Let's Makeup | Featuring MAC Heroine Lipstick

Hey ladies and gents! I just wanted to check in for a minute to share the beauty that is MAC Heroine lipstick with you all today. A while back when I posted a makeup look with this lippie, I wore it paired with a gloss. I toned it down so much with the gloss that I wasn't able to properly display how gorgeous and full-bodied this beautiful matte lipstick really is. MAC Heroine is a shade of lipstick that compliments all complexions, especially us women of color. I find myself reaching for it quite often and have found that my husband loves the way it looks on me also! I took a few quick shots with my phone while I was getting dressed and decided to let you guys see it :-) And now that it's a part of MAC's permanent line, you can grab one for yourself from the site, too! If you don't have it already, I would definitely suggest trying it out. Check out today's look below.

♡ Eyes 
Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer
e.l.f. Mineral Eyeshadow in Sweet
e.l.f. Mineral Eyeshadow in Glamorous
mark. Eyeshadow in Tabac
Wet 'n Wild MegaImpact Mascara in Black
Rimmel Glam'Eyes Liquid Eyeliner in Black Glamour
Wet n Wild ColorIcon Liner in Black 

♡ Face  
mark. Primed for Perfection Primer
MAC Face and Body Foundation in C7
Graftobian HD Glamour Creme in Midnight Marigold
MAC MSF in Dark
e.l.f. Studio Cream Blush in Vixen

NYX Slim Lip Pencil in Purple Rain
MAC Matte Lipstick in Heroine

Natural Hair Talk with MahoganyCurls™

As of this morning, MahoganyCurls™ has 196,309 YouTube subscribers and counting. Her total YouTube channel views are well over 20 million. One can truly say that the worldwide natural hair community loves MahoganyCurls™ and she loves them back. It all began when Macon, GA native Jessica Lewis decided to embrace her natural hair in March 2009. After doing the "big chop," Jessica was inspired to share her natural hair journey with others who were looking to do the same. Jessica took on the moniker MahoganyCurls and created what is now a collection of 139 YouTube videos sharing her love for nurturing natural hair to the masses. 


Being born into a family of hair care professionals, it seems second nature for Jessica to be passionate about styling and caring for hair. With her vastly growing social media reach and beautifully-spirited personality, MahoganyCurls™ focuses on helping women embrace their crown and glory one update at a time. She exemplifies as well as gives instruction on how to achieve "natural hair with flair" by taking viewers along for the ride as she discusses every aspect of her own natural hair journey. And with each video upload, viewers marvel at her beautifully coiled tresses and her pleasant persona, while taking notes on how to create better hair care practices for themselves.

Whether one is looking for tips on establishing a healthy hair care regimen or perfecting braid-outs, bantu-knot outs, roller-sets, and wash-n-go styles, MahoganyCurls has it covered. She updates her YouTube channel and website frequently, keeping her viewers and readers in the know on all things natural hair care. 

I was delighted to be given the opportunity to connect with MahoganyCurls™ to talk about natural hair. She has a wealth of knowledge to share with everyone and I'm thankful to be a part of the sharing process.


What do you love most about being able to share your passion for natural hair on YouTube? What is the most rewarding aspect?  The thing that I love most about sharing my passion for natural hair on YouTube is the fact that it is helpful to others embarking on their natural hair journey. The most rewarding aspect is when others approach me and explain that I inspired them to go natural or my tutorials and thoughts regarding the natural hair journey has helped them in many ways. I love to teach, and I love explaining to others how to go about caring and embracing their natural hair. I get to share what I have learned during my journey, good or bad.

What does your weekly hair care routine look like?  I like to cowash (conditioner wash) my hair once a week. I also like to deep condition my hair every Sunday. I usually twist my hair for styling. It usually takes about an hour and 30 minutes to complete my hair from start to finish. I love "As I Am Coconut Cowash" for cleansing and Shea Moisture products are my go to stylers.

