Wow, Everyone is Getting Married and Pregnant.

Lately, I’ve noticed a recurring theme among my peers as I scroll through my social media pages. Statuses that once celebrated being single and going out on the weekends are now celebrating engagements and pregnancies.

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Although the idea of getting married or having a baby seems daunting to some of us, it isn’t farfetched. As twenty-something year old millennials, we are at an age where major life changes like these are not seen as taboo anymore. This is actually around the time when the previous generation, our parents, were starting their families.

We are walking different avenues in life and that’s a good thing. Building a family at this age is important and a major accomplishment for some. That doesn’t make your accomplishments any better or worse than theirs.

To those who are currently on another life track, don’t look back.  

It’s easy to feel like you’ve done something wrong when you see your peers building their family foundation, however, the truth is that you’ve decided to be selfish. The good kind of selfish. You are making your wants and needs a priority.

Maybe you want to work on some goals, continue your education, save some money, or check a few things off of your bucket list before you make a lifetime commitment. Do that. Take advantage of opportunities presented to you and be spontaneous. Book that last minute trip!

Surround yourself with a group of people that have similar goals to you. They will show major support and applaud your accomplishments.

Do a little self-exploration. It’s a great time to make mistakes but also make improvements. Better yourself and set a foundation for the future you.

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Festival SZN: The Essentials

The weather is finally starting to break and while those with allergies are going through a rough time right now, everyone is still looking forward to a summer full of late night bonfires, cookouts, relaxing beach days, rooftop parties, and of course, music festivals.

Summer festival season is a memorable time of year, especially when you’re enjoying it with a great group of people. You spent your hard earned money on a pricey ticket and you are expecting to have nothing less than an amazing time. This includes lots of Instagram pictures (some pictures won’t make it to the gram because we still have jobs to return to on Monday morning), day drinking, and dancing from beginning to the very end. Whether the festival is one day or a full weekend, there are some essentials that you’ll need to make it through. 

 

 

|SUNSCREEN|

This should be applied before you even get in the car. It’s most likely going to be a very hot and sunny day. Even if it’s partly cloudy, you still need to protect yourself. Carry a little sunscreen with you so that you can reapply at least one more time before the end of the day. Most of us don’t wear sunscreen on a regular basis like we should, but it is crucial that we commit to it on days like this.

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Black Girl Sunscreen| $19 https://blackgirlsunscreen.com/

 

 

|SNACKS|

Food typically isn’t allowed in the venues. So, if you decide to skip on their overpriced snacks, bring something to leave in the car. An apple or a small bag of chips will be so clutch on the car ride home.

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Rap Snacks | $24 for a 48pck http://www.rapsnacks.net/

 

 

|HAND SANITIZER|

You’ll most likely end up using a port – o – potty at some point. Do you need more of an explanation?

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|ZIPLOCK BAG|

If you carry one ziplock bag with you, there is a 90% chance you’ll use it for something. One thing it’s good for is the rain. I’ve been to my fair share of concerts where the sky opened up and showered us. That’s when you use your ziplock bag to put your phone in; even while it’s in your purse. You’ll save yourself from water damage. Or, if you have a jewelry malfunction, into the bag it goes.

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|SUNGLASSES|

These are not just for fashion purposes. Sunglasses are made to protect your eyes and if you’re going to be in the sun all day, you’ll regret not bringing them. So, even if your winged-eye liner looks absolutely perfect that day, still bring your shades.

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Eye Dare You | $8 | https://www.eyedareyou.co/

 

 

|PORTABLE CHARGER|

I can’t stress enough the importance of bringing your portable charger. It’s one of those little things you cannot forget at home. You’re going to go through most of your phone battery in one day and so a portable charger is imperative. They usually save the best performers for last and you don’t want to risk not getting a good picture or video of your faves.

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5 Things Guys Wear That We Love

Hey Guys (and this time I really mean guys),

 

I spoke with a diverse group about what guys wear that makes them look extra dapper. It’s obvious that a man’s character and intentions are important, however, it was cohesively agreed upon that a man’s style can be a head over heels bonus. Everyone’s idea of a stylish man is different, so use this as a guide for trying something new.

 

Me: “So, what is something that you like to see a guy wear? Something that keeps you intrigued.”

