Wash Day Experience | Featuring Shea Moisture Yucca + Baobab


Happy December, loves! How is the hair journey coming along for you guys? With the changing of the seasons and a bit of neglect over the last couple of weeks, my hair journey is in desperate need of a breakthrough! Speaking of breakthroughs, I've noticed some breakage in my nape area and I'm not happy at all about that. Though I do tend to have some breakage when I get past the 12th week mark in my stretching, I don't want to let that stop me from continuing my stretch. So here, at week 16, I decided to pull out my trusted SheaMoisture Yucca & Baobab Anti Breakage Masque to give my tresses some strength. And since the weather has cooled, I'm switching to my winter moisturizer, SheaMoisture Yucca & Baobab Thickening Growth Milk. Read more to see if I got my desired results from using these products in yesterday's wash day regimen. 

Fall Fashion Lookbook | Dressed Down


Hey ladies! Are you as excited about the fall weather as I am? Though fall has been in effect for quite some time in most areas, it finally feels like fall in the south. 'Tis true. Folks have finally swapped their rainbows for more appropriate footwear and Uggs are making appearances all around my neck of the woods. I love the fall weather for the warm and cozy styling options such as sweaters and boots. I also like that I can switch seamlessly through seasons by simply layering my clothing by adding blazers and jackets to my wardrobe.

Since I shared a few styling ideas for getting all dolled up in my last fashion post, I'm sharing some dressed-down options this week.  With the help of my trusty Polyvore account, I created a little style inspiration for the "dressed down" portion of my Fall Fashion Lookbook below. 

♥ Sisterhood Tag ♥


Hey loves! I have a cool tag post for you guys today. My blogger boo Galaxia tagged me a while back for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award and I must say I am honored! For the tag, Galaxia asked some really fun questions, so I will be answering them all below for you. Here goes!

1. What’s a little luxury that you treat yourself to after a long day? A nice spa day would be an ideal treat right about now. You just don't know how much I crave a massage and a pedicure! But in the meantime, I'll do the usual and have my own DIY spa situation at home :) I always enjoy spending a few quiet moments by myself, for myself. It could be enjoying a nice warm bubble bath with my favorite scented bath bombs while a 90's slow jam playlist repeats in the background. Or I will arrange a nice cheese tray for one with a glass of wine and catch up on my favorite shows while the little ones are sleeping. It might not sound very luxurious to some, but any uninterrupted time to myself in which I can totally relax is a luxury for me. How many of you long for the days that you could use the bathroom in peace without someone yelling for you or trying to break into the bathroom to get you? LOL. Uninterrupted bathroom time even sounds like a luxury these days. 



2. How do you feel about your siblings, or how do you feel about being an only child? I love each and every one of my siblings. I have five siblings total. I have two older brothers, but I'm my mom's oldest kid. I have a slight complex about being her oldest though, as I always joke that I am the starter kid lol. But all jokes aside, I love each one of them and find it pretty awesome that though we all have very distinct personalities, we can come together and love on each other in our own little way. 

3. Who’s your current celebrity crush? I know that a lot of married women say they don't have a celebrity crush, but for the sake of the question I will be honest with you guys and admit that I have a couple. I promise you it's okay. My husband has a celebrity crush or two as well lol. Since I started watching kdrama last year, I have become a huge fan of Lee Min Ho. This could possibly be because I've seen every drama he's starred in and I am thinking of re-watching Personal Taste. He seems like such a sweetheart!



And for y'all that KNOW ME, I'm gonna sit this photo right here. Lol.


4. If you’re single, is there someone you’re wishing would ask you out? If you’re taken, how did you and that person decide to be in a relationship (describe the proposal, etc)? My husband and I met at a football game over a decade ago and decided to make our relationship official during Superbowl weekend a few months after. Fast forward to the present day and we're still watching football games together--well I'm still trying to get his attention while he's yelling at the TV screen. I never realized football had such a profound effect on our relationship. Lol.


5. What’s your favorite nail polish shade to wear? Pink! Fusion Pink by Sinful Colors is currently my favorite pink polish. 



6. Show us a piece of jewelry you would love to have. I'm currently on the prowl for a pair of pearl ear jackets. They seem like the perfect mix of elegant, yet edgy. 




7. What kind of cell phone do you have? I'm probably the only person in the world (other than my husband) that doesn't have an iPhone. I don't even remember the name of my phone, but I know HTC makes it and I got it for free! #TeamAndroid over here, honey :)

8. Which TV show or movie should I watch when I have the chance? I know you are a Netflix/Hulu/YouTube lover like myself Galaxia, so I'm gonna list ALL of the shows and movies I've watched recently or I am currently watching. 


