Pink Wednesday: Featuring Kiss Nail Dress

Hey ladies and gents! For this Pink Wednesday, I decided to paint my nails with one of my favorite shades of pink, which is Wet n Wild Megalast Color in Tropicana.  I also used The Kiss Nail Dress set I received in my Influenster Love VoxBox (compliments of Influenster) on my nails as accents.  Remember these?

I have these as accents on my nails and toes.  Check them out!

I'm really loving this nail design for the week.  Tropicana by Sinful Colors is already one of my favorite polishes and pairing it with the Kiss Nail Dress in leopard makes the manicure even better.  

The Kiss Nail Dress instant polish is very easy to apply!  They are quite similar to the Sally's version that I often use, except the Kiss version actually includes adhesives for toes.  This was never a problem for me, because the Sally's pack usually has nail decals large enough to fit my toes, but it's nice to be able to eliminate the guesswork!  They haven't chipped once and with an application of topcoat, they shine and stick for as long as you would like.  Needless to say, I will be purchasing more of the Kiss Nail Dress packs.

Have you tried the Kiss Nail Dress Fashion that Sticks yet?  How are you wearing your nails this week?

Disclosure:  I received the "Kiss Nail Dress Fashion that Sticks" complimentary from Influenster for testing and review purposes. I was under no obligation to write a review for this product.

PLAYLIST | Positive Vibes

Looking for some positive vibes to get you through the day?  Check out some of my favorite songs that inspire, uplift, and empower!

1. Strength, Courage, and Wisdom- India Arie.
2. Closer- Goapele
3. Everything is Everything- Lauryn Hill
4. Get Up- Mary Mary
5. Just Fine- Mary J. Blige
6. Keep Tryin'-Groove Theory
7. Move on Up- Angelique Kidjo
8. Alright- Ledisi
9. Step by Step- Whitney Houston
10. You Gotta Be- Des'ree
11. One Day- Matisyahu
12. Free Your Mind- En Vogue
13. Beauty in the World- Macy Gray
14. Blessed and Highly Favored- The Clark Sisters
15. Golden- Jill Scott
16. Waving Flag- K'naan
17. Stronger- Myron Butler
18. Three Little Birds- Bob Marley
19. Wake Up- John Legend and The Roots feat. Melanie Fiona
20. Children- V V Brown

To download this mix for yourself, be sure to click on the photo below!

What do you listen to when you need positive vibes?
What type of music do you listen to when you need a pick-me-up?

photography by Juja Han

What I Learned from Toni Childs

girlfriends tv show
photo source

Enter Toni: Toni Childs specializes in results (or at least that's what her slogan as a real estate agent suggests).  She is the best friend of Joan Clayton and self-proclaimed most fabulous girlfriend of them all.  She's vain, she's rude, and often a bit arrogant, but she does have a good heart.  Toni Child's lavish lifestyle may have transformed a lot from that of the girl she was growing up on the farm in Fresno, California, but she embraces her country roots.  It makes her day when her mom visits, cooking up pies and greens and her love for fried catfish was something serious!  No matter what wealthy man Toni was seeing or which sale she was hurrying to get to at Neiman Marcus, she was always, unapologetically, Toni Childs at the end of the day.

How I identify with Toni:  Like Toni, I appreciate the finer things in life. Toni feeds the "Champagne-Dreamer" in me.  Toni prides herself on living a life of fabulousness and lavishness at all costs.  Plus, she is such a diva! While I will NEVER go over my budget for fashion, I do enjoy indulging in a fab purchase every now and again.  I also share Toni's love of good down-home cooking, though I constantly complain about what it does to my figure.  We can't have it both ways, Toni (with the budget and the figure, that is)!

Below are five things I learned from Antoinette Marie Childs (Garrett) throughout the show's tenure:

1. Every now and again we must indulge in self: Toni Childs (Garrett) always took the time to indulge in self.  In fact, she was the only person she is ever seen truly indulging in!  While many may find that Toni was a bit too self-indulgent, I find that being your own cheerleader does has its benefits.  Though Toni may have appeared to be very confident and beyond narcissistic, her behavior seemed more like a defense mechanism to me.  She needed her fashions to feel authentic. She needed expensive hairstyles to feel beautiful. Anyone paying close enough attention could see these behaviors as masked insecurity. Perhaps this was Toni's way of compensating for her humble beginnings.  Either way, I say take it from Toni and be your own star player.  And if you don't feel like a star player, fake it until you make it! LOVE YOURSELF!

