Reflections: 2012 in Review

Alas, ladies and gentlemen. 2013 is only a few nights away and at this moment I am reflecting on how much I have learned and grown this year.  I've had some hits, some misses, and made some moves in which I still await a verdict.  All in all, I can say that 2012 has been very good to me.  As a way of charting my progress and preparing myself for the upcoming year, I decided to do Rosetta Thurman's Annual Review (courtesy of Happy Black Woman).  It has been very helpful to me, so I would like to share my review with you guys in hopes that you will do this review for yourselves also.  I will warn you in advance-- it's a lengthy read so bear with me!

What I Want to Remember About 2012

What was the most valuable lesson you learned this year?  Spread love as much as you can and as often as you can.  I don't always have the means to give as much as I would like to financially, but as long as I'm breathing, I always have the ability to love. Being able to show love to another is such an underrated experience.  In turn, I don't know what I would do without the love I've received from my closest friends, family, and even complete strangers.  Love is what really keeps us alive.

What professional accomplishments (at work or in your business) were you most proud of this year? I am most proud that I now have a sponsor here! Stay tuned as I will share more about this next month.

What was your favorite family/friends moment from 2012?  My favorite family/friends moment from 2012 was definitely my grandfather's birthday party.  My grandfather is a warm, loving, wise, and highly respected man in the community and it warmed my heart to see so many people come out to celebrate his life.  The conversations, hugs, and pleasantries shared among family and friends combined with good eating and music made for an awesome day.  My grandma even smiled long enough to take pictures :)  It was a beautiful thing to know our family was able to come together and share love for my grandfather in a big way, as he is getting up in age.  And he was overwhelmed with joy!

What was the best book/blog/song/movie/restaurant/city/country/etc. you discovered this year?

Book:  the first that comes to mind is Farther Than I Meant To Go, Longer Than I Meant To Stay by Tiffany Warren. It's a book I read via the FWB Book Club.  I learned so much about being patient, waiting on the Lord, and consulting Him in all areas of my life from this read. 

Blog: I have fallen in love with Christa all because of her blog, Inspired by Beatrice Clay.  When I joined Bloggers Like Me, her blog is one of the first I came across.  Her words were so inspiring, her thoughts were so insightful, and her challenges always motivated me to do better. Please be sure to check out the blog and tell her I sent ya over there! 

Song: To ask me to choose one song for the year is like offering me one chip from an entire can of Sour Cream and Onion Pringles. This is a difficult task!  The ratchet side of me wants to say Cashin' Out by Cash Out because it has played a million times in my car this year lol.  And the romantic side of me wants to say Adorn by  Miguel for the same reason. But if I had to choose a theme song for the year I would have to say Stand Up by Jessie J.

Movie:  The Perks of Being a Wallflower was one of my favorite movies of the year. Note I did not say Avengers (mainly because I've raved about it so much this year already!). Please check it out if you haven't already. 

What I Want to Leave Behind As I Enter 2013

Which personal development area(s) did you make the LEAST progress on this year: health, finances, education, relationships, family, work and/or lifestyle?  I have made the least progress in my health goals this year.  I need to start going to the doctor more often.  The belief that I can concoct something at home that can make me feel brand new is not as true as I once thought.  I've never had high blood pressure before this year, so that is the first indicator that I need to take better care of my health.  I also need to take my physical fitness goals more seriously.  (Anyone in the area in need of a workout partner?  I am so serious!)

What promises (to yourself or others) did you break in 2012? In 2012, I vowed to spend more time with my friends and put more effort into making more connections. Needless to say, I didn't do as much of either as I would have liked.  I have a tendency to retreat to my own personal space when I'm going through things.  Instead of seeking comfort and solace from friends, I tend to push them away and keep to myself.  From now on (starting tonight and not waiting until 2013) I will make more of an effort to nurture my friendships, reach out to my friends, and be there for them when they need me.  I'm for real this time.  I will also step out of my comfort zone and try my hardest to meet new people in my area by attending more events and accepting more invitations.  

What arguments/gossip/hurtful comments, if any, did you participate in or make this year that you wish you could take back and/or apologize for? I haven't had any heated arguments with anyone that I can recall (as I tend to avoid conflict as much as possible), but I have had issues with individuals that took place back in 2011 that as of tonight have still been unresolved.  Sometimes, I wish the whole ordeal would have never taken place, but when I look back at everything I realize it was inevitable.  The only thing that bothers me about the situation is it has affected relationships with my family and it has affected by ability to trust others.  I wish I knew how to resolve it, but for now I don't.  

What opportunities, if any, did you miss out on in 2012 because of fear or procrastination? Fear has placed so many roadblocks in my life. So much so, that I may have to address that at another time in another way. This year it has prevented me from sharing my true feelings with others, taking chances, and making changes I know are necessary for my growth.  With God's help, I know I can move past the fear though. Keep me in your prayers, guys.

What I Want to Bring Into My Life in 2013

What do you deserve more of next year? What do you deserve less of next year? In 2013, I believe I deserve more love.  I will allow more love and happiness to pour into my life. I deserve less disappointment, dishonesty, and negativity.