How did you go about researching for the right regimen/products for your hair? What have been the most helpful tools in your research?  I like to read the ingredients. When I first went natural, I used to use products that would make my hair very dry. At the time, I did not know much about ingredients in certain products. I used to visit other blogs and hair forums that would explain why certain products may cause dryness. Eventually I learned about the "curly girl method" and I follow that method now. It has helped my natural journey a lot. Research is extremely helpful.

Have you ever had a setback? If so, how did you recover from it? If I have a set back I will clarify my hair with "As I Am Coconut Cowash" and deep condition my hair for an hour and a half. After I do this, I will proceed to styling my hair with my favorite products. I would also eliminate the product that caused the setback from my regimen.

What is your favorite way to style your hair? Favorite part of your regimen?  Right now I am a huge fan of twist outs. My favorite part of my regimen is applying my leave in conditioner. I love a rich creamy leave-in. I feel that a great leave-in will make or break your hair style. I look for leave-in conditioners that will provide an ample amount of moisture for my hair. One of my favorites is "The Conditioner" by Paul Mitchell.

Does your regimen differ from the summer to the winter? If so, in what ways?  No, it does not. For the most part, I style my hair the same way. I like to keep my regimen very simple. I feel that low manipulation is very important during your natural hair journey since natural hair can be very fragile.

Tell me one thing you've learned on your journey that you wish you knew when you did the big chop back in 2009.  I wish I knew that natural hair would be extremely dry compared to relaxed hair. It took about a month or so for me to find products that worked for me that would not dry my hair out. Once I figured this out, I feel as if the ball began to roll and my journey took off without too many setbacks.

What advice would you give to my readers who have just started their natural hair journeys and are seeking support and information?  I would suggest that they have patience, research natural hair online, and continue to have confidence. The natural hair community is very supportive. YouTube and hair forums that cater to natural hair will be very helpful in your journey. The last thing I would say is be proud of yourself and be proud of your hair. You are wearing your crown. Show the world how beautiful it is.

We all know that maintaining a healthy hair regimen takes patience, time, and love. What motivates you to continue on your journey?  I am motivated by other naturals. Naturals that are starting their natural hair journey inspire and motivate me. It shows beauty and confidence.

What are your current hair goals?  I would like to reach APL (arm pit length) while my hair is curly, with shrinkage, in a couple of years. I would like to have a few layers cut in the near future also. I think it would jazz up my 'do. 

What do you hope viewers take from engaging with you and subscribing to your YouTube channel?  I hope that they find my channel to be inspiring and educational. I am very passionate about the educational aspect of natural hair and hopefully it will inspire them to start their own channel to document their journey along with helping others.

What can we expect to see more of from MahoganyCurls™ in 2014? Are there any events or projects in the works that you would like to tell us about?  Every Wednesday, from 7:00 - 7:30 pm EST I host a live YouTube streaming show called "MahoganyCurls™ LIVE!" Viewers that tune in during the live taping can ask me questions in real time. I will also be attending several natural hair events, including Natural Hair Bride's "Glitz, Glam & Curlz" event in Chicago, IL (February), the Natural Hair and Health Expo 2014 in Birmingham, AL (March), an event in London, England (May) and several other events. Invites to natural hair events are coming in so quickly and I'm very excited to join and support as many as I am able to!


I thank Jessica for sharing her time and insight with me for this feature. Be sure to check out her YouTube channel and get familiar with her through social media. She's quite interactive with her viewers and readers, so don't be afraid to ask her questions if you have any. And remember to tune in on Wednesday evening for MahoganyCurls™ LIVE!

When I Was Gab's Age

If anyone were to ask my mother what type of child I was growing up, she would enlighten them on how curious I was. I asked questions about any and everything going on around me. I had to know how things worked, why things were, and I wouldn't accept just any old answer. I'd need an explanation, some substantial evidence, and if possible, another party present that could co-sign the information given. Just kidding! But it's not that much of a stretch. 

