Date Night Essentials | Fail-Proof Planning

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BeHealthyForEveryPartOfLife #CollectiveBias

pfizer products


For my husband and I, date night is something like a big deal. Date night is that coveted time when we are able to decompress and enjoy each other simply as husband and wife.  And while the idea of date night is a beautiful thing, the reality is that date night has become a rare occasion.

Currently | 11.20.15

tea notebook writing

We Are Booked Holiday Swap Sign-Up (Closed)

book swap
Bookish friends and family, the time is here! Tracie and I are now doing sign-ups on our blogs for the We Are Booked Holiday Swap. And we couldn't be more excited! But before you click the form, here are just a few things to make note of about the We Are Booked Holiday Swap:

Beauty | Fall Faves Tag

beauty favorites

Now that it's officially Fall in the Carolinas, I've done a bit of switching up my beauty routine. I've traded bright, vibrant hues of lipstick and polishes to darker, muted shades. I've pulled out skincare items that combat my fall/winter dryness as opposed to treating my skin's summer oiliness. And I've actually used up quite a few products before going out to splurge on new items for the seasonal change. While I was planning to post some of the products I've been grabbing for lately, I was given an extra push to post when my blogger boo Jay of Relaxed Thairapy tagged me to do a Fall Faves post. So without further adieu, read more about my current beauty favorites of the season after the jump!

Just to Get By | A Playlist for the Hopeful

get by talib kweli

Hello friends! Have you ever had a string of never-ending, not-so-good, kinda-bad days? Not so terribly bad that you couldn't function, but just days where you felt like you couldn't get right? You know, those blah types of days when you get out of bed feeling like something is missing but you aren't sure what. You have a hope and a dream for something greater, but have no clue how to get to that something. Or it seems like no matter what you try to do, nothing works out in your favor. You might even feel yourself giving up on your hopes and dreams. But then one morning, things turn around for you.

We Are Booked Holiday Swap

Happy November, loves! If you have been following along with the We Are Booked Photo Challenge on Instagram, you may know Tracie and I just wrapped up the second installment of the challenge. Thanks to you guys, these book challenges have been so much fun! We have met so many new book buddies and found so many great books along the way. And what better way to celebrate that success than keeping the good times rolling, right? So for the holiday season, we will be hosting the first ever We Are Booked Holiday Swap!


So how does the We Are Booked Holiday Swap work?
On November 8, Tracie and I will both be posting a sign-up form on our blogs for all that are interested in participating in the holiday swap. Once everyone is signed up, each participant will receive information about another participant, anonymously. No one will know who has his or her name until the day he or she receives the package---just like the Secret Santa gift exchange. Sounds like fun, right? The form will be only be active from the 8th until the 18th, so make sure you sign up and tell your friends to do so as soon as possible. This way, everyone's packages can be mailed out by December 1st.

Who can participate?
This swap is open to all of our readers! One does not have to be on Instagram to participate. If you have been following along with the challenges and know someone who loves to read and receive bookish mail just as much as we do-- feel free to share this message with them! Tag them in this post if they are on IG and tag them here if they are on Facebook--the more the merrier!

Exactly what is included in each "swap?" 
The idea of the swap is to give the gift of happy reading for the holidays. As we learned from the book photo challenge, there is a large community of fellow book lovers. Participating in this swap is an awesome way to share the love of reading with another. In the swap, each person will receive information about another participant's taste in books (ie, favorite genres, books, etc). They will also receive a list with a few books on that participant's wish list. You will use that information to purchase a book for them and/or a few other bookish items (bookmarks, or stocking stuffers) if you should choose to do so. But please keep in mind: bookish mail + gifts are not to exceed $25.

Tracie and I really hope you will join in on the fun! If you have any questions, please feel free to email or contact us on any of our social media accounts.

Will you be participating? 
Let me know what you think in the comments!

My Two Cents | Spreading Love


Hey ladies! In case no one else has told you today, I just wanted to take a moment to tell each and every one of you that you are beautiful--each and every one of you in your own individual ways. And each and every one of you are special. It doesn't matter what race or nationality you are, what your sexuality may be, or what age you are. I don't care if your hair is relaxed, texlaxed, natural, permed, weaved, or if you're bald-- you're beautiful. I don't care if you wear makeup or not, you're beautiful. Even if others criticize you for the ways you choose to wear your hair or how you apply your makeup. That's your prerogative.

