Painting Nails With My Niece

I've been babysitting my 4 year old and 2 year old niece this week since they're school is closed for The Holidays. Knowing today was my last day with them, they kept asking if they could get their nails painted with the polish I bought them for Christmas. You're probably wondering, who buys kids nail polishes - but my nieces are little divas in the making. Since they do like nail polish, I got them a kids brand that doesn't have the harsh smells and chemicals as the ones that adults would typically use. It's basically like water color and peels off instead of chipping. The little one was napping with napping with my Lil Sis while this was happening, but she made sure to get her nails done before she went home,lol. They made me paint mine as well, so I quickly slapped on a coat which started coming off within an hour, lol.


Five Things




Fran shows off her gorgeous plus size body in a bikini on the beaches of Jamaica

After seeing this blogs author in a commercial, I've been meaning to read her stuff but never got around to it. I've been missing out! Not Without Salt in the ultimate in food blogs


When My Fro Is Fed Up

This was a long time coming.

I haven't been detangling the way I'm supposed to and I paid for it.

After wearing my hair in a bun for the past two weeks to ignore the issues, I finally faced Eartha (that's what my cousin named my fro) head on earlier this week. Parts of my hair felt like it was locking up on me, so I figured I had the following options:

1. Dread up

2. Shave my head and start all over

3. Sit for hours to slowly and gently untangle my hair and promise myself not to let this happen again

I chose option 3...and man did it take aaaalllll dddaayyy. Talk about lesson learned. It took me about an hour or two to detangle - then I parted it in 4 and washed and conditioned in section by section - followed by a little more detangling - then I sealed with vatika oil and twisted everything up. Lord have mercy. Sadly, I lost a lot of hair in the process, but I haven't seen any hair in my comb since.
I'm thinking of having my aunt blow dry it for me when I go back down to Florida again give me a trim so I can start fresh for The New Year. Hopefully I can stick to my hair resolutions so I don't find myself in this position again.


New Product Added To My Regimen: VATIKA OIL

Whether you're Black, White, Yellow, Blue, Purple, Relaxed or Natural - chances are you'll be able to benefit from Vatika Oil. In my attempt to add use more ayervedic products, I finally purchased this oil after years of hearing about it and it's benefits. With my hair susceptible to dryness, my main reason for trying the Vatika Oil is to seal my hair and possibly use it as a hot oil treatment among other things. A coconut oil infused with numerous herbs, it penetrates the hair shaft and is said to aid in hair growth, repairing damaged hair, add shine, and of course making hair more manageable as it moisturizes the hair. Vatika Oil is also great to rub into your hands before you take down your twists or braids. I've only begun using this oil since the beginning of this week, so I'm still playing around with it to figure out how much my hair needs and in what way. While I continue to use it to eventually share my personal findings with you, here is a little more information:





Ingredient + Benefit Breakdown

Henna - colorant, hair conditioner & restorative

Amla - hair nourishment, delays graying & hair fall

Harad - protects from UV rays, delays graying

Bahera - maintains hair color

Neem - anti-microbial, fights dandruff & hair fall

Brahmi - hair vitalizer

Kapur Kachari - antiseptic

Lemon Oil - astringent, fights dandruff

Coconut Oil - promotes hair growth & nourishment

  Cow's Milk - natural nourishment for scalp & roots


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Get Glowing Skin + Beautiful Hair with BENTONITE CLAY


I'm slowly but surely crossing items off my 2012 skincare and haircare list. One of my must haves for The New Year is Bentonite Clay! Anyone who knows me is well aware of my need to get a bang for my buck, and this product doesn't disappoint as it's both inexpensive and can be used for multiple purposes. Let us count the ways:

Body Wrap |
I remember being in skincare class and being so disappointed when I learned that body wraps weren't part of the basic curriculum (unless I wanted to pay an extra couple bucks for a separate class of course). There are numerous benefits to body wraps including tightening the skin, detox for the skin, improving circulation and clearing up blemishes. This particular clay is said to aid in glowing skin and improving skin tone in addition to a few other things.

For The Hair |
If you're looking for a natural way of clarifying your without using shampoo - you may want to try this. This hair mask nourishes the follicles, softens the hair so you can detangle with no problem while your hair is wet (that way you won't have tons of hair in your comb when you're done), gives hair sheen, draws out oils, dirt, dead skin cells and product buildup and may enhance your natural curl pattern (if your hair isn't relaxed or naturally straight). A few ladies have even said that it has given their hair more body.

