I really like this quote! I figured it was appropriate for a number of reasons — September is the month of change and starting new chapters (i.e. school). New beginnings. September is also a month of celebration for me; in fact, today is my birthday!! I’m so happy and blessed to see 24. Young, I know but I feel so old. I feel like I should have my life together and everything should be set. It’s that weird age range where pressure starts to kick in. I mean, I’m basically 25 which means I’m already 30.
To avoid stress and being overwhelmed, I’ve been talking to me a lot, sorting through my thoughts and figuring out next steps. Last week I told myself that I was over making excuses. No more self-sabotage and dilly-dallying. No more finding reasons to avoid what I SHOULD be taking care of. Since then, my productivity levels have been at an all-time high and I love it. Not to mention, the support I’m receiving from those closest to me are great, and I just want to thank you all! Starting this new chapter in my life, I’m committed to only participating in things that are conducive to my health and wealth, both directly and indirectly. This new chapter is dedicated to growth and prosperity. This new chapter is dedicated to family and friends. This new chapter is dedicated to love. All things I was afraid to do in 23, I’m conquering in 24. I’m coming in strong and applying pressure. Expect my foot to be on necks all 24. Last month was focused on new beginnings; it was the month of "congratulations" and promotions. As the prelude to this new chapter I'm about to embark on, it helped to put me in a winning mindset. Overtime, things pay off whether you realize what you're doing it for or not.
The beauty on the horizon comes from seeing your vision, putting in the work, and as a result, greatness comes from it. If you have a vision for yourself, please work towards it. Let that be your birthday gift to me. Push yourself to be great and make your dreams come true. Let my 24th year be a prosperous one from us all! I look forward to seeing what this year brings for us all.
Hey y'all! Just wanted to stop by and drop a quick note. Quite often in life, it’s very easy to get caught up in the routine of our daily lives that becomes our “ordinary”. And since that’s what we’re used to, we don’t ever notice anything else. I’ve been learning over the course of this previous year (much more in the last few weeks) that life is too short to not be aware of what’s going on around you. It’s important to pay attention, even in our ordinary lives, so we can start noticing the “extra”. It’s really the little things like taking your headphones out and hearing the birds chirping in the morning, or taking notice to how a genuine connection with someone at work brightens their day, or even simpler — listening to yourself breathe. See, in all actuality, our lives are quite extraordinary because God made us in His image. It’s just a matter of noticing and appreciating it. These past few weeks, I’ve been making the effort to look and listen for signs (I’m in a very intense creative stage so I need all the inspiration God can give me). It hasn’t been often but the times it has happened have been clear as day. And the only reason it’s been possible is because I’ve been looking for that extra in my ordinary moments (such as sitting on the train or meditating on the couch). Great things can happen when you start to be observant and aware! So as we step in this hectic holiday weekend, remember to take a step back to appreciate the little things you’d normally overlook. Be observant, be aware, be grateful!
Until next time –
It’s a beautiful gloomy day here in Georgia. Usually I hate the rain (I still do), but today I woke up in a good mood. I equate that to today being a new month! New month means new blessings, and new blessings means new reasons to talk about how great God is and how He’s been working in my life. I keep going on these writing hiatuses because I’ve been using my brain power to focus on myself and my healing, and some things aren’t meant to be published. I will say it’s slowly paying off; there’s been a ton of progress! On other note, I’ve been working REALLY hard to provide great things for you, both in the near and far future. Let’s just say I’m laying the groundwork so when things pop, I’ll be more than ready. Thank you all for riding throughout the journey — I can’t wait to share these new projects with you!
I don’t really have much to say today. I just wanted to touch base and encourage you all to continue to strive for greatness. Today starts an opportunity to add and conquer new goals. You should know by now that I’m super particular about how I organize my different thoughts, projects, and agendas. Yes, I have different planners and notebooks for every new thought and idea so I can properly track them. Whatever works for you, whether that be writing things on sticky notes and placing them around the house, writing words of affirmation on a chalkboard/whiteboard, or placing reminders in your phone. As the seventh month, July was the month of completion — whatever that may mean in your life. The eighth month represents new beginnings. Now it’s time to bring things into fruition.
Let’s be productive and conquer the month of August! I challenge you to put your best effort forth. Feel free to comment below with some goals that you’re looking to accomplish this month, or spread some words of positivity. I can’t wait to hearing from you, xo.