What personal milestone(s) do you most want to reach this year in your relationships, health, family, finances, education and/or lifestyle?  This upcoming year, I wish to spend more quality time with my husband and children, visit the doctor and exercise more often, make better financial choices that will better benefit my children, add another skill set/diploma/certificate and degree to my resume', and spend more time connecting with others.

What professional accomplishments (at work or in your business) do you want to see for yourself this year? I would love to have a functioning work from home business, get started with my freelance MUA efforts, and to assist my daughter with her ambitions of starting a jewelry line.

What do you want to learn in 2013? I want to learn to sew!

What do you want to cross off of your bucket list in 2013? I want to cross visiting Las Vegas and meeting three of my blogger besties in my head off my bucket list in 2013.

What I Want My Life to Look Like in 2013

What part of your life do you want to pay more attention to in 2013?   I want to pay more attention to my family life in 2013.  Of course, I have professional and personal goals for myself, but I want to put more effort into building and strengthening my family. 

Who do you want to spend more time with in 2013? I want to spend more time with my friends in 2013.  I hate that my closest friends live so far away, as our time spent together is quite limited.  But I have no problem hopping on a plane so I can look in their faces more often this year!  I also have special people in my life that live less than an hour's drive from me that I hope to make more great memories with next year as well. 

Which activities, habits or behaviors, if any, do you want to stop doing in 2013 because they are no longer in alignment with your values?   As I mentioned before, I have a habit of retreating to self.  I spend more time alone than I probably should.  And this is something that has only started happening within the last two years.  I would love to be more social and less introverted, so I have to stop this behavior.

Which activities do you want to start and/or continue doing in 2013?  I want to spend more time enjoying my city this year.  I've been living here for a few years now, and have only recently started enjoying all that the city has to offer.  I also would like to visit other landmarks besides the beach.  Perhaps I could plan another trip to the mountains soon!  All in all, I want to see some new stuff!

Have you taken the time to reflect on all that has taken place, all you have accomplished, and things that didn't go as you liked in 2012?  

What to Wear: Winter Holiday Edition

Alas, the holidays are approaching. Many of us (probably everyone except me) have decorated our Christmas trees, adorned our living quarters with tinsel, and have decked the halls with boughs of holly.  The spirit of Christmas has began falling upon us.  And while we create those Christmas shopping lists and pull out those Christmas classic albums from our CD cases, many of us also begin to consider what we'll be wearing.  Just the thought of gathering with friends and loved ones has me scrolling my mental wardrobe notes, wondering what I have to wear that will express how excited I am to be celebrating the holiday season once more.  So in my excitement, I turned up my Boyz II Men Christmas tunes and created three cute outfit choices via Polyvore.  Check them out below:

Holiday Look 1
I created this look with heavy traveling and good eating in mind. My family and I do a bit of traveling during the holidays, in hopes to visit all parts our blended families. I wanted to still bring the glam factor with the shimmery Michael Kors sweater, yet feel comfortable. This is pulled off effortlessly with the jeans and Ash Bowie sneaker wedges (you guys know how much I love these!). The Kiss necklace adds a personal touch to accessorizing, while the gold studs and neutral Elliot Lucca satchel keep things simple. My look will more than likely lean towards something styled like this option.

Holiday Look 2
If I decide to step my game up just a little, this would be the look to go for. The sheer leopard print top and rider leggings are cute and trendy, but are paired with nude pumps and bag to give it a more chic look. If the shirt appears too short to be paired with leggings to you, the Vivienne Westwood knitted collar coat covers the curves nicely. And it just wouldn't be me if I didn't add some NARS lipstick and an O.P.I. manicure (with polishes from the James Bond Collection) to the mix. In this look I spy an item from my Christmas wishlist. Can you guess which item it is?

Holiday Look 3
Now with this look, I went all out. This is the option for the annual Christmas party or maybe even that New Year's Eve extravaganza you're planning to show up to fashionably late. Remember, you can't go wrong with leopard prints, tights, and plum lipstick! And again, I spy an item from my Christmas wishlist in this look. I bet you know which item it is by now!


My Updated Hair Care Regimen

I can't believe it's been almost a year since I've shared anything about my hair journey on the blog!  I looked in my hair journal this morning and saw that I've switched a few things up since my last share, so I decided to share an updated regimen.  Also I'm taking part in Traycee's 2013 KISS Boot Camp Challenge so making note of these changes on the blog helps me stay on task and remain accountable.  Check out the details below.

Daily: Moisturize and seal.  
Nightly, I moisturize my hair and seal it with oil. Then I wrap or pin my hair, covering it with a silk scarf.  2-3 times a week I do scalp massages, using a fusion of coconut oil, castor oil, and peppermint oil (which stimulates the scalp).

Moisturizers I Use:
Herbal Essences Long Term Relationship 
Elasta QP Olive Oil & Mango Butter Moisturizer (alternate with the above)
Wave Nouveau Moisturizing Lotion (during long stretches)

Various Oils I Use:
Castor Oil, Jamaican Black Castor Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Coconut Oil, Peppermint Oil, Tea Tree Oil, Jojoba Oil

Weekly: Washing/Co-Washing, Deep Conditioning
On Sunday, I clean my hair by co-washing (washing with conditioner) or shampooing with a moisturizing shampoo such as Nexxus Therappe.
On Wednesday, I clean my hair by co-washing again. After co-washing, I deep condition my hair, rinse, apply leave-in conditioner, moisturize and seal, and place in a protective style (usually a bun).
I always air-dry unless I’m away from home.

