Fall 2017 Ready-to-Wear x Loewe

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Favorite Looks

The diversity of these three looks go to show you how much I love comfort when it comes to fashion. Whenever clothes drape off the female form in the first and third looks, to me it makes a woman appear even more feminine. I don't believe it's necessary to show off every curve of my body to celebrate my womanhood. The silhouette of the second look is also "comfortable" because the patchwork design can help camouflage imperfections so there would not be a need to tug and pull at the dress every time I move. 

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Trend: Shoulder Detail

You could walk into any retail store, from Nordstrom to Forever21, and you could spot at least 5 pieces from this trend. I personally love the appliques but the deconstructed shoulders of dresses is also fun.

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Trend: Polka Dots

It warms my heart to see this trend in colors other than the traditional black and white. The mixing of patterns and textures in the third look is genius!

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Looks to Recreate:

Look 1 is just a matter of layering. Look 2 is a great way to transition a summer dress into Fall by adding a pair of trousers creating a perfect balance of feminine and masculine energy. The jacket in Look 3 is an easy thrift find if you care to venture in the men's department.

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Fall 2016 Ready-to-Wear Rewind:

If the Gap and Vogue had a baby, it would be this collection...

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Product Review: Pearlessence Mint and Bamboo Tonic Water

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If you ever want to try out new skincare products that are budget friendly, I would recommend hitting up your nearest TJMaxx.  A few months back I was intrigued by the Pearlessence brand because of its minimalist branding. I purchased a cleanser, facial spray, make-up remover oil and mask. In the next few weeks, I plan to review all of the products, but I had to share with you today my favorite of the four: the Mint + Bamboo Tonic Water.

Remember when I told y'all I used to be skeptical of facial toners and sprays until one day I came to my senses? What made me curious about this product from Pearlessence was the combination of mint and bamboo. Unaware of the benefits of either ingredients for the skin, I thought it would at least be a pleasantly fragranced setting spray for my makeup. 

Thank goodness I gave this a try! It was love at first application! I knew it was the tonic water that made a difference in my skin that day because all the other products I used were the same. I applied my moisturizer while my face was still a bit damp and it just melted into my skin. That's something that had never happen before and I'd been using this particular moisturizer for over a year. 

Both mint and bamboo have several of the same benefits for the skin so it's no wonder why this product is so amazing. Both help reduce the appearance of acne scars as well as treating (and preventing) acne as they both are mild astringents. They also help to slow down wrinkles due to their ability to hydrate the skin with antioxidant properties.

I've gone through one and half bottles and have two back ups. This tonic water isn't at every TJMaxx I've visited and is not always in stock in the stores where I can find it. If you ever come across this while out shopping, it's a must that you give it a go. I promise you won't be disappointed!

My Birchbox Favorites

I first became a subscriber to Birchbox in August 2011. Back then "YouTube gurus" weren't even considered gurus then and watching the latest beauty hauls made you go shopping every weekend.

My affair with Birchbox ended in December 2015 as I tried other beauty boxes that featured more natural and cruelty free products. However, I can't deny that many of my favorite skincare products were introduced to me though Birchbox. And by favorite, I mean that I would not only purchase the full size product but other items from that brand as well. I guess that's the purpose of subscription boxes, right? Cultivate brand awarnesses to attract new consumers. Kudos to you Birchbox. Kudos. Below are some of my favorite products from past Birchbox monthly boxes. 

This Jouer Cosmetics Lip Enhancer is everything! It conditions your lips so they are as soft as a baby's bottom. Not to mention the glossy effect is perfect for wearing alone or during the day. I can even layer this underneath my lipstick with minimal transfer. While it does cost a bit more than I would prefer, I do believe it is worth every penny.

Prior to trying the Vasanti BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator, the only facial scrub I'd tried at that time was the St. Ives Apricot Scrub. The particles in the St. Ives were too coarse and damn near erased the melanin from my face! Due to that experience, I was hesitant to use this scrub by Vasanti. So afraid that it sat underneath my sink for weeks before I got the courage to try it out.

I am so glad I took the dive into the deep in! The tiny microderm beads are powerful enough to exfoliate my face without leaving redness or irritation. With skin healthy ingredients such as aloe vera and Vitamin E, this product leaves my skin with a radiant glow that lasts for days.

If you have oily skin like I do, I highly recommend skincare products with activated charcoal. This ingredients does wonders in drawing out impurities and excess oils. No matter where you look online, the dermaE Purifying 2-in-1 Charcoal Mask has very high ratings. I use this once or twice a week and you can see the difference in my skin with every use. It dries matte but not to where it paralyzes your face. It also has tiny microbeads, thus transitioning it into a light facial scrub when rinsing the product off. 

Out of the products mentioned in this post, if I could convince you to purchase just one this mask would be it!

The Melvita Floral Spray was the very first facial mist I'd ever used. Before trying this product I thought it was a bunch of hype just to get women to spend money on things they didn't need. But then again, at the time I scoffed at the need for a toner. Yeah, I was definitely in skincare denial at the time. But this spray changed my mind (and face) within a few uses. 

I can't remember which scent I tried first, lavender or rose, but I quickly would alternate between the two when it was time to repurchase. That was another thing. Repurchasing this product wasn't always easy because it went out of stock frequently. I guess others found out about this magic potion. 

It wasn't until last year when I went off hormonal birth control that I decided to give Melvita another go. Oh the heartbreak when I saw that it was no longer available on the Birchbox website! The devastation when I went to the company's website and saw that their products no longer available at all in the United States! Seriously?! 

