Hey you, and welcome to Liyah Likes!
You can call me Liyah (pronounced Lee • yuh). I'm so glad you're here! Liyah ❤ Likes is a blog I came up with last year. I wanted to find a way to write more often and more freely, and I think this is the best way to do so. Here, I will post blogs, videos, and more about the things I enjoy, or "like", about life - food, fashion, beauty, and more. I hope you enjoy my content. Please feel free to follow me on IG @liyah_likes for more. Have a great day love 🥰
My Favorite Fall Lippies
As a woman of color, shopping for beauty products has been full of hits and misses. Since I was in high school, I have experimented with different makeup products, different brands, and most recently, skincare. I have enjoyed the journey so far (minus some discoloration to my skin from acne products and the few breakouts from fragrant lotions and soaps because of my eczema. Who can relate?), and now that I’m 24, I can honestly say I’ve found things that work for me and my skintone. Black beauty YouTubers like Jackie Aina, Kennie J.D., and Nyma Tang have given me the courage to play with different color eyeshadows, eyeliners, etc., buy from brands that are diversity inclusive, and love my chocolate skin more.
What makes me so glad is that the world of beauty is changing, especially makeup. Today, in an era where consumers are expecting more from beauty brands - and rightly so - many new cosmetic companies have emerged to fill in the gaps and provide safer products. One that I have been following for a few years now is The Lip Bar, a brand that prides itself on disrupting the beauty industry through inclusive products and imagery. All of their products are also vegan and cruelty free! Early this year, I got the chance to visit their new storefront in downtown Detroit during the grand opening. I was so excited that I purchased six lippies from their 'New Nude' collection online beforehand, and today I will be sharing my thoughts and opinions on each one.
Swatched from left to right: Cocoa Cooler, Cougar, & Mochajito
1. Cocoa Cooler – This one is a nice warm brown color with a little bit of a red undertone. It’s bold without being too deep, and would pair well with an even more bold eye look in my opinion (imagine a rose gold smoky eye uggghhhh!!!). The only downside to Cocoa Cooler is that it smears easily; a little bit happened to get on my teeth during this try-on haul. However, seeing as these lipsticks seem to be quite moisturizing across the board, which I like, they don’t dry down all the way.
2. Cougar – I have to say that Cougar is my absolute favorite of the six. It is more of an orange-y brown but it matches my lip color perfectly! I’ve been searching for a M.L.B.B. (My Lips But Better) lipstick for YEARS and had not found it until now. Again, it is very moisturizing and looks even better underneath a gloss (my fave is Fenty Universial Gloss Bomb). I’ve honestly gotten the most wear out of Cougar so far.
3. Mochajito – If Class Act had a muted older sister, it would be Mochajito. The shine is incredible and just as moisturizing as the rest, however, I have to admit that it is my least favorite. I’m not sure if wearing six lippies in a row made my lips dry or not, but either way it looked so dry when I first applied it that I thought my lips were peeling. I tried it as a lip topper for other lipsticks and it seemed to work better that way.
Swatched from left to right: First Lady, Class Act, & Savage
1. First Lady – Now, I was the most skeptical about this one. In the past, pinky nude lip glosses don’t tend to flatter me much, but I decided to be brave and try this one, especially since Lip Bar products are known for flattering women of color well. Swatching First Lady made me realize that it was more of a muted mauve color than pink: a good sign. It also has a nice slip to it despite drying down and the pinky-ness calms down the longer it is worn. I absolutely love it now and is another good M.L.B.B. to wear to work or with a spring makeup look.
2. Class Act – This lippie inspired my entire haul. The color is a beautiful shimmery bronze and I absolutely love it! In natural lighting, it comes off a bit red too, but I liked that look as well. This one would work better as a night time gloss to wear to a club or bar as the focal point of your outfit (little to no eyeshadow needed). All of the lip glosses tend to spread before drying down though, so I would highly recommend using a lip liner during wear.
3. Savage – A bold deep brown matte, Savage is, surprisingly, really comfortable to wear. I would also wear this with a party look or bold eye colors- think greens, blues, and golds! The biggest negatives were the packaging and its potential to smear, especially on the teeth. I don’t know why, but I had to soak this one in hot water before it would open. Nonetheless, when it does dry it will not move for eight to twelve hours.
The Lip Bar 'New Nude' lipsticks challenge the traditional "nude" we've been used to seeing the beauty industry by providing colors that compliment all skin tones. Flowing in and out with support from the community, The Lip Bar’s newest shop in downtown Detroit has been bustling with business since its opening, and I am happy to say that I’ve purchased more lippies from them since. Because it fills me with so much joy to see more black-owned businesses that I can support thriving, The Lip Bar has a loyal customer in myself, my family, and many others like me looking for makeup that compliments them. As a consumer who has sensitive skin, I am also comforted knowing that their products don’t have much of a fragrance (if any at all), and are all vegan and cruelty-free. If these factors make your shopping decisions a snap as well, The Lip Bar is now sold in a Target store near you, and I highly encourage giving them a try!
How the 2020 Presidential is causing so much stress in Americans, and tips to manage it.
