P L A Y L I S T | My Ultimate Christmas Mixtape

holiday mixtape


There's nothing like a good playlist to get you in the mood for Christmas. Whether you're preparing your home for guests, wrapping gifts, getting your Christmas feast started, or you're enjoying a cool night of board games and hot-chocolate with your little ones, I have some smooth grooves for you. And since this girl loves her R&B, funk, gospel, and hip-hop, peep the great mash-up I have of those types of music right here. I hope you find some gems you enjoy!

Fall Style Inspiration | Casual + Cozy

Happy December, ladies! How is the weather where you are? Around my way, it's so temperamental. One minute, the sun is beaming brightly and you just may break a sweat wearing a jacket. The next minute, you're ready to gear up in your finest sweater and sip on something hot for warmth. Since today fell somewhere near the latter, I decided to share a little outfit inspiration with you guys. If you're looking for everyday style ideas featuring your favorite boots and fitted jeans, check out this look below.

styling ideas

Dre Writes | Childhood Stories

swings

Coming up, it seemed as though we were inseparable.  I reminisce back on the days of kindergarten, and trading the grape ICEEs I detested for your cherry medicine-flavored ones. I smile at the thought of you kneeling down to help me tie my shoelaces because I had not yet learned to do so.  To the onlooking elder  it could have appeared that I was too stubborn to learn, and you too caring not to help. Truth is, I had become so lazily conformed to my velcro-strapped Mary Janes, I had no use for acknowledging those pesky strings until the new white shoes with flashing soles were now forcing my steps.

Date Night Beauty | Janelle Monae

Did you just get that call over the holidays that family is in town and they would love to watch the children? Hubby finally has time off and you can't wait to take advantage? Now ideas of date night come flooding through your head and you are wondering exactly how you're going to jazz up your look? Well you've come to the right place! Tonight's post is all about creating a celebrity-inspired date night look. Here, we have the beautiful singer/actress Janelle Monae rocking a sultry red lip and matching crimson cheeks. Under the jump, I have a list of tried and true beauty favorites from the MAC counter along with steps that will help you pull off this glamorous look with ease.

beauty for women of color

REVIEW | Malice in Ovenland by Micheline Hess

What makes you decide to read a book? Could it be the beautifully illustrated cover that lures you in? Or would it be the catchy title that piques your curiosity? More than likely you've glazed over the contents and jacket cover, convinced the subject matter is one you can't pass up on reading more about. Any or all of these could be why the comic book Malice in Ovenland Vol. 1 by Micheline Hess made its way from my nightstand to my daughter's backpack. While it's no secret that we both love to read comic books and discuss them with each other, we rarely come across heroines that look like her. So when I was given the opportunity to read Malice in Ovenland and share it with my readers, I could not wait to talk to you guys about it!

ovenland comic

REVIEW | I'm Judging You: The Do Better Manual by Luvvie Ajayi



Some days when perusing the wonderful digital world of the Internet, we can find ourselves overwhelmed with the flux of reality star tell-alls, celebrities behaving badly, and the latest pop culture craze. Social media and modern technology makes it very easy to stay connected to all of these things with just the touch of an index finger or thumb. Other days, we just can't with the shenanigans. We're over who's engaged to who, who's divorcing who, and we don't want to read another twitter rant from "that guy" from "that show." On those days when I just "could not," I knew I could look to Luvvie Ajayi and her humor blog, Awesomely Luvvie, to deliver a word or two to help me cope with all the things.

 If you are unfamiliar with Luvvie Ajayi, she's an award-winning writer who's known for sharing her witty and candid commentary on pop culture and current events. Reading an update from Luvvie's site or social media feels like talking to a good girlfriend who keeps it all the way real with you. You know the friend who gives a hug when you need it and tough love when you need it all the more? That's Luvvie. So when I learned that she would be giving more of that kinda love in her debut book, I'm Judging You: A Do Better Manual, I knew I had to read it.

Luvvie Ajayi's book





 

INTERVIEW | Postcards from Venus by Trisha R Thomas

trisha r thomas

As readers we often look for our likenesses in the books we devour, hoping to find ourselves within the carefully crafted characters of an author's literary work. We long for characters that leap from the pages and experience life in many ways that we do, facing similar challenges as we find hope in their triumphs or eventual "happily ever afters." 