Twenty years have since passed from those days and the tables have turned. I have a curious daughter of my own that has no qualms about asking me questions about EVERYTHING under the sun. So when she says she has questions for me, I take a brief pause to "breathe slowly" before she proceeds to ask them. The other day, though, she simply asked me what I was like at her age. She sat across from me at the dining room table with her frilly pink notebook and matching pen as if she were preparing for an interview. When I agreed to answer her questions, she asked me things like my favorite foods, tv shows, friends, and places to go back during that pivotal time in the 90's. Answering all of her questions sent me on a trip down memory lane and prompted me to pen this list for myself. I wanted to always remember these things, in case one day I could no longer do so.  

When I Was Gab's Age...

-I was drawing and writing all the time.

-I was begging for Right On! magazines in the grocery store each month.

-I was in love with Sister, Sister. I even received an autographed Tia and Tamera photo in the mail as a fan club member.

-I was also obsessed with singer Brandy. "I Wanna Be Down" was my favorite song at the time.

-I was rocking LA Gears with the light up shox in the back.

-I was in Mrs. Hunter's class. This was the beginning of my obsession with grammatical correctness. She marked off for every single error on my homework.

-My favorite lunches at school consisted of personal deep dish pizza in a plastic bag. My favorite breakfast was the Super Donut.

-My brother and I got off the bus after school at Grandma's house. We watched Darkwing Duck, Duck Tales and Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers together. If we stayed late enough to have dinner with grandma and granddaddy, we watched Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy afterwards. Granddaddy always said I was smart enough to go on Jeopardy, too :)

-I got a Sega Genesis from my dad for Christmas. I was hooked on Sonic the Hedgehog for years.

-I saw Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas for the first time. I was intrigued by the animation, and the film became one of my favorites.

-Family Matters, Boy Meets World, Fresh Prince, Thea, and Hanging With Mr. Cooper were among my favorite TV shows. Judy went upstairs on Family Matters and never came back down.

-I had a crush on one of the "new" boys down the street. I would soon learn he had a crush on me too.

-I collected beanie babies and forgot all about my troll dolls.

-Clinton was president.

-Doug Funny, Patty Mayonnaise and Apple Jacks made my Saturday mornings.

-People called me Patty Mayonnaise. This would continue on into high school.

-Doug E. Doug had a tv show on ABC network's TGIF lineup called Where I Live. I remember him sitting on that stoop and his father always getting on him about something. And Flex was his best friend.

-When Mighty Morphin Power Rangers came on, my brother and I pretended to be Aisha and Zack. I can still remember him yelling "MASTODON!"

-Bill Nye the Science Guy and Beakman's World taught me everything I needed to know about Science.

-I shared rooms with my little sister. We had the cutest red bunk beds. That is, until my older brother came to visit and we broke the ladder. Scared that we would get in trouble, we blamed that incident on my cousin Easha.

-I listened to Salt 'n Pepa on Easha's walkman whenever she came to visit and decided that I was going to be a rapper just like her.

-I went to church in what I now believe to be the cutest of ruffled and laced dresses in hues of green, mint, chartreuse, lilac, pink, and yellow. Back then I hated them and would find creative ways to get them dirty (ie, splattering nail polish on them). My sister had matching ones, too. I didn't learn the value of those beautiful dresses until one day after church, I decided I would go playing in the woods with my cousins while still wearing one. You all can imagine how that story ends :)


Monday Dose of Diva: Don't Take it Personal

"Just one of them days... when I wanna be all alone. It's just one of them days... when I gotta be all alone"

How many of ya'll hear this song and immediately twist your neck and belt out the lyrics boisterously?  Well I do.  I know many women that can relate to this song.  In 1995, the diva-in-training Monica shared with R&B music fans all over world what it was like for a woman to have a bad day in her hit single "Don't Take it Personal".  Even at the tender age of 14, the maturity in her voice left listeners with an understanding of how to deal with a lady's mood swings.

This morning I felt compelled to share this song with all of my divas (and men who must deal with "diva-tudes"--be it your mother, spouse, sig. other or the like) because-- well I'm having one of those days myself.  Yes, already.  I'm cranky, in need of coffee, and upset that nothing is fitting right.  I know that I can be a train wreck in the morning and a bad word in the afternoon (thanks, Bey), so I have to take responsibility by warning folks.  Sometimes I have to tell hubs not to take my actions personally and with a tad bit of space and lots of understanding, I will bounce back in no time.  In fact, for the rest of the day, I will be spending time enjoying my space.  In the meantime, check out Monica's video for our just one of them days anthem, "Don't Take It Personal".