Face Mask |
Just as it pulls toxins out of the hair, it does the same for skin and will improve acne blemishes. It's said that this clay reduces pore size and will improve the overall texture and look of your skin no matter what your skin type.

Find This Product Here:
Trader Joe's
Whole Foods
Vitamin Shoppe
Various Online Sites

My 2012 Skin Resolutions

photo credit
Drink water...drink some more...and then drink some more water
Experiment with the oil cleansing method
Never fall asleep with makeup on my face (we've all had some lazy nights, right? lol)
Exfoliate using facial scrub once weekly
Cut down on commercial products and make my own again
...and drink more water

Do you have any skincare resolutions for the New Year?



My 2012 Hair Resolutions

photo credit | Tommy Ton via Jak and Jil
Get a trim
Cover my hair everynight for bed
Create and stick to a strict hair regimen
Section my hair into 4 sections and detangle hair before shampooing
Shampoo and condition hair in while seperated in four sections
Buy a Hueitful Hair Steamer
Deep Condition Once Weekly
Do more protective styles to avoid over manipulation
Moisturize hair every other day
Experiment with ayurvedic methods

Do you have any hair resolutions for the New Year?

Five Things


{RANT & RAVE} Jouer Lipgloss: Birchbox Pink


I love a bold lip which has caused me to stray away from lipgloss over the past year or so. However, when I received my first Birchbox this month, I was most excited about trying the Jouer Lipgloss in the custom created, "Birchbox Pink".

Rant| After trying it on, I was underwhelmed with the color, but I suppose it would be a great addition over a lipstick.

Rave|  Although the color wasn't to my liking, my lips were left very soft and the gloss lasted a long time - no frequent applications needed.

I can't say I'm willing to spurgle ($20.00) for the full size container - but if you want a hydrating lipgloss with a sheer pink finish, I'm sure you'd enjoy :)

LIP SERVICE | Revlon: Just Bitten " Passion" + Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick "Berry Haute"

I have a weakness. I can't walk into a drugstore without purchasing at least one beauty product. Nail polish and lipstick are my two favorite things, so I always walk out the store with at least one of them. This week I set my sights on the Revlon section.

First up is the Just Bitten: Lipstain and Balm in Passion.
Just Bitten is quite interesting. One side is like a marker for your lips, while the other side is a moisturizing balm. I enjoy the fact that I can perfectly outline my lips and fill it in. The only thing I didn't like was that my color didn't seem to dispense evenly and I had to apply it a few times before being comfortable with the coverage. However, this is a lipstain indeed - this color didn't go anywhere and doesn't lack in vibrancy. I'm wearing it in this post.
Hands down, my favorite of the two was the Super Lustrous Lipstick in Berry Haute.
Typically spending upwards of $15-$20 on lipwear, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of this $8.99 product. I've been converted and will definitely be picking up quite a few more shades.
I think I've found my new everyday shade!

Re-Fresh Mint

Sunnies: Rayban Wayfarer  | Necklace: XSRE | Top: Forever 21 | Watch: Michael Kors
 | Denim: ??? Stolen from moms closet | Shoes: Steve by Steve Madden
This outfit is nothing spectacular, as its just a casual one I wore to run errands with my mom today. However, I'm just so excited to be dressed like this just a few days before Christmas. I'm still in South Florida and soaking up as much of this amazing weather before I head back to New York. I heard it's around the 30's up there while I'm enjoying a comfortable 75 degrees.
Lacquer: Re-Fresh Mint by China Glaze
Last night Lil Sis and I went to Sally's Beauty Supply, where we soared 2 China Glaze nail lacquers for $10 - basically 2 for 1!!! I've been on the hunt for the perfect shade of mint green for my nails, so I was excited to find it and have it be on sale. I have to say I'm quite pleased with my first experience using this brand. I've been reading a lot about it and it didn't disappoint. No bubbling, rich color and a smooth consistency. I'll definitely be going back for more.

Rave: CETAPHIL MOISTURIZING CREAM

In the short time that Cetaphil Mositurizing Cream and I have become acquainted, we've fast become the best of friends. I take my body lotions very serious and can now say that I've found my ultimate favorite. It's nothing fancy, expensive or exclusive (can be found in your local drugstores) - but this cream leaves my skin so soft without feeling greasy or heavy, despite its rich consistency.

Have you used Cetaphil's Moisturizing Cream? How do you like it?

sweet bahamian breeze.

