Ask Away Friday with Galaxia Dawn

Happy Friday, beautiful people! It's been so long since I've done a round of Ask Away Friday, so I'm stoked to be participating this week! And I'm even more excited that today is my birthday. Whoop whoop! This will also be my first time linking up with all of the new hosts (Tamara, Tiffany, Christy, Stacey, and Amber) for Ask Away Friday as well. I've missed it and I'm glad to be back, y'all!

This week I brought my beautiful blogger friend Galaxia along for the ride and have had a blast mixing it up with her. Galaxia is a beauty blogger at Hopeful Kiss where she also has a pretty pink lipstick shop. She's a wife, mommy, and an avid pink lipstick lover like myself. Be sure to check her out today and get familiar with her!


1. Your blog features a variety of topics, which I love. What are your favorite types of blog posts to read and create? Thank you, love! I enjoy reading about a variety of topics. I'm a big fan of beauty and personal style blogs. I also love reading inspirational blogs, craft and diy blogs, food blogs, and entertainment/culture blogs. I think my favorite posts to draft are ones in which I share personal anecdotes like this, this, and this one. I don't write them as often, but it's always a good time when I sit down to type those out. 

2. We were talking about KDramas on Instagram and you mentioned that Scent of Woman was your favorite; why? Scent of a Woman (tied with Boys Over Flowers) is definitely one of my favorite. I think I love it so much because the lead character is such a strong and beautifully-spirited woman. She faces lots of adversity throughout the course of the show, yet does so with a smile. She is warm, kind, and completely selfless. I don't want to give all the goods of the melodrama away, but I really admire her character and ability to push forward in spite of her diagnosis. And the hope offered at the end--simply beautiful. 

3. I love reading about your beautiful family! What is your #1 tip for new moms? Thank you, Galaxia! My party of five is the sunshine of my life :-)  I think my number one tip for new moms would be do not be afraid to reach out. While becoming a mother is a joyous experience, it is also an overwhelming one. Please know it is okay to share your feelings with someone, vent your frustrations to someone, and ask another for help if it is needed. Having a support system is key. I'd like to think I've done a good job with being a mother and nurturing my children. But the real glory goes to God and all the wonderful people He placed in my life to love and support me. They've helped me and my children more than anything!

4. When you were a teenager, what career were you interested in pursuing? When I was a teenager, I was most interested in pursuing a career in education. My mind constantly switched from goals of becoming a teacher, a child psychologist, and a writer, though. 

5. Your makeup and hair always look good. Please recommend your top hair product and cosmetic item that you can't live without! Thanks, love! I am always on the hunt for the next best hair care product or cosmetic. But if  I could recommend one of each, it would definitely be ORS Replenishing Conditioner and Mario Badescu Vitamin C Serum. The ORS Replenishing Conditioner really strengthens my hair and helps it retain moisture--- and it smells like a citrus dream!  The Mario Badescu Vitamin C Serum isn't a cosmetic per se', but it beats having the best cosmetic, girl! It has really improved my skin's texture and tone. I love it!

6. What is your favorite song right now? Man, that's a hard one. I listen to so many different songs and I have so many current favorites! So I guess I'll just go with one of my all-time favorites which I happen to be listening to while I type (I'm always listening to music--while I read, write, cook, clean, whatever lol. Everything has a soundtrack.)

Don't laugh, okay? But have you ever seen the movie Car Wash? It's one of my all-time favorite comedies. Do you remember the scene where dude finally got that pretty waitress Mona to go out on a second date with him? It's one of my favorite scenes! Well, the song You're On My Mind by Rose Royce played in the background as he approached her. Whenever I hear the song, I imagine myself walking out in pretty pastel platforms with a cool wind blowing in my hair as that song plays in life's background. Silly, I know. But you promised not to laugh!

7. You mention that you love to be an active member of your "back yard" :) What charitable causes are closest to your heart? I haven't been as active as I want to, lately. I really need to get back to sharing more of my time and energy to my "back yard," especially with the youth in my community. Earlier this month I participated in Relay for Life through the American Cancer Society and really enjoyed it. I've participated in this event for the last few years and this cause is one that is very near and dear to my heart. I have lost family members to cancer and also have family members and friends who are survivors. I will continue to do what I can to celebrate their lives, bring awareness, and pray that a cure is found soon. 