Ladies, do you ever feel like this?  Men, how do you deal with this?

Friday's Letters

Dear Jj- I can't believe you are 4 months old already! My, time is flying. That is why I hang on to your every coo and giggle. I know you grow tired of mommy taking pictures of every single thing you do and pressing the record button every single time you show mommy something new. Honestly, everything you do becomes the cutest thing ever to me and I want to find a way to hold on to these moments forever. A time is gonna come when your soft whimpers in the night will be a distant memory and my little baby will be all grown up. I'm trying the best I can to soak everything up. I literally don't want to miss a thing.

Dear Gabs- Talks with you before bed remind me so much of the young girl I use to be. We both wrote in our journals before bed, talk incessantly about our favorite books, and had (or have) a thing about coordinating everything in our wardrobes with some form of pink. I hope you are enjoying being such a bright beautiful young lady because I'm enjoying being your mommy. Don't be so hard on yourself, though. You're perfect just the way you are.

Dear Core- I could go on and on about how proud I am of your accomplishments in school this week. You are setting goals for yourself at such an early age, and to be in competition with no one but yourself is great! I love that determined spirit you have and can't wait to see it manifest into something bigger and better. Just remember when you're out on the court though, it's all in fun at the end of the day. Let loose and enjoy the sport! You have the rest of your life to be serious. Lol.

Dear J- Can I just say thank you for being you? You know just what to say all the time--even when I don't want to hear it. Thanks for always being my sounding board. Whether I'm venting frustrations, pitching ideas, making plans to take over the world, or planning meal ideas for the week, you always listen attentively. You don't know how much I appreciate that. And not that we're keeping score, but remember I owe you a late-night dinner date :-)

Dear Tay- I think I have a new favorite spot to have a lunch date and have some great girl talk, thanks to you. We need to get together more often. Love you!

Dear Q- I miss you lots and think about you all the time. I hope to see you soon and play catch up on this new role you have in life. I bet we have so many stories to share and compare now!

Dear Nat- I just know we're so close to each other now for a reason. I feel like when we begin to work together, something cosmic will become of it. Can't wait to share even more time, space, food, and conversations with you, love.

Dear Post-Partum Shedding- I'm hoping that you're finally saying your goodbyes around here. I was almost in tears when I first discovered you roaming around. Now that I've ruled everything out and now know the culprit, I'm so ready to see you go.

Dear Post-Partum Body- You've been a warrior. With God's help, you've brought three lives into this world and you have all of the scars to prove it. I am thankful that my soul was blessed with you as my mode of transportation for my stay here. Therefore, I will quit complaining to folks about you, shaming you, and comparing you to others I see in magazines and on television. While I want to take the best care of you that I possibly can, I will vow now to stop being so hard on you. You deserve better.

Some Days Insecurity Wins

Sometimes I want to be bold.  I want to sing all of my favorite songs to the top of my lungs in public, but I fear being seen as strange.  I want to wear purple, pink, green, and leopard print simultaneously, with obnoxiously huge white sunglasses most days of the week.   But again, the fear thing.. It hits me.  I dream of painting my living room cerulean blue, which is one of my favorite hues, but I imagine my husband will detest the choice of shade and question my lack of experience with interior design.  So there goes another brilliant idea.  Just the other day I concocted an interesting recipe of my favorite food items.  You know, the usual. Salmon, spinach, parmesan cheese, chili powder, garlic.. Yes, loads of garlic.  Wait, maybe I should discard the high dose of garlic.  But mid-way through preparation, I realized I would be the only one to enjoy it. Who would really want to eat it besides me?  I thought it over and decided to save my groceries.

I grew tired of my hair and made plans to cut it again. I'd even picked out a shockingly rude shade of red to dye it and everything.  I felt liberated by the thought of not having to fuss over it so much daily.  I grew excited knowing that I would have more time for makeup application if I just did away with the hair.  But then the practical side of me just knew co-workers and classmates would not appreciate such loud hair. They would never understand the struggle I go through dealing with our society's standards of beauty.  So I played it safe, got a full Remy install, and promised myself I'd do a short red weave on my hair at a later date.