Conditioners Used for Co-Washing:
Hair One Hair Cleanser and Conditioner with Tea Tree Oil
Herbal Essences Hello Hydration Conditioner

Conditioners Used for Deep Conditioning:
Nexxus Humectress infused with Coconut Oil, Castor Oil and Peppermint Oil
Herbal Essences Hello Hydration infused with Coconut Oil, Castor Oil, and Peppermint Oil

Bi-Monthly: Hot Oil Treatment 
I do this more often in the Winter months, as my scalp and hair are more prone to dryness in the Winter.  This hot-oil treatment is usually a mix of Jojoba Oil, Coconut Oil,  Castor Oil, and Peppermint Oil.  

Monthly: Clarifying Wash, and Protein Deep Conditioning
Once monthly, I do a clarifying wash with ORS Aloe Shampoo. I also deep condition with a light protein conditioner such as ORS Replenishing Conditioner infused with Castor Oil and Peppermint Oil. Afterwards, I apply leave-in conditioner, moisturize and seal, and place in a protective style.

4 x Annually: Relaxer and Protective Style
I relax by using Motions No-Lye Relaxer. Before applying neutralizer, I rinse relaxer from hair and apply a light protein to the hair such as Aphogee 2 Minute Reconstructor. This replenishes the protein I lost from the relaxing process. I let it stay on for 5 minutes, then continue with the neutralizing and deep conditioning process. Afterwards, I apply a leave-in conditioner, moisturize and seal, and place hair in a protective style.

Use as needed: Hair Spritzer
To keep my hair moisturized, especially during stretches, I spritz my hair with a mix of aloe vera juice, rosewater and vegetable glycerine.  It helps with detangling also.  Find out more about the mix here.

**My Hair Essentials**
silk scarf/bonnet (to protect my hair from moisture-stripping cotton)
plastic caps (for deep conditioning)
one a day women's multi-vitamin (self-explanatory)
biotin (growth aid I've been using on and off -but mostly on)
plastic applicator bottles and spray bottles (to apply products to hair)

**About My Hair**
Between Shoulder Length and Armpit Length
Type: 4A

**Protective Styling**

**Hair Goals**
Thicker, healthier hair
Middle Back Length (MBL)

What is your current hair care regimen? 

Three Ways to Wear Red Lips

When it comes to a polished, classic makeup look, there's nothing that compares to a bold red lip.  Red lips demand attention and add a silent sexiness to an otherwise average look.  And contrary to popular belief, a beautiful red lip can be achieved by every woman--women of ALL shades.  Whether you prefer to wear a moisturizing, creamy formula of lipstick, a high-shine gloss, or a retro matte lipstick, you too can rock a powerful red lippie.  Here are my three favorite ways to achieve a red puckered pout:

The Sultry, Satin Way  
To achieve this lip look, I used Avon Ultra Color Rich Lipstick in Berry Berry Nice which retails for $7 on the Avon website. This lipstick's formula is creamy and moisturizing, all while providing opaque color. This is what makes it the easiest and most versatile way to rock the red lip.

For other creamy red lipstick options, check out Cover Girl Lip Perfection Lipstick in Hot, Burn, or Flame (depending on which red suits you best) or Milani Color Perfect Lipstick in Red Label or Red Velvet.  Cover Girl and Milani Lipsticks can be purchased at Ulta Beauty and various drugstores.

venomous villains

The High-Shine Gloss Way 
With this look, I used MAC Lipglass in Wicked Ways from the Venomous Villains collection.  It retailed for $14.50 at the time of purchase and was a limited edition lip gloss. Choosing to rock your red lips in gloss form is a great way to try a red lip without committing to using a lipstick.  Lip gloss is more buildable, as  you can apply just a bit or slather on as much as you like to achieve the intensity of color that you desire.

For other red lip gloss options, check out NYX Round Lip Gloss in True Red or Revlon ColorBurst Lip Gloss in Fire. Both can be purchased at Ulta Beauty and various drugstores.

The Classic Matte Way 
Of the three ways to rock a fierce red lip, this one is my favorite.  The matte red lip just exudes retro glam.  And it just wouldn't be right if I didn't rock my darling favorite matte lippie, MAC Ruby Woo, to sell you on wearing red lipstick.  MAC Ruby Woo Lipstick retails for $15 on the MAC website and is one of MAC's bestsellers for obvious reasons.  Just wearing this lipstick makes me feel like a supermodel or a socialite or some other sexy beast, I tell ya!

For other matte red lipstick options, check out Wet n Wild Mega Last in Stoplight Red, Revlon Matte Lipstick in Really Red, or NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Dragon Girl. Wet n Wild and Revlon lipsticks can be purchased at various drugstores while the NARS lip pencil is available at Sephora and the NARS website.

Warning: Don't Forget the Liner
To keep these lip looks in their truest red form, I've lined my lips with Avon Ultra Luxury Lipliner in Wildberry.  If you would like to tone your red lip down, however, you could use a brown liner such as NYX Slim Lip Pencil in Expresso or Iman Perfect Lip Pencil in Espresso.  Just be sure to blend the lip liner in well with the lipstick!