8. What is your biggest hope for yourself in 2014? My biggest hope for myself in 2014 has been to JUST DO IT. Simply put. In the past I've allowed fear to stop me from doing so many things. So at the beginning of the year, I decided to approach life in a more fearless way. I've made plans to go new places and try new things. I've also learned how to say "no" to things that no longer serve me without fear or remorse. And so far, it's been great!  

9. Please share a favorite recipe that we can try! Now this was a tough one! Man I wish I took pictures when I prepare my meals! But I do have a recipe link I can share with you. Anyone that knows me knows I make a great blueberry cheesecake. This recipe is very similar to mine. And please let me know in the comments if you guys REALLY want to see more of what I chef up in the kitchen. I really get it in, I just never think of taking pics ;-)

10. If you could only wear one scent or fragrance all year, what would that be? Goodness, that's a hard one. As much as I love any given fragrance, I love to switch them up from time to time. However, if I absolutely had to choose one fragrance for the rest of the year it would be Acqua Di Gioia. It's my all-time favorite perfume and it reminds me of my favorite place to be-- the beach.

It's been fun answering Galaxia's questions! I've enjoyed doing Ask Away Friday with her and I urge you all to head over to her site to get familiar with her if you haven't already. She's such a sweetheart! She answered my questions today too, so make sure you check those out. I hope you all have a beautifully blessed day and get at least one step closer to your dreams today!

Friday FOTD: Crazy for Coral

Happy Friday, loves! I hope everyone is having a beautiful day today. And even if your day isn't going as smoothly as you had envisioned it, there's still time to get a lot of "happy" in! I'm having a pretty awesome day so far. There's something about believing and affirming that EVERYTHING WILL WORK OUT that will change a perspective quick! So I'm thankful today for God's grace, a changed perspective, and all of the inspiration and positivity surrounding me today. 

I haven't worn any makeup in a while, but today I wanted my look to match my sunny disposition. And while I didn't want to apply too much makeup on a warm day, I needed a little "color" in my life! Now I don't know about you guys, but there's something about the spring and summer months that makes me instantly gravitate towards coral. So I pulled out a coral lippie, reached for a coral eyeshadow, and got to work!

Here's a list of everything I used for the look:

MAC Brow Pencil in Spiked
Milani Brow Tint Pen in Dark Brown
MAC Studio Fix Concealer in NC42

Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer
BH Cosmetics 120 Palette (1st Edition)
Rimmel ScandalEyes Liner in Neutral
Rimmel GlamEyes Liquid Eyeliner in Black
Wet N Wild MegaVolume Mascara in Black

Avon Illuminating Face Perfector (primer)
MAC Face and Body Foundation in C7
Graftobian HD Glamour Creme in Midnight Marigold
MAC MSF in Dark
La Femme Blush in Russet

NYX Slim Lip Pencil in Espresso
MAC Viva Glam Cyndi Lipglass
Wet N Wild Mega Last Lipstick in 24 Carat Gold

This look is quite simple and easy to recreate. I basically followed my everyday makeup routine and swapped out a few of the products I normally use. As for the eye, you can use any coral eyeshadow you'd like on the lid and blend a little bit of matte brown shadow to your crease for the same effect. And of course, to make the look (or any look) really pop, all you have to do is add a SMILE or a SMIZE (shout to Tyra Banks) to the mix ;-) 

How are you rocking your makeup today?

More Than a Woman: Meet Ciera Payton

michael's daughter

Michael's Daughter. Actress. Mentor. New Orleans, Louisiana native. Each of these words can be used to describe the talented and beautifully spirited Ciera Payton. Most notably recognized for her Off-Broadway autobiographical production, "Michael's Daughter," Ciera Payton is an inspiration to young women everywhere. She embodies character, strength and resiliency, as she has defied the odds and is making a name for herself in the entertainment industry and the community.


