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!  

My Skin Care Products + Regimen (Updated)

aveeno mark

It's been a while since I've shared a skin care post with you guys, so I thought now would be a good time to give an update!  This is the current skin care regimen I'm following and have been following for several months now. Though the product line-up may seem pretty simple, it does a great job of keeping my skin in check.  I have combination skin, which causes my t-zone to be more oily in the warmer months and fairly dry in the winter months.  My biggest skin concerns are keeping my skin radiant and firm (yes, anti-aging concerns ALREADY) and correcting my acne-scarring and hyper-pigmentation   Through this regimen, I've been able to take care of these issues quite well.

The Products

  1. Ambi Complexion Cleansing Bar- This bar is boss at keeping my skin clear without being too drying.  It does not, I repeat, IT DOES NOT lighten your entire face. People sometimes see the Ambi name and assume such, but I use it to fade scarring.  
  2. Aveeno Smart Essentials Daily Detoxifying Scrub-  This scrub has skin brightening properties, which helps my dark spots fade quicker.  It sloughs off dead skin so gently, it can actually be used daily.
  3. mark. See Things Clearly Brightening Moisturizer- This moisturizer has radiance-boosting properties also.  Though very light in texture, it is chock-full of antioxidants such as lotus flower, that help keep the skin clear.
  4. Avon Anew Clinical Eye Lift- The Eye Lift Cream helps to decrease fine lines and puffiness around my eye area.
  5. Olay Professional Pro-X Brush- The Pro-X brush used in conjunction with my cleansing bar, gives me a deep cleansing for a fraction of the price of a Clarisonic.  This brush is very budget-friendly!
  6. mark. For Goodness Face Antioxidant Skin Moisturizing Lotion- This moisturizer doubles as a sunscreen, as it has an SPF of 30.  Its main ingredients are dark chocolate and blueberries, which are both antioxidants. 

The Regimen

Daily: I cleanse with Ambi Complexion Cleansing Bar using the Olay Professional Pro-X brush to cleanse deeply.  I then moisturize with mark. See Things Clearly Moisturizer or mark. For Goodness Face Moisturizing Lotion. I alternate between moisturizers when the seasons change, as For Goodness Face has an higher SPF which is better for summer months.
Nightly: I repeat the same cleansing and moisturizing routine in the above step.  Before moisturizing, however, I use a cotton ball to apply lemon juice to my scarring. I do this 2-3 nights weekly.  I follow up by using Avon Anew Clinical Eye Lift around the eye area to decrease fine lines and puffiness. 
Bi-weekly (Tuesdays and Thursdays): along with daily cleansing and moisturizing, I add an additional step to my routine by exfoliating with Aveeno Smart Essentials Daily Detoxifying Scrub. 
On Fridays I add an at-home steam facial to the regimen: I simply heat distilled water and rosewater, grab a towel, and bask my face into the steamy goodness (just not too close to the water)!  At times, I replace the rosewater with an essential oil, such as tea tree oil or peppermint oil. 

The Lifestyle

Doing these seven things consistently have definitely kept my skin in check, with little to no breakouts and acne scars fading into the abyss. Check them out:

1. Drinking more water- As someone who has been plagued with acne-prone skin and scarring since adolescence, I learned to eliminate sodas from my diet back in my teens.  Though I've always been keen on drinking water, I haven't always drank as much as I should.  According to a Daily Water Chart (that my friend Drea shared with me via, someone my size should have a daily water intake of at least 1/2 gallon.  So after seeing this, your girl definitely had to step it up!
2. Eating healthier foods that are good for my skin . It's amazing the difference your diet can make in your skin.  I'm telling you, whatever you're feeding yourself internally definitely shows on the outside.  Just adding superfoods like yogurt, salmon, spinach and green tea into my diet have improved my skin's clarity and radiance.  For more great foods for your skin, click here.
3. Changing my pillow case at least twice weekly- Planting your face on not-so clean linen nightly is a no-no.  This is self-explanatory.
4. Cleaning my satin hair scarf twice weekly- Yes, I religiously wear my scarf to bed.  I have to keep my moisturized tresses in place!  But if one doesn't routinely keep her scarves clean, the breakouts are soon to come.  To find out the easy, economical way I keep my scarves clean, click here for Youtuber jmarie's instructional video.
5. Keeping my cellphone clean or away from my face, if possible- We all know that cell phones can carry several germs from all of the handling.  The same goes for our hands.  That's why I keep my hand sanitizer on deck at all times and carry electronic cleansing wipes (like the ones you use to clean your computer and tablet screens) to keep my phone clean.
6. Wearing less makeup- Contrary to popular belief, I do not wear makeup everyday.  As a WAHM, it really does me no good to be all made up with no where to go EVERY.SINGLE.DAY.  But when I am out and about during the week, I've been wearing minimal makeup as you saw last week.  Not wearing a full face all the time definitely helps my pores breathe! Now the weekends are another story lol.
7. Pampering myself and eliminating stress- It has been said several times that stress is not good for the skin. Now I'm not sure of the scientific facts linking stress to breakouts, but I do know when I'm stressed, it shows on my face.  In my case, it may have lots to do with the fact that stress causes me to indulge in poor habits, such as eating junk food.   But when I pamper myself, by getting manicures and pedicures, enjoying a night on the town, or simply having quiet time alone in my home space with my music and candles, my overall health reaps the benefits. Skin included.