My Cups Runneth Over: A Love/Hate Story About Bras

According to this infomercial that I am currently watching,  about 80% of women are wearing the wrong bra size.  I find that odd, especially since we all as women have to carry those things for a living.  Yep, these are our partners for life, yet so many of us have no clue how to make carrying the load easier for us--especially those of us with large chest areas.  Why is this?

I think for many of us, we weren't taught to fit ourselves for bras.  Personally speaking, my mom presented me with my first bra in the fifth grade (I believe it was like a -0 AA lol).  And only because I now know better, I will admit that I was rocking that same size until I started high school.  Let's just say those numbers had long expired and needed badly to be retired.  My mom started complaining about the fit and the spillage, so I took it upon myself to head over to Walmart with a friend and take a shot at figuring his whole bra thing out.  After playing the guessing game until I felt I had an accurate number, I rolled out of Wally World with several pairs of 36Cs, feeling quite accomplished.

Despite my greatest efforts I still had spillage, but I misread that for "cleavage" so for the most part my teen years were smooth sailing.  It wasn't until PE class that I felt awkward, causing me to double-up (wearing an 18-hour bra and sports bra) for support.  You would think that a teenage girl would be proud of being busty but I was not.  I wanted to play various sports, but after being teased for making too much movement in the chest area as I ran, I loathed doing any physical activities publicly.  Puberty sucked and my body was slowly trying to catch up with my bust size.

It wasn't until 2003, my freshman year of college, that I found my perfect bra.  During a trip to the mall with my dear friend Nic, she delicately told me I was wearing the wrong bra size.  She even urged me to get fitted in a department store.  I did just that and finally felt comfortable within the constraints of a bra.

Though that was several years and two children ago, I still find that to be a defining moment in my transition into womanhood.  Thanks to Nic, I get fitted often and make sure I purchase the best bras for my needs.

Here is a good video I found on YouTube on how to measure your bra size.  Check it out here:


Repost from Archives: September 2011

MANIcure Mondays: Hulk Smash + Sparkle

Hey ladies! I'm beginning my weekly blogging yet again with my fabulous manicure.  I wanted to run back to my comfort zone of pretty pink and sparkles, but Sinful Colors Nail Polish in Savage has definitely done a number on my nails.   The blue stains from previous weeks have yet to be lifted from my nail bed, so I decided to go with a darker shade that I rarely wear.  Sometimes I look at my stash and think it's crazy that I have so many polishes, yet I always use the same five colors.  So this week, I decided to introduce you to my new best friend,  Sinful Colors Nail Polish in Irish Green aka Hulk Smash.  Since the color is such a true green, and my children say the color reminds them of the Hulk, I'm now calling this mani my Hulk Smash look :-)

And while I may have tried to venture outside of the box with the color, old habits die hard.  I was not able to get away from my love of sparkle.  So, yep.  You guessed it.  I'm still sticking to O.P.I.'s Servin' Up Sparkle like nobody's business.  You guys already know by now I'm smitten by my sparkles.

So what are your manicures looking like this week, ladies?  Tell me all about them in the comments!  

November Beauty Favorites

I know it has been a long time since I've shared a monthly beauty favorites post with you guys.  But as I was looking at my vanity and thinking of how much I've been grabbing for certain items lately, I decided to get back in the swing of things.  Here are the beauty products I've been giving the most play in November.  

fall beauty

November Collective Thrift Haul

Something I love more than shopping is shopping on a budget!  My love of thrift started many years ago, when my mother and I would spend hours upon hours in our local thrift and consignment shops for gems.  I would love finding one-of-a-kind pieces and challenging myself to style each piece with my own personal flair.  Much hasn't changed over the years, as you can still find me in my local shops, perusing the aisles, stripping down my layers in their centers, hoping the goodies I find fit well. And since I have yet to share any shopping chronicles with you guys, I decided this month would be a great time to start sharing hauls with you!

I prepare for each trip by making a list of possible things I hope to find while shopping.  It takes some of the guesswork out of the endless aisle browsing and it works for me, so that's how I tackle each store.  For the month of November, I was looking for solid color button-downs (preferably in fall colors) and blazers (which are ALWAYS on my list, as they are a wardrobe staple for me).

I tend to look for button-downs in thrift and consignment shops because, let's face it, they're pretty expensive in retail stores--especially for those with larger busts.  In this month's shopping, I was able to score five nice button-ups all for a little over $3 each.

Amazingly enough, the teal Perry Ellis and striped 1901 shirts still had tags on them!  And to think I got the same 1901 shirt listed here for $3, roughly 10% of what I would have paid for it in Nordstrom.  If you may be wondering, yes these are both technically men's shirts. I have a tendency to travel to the men's section when I can't find any button-ups for the ladies that fit. The pink, orange, and black printed blouse was definitely a wildcard for me, as I don't wear too many prints.  But it looked fun and since I was only paying $3 for it, I thought why not?  

I also scored four blazers for around $4 each.  And check out the cute animal print tie I got for $1!