I found bits of myself within the richness of a character by the name of Venus as I read Nappily Ever After last holiday season. She's a woman who, like many of us, took the first step of embracing change in her life by cutting her hair. Venus really left an impression on me, causing me to do some deep introspection (and long to cut my hair). Has this also been you? How many times have you tried to change the outlook on your life by changing up your hair?

Being so moved by a character that you find yourself trying to keep up with her, continuing her series and even following her creator on social media to find her whereabouts are not strange actions for book lovers like us. So you can imagine how elated I was in receiving the opportunity to talk to author Trisha R. Thomas more about the Nappily Series and her latest installment to the series, Postcards to Venus.

Fall Style Inspiration | Styling a Shirt Dress

How is the weather where you are? Are you guys breaking out the jackets, sweaters, and booties yet? Unfortunately it's still relatively warm here in the south, with the occasional breeze. So when we're in between seasonal temperatures, I love finding ways to style pieces that transition well--like the shirt dress.

The shirt dress is one of my favorite wardrobe pieces. It's one of the easiest articles of clothing to dress up or down with minimal effort. And to be completely real with you, it's a ready-made complete outfit for me. And like I mentioned before, it transitions well throughout the seasons, depending on how you style it. In the fall, I love stepping out in one of my favorite shirt dresses with tights and booties, ready to go out wherever. If you are too a fan of the shirt dress, check out the outfit inspiration below.
styling a shirt dress


LIPSTICK LOVE | Sincerely Ciera Payton

lipstick for black women


Are you cautious about trying cosmetics for fear of the unknown ingredients? Has your sensitive skin made you resistant to trying the latest beauty trends? Do you always make sure to purchase cruelty-free, all-natural beauty & body care products? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you're in for a treat today!

Oftentimes when I share posts about my favorite lipsticks here, I'll have a few inquiries about more natural, mineral based options for women with sensitive skin. Actress Ciera Payton's new lipstick line, Sincerely Ciera Payton, is definitely an option that caters to this need often neglected in the beauty world. Sincerely Ciera Payton is a cosmetic line geared towards women who experience irritations and reactions to harmful toxins found in many cosmetics. These lipsticks are free of any preservatives and unnatural, synthetic ingredients. The line is also cruelty-free, as they aren't tested on animals.

Fall Style Inspiration | Dressed Up or Down

The fall season is finally upon us, ladies. Temperatures are finally starting to cool and many of us are beginning to notice the shifts in the weather. We are cleaning out our closets, looking for our favorite boots, scarves, and the military jacket that was LOVE last year. We are brainstorming ways to transition our favorite summer pieces into the fall. We are perusing the aisles of our favorite stores (or if you're like me--adding items to your online wishlists) because we must be prepared for sweater weather, right?

Well if you're looking for ways to style your favorite fall wardrobe essentials, I'm sharing some fall style inspiration here over the next couple of weeks. And if you're someone who loves the idea of dressing the same outfit up or down according to the occasion, today's look is for you!
fall wardrobe
Do you like to switch up your color scheme with the seasons? I do. When fall hits, I love to bring out deep hues of burgundy, olive green, plum, and neutral tones. This year, I've been adding rose and blush shades with everything, hence today's look. I love this long-sleeved lace top. It's soft, feminine, and is comfortable enough to wear on early fall days before cooler temperatures hit (at least here in the south). Though the accessories appeal to the feminine aspect of the look, adding these trendy destroyed denim jeans and moto jacket (for layering) give this look a bit of an edge. This is the ideal balance I look for when styling- girly meets edgy. And since you must have a bag to compliment a look as well as carry around the important things (you know--wallet, phone, several tubes of lipstick + gloss, mascara, etc), get into this cute Charles Jourdan tote!

Now the remaining options for your look depend solely on your shoe preference. If you opt to enjoy a night out to dinner or plan to be on your best diva-like behavior, you may opt for a sleek pair of booties like the Jessica Simpson Aggie shown. Or if you prefer a nice casual sneaker and know you're going to be doing a lot of footwork, you may choose the stylish Adidas Samoa.

Would you rock this look? If so, where?
Which shoe do you prefer-- the booties or the sneaks?