I fell in love with a cute red bandage dress when I was out shopping the other day.  I looked in the mirror and loved the way it hugged my curves.  Before I decided to purchase it, I stepped out of the single fitting room and into the full length mirrors in the center of the fitting section.  The stares of horror from the other women made me feel like I made the wrong decision.  So I put it back on the rack, shamefully.

On my best day, I am that lady who will tell you I don't care what anyone thinks of me.  I make my own rules, set my own trends, and sing and dance to whatever the heck I want.  But sometimes, just sometimes, I'm attacked by my insecurities.  I hope that my personal best aligns with my parents' ideas of what my personal best may be.  I hope that the things I do for my friends are to their liking.  I hope that my husband is truly satisfied with our marriage.  I pray that I am being the best mommy I can be for my children.  It does hurt my feelings when people don't like me "just because".  I do get offended when people say I'm too sensitive.  But that's just who I am.

Do any of you feel just like this sometimes?

from the archives: October 2011

The Weekend Lover: Raheem Devaughn

I remember like yesterday the first time I heard Raheem Devaughn sing.  I was cleaning up behind my babies one afternoon while BET Jazz (now Centric TV) was playing all the Neo-Soul hits of the time.  Raheem Devaughn's song "You"  came on and instantly put me in a trance.  His smooth-like-butter vocals and alluring lyrics made me a fan from that day forward.  Not to mention the fact that he's very easy on the eyes ;-)

Here are some of my favorites by the man that is Raheem Devaughn.  Warning:  Some of his lyrics are known to awaken and fondle your sensual side!

What is your favorite Raheem Devaughn song?

from the archives: december 2011

One Word 2014: FEARLESS

Last year, I shared candidly with you guys here on the blog about my visions and creating a vision board for 2013. I was thrilled by the idea of allowing my visions to manifest through creating my vision board--- pinning things to my corkboard in alignment with aspirations I've set for myself. And while I enjoyed this process, it was quite tedious. I was focused on creating the perfect board in hopes that everything I placed on the board were intentional and would remind me daily of the things I needed to do to create the bigger, better version of myself and my life.

The vision board was very helpful for me. However, when a few of the goals didn't pan out the way I hoped, I grew disappointed with myself. When I found out I was pregnant in February, I felt that some of the goals I set for myself were almost impossible. And thus became the downward spiral of my goal-oriented and ambitious 2013.

While I'm still using my corkboard to envision my dreams daily, I decided not to create an entirely different one. I just swapped out some of the pins that symbolized ambitions I had already achieved or some that I was no longer interested in manifesting. I wanted to create something else to supplement my vision board. Something else to keep me in alignment with my goals, without all of the added pressure. Then I found inspiration from one of my fellow blogger friends.

Last month when chatting it up with Tiffany per the AskAwayFriday link-up, we briefly talked about goals for 2014. She informed me that instead of setting goals, she was setting the tone for the upcoming year with one word. Yes, ladies and gentlemen. One word. Thinking of one word to usher in the new year sounded much better than coming up with a list of things to do that I would soon abandon come March, so I decided to read along with Tiffany here and see what her one word resolution was all about. It was here that I learned about Michelle, a fellow BLMGirl and SBGC member over at Divas With a Purpose, and her take on using one word to set the tone for the new year.

Not only did Michelle share her one word intention on the post, she added a link-up to her post, encouraging other bloggers to do the same.

"Use one word to describe your focus and intentions for the year," 
they said. 
"It would be fun," they said.

As I began to read through my notebook and examine the goals and ambitions I have set for myself recently, I saw that they all had a common theme. The only thing that was stopping me from accomplishing the items that have yet to be crossed off from the list was FEAR. And we all know that fear can be a crippling thing, if we allow it to set in and spread throughout our thoughts.