Girl 1: “Suits!”

Me: “What about suits?”

Girl 1: “They’re nice and fitted to the body, which I like. So spicy!”

Me: “Ha! Spicy. I like that one”

 

 

Me : “What do you like to see guys wear?”

Girl 2: ” I love a good authentic American boy look. So, flannels with a pair of Wrangler boot cut jeans really do it for me.

Me: ” Is there a specific color flannel you like?”

Girl 2: ” I honestly like any color as long as it fits the body well. I want to be able to see the outline of his muscular arm.”

*proceeds to show me pic of boyfriend*

 

 

Me: “What can a guy wear that will make you look twice?

Girl 3: ” I love when he wears a sweater that shows off his arm muscles and a vest over top of that. It makes him look like a handsome single father.”

Me: “Interesting.”

“Do you prefer him in a specific brand?

Girl 3: “Not really. I just like the darker and more neutral colors like olive green and navy blue. It gives a cozy fall vibe.”

Me: “Everyone loves a good fall vibe.”

 

 

Me : “Finish the sentence. I love when a guy has on __________.”

Girl 4: “Nice clean sneakers. Emphasis on the clean part.”

Me: “What kind?”

Girl 4: “I think the Nike Air Max 270s in black and lime green are dope. If he has those on with all black and maybe a grey jean jacket, we can talk.”

Me: “Gotcha.”

 

Me: ” What is something a guy can wear that will make him look good?”

Guy: “A bomber jacket, definitely.”

Me: “Tell me more.”

Guy: “I mean, there are a plethora of ways to style it, but overall, it’s a mysterious yet masculine look, which I like.”

“Plus, it’s always nice when they reveal ‘the outfit’. ”

Me: “Love it.”

Salmon Burger

Hey!

 

I wanted to give you all a quick recipe I tried this week for salmon burgers. I love salmon but I usually have it the same way all the time, which is seasoned and baked in the oven. That’s great and all but I needed a switch up so I decided to make it into a burger.

This, I did off hand with insight from a couple of other recipes. I kept it as simple as possible.

 

Ingredients:

salmon

onions

garlic

dijon mustard

 

(This is for 1 salmon patty)

I started by taking the skin off of the salmon. This was the hardest part about the entire process. There’s probably some hack for an easier way to go about it so when you find it, I’d love to know. Then, I minced the salmon and put it in a bowl. I chopped up some onions and garlic as fine as I could and added it to the bowl too. After that, I added the dijon mustard. It was a little bit more than a quarter sized amount. Finally, I added a handful of breadcrumbs (you might need a little more or less depending on how much salmon you have). I mixed everything together with my hands and formed a patty. Then, I put it on a hot greased skillet. I cooked it so that the outside has a crisp and the inside was soft.

I ate it without bread (because carbs) and had mixed vegetables on the side. The burger was delicious and the most crucial ingredient was the dijon mustard. The savory taste of the mustard added depth and ultimately took the salmon burger from a 5 to a solid 9.

 

If you try it, let me know what you think!

 

 

Fashion Haul: Steve Madden

Hi Everyone,

 

I was in the city, per usual, and did a little bit of shopping at Steve Madden in Soho. I’ve always loved the brand and style (plus I had a gift card) because you can find things that are on trend as well as a few things that are different and signature to the brand. The seasons are going to be changing soon and so I wanted something fresh and fun to step up my wardrobe. Typically, I wear a lot of neutral colors so I’m aiming to add more pops of color and fun prints to my life. As a fashionista, I’ve got to switch it up and keep up!

 

I recently bought a ring light and tripod so now my room has turned into what I call, the studio. Here are the looks featuring my items from the SM mini haul…

 

 

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This belt purse, which is a cousin to the fanny pack, was an amazing find find at Steve Madden for about $50. I love the Off-White brand that’s popular among celebs and Insta influencers right now. The signature yellow belt makes an outfit look edgy and is the pop of color I’m looking for. Since, I can’t afford the labels yet, I hopped on the chance to get something similar.

Message: Don’t feel any kind of way if you can’t afford the real thing and have to buy a cheaper brand. Truth be told, it’s all about how you style it. 