My Friday nights are typically reserved for date nights with the husband, but since it'll be another couple of days before I see him, I spent my night with someone else - my 11 year old sister. I have to admit, one of the things that made me apprehensive about moving back to New York was being away from her, although she's quite a handful. We've always been close and since my mom has been a single parent for most of Lil Sis' life, I took on a good amount of responsibility in helping to raise her. It's weird to sometimes hear her call me "mom". I will never take anything away from our parents, as they both work hard to give her the best life possible - but it's amazing that at such a young age she acknowledges my contribution as well - often referring to me as her second mom.

Before I get too mushy - I wanted to spend some quality with the Mini so I took her out to dinner. She wanted to go to The Cheesecake Factory, but I told her we should try something different as we've been to CF many times! It was quite the debate, but since I was behind the wheel and had the cash to pay - I won! Despite living in South Florida for years, I'd never eaten at Bahama Breeze. I was always curious about it, since the building itself is designed to look like one from the islands but never went in. As soon as we went inside, Lil Sis was sold. From the building construction to the music, we definitely felt like we were in The Bahamas (one of her favorite places to visit).
Grilled Jamaican Jerk Chicken with mashed potatoes, pinapple and string beans

I usually get nervous about ordering anything that says "Jamaican" when I'm not in a authentic Jamaican spot, but I was curious. The meal was excellent. I actually don't like pineapples, but it tastes amazing with chicken - I never knew that. The mashed potatoes were unique, I enjoyed every bite. I'm gonna have to find a similar recipe like this dish to cook for the Hubby.
Lil Sis ordered one of our favorites - Spinach & Artichoke Dip with Chips
Sharing my dinner with Lil Sis, little by little
The piece de resistance: The Chocolate Island

Are you falling apart by looking at this?

Lil Sis enjoying the cake a little too much

Brownie base | Chocolate Mousse | Covered in Dark Chocolate | Topped with whipped cream

Lil Sis clearly enjoyed herself because she passed out on the way home...after I made her drink like a gallon of water of course. She also told the waiter that she needed to thank the chef because she loved everything - he let them know and they quickly waived to her from the open kitchen.

If you live near one of there locations, you should definitely stop in.
2750 Sawgrass Mills Circle
Sunrise, FL 33323
954-845-9311


"Most people believe my hair is a wig. They don't think this could grow out of any human's head. I think they're so caught up with the whole weave culture that they automatically assume no one would take the time to grow it out." - Angel Clouthier

"When I was three, my hair was the same as it is now. As I got older, in school, I started putting it back because I was going to school with mainly white people-- and this hair is just not dull... So I straightened it out and went down that path. That was a nice, fun journey of bad hair experience."
"When you come back from abroad, something stays with you. You try to find a balance in American society, with this constant need for the newest phone or electronic. It's always, 'Oh, the new iPhone 4, the new iPhone 5 is coming out. You have to get it."
I've been seeing Angel and her amazing mane around Tumblr but had no idea who she was. While browsing through StyleLikeYou, I was pleasantly surprised to see a feature on her, her style and of course - that fro!

Ingredient Index | ARGAN OIL


Every so often, the cosmetics industry markets an "exotic" product to grab our attention. Whether your hair is natural or relaxed, your skin is acne prone or dry - chances are you've heard of Argan Oil by now. It's been a beauty secret of Moroccan and European women for ages, but the secret is finally out in North American. This natural yet luxurious oil is rare and limited in supply, as it only derives from only a small growing area in South Western Morocco. If you've never heard of this "Liquid Gold" or have yet to add it to your regimen, chances are you'll be running out to get some today!

HAIR |
Moroccan oil has numerous benefits whether your hair is natural or relaxed, but is essential if you have dry hair. So whether your fro is experiencing a lack of moisture, or your relaxed hair is over processed from heat or perms - your hair will become revitalized. The high percentage of Vitamin E in this oil restores shine while locking in moisture. Antioxidants work to repair the damaged cellular membrane in our hair, therefore aiding in strengthening the hair shaft and promoting elasticity. For those who have color treated hair as I do, Argan oil but be a great treatment to bring back smoothness to our hair and restrengthen the protein bonding in our hair structure.