You don't have to say anything..I know I've been bad. I haven't posted in over a month, and quite frankly, that's absurd! I apologize a thousand times over. When I started this blogging journey, I never anticipated the impact my words and testimonies, and even my fashion expertise, would influence and touch others. For those of you that've reached out to make sure everything is okay, and those that have cussed me and told me to get to writing (cough cough, Mom), I'm back and hopefully better. This past month has been beyond hectic. And in the midst of all the chaos, I've been forcing in some me time – starting new series on Netflix, unplugging from social media, severely sleeping in on days off. I'll be the first to say that it's working. I feel great mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually.
I'd like to return on a positive note with this month's Words of Encouragement: Be Your Own Kind of Beautiful. Webster dictionary defines the word beautiful as (1) having qualities of beauty; exciting aesthetic pleasure, and (2) generally pleasing; excellent. We aren't, however, confined to textbook definitions. You define what you want YOUR beauty to look like. For me, beauty is defined by personal maintenance which includes pampering. If nothing else, I HAVE to have my nails done. I will literally feel unattractive if my nails have grown out too far and I haven't taken care of it, or if my polish from my pedicure starts chipping. If my hair and eyebrows aren't done, forget about it lol. Not everyone is like me. Some people love volunteering, or reading books, or exercising. It looks different for everyone, and by no means does it have to be physical. I actually believe beauty starts in the mind, and it shines through.
Being your own kind of beautiful, however, requires you to be kind to yourself. I'm probably the leader of the "Be Hard on Oneself" Committee. Stop that, it's detrimental. Even recently I've noticed instances where I've been really harsh to myself and after taking a step back, I realized that I needed to respect myself and not be disappointed when I hold myself to non-mandatory habitual standards. More specifically, I'm sure you all have noticed that in my absence, I hadn't posted June's Words of Encouragement (Be True to You). To be honest, I've tried to write that post 3 different times with a different approach each time. It would start out great and then somewhere along the lines, it wandered off into something that didn't make sense. The message I was attempting to portray got lost every single time. I haven't been stressed about life, but let me tell you trying to figure out what to say and how to say definitely stressed me out. I felt obligated to keep up with this trend I'd started, and when it became difficult, I was frustrated. It wasn't until June 30 that I realized that it was okay – I knew what it meant to be true to oneself, but because I'm on the journey of self-discovery and self-love right along with you, articulating it wasn't as simple as I'd like. It wasn't the end of the world that I didn't have content like I hoped, and no one would hate me for skipping out on it. Maybe I'll revisit it at a later date.
As always, there's a lesson in all my rambling. Be gentle to yourself. You ought to treat yourself the way you deserve and expect others to treat you. Speak to yourself with honor and respect. Treat yo'self ALWAYS (not into a financial crisis though). You are smart, gentle, exquisite. Define what you want your beauty to look like. There are no limits, so don't limit yourself. And as for me and my writing, please be patient with me. Life has been coming at me fast, but I promise I will write when the opportunity presents itself. I appreciate you all more than you know; thank you! Until next time, xo.
As I start this new chapter in my life, it’s time for deep reflection. I’ve officially been in Atlanta for a whole year! I call this past year my trial period because it tried me. I was tested in more ways than one, but here I am; still standing and telling my story. If no one else is, I am SO proud of myself and how well I’ve managed this whole adulting thing and all life has thrown at me. I have my own place. I handle business and take care of me. I’m developing professionally. I’ve always had an independent mindset, and I’m ecstatic that things are happening the way they have been, especially having experienced all I have since the moment I decided to leave New York about 375 days ago.
Have you ever witnessed someone who praises God so much that it almost seems like they're overdoing it? It's like the lady at church that just HAS to catch the Holy Spirit every single Sunday, regardless what the message is. After the past few weeks I've had, I can truly understand how and why people are like that (I'm not on that level yet, but coming soon). When God is so good to you, even in the midst of your disbelief and doubt, so much so that you don't deserve it, you have no choice but to praise and thank Him for His goodness.
Let me explain without writing a novel. I put in my notice to vacate my previous place 3 months ago without securing a new place. I guess you can say I had faith it would work out. Fast forward to late April/early May and I’m slightly starting to freak out, but not enough for others to notice. Between both jobs, I was squeezing in viewings before and after my shifts, leaving me extremely exhausted. However, I was running out of time and it seemed like I was running out of options. Up until early last week, I still didn’t officially have anywhere to move. Every single place I saw and liked came with some stipulation and I ended up not getting any of them. I even remember going as far as crying to my mom about how I was going to be homeless. It wasn’t until last Tuesday that I had confirmation that I in fact had a new home and would be able to move within a couple of days. God is a god of the 11th hour but I joke and say the 12th, because talk about LITERALLY right on time!!
