Archives for October 2013

Dope Shit for (T)hugs: Hood+Good Lips Edition {and a GIVEAWAY}

rainbowhairImage: flourishinprogress on Instagram

I’ve never done a post like this before, so I’ll probably fuck it up, but please be patient with me.

As two or three of you may know, I originally started this blog because I gave up shopping for a year and needed a way to stay accountable to my family and friends. I only planned to blog for that one year, but the people I met through the blog (I’m not trying to brag or anything, but I have DOZENS of readers now) and the self-awareness I’ve gained from writing about a life of poor choices and debauchery kept me going. I’m proud to say that I only caved in once during the yearlong ban, when I couldn’t quit a sassy little Monchhichi doll at Target.

My shopping project permanently changed the way I spend money. I buy much less and only the things I truly love.

I’m a socially awkward person (unless I’m involved in a beatdown because I’m just thug as fuck then), but I’m never shy about complimenting a stranger on a dazzling headband or hesitant to ask someone where they got their lipstick. And people ask me all the time too.

So, I’m starting this Dope Shit for (T)hugs series. In each edition, I’ll focus on one category and share products that I love and personally use on a regular basis. It won’t always be beauty. My next one will be about office products. I want all my homies to use top-notch mechanical pencils.

P.S. I was not given any of these products for free or at a discount. All of these were purchased with my husband’s hard-earned money.


Take em out the hood, keep em lookin good.
Jaz Z- “Big Pimpin” (feat. U.G.K.)

I’ve always been self-conscious about my lips. When I was a kid, my mother told me that they were disproportionate and too large for my face. At some point in my mid-20’s, I just decided to fuck it and own my facial features. I may still be poor in marketable skills, but I am rich in lipsticks. I buy them more than any other makeup product. These are my favorites:


Tom Ford lipstick ($49): When I first saw the price tag on these bitches, I cracked the fuck up. WHO BUYS $50 LIPSTICK? Apparently, I do. I really, really didn’t want to like these because I have a habit of rubbing my lips together constantly, and I need to reapply any lipstick within, like, 10 minutes. I didn’t even want to try it on at first, but the sales associate said that there was “no pressure” and “just walk around with it and see how you like it.” Fine, I thought, put some of that expensive nonsense on me. I tried Cherry Lush, a beautiful red. I walked around the mall, ate a hot dog on a stick, drank some lemonade, and licked my lips as usual. Several hours later, I walked by a mirror, and that shit was STILL there. I own a bunch of these guys now. I accidentally broke one and the color stick fell on the floor. I just cleaned it off with rubbing alcohol and mashed it back into the tube. Cuz…$50…fuck propriety and germs.  I don’t pop molly, I rock Tom Ford. (Jay Z- “Tom Ford”)

Lipstick Queen lipstick ($22): I keep Tom Ford lipsticks on my makeup vanity, but I carry Lipstick Queens in my purse. These are much smaller and lighter, and I don’t need a mirror to apply them because the gold tube lipsticks (the Saint line) are sheer enough that if I draw outside the lines, I still don’t look like a crack whore. How I managed to bring a crack whore into this, I have no idea, but to be honest, I’m pretty proud right now. The black tubes (the Sinner line) are much more pigmented. Mirror suggested. They feel luxe and rich and don’t suck all the moisture out of my lips.

Maybelline Baby Lips lip balm ($4-5): One day, I will devote a whole post to lip balms because it’s the one collection that, in number, rivals my Yo! MTV Raps trading cards collection. I always ask friends and family to bring me a lip balm as a souvenir when they go abroad. They don’t offer first or anything. I just call repeatedly until they say yes to get rid of me. I love these Baby Lips because they are lightly moisturizing and offer a sheer and shiny layer of color without the fried chicken feel of lip gloss. My favorite is Grape Vine. It’s purple but gives a nice color when applied. I have Grape Vine on in the picture at the top of the post. Not suitable as an intensive lip balm.

Maybelline Color Sensational lipstick ($6-8, varies with sales and location purchased): I didn’t start using these gems until earlier this year. These are the first drugstore lipsticks I have ever purchased. Ain’t gonna lie, I had all sorts of preconceived notions about drugstore makeup. But, for $7, I was willing to risk it. I fucking love these…for the price. If they were over $10, I might feel differently. But, for a low investment, I can experiment with an assortment of colors. I’m a little bummed that I can’t try on the shade before purchasing it, but I haven’t had any major disappointments yet. I carry these when I go to da club. No worries if I drop it on the dance floor. Also, don’t carry nice things to a club. I learned me a real good lesson on the dance floor at TAO when I lost my wedding ring.
P.S. I’m not really a crafter, although I really love buying craft supplies and looking at them in their packaging from time to time. But my homegirl Tina recently started a blog, Tina Made It, and it’s filled with Dope Shit…Tina Made. That sentence sounded a lot better in my head. I forced her to have lunch with me recently and gave her some (t)hug pencils which she wrote about here. Sometimes, I give people things to spend time with me. Even then, they still say no. If you have some time, check out homegirl’s blog because it’s beautiful and useful and she didn’t say no to lunch. Tina Made My Day.