Le sigh. 

According to the brand's website, Melvita is France's leading ecological and organic beauty brand. So if you ever get the chance to travel that way, swap a croissant for this facial mist. I promise you won't regret it. Oh and please send me a bottle or two. 

I'm not sure what it is about this Caudalie Hand and Nail Cream, but it surpasses any lotion I've ever used before. Every time I applied this product, my hands were left moisturized and soft to the touch. The scent is very light and inviting which is great for people like myself who are sensitive to fragrances.

Unfortunately, this is another product that is no longer available from the Birchbox website. However, you can find it at Sephora along with other makeup and skin care products from this brand. 

Soulful Sunday: 7 Things I'm Grateful For (02/13/2018)

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1. Pregnancy - I will never forget the wave of anxiety that washed over me when I saw those two pink lines. What was I afraid of exactly? Morning sickness. Stretch marks. Pains from childbirth. While some of my fears of pregnancy became a reality, most of them never manifested. Too vague, huh? I promise to talk more about those ten months in future blog posts. I have TOO MUCH to say about motherhood. I hope y’all will be ready to hear it all. 

2. My family - No one warned me how rough the recovery period is postpartum! Luckily my family stepped in to help in the most major way. They took shifts; some stayed during the day, others worked the graveyard shift. There was nothing they wouldn't do for Baby Ava and I. And to be honest, it was kind of nice to be around all of my family outside of holiday get togethers.

3. My students and work colleagues - From the time I announced my pregnancy back in August of last year, I was showered with nothing but love (and gifts!) at my job. My students consider Ava their little sister and my co-workers were so caring and thoughtful. My teacher-next-door and reading coach always stepped in to watch my kids on my much needed (and frequent) potty breaks. Oh and the surprise baby shower they gave me at work! It still brings tears to my eyes whenever I think of that day. Don't worry I will share that soon too.

4. My realtor - Can I just say Tony is the man?! The home buying process is not for the faint of heart, but luckily God sent me a real estate angel. Tony was patient and understanding through those three months. He was even encouraging whenever I felt like quitting and there were plenty of times I wanted to throw in the towel. He and his wife became so close to my family and I that I consider them to be Ava's adoptive grandparents. 

5. My health - A pretty easy pregnancy and no major complications during labor and delivery. Thank you Jesus!

6. My midwife and maternity nurses - From the epidural, problems with Ava's father to the four hours of pushing, I will be forever grateful for Kathy, Essie and Frances. Their constant support they gave me from the start of my contractions to the day we were discharged from the hospital is worth more than gold. It is amazing the things women can accomplish, such as bringing life into this world, when we come together.

7. Other people's consistent inconsistency - When relationships end often times you wonder if you made the right choice by walking away. Your mind constantly ponders if there was more that you could have done to have saved the relationship or if the two of you gave it another go would it be "better." But then as weeks, months and even years go by, you began to notice they continue to do the same bullshit that made you walk away in the first place. I wasted all of my 20's on three relationships. In each of those relationships I can admit that I stayed too damn long. A lot of my heartbreak could have been avoided if I'd just listen to my gut the first time things didn't feel right. Now that I'm in my 30's and newly divorced, I vow to never make that mistake again. The old saying of when someone shows you who they are, believe them is my new rule when it comes to relationships. 

Grammy Awards 2018: The Looks I Loved & The Looks I Loathed

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Grammy Awards 2018: The Looks I Loved & The Looks I Loathed

LOVE

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1. Ashanti looks like a limited edition Black Holiday Barbie. And. I. Am. Here. For. It. 

2. SZA's look reminds me of Cher back in the 70's but of course modernized for 2018. 

3. Rita never does wrong in my eyes. She is serving Jessica Rabbit in this black number. The lip color was a great choice. The typical red would have cheapen the entire look. 

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4. Zayn's color scheme is that of my new home so of course I'm digging this look. The tailoring of the suit is on point.

5. Lana's look is a classic silhouette with the most dainty of embellishments. Oh and I so need her banged out bolo-inspired necklace in my life ASAP.

6. Nick's use of texture by way of his coat is everything. 

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7.  Juila is wearing one of my favorite dress silhouettes and I do believe this is close enough, if not exactly, the Pantone Color of the Year for 2018. Love the ink. I want a sleeve myself.

8. Karen has done the shag look right. This is a tough look to pull off but she nailed it. 

9. Childish Gambino looks like a chocolate chip cookie dipped in a glass of milk. Yum.

 

LOATHE

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1. Kelly. Just no. She looks like someone's favorite aunt attending a wedding. 

2. Alessia could have done more to make this look work. Maybe slim fit pants and heels? Or how about a v-neck white tee?

3. Chrissy is giving me Christmas tinsel vibes and I don't like it at all. Even if she wasn't pregnant this would still be a "hell no."

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4. If you know me, then you know I LOVE Cardi. But this dress is just wrong. Cute shoes though. 

5. Andra reminds me of Joanna Cassidy in "Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead" and not in a good way.

6. Heidi sweeite. Why? It's just...I don't even know what to say...

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7.  Why did Pink have to use that wide belt? It creates another layer of fluff under her bust that I don't find flattering.

8. There is something off with Janelle's look but I just can't pin point it...

9. Even though I can rock out to Kesha's music, I can't get down with this look. I wonder if the glitter boots were gold  if I would have like the ensemble more. Mmmcmmm, probably not.

What looks were your favorite? Which ones did you not like? Comment below. I would love to hear your thoughts.