Not only was I worried about finding somewhere to live, I was also stressing about the finances and if I'd have enough to: 1) pay my move-in fees; and 2) consistently pay rent. It all came, right on time. I was fortunate enough to get a promotion at work the week before I got my apartment, after months of pushing for it, guaranteeing that not only will I be able to pay my bills, but I'll be able to start rebuilding my savings that had previously been depleted.
During all of this, though it was hard to see in the moment, there were a great deal of people willing to help in ways that I wouldn't have even expected. I want to take this time to thank you all, whether it was assistance in the physical sense, financially, spiritually – even as moral support. I probably would have lost it weeks ago. But I seriously have to take a moment to be grateful to God for bringing me through this unharmed and for restoring my faith.
I'm sharing my story with you because we all go through it – the tough times that can have us questioning the what-ifs and where God is when you really need Him. I'm no perfect believer but I can say He's shut me up and gotten me together REAL QUICK. There's not a doubt in my mind that all things are possible through Him, although I may be a little weary of the timing. I want to encourage you all to be faithful even during the hardships, because God gives His hardest battles to His strongest soldiers. We were created to face adversity but not dwell in it. Let this new chapter in my life serve as an example that you can be going through something unimaginable and be brought out at the LITERAL right moment. Not a moment later or sooner. Be encouraged and of good faith!
It's Fashion Friday: Men's Edition!
It’s funny how things work out. A few weeks ago when I posted my wardrobe must-haves for women, I was going to create a poll on Instagram to see if men would be interested in fashion tips as well, when a friend of mine wrote me asking for them. I figured if you have to ask, I have no choice but to deliver. So here we are! Going forth, I'm going to be more mindful of my audience in having content applicable to everyone!
I love menswear because it’s so simple! And I don’t mean that in a bad way. I'm just saying, getting dressed on a day to day is a less complex process. Men don’t understand how easy they have it.Y’all can put on jeans and a t-shirt and still look good. But as a side note, I do appreciate a man that puts an extra effort to make sure he looks gewdt!! (all forms of grooming included). It shows you care, because believe it or not, presentation is EVERYTHING! Similar to women, there are items that I believe every man should have in his closet. As described before, must-haves make life easier when throwing outfits together. These are your go-to pieces. More often than not, at least one of your must-haves are worn on a daily basis, and if it's not that often, it's definitely multiple times a week.
Coincidentally, my dad is literally the most fashionable man I know, and I’m not saying that to gas him because I know he’ll read this. It’s the honest to God truth. That’s why I say I get my love for fashion, style and expertise from him (no shade to Mommy though). Since I was young, I saw how fearless he’s been with fashion, always taking risks. I’m not as bold, but I’ve learned to follow in his footsteps. It made sense that I’d use him as my examples for men’s must-haves — he’s set the tone for the expectations I have for men and their appearance.
Men, it's your turn!
Dig into your closet and see if you own any of these must-haves. If the answer is yes, start paying attention to how often you wear one or all of these and how much easier it makes life; if the answer is no, run, don't walk, to the store and get them – you can get the look for less and cash out at Zara for all of these must-haves, and then some!
I’ve been on a writing hiatus for a couple weeks. I got to a point where, even prior to this short break, I couldn’t find much inspiration to write and share, and the things I did write about weren’t.. for a lack of better words, “appropriate”. I’ve learned in my short time blogging that even though I have committed to being raw and real, not everything is meant for the public. I think it’s more important now than ever that I can differentiate the two. So as things started to occur, I stayed quiet to take everything in and process. The phrase “practice what you preach” is real, and I’m holding myself accountable to ensure I’m partaking in the things I’m inspiring you all to do. When I decided to start this blog, I included discussions around self-care because my experiences have shown me that self-care or lack thereof will tremendously impact your life and how you choose to operate. I write for others, but I also write for myself because I need to verbalize these words of encouragement and affirmation to unlock my full potential. I can't wait to delve into my career full force, and through talking out my flaws and imperfections, I'm ready to devote more of my time. That being said, forgive me for my absence! I hope I haven’t lost anyone along the way.
When life happens, it’s common to ask question like “why” and “how”. Trust me, I enjoy a pity party from time to time. But that does nothing but increase stress. Instead, I’ve been trying this new thing where I look back on where I came from and compare it to my current status. Nine times out of ten, it shuts me right up. I admit I’m not where I’d like to be, but a lot of progression has taken place. And I mean that for all aspects of my life. Over these past couple weeks or so, life has been happening FOR me and I’ve been keen enough to recognize and understand why I am where I am and that everything happens for a reason (regardless if I agree). See, acceptance is the first step to growth and enjoying life.