FALL BEAUTY WISHLIST

fall beauty must haves

What beauty products are you ladies currently lusting after? These are a few that I've added to my fall beauty wishlist.

Ode To The Beautiful Dreamers and Creatives



We're quirky, and cutesy, and witty, and we're proud of it. We make no apologies about who we are or what we love. We use our virtual spaces and faces to share loud voices and passions with the highest of frequencies. You may know us as bloggers, vloggers, entrepreneurs, mompreneurs, and (my favorite word) creatives.

HAUL + REVIEW | ColourPop Ultra Satin Lips

liquid lipstick

If you follow me on Instagram or read my last blog post, you know I am late to the ColourPop party. Nonetheless, I got my first little taste of the ColourPop life when I received my recent haul in the mail a couple of weeks ago. In this haul, I purchased three Ultra Matte Lips and three Ultra Satin Lips. Overall, I have been pleased with my haul and could not wait to share the details with you guys. Below are the satin lippies I purchased in the order they are pictured above: Echo Park, Mess Around and Frick 'n Frack.

HAUL + REVIEW | ColourPop Ultra Matte Lips

liquid lipstick
Lately, I've been on a quest to add more liquid lipsticks to my makeup arsenal. But with so many different cosmetic lines offering endless options of this on-trend lip product, I had no clue where to begin my search. After looking at so many captivating, high-intensity swatches of ColourPop lipsticks on women of varying complexions on social media for the longest, I decided to finally give them a try. Luckily, my try came around the time of a recent flash sale a couple of weeks ago, which offered 20% off select items for 24 hours. How could I not? 

Shopping for a couple of lipsticks slowly turned into a haul. The price for many of the lippies I had my eye on were reduced from $6 to $4.80, so I decided to splurge just a little. I grabbed up three Ultra Matte Liquid Lipsticks and three Ultra Satin Liquid Lipsticks. Below are the satin lippies I purchased in the order they are pictured above-- StingRAYE, Beeper and Chi.

Unboxing | The NEW Artisan Love Box

You guys know that warm and fuzzy feeling you get when the mail comes and you've gotten a package? Let's take our minds there for a minute. Now imagine that said package being a curated subscription box. You're overwhelmed with wonder and mystery because you're not quite sure of the contents just yet. And then you begin tearing away at the casing, searching for something sharp to get into those secured seams. Suddenly, you get a whiff of something warm and sweet, like someone had accidentally placed cake in your parcel. What do you do? You do like me and get into that box with the quickness! I recently received The NEW Artisan Love Box and this was my exact response to the arrival of the box. And the same intrigued, excited, then pleasantly satisfied feel I had when opening the contents has been my experience in trying the products.

subscription box


The Artisan Love Box is a curated subscription box created by handmade business owners Jarmelia Ladson and Candera Thompson, featuring a quality selection of beauty + body care products. The cool thing about the Artisan Love Box is that each item included is handmade, toxic-free, and made by women with your wellness in mind.

Glow, Girl! 3 Products That Enhance Your Glow



Being all the way real with you guys, I don't wear a full face of makeup on the daily. More likely than not, I'm wearing concealer on my trouble areas and finishing powder when I leave home. But on the weekends (or when I have somewhere to go besides the grocery store or running errands) I enjoy rocking a full face. It's fun, it's artistic, and it's expressive. And now that I'm experimenting with my makeup a little more, I've found myself adding more highlighting and contouring to my beauty regimen.

Today I want to share with you a few items I like to grab when I'm trying to give my skin an extra bit of glow.

Review | Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick + Brush

foundation stick for brown skin




Hello fellow beauty enthusiasts!  As you may already know from my Instagram feed, I recently received the Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick and Brush from Influenster. As someone who has been using foundation sticks to conceal during the warmer months, I could not wait to try this product. And since I told you guys that I would soon be sharing my thoughts on the Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick in Warm Almond, I decided I'd talk about it here on the blog just for you!

BLOGGING | Be Featured on So She Writes

blogger desk

Hello loves! I want to introduce you guys to two new features I am adding to the blog lineup. If you remember the Memoirs of a Fashion Blogger series, I am excited to announce that it's coming back to the blog!

Not only is the Memoirs of a Fashion Blogger series being revamped, I am also adding a new feature, Memoirs of a Beauty Blogger, to the site. And I would love to feature you.

