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Threading to Perfection

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Eyebrow Threading is a technique that involves the use of a doubled and twisted thin cotton thread, which is rolled over the area of the unwanted hair and plucked at the follicle level. Though this technique is a relatively new one in the Western world, it is an ancient hair removal practice, believed to have originated in South Asia and the Middle East, then becoming more popular in countries in the Far East, like China.

Eyebrow threading is a precise art form that, unlike shaving, plucking or waxing, does not leave hair remnants behind and only removes the hair and not the skin as there’s less contact with the skin than any of the other methods. So if you have sensitive skin, then this removal procedure is definitely best for you.

The technique makes it easier to create definition in your eyebrows because of the precision that is used to remove the hair. And despite this meticulousness, it’s a pretty quick procedure, which usually takes about 10 to 15 minutes, and can last up to four weeks (the more you thread the longer it will last). The general consensus is that it’s a relatively painless procedure, well, less painful than plucking. Still, only you can state for sure how much ‘pain’ you can handle. Furthermore, there might be some puffiness or redness after the procedure (depending on your skin type) but a little hydrocortisone can go a long way!

Although not many people in the West are familiar with this hair removal technique, it is slowly but surely catching on. Keep in mind, however, that not everyone can execute this task, so be careful who you select to do this job – and allow your brows to articulate fabulousity.

 

Kimberley Kaye

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There is a saying by Oscar Wilde that states, “No great artist ever sees things as they really are. If he did, he would cease to be an artist.” This quote definitely rings true for Jamaican-born fine artist, Kimberley Kaye, who seems to be able to visualise and capture the real beauty that resides around us and gives us a taste of this through her captivating artwork.

According to Kimberley, it’s the beauty and tranquility that she had experienced in Jamaica growing up that fashioned her into the artist she is today. Her inspiration, which she said stems from her home and her people, has allowed for entrancing pieces focused mainly on landscapes, portraits, and seascapes. From her days of sitting in front of the TV at the age of five and drawing cartoon characters that danced across the screen, her passion for the arts consistently remained. However, it was not until 2003, after she had completed a Bachelor of Science in Biology that she decided to devote herself completely to art. She then organised her first solo exhibition one year later and sold out her second show the following year. Not through with her artistic scope, she later enrolled in the School of Visual Arts in New York City, and it was there that she discovered a love for figurative drawing, painting, and sculpting.

Kimberley’s work pretty much speaks for itself, which is evident in the detail of the aesthetic essence that is captured by her brushes and pencils, as well as the fact that since 2003 over 200 of her pieces have been sold to private art collectors both locally and internationally. The stories that are told by her artwork show that this artist leaves bits of herself in what she does  – and it is this untarnished ardour that she has that makes the true enjoyment of her work so effortless.

 

Sezi

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SEZi’s performance may have been delayed but when she took the stage at Redbones, her voice and presence resonated with a wealth of emotion. And we have to admit – we became instantly enthralled. From the moment she stepped onto the stage she held the audience with an array of passionate words which were stringed with longing and emotion – creating and weaving stories that could speak to the soul. Deep huh? We know, but not many local artists these days carry this level of conviction, so Stush is definitely excited to see what this new artist has in store for her future musical career.

SEZi has been developing her craft in the Kingston underground music scene, performing with bands such as Protoje (who was actually at Redbones in support of her EP debut, along with Tami Chynn), Raging Fyah, No-Maddz, and others. The soulful songstress grew up in Port of Spain, Trinidad, but was born here in Jamaica – stating that she chose to launch her EP here as homage to her musical journey.

Her “Slow Burn” debut has each song reverberating with a heavy yearning, which captures the sentiments of the listeners and take them on an emotional trip of that moment when they were slayed by love. The first song, “Say it Ain’t So” (a personal favourite), will have you rocking to the catchy reggae vibe that generates from the background beat, with her vocals complimenting the tune nicely.  Each song that follows has a different feel – from soulful and haunting to fast-paced and pop-like – with her remaining true to her Island roots.

SEZi is an artist who knows how to captivate her audience with conviction and emotion, and her live acoustic performance at Redbones was just that – captivating. This upcoming artist is definitely one to watch out for, and Stush cannot wait to hear more from this new Island gem!

 

Carnival Fashion Do’s and Don’ts

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For women, Carnival is a time to let loose and revel in super short shorts and sequin outfits that some wouldn’t dare to be caught wearing in public at any other time. Mixing and matching neon colours and bright highlights, why not?! Let go of your creative juices and dive head-first into the endless possibilities. That said, one still needs to remain practical (to a certain extent) so they can truly revel in style. So here are a few basic Carnival fashion dos and don’ts that can make your Carnival experience even more fabulous.

