Twas the weekend before Thanksgiving and I was cruising on Instagram Stories as one does during the Holiday season. I stumbled across a beauty influencer's story. One post was free perfume from a designer, the next post was a box full of beauty products that she received (envy, anyone?). Her next posts included her sharing her skincare regimen and makeup routine. She pulled out a tool that looked like a fancy eyebrow blade and started scraping her face with it! All of this dead skin started coming up -- it was crazy. The "blade" that she was using is actually a dermaplaning tool from skincare brand Stacked Skincare. When I went on the site initially the tool was $75, so I waited until Black Friday to purchase and I only paid $63!
So what is dermaplaning exactly? The best way that I can describe it is a form of exfoliation for the face. Traditionally performed at a spa with an esthetician, you remove dead skin cells and peach fuzz from your face. When you remove the dead skin cells you reveal a fresher layer of skin, making it easier for your skin care products to seep into your skin. This means that your products will work better.
Dermaplaning even makes your makeup go on more smoothly! I learned that removing peach fuzz from the face helps because the invisible fuzz hold lots of bacteria which in turns causes breakouts. I break out a lot on the side of my face and found out that I had so much fuzz along where my sideburns grow.
So now that we know what dermaplaning is, how do you do it? Please, please, please watch this video and follow the instructions below. I mean we are working with a blade here:
- Cleanse your skin thoroughly and allow it to dry. Dermaplaning works best on dry, clean skin.
- Hold dermaplaning tool like a pencil at at a 45 degree angle against the skin. Hold skin taut with one hand and the blade in the other hand. Start gently scraping your face upwards or downwards (depending on what part of your face you are doing).
- After scraping your entire face, wash with water and apply your serum or moisturizer.
- Follow up weekly!
Are you going to try dermaplaning? Let us know how it goes!
When I was engaged, I became so aware of American tradition and societal norms. As my husband and I are far from conventional, I wanted to express that as much as possible. I asked myself so many questions. Why do women really wear white? Does white even work for your complexion? Do you have to get married in a church? We take on so much tradition and never challenge any of it. While on Instagram a few days ago I saw that a recently wed husband took his wife’s last name. Like why the hell not?!
Why aren’t we creating our own traditions? Just as fashion and personal style serve as forms of self expression, so should our rituals and traditions. I’ve been searching for ways to further define myself and my family.
I would love for my family to have an annual road trip or if we all went skateboarding together on the first warm Spring day after a long Winter. I have a personal tradition of going on vacation for my birthday every year. While on vacation I just like to reflect on my year and all that I want to do, be and see in the coming year.
Our personal rituals should enrich our lives and make us a better person. Whether they make us more organized, a bit more relaxed or simply more present, we should be saying yes to more rituals! I’ve created a morning ritual for myself which consists of the following:
- Saying a small prayer as soon as I turn my alarm off.
- Setting my intention for the day.
- Checking my daily horoscope.
- Working our for 30 minutes to an hour before work.
- Listening to my favorite podcasts while working out or on the way to work.
I find the saying a prayer as soon as you rise, helps you start your day off with gratitude. My podcasts are a major source of inspiration for me and working out just gives me a burst of energy! I love mornings and am hoping that I can expand my AM routine very soon. What are some of your morning routines?
It was the third day of Ramadan. I was home in D.C. for Memorial Day weekend with my niece and daughter. We visited a friend's house for a play date. I asked her and her mother about how Ramadan was going. My friend mentioned how clear her mind was through the annual fasting that commemorates Muhammad's revelation of the Quran. As I sat eating the dates that she offered me while our girls played together, I was inspired to do research on the meaning of Ramadan. After researching I found out so much -- I even learned that dates are used to break Muslims daily fasts after Iftar because they help your body to hydrate faster.
What moved me the most about Ramadan was Muslims sacrifice to feel and sympathize with the hungriest people in the world through fasting. I realized that even though I wasn't born into a wealthy family, I have never been hungry or without food in my entire life. I don't know what that feels like. Something within me wanted to experience that.