Styling Idea | Casually Styling a Statement Tee

One of my style staples for the summer is definitely the statement/graphic tee. Quite honestly, the graphic tee is a wardrobe must-have of mine throughout the year. For me, they seem to be the simplest article of clothing to dress up or dress down, all while sharing a splash of your personality.

If you love making a statement with your style by way of attention-grabbing phrases boldly adorning your torso, know that I am right there with you.  As a woman that wears a graphic tee most weekdays (and some weekends), I am always thinking of different ways to style them. Today I would like to share with you my favorite way to style my "Lipstick Makes Everything Better" graphic tee- the "dressed down but casually cute" way.

BEAUTY | Katy Kat Matte Lipsticks

Lipstick lovers, I have a treat for you today! I recently purchased a few Katy Kat Matte lipsticks from the Katy Perry loves Covergirl Collection and I couldn't wait to share the details with you.
katy perry loves covergirl

 A couple of weeks ago, I was scrolling through my Instagram feed when I saw my blogger friend Suma of The Fashion Beauty Junkie share about these lippies. Intrigued by the packaging, I stopped by my local Walgreens and saw that they had a few of the shades in stock! This was a big deal, because my local drugstores can be late with stocking the latest beauty collections at times. Nonetheless, I grabbed these four, priced at $7.99. They were BOGO 50% at the time, and I had a $1.00 off coupon for Covergirl lipsticks, so I was WINNING! I shared these beauties with my 'Gram Fam (because, have you seen this pretty matte white casing?). And since quite a few of you asked me to share my thoughts, I decided to chat about them for a bit here.

Celebrity-Inspired Beauty | Teyonah Parris

Happy Friday, loves! Today on the blog, I've created another budget-friendly celebrity inspired beauty set for you guys. Today's look features actress Teyonah Parris.
brown girl beauty
Teyonah Parris is most recently known for her roles as Lysistrata in Spike Lee's satirical film Chiraq, Missy Vaughn in the StarzTV show Survivor's Remorseand the star of TV One's Original Miki Howard Biopic, Love Under New Management. Here, Teyonah is wearing an everyday natural look with a creamy burgundy lip. Below the break, I've made a list of affordable drugstore beauty favorites as well as the steps required to recreate this look at home.

How to Create an Inspiration Box



When is the last time you took inventory of your current goals and resolutions? I know it's been a while since I've talked about goals here on the blog. But now that we're already half-way through the year, I thought today would be a good time to speak on them again. I know everyone doesn't buy into the whole new year's resolution thing. However, I do believe everyone can benefit from writing down goals and checking progress on them as often as needed. That's why many of us create vision boards to keep us focused on them daily.

Remember on Instagram and Facebook when I told you guys I was inspired by this XO Necole article about the vision board alternative, the "create box?" Well instead of updating my vision board (which is actually a cork-board filled with pictures and affirmations), I enhanced it with a "create box" or as I like to call mine, an "inspiration box." I figured "inspiration box" would be more fitting because the images, quotes, and scriptures I have in mine inspire me to focus on my goals and purpose. Below, I will tell you how I made it.

Magical Things Happen When You Binge-Read These Jenny Han Novels

jenny han young adult fiction


When is the last time you read a good young adult contemporary fiction series? If you would have asked me this a couple of years ago I would have stared at you blankly, wondering how long it had been since I had. As someone who mostly kept up with urban fiction as a young adult, I barely paid attention to the YA genre. But as I have gotten older, my tastes in books have expanded to various genres. And every time I need to find a sweet escape within the pages of a book, I find myself immersed in YA Fiction.

5 Lipsticks Every Woman Should Own

lipsticks every woman should own

I don't know about you guys, but I spend  a lot of time finding the perfect lipstick. If I'm planning to go out for dinner with the hubby, I'm contemplating what lipstick should I wear. Girl's night out--what lipstick should I wear? Networking with some pretty dope peeps? You get the idea. While some women plan the perfect outfit, hair and or shoes for an upcoming event, I  like to plan my makeup as well. And since certain lipsticks have the power to give me an instant mood boost, I like my lipstick to be fitting for any given occasion.