This navy blue Lauren by Ralph Lauren blazer shown above also still had the tags on it.  I think it is my favorite piece of the month, as it can be paired with almost anything and fits perfectly!

I already have my list ready for next month. I'm hoping to find some great polka-dot pieces, stripes, sequins, and a few cardigans.

So have you been thrifting lately?  What did you buy?  
And how would you style any of the above pieces?

KimberlyLuxe's Life Reset - Final Post

This post will be a bitter sweet one because it will be my last post to update you all on the three month life reset. This is week 11 and next week is our final week of the project. Of course if you haven't began it with us from the beginning you're welcome to start whenever. It's a 12 week life reset, with 12 projects - one projects per week. I chose to make it one project per week a) because I know how hard it is to commit to things especially when there are time constraints, and b) so that it can be done at your leisure throughout the week as I know we are all busy women. With this Life Reset there are three segments: focus, cleanse, and reincarnate. I came up with each project based on the research I did in my college classes and the psychology studies I participated in in Psych clubs (don't judge me). All in all, this is a fun experience where you will essentially date yourself. While dating yourself you'll be forced to get to know yourself better and you'll also be forced to reevaluate yourself on a bi-weekly to monthly basis. There's no fee or charge, as all you'll need to get is a notebook and your favorite pen and highlighter. Self discovery is a beautiful thing, and although each year can be hectic, the end of the year is a great time to rediscover yourself. We all make New Years resolutions but it's hard to start off strong on the right track when you're still trying to figure out the path you plan on taking. And as my motto has been from the very beginning of this rediscovery journey, "Instead of starting the New Year off with resolutions, I try to go into the New Year already as my better self, that way my first step is with my strongest glide". I hope that this journey will be nothing but rewarding for you all. Thank you all for joining it with me, I'm proud to say that we're ending this with 113 women (that I know of), from ages 19-38, on board.

[1] Create a road map. Your goals for September to December should be listed and at least three things should be accomplished and marked off at this point. It's always important to set both big and small goals. From oil changes, to license renewals. No goal should go unlisted.

[2] Get rid of the valueless. You should now be disconnected from at least one social network. This will be a month-long task that will be necessary so that you can spend less time indulging in the lives of others and more time indulging in your own. You should also set guidelines for yourself. How many times can you go to your ex's or frenemy's facebook/twitter/instagram page? Once a week, once a month, never? Lastly, three pages should have been dedicated to listing people and things that you want to let go of.

[3] Create your perfect him. Now the fun begins. The next few pages (I originally said three, but three is simply the minimum as it's best for you to be thorough but not for you to feel confined) of your journal will be dedicated to creating your perfect him, but as opposed to focusing on the physical attributes you desire in a man, it's important that you start off this section by answering the following questions: "What would I want 'him' to love about me?", "What would I want 'him' to love about life?", "What would I want 'him' to love more than me?", and then you can move on to the attributes that you're looking for in a man. Yes, you can now discuss the physical but it is important that you really consider the importance of it. Once you're done with all of this, number each thing by most important (1) to least important (100) thing to you when it comes to your perfectly imperfect man -- in pencil of course. Then use another blank sheet to set your personal standards. Make a list of personal vows and standards to yourself, and then say I do. You can't expect to say I do to him, without saying I do, to you first. Perhaps you'll vow not to have sex on the first date. Perhaps you'll vow to be a friend before trying to be a girlfriend. Perhaps you'll vow not to beg a man for love. Perhaps you'll vow not to look for love, but to let love find you. Write your personal vow to self, and then seal it with a kiss. Yes, put on your favorite lipstick and kiss the page. Fact of the day: The kiss dates back to the earliest days of civilization in Ancient Rome and in the Middle East. A kiss was used as the formal seal to agreements, contracts, etc. Hence, the obvious use of the custom at the end of the wedding ceremony- to "seal" the marriage vows.

[4] Become your own Obsession: Self Interview Questions. Here are one, two, three, four, five websites that are full of fun and mind boggling questions for you to ask yourself. For the final week of the FOCUS segment you are to use up 10 pages, yes 10 whole pages (or 5 front and back), to write down and jot down things about yourself! Things that you love, want, dream of, and even hate. What are your favorite colors? What do you love the most about yourself? What are your favorite foods? What's something spontaneous that you'd love to do? What's your dream date? What are your pet peeves? What was your most embarrassing moment? The questions will truly make you think and you'll really question how well you know yourself. Print off your questions and do them during a commercial break of your favorite show. Have fun, get to writing, and get to knowing! Now that you have laid everything else out in the first few weeks of the Reset, you are now ready for the Q&A segment! Consider this a personal interview and the start of your journey to self understanding and love.
[5 & 6] Tackle your Goal Sheet & Spring Clean along the way! That's right! Start tackling the things on your goal sheet and make the necessary adjustments to your list that was made about a month ago! And if you find yourself idle and not doing much, begin Spring Cleaning. Sometimes when there is so much going on around us (in our rooms, for example), we lose focus because we're trying to get it all sorted. Sort your surrounding environment so there is room left for you to sort through your mind! Trash old papers, give away old clothes, and dust neglected corners. Spring Clean & tackle your goals! An empty mind is the devil's playground so always have something worthwhile to do!