Celebrate Fair Trade Month With Klout

Have you been celebrating Fair Trade Month this October? Thanks to the kind folks over at Klout, I was able to celebrate Fair Trade Month with quite a few Fair Trade Certified goodies to enjoy and share with my family. 

klout

Now exactly what is Fair Trade? If you aren't familiar with the term, Fair Trade is a system in which fair prices are paid for products from farming communities. The idea is that the consumer buys the fair trade product and the farmer receives a "fair share" for his or her hard work. Sounds pretty cool, right?

Beauty Tips + Tricks | Maybelline The Falsies Push Up Drama Mascara

This beauty story is a part of a Maybelline #FalsiesPushUpDrama #shop compensated by Collective Bias and its advertiser. This is my story with my opinions. 

#shop #cbias
What types of beauty tips and tricks do you search for when creating a beauty look of your own? As a person that always takes notice to eyes,  beautifully groomed brows, and luscious lashes when I peruse beauty blogs and magazines, I'm looking to enhance each of these. And to have a moment of honesty with you guys, I've struggled with that a lot over the years. My brows are sparse and often unruly. Not to mention, my lashes are very short and barely detectable. So finding an affordable mascara that defines my "barely there" lashes while giving them volume is always on the top of my beauty buy list.

Making note of mascaras and brow products to add to my beauty buy list, I considered items that would allow me to play up my eyes with as little effort as possible. Now as much as I love looking well put together, I don't always love all the work that goes into doing a full face of makeup. So in searching for new beauty products to simplify my everyday looks, I recently stopped by Walmart (you guys know I STAY in Wallyworld) to see what they had in store.

We Are Booked | October Instagram Photo Challenge

Happy October, beautiful people! Once again, Tracie (@traciemomie) and I (@sodrewrites) are back with a second Instagram Photo Challenge! And we are hoping our fellow book-lovers and friends will join in on the fun and invite others to do the same. The October Edition of the We Are Booked Instagram Photo Challenge kicks off on today, Wednesday, October 1 and runs throughout the entire month. 
fall reading

Styling Idea | Mama's Day Out

Hi all! Just wanted to stop through to add a styling idea to the blog for my fellow fashionistas this weekend. Stylish mamas, when you finally get a chance to have a day (or night) on the town with no children in tow, what do you wear? Do you keep it nice and comfortable with jeans and sneakers as I do most of the time? Or do you take this opportunity to break out your pumps and paint the town red as I do on special occasions?
If you went with option two, I hope you like this look! I'm loving yellow with leopard print and red accents these days, so I thought this would be a fun look to rock for mama's day out! And you know you can never go wrong with black pumps!

Would you rock this look?
If so, where?
And what is your favorite thing to do 
when you have time to yourself?

Be sure to check out the outfit details on Polyvore.

Weekend Confessions Vol. I | College Dropout

teenage love affair alicia keys

The Confession | The College Dropout 

"Told 'em I finished school, and I started my own business 
They say, 'Oh, you graduated?' 
Nah, I decided I was finished." -Kanye West, School Spirit

Hype Hair + COCOTIQUE | 2nd Anniversary Beauty Box

Hello loves and fellow beauty enthusiasts! I'm excited to share today's beauty post with you because I am unboxing my first ever COCOTIQUE subscription beauty box. 

subscription beauty box

COCOTIQUE is a luxury subscription box that caters to women of color. As a woman who loves subscription boxes, I was elated to learn about a subscription service that caters to my skin care, hair care, and beauty needs specifically. And when I saw that this service uses many brands that I love such as Shea Moisture, Milani, Black Radiance, I couldn't wait to get my hands on my complimentary box.

As a newbie, I am totally impressed with this subscription already! In this month's special 2 Year Anniversary Box featuring Hype Hair, subscribers received 8-12 full size and deluxe size hair + beauty products. Below I'll be sharing with you guys each product I received.