 

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These sneakers really had me going back and forth. They’re definitely an acquired taste. For someone like me, this was a risky move and I’m proud of myself for hopping on it. Can’t wear these shoes with everything but they won’t sit in the back of my closet, especially since I paid $100 for them.

Message: When trying to style a risky piece of clothing or accessory, you should adjust everything else to fit said item. For example, it’s not what do these shoes go with, but what goes with these shoes. How can I make them work?

 

 

 

Valentine’s Day with Leaders Cosmetics

Hi Everyone!

 

Valentine’s day is going to be different for me this year. Even though I am still single and my DM’s are collecting cob webs, I’m spending February 14th with someone special. Me.

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This is a day dedicated to expressing love and that includes self love too. No one can give you the kind of love that you have for yourself. That’s the kind of love that started at such a young age and will continue to grow with you throughout the rest of your days.

There are numerous ways to practice self care, my favorite being face masks. I love giving my face the ultimate treatment it deserves. I wear make up regularly, sweat when I’m at the gym, and STILL have family members that like to pinch my cheeks. So when I’m able to, I like to treat myself.

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This Valentine’s Day, I’ll be using face masks from Leaders Cosmetics. They offer a Daily Wonder’s Kit, which comes with a pack of six face masks that serve different purposes and are made from premium cotton. It’s a small boost in your daily skin routine that will help hydrate, clarify, and soothe your skin with the goal of a near perfect complexion.

I tried one already called “What Happened Last Night?”, which is a radiance revitalizing mask and I absolutely love how it feels. Between the premium cotton and the solution it is saturated in, all I needed was two sliced cucumbers covering my eyes. They recommend leaving it on for about 15 minutes, but I may have left it on for a bit longer.

Enjoy your Valentine’s Day!

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NOLA : 4 Restaurants To Try Outside Of The French Quarters

 

Recently, I took an impromptu trip to New Orleans, Louisiana for a few days to visit some friends. Once the tickets were booked, I got my hair braided, packed my Beyoncé Formation hat and was off to a new city!

In an attempt to put together an itinerary for our time in New Orleans, my friend asked what I wanted to do while down there. My mind spoke for me and in the next breath the words “EAT!” rolled right off my tongue.

New Orleans is known for having delectable food and I wanted to try it all, especially the grits. It was my personal goal to have the best grits I’ve ever tasted in my life.

Goal set and achieved, but I’ll get to that later.

New Orleans is a city where you’ll find a lot of tourists who want to enjoy the amazing food that the locals get experience on a regular basis. Of course you can’t leave with out having beignets at Cafe Du Monde, but you’ll also want to expand your horizons and venture outside of the French Quarter for a meal or three.

Here are four places to get a great meal outside out the French Quarter:

 

Another Broken Egg 

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This cafe style restaurant is on the smaller side, which means the wait time for a table can push close to 45 mins. However, I believe the wait is worth it. I was told that I would have the best shrimp and grits I’ve ever had in my life at this establishment, therefore, I didn’t really peruse the menu too much as my decision was already made for me. I sided my meal with a fluffy pancake and we collectively topped off everything with a pitcher of mango-kiwi mimosas.

The plate of food came out and I did my “I’m excited to eat dance”. I dived right in and was overly satisfied. My grits were topped with a perfect concoction of seasonings and well cooked shrimp. Definitely the best I’ve ever had.

 

The Country Club 

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I’ll start with the fact that this is a great place to get all of your cute brunch photos. It has the look of an old house, which it probably was some odd years ago, and the interior decorating is a perfect backdrop.They serve bottomless mimosas for brunch and they also have a drag show twice a month.

I started with a roasted corn and crab bisque. It was delicious and a nice start to a meal. It’s also a good dish to get by itself if you want to eat light. I wasn’t able to finish mine because I wanted to save room for my main meal, which included scrambled eggs, grits, a biscuit, and bacon. The food was great and the staff was extremely courteous.

Side note: If you order bottomless mimosas, don’t forget to ask for your togosa (a mimosa to go)

This place is another one that gets booked very quickly, especially when there is a show going on. We had perfect timing and luckily got a table. You can also opt to sit at the bar in the back. Around that time, the bar was extremely packed because everyone was watching the Saints play the Rams and the New Orleans locals go hard for their Saints.