Do’s

  • Comfortable footwear is the way to go. Trekking sandals are great, as well as comfy shoes like sneakers or vans.
  • Wear skin toned underwear with sheer or thin tights. No one wants to be constantly worrying about the appearance of their underwear when trying to have some fun. Also, keep in mind ladies, wearing visible underwear under your tights is a definite no no!
  • Wear costume jewellery as oppose to the real stuff. It can easily become lost, or it can make you the target of the wrong type of attention.
  • Waterproof makeup is the way to go! Don’t be caught with runny makeup – the raccoon look is no bueno.
  • Accessorise with a rag, handkerchief, or a flag. Show that you mean true Carnival business with your waving addition. On the side, if you get too sweaty you can always use it to dab your face – well, not with the flag, of course!

Don’ts

  • Big hoops are a danger hazard. There are too many Carnival stories that end badly with big hoops, ladies. Be forewarned. If you want to wear dazzling earrings, try wearing a chandelier-type one – without any hanging hoops or dangling hooks!
  • I know it can look pretty cute with your Carnival attire, but if you’re planning on getting wet – don’t wear those heavily fur-lined uggs. If they’re fake, when wet, they can get quite suggy and uncomfortable. However, if they’re the real deal, then you’re good to go as the water will less likely get inside.
  • Leave the high heels/stilettos at home. It’s just flat out impractical to wear heels at Carnival if you’re planning on getting down, especially if it’s outside on soft ground. Unless you’re a masochist or have super feet – this is, for sure, advised against.
  • I know I said to let your creative juices run wild, but don’t overdo it.  Fluorescent colour tones can be fun and cute, just don’t mix too many together – three solid colours, at most, is fine. None of us would want to give the impression of a circus runaway.
  • This is something that is seen at pretty much every carnival event – if you’re a big girl, don’t wear a full body suit. Wear an outfit that can compliment your mounds and curves, not insult them!

Carnival is about enjoying the thrills of life and having fun. So this Carnival season, go out with the best accessory that a girl needs – style. ♥

 

No More Hangovers

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It’s Carnival time again! And with this time of year comes a lot of drinking and revelling, and uhm, drinking. So we thought we’d help you out in getting rid of those pesky hangovers and fully enjoy this season the way its suppose to – with booze and sweat! So here are some easy ways to avoid or get rid of a hangover.

Got Milk? – Milk is said to coat the stomach, so you will experience a reduction in the amount of hangover symptoms the next morning. You know the saying, “drinking milk does the body good.”

Good ol’ H2O – Water is the other drink to chug when you’re out partying with your peeps. Drink one glass of H2O for every alcoholic beverage you consume, and then finish off the night by downing a couple glasses before bed.

Banana Wonders – Eat a banana the morning after you drink to help reduce or prevent a hangover. The fruit contains potassium, which gives you electrolytes. People lose electrolytes after downing several drinks.

Have an Egg – Eggs are a good choice when it’s time for breakfast the next morning. You may not feel like eating but try to eat a few bites. Eggs contain cysteine, which helps your body break down what causes the hangover.

Finger lickin’ Fried Food – Eating fried food is one way to prevent a hangover. The fat in the greasy food helps your body to absorb the alcohol you drink by sticking to the stomach lining longer.

Avoid Caffeine – Caffeinated drinks such as coffee and soda should be avoided because they cause dehydration, which you don’t want to be when drinking alcohol.

Have a Multivitamin – Take a multivitamin the morning after downing those drinks and it will help in reducing or even getting rid of the hangover symptoms. What nutrients alcohol takes away from you, multivitamins will give you back.

Drink Some Gatorade – Gatorade contains electrolytes, which is important for hydration. There’s a reason why athletes chug this stuff and it’ll help you stay hydrated while you drink and dance the night away.

Take B Vitamins – B vitamins are really good for stopping a hangover before it even starts. They help to relieve and reduce hangover symptoms by replacing the nutrients alcohol takes away. Also, before you head out, make sure to only take the recommended dosage.

Munch on a Pickle – Try eating some pickles before you hit the streets. Pickles contain salt, which your body needs when you drink. Add a couple to a burger, place some fries next to it, and chow down. The fries will help your body absorb the liquor.

Avoid Mixing Drinks – Avoid mixing your alcoholic drinks. Decide what you want and stick to it – your body has trouble processing more than one alcoholic drink at a time.

Have a Glass of OJ – Fruit sugar (fructose) is said to increase your energy. Drink a glass the next morning to help speed up the rate that your body gets rid of toxins. The vitamins found in fruit drinks help to get your body back in shape.

Old Wives Tale – People in the Mediterranean say that drinking a spoonful of olive oil will prevent a hangover. Instead of just drinking it though, you can drizzle some olive oil onto a salad or dip a piece of bread in it to help prevent a hangover from forming.