WASH DAY | ORS Creamy Aloe Shampoo + Replenishing Conditioner

How is your hair journey going? Mine is going pretty good, for the most part. I ended an extremely long stretch last week with a texlaxing touch-up, so I haven't done much with my hair since then. And now that I'm over one week post, I decided it was time for a chelating cleanse. Check out my simple cleanse and conditioning session with ORS Olive Oil Shampoo and Conditioner below.

black beauty blogger

Celebrity Inspired Beauty | Tika Sumpter

Today's post is all about creating a beginner-friendly celebrity inspired look. Here, we have the beautiful Tika Sumpter rocking a pinky-nude lip and wine "flush of blush" cheeks. Under the jump, I have a list of tried and true beauty favorites along with steps that will help you pull off this look effortlessly.
black beauty blogger

5 Steps to the Perfect Skin Care Regimen

How do you decide what products to buy for your skincare? This is a question I have been asking myself and others repeatedly for years, as I've always been on the quest for perfect skin. This quest once appeared impossible, as for years I have dealt with acne, hyper-pigmentation, and the oiliest skin ever. I've tried quick fix solutions with makeup, I've tried mail-order products, department store gems that were all the rave, and about every other drugstore miracle product there was. It wasn't until recent years that I decided to take a simpler approach to caring for my skin. And through much trial and error, I have learned what works for me and what doesn't. I would like to share with you guys the five steps in which I tackled my skin care troubles and came up with a regimen that works for me. Hopefully this will be of help to someone else!

black beauty blogger

We Are Booked | Challenge Winner Announcement

And just like that, August is now a thing of the past! And before you know it, fall will be wrapping on our doors. One of the things I've enjoyed the most about August is the We Are Booked Instagram Photo Challenge Tracie (@traciemomie) and I (@sodrewrites) and I hosted. Through this month-long photo-challenge, we had the opportunity to bond with fellow book-lovers--and it was truly an amazing experience! 

book photo challenge


Thanks to bonds formed with our new book friends, we have both added to our never-ending book lists as well as connected to gush over common favorites. We were blown away by the participation from you guys and are delighted to be sharing this eGift Card from Barnes & Noble with one lucky winner. 

So, let's get right down to it!  
The winner of our $25 $30 eGift Card giveaway is....


Dee, we will be contacting you shortly so that you can redeem your prize!

And if you didn't win this giveaway, no worries. Tracie and I have a couple of things brewing in the upcoming months for all of our fellow book lovers so stay tuned for the announcements!

INTERVIEW | Tempest Walker on 'Being Tina Turner'

be tina tribute

Ladies, gentlemen, and all of my fellow Tina Turner fans, I have a treat for you today. There's a Tina Turner Tribute coming up on the horizon by way of Harlem, New York, and I wanted to tell you guys all about it! 

Tempest Walker and Rankin Street Productions in association with Black Noise Media Present 'Be Tina: A Tina Turner Tribute.'

‘Be Tina’ is a musical stage production created by top producers, directors, and executives that celebrates Tina Turner and her legacy through an array of dance and live musical performances covering some of Tina Turner’s greatest hits including “What’s Love Got to Do With It,” “Proud Mary,” and “When the Heart Ache is Over.”

‘Be Tina’ features a diverse cast consisting of a five-piece band, three dancers, and Tempest who will star as Tina Turner.  This cast will surely get you on your feet and dancing along to some of Tina Turner’s staple classics.

Right before the show's opening on tomorrow, Saturday, August 15, 2015, I was given the opportunity to have a Q&A session with the 'Be Tina' producer and star Tempest Walker. 

Recent Reads | Volume II

As we all know, summer time is the best time for enjoying new books. If you follow me on Instagram, you probably already know I stay on the search for the most engaging, most informative, and most "out of my comfort zone" reads. And while I am always in the middle of a personal development/inspirational read and an entertaining one, I've been reading lots of light, fun reads lately. Fun reads are perfect for summer vacations and traveling or just lounging around during free time. So for my second installment of Recent Reads, I'm here to give you an update on the books I've taken along to the beach, indulged during long car rides, and devoured on quiet nights in. And no worries--I'll try not to spoil any of them for you! 

book blogger

We Are Booked Instagram Photo Challenge

Happy August, loves! Tracie (@traciemomie) and I (@sodrewrites) are excited to be hosting our first ever Instagram Photo Challenge! And we are asking all of our book-loving friends to join in on the fun and invite others to do the same. We Are Booked Instagram Photo Challenge kicks off on today, Saturday, August 1 and runs throughout the entire month. 