Let’s continue with the example of my career: my plan in the next few years is to open a styling boutique here in Atlanta, amongst a few other things. In my opinion, I am NOWHERE near that goal, not even a little bit. Even saying it out loud is nauseating. But over the course of my year here, I’ve almost finalized a business plan, met some incredible people ready to help, and (tried) to put myself in a position to win when the time comes. Acknowledging the journey is worth it, as well as envisioning my end goal. Every creative break, every sprinkle of inspiration, every motivating conversation contributes to the joy I am finding on this path to success.
As hardworking individuals that have dreams and aspirations, being distracted by the end makes you miss the journey; and despite the bumpy roads ahead, the journey is beautiful! Take a breath and process what is happening FOR you and around you before it’s too late. That’s how you find the joy in the journey.
Can I vent for a second? I don't have the luxury of those college therapy sessions so I need to get it out one way or another. One of the hardest things about being a black woman in current times is feeling the need to always be strong and exude all the things society doesn't view us as; in other words, do not be the angry black woman. Be better, not bitter. Lemme tell you something; pretending is exhausting. Cause at the end of the day, you have to face your truth when the audience is gone. My good friend Courtney wrote a similar post a couple weeks ago that discusses glowing in the midst of darkness (Glow in the Dark).
It took me a long time to realize that it's okay to feel. It's okay to exist within your emotions. Even now, when I start to feel something that seems foreign, I have to remind myself that it's okay to feel that. For a while now, I've been fighting a particular recurring feeling. Anything that would make it surface in the slightest form had to be discontinued – I'd tell myself: "I don't need that type of negativity in my life" and proceed to live life ignoring this feeling. But somehow, some little thing would always remind me of the one thing I was trying so hard to avoid. Even writing about it now has me in an uncomfortable mood. The thing with avoidance is that somehow, some day, you have to face the very thing you're trying to wish away. My mom has a weird but accurate analogy about this: if you are injured/wounded and you don't correctly address it, on the surface, it'll seem just fine. However, under that bandage, it'll fester and become infected. Something may come along that'll further irritate this wound to the point that it's unbearable and you HAVE to seek special medical attention. In the midst of having a specialist properly clean and dress your wound, you may cry and scream with all the pain you're in, but you know that the worst is over because it'll start to heal.
Did you hear that? We must experience pain to heal! That's how we are; that's our healing process. Right now, I'm avoiding it because I know my painful reality is going to hurt more than anything else. I tend to ramble but the point all of this is to say it's okay to not be okay. We're humans with feelings and emotions, and we're entitled to that. Getting over something doesn't come with a time stamp, take as much time as you feel necessary. And being okay doesn't mean you won't have a wave of random emotions. It's normal to have a moment in the midst of a good day: take a 5-minute bathroom break, cry it out, clean yourself up and proceed. Deep breaths through it all. I really think I'm writing this for myself, because I need to hear this, but I know someone else needs this as well. Being okay really comes from accepting your truth, whatever that may be. It means that you're honest with yourself and your feelings. Start facing your reality; and tell yourself "It's okay to not be okay."
As I've developed into my craft and career, one thing that has become more recognizable as I've said many times before is: it's not what you wear, but how you wear it. That's what makes your style unique to you. If as a people we lacked originality, we’d all look the same. Now, I know often times we think to ourselves: "I have no clothes. What am I going to wear?" I do it everyday – stare at two closets filled with clothes and still can't find a suitable outfit. What if I told you there are ways around that? .. Yup, no more endless stares in the mornings wasting time. I'm going to drop some gems that you probably know in the back of your mind but you may not understand the importance of. There are pieces that everyone should have in their closets to help complete practically any look. These essential pieces may be different for everyone, while some pieces in my opinion are universal. To be brief, here are my 5 wardrobe must-have items, why they're important, and what they can do for your look.
1. Denim Jacket
In the words of Alyssa Renée, "getchu a denim!" Denim jackets are so clutch because they can pretty much go with any outfit. In short, they'll make your life easier – that I can promise you! Regardless of the style (fitted, distressed or oversized), you can determine what look you want your denim jacket to give you, from casual to feminine to soft edginess. Depending on your mood, you can use your jacket to dress your look up or down. If you're running around the house looking for one more piece to add on before you walk out the door, chances are you need a denim jacket. For example, if you have on a t-shirt and jeans, throw on a denim; wearing a sweater and leggings, and need a little something extra to keep you warm outside, throw on a denim. Above all else, layering of a denim jacket can be worn year-round. Once you get one, you won't be able to live without it.
