Jun 30, 2010

5 Steps to Loving the Single Life

Piggy backing off my previous post, I wanted to stress that I'm all for women embracing their single life! There is nothing better than falling in love with yourself. I mean, until you love yourself how can you love anyone else... and I'm a firm believer that if you can't do things to maintain your own happiness, how can you even begin to start offering that to another person.

Clutch Magazine featured a great article, Five Steps to Loving the Single Life, and I wanted to share some of their priceless advice:

Too many women are wasting their single lives, engaged in a desperate search for “the one,” when really, the one is staring them down in the mirror, waiting for them to remember that “one” is a whole number all by itself, and not a fraction. You may know some of those women. You might even be one of those women. And if so, I have some good news for you: You don’t have to be one anymore!

No matter your age or social status, it is never too late to take charge of your own happiness. Use these five simple and overlapping steps to get busy living — and loving — your single life:

Step 1. Date Yourself. A once-a-month date with you — and only you — is a must-do for loving your single life. Take yourself out to a restaurant and ask for a table for one. The hosts may try to seat you at the bar. Do not let them! You are not there to drink away your single misery or to hopefully meet some dashing stranger. You are there to enjoy yourself and your food. Get yourself a table and sit there — without a book, a magazine, a file from work, or your cell phone. Sit there and just be. Have your drink and your food and get lost in the sea of your own thoughts and absorbing the world around you.

Step 2. Get Uncomfortable. Get outside of your box of comfort and explore the world around you. Expand your horizons by trying something new: taste a new kind of food, study a new language, travel some place you’ve never been, learn about a new culture, pick up a new hobby, read books of an atypical genre.

Step 3. Achieve Career Goals. A wise woman once said, “It is never too late to be what you might have been.” To help you decide what you want to do with your life, ask yourself these questions: What is your passion? If you could make a living doing what you enjoy doing, how would you do it? If you are already working in your desired field, what is the utmost that you could achieve in that field? Visualize where you want to be in your career, and then execute the vision. Seek out mentors who have already achieved what you desire and who are willing to provide you with encouragement and advise you on what your next steps should be and what pitfalls to beware of. Nothing adds to loving your life like knowing that you can achieve a goal you set for yourself, and getting paid to do exactly what makes you happy.

To read more of the original article, including steps 3-5, click here.

Happily Ever Backlash...

Lately blogs have been ablaze with single women fighting back. They don't want your pity, canned advice, or to hear these 19 things that get under their skin! Everyone does not want to have a ring put on it and with all of the media attention single women (black women in particular) have been getting lately I completely understand why. Single chicks are on edge, slightly defensive, and ready to throw their single girl pride in anyone's face - - but as a married woman, I feel like I need to come to the defense of young, married folks out there. These are the things I'm tired of hearing...

1. Don't tell me that my marriage isn't going to work because I'm young. Yes... I'm 26, a newlywed and by no means do I know it all. The divorce rate is high but that doesn't dictate my marriage. My husband and I are the only two people in this and our commitment to one another is "til death do us part". It doesn’t take everyone until 40 to figure out what works for them romantically nor is there anything stating that you’ll know it all by 25. It’s about your life, your experiences and your own walk. People will look at you crazy if you get married "too old" and throw side eyes if you get married "too young." Do what works for you, I did what worked for me.

2. Don't tell me how to please my man. As my mother said "if you knew how to please a man you'd have one" lol...

3. Don't assume married sex = dull sex. I don't have a revolving lineup of bed buddies, but that doesn't mean my bedroom is only for sleeping... my kitchen table for food or the back of my car for throwing random things!

4. Married life is not boring. Let me clarify, MY married life is not boring. Many people think that once you say "I do" it's a one way ticket to an uneventful life. Please don't give me a look of pity because I'm 26 and married.

5. Don't give me advice on my marriage. I believe that the key to having a successful relationship is leaving your friends out of your business. I no longer need (nor have the desire) to give my girlfriends a play by play and get their take on every scenario. I don't mind conversing about relationships, but if you've never had a successful one to date I can't take your advice seriously.

6. Don't put me on a marriage pedestal. Marriage does not make me superior to any single person out there. I've often come to find that single friends will treat you differently first, working under the assumption that since you're married you're going to change. I'm still me - - just with the Mrs.