*One thing my skin care regimen currently lacks is a nightly serum.  I was using Avon Clinical Luminosity Pro Brightening Serum, but it's getting to be a bit too greasy for my taste.  So if anyone has any suggestions for an anti-aging serum with retinol, please let me know in the comments!*


Guest Post: Being You While Doing You

You were made to be an individual. You were made to be you. It’s so much harder to try to fill someone else’s shoes than it is to walk in yours. How often have you found yourself trying to fit in and then ask yourself, “Who is that girl?”

These are tried and true methods for staying true to you in a world full of wannabes:

1.   Spit it out (tastefully).
Are you too afraid to speak up?  Have you found yourself stumbling because you are too embarrassed to tell the truth?  That's a clear sign you are not being true to yourself (or to those around you).  Identify at least one situation in which you have not said what you need to say.  Then, schedule a definitive time to address the issue or the person tastefully. Do not waste anyone’s time or energy pretending everything is A-OK when it is just the opposite.

2.  Express your style in your personal appearance.
It may seem vain, but coming from the right “place,” it is not.  Clothing is a language all its own.  What does your current style say about you?  Is that message being communicated to those in which you interact?  As I transition from one stage of life to another, I am redefining my personal style.  Out with the trendy college wear and in with a more office chic look.  Be creative enough to dress in a way that makes you feel good, even when your choices are restricted for professional reasons (i.e., office environment, uniform).

3.  Do the right thing.
There is nothing more authentic than walking out your morals and values for the world to see.  When your actions do not line up with your walk, then it is no surprise that your conscience kicks in waving a red flag.  Practice integrity and truth and you will have a sense of peace about your decisions and actions.

4.  It is okay to still be growing.
Most of the time, when we are uncomfortable in our own skin, it is because we are having growing pains gains. When you go with the flow and stop fighting growth then you will enjoy the process so much more.  

When are you most likely to not be yourself?  Are there consistent things you do that do not reflect your true self?  What holds you back from being your true self?

Be more authentic today.

For more from the lovely Karen, visit her site at

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Mind Right Monday: Goals + Gratitude

Happy Monday ladies and gents!  I hope you all had a great weekend and that your week is off to an awesome start!  
Something new I wanted to share with you guys this week is this cool link-up I discovered over at the beautiful Dani's blog Ok, Dani.  Each week she starts off with a post called "Mind Right Monday." In this post, she prepares for the week by stating her goals along with things she is thankful for.  In writing this series and adding a link-up component, she fosters accountability by encouraging fellow bloggers to share their goals & "gratefuls" as well as support.  As I am currently on a "goal-getting" mission (thanks to the KimberlyLuxe Life Reset) and make a habit of journaling my "gratefuls" daily (per Inspired by Beatrice Clay), I thought it would be right up my alley to join along with Dani by getting my mind right with this link up also!  
Last week was a pretty relaxing week. I was able to focus on my household and my overall well-being.  I usually tend to be that lady who can't say no and takes on way too much at one time, but I can say that in most recent weeks, I've done differently.  I spent time alone to increase awareness and mental clarity, I devoted time reading and meditating on the Word, and I put my family first.  And guys, it felt great!
And now for this week's preparation...
My major intent for the week is to:
  • Make sure my home space is conducive to my family's mission and purpose.
One of my goals for this year was to keep a more organized home space.  When planning to accomplish this goal, I used Tsh Oxenreider's ( book Organized Simplicity as a resource.  The main tool she recommends in the book is creating a family purpose statement.  This statement tells who we are as a family, what we value, and what our goals are. I want to continue to make sure our home is aligned with our values, our personalities, our goals and what we welcome into our home.  I will address our family purpose statement in a later post!
My goals for the week are to:
  • get my cardio on daily! (yes, daily! even if only for 30 minutes)
  • stick to my clean eating plan
  • reach out to family + friends I haven't spoken to in a while
  • plan girls night out event for my girls and I
  • work on sticking to a solid work-at-home schedule
  • plan Seven's surprise birthday celebration
  • continue with my Bible studies and daily devotionals
  • conduct research for a new stream of income
I am incredibly grateful for:
  • a loving, forgiving, and perfect God
  • vision 
  • being mentally competent/having mental clarity
  • food, shelter, electricity, and running water 
  • two beautiful children with out-of this world personalities (keeps things really bright around here)
  • the prayer warrior women in my life
  • a supportive, laid-back husband (hey, one of us has to be chill right?)
  • music
  • 800+ ebooks to keep we well read
  • the ability to dream and the option to dream big
  • a younger brother who keeps me in check like he's my big brother
  • the dance central franchise that keeps me active on days when I'm "in my mood" & don't wanna leave out
  • "downtown" in my city... so much beauty and busy-ness
  • my mother and all of the lessons in motherhood she inadvertently taught me
  • people who actually care about HOW I'm doing and not just WHAT I'm doing. (insert side-eye here lol)