From now on, I want to be FEARLESS. I want to take the first step. I want to see new sights. I want to master the trades I've grown passionate about. I want to ask for help and knock on new doors--- even if people greet me with a "no." Fear of rejection, fear of failure, and fear of the unknown will slowly but surely lose their place in my heart.

For further encouragement, I will pray and meditate on Phillippians 4:6-7 daily:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Has fear been getting in the way of your goals and ambitions? If you feel where I'm coming from, let me know in the comments section! We can help strengthen and encourage each other!  And if you have in mind one word that illustrates your intentions and focus for your ideal life, be sure to share those in the comments, too. I can't wait to hear from you!

Much love and many blessings, 

#AskAwayFriday with Tia, the Chic SAHM

Hey ladies and gents! I'm back again this week for another round of #AskAwayFriday!  This week I've joined forces with my girl Tia over at The Chic SAHM. Tia is a fierce mama, y'all.  She's a Queen City native, who blogs about what it truly means to be a chic stay-at-home mom. I've been reading Tia's blog for a minute now, and I'm so glad to finally be mixing it up with her. She does such a beautiful job nurturing and caring for her babies Savannah and MJ and can rock a mean red lippie! I'm inspired by her in so many ways. If you haven't already, you need to bookmark her blog and get familiar!

Here are the questions Tia asked, along with my answers.

1. Your skin is beautiful! What's your skin routine? Any fave products you want to share? Thank you, Tia! It's definitely a work in progress. I'm glad I'm not dealing with the acne anymore, but getting rid of the scars has been quite an adventure lol. Using the Mario Badescu line has really helped though. I love their products. I use the Mario Badescu Enzyme Cleansing Gel each day &; night, I use the Mario Badescu Vitamin C Serum every other night, and use the Seaweed Night Cream on the nights that I don't use the serum. I exfoliate with Aveeno Smart Essentials Daily Detoxifying Scrub twice a week and use the Mario Badescu Whitening Mask (on my dark spots only) on the weekend. I've simplified my regimen a lot since I last shared here on the blog, so I'll probably do a more in-depth post about my routine soon :)

2. I'm considering changing my hair soon. What's the most dramatic hair change you've made? Share a pic if you have one. The most dramatic hair change I've ever made was the long, blonde look. I had a blunt bang and loose spiral curls. If I didn't look like an extra from BAPS.... Girl! I wish I could find a picture so I could show it to you. I rock a short blonde and black 'do every now and then, but the long blonde just doesn't seem to work for me lol.

If I can find a picture in one of these storage boxes, I'm gonna upload it to Insta for ya, Tia. Promise not to laugh though :)

3. What would you recommend as a quick everyday makeup look? As much as I love makeup, I don't do a full face every day. So my ideal everyday look is quite simple: I may use a little bit of concealer, MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in Dark, some mascara, a pinky-nude lipgloss, and MAC eyebrow pencil in Spiked to fill in my brows a little. I'd suggest something slight like that, as it only takes about 3 minutes to do!

MAC MSF Natural is a dream come true for that "no-makeup" makeup look!

4. The best advice you've ever given was, "Get it how you live." What's the best advice you've been given? "Never dim your light." I've been told this several times by the same person, so it's high time I start taking their advice more seriously.

5. We like the same types of music. Who are the top two artist in rotation for you right now? Right now I'm loving me some Janelle Monae' for one. I've been low-key girl crushing on her since '09, so I believe everything she does is awesome. I've been dancing to Electric Lady and crooning to Primetime since I was preggers. Both these songs featuring other artists I love (Solange and Miguel) are an added bonus in keeping them in rotation lol. I like listening to Kendrick Lamar, too. That kid is a lyrical genius! Still kinda listening to OD and Section 80 though. 

I need to get out and listen to some more new stuff lol.