I CAN'T LOOK
Like many other Americans observing COVID-19 restrictions, I decided to participate in this year’s presidential election by voting absentee. I turned my ballot in early, posted a picture of my ‘I Voted Did You?’ sticker to my social media, crossed my fingers, and went home. Despite everything, it felt good to vote again, and to put the onslaught of campaign season behind me. However, I was not prepared for what the long hours of ballot-counting across the United States would feel like. Four years ago, I was voting for the first time and ballots were counted as they normally are: all in one day. The stress of the election didn’t last much longer than that. What soon followed was immense fear and taking advantage of post-election discussion groups across my university (I was in my second to last year of college at the time), but that’s not the discussion I am attempting to have here. I want to focus on the feelings this election has brought about.
A recent survey done by the American Psychological Association concluded that about 68% of American adults are significantly stressed about the 2020 U.S. presidential election. As we near the end of the fourth day of counting votes with no clear president elect and COVID-19 cases continuing to rise nationwide, many are expressing their frustrations online and/or are glued to their television screens, anxiously awaiting the results. As I was watching my local news station, I learned that a hospital in California is preparing their staff for an influx of patients with these exact feelings. They called it ESD, also known as Election Stress Disorder.
What is Election Stress Disorder?
Election Stress Disorder is an intense level of stress related to an election.
It is not a medical diagnosis, but the concept of ESD is very real. Symptoms of ESD include heightened stress, tension, anxiety, irritability, and trouble sleeping, amongst others. The term was first coined publicly by Steven Stosny, PhD., a psychologist and author of several books on topics such as love, stress and abuse. The term was used in an article Dr. Stosny wrote for The Washington Post; in it, he discusses the overwhelming amount of calls he received from distressed patients during the 2016 election cycle, many of them reporting it interfering with their personal lives.
Why Haven't I Heard Of This before?
Don’t feel bad; I hadn’t either, and that’s what interests me. The term ‘Election Stress Disorder’ was coined just 4 years ago, so that pretty much explains it. Since The Washington Post article, many others have begun using the term, especially this year as the 2020 race inched closer and closer. Add job insecurity, coronavirus restrictions, racial unrest, and more to the mix and what you’ve got is an even more intense version of the disorder than any other in a long time.
So What Can I Do When I'm Experiencing ESD?
It’s normal to worry about things, but the increase in stress that this particular election has brought with it cannot be ignored. The proportion of Black adults reporting stress from the election alone rose from 46% in 2016 to 71% in 2020. This makes me fearful for my people. These are not all the solutions that have been proposed so far, but here are a few things everyone can do at home to manage their stress levels:
1.) Get away from news stations, and social media at that.
This one has been the most difficult for me to do. I wanted to know what was going on at all times, especially after the results of day 1. I didn’t move from the couch for hours at a time and I would check Twitter and Facebook for related posts during commercial breaks. It was all making me antsy! It wasn’t until day 3 that I realized I was shaking constantly as I watched, and my breathing had become shallow (not to mention seeing similar things from my family around me at home). What I ended up doing was stepping away from both periodically just to breathe, consciously, have a few drinks (though I don’t recommend drinking excessively or leaving where you are when you do), or just changing the channel to something that would make me laugh. It wasn’t a complete remedy and I did go back to watching eventually, but doing these things made me feel a tiny bit better.
2.) Listen to your favorite song(s).
Can you name the songs that make you dance every single time, no matter where you are? I can! Listening to certain songs can even change my mood and there is indeed science behind it. According to a report in Nature Neuroscience referenced by BBC News in 2011, music releases a chemical in the brain called dopamine that plays a key role in setting a good mood. It can also be used to treat symptoms of shock by improving blood flow. How great is that?? I also notice the same feeling occurs when I write or watch shows I enjoyed during my childhood. I cannot wait to try it!
3.) Exercise! Exercise! EXERCISE!
Making sure I take care of my body has probably been the second most difficult thing to do, especially as long as we’ve been stuck at home. Not only are many places still closed or I don’t feel safe going anyway, but being in a workout class is really what encouraged me to keep it up. Never underestimate the power of working out next to someone who’s struggling just as much as you! It turns out that working out also directly effects stress levels. According to an article published by healthline.com called “13 Ways To Increase Endorphins”, a 2017 study found that “22 participants experienced euphoric feelings linked to endorphin release after an hour of moderate-intensity exercise”. That sure sounds familiar; now imagine how great you’re going to feel when you listen to your favorite song at the same time. Even if you can’t get a full hour in, get off the couch and try to exercise those legs.
4.) Choose Your Battles Or Walk Away
Odds are if you live in the U.S., you are still in quarantine or your state is considering stricter restrictions. Cases of the corona virus are on the rise once again and many families, including my own, have been affected. As a result, people are already on edge and worried; I can count on both hands how many times my own family has argued since March. Talking about politics may just add fuel to the fire, especially if you are living with someone with opposing political views or consider how important this year’s election is to the future of our nation. One way my family members are coping is walking away. My mom doesn’t want to know the outcome until the end, so when she walks into the room and I hear her coming, I turn off the TV. We are also making sure to let everyone in the house know when we need alone time. Take a walk at a park, do some yard work, sit on the porch with a good book, or literally anything else away from the space you’re in. And, if someone insists on arguing about an election with you, just walk away. It might not always be easy to, but it’s important to keep calm and try your best not to say something you’ll regret once it’s over.
It was well before I was old enough to vote that my mother taught my sister and I about the importance our vote holds and why we should never waste it. Voting is important, but your health is even more so. Now that ballots have been cased, I encourage everyone to be patient, practice self-care more often and with more intention. Lastly, I just want to say that I am praying for peace for everyone during this time. Be kind to one another; we are in this together.