This and That This Week: MortarNBrique

ImageGood morning Team “This and That With Calandra”!!! Happy April! Welcome Spring!

I am excited to announce my newest project…Beginning TODAY, April 2, 2012, I am honored to be part of the MortarNBrique team! MortarNBrique, a wonderful blog co-founded by powerhouses Tonya Giddens and Jill Monroe, is “a collective group of experiences, telling our individual stories to a listening audience.” I will be contributing a weekly column entitled, “The Mommie in Me.” I am SO excited about this challenging assignment.

Please check out my first post HERE and don’t forget to subscribe to MortarNBrique! And thanks to all the supporters of This and That With Calandra. Without This and That, there would have been no Mommie in Me! I am ever grateful for such wonderful opportunities to write and share.

Smooches, Y’all!!


Urban Decay FOTD – Last Call

Yes, it’s been quite a while since I posted a blog about makeup. I’ve been busy talking about music and other fun things, but I decided to go back to beauty for a minute. First of all, FOTD=Face of the Day, for those of you who are new to the makeup lingo!

So…I’ve been “collecting” Urban Decay palettes for the past year or so. So far, I have the Rollergirl, I ♥ NYC, Naked, 15th Anniversary and Book of Shadows IV palettes. I probably get the most mileage out of the Naked palette, a collection of neutrals that can be toned down for daytime, or glammed up for nighttime wear. I tried hard not to get sucked into the Urban Decay palettes, because a few years ago, I was told by a Sephora employee that UD was for “really young” people, and at first I agreed with her. But after seeing a bunch of YouTube makeup gurus work some fabulous looks for even an “old” 40-something like me, I decided to give them a try. However, I never seemed to find the right color combinations for my traditional looks. So what did I do? Changed some of my traditions! I saw a great tutorial the other day from one of my favorite MUAs (MakeUp Artist), BeatFace Honey, who used a beautiful UD shade from the 15th Anniversary Palette – a beautiful teal called Deep End – and she dampened the brush before applying the color. WOW!! What a difference that technique made on the color payoff. Now this is not a new technique, but I see what a difference it makes on the bold shimmery Urban Decay shades, especially for my skintone. Now I know the trick!

Having said that, I decided to play with another UD color and wore it to church today. Since I was wearing a simple black and white dress, I decided to add a ‘pop of color’ (although I really dislike that overused phrase! lol). If you have any questions about the products or technique, or if you would like to see a video of how I achieved this look, feel free to post a comment. Here are the pictures and products I used. Enjoy!


MAC Mineralized Skin Finish Natural – Deep

MAC Eyebrow pencil – Spiked

MAC Studio Finish concealer – NW45


MAC Paint Pot – Groundwork (lid primer)

Urban Decay (I ♥ NYC Palette) – Last Call (lid)

Urban Decay (I ♥ NYC Palette) – Uzi (inner corner)

Urban Decay (I ♥ NYC Palette) – Maui Wowie (brow highlight)

L’Oreal HIP Duo – Brazen (dark brown shade as transition color)

Revlon ColorStay™ Liquid Eye Pen – Blackest Black (upper lash line)

L’Oreal Extra Intense Liquid Pencil eyeliner – Carbon Black (lower lash line and waterline)

L’Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes – Blackest Black


NARS Blush – Albatross (cheek highlight)

Iman Sheer Finish Bronzing Powder – Afterglow


MAC Lipglass – All of My Purple Life (not shown in face shots, but here’s what it looks like… )

The finished face!!

What is “This and That With Calandra” – Your Personal Tour!

I have been publishing This and That With Calandra since January 2010. What started out as a few random posts has turned into what I hope is a fun blog to read and I have enjoyed sharing it with you all! After all this time, I decided to give you an official “tour” of TTWC!

TTWC is “a little bit of this and a little bit of that,” however all the posts are summed up into distinct categories, which you can find on the right sidebar. Here’s what you’ll find:


Another series of posts to be filed under Special Features will be called “Mothers and Daughters.” Jasmine and I are teaming up to co-write a series of posts dedicated to the special relationships between mothers and daughters.  New things are happening at This and That With Calandra, so STAY TUNED!!
Thanks to all our readers for your comments, encouragement and support!
Remember that TTWC is also found:
On Facebook – Click HERE
On YouTube –
On Twitter

This and That This Week: Highlights From the 2012 Hair Revival

Leilani Yizar, Guest Contributor

Please welcome Guest Contributor, Leilani Yizar, who agreed to share her thoughts on the 2012 Hair Revival, sponsored by Doris New York Hair Care Products and SistahGirlfriends, Inc.