If you would like to join in, link up with Ok, Dani!
What is your main intention for the week?
What are your goals for the week?
What are you grateful for?

Must-See Web TV: Boulevard West

If you ladies and gentlemen have been around these parts long enough, you know that I am so here for an engaging web series.  I especially love one I can easily catch up on within minutes on my phone that is so packed with action, I become hooked in an instant.  This was definitely the case with Issa Rae's popular web series The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl.  Now I am finding myself falling into the same pattern of anticipating a new webisode of the new series Boulevard West each week. 

What is Boulevard West, you ask?
Boulevard West is a web series created by KC Green about six young professional friends residing in Atlanta, Georgia and making a great life for themselves.  Many of the characters' professional lives are centered around the music industry.  Yvette for example, played by Demetria McKinney (who we know from Tyler Perry's House of Payne and The Rickey Smiley Show) is a music blogger for Cyber Magazine.  Yes, I said blogger ladies and gentlemen.  So you know that's right up our alley right?

For those of us who are lovers of romance and drama, you will love watching co-workers Yvette and Malachi. They have some intense chemistry going on.  Too bad he's already boo'ed up.  Hmmmm.

And wait... There's more! In watching Boulevard West you will see individuals in that are just like us:  they're struggling to balance work and relationships, work and family, work and school, and even dealing with competition in the work place.  Each character has qualities and dilemmas in which we all can relate to.  And with a star-studded cast of familiar faces such as Thomas "Nephew Tommy" Miles, Terri J. Vaughn (most notably remembered as Lovita from The Steve Harvey Show), Angie Stone, and Share' "Truth Hurts" Watson I'm sure they will pique your interest.  Now you guys know I love looking for folks from the back in the day so when I saw the diva Truth Hurts serving up fierceness and attitude in this web series, it gave me all kinds of life!  And not only is the R&B diva Angie Stone a cast member, she is also featured on the Boulevard West theme alongside Atlanta-based band Indigo Sunset (in which cast member Miguel Gaetan is also a part of).  

Did I mention that Boulevard West is directed by Tommy Ford of TV show Martin? Yes, honey!

Now it's time to get familar!
So now that you see that there's all kinds of star quality in Boulevard West, check out the trailer and get acquainted.  If this looks like the show for you, please be sure to subscribe to the Boulevard West channel on Youtube, follow on Twitter, and become a fan on Facebook.  There are currently six episodes of Boulevard West and each new webisode airs on Youtube each Thursday night at 9PM.  So go catch up so we can discuss the episodes here, on my Facebook page, or on Twitter!  Please note that episode one is NSFW. 

 Will you be tuning in to Boulevard West?

Pink Manicure of the Week

Yes, ladies!  I have another pink manicure to share with you all this week.  I originally had not planned to share a manicure post this week because this look is very similar to the last manicure I shared.  But when I saw that Mimi and Lynn had a Manicure Monday link-up going on this week, I just had to take part!  These ladies love a good manicure just as much as I do and they have began a weekly link-up to share their love of pretty nails with the blogosphere.  

In my normal mani fashion, I have a pretty pink polish with a touch of glitter on the accent nail.  Since I wanted to partially embrace colors of the season and add a touch of "vamp" to my manicure, I decided to add a rich burgundy to my accent nail under the glitter.  For this manicure I've used e.l.f. Essentials Nail Polish in Bubblegum Pink, Sinful Colors Nail Polish in Rich in Heart, and O.P.I. Nail Polish in Servin' Up Sparkle (from the Serena Williams Collection from waaaay back).  Check out the polishes in the pictures below with and without flash.  It's crazy how much difference flash makes!

How are you rocking your nails this week?
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