[7] Create matra & daily affirmation list. "I clearly see all there is to be grateful for in life. Through gratitude my world expands". "Each day I take a small step toward achieving my goals". "I am willing to try new things courageously". These are some positive daily affirmations that serve as constant reminders throughout the day. But when it comes to your life and all that you are and want to be, what are some things that keep you grounded and pushing forward? This week's project is to create a list of personal mantras and affirmations that you will say throughout the day. Here are a list of daily affirmations that'll help you based on the situations that you are in and want to be in. And here is a website that will help you understand and come up with your own personal mantras. Use as many pages necessary to make your list, but be sure to leave at least two pages blank in the event that you need to add some more. Tip: Have an index card folded in your wallet or in your car and pull it out throughout the day and recite the positive sayings. This will remind you to stay positive and will help you look forward. The key to doing this successfully is to say each affirmation with your eyes closed, repeatedly, and to process the thought of what you're saying. Seeing is believing. "Positive affirmations will attract positive events into your life. In a study, it is said that the brain rewires itself after every major experience a person goes through. With this being said, constant repetition of something will create and strengthen new connections in the brain. If you begin to develop a belief in something that you say or repeatedly think, the brain will rewire itself and bring your thoughts into a physical form. Remember that the body is controlled by the brain, whatever the brain thinks the body will manifest. The brain controls the body through hormones, if the brain thinks that the body is in trouble, the brain will then release adrenaline. This happens since the brain wants the whole body to enter the fight or flight response state. If the brain senses happiness it will release Endorphins; through this hormone, the whole body reacts appropriately to happy thoughts or events. Affirmations can make drastic changes in your life, if the brain finally believes the thought or word you say or think; the brain will release the right hormone to make what you think or say physically felt by the body. The universe will give you what you think of or say; and this is the primary premise of positive affirmations" - Source. Don't wait for a fortune cookie to tell you what you want to hear, create your own positive statements to confidently live by.

[8] Holiday plan! Start making a list of the people that you plan on giving gifts to. Below each, jot down a few gift ideas along with a budget for each person. Be diligent and thoughtful, listen to the small things that your loved ones say that they need and want and tailor your gift choices to best fit those desires. A thoughtful gift doesn't have to be an expensive one. Perhaps your mother loves watching HGTV and other interior design networks, you could get her some weekend design lessons that may be taking place downtown. Or perhaps your dad always talks about wanting to go fishing, you can buy him a rod. Other great gift ideas include: gym memberships, magazine subscriptions, dance classes, and/or day cruise tickets. Along with gift planning start figuring out where and how you're going to spend your holidays. My family feeds the homeless on Thanksgiving morning, a tradition we've done for the past three years. You can even make surprise visits to family members homes that you haven't seen since you were a child. Make this holiday season mean more than just tangible gifts. Make sharing the gift of love your number one priority.
[9] Goal Focus. It's important that throughout this process we don't lose sight of the goals that we are working hard towards. Week Nine will be dedicated strictly to accomplishing at least two of the goals on our goal sheet.

[10] Release. Remember that list from week two? It's now time to give it one more read, rip it out, and to let it go (in the ocean if you're dramatic). This is your day to let go of all of the hostility, anger, and frustration you may have been holding in and for you to let your inner self know that you no longer want it to suffer. But don't only forgive those who have hurt you, ask for forgiveness for yourself and forgive yourself. After letting go, use a fresh page to list a few tips that'll help you when negative thoughts try to reconsume you. Although it is important to let go, it is more important not to relapse. The catch? You can only use one page, the front of one page. You no longer will contribute an abundance of anything to present/past people or feelings.

[11] Send yourself flowers for a random date next year & attach a note. That's right! Save up some money and send yourself flowers for a random date next year. Attached have a note that means something to you -- whether that be one of the mantras or affirmations you found most helpful during your life reset or whether that be something encouraging to tell yourself in the event that you are sad or doubtful, make a statement that matters, to you. You now know yourself enough to know what that is. But don't schedule that delivery for early 2013, schedule it for this time next year and be sure to set an alarm in your phones calendar for the day after you plan on giving yourself those flowers. That way, if the company fails to deliver them -- you'll be reminded to call them.

[12] Celebrate. Remember that list of things you love? Now it's time to indulge. Treat yourself to a few things on that list and celebrate your new life! Perhaps you'll go bungie jumping like you've always wanted to or perhaps you'll throw a cooking party at your condo like you've always planned! No it's not your birthday, but it is a time celebrate YOU. No one can appreciate you like you can, so show yourself a little love. Also, take a vacation and live vicariously through the life of another through purchasing and reading a novel. Buy a book about a girl like you or a person who interests you and spend the remainder of the year reading during your downtime. Indulge in fictional characters and yourself instead of obsessing over the life of your peers. Books can take you places you may never go and characters can open your eyes to a life you never had. Reading books can be a humbling experience that will show you that people aren't always what they seem to be on the outside and that everyone life has it's share of problems. A lesson necessary for changing your mindset when you get back to the outside world and back to seeing others you once envied from time to time.

We once didn't have control over the narration of our lives,
But now that we're the authors, each step is a word on the page of our eternal legacies.
Will yours be worth reading?