Growing up in the Third Ward of New Orleans, Louisiana was not always a bed of roses for Ciera Payton. The loss of her grandmother to cancer and eventual incarceration of her father while she was a teen may seem like the beginning of a sad story, but becomes one of triumph for Ciera. With a love and passion for the arts, Ciera Payton was able to find a creative outlet in performance. Graduating from the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts and the North Carolina School of the Arts, Ciera defied the odds stacked against her and earned opportunities to utilize her talents for good. Hoping to provide encouragement to other young women who share similar experiences, Ciera brings her story to the light in one-woman play "Michael's Daughter." 

Ciera Payton shines on the big screen as well. With roles in Spike Lee's "OldBoy," USA Network's "Graceland," and TNT's "The Closer" under her belt, Ciera can now be seen in the CBS sitcom "Bad Teacher" as well as Issa Rae's webseries "First." And when Ciera isn't filming, she can be found mentoring in her hometown, as she is the Associate Director of the program What Girls Know and has also partnered with Girls for a Change and Step Up Women's Network. It is so refreshing to see that Ciera Payton shares her passion with us all-through her play, her acting, her contributions, and her mentorship.


What inspired you to share your story with the world in your Off-Broadway production, "Michael's Daughter?"  When I first moved to Los Angeles from New York I came across a shoe box of letters--the prison letters my father had written to me over the years. To my surprise I forgot how encouraging, uplifting, and funny my dad was. I mean he’s in a tiny backwoods prison in the middle of nowhere in Louisiana, and he’s telling me keep my head up and stay positive?!?! In addition to his empowering letters, he shared an array of stories about his childhood and what impacted him to make the decisions that lead him to spending time behind bars. 

My father is a product of an interracial affair, which took place in the ’60s in rural Louisiana, and has memories of being confused as to why he wasn’t accepted among Blacks or Whites. His memories includes explicit racist encounters; all I could think is, “You can’t make this stuff up!” It’s raw, honest, personal, and just the makings of a unique story. I HAD TO SHARE IT! 

In what ways have the performing arts shaped you as a person? As a woman? How has the performing arts changed the lives of the young women you've mentored?  I started getting involved in the performing arts when I was in sixth grade. New Orleans is a city that prides itself on culture and creative expression. It’s in our music, our food, our accents, and our everyday way of life. So when I set out to speak up and allow myself to be seen and heard as child from the third ward neighborhood of New Orleans, it was invigorating! Being on stage and experiencing the feelings of accomplishment did that for me. I became confident, which has carried over to adulthood. As a woman, I know there are many people out there who relate to my story and who I am. This is why I have always felt it necessary to mentor young ladies and young men who too have come from underprivileged backgrounds. Sometimes it just takes one person to say, “I believe in you, you’re awesome, you can be anything you want to be.” Many young people don’t have that type of encouragement in their lives and they need it. They are the future. When I would do my work with What Girls Know it was amazing to see the growth in development in those young ladies. The first week, they’d come in arms crossed, quiet, unwilling to participate. By the end of our workshop, their light would shine so bright! It was truly amazing and inspiring.

I'm excited to see you have a role in the new CBS comedy "Bad Teacher." It was cool to see you in the "Evaluation Day" episode! What can we expect to see more of from your character? The show? I’m super excited about it, too! My résumé is filled with some amazing dramatic roles and I’ve been dying to do comedy! My character was originally meant to be in one episode, but something awesome happened and the producers invited me back for a few more and created a pretty cool storyline with David Alan Grier’s character. The series is hilarious and I know it’s going to be a hit! 

Your life's story is one of remarkable inspiration, triumph, and resiliency. Through everything, what has been your greatest source of strength?  Without a doubt I’m a spiritual person. I know there’s no way I would be where I am today without a higher power. I do a lot of praying, a LOT! Ha! Meditation helps me with balancing stress. And I know my grandparents are my guardian angels watching over me and protecting me.

Tell us more about your partnerships with Step Up Women's Network and Girls for a Change. Step Up Women’s Network (SUWN) and Girls For a Change (GFC) are two amazing organizations. I’m truly impressed and inspired by all of the hard work of Angela Patton (GFC), Kaye Popofsky Kramer (SUWN) and Alyssa Zito (SUWN). Making a change to empower and uplift youth is no easy task. I tip my hat to those ladies and the staff members at both organizations. They put in long hours with limited budgets and truly work from the heart. I’m fortunate and honored to mentor the participants. My participation is only a tiny grain in the sand in comparison to what those ladies have achieved with their organizations. I’m just thankful that I’m able to help and be a role model for the youth participants. 