Another side note: They have a pool outside in the back that’s open in the summertime as well as a poolside bar.

Cajun Seafood 

 

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It’s been said that New Orleans has some of the best seafood. Well, I took it into my own hands to test the theory and I would agree with what the people say.

Our last night in NOLA, we stayed in and had a seafood feast filled with crab, crawfish, shrimp along with corn on the cob, potatoes, and gumbo. Everything tasted amazing and was so well seasoned. I learned how to properly eat crawfish and had some of the spiciest corn on the cob ever.

Cajun Seafood is a place you won’t go to sit down at and have a meal. It’s more of a pick it up and take it to go kind of place. Everything tasted fresh like they fished it out of the Mississippi that morning.

 

Wakin’ Bakin’ 

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Talk about hole in the wall. Wakin’ Bakin’ is a tiny coffee shop-style eatery that serves breakfast. There’s nothing overly fancy about this place.  The interior is very laxed with non-coordinating tables and the wall chachkies gave it a cozy feeling.

I ordered a swiss cheese and spinach omelette with a side of grits. I was pleased, especially with the grits. Cooked much more simply than the grits I had earlier in the trip, but still 10x better than what I’ve had at home.

This is a great place for a quick, affordable, and filling breakfast before starting your day. The one downside was that it took longer than expected for them to bring our food, however, the workers were extremely friendly so that made up for it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Big Chop: Two Years Later

Hello!

I’ve been natural for two years now and the journey has been interesting to say the least. There are plenty of ups and downs to being a Naturalista, but as much as I may complain, the good outweighs the bad and I would never go back. I wanted to show you an update and tell you what I’ve learned in the last two years.

  1. Detangling is an extreme sport.

My arms arms are getting toned for summer and I can thank the detangling process. It’s like when you split your hair into sections, you rest in between each set. I thank the man above for my deep conditioner, leave-in conditioner, and argan oil.

2. Protective styles are life.

While rocking your curls, twists, and braid outs are what natural hair is all about, sometimes you need a break. I wasn’t prepared to have to twist my hair every two or three days in order to keep my twist out looking half way decent. Protective styles, such as wigs, braids, weaves, not only protect my hair, but give me (and my arms) a break too.

3. Knowing your hair type is important.

Naturalistas, in general, encounter similar hair experiences. However, when you separate us into categories based on our hair type, we begin to experience things a little differently. For example, someone who is 4C may require more oils on their hair and scalp since they are prone to dryness and they also experience more shrinkage.

As my natural hair journey continues, I’m aiming for longer length and definition in my curls. I’ll continue to update you along the way.

Setting the Energy for 2019

The year is coming to a close and it’s time to start setting goals for 2019. Before we dive into that, I find it behooving to take a look back and see what’s been accomplished this year and what might make a second appearance on the 2019 list.

In my previous post titled “Stepping Into 2018 Like…“, I listed everything I wanted to do this year and I’m pleased with the outcome. With the right energy and focus, I managed to tackle everything on my list in some shape or form.

 

 

 

In order to keep the momentum going all year long, you have to be self-disciplined and consistent in your actions. Write them down. There is something so authentic about physically writing down your goals, plans, wishes, prayers, desires, etc. It’s taking the idea in your head and now having a visual representation of what you want. Put that list in a place where you will see it regularly as a reminder to yourself throughout the year.

Sacrifices go along with self-discipline. What you want to accomplish may require you to let go of other things. For example, I wanted to do some traveling this year and take my student loans seriously. That required me to give up other everyday luxuries that I enjoy, but it was well worth it.

 

 

While I do have a list of resolutions for the coming year, I want to focus on habits we should all leave behind in 2018 in order to have a prosperous 2019.