MANICure Mondays: With a Chance of Rain

Hello ladies!  I'm very excited about MANICure Monday this week because I am trying something new.  While browsing around on Facebook, I saw this black manicure via Tamelia Beauty Shop and fell in love with it.  I knew I had to try it for myself.

Being that I didn't have a black matte polish to truly bring this inspiration to life, I decided to use Sinful Colors nail polish in Savage again this week.  Besides, my nails were still slightly stained from using it last week anyways (remember I said the staining from Savage was a pain, right?).  So I used my Out The Door Super Fast Drying Top Coat to place small dots on the nails to mimic the look of raindrops on the nails.

Here's the finished look without flash.  
It doesn't even look like the same polish as last week does it?

So what are your manicures looking like this week, ladies?  Tell me all about them in the comments! 

Styled In Polka Dots

Vintage Flair

Would you wear this look?

My Current Beauty Wish List

Beautysets - My Current Beauty Wishlist

What's on your current beauty wish list?

Guest Post: Hit The Delete Button

The other day I was watching Joel Osteen on television and he was talking about deleting negative things people may say about us. A lot of times we accept negative criticism that people say to us like, “you're never going to amount to anything in life" or "you’re never going to be the person you think you are going to be when you grow up (doctor, lawyer, etc.).”  When people keep talking about us negatively and we listen, we start believing it. We start saying to ourselves, "I will never ever be able to do that." "I don’t have the capability to do that at my skill level." Now we’re so deep in our own negative thoughts that down the line we won't be able to accomplish the things God has called for us to do.

Instead of internalizing negative comments from others, we need to delete them. How, might you ask? By telling yourself just the opposite. Say to yourself, "I will be that [doctor or lawyer] when I grow up." "I do have the skills required to land the job I desire." Never give up when you’re trying to reach your goals. 

When people say "no," never give up and keep pushing towards that yes. I think about Abraham Lincoln, when he kept pushing towards his dreams. He never gave up despite the failures he kept running into. He would eventually accomplish his dream of becoming president. I bet when he was failing, people probably said, you need to stop embarrassing yourself and quit already. He never saw himself failing, just getting better until he reached perfection. That’s how we need to see it in our own eyes, that we’re not failing-- just getting better and better every day to get closer to our dreams. 

The key points from this message are:
  Don’t accept negative comments from others
  Don’t you start thinking negative about yourself
 Start deleting negative criticism and start thinking positive about yourself and dreams
 You’re not failing, you’re just getting better and better everyday

Even though it might be hard to put negative comments behind you, please try and just ask God to help you. I hate to see people throw away their dreams, based on what others say about them. Don’t allow them to have their victory.  Prove them wrong and ask God to guide you towards your dreams.

How do you combat negativity from others?

Guest Post Written by Shanay Worthy of

Tuesday's Tunes: Volume 5

Happy Tuesday, folks!  How are you all doing today?  I hope all is well with each and every one of you and I thank you kindly for dropping by my little piece of the blogosphere today.  Without further adieu, let's get into some of the music that's been oozing through my speakers today while I've cooked, cleaned, danced, laughed, and sorted laundry.  Here goes!

Be Thankful for What You Got by William Devaughn-  Now this is truly Cadillac riding music.  Though I don't have a great big Cadillac (lol)  I'm thankful for the many things I do have.  I love listening to this song, not only because it's a smooth tune, but because its message is so spot on.  Be Thankful for What You Got is a reminder to do just that, take the time to appreciate what you have been blessed with. There are many others who are praying for the things many of us spend too much time complaining about.  Just in time for the season of being thankful, William Devaughn will get plenty of plays around my way.

Gotta Man by Eve-  It doesn't take much for me to put a little E-V-E into rotation.  So when this song played on Pandora this afternoon I was standing up reminiscing and singing, "Gotta man that I think I'm gon' love forever, and forever we'll be together."  Something about this song reminds me of a simple kind of love.  You know the love when you're drawing hearts in the margins of notebooks with your name and someone temporarily special affixed in their middles?  That kind of love.  Gotta Man is the type of love song we could definitely appreciate coming from a self-proclaimed pit-bull-in-a-skirt that is still just as relevant today as it was years ago.

Poetic Justice by Kendrick Lamar featuring Drake-  I think this has been my favorite song since Kendrick Lamar dropped Good Kid M.A.A.D City a few weeks back. Not only is it sampling one of my favorite Janet Jackson (yes Ms. Jackson the one I adore) songs, it shares the same title of my favorite movie, Poetic Justice, starring her also. Now whether you analyze the title as paying homage to Janet, or see it literally meaning 'virtue is rewarded and vice is punished' is totally up to you.  Like many of us who write our feelings better than we vocalize them, Kendrick says that he can "never right his wrongs unless he writes them down for real." Poetic Justice is definitely served in this hip-hop slow jam as Kendrick Lamar and Drake tantalize and mesmerize us with their lyrical prowess.

Come to Me (Peace) by Mary J. Blige- Hearing this song this afternoon made me think of my cousin Tay.  We always have the most in-depth talks about life, love, relationships, and womanhood.  One day while riding to one of our favorite eateries, she was playing this song.  And boy was she feeling it!  She was singing it boldly and beautifully like she was feeling it in her bones.  See, that's what a Mary J. song will do to you! It will have you swimming or sinking deep in feelings you didn't even know you had!  As Mary and Tay continued on with their duet, I began listening to the lyrics and missing that love I was praying would find its way back to my heart also.  We were in that moment three women all begging to make peace with the same thing.  And before I knew it we were in tears.