Is Natural Hair a Movement or a Trend?  Can the way you wear your hair affect your getting a job?  How does a man like his woman to wear her hair?  Am I doing right by my hair?  All these questions and many more were discussed at the Hair Revival, held at the South Oxford Space in Brooklyn,New York on January 21, 2012. This exciting, intensifying, informational forum was hosted by Doris New York Hair Care Products and SistahGirlfriends, Inc. Women and men of all hair types were welcomed to hear a dynamic panel discuss what you can do with your hair, how far you can go with it, and what is the next move. The panelists were:

Winsome Sinclair – Chief Managing Partner, Winsome Sinclair and Associates

Michelle Joyce – President and CEO, Digital Chick Consulting

Brian Luvar – Director/Producer/Photographer. President and CEO Grandma’s Watching Productions

Marlene Duperley – Hair Care Expert/Stylist. Co-Owner and SVP Doris New York Hair Care Products

Edward M. Johnson – Managing Director, Rebel Visions Corporation

Andrea Wilson – Celebrity Hairstylist.

To some, hair is a statement, a simple look, a lifestyle, your heritage. It means so many things; but one known fact is that hair needs love too. Our panel of experts educated us on how much one has to condition their hair to keep it healthy; and what products are good for different types of hair! No judgment was passed, which made it more comfortable for the audience to feel free to express themselves and ask important questions. We heard a man’s perspective when Brian was asked how he likes his woman to wear her hair. He responded that as long as her hair looked nice and she kept herself looking nice, he was fine with that. His answer was well received.

When passion is mixed into conversation, things can tend to become intense. With the next subject, that’s exactly how it went down.  The moderator (Calandra Branch) asked the question which sparked the most controversy, “How does your appearance (hair) affect your professional status?”  There seemed to be a consensus on the panel that in order to work in the business world, one should have a more polished professional look.  Some people in the audience were appalled by this statement and the debate on what is considered professional and what should be accepted to all started a immense conversation about race, discrimination, and what we should do to change the dynamics of what is going on in this world. The forum ended on that note, which will be a great opening for the next Hair Revival. Although things were heated in the end, people left with smiles on their faces, swag bags filled with candles and hair care products, some raffled gifts in hand, and inspiration in their hearts. What a way to start anew.  Feeling Inspired, Feeling Hopeful, Feeling Revived.

Click HERE to see a photo slideshow of the event!

(Photography by Rowena Husbands of Blink Of An Eye Photography)


Thank you Leilani for a great post! On behalf of Doris New York Hair Care Products and SistahGirlfriends, Inc., we are thankful to all who attended our inaugural event! Thanks to Sofistafunk – The Original Skirt Company (, Doris New York Hair Care Products (www.dorisnewyork), and Bubble Babez Bath Company ( for donating our three raffle prizes – a custom-fitted skirt, a set of the full line of Doris New York products, and a sampler basket of homemade scented soap slices, max welts, sugar bath cubes and lotion bars! We support our entrepreneurs! If you are interested in supplying samples, services or products for future events, please contact us at


The Beauty of a Mini-Makeup Party

Yesterday I attended my first makeup party, hosted by our very own Calandra Branch. About a dozen women gathered in a Brooklyn church to share our own makeup fears and frustrations and get tips on how to overcome them.

Calandra got things going by reaffirming what most of us believed but needed to hear every now and again: Black women are beautiful. No matter what shade, skin type or shape of eyes, we are gorgeous creatures who can wear pretty much any color of the makeup rainbow. Amid many ‘Amens’ and ‘uh-huhs’, Calandra gave a beauty mini-sermon (maybe it was the church setting) about loving yourself in and out of makeup. She concluded that if anyone in the room didn’t love herself, she needed to work on that first before working on what shades to mix on her face.

