ground up oatmeal.

Describe your style? (Vixen? Classic? Edgy? Romantic? Boho-Bold?) Hmm, my style I'd say is between classic and vixen I think. I love showing skin in a CLASSY way.
Who is your beauty inspiration or style icon? My style icon...hmm, so many to choose from; I'd have to say Iman, Lupita Nyongo (the girl is FLAWLESS every time she steps out!), Michelle Obama and Halle Berry just to name a few.

What is your look for date night/girl’s night out? My look for date 
night/girl's night out is always smoky eyes with a bronze highlight right under the brow. I love eye makeup so I make sure to do them up
right so they stand out.

What industry are you in? I am in the health and wellness industry.  NOTE: My first wellness expo will be on Saturday, March 29th, 11am -4pm.  Visit my website under the EVENTS tab to get more information.

Share your tips for diet and well being. One tip I have is to do everything in moderation. You do not have to deprive yourself in order to get healthy and stay healthy.

What is your best feature? My best feature...well I've been told I have 
two: my eyes and my smile.


Cooking Cosmetics & Women's History Month

There are plenty of women in history who have made substantial contributions to our society.  And then there are women in our personal lives who are making history of their own.  That being said, I'm pleased to reacquaint you with my friend, Gena Surphlis. 

Gena is a former beauty industry professional and is currently the creator and owner of Cooking Cosmetics Inc. based in New York. Cooking Cosmetics educates youth ages 8-18 years old on how to use food and natural ingredients to make their own personal care products. She implemented S.H.Y. (Skin Healthy Youth), a mission to promote and encourage self esteem (click here to read more).  Essentially, they use food to be beautiful and healthy on the inside out!  Gena is a single mom of a college bound son who has inspired her every step of the way.

  1. What’s your morning routine?  Upon waking I drink a glass of water with lemon and cayenne. I rinse my face with cold water and while damp I apply a moisturizer (Shea Moisture Coconut Hibiscus) and then meditate and prayer.
  2. What’s in your cosmetic bag?  What’s not? LOL. Clinique lip gloss, Burts Bees Peppermint lip balm, coconut oil, benefit mascara.
  3. What is your beauty secret?  Sleep and tea tree oil.
  4. Name one product you can’t live without.  Burts Bees Lip Balm
  5. Describe your skincare routine.  At night, I remove make up with olive oil or coconut oil. I use a concoction of Castile soap with olive oil to wash and I rinse. While skin is still damp I apply Clarins Lotus Face Oil to my face and neck. If there are any dark circles, I apply aloe vera gel and if any pimples I add tea tree oil to the problem areas.
  6. Do you use any natural cosmetic or skin care products?  I try to stick to plant oils for my skin for moisture and use the more eco-friendly cosmetic brands.
  7. Describe your style?  Definitely boho-bold!
  8. Who is your beauty inspiration or style icon?  Everyone and no one. I don’t have anyone in particular…I like how most of the women we consider “style icons” dress at one time or another; however, it’s all about where I am going, how I am feeling and what’s clean in my closet!
  9. What is the one accessory you can’t live without?  Earrings!
  10. What is your look for date night/girl’s night out?  Date night and girls night out is most ALWAYS a dress. I love my curves and I think dresses are sexy. I like to accentuate my waist and height and there will always be a heel on my foot.
  11. What industry are you in? Beauty and wellness.
  12. Share your tips for diet and well being.  Limit, if not eliminate, anything “white” and refined (white rice, white bread, etc.) Limit sugar intake (unless of course you just can’t help it because you have PMS) and green leafy veggies are everything. I go back to basics with my daily cod liver oil and Vitamin C and I definitely recommend exercise. I always feel better; more focused and have more energy when I exercise. Sleep is essential and keeps the mind clear.  My tip for a healthy well-being is to embrace the love in your life…whether self love, friendship love, romantic love, family love…just absorb it and redistribute it when you can. Love is food for the soul.


Women's History Month 2014

Women’s History Month began a few days ago on March 1st.  The original event was a week-long celebration of women’s contributions to history, culture and society.  Female entrepreneurs, innovators and advocates are remembered during this time.

Each of us knows someone who falls within these categories -- women who are making a bit of history all their own.  BLACKswan Beauty will showcase a few fearless females whose character, commitment and courage stand out to me.  They embrace their individuality, have an absolute sense of style and are extremely passionate about what they do!  Stay tuned to the BSB blog as I share deets about some of my fierce friends.