2. Leather or Moto Jacket
Leather jackets are similar to denim jackets in that they are an easy addition to your outfits. They can be worn as outerwear or as a layering piece for cooler temperatures. Though it's a bit more difficult to wear leather year-round, it becomes your go-to when you'd like to look more polished and put together, something a denim jacket can't always give you. Its versatility and elevated aesthetic makes life simpler when you're getting dressed in the morning. I'm sure you all know me well enough to know that aesthetic is important. My favorite look this past fall/winter season (when it wasn’t freezing) was wearing my leather jacket with a faux fur cropped vest over it. It served as my outdoor jacket, providing enough warmth whilst serving looks *inserts money bag emoji while Cardi B's "Money Bag" plays in the background*.
I've spoken about booties before and what they can do for your outfits, so it was a given that they'd be on this list. Sometimes I find myself going weeks straight wearing booties because of how easy they are. When I was in NY, I wore them practically everyday to work, even when I didn't wanna get dressed. They're a good excuse to be a little lazy with your outfit, adding a little pizzazz when you throw booties on.
It’s semi comical that these made my list because some years ago, I didn’t own a pair of sneakers. Now I obsess (in my head) over different styles and imagine what my closet would be like if I bought certain pairs, even though I own less than 5 pairs still lol. Sneakers are good for making a casual outfit look great. Not to mention the comfort that they provide. Take the outfit on the left for example, I could have worn a variety of shoe options that would complement this look, but the matching shoes made it pop and turned a regular outfit into a look that stands out! They can almost do the same thing as booties, not really, but they are a great alternative. How does that saying go ... “You can tell a lot about a person by the type of shoes they have on, and how well they’re upkept.”
5. Dad Caps
I loveeeeeee hats! Any type of hats really, but my top choice would have to be dad caps. That’s because you can wear them with the most casual outfits or with looks that are a bit dressier. Sometimes I get my hair done JUST to wear a dad hat. It sounds crazy, I know, but there's something about long hair paired with a cap that I can't resist (and I know other people feel this way because I just had this conversation with someone the other day). They’re a great go-to when you need a quick accessory or want to be simultaneously chic and edgy (as displayed above). Side note: pic #2 is the perfect example of building an outfit around my must-haves — dad hat, denim jacket AND booties! It was a killer winter look that everyone loved!
Now that I’ve given you my tools, go in your closet and try to create your own.
I’m sure you'll find that if you already own some or all of these items, you'll start to see how much simpler it makes your "get ready" process. If you don't own them, you'll start to wonder how much easier putting looks together can be. Trust me when I tell you it will be. Go out, and be great. Step into the weekend ready to conquer in the most fashionable and stylish ways possible! Happy Friday!
Spring is typically the time people clean in entirety – their homes, their closets, their relationships, their lives; basically anything that causes clutter and confusion. We all do it in an attempt to transform and redeem ourselves from our failed New Year's resolutions. We become so concerned with change and everything "wrong" in our lives, that we don't take the time to notice all the good things in our lives. I'm going to take a leap of faith and say we're all in good health with a roof over our heads, we're employed, all the bills are paid, we have some sort of support system and if you're reading this, you're definitely alive! Take a minute to be grateful.
I tend to discuss my life's trials and tribulations a lot but that's all I know, and a common message of your story becoming someone else's testimony is heavily resonating with me. When I moved to Atlanta almost a year ago, all the plans I had for myself fell through. I was out of work for four months, I ran out of money, and created way more debt for myself than I left New York with. Not to mention, I lost people that were extremely important to me. All of that stress and depression I spoke about a couple weeks ago had peaked during this time. But in a short (not really) time, I went from having no jobs to having two. I'm slowly but surely climbing out of debt. I used to be legitimately afraid to check my credit score, but now it's hitting numbers I haven't seen in a while! I've been able to live a little and have fun. Just a couple days ago I was complaining to one of my friends that working so much was causing a ton of distress on me (physically and mentally) but I quickly had to stop complaining because: 1) this phase is almost over (thank God!), and 2) there was a time when I had nothing but time.
I say this to say that though things may not seem how you'd like at times, look beyond the obvious negatives and point out the things that ARE good. Start your days being appreciative and thanking God. Realize that all the "bad" that's occurring is because something greater is coming. Instead of complaining, take a moment and reflect – someone is in a far worse situation than you are. Remember, the glass isn't half empty, it's half full. When you change your mindset and begin to think this way, you'll truly see that life is lovely.