If you've never taken a part in an Instagram Photo Challenge, no worries!  Participating will be really easy. All you have to do is post a picture of a book according to the prompt listed for that specific date. Sounds like fun, right? Just make sure that when you post, use the hashtag #wearebookedphotochallenge. That way all participants can interact with each other and see all of the cool books chosen (or even add to our never-ending to read lists).

Tracie and I are pleased to announce that we are also hosting a giveaway to accompany the challenge. We will be giving one lucky winner a $25 Barnes & Noble eGift Card! Everyone that participates in the challenge is qualified to enter by following the instructions in the Rafflecopter widget below. Just be sure to get your entry in by the last day of the challenge, August 31, 2015.

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

3 Reasons To Try L.A. Girls Glazed Lip Paints

Hey loves! I know I may be a little tardy for the party on this beauty product, but I just had to share how much I love L.A. Girls Glazed Lip Paints! I've been pondering over them for quite some time, but because I've been on a serious no-buy (unless I collect empties), I've curved them quite a few times. And let me tell you, I wish I would have grabbed these up sooner.

As you all may be able to tell from several of my posts professing my undying love for lipsticks (especially mattes), I am not big on lip gloss collections. But with the variety of shades offered in these "lip paints," I knew I had to give them a try. And knowing what I know now, I'm here to tell you guys why you should try them too if you haven't already. 

black beauty blogger

As mentioned on the LA Girl USA website, Glazed Lip Paints are meant to give the "intensely pigmented look of a lipstick with the ease and glossy finish of a lipgloss." And just as the site claims, the lip paint gives me just the right amount of intensity and glossiness. 

Here are three reasons why you MUST add these lip paints to your collection (if you haven't already).

REVIEW | Wood Watches by JORD

Ladies, how important are the details of your attire? How often do you carefully select accessories for your wardrobe?  While I like to keep my wardrobe choices simple and functional, I like to add “personality” to my look with unique pieces. I employ this idea with my choice of hairstyles, cosmetics, nail designs, and the accessories that bring together my look. Besides, choosing fun accessories make for the greatest conversation-starters while you’re out and about, right?

So when I was contacted by JORD to review one of their wood watches, I was excited! I’d never owned a wooden watch and was intrigued by how it would fit my everyday style. As I marveled over the watches on the site, I chose Ely Black for my review.


style blogger of color


Summer Style Staple | White Jeans

Hey ladies! Are you enjoying these warm summer temperatures? Though I'm always excited about summer's arrival, I'm always put off by the southern summer heat! As things warm up, many of us begin to update our wardrobes. We recover and purchase our favorite summer staples-- sundresses, skirts, shorts, sandals, sunglasses, and.... White Jeans.

In the upcoming weeks, I decided to share styling ideas for my favorite summer staples with the help of my Polyvore account. Check out the "staple white jeans" portion of my Summer Style Lookbook below and tell me what you think of them in the comments!

style blogger of color

Things I Left in my Twenties

As some of you may already know, I was welcomed into the 30 Club with open arms recently. And let me tell you, I am excited to be in the number! Honestly, however, I wasn't this hype months ago.
lifestyle blogger of color
See, for the last few months I had been torturing myself with this mental list of things I wanted to accomplish by the age of thirty. There was something about this proverbial list and these phantom expectations that had really been driving me up the wall. Why wasn't I already established in my career? Shouldn't I have accomplished waaaaay more at this point? That's what I had been asking myself repeatedly. I was reading self-help books, hoping to find an answer. I was even reconsidering my education (or seemingly lack thereof). After these never-ending dead-end searches, I finally decided enough was enough. 