2. It will rain.  Marriages do not always make it to the happily ever after and children don't make spouses stick around:  During the latter seasons of Girlfriends, Toni began having problems with her then-husband Dr. Garrett.  They eventually divorced and went through a nasty custody battle.  Though I hated that the two divorced, I knew their relationship was doomed from the start.  During a break-up was when Toni found out she was pregnant in the first place, and she used this pregnancy to forge her way back into Dr. Garrett's life.  While they married soon after, they struggled through financial problems.  Toni longed for a knight-in-shining armor to give her a fairy-tale life and once Dr. Garrett's financial situation changed, so did Toni.  The moral of the story is: THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS HAPPILY EVER AFTER unless you work diligently through the storms to make your fairy tale happen for you and your spouse.

3. We can't choose our family, but we can definitely choose our friends:  On many episodes, we heard Toni complain about her mother's alcoholism and how it deeply affected her childhood.  Though she complained about her mother and her sister she couldn't get along with, we could tell she loved them dearly.  And though she often thought of her group of girlfriends as family, they simply were not.  She depended on Joan more than she did her family when it came to her wedding and her custody battle. And both times Joan let her down.  The custody battle became the final straw in Toni and Joan's failing friendship and surprisingly Toni was the one that severed those ties.  It always seems way easier to forgive family than friends, doesn't it?

4. Money can't buy happiness:  Toni looked for happiness in each fashion she purchased and each high-end boutique she frequented.  But at the end of the day, no matter how much money she spent, she had problems with her man, her family, and her career just the same as the other women.

5. Everything that glitters ain't gold:  To further elaborate on #4, Toni seemed to do a good job of decorating a pretty package.  She always looked fabulous.  She always indulged in the finer things.  But she was often troubled within.  And even when she did not have the means to splurge, she continued to buy extravagant gifts for her friends just so they wouldn't think she was "broke".  Sooner or later they found out she was in financial trouble anyways when they ended up paying for her lunches when they went out.  Isn't that ironic?

How did you feel about Toni's character?

Could you relate to her?

Could you see yourself being friends with someone like her?  Why or why not?

Be sure to check the past posts about her fellow girlfriends Joan here and Maya here.

Fresh Face: Letoya Luckett Inspired FOTD

Guys, I have a confession to make.  Lately, I haven't been wearing as much makeup as I was before.  And since I haven't, I noticed I haven't done a FOTD in such a long time!  No worries, though.  Since I'm usually doing this simple face whenever I do apply foundation, I decided to share it with you guys!  It was inspired by the lovely face of singer Letoya Luckett, so I decided to share that also.  Here goes!

Very simple, ladies and gentlemen!
(Too bad the lighting isn't giving this lip justice!)

Here are the products I used:

Has any celebrity inspired your makeup looks lately?  If so, who?

Confessions of an Ex-StrongBlackWoman

black women and resiliency

I remember years ago when I used to brag about living "the beautiful struggle" to my friends, family, and co-workers.  Though I wasn't in the best financial state or had A+ credit, I felt that "suffering need" (as my mother called it) was necessary for growth.  I have always been taught that struggling and suffering through various storms of life built strength and character.  As a woman I had to be strong.  As a woman I had to be able to persevere through the stormiest weather.

But recently, I've been feeling differently. Why again should I have to suffer and undergo extreme hardships SO OFTEN?  Don't get me wrong, I wanna throw up my fist and proclaim my "Womanisms" because I am proud.  I just can't figure out for the life of me why this proclamation doesn't disable the weakness within me.  I have always looked at my mother and my grandmother for inspiration because to me, these are the WOMEN WARRIORS in my life.  They are so strong and resilient.  They can deal with grief, sadness, disappointment, health issues, anger, and deprivations of sorts all with a poker face and a prayer.  I, on the other hand, wear my heart on my sleeve and my emotions on my collar.  I will cry if I'm sad, mad, or overly glad.  Now if I came from this caliber of women (such as mom and grandma), why am I so weak?  What is wrong with my wiring? I know it's not because I haven't weathered enough storms to be bulletproof, so to speak, because I definitely have been there, done that, and have the war wounds to prove it.  So why can't I be as tough as nails?

The issue that bothers me even more than my sensitivity is my inclination to mask my sensitivity.  Why do I feel that I have to hide my emotions?  Perhaps it is because of societal standards forced upon me.  A woman who appears to be sensitive is never taken seriously or is perceived to be emotionally unstable.  But a woman who never shows emotion is seen as cold-hearted or emotionally detached.  How does one reach a happy medium?  I am asking more questions than I am willing to find the answers for here.  So I have decided to strip myself of a few titles.