In today's post I present the idea of keeping five lipsticks in rotation at all times. Yes, ladies. Five. That way you will have a nice starting line-up of lippies to wear no matter the scenario. And since we're categorizing our lipsticks according to mood, I will tell you about five lipsticks that I believe every woman should own, according to how they make you feel when you're wearing them.

REVIEW | nuNAAT Garlic Magic

I'm always on the lookout for the best hair care line---you know, products that will give us consumers a full healthy head of thriving and luxurious hair. I mean, aren't we all? The endless aisles of shampoos, conditioners, hair treatments, and styling aids prominent in every superstore are the proof. And while I will say that my days of being a product junkie are no more, I can admit that I'm tempted every now and again to try something new. A few months back, I started experiencing breakage and dry, lifeless hair. In an attempt to improve my hair health, I trimmed my hair to shoulder length (once again) and began to take an assessment of my hair care regimen. During this time, I was given an opportunity to try the nuNAAT Garlic Magic Line, formulated with garlic extract to promote stronger, healthier hair. 

Styling Idea | Floral + Denim

Sometimes on beautiful spring days like today the temperature is JUST RIGHT--you know, when the sun is beaming brightly and there's a slight breeze that makes everything perfect, and flowers in vivid hues can be seen blooming all around you. On days like this, I want to put on a pretty floral a-line dress, some strappy sandals (or wedges) and highlight my cheekbones to the heavens! It's only right.  

Then there are days where I almost want to put on that dress but I realize that the stubble is growing back on my legs and I don't even feel like shaving them in the shower. I just might opt for those cute, comfortable jeans that flatter my curves instead. Lol. So for those particular days, I decided to share this styling idea with you guys. With the right floral blouse, denim jeans, and heels, I feel like I can take on the world! Add a cute crossbody, fab accessories, and the right beauty products and I just might feel invincible!
For more details on this particular look, be sure to check it out on Polyvore!

Would you rock this look? 
If so, where?

Update Your Beauty Routine With Dove Dry Oil Collection


Springtime is here, ladies! Flowers are in bloom, the sun is beaming brightly, and the time has come to shed layers of clothing and show some skin! I don't know about you guys, but down in the south the temperatures are steadily rising and I'm starting to see A LOT of skin. And it isn't even sundress season yet!

As a mommy and wife who is always on the go, I want to make sure my skin is in the best condition-- no matter the change in the weather nor season. And I want to do so without all the fuss of using so many different products or spending a lot of money. So I've added two new products to my morning and evening beauty routine and I'm sharing them with you today! I’ve partnered with Dove to tell you all about their New Dove Dry Oil Collection featuring their Dove Dry Oil Beauty Bar and Dove Dry Oil Moisture Body Wash.

Books | Spring Reading List

Happy Tuesday, everyone! Today I'm linking up with The Broke and the Bookish for Top Ten Tuesday to share Ten Books on my Spring TBR list. This season, I plan to read books I already own before purchasing (or checking out) new ones. Hopefully I can stick to the program, because my book wishlist is a mile long! Please tell me I'm not the only one, guys!

Below are the books on my tentative list. Any of them are subject to change--but as of now, I think I have a pretty solid list.

Five Favorites | Pink Lippies


How many of you can remember the first time you fell in love with a lipstick? While I do recall the love I felt the day 7 year old me smeared on my Aunt V's burgundy Fashion Fair lipstick, nothing compares to the first time I purchased my very own. It was the most blindingly brilliant, highlighter neon shade of bubblegum pink you could imagine. I'm an 80's baby, so it's possible that I saw a lot of this particular shade on TV at some point in my childhood (along with stirrup pants and leg warmers, but that's another story). Anyways, I bought this bright beauty on the sneak while my dad was picking up medicine from our local drugstore. I had a couple of crumpled up dollars in my pocket (probably lunch money that I forgot to give the cafeteria lady) and I boldly walked over to the counter adjacent to the pharmacy, as daddy was totally not paying attention. I handed the cashier my $2 + tax and secured my very first impulse purchase.

Valentine's Day Style Inspiration

Valentine's Day weekend is upon us, loves!  Are you guys excited and enamored by all the love in the air? Or are you like me and will get in the spirit of the holiday once you find something cute to wear? If you are still looking for some outfit inspiration, you're in for a treat today. Whether you are celebrating Valentine's Day weekend with your sweetheart, your family, or  your girlfriends, I have a few outfit ideas that just might fit the occasion. I hope you enjoy!