After the preachin’ ended the demonstration began. Calandra started with a quick primer about brushes then, with help from one of her good friends, showed a simple daytime eye look with neutrals and a pop of color–check the original full face video on her You Tube site. During the demonstration an insightful elder of the room stated “She was beautiful before the makeup”, causing a little pause in the room. She clarified that she didn’t mean it in a harsh way and that she doesn’t believe in makeup. However after Calandra was done even she was impressed at the “natural plus more” look.

Next up was yours truly as the model with a demo of the MAC Smoked Ruby eye with a black L’Oreal HIP base. My daily eye go-to is a neutral of peaches and browns so the smoked ruby was certainly a departure. Fairly dramatic and good for a night out…I’ll likely try that one one my own. A third demonstration was on a woman who expressed frustration of not knowing use eyeshadow on her hooded eyes. Calandra was the miracle-worker, showing her that a gold color on the base of her lids, plus some neutrals in the crease and above gave her just that pop she needed. The gold base made her eyes look bigger and definitely made the woman’s day.

The party ended with goodie bags for for a few lucky raffle winners that included brush sets and compact mirrors. All left with beauty kits with water (hydration), tea (relaxation), hand sanitizer (clean hands before you touch your face!), lotion and Hershey Kisses to leave with love. I think a good time was had by all and quite a few walked out with new techniques and fun shades to try. I left with some new ideas for my Avon 12-shade eye palette and the MAC Smoked Ruby on my ‘to-buy’ list…plus new-found admiration for my cousin’s love of sharing beauty with everyone.

This and That This Week: The Original 7ven Release “Condensate”

So yes, it’s been quite a while since I last blogged about music. But I HAD to come back with this!! When I was a kid, I heard a song that my sister’s then-boyfriend Bobby played for me. I heard it and I was in love with it. That song was “Cool” by a funk band called The Time. I’m not sure exactly what did it for me – it was a combination of the musical elements, the tune, and most of all the sheer arrogance of the lyrics…”Ain’t nobody bad like me. I’m just COOL!” Bobby actually ended up giving me that album and I still have it today. And here began my affair with 7ven of the baaadest musicians on the planet: Morris, Jesse, Jerome, Monte, Jimmy, Terry and Jellybean – The Time. I remember when I first saw the movie Purple Rain, I became obsessed with Prince – one of the best musicians ever. Yes, his posters were all over my wall – I kept them all through high school and even took them to college! But I digress…

During my second viewing (of well over 30 or so subsequent viewings!) of Purple Rain I was drawn back to The Time. Morris and company stole the show! I almost promised my sister my firstborn when she bought me a copy of their album Ice Cream Castle for my birthday that year! These dudes were off the chain! Well fast forward to 2011…after 21 years off the vinyl together, the band recently released a new CD (accompanied by a DVD documentary) entitled Condensate. A word of caution…you won’t find it filed under The Time. The band formerly known as The Time is now The Original 7ven – named after the fact that all seven original members are back, and they are back with FIYAH!! The name may have changed, but these guys are still spitting out the funk. The documentary is well-worth purchasing as part of a set and offers a comprehensive history of these musical genii. I finally got my copy and after just one listen, I can already tell this is going to be in HEAVY rotation in the Honda (AND on the iPad, AND on my computer…)

Years ago, I would be annoyed that people only seemed to know The Time for songs like “Jungle Love” and “The Bird,” not knowing anything about “Cool” and “Get it Up” (another fave of mine from their self-titled debut album). But alas, I still hope for a new generation of fellow music appreciators that will help bring The Original 7ven back into the forefront – ahead of Auto-tune laced tracks and nonsensical lyrics. I’m hoping the youngins will take a lesson from these 7ven – on the true definition of a BAND. I am glad to see them BACK, and they are still C-O-O-L!

Check out their Facebook Fan Page for more information and tour updates.

This and That This Week: Doris New York

Doris New York is an amazing hair care company I mentioned after my visit to the Circle of Sisters Expo in New York. Check out my video review of their Leave In Conditioner ($15) and Olive Oil Hair Cream ($17).

These are two great products from a beautiful and professional hair care company. The care they take in promoting and representing their brand is amazing.

Click here to see the entire product review.