7. Don't assume I'm going to push marriage onto you. I could care less if you get married. Seriously. Marriage is something that I wanted for myself but wedded bliss isn’t for everyone – - that’s not to say a nurturing, fulfilling relationship isn’t. I believe everyone wants companionship and someone to live life with. Whether that involves getting married is up to the 2 people in the relationship.

8. I don't pity you. The only people I pity are those that aren't currently living the life they want. Single, married... swinger? I don't care as long as you're living your best, authentic life.

9. Don't think I'm just lucky. The reason I have a great relationship is because my husband and I give 100%. We didn't throw a coin into a pond or rub a genie's lamp. We have this because each and every day we work at it. Nothing is more insulting than when people try to discredit what you have and pass it off to "luck" or "chance".

10. No guilt trips. Priorities change! I didn't believe marriage could cause people around you to change, but when you take the next step and become husband and wife your friends really can go through some thangs. Yes, thangs! I've seen friendships suffer, die and disappear. I don't know if it's hard to grasp that there's someone else that's a priority or if it's just a natural growing pain... but it's best to understand that marriage definitely brings about a shift in priorities. Try not to guilt trip someone about "checking in", having a "curfew" or opting out of certain events. You're not in the relationship so you don't know what standards have been set.

One of the articles stressed how tired singles were of hearing cliche advice. The “unique” advice I have isn’t relationship exclusive – - I believe everyone is in the situation they’d like to be in. If you’re not happy, make a change! Otherwise, realize that you’re living the life you want… nobody can control you, make you stay or make you leave but you. I don’t feel pity for my single friends, I just have "seen the light" so to say. I now know how amazing it is to have someone 100% committed to you, your goals, and living life together and think everyone should be able to experience that. I am experiencing that through a marriage but it may come a different way for you.

Jun 29, 2010

Brazilian Blowout Update: 3 months

I'm currently rocking my summer weave for the next few months, but I wanted to give everyone an update on how my Brazilian Blowout was holding up at the 3 month mark.

<---- This is my hair blown out @ 3 months. You can see that it still gets pretty straight. I used my round brush and concentrated nozzle on my dryer. A flat iron isn't necessary. This is my hair curly. My curl pattern is pretty much back to normal. I don't have any frizz, but there's definitely more shrinkage if I don't do flat twists. ----->

Overall, I've been really pleased with the Brazilian Blowout. Again, I want to stress to people that my stylist Kim @ the Apricot Lounge Salon used the official Brazilian Blowout treatment. This is not something you can buy in stores or online. It has to be performed by a professional stylist that has been certified by the company. This treatment does NOT have formaldehyde and does NOT permanently alter your hair texture. Also, there is NO waiting period. You get the treatment sealed with heat, but you can have your hair styled curly when you leave the salon (as well as opting to rock it straight).

There are many treatments out there claiming to provide you with a Brazilian Blowout but they're really just Keratin Treatments. The easiest way I can explain it is that the official Brazilian Blowout is an iPod and the others are just mp3 players. They're not the same thing... and even if you call your mp3 player an iPod, folks that have an iPod know the difference.

If you're someone that likes the option of straightening your hair as well as having your curls be more manageable w/ less shrinkage and frizz, I'd recommend this treatment to you. Yes, it's pricey (over $200) but well worth the investment. The results can last anywhere between 12 weeks to 5 months... it really just depends on how you care for your hair. Again, think of this as a conditioning treatment that coats each strand of hair... the more you wash your hair, the quicker it will wear away. I was someone that washed my hair probably 3 times a week so I think my results lasting 3 months was great. I'd definitely continue to get this process done.

To locate a salon in your area certified in the official Brazilian Blowout process click here.

Jun 28, 2010

N♥il Art: My take on Minx

We all know that Minx is super expensive - - even the Chic Prints @ Sephora are near $20/set. This weekend I put my thinking cap on and decided to figure out a way to get the metallic look of minx with the cost effectiveness of regular nail polish. I rocked these super cute, cracked metallic JS shoes for my birthday and wanted to find a way to make my nails match.

The shoes I wore that served as inspiration for my nails

My Nails

To get this look:

1. 2 coats of Forever21 Love & Beauty nail polish in Olive ( a metallic based olive tone)

2. 2 coats of OPI by Sephora Only Gold for Me top coat (despite being glitter, it dries smooth)

I'm pretty obsessed with this look so I think I'll be rocking it for the next few weeks! Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Summer Weave: Time for a cut

This past Friday I headed to my amazing stylist Kim Allison @ the Apricot Lounge Salon to get my hair layered. I liked my weave before but after she worked her magic I fell in love with it! I have a full face and needed some soft layers to remove a bit of the bulk from the weave (though I only used about 4 ounces of hair) and frame my face.