I no longer want to be anyone's poster child for strength and resiliency.  It takes too much responsibility to be the strong, unwavering one in the scenario all the time.  That causes one to constantly put on a mask and shiny armor, as if that will shield and protect everyone from danger.  The reality of the matter is abandoning one's emotions will only cause stress, anxiety, and long-term health problems.  In short, I reserve the right to be a damsel in distress every now and again.  So should you.

What I Learned From Maya Wilkes

girlfriends tv show
photo source

Enter Maya: Maya Wilkes is the quintessential girlfriend who keeps it "real."  You know, the girlfriend who will tell you that outfit isn't working for you, that shade of lipstick is all wrong, and that jerk you're dating is no good for you.  She was the one to tell you like it is, whether you liked it or not.  Maya started off as Joan's assistant, then William's assistant, and eventually pursued a career as an author.  She was all about handling her business, taking care of home, and doing what she had to do to make it.

How I identify with Maya:  Like Maya, I am also seen as the married mother (before Toni) among my friends.  Sometimes this has its advantages, other times it does not.  This means that while many of them were continuing their educations, I was building my family and tackling "the real world."  Once everyone has degrees and are ready to find Mr. Right, I am just finishing my education and entering into my career.  I also feel that I am quite sassy like Maya's character.  If I'm comfortable with you, I tend to speak my mind in a very colorful way!

Below are five things I learned from Maya Denise Wilkes throughout the show's tenure:

1.  We can rise above the labels society places on us.  We are more than statistics and stereotypes.  For much of the show's airing, we see Maya as the girlfriend of a lower tax-bracket.  She becomes a teen mom and marries her high-school sweetheart, two real-life situations that can cause one to be at a financial disadvantage.  Though she appears to be struggling her way through life in the beginning, we find Maya doing quite well by the show's closing.  She is a thriving author, her husband has his own business, and they own a lavish home in a beautiful upscale neighborhood.  
2.  Being a full-time worker, student, and parent is possible.  Though Maya was a devoted mother and wife, she was also a full-time student and legal assistant.  Though she appeared to often be stressed and overwhelmed, she held it together most of the time.  She was an active mother, and worked hard to pay her tuition (even when faced with having to repeat classes).  Maya was ambitious and determined to make a better life for herself and her son, Jabari.
3. SOMETIMES we can find love in our rearview and mend broken ties.  In the early seasons of Girlfriends, we find that high-school sweethearts Maya and Darnell begin to experience problems and separate.  During their time of separation, Maya spent time figuring out who she was as a person and what she wanted out of life.  While she dated others, Darnell became involved with another and became engaged.  In spite of their being apart and Darnell's new relationship, the two were able to salvage their own relationship and get back together!  I suppose true love does wait and gives second chances!
4. There's nothing wrong with "keepin' it real."  Never forget where you come from.  Though Maya's attitude may have been a little sassy and off-center for some, I loved it.  I admired the "homegirl" vibe she was giving. She wasn't ashamed of where she had come from or the mistakes she made in the past.  Instead, she used these things as her motivation.
5.  Sometimes you have to "hustle" your way to your dreams.  When Maya first penned her book Oh Hell Yes, she did not have a literary agent or publicist.  That did not stop her from selling her dream!  Maya even sold books from the trunk of her car, seen in an episode where she and her son Jabari hustled books on the street.  She also peddled books in her cousin Ronnie's hair salon.  This wise move gave Maya the popularity she needed to warrant her first big break.  How many of us are ambitious enough to do that?

How did you feel about Maya's character? Could you relate to her?  Could you see yourself being friends with someone like her?  Why or why not? Be sure to check the past post about her fellow girlfriend Joan here.