The Mindy Project
Friday Night Lights | Pretty Little Liars |The Carrie Diaries
Awkward. | Revenge | Black-ish
Gotham | HTGAWM
The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete
Safe Haven

9. What book would you recommend I read before 2014 is over? You must read #GirlBoss by Sophia Amoruso if you haven't already. It's a great read! And if you have Nook or Kindle, shoot me an e-mail. I have a must-read list and to-read list a mile long that I'd love to share with you!

10. Have you ever experienced blatant racism or discrimination? I wouldn't say I have experienced blatant racism. But growing up in a southern rural area has presented quite a few opportunities to witness a level of ignorance some people have for those who aren't just like them. Though we might not always like to discuss racism or discrimination publicly, I do believe racism still exists. But I've also been witness to a loving-kindness in others that still exists. My hope is that if we all practiced more love and more kindness, we can begin to obliterate negativity like I have experienced so our children won't have to.

Thanks again for tagging me, Galaxia! I hope you all enjoyed reading my answers! Now I'd like to ask all of you guys-- who are your celebrity crushes? Do you have any book recommendations for me? What TV shows are you currently watching? And how often do you "treat" yourself? I'd love to hear all of your answers in the comments :)

Fall Beauty Favorites | Lipsticks + Glosses


Do you ladies switch up your beauty routines and essentials as the seasons change? Though I keep things the same in the spring and summer months, I love swapping products in my beauty arsenal when fall hits. There's something about those beautiful nudes, browns, plums, and rose shades that just scream "fall is here" to me. And since you guys are well aware of my lippie obsession, I decided I would share some of my current lipstick and lipgloss picks for the season here on the blog. 



NYX Round Lipstick in Thalia (top, left)- This is my go-to nude lippie of the fall season. It's a pretty mauve shade of nude that I believe compliments many complexions.
Wet n Wild Megalast Lipstick in Mochalicious (top, right)- This is my throwback 90's shade for the fall. It's highly pigmented, long-lasting, and very affordable. I feel like I'm channeling Kima, Keisha, and Pam when I'm rocking this lippie!
MAC Lipstick in Creme de la Femme (bottom, left)- This is my second pick nude lippie for the fall. Unlike Thalia, it has a frost finish, so I use it for more of a soft night look. 
Clinique Chubby Moisturizing Lip Balm in Roomiest Rose (bottom, right)- I received this beauty from my cousin Tresa and instantly fell in love with it. For my divas that aren't really big on rocking lipstick, this balm gives you color without the commitment. This balm is creamy, moisturizing, and has a great color payoff. 



NYX Lipgloss in African Queen (top, left)- This is my all-time favorite NYX lipgloss. It's a shimmery violet shade that's sure to turn heads. And it looks gorgeous on women of color! Every time I wear it, someone stops me to ask me what I'm wearing on my lips. 
Revlon Colorburst Matte Balm in Shameless (top, right)- For my ladies that have MAC Heroine on their wishlist but don't want to commit to the price, this lippie is perfect for you! I have them both and they are nearly identical. It applies soft and moisturizing, but dries into a beautiful matte. 
Wet n Wild Fergie Lipstain in Throwing Shade (bottom, left)- To be honest, I grabbed up this lippie for the name. How could you go wrong with a lipgloss called Throwing Shade anyways? Though it's actually a lipstain, it's pretty moisturizing. If you don't have this one in your collection, you might want to grab it up!
Wet n Wild Megalast Lipstick in Ravin' Raisin (bottom, right)- This is one of my fall favorites simply because I've never owned a color that compares to this lipstick at all. It's a vampy shade of purple that has mauve undertones. Out of all the lipsticks on this list, I would say this one is definitely my wildcard. 

WHAT LIPSTICKS AND GLOSSES ARE YOU WEARING THIS SEASON?

Wash Day | 7 Weeks Post Relaxer

How is everyone doing this week? I hope all is well with each and every one of you! I'm gonna keep it all the way real with you guys. This week I just did not feel like washing my hair, though I know I needed to! So today I'm going to share with you my lazy wash day. My goal this week was to add a little moisture to my tresses (as the SheaMoisture JBCO Edge Treatment I used in last week's protective style dried it out a bit). Thankfully I was able to achieve this with a quick co-wash and a 15 minute deep conditioning. 