Might I also add that I'm in love with my closure!!! I didn't understand how important the closure was for a full weave. For anyone that's curious, I have the Extensions-Plus Zig Zag Natural Body closure in style 1, size small.

I was cool before the cut but now I'm absolutely smitten! For all of my fellow summer weave wearers I'm glad to have joined the club!

**and someone asked me if I was still natural and I must clarify that wearing a weave does not mean that my natural hair has changed. It's braided up underneath this amazeballs weave lol... **

Jun 27, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me (and my husband)

Today is my birthday! Yes, I'm officially 26. Well, both my husband and I are 26. I feel really blessed to be able to share this day with my best friend. He makes everyday that much better. I'm joyously looking forward to the next 26 years with him by my side :)

On another note, I feel like life didn't really start until 25, so 26 is just the beginning of my adult life. I can't wait to see how this next year develops and everything that the world has in store for me (or better yet, what I have in store for the world!)

Happy Sunday to everyone and Happy Birthday to me (and the hubby)!!

Jun 24, 2010

Valley Social: High Society Fridays @ Jackrabbit

I'll be celebrating my birthday this Friday the 25th @ Jackrabbit in Scottsdale. Jackrabbit has totally revamped their Friday nights - - great crowd, hip hop/r&b, and a nice venue. I'd love for everyone to come out and have a drink with me as I toast to turning 26 :)

4280 N Drinkwater Blvd
Scottsdale, AZ 85251

Friday, June 25th


If you'd like to come out send me an email so I can know to expect you.

Jun 23, 2010

Chicago: Free. Fitness. Fun.

Sunday July 11th, Chicago's North Ave Beach is the place to be as Women's Health Magazine rolls into town for a day full of free fitness fun. This is the perfect summer get together for you and your girlfriends to try everything from global dance and self defense to surfboarding and power balance yoga. If you're looking for a way to combine qt with your girlfriends and get in your workout look no further.

The event will kickoff at 10am and run until 4. Registration is free and bound to fill up fast so make sure you don't delay. One of the perks of summertime in Chicago are all the free events... I urge everyone to take advantage of this.

Kick up your Cardio

Gyms aren't for everyone, but running outside just isn't for me. Nothing compares to the feeling of a treadmill underneath my feet, and I'm always on the hunt or new workouts to freshen things up. Recently I've taken a liking to sprint intervals as a way to keep my heart rate up and shock my body.

Taken from the June 2010 issue of Women's Health Magazine, trainer Joe Dowdell created this interval plan aimed at cutting your workout time in half while increasing your resting metabolism so you burn more calories. This workout can be done twice a week in conjunction with your choice of cardio on days you aren't doing any strength training.

*RPE = Rating of Perceived Exertion (how hard you feel you're working. Uses a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being easy and 10 being full-out)

1. Warm up for 3 minutes (RPE = 2 or 3)
2. Do a 30-second work interval (RPE = 7 or 8)
3. Do a 60-second recovery interval (RPE = 3 or 4)
4. Repeat #2 and #3 for a total of 6 work intervals and 6 recovery intervals
5. Cool down for three minutes (RPE = 2 or 3)

Total Time: 15 mins

After the first week add an additional work and recovery interval your workout, building up to 9 each.

Whether you've slacked the first half of the year, need to slim that waistline, or a way to breakout of your treadmill plateau - -this is the perfect workout. I typically work @ a 6.5 on the treadmill w/ 2 incline and recover at a 3.5 with 2 incline.

What gym routines are getting you right for the summer?

Jun 22, 2010

N♥tural Hair Update: Taking a break

I never thought that I would stop getting relaxers... not because I didn't like my natural texture - - I actually LOVED my natural texture, but after years of getting relaxers I was so far removed from what it was that it just seemed like one of those things "easier said than done". I was rocking a weave last summer and when it came time to get it redone I figured that I really didn't have the cash to pay for the hair, etc... thus, I started the transitioning process.

