Cheers! My Birthday Celebration with the Napa Valley Wine Country Tours

After losing my grandmother a few weeks before my birthday, I really needed to celebrate life. I know she would want me to do that. This year, I decided to ring in a new year of life in wine country. My soror traveled up from So Cal to visit. This would be her first time in Napa. I didn’t want to drive so instead, we bought bus tickets for the Napa Valley Wine Country Tours.

Let me tell you something, going on this bus tour was one of the BEST decisions I made. The Napa Valley Wine Country Tours bus isn’t just any bus. It’s a limo bus that looks like a VIP club lounge on wheels. We paid $119 for an 8-hour trip, visit to 4 wineries in Sonoma and Napa counties, continental breakfast and lunch. It was worth every penny. The tastings aren't covered in the bus fare, but they ran about $10-$25. Wineries won't charge you for tastings if you buy a bottle. I recommend this for tourists and any Bay Area locals who have folks visiting from out of town and want a short excursion to Nap…

COVERGIRL, Janelle Monae and
My Hunt for the Perfect Red Lipstick

For a long time, wearing red lipstick was not an option for me. I’m talking red, red. I’ve worn brick red colors (red with a hint of brown) or berry reds. But not bold, siren red, reds. I was hesitant to try red because I have very full lips. I wasn’t sure if the red would pop too much and make me look like a clown. I was also unsure if it would compliment my darker complexion. Red lips have long been associated with sensuality. Naughty girls wear red lipstick, is what I heard. Silly right? And so I avoided red lipstick for years.

I had a change of heart after attending a pre-Blogalicious conference event in Oakland last year. Veteran makeup artist and beauty blogger Tracey Brown of Blinging Beauty gave a makeup demonstration. She encouraged us to all have a red lipstick. Some of us looked at her like she was crazy, including me. But when she applied a brilliant red blush on a woman darker than me, I thought it looked gorgeous.  And I wondered if red lipstick would work on me, like the red blush worked on her. From then on, I wanted red lips.

This photo of Janelle Monae sold me
on the shade Hot. 
The hunt for the perfect shade of red was on. I visited drug stores and a couple of makeup counters. Then I found THE red lipstick while surfing online. One of my favorite artists, Janelle Monae, is a COVERGIRL. I  visited COVERGIRL'S Pinterest page and saw pictures of Janelle Monae modeling LipPerfection Lipcolor in Hot #305. She looked absolutely stunning. Hot #305 was fire and I knew I had to have it.

I'm still excited about Janelle Monae being a COVERGIRL. She's perfect for their image. Janelle is empowering, fun, beautiful. She brings a special energy to their image and her work,  which is why I'm a fan (see my article on her for the Huffington Post). 

Back to my quest for red lipstick. I thought the hunt would be easy after setting my eyes on Hot. Just go to a drugstore and pick up the lipstick, maybe a pack of gummy bears too. Easy right? I went to the CVS in my area and they were out. I went back three more times. Nada. I went to another CVS twice. They were out of Hot. I even tried Walgreens, Walmart and Target. No Hot.  This went on for about a month. When I want something, I go for it. Then I thought, I’ll order it from the P&G e-Store. They were out! My hunt for Hot was getting cold. 

I was ready to give up. Just for the heck of it, I decided to Tweet Janelle Monae and COVERGIRL a beauty S.O.S. I thought maybe they could suggest another alternative of where to get Hot. They both responded and were very sympathetic to my makeup woes. The people at COVERGIRL must have appreciated my determination. They not only sent me Hot, but the LipPerfection lip liner Passion.  Good things come to those who wait.

The arrival of my
 goodies from COVERGIRL.

As you see from the pictures above, I am in love with Hot. Putting on the shade just brought out so many sides in me. Red lips are bold, sophisticated, sexy, classy, edgy, liberating and fun. And LipPerfection Lipcolor lasts for a long time. Looking back, it’s not that red was a bad color. It’s just that I wasn’t ready to wear it. Now that I’m more confident in my 30’s, bold red lips truly compliment my complexion and my energy. And there’s nothing hotter than a woman comfortable in her skin.

*Special thanks to CoverGirl for the makeup.