6. I don't know if we've talked about this before but I'm from Charlotte. You're a Carolina girl too. What part are you from? What do you love most about the Carolinas? I'm from a small town near Wilmington, but I've lived in Wilmington for the past 4 years. I was in Winston-Salem for a little bit too, which is much closer to Charlotte than Wilmington is. I've probably said this a million times, but what I love the most about the Carolinas are the beaches. Wrightsville, Topsail, Carolina, Kure, and Myrtle Beach are a girl's dream. If I have to be anywhere for a small vacation, it would be nice to be surrounding a beach. I guess that's why I love it here and don't want to leave anytime soon :)

7. I love your Polyvore sets/collections. Will you show us a couple of your favorite mommy looks? Thanks, girl! I just love Polyvore! I'll share a typical look I would wear when out and about with the children and a look I would wear when I'm trying to look put-together and poised. I'm always between these two extremes wherever I go. I'm either doing Nikes and jeans or blazers and pants (or skinny jeans).

I have mommy-to-be looks too! If you guys want me to share some, lemme know!

8. If you could switch lives with anyone for a day who would you pick and why? Hmmm, that's a hard one. I would be sick to be away from bae and the babies lol. But if I absolutely had to choose, it would probably be Maya Angelou. She has been an inspiration to me for years! I would so love to live inside her mind and be surrounded by her environment, if only for a few moments. I would love to know the origins of her beautiful thoughts and to see things through her eyes. 

9. You're a Scandal Gladiator like me. What are you hoping to see when the show returns in February? Yes, girl. You know we love some Scandal. This last season had me feeling all kinds of crazy, so in February I hope to get some answers to my many questions. What is up with Mama Pope? What will Daddy Pope do now that he's been demoted? Is Olivia going to find out about Fitz and his connection to B16? But what I'm really hoping for is to see more about Harrison in the story line. Cyrus alludes to a secret past Harrison has, but I haven't seen any other clues leading to anything. I can't wait to see some of his "stuff" play out.

10. If you could have one for the rest of your life would you choose a chef, maid or glam squad? I'd get that maid, honey. I find joy in cooking and doing my makeup/hair, but I just can't say the same for cleaning. We have a love/hate relationship. I love for my house to look clean. I hate to be the one cleaning it up all the time lol. It's a necessary evil. So I would hit that maid up in a minute!

I really enjoyed answering your questions and partnering with you this week, Tia! To read her answers to my questions, be sure to click her button below. Make sure you stick around for a bit and show her blog some love, too.
The Chic Stay at Home Mom

2013 in Review + Intro to 2014

I really meant to have this post together before now. It is currently the dawn of a new day and year, as 2014 is upon us! I'm so thankful to be here still rocking with you all. 2013 was a great year, full of discovery and surprises. Though I've had a few misses, I can still say that 2013 was good to me. As a way of charting my progress and gearing up for 2014, I am doing Rosetta Thurman's Annual Review (courtesy of Happy Black Woman) for the second time.  It has been quite helpful to me, so I wanted to share my review in hopes that you may want to do the same.

What I Want to Remember About 2013 

What was the most valuable lesson I learned this year? This year, I really learned how to trust the Lord in all things. When I found out hubby and I were pregnant with baby #3, I was so unprepared. I wondered and worried about how that would change our family dynamic. God showed up and showed me that if I trusted Him, He would make a way for my husband and I to provide for our growing family. Throughout my pregnancy, we experienced quite a few challenges. But God interceded, made a way out of no way, and blessed us with a healthy baby boy, among other things. I'm just in awe of how amazing He has been to us.

What was the best book and/or movie I discovered this year? Reading The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz was such an eye-opening experience for me. It was about more that reading a few lines and vowing to live by their precepts. It invited me to a new way of thinking. I saw how making assumptions and taking things personally have caused me to make damaging decisions in the past. It has also encouraged me to be impeccable with my word (whether it be spoken or written) and to always do my personal best. Everyone should read it!

The Best Man Holiday has been the movie of the year for me. Watching the cast members grow from their 1999 roles to deal with matters of the heart, experiencing ups & downs in their careers, and terminal illness really made me pay attention to the things going on within me and in the lives of those around me. Seeing The Best Man Holiday was like a call to action for me. I needed to understand that for every peak we hit in life, valleys will also come. Nothing is constant. Seasons change in every aspect, including friendships. No one is ever too immersed in "living" that they shouldn't reach out and connect with someone. You'll never know how much they need you or how much you need them if you don't. I learned many of these lessons the hard way this year, so this movie was a very emotional one for me. It was something I really needed to see illustrated though. It did my heart good.