The Experience
1. I saturated my hair with warm water and co-washed using Herbal Essences Totally Twisted Conditioner throughout my hair and scalp. After two washes, I rinsed the conditioner from my hair completely. 
2. Applied OGX Coconut Milk Nourishing Conditioner throughout my hair. I put on my plastic cap and deep conditioned under my hooded dryer for about 15-20 minutes
3. I then rinsed the conditioner thoroughly, doing my final rinse with cool water. Following my rinse, I squeezed the excess water from my hair with a t-shirt.
4. Applied OGX Coconut Milk Anti-Breakage Serum to my hair then wrapped hair in a t-shirt to dry.
5. After my hair completely dried, I applied Elasta QP Olive Oil and Mango Butter Leave-in Conditioner and sealed with grapeseed oil



The Results
My results were pretty good, considering I cut my normal wash day time in half. At 7 weeks post, I was happy to see how much the Herbal Essences Totally Twisted defined my natural curl pattern. I also had great slip afterwards, making it easy to detangle before deep conditioning. That's exactly why it's my favorite co-wash to use when I'm stretching. And since I plan to stretch until the spring, I plan to really stock up on Totally Twisted!

And of course because I did a co-wash instead of cleansing, my hair doesn't feel squeaky clean. It's soft, but it doesn't feel as light and voluminous as it usually does after using the serum. I'm never heavy-handed with the serum or the leave-in, either. So I will probably be using a cleanser on Sunday night. I'm also planning to start the Inversion Method tonight, so I know I will be needing a really good cleanse soon. Have any of you guys tried the Inversion Method? If so, do you have any tips or pointers to share with your friend over here?


The Style
Remember the updo I did with the jumbo braiding hair last week? Well I was very tempted to do the same style this week. I'm trying to get some quick protective style ideas under my belt so I can tuck away my hair with minimal effort. So I was looking at this video from MsAriella89 on YouTube and decided to do yet another quick style with my jumbo braiding hair.

To create this style, all I had to do was separate my hair into three sections. I did one single part between the ears to separate the top and back sections. Then did a side part, making a small section to the right and a larger section to the left. I flat twisted both sides and wrapped them both around the back section of my hair, making one ponytail. Then I looped the jumbo braiding hair around the ponytail and twisted it all down into one large pony. Do you like? Have you tried this style before? 



How was your most recent wash day experience?
What products do you use on wash day?
What are your favorite protective styles?

The Wash Day Experience

Wash Day | SheaMoisture JBCO + 5 Minute Updo

Happy first of the month, loves! I know it's been way too long since I've blogged about #washday. I've been totally slacking in my hair journey, but I'm trying my best to make a comeback, y'all. And since I just had an awesome wash day using the SheaMoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil products I recently purchased, I had to do a quick share! Currently, I am about 6 weeks post-relaxer and I'm looking for ways to stay consistent with my hair care + become more creative with my protective styling. If you guys have any tips to share, please do so in the comments! In the meantime, check out my deets for yesterday's wash day experience.

sheamoisture jamaican black castor oil

The Experience
1.Pre-pooed with HairTrigger Growth Oil (not pictured) on the scalp and coconut oil down the length of my hair, overnight.
2.Completely saturated my hair with warm water and applied SheaMoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen, Grow & Restore Shampoo throughout hair and scalp. I did two washes with this product and rinsed my hair thoroughly.

3. Applied warmed JBCO to my hair and scalp to oil rinse, followed by layering SheaMoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen Grow & Restore Treatment Masque on my hair. I put on my plastic cap and allowed it to penetrate as a deep conditioner while I showered. [SN: Am I the only one that hates sitting under the dryer?]
4. Rinsed oil + treatment masque and removed excess water with a t-shirt.
5. Applied OGX Coconut Milk Anti-Breakage Serum to my hair then wrapped hair in t-shirt to dry for a couple of hours.

6. After my hair completely dried, I applied African Pride Olive Miracle Anti-Breakage Moisturizing Lotion and sealed with coconut oil. Then I applied a small bit of SheaMoisture JBCO Edge Treatment to my edges.


The Results
My results were AH-MAZING! Yesterday before I washed my hair, I had a very itchy scalp--- not an issue I usually have. So I decided to use a shampoo instead of co-washing and pre-pooed with oils for good measure. Much to my surprise, the SheaMoisture JBCO Shampoo did a great job of cleansing my hair without stripping it. This RARELY happens when I shampoo! After the wash, my hair felt so soft!

And if that wasn't enough of a treat for my hair, that oil rinse + deep condition was THE TRUTH. My hair was soft, had great volume, and had no tangles whatsoever. This was the first time in a long time I had a completely fuss-free wash day! Hopefully, I can share product reviews with you guys soon!

The only hiccup I had was having no clue what to do to my hair afterwards. I needed something quick that would last until Friday. I didn't feel like doing any rods or bantu knots (because I'm sorta lazy like that + Jj won't let me be great in the hairstyling department as of late). So I pulled out my jumbo braiding hair and did this quick 5 minute updo. What do you guys think?



protective style



protective style

How was your last wash day experience?


