Jun 27, 2011

Golden Birthday

Today my husband and I are celebrating our golden birthday - - 27 on the 27th!

I'm not sure what I was expecting for this day, but it feels good to be surrounded by loved ones and growing older with the love of my life. I'm planning on enjoying the rest of my vacation in Chicago and can't wait to blog about everything that has been going on - - in particular, the craziness that I witnessed at the 
Summer of the Sexy event held @ Sawtooth in the West Loop, along with the scariest boss ever @ Perez Mexican Restaurant.

Summertime in Chicago has a way of luring your back into city life and is making me feel nostalgic. Is a move in my future? Who knows... but for now I hope to see as many people as I can before I head back to South Carolina.

To everyone that has already sent birthday wishes my way, THANK YOU!!! I appreciate being shown so much love... even if Facebook is giving you a reminder and making it super easy lol... it's the thought that counts :)

Jun 25, 2011

TGIFresh Friday

I'm on a much needed vacation in Chicago right now and it feels like my social life has been revived!!! Although I'm clearly over the "club" scene (I've been donating $ to the cause since I was 18 lol), it's always refreshing to get together with my girlfriends and have a night out.

I've heard great things about the TGIFresh Friday events and am looking forward to attending Summer Madness next week. Best part? Although an RSVP is required it's free before 1030p! I'm all about fun times on a budget... or better yet, fun times for free.

Sidebar: My birthday is Monday!!! Yay for turning 27... still sounds kinda weird to say that number out loud. Like, what in the hell is 27?? lol... but I'll be using this event which is a few days later as my semi-official b-day outing. If you want to come celebrate with me please click the flyer to send your rsvp. You'll receive an email confirmation with a TICKET that must be printed out... and it has your name on it too!! Very fancy and high tech lol... I love how they're cutting down on craziness at the door.

Jun 21, 2011

What to do when your deodorant quits on you...

Today marks the first official day of summer and in South Carolina the humidity is intense!! I'd been a faithful Secret deodorant user for years, but recently felt like it was starting to fail me. I wouldn't even be engaging in strenuous activity, but it felt like my "Secret" was on the loose. There's nothing worse than feeling self-conscious about how you smell, and if anyone else can tell your pits are rebelling it's quite embarrassing.

My mother has sworn by Degree deodorant for years and she never smells bad lol... so I decided to make a switch and give the brand a try. It's been a few days and I can already see, and smell, the difference! Degree deodorant is amazeballs!!

My husband commented that I smelled like baby  powder and I realized it was my pits... I was in heaven! After a ton of activities my pits were smelling super sweet (and not ripe lol) so Degree has been a success so far.

I've heard of people changing their face/body wash or shampoo/conditioner up because it feels like their body got used to it, but it never dawned on me that the same good be true for something like deodorant. Have you had to change up your brand recently?

Jun 19, 2011

The Four Agreements

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, is a book that has been on my must-read list the past few months.  As a Mexican Shaman, Ruiz wrote the book as a guide to personal freedom.

In an effort to "expose self-limiting beliefs" Ruiz offers four "simple, yet effective" rules for personal conduct:

1. Be impeccable with your word
2. Don't take anything personally
3. Don't make assumptions
4. Always do your best

These seem easy enough but when faced with living your life by these rules you may realize appearances are deceiving. In my own life I find that I do take things personally from time to time, do not always put forth my best effort, can waver on my word, and sometimes make assumptions. Ruiz believes that by living our lives with these four principles as a guide we can eliminate many of the struggles we encounter. I, for one, am interested in seeing how accurate his theory is.

For the next week I'm going to try living my life by these principles, focusing on one each day for the first four days, then perfecting all of them the remaining seven.

Jun 17, 2011

Twitter Crews & Blogging Boos

Recently Clutch Magazine penned an article about cyber-friendships and questioned whether there was a limit to how much value one should place in them. Being someone that values both my real life friends and "blogging boos", I value the cyber friendships I've established via my blog, YouTube page, and other social media sites.

Somewhere in my perfect world I would love to organize a bloggers vacay with all of the wonderful ladies I've been able to meet online,which I hope doesn't sound strange lol... I mean, if people can meet their future spouses online it seems well within reason to find compatible friendships the same way.

Anyways, my top 3 favorite cyber friends I have yet to meet in person...

1. Bajan Beauty @ Curves and Confidence - The fashionable e-friend. I love her personal style and often resort to her blog for fashion inspiration. We're similar sizes so I feel like I get great ideas of how things would look on me by looking at her... although I think she has more booty than me and I have more boobs... but anyways I love her blog and would love to raid her closet in real life.