P.P.S. Damn, homie, you still reading? This is officially my longest post. Want to waste time at work? I can help. Stay connected on the Flourish in Progress Facebook page or follow along on Instagram (username: flourishinprogress).

I’m also on Twitter (username: ElizabethJLiu), but I don’t really give a fuck about Twitter, so don’t worry about that one.



What do these sassy cards from Carde Blanche have to do with Hood+Good Lips? Nothing. But it’s definitely Dope Shit, and I love them and want you to have them. The Fuck and Shit cards even come with sticker asterisks, for those occasions when you want to exercise a little ladylike restraint. I’m super stoked that Lori, le wizard de papier (probably not a real term) of Carde Blanche, offered up a set of either the Say It or Seal It cards (4 each of Shit and Fuck with asterisk stickers and envelopes, $28) or the Social Graces notecards (8 different gold foil messages with envelopes, $26). Lori’s Instagram grind is on point too. You can find her at carde_blanche.

To enter: Leave a comment below with your favorite lip product. Only comments left on this post are eligible. I’ll announce a winner in next week’s post.

Violence IS the answer

ejlemptyMe, back in my thuglet days
Flourish in Progress on Instagram

Even though violence is a lot easier, I still try to use my words. But that rule only applies to me. Words Before Shoving is the exact opposite of what I’ve been teaching my daughter. We’ve had multiple conversations about what bullying looks like and why it’s unacceptable for anyone to shame, violate, or exert pressure over another person with words or actions. When Cal asked for an action plan to defend herself, I told her to punch that motherfucker in the face and then run to the nearest adult. If the bully is a tall adult, her reach could be an issue, so I offered other options like a shin or a kneecap.

Cal didn’t thank me for my tips. Obviously, our next serious conversation is going to address her appreciation skills. Instead, she asked if adults really bullied kids. “Come on, mommy, be real.”

“Adults bully everybody.”

That totally didn’t sound right. I can’t use my fists and, clearly, words aren’t really my thing, so I’ve been thinking a lot about relocating. To a cave. “Wait, back up. What I meant is that you shouldn’t accept cruelty or abuse from an adult just because they are an adult. Some adults aren’t nice to anyone, including kids.”

“If I hit, doesn’t that make me a bully too?”




“I don’t think that counts as an answer.”

When a situation becomes too confrontational, I take a moment to step back and gain clarity. I have to do that a lot with Cal because children who ask too many questions make parenting extremely difficult. You know what? I’m not giving up because I’m not a quitter. Also, I’ve already put in fourteen years, so I might as well just go the distance. The more time you put in, the more money your kids have to give you when you’re old. I’m not going to stop shopping at Whole Foods just because I turn 80 and/or Harv dies, so I let the eventual cash reward be my motivator.

The more I thought about Cal’s questions, the more I realized how difficult it is to explain the intricacies of conflict and reaction. I wish I could write resolution instead of reaction, but I reserve resolution for matters that have a clear ending, a solution that either brings peace of mind or, at the very least, enough closure to move away from the situation.

Sometimes, when we are faced with a bully, all we can do is react.

I am very familiar with conflict. Someone once told me that I am to blame for all of the conflict in my life. That every single badness I have ever crossed paths with is my own doing. That I have experienced more pain and drama than most people my age because I allow broken people into my sphere and tether them to my own darkness. I do not disagree.

Those words affected me deeply, but I understand now that bullies are paralyzed by their own brokenness. The density of their self-hate makes it impossible for them to shine, so they don’t want anyone else to sparkle either. He wanted to keep me dull and jagged and rough…I ain’t about that life. Checkmate, bitch.

As a kid, I didn’t question adult bullies because I thought that adults could do whatever they wanted and it was, like, totally legit. I didn’t use my fists OR my words with kid bullies when they threw gum in my hair or ching-chonged their way past me. Bullies always seem to know who to target because water seeks its own level. Weakness can always spot weakness.

My weakness turned into rage. I overreacted to everything and everyone because I was never, ever, ever going to let anyone fuck me over again. And…I became a bully. I just want to take this opportunity to apologize to the barista at Starbucks on Beverly Dr. for that time I lost my shit cuz it was dairy instead of soy. I’m so sorry.

I couldn’t condense all of these thoughts and experiences into one simple answer, so I sat with Cal and shared the unedited version.

I repeated over and over again that violence is never the answer. Except for those times when it is. “So I’m pushing them away with my hands more for a boundary than to give them a black eye?”

“YES. And if you did give them a black eye, at least it would match the color of their soul.” I didn’t say that last part even though I really wanted to. Part of using your words is knowing when to shut up.

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Holler at your homegirl and stay connected on the Flourish in Progress Facebook page (the magic aka (t)hug life thoughts and not-seen-on-the-blog pictures happens here, ain’t gonna lie) and on Instagram (username: flourishinprogress).