The Wash Day Experience

Late Summer Style Inspiration | Short Shorts

Hey ladies! The end of summer is approaching, but that doesn't mean you have to give up your shorts just yet! Depending on your location, you may be able to rock them for another month or so. Since I'm in the south, I'm taking full advantage of the warm weather by rocking a pair or two whenever the occasion permits! Looking for a couple of ways to style your short shorts? Check out these two looks below and tell me what you think in the comments!

Summer Kickback Session 1

Going to a late summer cookout/kickback or hanging out with friends and have no clue what to wear? Why not grab a pair of cute denim shorts like these from Aeropostale? Pair them with your favorite boat neck tee and a denim vest like this one from Body Central. And I don't know about you guys, but when I'm trying to add a feminine touch to a look with my shoe game and don't want to wear uncomfortable heels, I always go for a nice wedge shoe. These gold wedges from Body Central go perfectly, don't they? Throw on some aviator Ray Bans with gold accessories, and you're ready to ride out! Make sure you don't forget the lipstick and the fragrance :) Every lady should have both!

Late Summer Sight-Seeing with Him
Now for this look, I styled this cute pair of H&M shorts (which were only $8.32, might I add) with a cute striped tee. I loved the idea of using green for an accent color for this look, so I added this H&M necklace and bracelet to the mix. And if that wasn't enough green for you, I added Essie Nail Polish in Stylenomics along with a green eyeshadow look created with Stila in the Garden Eyeshadow Palette from Sephora. You know I'm always looking out for my beauty mamas with the makeup looks, right? So add your favorite strappy sandals and crossbody to the look and you're all set! And if you're out enjoying the day with your special someone, don't forget to bring your camera to capture the special moments!

Now tell me, how do you style your short shorts? 
Do you pair them with tees, vests, sneakers, heels or wedges? 
Let me know in the comments!

How-To | Simple Leopard Print Manicure


Happy Monday, beautiful people! I hope everyone is feeling blessed and refreshed today. As for me, I'm starting the week off with a new manicure. I can't remember the last time I actually did a freehand design on my nails, so I decided to go with something that took minimal effort. And since this leopard print design was pretty easy to do, I wanted to share a little tutorial with you guys on how I did it! If you like this one, please let me know in the comments so I can begin to do more tutorials here on the blog for you!

Here's what you will need:
-Three colors of nail polish (preferably one of them being black)
-Dotting tool
-Base coat and top coat

Before anything, make sure to prepare for your manicure by cleaning and trimming your nails. I like to clean my nail bed by wiping them with an alcohol-soaked cotton ball. This removes any excess oil or debris from nails that may affect the smoothness of the nail application. 

After prepping nails and applying a base coat (to protect nails from staining), choose the colors you will be using for your manicure. You will need one color for your accent nail and another color to paint the rest of your nails. I grabbed NYC in a New York Minute Quick Dry Nail Polish in NY Blues and Essie Nail Lacquer in Play Date. Paint nails with two coats of polish. As you can see, I chose NY Blues for my accent nail.


After two coats of polish have completely dried, use your dotting tool to draw curves and dots on the accent nail. I got my dotting tool from BornPrettyStore, but you can use a toothpick or anything around the house you can get your hands on. It's all about using a product that allows enough control to draw small designs. You can choose any polish you'd like to draw the curves, just make sure it's darker than the other two polishes you use. Here, I am using black. 


Now, using the dotting tool and your second polish of choice, make a dot in the center of the curves you drew in the last step. You should see your work come into form now!


And for your final step, add a top coat on your nails after all polish has dried. Go back with a q-tip or small paintbrush (soaked in nail polish remover) to clean up any excess polish on your nails. 


See! Easy peasy, right?

What are your nails looking like this week, ladies? What colors have you been using lately? Will you be trying this leopard accent nail look out? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

August Wishes


Hello, beautiful people! Are you as stoked about the arrival of August as I am? I'm always excited about the beginning of a new month. For me (and many others I'm sure), it ushers in a fresh start. As we pull last month's calendar sheet away, we get the opportunity to chart our progress from last month's goals and prepare to create new goals for the month before us. 

Being a mom, I always look at the arrival of August as the time to prepare the kids for school. Even though they don't return for several weeks, it still seems like the time to bring summer events to a close and begin focusing on the next school year. So with the summer coming to an end and the school year approaching, it's time to prepare for a change in my family's schedules.