I began to think about a few of my loved ones who were not awarded the opportunity to even see this next decade. I looked in the faces of my smiling children and husband. Then I looked in the mirror and realized I was still here for a purpose. So I decided right then and there to stop lamenting over what I thought should be, and really show my appreciation and gratitude to the Good Lord for keeping me!

When thinking on those things, my arrival to the big 3-0 began to feel different. So in celebration, I spent time with my closest family + friends and spent a lot of time reflecting on what this next milestone in life meant for me. And since I'm such a chronic list maker,  I started typing out a list on my tab in the middle of the night of all the things I'd be leaving in my twenties---not even considering the thought of a blog post or anything... Just some personal things I wanted to really let go of, so I could embrace who I am and who I am becoming. Below are a few of the items from that list....

Healthy Lifestyle | Going "Raw" with Esosa E

Award-winning Producer. Actress. Model. Author. Raw Girl in a Toxic World. Esosa Edosomwan is a woman of many hats, indeed. Like many others, I received my introduction to Esosa E tuning in to International TV/Web series An African City, where she can be seen playing "Ngozi," a devout Christian and vegetarian. After finding her site, Raw Girl in a Toxic World, I soon learned Esosa E was just as passionate about leading a healthy lifestyle as her character Ngozi. In fact, when Esosa E isn't on set (behind the scenes, in front of the camera, or modeling) she is inspiring people worldwide to adopt a healthy lifestyle through veganism. Teaching others how to live a plant-based lifestyle proves Esosa E is passionate about manifesting true beauty in the world--from the inside out. 

lifestyle blogger of color
INTRODUCTION TO ESOSA E, THE RAW GIRL

Esosa E is a raw vegan lifestyle expert on a mission! As her website states, The Raw Girl's goal is to share her tips, insight, and expertise to others who look to lead a healthier life through veganism. While she has obtained an undergraduate degree from Cornell University and completed her business studies at Columbia University, she is well-versed in holistic health through years of extensive research. Following a personal health scare in 2007, Esosa E decided to pursue a healthier lifestyle through holistic health. After ten years of being vegan, she took her healthy lifestyle to the next level by "going raw"--consuming a diet based on raw foods. By doing this, she naturally healed her acne and rid her body of parasites!

These experiences inspired Esosa E to share her personal knowledge and research to help others. She has since written three books, The Acne-Free Diet, Parasites, Be Gone, and Raw Girl's 7 Day Detox. Each of these reads contain tips and valuable information on becoming your healthy, beautiful best through leading a holistic lifestyle. I was excited to be given the opportunity to connect with Esosa E to learn and share about the life. As someone who is looking to improve my health with better lifestyle choices, I was in for a treat!

Current Beauty Favorites

beauty blogger of color
I've been keeping my beauty routine pretty simple lately. Neutral hues have become my best friends. Shimmery nudes and bronze shades have been keeping my glow in tact. And my new found favorite drugstore beauty buys are helping me play up my best features. To see what products I've been grabbing for the most these days, read more after the jump! And please be warned, this post is picture heavy!

eShakti.com Online Shopping Experience | Review

There's something about the sleek-silhouette produced by wearing a perfectly fitting dress that makes me proud to be a woman. The way the skirt swings when I walk, the way the cut displays my legs, and the way the bodice caters to my curves makes me feel so soft and feminine.

I love wearing dresses, but while running around with my little ones, wearing them on the regular isn't always an option for me. They aren't always as comfortable and as versatile as jeans or pants. And it isn't often that I am able to find a dress that fits perfectly all over, without bunching in certain areas, and ill-fitting in other areas--not to mention options that are sexy without showing too much skin. But when I was presented the opportunity to review a dress from the online women's apparel company eShakti, I was given a whole new perspective. While shopping online, I was able to find a dress that fit me perfectly, is quite comfortable, and makes me feel all kinds of sexy and confident. So today I will be sharing my experience with perusing the eShakti site and choosing a custom dress with you guys.

style blogger of color


Recent Reads | Volume 1

It's no secret that I love a good book. And as much as I love to blog, write, and play in my makeup, I love to read more than any of these things. If you've been reading here for a minute, you may even remember when I used to have a book blog! Every since I participated in last summer's reading challenge over at a Semi-Charmed Kind of Life, I've been a bit more open-minded about my selections. And since I no longer have a book blog, I decided I would start sharing more about what I'm reading here. Below is a roundup of some of the books I've read in recent months.