During the past year I came to really love my hair and was thrilled at the fact that it really was possible to get back to my original texture. The downside? Natural hair takes lots of maintenance. It's not impossible, but it does take constant work and can be time consuming. (When I was relaxed I wasn't into doing my hair that much either lol) Anyways, all of that led me to jump on the bandwagon and get a SUMMER WEAVE!!!

I've had weaves before but never with all of my hair covered. I didn't want to worry about blending and run the risk of damaging my hair so I opted for a full weave. I looked at this as an investment and decided to get good hair. My stylist recommended Extensions-Plus and I got the Zig Zag Natural Body with the style 1 closure in 12 inches.

Morning of my weave

Braided up - - halfway there!!

The summer weave is in full effect!

The end result? I'm really pleased with the way my weave came out. I'm still getting used to having all of my hair covered, but I don't think it looks like a wig plopped on my head lol. In the above pic I didn't have time to curl my hair before I went out (that's pretty much how the hair came out of the pack) but I'll be posting updates for how much wear I'm able to get out of this style.

If you're in the Phoenix area and looking for a salon please check out Apricot Lounge Salon. Kim and Vanessa are an incredible team and can solve all of your hair worries!

Jun 21, 2010

One to Watch: Zofia Falconi

It's not everyday I come across a piece of art that manages to both captivate and intrigue, leaving me yearning to know more about the piece itself and the artist behind it. Painted by the 22yo self-taught artist Zofia Falconi, "Embodied" managed to grab my attention and has yet to let go.

Falconi recently displayed her work at ISE's The Art of Life: Encore held at the Aloft in Tempe and received a great reception. Much to my delight she also does commissioned pieces as well as have current artwork available for purchase. For more information about this talented artist check our her blog.

Jun 20, 2010

Valley Social: 1st & 3rd Thursdays @ Hotel Theodore

If the weekend club rush isn't your cup of tea look no further than 1st & 3rd Thursdays @ Hotel Theodore. Sponsored by My Underground Pass, this bi-monthly event features a laid back, hip hop feel with DJs in 2 rooms, 2 full bars and a gorgeous patio. I'm a sucker for location & atmosphere and this place has both. The crowd is diverse... picture the underground/indie music scene... and I would definitely add this to my list of local Scottsdale hangouts.

Cloud lighting fixtures in the hotel lobby. I was obsessed with these.

The launch featured performances by local AZ rappers/singers. Yes, I was slightly skeptical when they hopped on the stage because I'm always ready to pounce on "rappers" ..... especially "AZ wannabe rappers" but I was pleasantly surprised. I didn't catch the name of the first rapper in the video I shot but he had a nice flow (the catchy hook didn't hurt either).

Jun 18, 2010

N♥il Art: Dippin Dots pt. 2

Last year I played around with a Dippin Dots inspired nail art design and I decided to revisit it . I changed up the colors but the overall design pretty much remained the same. So, here it is - - Dippin Dots pt. 2!

Valley Social: Saturday Nights @ Urban 7

The nightlife offerings for urban professionals in the Phoenix area have long been suffering. If you find yourself cringing at the thought of Friday nights at Myst or Saturday nights at PHX, Icon Status Entertainment & Epiphany Events are coming to the rescue.

A-List Saturdays will be a monthly event, the first being held at Urban 7 Martini Kitchen in Scottsdale this Saturday night. Finally, a central old town location and sophisticated, urban crowd - - you know, the kind with legitimate business cards - - I'm definitely looking forward to this. The cover is $10, DJ Cedric Ceballos will be on the 1s and 2s and there will be featured drink and appetizer specials.

If you'd like to reserve a VIP table contact Icon Status @ 480.655.5467.

Jun 17, 2010

Reality Check: Bethenny Getting Married?

Drama, drama and more dram - - this season the Real Housewives of New York was intense. Jill and Bethenny were engaged in WWIII and it was draining, to say the least, watching them fight every.single.week. After all that bs it's nice to see Bethenny bouncing back with her own show, Bethenny Getting Married.

Viewers that enjoyed Bethenny's quick wit can get more of it each week as her show airs Thursday nights on Bravo. Watch as she and her husband Jason plan their wedding, prepare for the birth of their daughter, and handle everyday life as newlyweds in the city. It's a refreshing show delving deeper into Bethenny's story line and I can promise you won't be disappointed. The 2nd episode airs tonight so hop in there and catch up!