Here are my wishes for this week:

1. Make more pretty things. I've been obsessing over making pretty things lately. If I'm not revamping something around the house, I'm working on a DIY project I found on Pinterest. My latest project is an online boutique that I am currently working out the kinks on. I'll be sharing more about that with you guys next week. Thanks so much Donna for that extra push I so desperately needed ;-) But in the meantime, my goal is to make everything around me (and my loved ones) more beautiful. 
2. Stay in the middle of reading a good book. Thanks to Megan over at Semi-Charmed Kind of Life, I've been reading a lot lately. Her summer reading challenge has pulled me out of my comfort zone of always reading self-help books and African American Lit. My goal is to always be in the middle of a good read or two from now on. It really helps sharpen the mommy brain!
3. Keep exercising. One of the hardest yet most fulfilling goals I had last month was exercising. I know that sounds pretty lazy of me, doesn't it? But I find it so hard to stick to a routine! Fortunately, I gained a workout partner and joined a local gym that really motivates me to keep pushing. My goal is to keep going on schedule and stay pumped about it. 
4. Create "back-to-school" goals with the kids. Since I have been charting my goals and writing down my weekly ambitions, my children have been compelled to do the same---especially my daughter. After having a talk about setting realistic goals and intentions, they thought it would be great to create goals for the upcoming school year. So goal-setting we shall do!
5. Unplug on the weekends. Last month, I made a goal to unplug at least once a week. And just a few days after creating that goal, my computer went nuts! This frenzy created an unintentional blog break for me. And while I really missed my blog, I was much more productive around the house and in other areas. So by the suggestion of blogger friend Mimi, I will be unplugging from Friday night to Monday morning. Hopefully this will help me better manage my time.
6. Continue to write something daily. Even on the days I don't feel like writing, keeping up with my gratitude journal and prayer journal seem like more than enough to keep me jotting something down. And if my to-do lists count, I'm always writing something lol. 
7. Plan a summer's end celebration for the family. Hubby thinks it's a great idea to have a cookout or get-together before the little ones return to school. So I'm in full brainstorming mode for that. Any ideas, anyone?


The Nectar Collective

What are your current goals?
 Let me know in the comments!

Favorite Summer Lipsticks 2014

lipstick for women of color

One thing I love about the spring and summer months is the abundance of bright beautiful colors in the atmosphere! Along with warm and vibrant weather, folks can be seen rocking some of the most fiercest, shades of pinks, plums, and oranges. And what better way to bring color to your world than in my personal favorite way---by applying a shocking shade of lipstick?

Today I want to share with you the six lipstick colors I've been reaching for most this summer and will probably be wearing even more as the season progresses. Each shade is beautiful in its own right, and if you own any of these, I'm sure you will agree. I chose six shades from two of my favorite lipstick brands: MAC Cosmetics and Wet 'n' Wild Beauty. If you're familiar here on the blog, you know I swoon for the texture and vanilla scent of a MAC lippie, but love the intense pigment and affordable price of the Wet 'n' Wild MegaLast lippies. 

lipstick for women of color

The three MAC Lipsticks playing the back, from left to right are:
-Amplified Creme Lipstick in Shy Girl
-Satin Lipstick in Pink Nouveau
-Retro Matte in Flat Out Fabulous

And the three Wet 'n' Wild MegaLast Lipsticks in the front (l-r) are:
-Cherry Picking 
-Wine Room
-24 Carrot Gold

Check out the swatches below. In natural light, Shy Girl barely shows up!

lipstick swatches for women of color

And these are the swatches on my lips. Shy Girl, which is on the left, is a go-to nude for me. I love how smooth and creamy this lipstick is. I usually pair a mauve liner or chestnut colored liner with this lippie. Pink Nouveau (top right) is one of my favorite pink lipsticks. This lipstick is a must-have for us bubblegum-pink lovers and is very long-lasting. I recently grabbed up Flat Out Fabulous (bottom right) a couple of months ago and fell in love. If you are a fan of the retro matte finishes (like Ruby Woo), this baby is a must-have as well. Each of these lipsticks can be purchased at www.maccosmetics.com and retail for $16.
soshewritesbymissdre
Cherry Picking (top left) is a beautiful shade of magenta and packs a punch of color! Though these lippies are matte, I put a touch of lipgloss on before applying them because my lips were dry. If you don't apply a lip balm first, the MegaLast Lip Color can be pretty drying. Wine Room (bottom left) is more of an everyday lippie for me than the others (except Shy Girl). It's a soft, feminine pink that isn't too overpowering. Now 24 Carrot Gold (right) on the other hand, can be a shocking lipstick shade if you aren't used to wearing orange lipstick. I toned mine down with a bit of gloss and paired it with NYX lipliner in Espresso. I'd say this is a safe way to wear orange lips since they are really on trend this season. I usually grab these lippies from my local Walgreens, where they are currently on sale for $1.49!
soshewritesbymissdre
Since I shared my favorites with you guys, now I would like to know your favorite lipsticks of the summer. Do you have any recommendations of others I should check out? I would like to know in the comments! And if you have a fierce picture of you rocking your favorite lippie(s) be sure to share it with me on Facebook or tag me on Instagram! I wanna see!