book blogger

Lazy Girl's Wash Day | 31 Weeks Post

How has your hair journey been going so far, this year? It's been a month or two since I've updated about my hair journey here. And let me tell you, these last few months have been a lot of work!  I'm 31 weeks post, and my hair has been telling me to take it easy. I don't always listen, however. When I updated back in January, I was experiencing a little breakage and shedding. After careful consideration, I decided to do a trim, putting my hair back at shoulder length. I was pretty happy about my trim, but unsure about what to do next with my hair. I wanted to baby my ends as much as possible. I wanted to protect my sensitive nape and edges as much as I possibly could. So I decided against relaxing and have just been deep conditioning and protective styling. I have faced a few challenges with stretching, but I feel that with low manipulation my hair will be just fine. I've finally decided to keep it simple and let my hair chill out. My last wash day was yesterday and is pretty much the way I've been cleansing my hair lately (with the exception of the shampoo I had two weeks ago). Check out how I've been "lazy girl cleansing" below.

The Experience
healthy hair journey

February Wishes

And just like that, February is upon us. Just yesterday, I was pulling pictures from magazines, highlighting inspirational quotes, and perfecting my vision board. I was agonizing over lists of plans, ideas, and aspirations, only to find myself overwhelmed.

goal setting

 Last month, I decided I would abandon the idea of making resolutions all because 2014 didn't go as smoothly as I had planned. But then, as I began writing in my journal this morning (and rereading entries from previous months), I realized my plans, though well-intentioned, were terribly flawed. The first problem was that I had not fully surrendered my life nor my life's plans to Christ. As much as I've prayed and asked God to do this or work that out, I had not stopped to listen or acknowledge the plans He had for my life. Secondly, I simply was not putting in the work (nor did I have enough faith in myself or God to see things through). Now, as I take these two things into consideration, it seems I was doomed to fail from the start. How many of you guys have dealt with this same issue?

My Current Skin Care Regimen

Does your skin care regimen change with the seasons? Does it change according to your specific skin care needs? While I tend to stick with my tried-and-true skin care favorites, I sometimes switch up products or try new products according to my needs. Today, I'm sharing my current regimen and rotation of products with you guys. 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 and correcting my acne-scarring/hyper-pigmentation . Through this regimen, I've been able to take care of these issues quite well. Read further to check out the full details of my current skin care regimen.

Wash Day | First Protein Treatment of 2015

Happy January, loves! Has your hair journey started on a good note? In the last couple of months, I noticed a bit of breakage and shedding in my hair. So I got a trim, which basically turned into getting all of my broken see-through ends cut. Now I'm back to shoulder-length hair. It's all good though, because I'm hoping with patience, consistency, and time my hair grows back even healthier than ever! Since I'm about 22 weeks post and can't remember the last time I did a deep conditioning with a heavy protein, I knew I was way overdue for a protein treatment. It's the best way to get this breakage and shedding behind me, I figured. So I pulled out my Aphogee Two-Step Protein Treatment and did my first protein treatment of the year.


HELP! I Am Becoming My Mother.

wedding day

It's funny how when we are children, we think our parents just don't understand us. Our levels of understanding and comprehending really become challenged when we enter our teenage years. We're in love, we hate school, and our parents are RUINING our lives! Or at least that's what we think during that awkward stage in life. I know I can't speak for everyone, but when I was younger, I felt that my mother couldn't possibly relate to anything I was going through. And because I was so selfish (rightfully so because I didn't know better at the time), I never thought about the fact that once upon a time she was a teen like me. My mama already knew the game. 

Now that I'm an adult, I see where mama was coming from. As an adult, wife, and parent, I can finally relate to the successes and struggles I only saw then from the outside looking in. Not only do I now understand what it means to put the needs of other people before yourself, but I also "get" those awkward situations in which we were both learning about parenthood from each other. So today, I would like to share with you guys five ways I feel as though I  can not only relate to my mom, but ways in which I have completely become her all over again. 

Back to Top