Moroccan Oil 
SKIN |
Don't think Argan Oil benefits are only limited to your hair! If you're seeking to even out your skin tone, rid your skin of blemishes, stretch marks or want to have an overall healthy complexion - this may be the natural remedy you've been looking for. Dry and acne prone skin with benefit exponentially from this oil, but it's said to help with psoriasis and have anti-aging properties as well.
Josie Maran: Whipped Argan Oil Ultra-Hydrating Body Butter

NAILS |
Are your nails dry, brittle and constantly breaking? Try soaking them in Pure Argan Oil which will also make your cuticles soft and more manageable.

Want to purchase 100% Pure Argan Oil?
Use it as you wish to create your own mixtures or use it in this form for your hair, skin and nails.

DECEMBER BIRCHBOX + BLOG UPDATE

Greetings from Sunny South Florida everybody!!!! The break from the cold New York weather is very much welcomed, although I'm starting to miss my husband already :(

I was so happy to see my Birchbox in the mail prior to leaving for my trip this morning! As I mentioned in a previous post, for a $10 per month subscription, you receive 4-5 luxury beauty samples. This is a the perfect way to learn about new products, sample products before investing in a full sized container - or if you're like me and not faithful to any brand in particular - you can test out a bit of everything. 

This is my first Birchbox, but I'm sure I'll be a member for as long as they're around. Who doesn't love receiving surprise gifts in the mail every month?


Within each package is a message from the Birchbox team, as well as a breakdown of each item included in the box, and the cost of the full size product. If you're looking to pick up a few things for yourself or for your loved ones for The Holidays - Birchbox is donating 100% of profits from the full sized containers to Baby Buggy.
 Here are the contents of my box - which came with 2 extra goodies!
Obsessed with my fro, I'm most excited to try out the Amika Oil Treatment. It contains argan oil, which is all the rage in the cosmetics industry right now. If you're not familiar with argan oil, I have an upcoming post which breaks down this ingredient - including information on all it's benefits for your hair, skin and nails!
Once I get a good amount of use from these products, I'll be sure to post a review.

Dear Readers, I Need Your Feedback PLEASE :)

Myself On My Wedding Day
This blog has gone through many changes since it's inception in 2008. It originally started as a wedding planning blog and after that became an open diary of my life more than anything else. As the new year approaches, I'm looking to change a few things in my life for the better, and this blog is one of those things. I've changed it a couple times trying to get it right but eeehhhhh. To be honest, I'm so sure that I'd like to use this an open diary anymore but I am sure that I'd like to blog everyday about something I'm extremely passionate about  - makeup, skincare, style, natural hair etc. Since becoming a makeup artist and skincare specialist {check the portfolio } a few years ago, I've had lots of family, (blog) friends, acquaintances, etc ask me if I have  own resource for them to read online with all my knowledge. Since becoming natural, I've frequently had the same question as well since quite a few people around me are thinking of going natural, in the beginning stages or have little girls without relaxers whose hair they're getting frustrated with.

That being said, I'm thinking of doing one of two things:

A)
Erase this blog but map the address to the new blog, which would automatically allow you guys to follow without having to add a new blogroll/follow a new blog.
Basically when you come to this site, you'll automatically be referred to the new site.

OR.

B) 
Part 1: Make This Blog Open To Invited Readers Only 
I've shared A LOT here...maybe over shared a little...I can't say I'm as comfortable with that anymore. Invited readers would be those of you who already read it anyway (I wouldn't shut you out). Besides, I would have love to have a space to vent occasionally without worrying that someone I know will read it

Part 2: Create A Separate Blog For My Makeup/Skin/Style/Hair stuff
That way, you won't be automatically referred over there and you can make the choice on whether or not you'd like to read - maybe you could care less about makeup and all that crap and don't want to even read about it and that's ok.

I'm thinking PLAN B, but I'm curious to see what you all think
will work best/be easier for you all.

. . . 

So what do you think everyone?
{note: new change will take effect January 1, 2012}

PS: I GOT MY WEDDING PICTURES YESTERDAY!!! YES AFTER 2 YEARS, I FINALLY GOT THEM AND IT'S NO ONE'S FAULT BUT MY OWN - MY PHOTOGRAPHER WAS GREAT :)


Christmas Beauty Wishlist

1. So I'm not willing to spend the $30 on the Tom Ford Nail Lacquers...but that doesn't mean I can't wish for it.


2. After the highly successful Naked palette from Urban Decay, they've recently released Naked 2 and everyone is loosing their mind over it. This palette is perfect if you're looking for everyday eyeshadow that is neutral put packs a serious punch.