Summer Book Challenge 2014 | Month 2


Remember last month when I told you guys about the awesome summer book challenge on Megan Stroup's blog (Semi-Charmed Kind of Life)? Well ladies and gentlemen, I'm glad to say that I'm still reading and taking part! As I shared earlier on the blog, one of my current goals is to read more. So participating in this challenge has really encouraged me to make time for happy reading! Since the last update, I haven't changed any books on my preliminary list, but I'm contemplating switching up a few of them. I'll be sure to let you guys know with my next update if I decide to, though. And if you didn't catch the first post about the book challenge, here is my preliminary list along with the books I've finished. 

5 points: Freebie! Read any book that is at least 200 pages long.
— The Untethered Soul , Michael A. Singer (200 pages)
10 points: Read a book that was written before you were born.
— Go Tell It On The Mountain , James Baldwin (256 pages) [1953]
10 points: Finish reading a book you couldn't finish the first time around.
— Life Overflowing , T. D. Jakes (427 pages/300+ pages remaining)
10 points: Read a book from the children’s section of the library or bookstore.
— Stargirl , Jerry Spinelli (200 pages)
15 points: Read a book that is on The New York Times' Best Sellers List when you begin reading it.
 #GIRLBOSS , Sophia Amorouso (232 pages) [No. 6 on the Advice, How-to list]
15 points: Read a historical fiction book that does not take place in Europe.
— Song of Solomon , Toni Morrison (337 pages) [set in the United States]
15 points: Read a book another blogger has already read for the challenge.
— TBD :)
20 points: Read a book with “son(s),” “daughter(s)” or “child(ren)” in the title.
— Daughters of the Dust , Julia Dash (310 pages)
20 points: Read a book that was/will be adapted to film in 2014.
— The Fault in Our Stars , John Green (337 pages)
25 points: Read a book written by a blogger.
— Happier at Home , Gretchen Rubin (320 pages) [gretchenrubin.com]
25 points: Read a biography, autobiography or memoir. 
— I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings , Maya Angelou (291 pages)
30 points: Read a pair of books with antonyms in the titles.
— Rock My Soul , bell hooks (240 pages)  
— Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self , Danielle Evans (229 pages)

In last month's reading, I completed one book from the categories:

✓ 25 points: Read a biography, autobiography or memoir. 
— I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou (291 pages, 5 stars)

With this month's reading, however, I completed 4 reads! Yay me!

✓ 30 points: Read a pair of books with antonyms in the titles.
— Rock My Soul , bell hooks (240 pages, 5 stars)  
— Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self , Danielle Evans (229 pages, 3.75 stars)

✓ 10 points: Read a book from the children’s section of the library or bookstore.
— Stargirl , Jerry Spinelli (200 pages, 4.2 stars)

✓ 5 points: Freebie! Read any book that is at least 200 pages long.
— The Untethered Soul , Michael A. Singer (200 pages, 3.5 stars)

PREVIOUS POINTS: 25
TOTAL POINTS: 70


Are you participating in the Summer Book Challenge

What books are you reading this summer?

10 Ways to Have a Better Day

Woke up this morning in a rut? Spent the last few weeks feeling like "blah?" If this sounds like you, please know that you are not alone. From time to time, I find myself looking for new ways to pull myself out of a funk. And though I haven't found a way of "getting to happy" in an instant, I have found a few ways to make myself feel better with little to no effort. Continue reading after the jump to check out ten ways I find happiness throughout my day.

beauty and lifestyle blogger

Ask Away Friday with DIY Mama


Hey ladies and gents! I'm back at #AskAwayFriday again this week! This Friday, I've partnered up with Shelly over at DIY Mama. And just as the name of her blog suggests, Shelly is the real deal DIY Mama. At DIY Mama, she blogs about her life with her husband and her "little bean" Soph, as well as her love of crafting and organizing. In getting to know Shelly in the blogosphere, I have since organized my nail care storage, planned my family trip to Disney, and began working on my own life planner. Seriously, you guys have to stop by and check her out. It's been so much fun getting familiar with Shelly this week!

MrsTeeLoveLifeLaughter

Below are the questions Shelly asked me and my responses to them.