So, now when you head out to your carnival thrills, don’t worry about how you’re going to get to work or class the next morning, just heed these hangover remedies and you’ll be good to go!

 

A Guide to Partying Like a True Carnival Pro

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Not all of us are Carnival pros – it can actually take a few tries to get it right. So we thought we’d combine some common mistakes and create a guide for our Carnival rookies. This way, you can avoid suffering from blunders faced by previous Carnivalites, and carouse without worry!

Carnival and the Sun

If you’re going to be revelling in the sun, then throw some sunscreen in your bag and use it. No matter how dark your skin is, you can still get burnt from those harmful UV rays. Also, don’t forget that water is your best friend. With the sun, alcohol consumption, and jumping around, you might not even realise that dehydration has crept up on you. So replenish with some water once in a while – you wouldn’t want to end up grasping for air on the ground (it happens!).

Vex Money

Have you ever heard of ‘vex money’? Well ladies, make sure you pack a little extra cash so you can hold your head high and get a taxi to go home when you’re ready – without having to depend on anyone.

Safety First

If you’re female, don’t go to bathrooms alone. Try going in pairs, and don’t accept drinks from random strangers unless it’s a serving party official and you can see your drink being made. Additionally, neither sex should carry around large sums of money, visible wallets, or change purses.

Speaking of sex, it can get pretty easy to get worked up with all the sexual energy floating around at this time, so make sure to have your own condom and use it if you’ll be copulating – Carnival babies is not a myth – neither is STDs!

Think ahead

Bring a small messenger bag or a pouch (worn on the front) that you can put your cash and valuables in. You can also secure your cell phone in a small clear plastic bag to keep it dry – you’ll still have the option to use it through the clear bag. If your phone is prepaid, then either put on some credit or bring an extra phone card. Don’t take it for granted that there’ll be a vendor around with available credit.

Alcohol Consumption

If you’re planning on doing a lot of drinking, make sure to eat before you start. You wouldn’t want to prematurely become drunk before you can truly enjoy the event, would you? Also, know your limit and don’t go over it. If you don’t know your limit, then when you get to that point where your thoughts and actions are not of your usual self, and you start to feel a bit disoriented – stop – have some food and water, and take a breather from the booze.

With the Carnival season, there are many unexpected things that can occur, some we can predict others we can’t. At the end of the day, it’s up to you to use your better judgement and not become a Carnival victim.

 

Think Twice Before Choosing a Financial Planner

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“A financial plan is a road map that helps you to accomplish your financial objectives,” says Damion Brown, investment strategist at Jamaica Money Market Brokers (JMMB) Limited.

The main element in a specific financial plan is a well-specified goal, he stated. Once that goal is established, there are several factors that must be taken into consideration.

PLANNING

You should clearly set out what the financial plan is supposed to achieve. For example, it is to provide funds for retirement or to eventually purchase a home.

RISK

The kinds of risks you are willing to take should also be considered. For example, if you were looking to retire, stocks would be the best financial option. The reason for this is because when plans cover a longer period of time, assets may fluctuate considerably in value but they are likely to provide good long-term returns. Investing in stocks is also more appropriate because you will have more time to recover from any near-term decline in value.

LIQUIDITY NEEDS

Liquidity needs, which speak to whether you may need to access your investments for spending over the life of your investment, will also determine the type of investments you choose.

TYPE OF ASSETS

Your willingness and ability to tolerate risks will also determine the kind of assets that are utilised in the financial plan. Assets that provide higher returns generally display greater fluctuation in value. If you have the necessary resources to absorb losses and are comfortable with fluctuations in the value of your investments, you may choose to acquire assets that are expected to provide high returns but which have a greater variability in the return they provide.

INSTITUTION

Choose one of the more established financial companies. You should consider financial planners that are registered with the Financial Services Commission (FSC) or that work for reputable entities regulated by the FSC or Bank of Jamaica. Appropriate regulations also allow you to feel comfortable that the financial planner is likely to be honest and operate in a structured and professional manner.

FINANCIAL PLANNER

The financial planner must be willing to listen to you and tailor an investment portfolio that meets the specific needs of the investor, and not just recommend a one-size-fits-all financial plan.

QUALIFICATIONS AND EXPERIENCE

It is important for you to look at their qualifications and experience to ensure that the financial planner has suitable educational qualifications related to the investment field, or has suitable experience in the financial industry.

 

Financial Rules of Thumb

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Financial rules of thumb are designed to give you quick guidelines for managing your finances. However, you shouldn’t follow them without giving some thought to your personal circumstances.

It’s especially easy for young people to get into debt with the constant use of hire-purchase agreements and easy access to credit cards, according to Francine Richards, client relations officer at E.W Lewis Investments and Financial Limited.