Monday Dose of Diva: Giving Him Something He Can Feel

giving him something he can feel

This morning I found myself reminiscing about my childhood.  Consistently, starting around the age of six and throughout my formative years, I always dreamed of becoming a diva.  Not a princess from any of Disney's fairy tales like other girls my age, but a real-life DIVA.  Because my own daughter will be turning six soon and is a certified diva-in-training, I've been reminiscing quite a lot lately on what I was like at her age.  I've often wondered why she is as poised and classy as she is at such a young age, when most children are concerned with going to the playground and playing tag.  Now that I am thinking of how I emulated the way my aunts pouted their lips to apply lipstick in the mirror and crossed my legs at the dinner table just like them, I realize my daughter is only emulating me.  Hearing Giving Him Something He Can Feel by En Vogue (which is one of my FAVORITE SONGS) this morning rushed back all the memories of my early inner diva.

remembered how I used to imagine myself draped in a brilliant, shimmery red "Jessica Rabbit" dress and satin white gloves as I belted out suggestive lyrics heartily from my bedroom mirror at the age of 8. Was there an eager Johnny Gill staring back at me? I can't recall. But my mom's loud command that I "stop being grown" dismissed all my delusions of grandeur each time. Nonetheless, I still pretended to be Terry (or Cindy) from En Vogue when mom wasn't looking and even wrote songs of my own!  In light of my early diva experiences, I would like to share this video with you all.  Happy viewing!

Teaching Your Children How to Pray

When teaching my children the components of effective prayer last month, I came across this very helpful poster over at Teacher's Paradise.  Check it out!  If you find it helpful, be sure to purchase one of your own!

Make it a "Chick Flick" Night

Are you planning a girl's night in with a few of your closest friends soon?  Trying to figure out which movies to watch together?  Here's a list to get you started if you have no clue what to choose!
  1. Fried Green Tomatoes
  2. Mean Girls (but of course)
  3. Waiting to Exhale
  4. Now and Then
  5. Our Song 
  6. Set it Off
  7. Jawbreaker
  8. Clueless
  9. The Women of Brewster Place
  10. Death Becomes Her
  11. Sparkle
  12. The Color Purple
  13. Boys on the Side
  14. Deliver Us from Eva
  15. Steel Magnolias
  16. Stompin' At The Savoy
  17. Thelma and Louise
  18. Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion
  19. What's Love Got to Do With It?
  20. Pretty Woman
  21. Claudine
  22. Eve's Bayou
  23. She's Gotta Have It
  24. Girl 6
  25. Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (1&2)
  26. The Joy Luck Club
  27. Beauty Shop
  28. Two Can Play That Game
  29. Beaches
  30. Sex and the City (1&2)

What are some of your favorite "chick flicks"?  If I missed any, please feel free to share more in the comments!

What I Learned from Joan Clayton

girlfriends tv show
photo source
Enter Joan: Joan Clayton was, in a sense, the leader in her group of girlfriends.  She was the glue that held each of these girls together.  She was also the bona-fide giver of the group. I remember her to be the one who gave her all to plan and execute memorable social gatherings for her friends, always having a corny game to break the ice during any event.  Though it seems she planned the best events and was a very successful attorney at the law firm, her love life was always in shambles. At least that's the one thing all of Joan's issues were perceived to stem from.  Joan's character made me wonder if a woman could be very successful at love and her career simultaneously.

How I identify with Joan:  Like Joan, I felt like I was the glue that held me and my group of friends together.  I loved throwing together a social gathering and I'm known to want to play a silly game others grow annoyed with.  I also believe I am practical like Joan.  I have a tendency to give the best advice when it comes to my friend's problems, but cannot seem to transfer that practical thinking into my own life.

Below are five things I learned from Joan Carol Clayton throughout the show's tenure:

1.  How to make (and break) a three-month rule:  In dating, Joan made a personal vow to abstain from sex for the first three months of a relationship.  There were times that Joan stuck to this rule and times she did not.  Either way, it was still an interesting concept.

2. Women can be very successful in a male-dominated career field:  Though women were a minority at the law firm where Joan worked (other than the assistants), Joan made her presence known.  Not only did she stand up for herself during tense situations, she also made partner early in her career.

3. It's okay to be the giver.  It's cool to be one who throws the parties, pays for dinners, and takes friends in.  But know when to draw the line:  Joan spent a lot of time catering to her friends.  She was a good person.  She took in Lynn, allowing her to live with her rent-free for a long time.  But sooner or later, Joan had to draw the line and ask Lynn to leave.  It's one thing to help a friend, and it's another to allow a friend to use you abuse your kindness.

4. It's never too late to start following your dreams, even if everyone thinks you're nuts for doing so:  Though Joan was a successful attorney, she was passionate about branching out to start her own business.  When she shared her dream of opening a Tapas bar, her friends thought she was delusional.  Her mother disagreed with her plans.  William, her co-worker and friend, supported her but doubted her ambitions.  This did not stop Joan from pursuing her passion.