What was the biggest personal milestone I reached this year? I think I've matured a lot as a wife this year. Though I've spent the last ten years of my life in love with J and the last 2 years married to him, I believe that this year has been more essential to our growth as a couple than others. We've seen some stressful times this year. But finding my place in my marriage, being secure as his wife, and most importantly consulting God and praying for my marriage have really kept things moving smoothly around here. I've been known to crack under pressure when dealing with a lot of things, but with this-- I've vowed to hold this spot down until death do us part. And I will :)

 What I Want to Leave Behind As I Enter 2014 

Which goals did I make the least progress on this year? 2013 was supposed to be the year of networking and connecting with other creatives, bloggers, and people with whom I shared similar interests. When finding out I was having a baby, I used that as an excuse to become stagnant. I didn't go out and network as much as I wanted to, nor did I take the opportunities to cultivate my interests into something greater. I broke those promises to myself, so I will definitely have to make amends. I owe myself that much.

What did I do in 2013, if anything, that was out of alignment with my values? It's not necessarily what I did in 2013 that wasn't in alignment with my values. It's more of what I didn't do. I value community and family immensely. However, I didn't really do anything in 2013 to uplift or further build my "back yard" in ways that I know I can. I've been presented with a couple of opportunities recently, so I'm hoping to work closer with my "back yard" and really make a difference with my family and community.

Gabs and J at Relay for Life 2013

What I Want to Bring Into My Life in 2014

What do you deserve more of in 2014? In 2014, I believe I deserve more romance, date nights, lunch dates with friends, and weekend getaways with my family. I deserve to allow abundance and opportunity to pour into and envelope me. 

My brother + my babies during the holidays

What personal milestone(s) do you most want to reach this year in your relationships, health, family, finances, education and/or lifestyle?  I would bore you guys with resolutions like losing weight, eating healthier, spending more time with family + friends, and saving money, but I'm not. While I do want to do all those things, I feel that they are things I've been working on constantly. For a change, I want to be more adventurous in 2014. I'm going to be bold and ask for things, even if I'm afraid the answer may be know. I'm going to dive in and do things I'm terrified of doing. I'M GOING TO EMBRACE FEAR, DANCE WITH IT, AND DEFY IT. Period.

What professional accomplishments (at work or in your business) do you want to see for yourself this year? I don't want to share too much here and jinx the whole operation, so I will tell you all to stay tuned. I have some high hopes and hopefully, I will see some fruits of my laboring this year :)

What do you want to learn in 2014? I STILL want to learn to sew. Now I realize I've known a stellar instructor all along, so I can soon make this a reality!

What do you want to cross off of your bucket list in 2014? I want to cross off wearing a bikini to the beach, starting a vlog, and taking a pole fitness class (don't judge me lol).

What I Want My Blog to Look Like in 2014

I can't wait to share more with you guys this year. I embrace the opportunity to continue getting to know many of you! In the past, I've shared interests in music, thrifting, beauty and style here. This year, I hope to further engage you guys in all of these subjects even more. I plan to also share more about my family life, as I mentioned in prior posts. I feel such a joy in blogging, especially when I'm blogging about things that I'm passionate about. So while I want to share things that you guys enjoy reading, I must first make sure that these things are in alignment with my passions. 

I like to keep things easy breezy around here, but from time to time I may want to vent or beat my laptop to my heart's content about whatever is going on around me. Don't worry-- I won't turn the blog into Dear Diary or anything. I just hope you guys continue to rock with me through the good, the bad, and the ugly, should it come. I appreciate you all so much for continuing to read, comment, and engage with me here and on other social networks. I'm also very grateful for those of you who are new subscribers and liked what you saw here enough to continue on this journey with me. Stay tuned for the upcoming YouTube channel, too! 

Thanks for rocking with me in 2013 and still rocking with me in 2014! Y'all could have done anything in the world today, but you're taking a few minutes to mix it up with me. And I appreciate y'all for it! 

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