“Once a person is employed, most financial institutions will give that person a credit card. These individuals see this as free money, therefore their money management starts to go downhill,” she said.

“Hire-purchase and credit card usage allow for the easiest forms of debt – therefore when it comes to hire purchases, it is best to save its use for major purchases, such as buying a car or a house,” she continued.

Richards also advised that instead of relying on hire-purchase, it is always best to save and purchase items by cash.

More common financial rules

Save 10 per cent of your gross income

While this will give you a good start, it is typically the minimum, not the maximum, which you should be saving. Determine how much you will need for your financial goals, and then decide how much to save every year.

Plan on spending 80 per cent of your pre-retirement income during retirement

This may work if you don’t plan on being very active during retirement, but more people expect retirement to include extensive travel and expensive hobbies. On the other hand, if you’ve paid off your mortgage and your children have finished college, you may need less than this. Review your individual situation and desires for retirement to determine how much you will need.

Set the percentage of stocks in your portfolio to 100 minus your age

With increased life expectancies, this can result in your portfolio being a too heavily weighted income investment. Set your asset allocation based on your risk tolerance and time horizon for investing. Even after retirement, stocks may comprise a significant portion of your portfolio.

Keep three to six months of income in an emergency fund

While an emergency fund is a good idea, how much to keep in that fund will depend on your circumstances. You may need a larger reserve if you are the sole wage earner in the family, work at a seasonal job, own your own company, or rely on commissions or bonuses. A smaller reserve may be required if you have more than one source of income, can borrow significant sums quickly, or carry insurance to cover many emergencies.

Pay no more than 20 per cent of your take-home pay toward short-term debt

Once considered a firm rule by lenders, you can obtain loans even if you exceed this amount. However, do not become complacent if you meet this rule of thumb, since a large percentage of your income is still going to pay debt. Try to reduce your debt, or at least reduce the interest rates on that debt.

Keep your mortgage or rent payment to no more than 30 per cent of your gross pay

While you can obtain a mortgage for more than that, staying within this rule will help ensure you have money to devote to other financial goals.

Obtain life insurance equal to six times your annual income

Different individuals require vastly different amounts of insurance, depending on whether one or both spouses work, whether minor children are part of the family, or whether insurance is being obtained for other needs, such as to fund a buy or sell agreement or to help pay estate taxes. Thus, you should determine your precise needs before purchasing insurance.

Note: Most financial rules of thumb should not be followed without first considering your individual circumstances.

 

Quick Meal Tips

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“Doing things ahead of time is always best,” says Shereen Codner, consumer service officer at Grace Kitchens.

“If you are going to cook callaloo and salt fish for breakfast, then cut up and season the callaloo the night before and boil and flake the salt fish, then just put it in the refrigerator,” she said.

She stated that parents preparing porridge for schoolchildren should bring it to a boil at low flame. Then they can simply go about getting their children ready for school in the meantime – “instead of standing over the porridge and constantly stirring it.”

The following are eight additional tips for quick meal preparations

Getting Organised

Tip 1

Arrange foods, utensils, and equipment for fast-paced work.

Example: Put items that you use together in a similar location. You might store measuring spoons and cups near dry ingredients that need measuring.

Tip 2

Stock your kitchen with quick-to-fix ingredients that can be used in a variety of ways.

Example: Frozen peas can be served alone as a vegetable, thawed for use in a cold salad, or mixed in with soup.

Tip 3

Plan some meals in advance so there is less work at the last minute.

Example: Make a mental note of what you will have for dinner tomorrow. If meat needs to be thawed, you can let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Tip 4

Write down food items as you need them.

Example: Keep a piece of paper near the cupboard or refrigerator to write down out-of-stock items to buy on your next trip to the grocery store. Read recipes ahead of time to make sure you have all the needed ingredients on hand.

Time-Saving Strategies

Tip 5

Complete some preparation steps from an earlier time.

Example: Season bulks of meat, freeze them and take out required portions.

Tip 6

Use time-saving food preparation methods.

Example: To save total preparation time, try quick microwave or stove-top versions of dishes you usually cook in the oven.

Tip 7

Collect quick and easy menu ideas.

Example: Start a collection of easy-to-prepare recipes that contain just a few ingredients and a few steps.

Tip 8

Make extra food when you have time to cook.

Example: Anytime you make food such as soups, stews, or spaghetti sauce – make extra and freeze in meal-size portions.

KEEP BREAD FRESH

To keep bread fresh for a longer duration, Codner suggested cutting the bread up into portions and keeping it in the freezer – then the night before, take it out and put it on the counter overnight for use in the morning. This, she pointed out, will keep the bread very fresh and prevent it from going stale. Don’t worry, there will not be any sogginess.

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