2. Alisha @ Because I Said So - The "never short of an opinion" e-friend. Alisha is a talented writer and my go-to blogger for literary fun. Reading her opinions on everything from black women in the media, to music and natural hair, she's very opinionated and I'm sure we could talk for hours about everything.

3. Danyelle @ MsDanti1 - "The Makeup and all things Girly" e-friend. Besides the fact that I'm in love with her eyebrows lol, Danyelle is a beast with the makeup brush and I know she could beat my face to perfection! Aside from the obvious perks of having a friend with makeup skills, she radiates good vibes and honestly, though it sounds corny, she looks like my type of girl! lol... she's super photogenic, seems like fun, and just looking at her I think "Wow, we'd totally be best friends".

Also, I have a few blogging "friends in my head" that I don't interact with but still love their blogs. Those honorable mentions:

1. Gabi @ Young, Fat, and Fabulous
2. Taye @ Stuff She Likes

Who tops your list of blogging boos?

Jun 16, 2011

Life Without Cable Pt. 3

This post should have been titled: I love Netflix!

The journey my husband and I have been on to downgrade our cable services, all with hopes of living cable-free, has hit a plateau. We were able to get our bill down to a comfortable price and we discovered the joys of Netflix.

I can't say enough positive things about the Netflix service. I'm sure being able to live stream HD quality shows via his Playstation 3 is a huge factor, but I just love the ease of using this service. On top of the convenience the selection is vast and has something for everyone.

We've been able to discover new (to us) shows and watch entire seasons at a time. High on my list of favorites are: 24, Glee, Swamp People .... and my husband's favorites Ancient Aliens and Battlestar Galactica - - which I'll admit can hold my attention though I have no clue what's going on with the storyline lol.

For now Netflix has given me a lot of hope that I could survive life in a household free of cable... but when I think about it, I kinda love TV, I love my DVR even more... so why live life without it? lol...

Jun 15, 2011

Brow Update

Last week I blogged about trying MsDanti1's eyebrow tutorial using concealer to highlight the brows. I was finally able to see what my brows looked like fully blended with the rest of my foundation and daytime "face".

I think it's important to remember that makeup is meant to enhance what you already have, so using this technique I wasn't trying to have super thick brows... just fill in and perfect my natural shape.

I'm loving this method!!

**Tip** - - After moisturizing my face I do my brows first, then apply foundation, etc to the rest of my face. It helps having a clean slate and not worrying about messing up the rest of my makeup.

Reality Check: Braxton Family Values

As a result of my husband and I downsizing from 2 DVRs to just 1, I had to give up a few reality shows. Braxton Family Values was among the many shows that I big adieu to, however, I was recently able to catch a marathon and I'm kind of a fan.

Last night I watched the season 1 reunion and I can definitely say I'm looking forward to season 2. Even with her obnoxiously loud mouth and borderline ghetto personality, Tamar is the star of the show. I have a soft spot for the baby of the family. I love the family dynamic the show captures and feel like things are pretty authentic.

When I was watching the finale I mentioned to my husband that this show made me want sisters. He quickly asked why because all of the girls seemed "annoying" on the show. I had to remind him that he though I was annoying sometimes lol... women are just annoying - - can't get around it. We all have our moments. I have friends that feel like sisters, but this show makes me long for biological sisters. I wonder what my life would be like with a built-in friend. My mother comes from a super large family (15 kids) and has a grip of sisters so I can attest to the theatrics having a lot of people around can cause, still I can now blame this show (along with the Kardashians) for making me a tad bit jealous I don't have any sisters.

Who else watched this season? What did you like most?

Jun 10, 2011

Best Movie Ever...

One word: Bridesmaids!

I absolutely loathe when people hype a movie up and it seems to fall flat (i.e. Hangover I and II), but for once Bridesmaids lived up to all the hype. Icing on the cake? My husband loved it too! Ladies, this isn't just a "chick flick," but a refreshing comedy that you can see with your girlfriends or your man.

What I loved most about this movie was how realistic it was. Yes, things were exaggerated and over the top, but all within reason of being something that could just possibly happen.Unlike the Hangover II (which was ridiculously unrealistic-- we saw Thor the same day and I found that to be more believable), Bridesmaids is kinda like that one crazy story everyone has that seems like it'd never happen but actually did - - (I have a few of those lol) but seriously... I can't remember the last time I laughed so hard I was crying!