As a woman who will be turning the big 3-0 next year, I am motivated by your hard work and altruism. You have accomplished so much as an actress and mentor thus far! Are you where you imagined yourself to be at 28?  Where would you like to see yourself by age 30? Oh noooo! Please don’t remind me, ha! I made a pact to myself a few years ago that I wouldn't mark off “where I want to be in x amount of years.” I’m consistently bombarded with bright and bold ideas in my mind and have so often pressured myself to get those things done by a certain age. When I didn't accomplish those things by said age, I would get really hard on myself, hence feeling like a failure. With that said, I knew that where I am now would get me closer to my dreams. As I got older, I knew in order to get there, I had to drop the baggage that was dragging me or blocking me from achieving my goals. So yes, in my future, I am projecting that I will be among the Hollywood elite and on the short list of the top ten Hollywood A-List Actors. I imagine myself having a strong dynamic career in which I have the pleasure of telling fascinating stories and giving life to a plethora of characters. I want a family and solid relationship with someone who loves and accepts me for who I am. All of the above is what I want and I am confident I will get there. If these things happen by 30, that would be amazing-- but I know it’s all in God’s time. 

If you could go back to give your teenage self one bit of advice, what would it be? What advice would you give to younger girls reading this who are experiencing similar situations as you have? I would tell myself to keep working hard, but child come up for air and have fun every once in a while! Life ain’t always so serious! Things can be bad, but that’s the beauty of life. You have ups and downs. Your resiliency is how you handle them both. 

To the younger girls reading this now, as hard as it is to do, know that everything will work out. If it doesn't seem that way now, know and believe it will! And please understand that the adults around you now were once your age. They too are human and nobody’s perfect. It’s life and we all have to live it. Treat yourself good and go for your dreams! 

In what ways can others help empower the youth? Do you have any suggestions on how to extend this help throughout our own communities as well as other parts of the country? There are so many non-profits sprinkled throughout this country. Research the ones in your community and donate your time. Stay committed. Most of the time children of underprivileged backgrounds are used to people coming in and out of their lives. Showing up one day and never coming back doesn't display a sense of commitment or responsibility. Make it a point to get involved monthly or quarterly. If that isn't possible, find out what those organizations need and figure out how you can help. Financial donations are always a big way to help. And try to keep in touch with the kids you've mentored. Send them cool postcards, write on their Facebook wall. Check in every once in a while. Let them know they are important.

I thank Ciera Payton kindly for the inspiration she has given me and my readers with this interview. To keep posted on all things Ciera, be sure to check her out on Twitter (@CieraPayton) and Instagram (@cierapayton.) Please stay tuned to the CBS sitcom "Bad Teacher" to see how things develop with her and actor David Alan Grier! And be on the lookout for her indie feature Film Respect the Jux which will be theatrically released at the end of the year.

MANICure | Revlon Parfumerie in Pink Pineapple

revlon nail polish

I know it's been a while, but please don't get it twisted. You can still catch me on any given Wednesday rocking a varied shade of pink in some form or fashion. Whether it's in my top, bag, or makeup and accessories, I'm still on it lol. It doesn't matter if I'm "sitting at the table with the cool kids" or cooling it by myself. And if you've been reading here for a while, I love to show off a pretty pink manicure. This week is no different!

While I didn't search to the ends of earth for mani design inspiration, I did take a stroll to my local drugstores to sale stalk. And in my stalking, I found a treat on the clearance aisle. Though I'm probably tardy to the party yet again with this one, I got my hand on some of those beloved Revlon Parfumerie Nail Polishes. While they originally retail for $5.99 each at Walgreens, I grabbed up a gift set containing China Flower and Pink Pineapple for only $5. Win! 

So y'all already know I had to try out Pink Pineapple first, right? For starters, I was too curious about the scent of this polish. And this particular shade resembles one of my old favorites from the OPI for Nicki collection. So when I tell you I am impressed with my manicure, please believe it honey. I'm loving it!