7 Ways I Practice Self-Love Weekly


Dear Wonder Woman, how many hats are you currently wearing today? Are you the nurturer among your friends and family? Are you a mother, sister, wife, friend, confidante, employee, employer, and or entrepreneur? Chances are you have answered yes to several of these roles.  And as a woman who serves many roles in relation to others, you must make caring for YOU a top priority. A while back on the blog we discussed self-care and how important it is to have a self-care plan. But did you realize that a key component of your self-care plan involves self-love? The ways in which you practice self-love are a direct reflection on your emotional health and well-being.

So what is self-love, exactly?
Self-love is defined as the "regard for one's own well-being and happiness, chiefly considered as a desirable rather than narcissistic characteristic."

And why is it so important, again?
In order to be our best selves for those who need us most, we must take care of ourselves first. If you're running on empty, it's impossible to give a single thing to someone else.

As a stay-at-home mom, I sometimes catch myself slipping when it comes to making my emotional well-being a top priority. So for my sanity as well as my family's, I make sure to do these seven things each week to stay in-tune with self.

The Liebster Award

So I'm having a little fun for today's post. I was recently nominated by Nerline of Chic From Hair to Toe for a Liebster Award and I just had to share the fun with y'all! Over at Chic From Hair 2 Toe, Nerline not only blogs about hair care, she shares insightful posts about fashion, skincare, food + fitness, and family. I adore her and her blog, so when she nominated me for this award, I was stoked. 

The Liebster Award is an award passed on to bloggers by bloggers in an effort to meet new friends in the blogging community. Here are the rules:

-Thank the person who nominated you by linking to their blog
-Answer 10 questions provided to you by the person who nominated you.
-Nominate 5 – 10 deserving bloggers  (who have less than 1,000 followers according to google)
-Create a new list of questions for the blogger to answer.

Now on to Nerline's questions!

Celebrity Inspired Beauty | K. Michelle

Happy Monday, loves! Today on the blog, I've created a budget-friendly celebrity inspired look. This look features the beautiful singer, songwriter and VH1 Reality TV Star K. Michelle rocking a sheer-purple lip and plum "blushed" cheeks. Under the jump, I have a list of tried and true beauty favorites along with steps to recreate this look at home with ease.


Styling Idea | Dressing Up a Graphic Tee

How do you style your favorite graphic tee? As a woman that wears a graphic tee almost every other day, I am always looking for different ways to style them. Sure most think of graphic tees as a dressed down article of clothing, but you would be surprised by how many ways they can be dressed up. Today I would like to share with you one of my favorite ways to style my "In a Beautiful World" graphic tee--the dressed-up diva way.


REVIEW | Scentbird Subscription Service

monthly subscription service
There is nothing like a woman with a signature scent. Her fragrance waltzes into the room with her pleasantly, and lingers around to introduce itself to others. And as a woman who loves the presence the perfect signature scent delivers, I am always looking for the next best scent.

I peruse the aisles of my favorite department stores at least monthly and am always wooed by a particularly inviting floral scent or mysteriously flirty vanilla spice scent. And as much as I wish I could take them all home, the reality is that I can't. In all honesty, I don't always want to pay an arm and a leg to try a new fragrance. So when I was given the opportunity to try the Scentbird Subscription Service, I was thrilled! I love the idea of being able to "date" different scents before committing to an expensive single purchase of perfume.

Wash Day Featuring Aphogee + Elasta QP

Happy Wash Day, ladies and gentlemen! It's been forever since I've shared a wash day post, right? Since it's the start of a new year, I decided it was high time I did so. I'm currently about 18 weeks post relaxer and have been hiding my hair under buns and twists for many of those weeks. It's time to let my hair breathe for a few days! I was due for a moisturizing shampoo + light protein conditioning, so I grabbed up some of my favorite products from Elasta QP and Aphogee to get the job done. Check out my deets for yesterday's wash day experience below.
relaxed hair care 

One Word 2016 | INTENTIONAL



What does "setting the tone for the new year" mean to you? Are you writing down goals for each month? Are you making vision boards to create the visual for the goals? Are you sharing your goals and ideas for personal development with supportive friends and family?
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