Without giving any spoilers, my favorite part had to be the airplane scene!! I'm such a neurotic basket case when it comes to flying that I was in tears watching the hilarity and chaos that ensued on their flight.

This is a MUST SEE movie!!

Sidebar: Can I just say how f'ing psyched I was to see a line-up of uber talented women with perfect comedic timing carrying an entire film!!! This seriously put me on a "girl's rock" type of high. This movie is SO funny... instantly in my top 5 funny movies.

Jun 9, 2011

National Marriage Day

Today is National Marriage Day and a time to celebrate the lovely spouse you call husband or wife. Taking the time to reflect on my almost 2 years of marriage, I started to think about the best advice I was given.

Learning to keep my friends and family out of my business has been crucial! Discretion and subtly was never my strong point, but my mother was sure to pass the importance of defined lines and privacy down to me - - (which is funny because she's super nosy lol...) but seriously, learning when to keep your disputes to yourself is a good great thing.

Just because your husband or wife did XYZ to piss you off and you feel like venting doesn't give you the right to start blasting your business to anyone that will listen.

Once you've had a chance to calm down, talk about things, and find yourself a-ok an hour later, you'll feel silly for flipping out so much (trust me, I've been there before lol...) I'm not saying to keep your feelings bottled up inside, but learning how to communicate effectively with your spouse will serve you better than running your mouth to your friends. At the end of the day, nobody can resolve your issues better than the person you have the issues with!

So, what is the best marital advice you can give, or have been given?

Jun 6, 2011

It's all about the brows...

Like most women, I know that a well put together face is all about the brows. My journey to having fab brows has been a rough road, but I'm always game to learn tips and tricks along the way. One of my favorite Tumblr pages, MsDanti, is always blowing me away with her flawless makeup and enviable brows. Recently she started a  YouTube channel, and although she only has 2 videos posted, one shows her everyday makeup look -- featuring her famous brows that I was excited to give a try.

I've always shied away from using concealer on brows, but was well aware of how popular the technique was. I found myself with some time on my hands Saturday night, and before washing my face for bed decided to see if I could work the concealer magic on my brows.

Since it was the wee hours of the night my goal wasn't to create a fully made up face, but I wanted to see what results I could get with a little concealer and my brow pencil. It's safe to say that I was super impressed by how amazing my brows looked! I think this will be my new go-to application method.

I was so in love with my brows that I refused to wash my face for a few more hours... just wanting to soak in the fabulousness of it all lol... slightly corny, but I was enamored by them. I'm excited to see how this method looks completely blended and with the rest of my face done... but in all honesty, just having my brows, lip gloss, blush, and mascara could be a nice daytime look.

If you'd like to learn this technique check out Danyelle's video:

Jun 3, 2011

21st Century Marriage - How Married Are You?

Long gone are the 20th century marriages that were overwhelmingly defined by romance, love, and intimacy. According to a story by Time Magazine, 21st century "post-romantic" marriages are the result of obligation, partnership, and convenience.

In an interview with the magazine, Pamela Haag spoke about her new book, Marriage Confidential, and five new types of marriages making their mark in relationships across the country (and world).

What kind of marriage do you have?

Semi-Happy Marriage
All marriages have their ups and downs, but the semi-happy marriage is chronically ambivalent. It's a marriage that's neither miserable nor all that successful. Semi-happy spouses genuinely can't decide if they should stick it out and live with the faults in the marriage, or if those faults are too much to handle. Many semi-happy marriages are high-functioning — almost like business partnerships or friendships — but they lack important elements. In other cases, spouses wonder if their expectations are too high and worry that they're being selfish, but they also can't shake the feeling that they might be in the wrong marriage. Researchers estimate that anywhere from 55% to 65% of divorces hail from this group of low-conflict yet listless marriages.

Parenting Marriage
On the one hand, children are less central to marriage than they were before. Single parenthood by choice is on the rise, as are deliberately child-free marriages. On the other hand, for many people, children are perhaps the one remaining imperative to get, and stay, married: parenting is one thing they don't think they can do just as easily on their own. So, when couples do opt to have children, they can become almost entirely defined and consumed by the tasks of parenthood. This is something new for marriage because in the past the roles of husband and wife involved more than just child rearing.

Workhorse Wives
The workhorse wife is the exhausted breadwinner to her dream-chasing husband. It's one version of a semi-happy marriage, in the modern style. It goes like this: husband Joe wants to become a poet, sculptor, pro golfer or other financially stressed professional, while wife Jane is the frazzled, high-achieving breadwinner for both in a career that she doesn't find especially fulfilling. Jane's similar to a 1950s husband — except she often does the chores as well. This kind of marriage does not refer to stay-at-home dads, who pull their load by raising the kids. In the workhorse-wife marriage, the "dreariness equation" is way off, and the wife ends up shouldering much more than her share.