1. I love your 'Weekly Wishes' posts! Do they help you stay focused to accomplish your wishes by writing them down? Yes. Yes. Yes. Writing my goals down is essential in completing them. And since I am a chronic list-maker, I find myself making a list of things to do (or complete) on the daily. I usually keep my weekly goals posted on my bulletin board in my bedroom and saved in my phone so that I can keep my eyes on them. And blogging about them keeps me accountable. Checking items off my on-going lists is so gratifying, you have no idea!


These are just a few of my list and wish keepers :)



2. It's National Pollinators Week! What are your thoughts on bees? My initial thoughts on bees--- I'm afraid of them. Childhood bee stings are responsible for this fear, as those little stingers are no joke! But after reading your post about National Pollinators Week, I've started thinking beyond my fear and more about how beneficial bees are to nature. I might even plant some zinnias and sunflowers for them :)

3. When I Was Gab's Age was a stroll down memory lane for me! I'm pretty sure we had parallel childhoods! What have you re-introduced from your childhood to your kids? I've re-introduced Gabs and Core to so many things from my childhood, especially with television shows and cartoons. Gabs is able to watch some episodes of Sister Sister with me and Core has become a fan of Smart Guy recently. They both enjoy watching The Magic School Bus and they seem to be learning a lot from it. 

In the last month or so, Gabs has fallen in love with Judy Blume books and The Babysitter's Club series. I'm too hyped about that! We've actually started watching The Babysitter's Club together.

4. I just bought tickets to see one of our favorite comedians in September (Mike Birbiglia)! What comedian have you seen that you loved or who would you like to see? Wow, that's cool. Mike Birbiglia is a funny dude! I saw Rickey Smiley a few years back and he was hilarious. Earthquake is coming close by in the upcoming weeks, so I'm hoping to get some last minute tickets for that!

5. Our babies (your youngest) were born pretty close to the same day! (Oct. 5th for Soph.) What new gadget or toy have you used with Jj that you love and wish you had with the other two? The GracoBaby SweetPeace Infant Soothing Swing was the best thing ever invented for babies! Oh my goodness. That swing has been a blessing. It has four different seating positions, it vibrates, it reclines... You can even play music from your iPod on it. I don't think this swing was around when the others were babies, but I wish it was!  


6. I know you're into make-up hardcore! What is your favorite drug-store makeup that you always go back to? No matter what new cosmetic I fall in love with, I always find my way back to CVS or Walgreens to grab up some Wet n Wild stuff. It was the very first brand of makeup I ever tried. I love their liners, mascaras, lipsticks, and nail polish. I've been using their polishes longer than any other brand and I have yet to be disappointed!


This is my favorite Wet n Wild Lipstick. 
It's so pigmented and long-lasting!


7. I just finished A Fault in Our Stars and really liked it. Are you the type to stop a book if you're not into it or do you complete the book? Any recent favorites? I can't wait to get into A Fault in Our Stars. It's on my Summer Reading List. Now I will be completely honest and tell you I will stop a book at the drop of a hat. I like to read several books at the time, so if a book I'm reading isn't serving me at the moment, I will put it down. That's not to say I won't pick it back up. But if  I try to read it again and can't get into it, I will not complete it. I'm currently reading The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer and Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli and both are good reads. I can't wait to give updates on them both!

8. I saw you're grateful for Dance Central! Me too! What's your go-to jam that you always get 5 stars?
You Got It (The Right Stuff) by New Kids on the Block gets me 5 stars each time. It's my favorite song on Dance Central 3 and no one wants to battle with me when I choose that song. They know it's going down! Lol.

9. Summer time means great movies! Have you seen any yet this summer or are there any on your 'must see' list? Will you go to a drive-in with your kids this summer? I plan to take Gabs and Core to see X-Men: Days of Future Past within the next week or so. I've been wanting to see Think Like a Man Too and I hope hubby takes me on a date night to see it soon.



10. Finish this sentence: 'Sometimes, when no one's watching, I _______!' ...sing really loud and pitchy to my heart's content! I love to sing, I'm just not very good at it. So that's my favorite thing to do when no one's watching (or listening lol.)

Now with this swap, Shelly offered a bonus question. The bonus was to answer one question that I asked her. And let me tell you, I had the hardest time picking a question to answer. Where do I get these questions from that I ask? Lol. Here goes!

*** If you could start your own mom group, what you would call it? When and where would your group meet and what would you guys do in your meet-ups? If I could start my own mom group, it would either be called Rockin' Mamas or Moms' Night Out. Why, I don't know. Both names sound pretty catchy to me. We could have an initial meeting to discuss various places we'd like to have group meetings and different activities we would like to do. I would probably suggest meeting up at places like Barnes and Nobles/Starbucks, Nikki's, or the Bowling Alley. And of course I'd love to have regular meet-ups at my place to have girl-talk, host pamper parties, and do nails + makeup. This actually sounds like a lot of fun!