5. It doesn't take long for today's "It Girl" to become yesterday's news:  In the later seasons of Girlfriends some roles were reversed.  Joan went from having trouble keeping a man to juggling two men at once.  Yes, she was feeling herself too much at this point!  So much so, that she neglected her best friend Toni when she needed her most.  Joan took her hand at being the fly by night, selfish, and self-absorbed one for a change and it blew up in her face.  At season's end, she lost not one but two men in the process. Her magazine cover feature was soon forgotten and her new found fame became nonexistent.

Were you a fan of Girlfriends?  If so, what did you learn from Joan's character?

An Ode to Girlfriends

joan toni maya lynn
photo source

As many of who have been following me for a while may already know, I love Girlfriends.  Girlfriends may in fact be my most favorite show of all time.  In my years of tuning in to each and every episode at least three times during its run, I would like to say I'm a huge fan.

For starters, a show set in the new millennium that focused on the lives of women and their interactions with each other drew me in immediately.  For me, this was the best thing since Living Single! These four very different women, all from four different walks of life, shared such strong bonds. And even though Toni and Maya were my two favorites, I feel that I could relate to each one of them in a unique way. Joan was the nucleus of the group, holding everyone together. She was a perfectionist, and sometimes a nervous wreck. In those ways I was just like Joan. Then there's her best friend, Toni. Toni feeds the "Champagne-Dreamer" in me. Toni prides herself on living a life of fabulousness and lavishness at all costs. Plus, she is such a diva. Maya mirrors the writer in me and the "Aw Hell Nah" attitude I tend to catch if I'm not too careful about my surroundings. And Lynn, poor, lost Lynn. I feel like Lynn some days, especially with all the majors I've chosen during my time in college. Though she's quirky and such a moocher, I still love her spirit and presence. I fell in love with each of these girls, and William as well, over the course of the seasons.

As a way to show my love and appreciation for the show, I decided to put a series of posts together for you guys.  Following this post, on each Tuesday in March, I will be sharing a post highlighting things I have learned from each of the fabulous four Girlfriends.  Stay tuned for each of them!

Were you a fan of Girlfriends?  Who was your favorite?

NOTE: You can now check out the entire series by clicking each of the following links:

March Skin Care Update

Hey ladies and gents! I just wanted to share an update on the Skin Care Challenge I am participating in.  In my last post, I shared with you the products I used as well as my weekly routine.  I have been using all of these products for quite some time now, and I am very pleased with the results.  I haven't experienced any dryness, I haven't experienced as many breakouts, and my dark spots are fading!  Sounds great, right?

Creating a regimen was easy for me because through lots of trial and error, I have learned what products work for my skin type (and budget).  My main problem in taking care of my skin, however, has been being consistent with my regimen.  Participating in this challenge, charting my progress, and sharing information with you guys here has helped me stay on task so far!

As an incentive to sticking to my regimen, I have decided to reward myself for consistency and progress.  For being consistent these last couple of months, I purchased myself a few skin-care related goodies.

I grabbed these goodies from Ulta.  These are Earth Therapeutic's Recover-E Cucumber Eye Pads, Rejuvenal-C Orange Eye Pads, and an Anti-Bacterial Complexion Towel.  I haven't used the eye pads yet, but I now use the complexion towel each time I cleanse my face.  

Another problem I had with my skin care was dealing with break-outs.  Though it hasn't been much of a problem during this challenge, I did have two minor breakouts while PMSing.  So I tried mark's Break Out Plan in hopes to do away with this issue.  During "that time" I replaced my normal moisturizer (mark's See Things Clearly) with mark's Break Out Plan.  And I was soooooo IMPRESSED!  Every bump that surfaced dried up overnight after using the product.  Even better was the fact that there was no scarring.  My skin also felt very moisturized after using it. This was a surprise, as products that promise to rid one of break-outs are usually very drying.  Another plus is that it doesn't take much product to achieve desired results!

This is definitely being added to the regimen!  

Other things I've been doing differently are as follows:
-Drinking more water (2L daily)
-Eating healthier (NO FAST FOOD)
-Eating foods that are good for my skin (see link)
-Changing my pillow case twice weekly
-Cleaning my satin head scarf twice weekly (click here for jmarie's video on how to do this)
-Wearing less makeup 
-Pampering myself and eliminating stress

Are you participating in the Skin Care Challenge?  What skin care regimen do you follow?  If you have any tips to share or would like to share anything related to your own skin care journey, please feel free to do so in the comments!

Also, if you would like to try a sample of any Avon or mark. skin care product, feel free to e-mail me at!
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