It's So Hard by Big Pun-  I didn't know Big Pun personally nor am I aware of what he did in his personal life.  But I was saddened by his passing back in 2000.  I was surfing through YouTube today when I came across the video and just knew I had to add it to today's playlist.  I mean, everybody plus one were in this video, showing love and paying homage to the late great rapper Big Pun. It was so warm to see people coming together to celebrate a life.

What have you been listening to lately?  
What's that one song have on repeat these days?

Weekly MANICure: Featuring Sinful Colors in Savage

Hello ladies! I hope everyone is well and getting into the spirit of thanks!  In fact, I was hoping to do a more festive manicure this week for Thanksgiving.  I thought about using a beautiful cranberry shade and maybe set it off with some gold glitter or flecks similar to the nail look that Mimi was rocking here recently. But then I changed my mind.  The girly girl that is addicted to soft colors always wins in these types of battles.  I started missing those bright blues and soft lilacs of the spring and summer seasons, so I went on a hunt to the bottom of my storage units for those shades.  I came out with Sinful Colors Nail Polish in Savage, which is a teal matte formula, and Essie Nail Polish in Playdate, a lilac lacquer that is among my favorite polishes.  

Now the Sinful Colors Nail Polish in Savage is a pretty tricky polish. Yes, the color is beautiful and quite different from other polishes I own.  But the formula is matte, which I've only worked with twice, and it leaves your nails stained. I used it anyways, decided to leave only one nail matte on each hand, while using my trusty OPI Nail Polish in Servin' Up Sparkle to coat the others.  I even pulled out my dotting tool and nail art polishes to make a design on the accent nail.  Oh and guess what? I CUT MY NAILS!

This is everything I used:

So what are your manicures looking like this week, ladies?  Did you dress them up for the holidays?  Or did you choose colors according to your mood like I did?  Or maybe you didn't use any polish at all?  Either way, I want to hear all about it in the comments!

First Look: La Femme Custom Blush Palette

Don't you just love a girl that gives good blush?  I know I do!  And I had every intention of doing just that with these beautiful La Femme blushes as soon as I laid eyes on them!  For a while I was seeing beauty bloggers and vloggers rave about these blushes so I knew it would be a matter of time before I grabbed some for myself.  So after browsing around a few makeup websites a few months back, I landed on MakeUp Mania and scored big with these beauties!  

La Femme Blushes have such a wide range of shades, and for that I was most excited.  I was also impressed by the idea of creating my own custom color palette, choosing the blushes I wanted (rather than purchasing a generic set of colors I may or may not use) for a very reasonable price.  While the average blush usually retails anywhere from $5 to $20+ these were  roughly $3.50 each!

I received my order in no time.  The processing and shipping only took a couple of days, which was definitely a plus.  But what I was ultimately pleased with was the excellent quality of the product.  The size of the pans were much bigger than I expected for the price, meaning they would last me for quite some time.  Not to mention the colors are super pigmented. 

Check out the swatches ( I did with just one stroke) below. These swatches were taken without flash.

So far Dusty Rose, Terracotta, Golden Rose, and Golden Ruby are my favorite shades.  Framboesia and Magenta are the prettiest shades in the pan, but one must be careful to only use a tiny bit of these two as they are VERY pigmented.

Do you have any of these La Femme blushes?
What is your favorite shade of blush?

MANICure Monday Featuring Essie's Stylenomics

Remember the last manicure post I shared with you guys?  It was done with my beautiful beloved Bubblegum pink from e.l.f. cosmetics.  And to be quite frank with you, I'm in love with that tiny bottle of pretty pink heaven nail lacquer.  However, I did feel like it was time to start embracing other colors of polish. It's the fall/winter season and there are so many dark and jewel-toned hues to try out!  But I can never bring myself to abandon pink.  

This morning I decided to break out my bottle of Essie in Stylenomics that I received as a Klout perk a while back and fulfill my promise of wearing a dark and tragic shade of polish this time (and Mimi laughed when I said it, I know lol).  Interestingly enough, after applying the polish, it didn't seem dark and tragic at all.  This dark green shade was very rich and deep.  I love it!

It wouldn't be me if I didn't throw some glitter here and there so of course I accented my ring fingers with Sinful Colors polish in Nail Junkie.  What a fitting name for a nail junkie, right?  

And as I admired my nails, I immediately began going through pink polish withdrawal.  I was thinking that it would have been much cuter with a pink accent nail.  My mani needed a bit more oomph and I had no clue how to give it such... And then I thought back on that Louboutin inspired manicure I saw a couple of months back and I came up with the great idea to give this dark color some contrast.  I painted the underside of my nails with Sinful Colors in Soul Mate and absolutely loved it!

So what are your manicures looking like this week ladies?  Did you play it safe with familiar colors and acrylics or did you go bold this week?  Perhaps you decided to skip the polish altogether.  Either way, I would love to hear all about the details in the comments. Let me know!  
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