It's been real answering your questions, Shelly! Now I want to go find a local comedy show, watch Smart Guy re-runs with Gabs and Core, and get my Dance Central moves together! Be sure to stop by DIY Mama to see Shelly's answers to my questions today.

Ask Away Friday with Sonya: Round Two


Happy Friday, beautiful people! Are you guys as happy about it being Friday as I am? Not only is the day going beautifully so far, I have the opportunity to pair up with my blogger friend Sonya K. of Saving Everyday with Sonya K again for #AskAwayFriday. If you guys enjoyed the first round we did back in March, you will love this one. 

TamaraLikeCamera

Below are the questions Sonya asked me and my responses to them:

Lets start with some music questions.
1. There are some songs from the 90's that I loved as a kid, but I can't stand listening to now. Do you have any songs that you loved at one time from the 90's but hate now? I'm Too Sexy by Right Said Fred. I can imagine I sang it loudly and mockingly for many years. But now, I hear it and cringe. Talk about overkill!


2. Listening to music can bring back memories from certain times in your life. What songs remind you of the following events:


(a) Care free childhood days- Just Kickin' It by Xscape. I can still remember singing that on the playground with my friends in elementary school. Kenya, if you're out there reading, can you remember being Kandi for this song?

(b)Freshman year of college- The College Dropout Album by Kanye West... Yes, each and every song. I bet my roommate got tired of hearing this when she got ready for classes in the A.M. Lol.

(c)When you first met your husband-Excuse Me Miss by Jay-Z. I don't recall any songs from the night we met, but when we were initially dating, this song was always on the radio when we rode out. 
               
       "everybody's like he's no item.. 
please don't like him... he don't wife 'em.. he "one nights" 'em"


3. If you could choose one guy group from the 90's to serenade you, who would you choose? Since I wouldn't be able to choose H-Town now (rest in peace to Dino), I will go with Next. If they could serenade me singing "Butta Love" that would be... well that would be love!

4. What are your top 3 favorite Prince songs? Adore, The Beautiful Ones, Erotic City, and I Wanna Be Ur Lover. Naming only three was so hard, so I had to throw an extra one in there.

Food Questions.
5. What is your favorite Southern meal to cook? Fried Chicken, Rice and Gravy, Collard Greens, Corn Bread, Lima Beans, and Baked Macaroni + Cheese. Don't worry, it's not something I make often. It's a big hearty meal, so I'd probably only make a meal like this when all my siblings come down to visit.


6. Is there any food you are afraid to try to cook? There are actually two things--and they may not be a big deal to many. But my Grandma Lou made the best biscuits in the world. And when she had old leftover biscuits, she would make biscuit pudding. If you've never heard of it, biscuit pudding is a baked delicacy made with leftover biscuits and vanilla, among other items. I've often thought about trying to make biscuits from scratch, but I never follow through. I'm afraid that they will never taste as good as grandma's. And for that reason, in all honesty, I make my biscuits with biscuit mix. 


But man, I'd love to have some of that biscuit pudding she used to make. It was so sweet and chewy. Maybe I'll try to make them both one day. 

7. What would a typical weekend breakfast be at your house? Weekend breakfasts are the best! Unless it's summertime, Saturday and Sunday mornings are the only times we have big breakfasts. Typically we will have pancakes, bacon, sausage, eggs, grits, toast, orange juice, and a fruit platter. 

90's TV Questions
8. If you could invite four of your favorite 90's TV characters to a fantasy dinner party, who would you invite? Dwayne Wayne from A Different World, Denise from the Cosby Show, Kyle Barker from Living Single, and Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and The City. Gosh, that was a tough one! I think I have changed my answers about five times. Lol. 


9.The cartoons and TV shows from the 90's had very catchy theme songs. What was you favorite cartoon and TV theme song to sing? The theme songs from Tiny Toon Adventures and Step By Step instantly came to mind. I don't know if they were my absolute favorite theme songs, but I remember singing them a lot. 



10. Zach Morris vs. A.C. Slater? Who would you have chosen for your Bayside guy? A.C. Slater. That was my boo on Saturday mornings! There's something about those dimples and the way he called Jessie "mama" that always made me swoon. 



I've had a blast answering Sonya's questions and taking this beautiful trip down memory lane! To get more familiar with Sonya, make sure you click the button below and show her blog some love. She also responded to my questions as well this week, so check them out and tell her I sent you!

Saving Everyday With Sonya K
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