Why I love Sonja

Thank God for Sonja Morgan.

After a season full of Bethenny vs Jill drama, new NY housewife Sonja Morgan has been the breath of fresh air everyone needed. She's the ex-wife of JP Morgan heir John Morgan and mother to a 9yo daughter (though we don't see her daughter on the show). Sonja is full of life, talks about sex 24/7, and has a great energy that has successfully sucked me in. I was on the fence about her at first but now I'm a fan. I'm glad to see Bethenny transition to her new show, Bethenny Getting Married, and think Sonja was a great replacement.

Part 3 of the reunion show airs tonight on Bravo so catch up on all the drama if you haven't been watching and get a feel for Sonja... she'll be around for a while.

The face of single, teenage motherhood

Mention Sarah Palin's name and you're bound to garner some type of reaction. Love her, hate her, wish she'd go away - - It's hard to deny the impact she's had on our country. During her run for VP the spotlight was shed on her life in Alaska and eldest daughter Bristol Palin was unable to dodge the media glare. Her teenage pregnancy made headlines and brought into question how cutthroat politics can be and whether kids should be off limits. Nevertheless, the single teen mom has risen to the occasion and is featured in the latest issue of Harper's Bazaar. The magazine headed to Alaska to interview the 19yo mother about her hectic life balancing a full time job, school, being a single parent and the face of the Candie's Foundation (which combats teen pregnancy).

About her Pregnancy:

"It was kind of humiliating," she sighs as she clears boxes of pizza and bowls of Doritos and Skittles. "Great, I'm 17 years old, I'm 40 pounds overweight with a big belly on me, all my friends are at school watching this on the news. This kind of sucks."

Bristol never expected to find herself here: waking up at 5:00 a.m. to fix Tripp's breakfast (usually eggs), get herself ready — "It takes me so much longer with a baby, it's not even funny" — then head to work from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. as a medical assistant in a dermatologist's office. "I thought I would be somewhere warm at college with my friends," she says. "But that was definitely not possible with having Tripp."

I was pleased with the article and glad to see her bounce back from all the negative press. She's not out there trying to be a singer, pose for playboy or the typical teenage trainwreck. She got pregnant (like many teens do) and she's living with her choices. I think this is a good read and urge everyone to put aside your preconceived notions and take a look.

Jun 16, 2010

Valley Social: Primebar Grand Opening

Fine food and beverages will be yours to enjoy as Primebar celebrates their grand opening in the Scottsdale Quarter Thursday night. Phoenix magazine is hosting the event, which will feature a silent auction benefiting The ALS Association's fight against Lou Gehrig's Disease.

Things start at 6p and capacity is limited so be sure to get there early.

15037 N. Scottsdale Rd.
Scottsdale, Az 85254

To claim your VIP pass and be entered to win a $100 gift card from Primebar, go to www.facebook.com/PhoenixMagazine or e-mail clutton@citieswestpub.com (or click the banner)

Kotex Challenge

Ladies, if you want leak free protection look no further than the Kotex line of Security Tampons. Hands down the best....

I previously blogged about the new U by Kotex line of feminine products and after trying them, I wanted to share my results.

Jun 15, 2010

Swagger Wagon


Often considered the epitome of suburban soccer mom living, minivans seemed to be the nightmarish reality of anyone in pursuit of the white picket fence and 2.5 children. Hoping to change things Toyota has embarked on a new marketing campaign intent on revamping the vehicle's image. This ad is the latest addition, and a very funny one at that.

When a word, "swagger" in this case, becomes so popular it's being used to market minivans, it's time to retire it! For now, goodbye minivan and hello swagger wagon!

N♥il Art: Minx for the Cheap

For those that love Minx Nails but would rather pass on the price, there's finally an affordable alternative: Chic Prints! The latest addition to the Sephora by OPI line of nail products, chic prints come in 8 different designs and cost $15 for a pack. There are only 16 prints in each pack, not enough to do 2 full manicures, but if you do 1 full set and then play around with 1 here and there you get the biggest bang for your buck. I must warn everyone that these nails are only supposed to last on average 2 days. There are ways to stretch this (top coat of polish), but I would really recommend them for a special occasion or weekend fun (i.e. apply them Friday night to be flashy for the weekend, etc.)

I must thank my wonderful girlfriend Jessica for putting me on to this amazing discovery. She tried the nails out and they looked great -------->

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