  1. Lack of faith | I’m talking lack of faith in all aspects. You need to keep your faith strong in whom (or what) you believe in whether, it’s God, the Universe, Buddha, Allah, the Moon, etc. If you choose not to believe in any higher power, then the least you can do is have faith in yourself. If you don’t think you’ll be able to achieve great things, you’re mentally setting yourself up for failure. These “great things” could mean becoming more fiscally responsible or turning your side hustle your main hustle. You’ve got to foresee it before you can make it happen.
  2. Inimical People | The company we keep makes a significant impact in our lives. You should always strive to surround yourself with peers and friends that will not only support you, but seize the opportunity to help elevate you to the next level. Anyone harboring negative energy for whatever reason or trying to keep you from your full potential shouldn’t have access to you in 2019.
  3. Fear | Letting go of fear is, by far, the hardest thing to do. We often times allow it to keep us from making bold moves and being who we are capable of. The on-set of fear goes hand-in-hand with where your level of faith is. The time you spend thinking about the negative outcomes can be used to think about the positive things you’ve done thus far. In the new year, we will take time to acknowledge, vocalize, and be proud of our accomplishments so that we can remind ourselves how great we are and not be fearful of our greatness.
“…is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.

Happy New Year!

 

República Dominicana

This year I turned 25 and decided to go all out for this milestone birthday. I, along with my cousins, celebrated for three long, luxurious days in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic and it was truly the best birthday experience I’ve ever had. If you’re a first timer, planning a trip to the Dominican Republic or any island, keep reading to gather some helpful tips!

THE RESORT

Where you stay while on vacation is one of the most important aspects of the trip, especially if you’re staying at a resort. It’s where you will be sleeping and spending a bulk of your time. After switching between a few places, we settled on Breathless Resort and Spa; an adult-only all-inclusive beach side resort. 

When we arrived, we were greeted at the door with drinks, which was only a foreshadowing as to what the next few days would look like. They asked what the reason for our visit was and we mentioned that we were celebrating my birthday. When we got up to the room, there was a little birthday cake waiting for me on the table! I thought that was a very personable touch.

I applaud Breathless for all of the entertainment events they had going on too. I feel like they really catered to a young and vibrant crowd. Between the foam parties, the late night beach parties, lobster dinner on the beach, and day time activities by the pool, there was always something going on. Not to say this place is party central because there are definitely areas of peace and solace if that’s what you’re looking for. 

I will say that we did experience a few minor problems with our room that had to be taken care of, but nothing major that would ruin our trip. 

The ability of being able to walk up to any bar and order a drink or going into any restaurant without having to pay for it is everyone’s favorite part of staying at an all-inclusive. Breathless had a good mix of restaurants to choose from that served different styles of food. My favorite was the hibachi grill because hibachi is always entertaining.

THE PEOPLE

The resort was also conveniently located near some shops in town run by the locals. So, yes we did indeed leave the resort, however, it was completely safe. We spoke to some people from the town and it’s amazing how different their lifestyle is compared to ours. The pace is a lot slower and very laid back. They’re a friendly group of people (especially if you’re black) who also have their own little side hustles trying to make a few dollars from the tourists. 

They like when you can speak a little bit of Spanish even if it’s just a few words. Knowing Spanish fluently would help, obviously, but it isn’t a major issue in the Dominican Republic. Truthfully, I found that the language barrier helped me refresh some of my Spanish. 

THE EXCURSIONS

For our excursion, I wanted to do something adventurous and so we went dune buggy riding through the island, which was an awesome experience. They lead us to a different beach that was more secluded and then to a dirt race track where we did a few laps full speed. Warning: Don’t wear anything you don’t want to get dirty. Also, if you have a bandana at home, bring it with you because you’ll need that and sunglasses to keep the dust out of your face.

We had lunch with traditional Dominican food (the chicken was bomb) and then got a chance to swim in a natural pool by a waterfall. Check out some of the candids below!

Chillin’ out max and relaxin all cool
Based on this photo, can you guess which one of us is a former cheerleader?

OVERALL

The Dominican Republic is truly a cool place and I would definitely go back. We spent a lot of time at the resort,  so next time, I plan to go and see more of the island. 

I thought traveling to an island in November would be significantly cheap since it was the off-season but prices were about the same. Nothing outrageous, but nothing crazily discounted either. The weather was pretty good. It rained everyday we were there but it only lasted five minutes and then the sun came out. 

Some people claim that after you’ve seen one island, you’ve seen them all. I beg to differ. I’ve been to two other islands (Bermuda & Ibiza) and experienced them in completely different ways. While there are similarities, each place has it’s own uniqueness, which separates it from the rest.

10/10 would recommend.