Since this polish has somewhat of a milky consistency, I did about three coats of polish. And while it pained me to watch each streaky layer dry, I just knew it would come out cuter than I could imagine. It did! And not only that, my nails now have a sweet pineapple smell to them! It's not an overpowering scent, but a small hint of fruity fragrance heaven. Now if only I can remember not to sniff them openly in public today lol.

revlon nail polish

Have you tried the Revlon Parfumerie Polishes?
If so, which ones are your favorites? 

May's Wishes

Hey guys, I'm back! Did you all miss me? I know it's been a while, and for that I do apologize. I've really missed you all and hope to get all caught up in the blogosphere soon!

Since I left off with a weekly wishes post, and May is a very special month for me, I decided to share my monthly wishes with you as well.

1. Do something special for my birthday. I don't have any major plans for my birthday this year and haven't for the last couple of years. And I'm not trying to do anything big this year, but I do hope to celebrate in some way or another with my favorite people. I've been working on my 30 by 30 list steadily as well, so I hope to have a few more items crossed off my list by my prelude to 30 at the end of the month.

2. Work on fitness as a family unit. Trying to eat healthy seems to be a struggle around my home. For years I have been making a variation of two different meals (per night) as my husband and I don't like the same foods. And now that I'm attempting to eat healthier, it's harder to get creative with meals and still appease my husband and children. I hope to overcome this challenge by the end of this month because I have no plans on increasing my grocery budget. Any tips, ladies and gents?

3. Have "girl's night" each week with Gabs. We recently grabbed up this cute little book by the American Girl series called "Just Mom & Me" that contains some of the coolest activities for girls to do with their moms. Though we've done a few of the activities, I want to get a little more routine with our quality time spent together. With my oldest son involved in sports this season and Jj getting most of the attention around the house, it's imperative that I make sure I carve in special time for just me and baby girl.

4. Spend quality time with my girlfriends. Life gets overwhelming sometimes. And sometimes it sucks because I feel like I don't have an outlet from my family life. I really could use a few lunch dates and girl talks this month.  I really miss my girls.

5. Make (more)  pretty things. Thanks to Pinterest and Youtube, I've been on a creative kick lately. I can't wait to share with you all some of the things I've been making. And to keep my creative momentum rolling, I'm making a commitment to create at least one pretty thing each week.

6. Plan a vacation. It's always fun to plan a vacation for the family, even if I have no clue when we will be able to take one. I'm hoping we will be able to tackle at least one weekend getaway for the early summer.

7. Create a "self-care" plan. Sometimes when we take on a lot, carry on a lot of responsibilities, and make it our mission to make everyone around us happy, we often forget to make sure we are at 100%. Back in my SW days at UNCW, we did self-care check-ins each week. We told our field instructors at least one thing we did for ourselves during the week prior to meeting. I'm making a point to do something each week and for accountability purposes, I might even share a bit about them here on the blog, on my FB page, or over on Insta.

And a brief update about last month's wishes:

I can honestly say I've accomplished each of the wishes. Well, sorta. In April, I hoped to get my blogging life together. That resulted in an unplanned blogging break. I needed to be centered and focused with a few personal things going on with me, so blogging took an unexpected backseat. However, I have been writing almost everyday, whether it's been a poem, a prayer, or a brief anecdote. I learned that I never really lost my inspiration to write last month, I just became so overwhelmed in other areas that I could not focus on completing anything.

With the help of a fitness challenge between J and I along with YouTube (namely BeFit, Blogilates, and Tiffany Rothe), I've also been exercising regularly. My goal is to get some activity in daily and gain a partner (or support group) by my birthday.

The children have really enjoyed spending time with God daily, and have even made a habit of getting in devotion time nightly thanks to these books.

I've done a lot of spring cleaning literally and figuratively and am now making strides to throw out 50 things each week, so that I don't get bogged down with that much clutter ever again.

And I've been reading some great books lately, too. Be on the lookout for a post about them soon!

The Nectar Collective

What are some things you wish to accomplish this week? 
This month?
Tell me all about them in the comments! 
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