3. Washing your face is important no what matter what type of skin type you have. I mean, that sounds pretty obvious, but I mean really washing your face and ridding it of dead skin cells and all that you've exposed your skin to during the day. The Clarisonic Sonic Skin Cleansing Systems is all the range in skincare right now. I've only heard good things about this product and with the spa package prices a bit too steep for me to go every few weeks - I think this may be worth the investment.

4. With all the free time in the world coming up, I'm excited to go full speed ahead and start an Ayurvedic Regimen for my hair. I'd love to have a Huetiful Hair Steamer for the days when I'm conditioning my hair, as it promises to restore moisture to the hair more than 5x's than conditioner alone. There's also an attachment for a face steamer, so I could use it for facials as well. I need this!

5 & 6 : Shea Moisture Thickening Shampoo and Volumizing Conditioner: ...I guess this is pretty self explanatory - I want bigger hair! lol

7: I like to smell good and be well moisturized, so why not Juicy Couture Viva la Juicy Body Crème? Plus I'm also a sucker for Juicy's packaging. It's just so darn cute!

8. I'm in the market for a great fragrance, Coach's Poppy Frangrance smells pretty good.

...do you have any beauty products you're hoping to get for Christimas?

she's having a baby.

On the day that I interviewed for what will soon be my former job, I met a girl named "M". She had an amazing aura about her and we soon got comfortable with each other very fast. Very fast meaning that she told me about loosing two babies on the first day I met her. One she lost through a miscarriage another she delivered pre-term (like me) and that baby had a heart condition. I met her in February, her second child had just passed November of last year. My jaw was on the floor when she told me her story, I told her that I could not imagine ever loosing a child and that I knew if I did, I'd never recover from it.

Little did I know that during that conversation I was pregnant.

Little did I know that just a few months later, I'd loose a child too.

Fast forward to a few weeks after my daughter died. I had to go to my job to drop off a doctors note informing  HR that I would be out for a few weeks. I didn't want anyone to see me, but as soon as I walked in, "M" was sitting in the reception area. If I had to see anyone, I'm glad it was her. She asked me what happened, and surprisingly I was able to get through the story without crying - something I wasn't able to do with anybody else at that time. 

I felt comfort in talking to her, because she was the only other person that knew exactly what I went through and how I was feeling. She was the only other person I knew personally that had to hold her deceased baby in her arms and say good-bye. When a baby passes away, the hospital staff will always give you the option to spend time with your baby. When the nurse initially asked us, my husband and I said no. She gave us a little while, and came around to ask us again, explaining to us that this is how parents find closure. We decided it would be ok. It did turn out to be a good thing. I'll never forget how warm she was felt, dressed in a outfit the hospital provided - she looked so peaceful - her features were just like mine - she was just...asleep...

..."M" and I spoke about that for a while. She spent time with her little boy after he passed as well and our feelings were so similar - finally someone understood how I felt. 

She asked me if I thought I would ever try again - I told her I wasn't sure. She looked me in the eyes and told me that if I felt that I was meant to be a mother, to never give up. She then told me she was now pregnant. My heart sank. She said she knows she's meant to be a mother, therefore she didn't have a choice but to try again. She admitted she was nervous as hell, and she didn't even announce it to her entire family in fear that she would loose a third baby. 

...fast forward to now, she's only about two and a half weeks away from her due date (Christmas Day to be exact) and baby is healthy - she's had a completely normal pregnancy - another boy. I can't put into words how full of joy my heart is for her. I've never been so happy for someone in my life. I tell her all the time that she gives me hope - I can't imagine how excited her and her husband are.

I'm now at a strange place. I've accepted Jolie's death and have even submitted my paperwork for the high risk pregnancy program at the new hospital I'll be going to. They've received my paperwork, and should be getting back to me in the next few days for my husband and I to do a consultation/recommendation for my next pregnancy. From there, we'll have to do genetic testing and lots of other tests before trying to conceive again. Once I get pregnant, I'll be heavily monitored, going to the doctors more frequently, and possible bed rest for who knows how long. I'm trying to mentally prepare myself for the next chapter, but I am nervous. At this time, there is no scientific reason as to why I went into labor so early which puts me at a high risk for it happening again. I can't imagine going through this again nor can I imagine being in bed. barely able to do anything for months, just waiting...waiting...waiting...but I know that like "M", I am meant to be a mother, so I'm ready to do what I have to do...because I now know that I'm stronger than I thought.


...
By the way, this episode of Oprah's Lifeclass LITERALLY saved my life - true story


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