Ed McMahon Syndrome
This often describes someone in a semi-happy marriage who follows the "You are correct, sir!" strategy for getting through disagreements. A person with Ed McMahon syndrome is so eager to maintain the stability, calm and semi-happy predictability of the marriage that he or she will agree with just about anything his or her spouse says, so as not to rock the boat or cause a disturbance.

Some married — and divorced — couples, have carved out a middle zone between marriage and divorce. Divorced cohabitants, for example, still maintain a household together for their children, but enjoy the (discreet) privileges of being unmarried. Other spouses are still married, but may function more like they're separated and don't seem to be entirely together. This makeshift middle ground has only grown since the recession of 2008 because, quite simply, many couples can't afford to get divorced. They can't sell their home (or they'd have to sell it at a loss) or they can't afford to establish two households, to say nothing of paying for the divorce lawyers.

Valley Social: Light Rail Pub Crawl 2011

Looking for a way to have some drinks while giving back to a great cause? Join the Greater Phoenix Urban League Young Professionals for their Light Rail Pub Crawl 2011.

The festivities will kick off tomorrow at 5pm @ Maizie's Cafe & Bistro (4750 N. Central Ave) and hit light rail hot spots Hula's Modern Tiki, Macayo's, The Province at Westin, and Cheuvront Restaurant & Wine Bar. Attendees will receive food and drink specials at each location and all proceeds with benefit the Urban League's College Prep Program.

Tickets are only $5 and can be purchased online or at the event.

Jun 2, 2011

Soaking up the Sun...

Yesterday it was 93 degrees, sunny, and blazing hot out. What better way to enjoy the heat than throwing on my suit and putting in some time by the pool!

It's easy to convince yourself that you need to do XYZ before you hit the beach/pool in your bikini but I decided that I'm going to embrace where my body is today. I've been working on cardio and have a ways to go before I feel like I'm back in my peak physical condition, but I refuse to allow my self-perceived flaws and shortcomings to keep me from enjoying life... especially the water! Sidebar: I'm obsessed with being in the water and would be happy doing most activities in the pool.

I always find it funny that women are so eager to get breast implants because the only DD+ breasts that are fun are fake, in my opinion. Big boobs are annoying, can kill your waistline in the wrong outfit, and make finding cute bras and bikini tops a pain in the butt. I've been obsessed with rocking a triangle top and was thrilled to find a super supportive one last year. This photo does it no justice, but I snagged this suit at Target last year (it's a Converse suit) and it has double straps! I always feel locked and loaded in tight when I wear it.

I've also had my eye on Fig Leaves for their amazing selection of DD+ suits. If you're a busty lady definitely check out their site. The options are diverse and the prices affordable.

Going into these summer months continue to work on whatever fitness goals you have, but don't forget to stop and enjoy where you are right now. Buy clothes that fit you right now instead of waiting for what size you may be in a few months. When you prepare to hit the beach, don't necessarily dress to HIDE your flaws, but find something you're comfortable in and embrace you! I don't want to sound like some motivational speaker, but I could make a long video speaking about all the reasons I didn't want to throw on a suit... just know that if you've ever felt nervous to don a 2-piece you aren't alone!!

Jun 1, 2011

Natural Hair: Giving my Twists a Twist...

Last week I came across a post by Jamila of College Curlies describing the perfect 3 day method for getting her natural hair styles to last. Her day 1 look consisted of rocking her twists in a cute, pinned up style in the front with a hat and I was instantly obsessed.

Jamila of College Curlies
Throwing on a knit cap is my go-to for when I don't feel like taking my hair completely down, but it can be boring. Jamila added a creative twist on styling her twists by pinning the front up in a super cute way ---->

I was anxious to give this a try and didn't even bother fully styling my hair. I had an old twist-out that needed to be washed, but I grabbed a few of the front pieces and got to work following her method. The results weren't nearly as neat as her original style, but I got a similar look. I'm excited for how much nicer my results can be when I take the time to really style my hair. Sidebar: I love her black knit cap! Most of the knit hats I have are bright colors which can add a nice pop to an outfit, but I definitely want to add a black, knit hat like the one she's donning in the above pic to my collection.

For anyone interested in recreating this style - -a great option for around the house or running  out - - watch Jamila's video below.

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