When we got back home to New York I sat my alarm for a 4:15 a.m., washed and cut some fruit for my morning meal before sunrise (Sahur) and just thought about how this next month would be for me. The next day I woke up to my alarm without a problem. I hopped out of bed and immediately prayed. After prayer, I cooked myself a delicious breakfast of egg whites with cheese, veggie sausage links, waffles, blueberries, strawberries, plain Greek yogurt and iced green tea. I got dresssed and ready for work with a bit of time to spare.
I went to work and didn't feel hungry for the entire first day! It wasn't until the 5th day that I found myself feeling lightheaded while I was shooting on set. I sat down for a bit and started to feel better. That night I drank a liter of water at Iftar in hopes of not feeling so hydrated throughout the day. On the 5th day I also noticed how much discipline it takes to fast and was so happy that I started.
Here are some things that I learned from joining Muslims all over the world for Ramadan 2017:
People Interpret Discipline In Different Ways
While talking to friends, family and co-workers about Ramadan, they either felt one of two ways: inspired or uncomfortable. Mostly everyone that I talked to encouraged me and felt inspired by what Ramadan meant to me and to Muslims. However, a few people did feel uncomfortable. As the world and media alike continue to portray Muslims and Islam as an extremists practicing an extreme religion, I could tell that some people were disturbed by me participating in Ramadan. On the other hand I found that others were more uncomfortable with the level of discipline it takes to practice Ramadan on a daily basis. Discipline can ignite feelings of inadequacy within people who feel like they lack the focus or character to carry out difficult tasks/habits. I just ignored that energy and kept on pushing!
You Control Your Mind, Your Mind Does Not Control You
Common feedback that I received during the month was how most people didn't think they could make it through Ramadan because of mood swings. During the month I kept thinking about the phrase, "Mind over matter," which rings so true when you are fasting. My mind was clear just like my friend said her was. I started to notice how much I use food as a source of comfort in my life and how unhealthy that can be. You begin to fast from food and end up fasting from unhealthy habits. I was very conscious of what I put in my body and I listened to my body a lot (Am I hungry or full? Do I really want to eat that or do I want it just because it's there? My body feels tired. I'm going to listen to rest). I felt amazing and even though I had a hard time one Sunday when I was so hungry that I pinned over 20 recipes on Pinterest (and literally drooled at every photo), I felt so powerful and accomplished when I made it to Iftar. I've learned that I am in control of my mind and body and I can achieve whatever I set out to do.
Waking Up Early Is Tough But Rewarding
After Ramadan, I'm going to continue to wake up early. Praying/meditation really sets your intention for the day. I also like the extra "Me" time that I had for myself -- it really makes a difference. If I have to wake up an hour early to have a smoother day, why not? Spirituality is a huge part of fasting. After praying for my family, I would always ask for strength to get through fasting everyday.
Islam Is a Beautiful Religion
I have always had Muslim friends who have taken the time to show me how beautiful of a religion Islam is. There are Muslims of all shades and backgrounds all over the world who unite and celebrate their beliefs together as one.
Ramadan Is Not About Losing Weight But You Will Anyway
I lost 7 pounds which is amazing considering that I didn't hit the gym often. I feel amazing.
I am looking forward to Ramadan next year. Eid Mubarak!
I've been going through a bit of female drama for the past few years. This drama has influenced my decision to temporarily not start any new friendships. I need time to process why it is so hard for me to maintain friendships when I try my absolute best.
Let me explain what usually happens. I connect with someone that I really like, we get on well, we do nice things for each other, then "it" happens. "It" being an underhanded comment about me, my family or my life ("Styling, is that a real job?", "I hope your life is as good as it looks like on Instagram!", "Your husband let's you wear clothes like that out of the house?"). The comment is usually awkward or out of line, but I ignore it in hopes of not taking anything too personal. The comments gradually intensify, then their actions begin to speak louder than their words.
In college, I remember two of my closest friends giving me an ultimatum. If I kept hanging out with another girl that we went to school with, we couldn't be friends. I chose to end the friendship because no one governs who I choose to surround myself with. I spoke to one of the two friends recently and she said, "I have no regrets in life except for ending our friendship. You were always there for me when I really needed you." When we finally get together soon, I want to know why she felt so strongly about not accepting me for who I was at that time. Was it because we were younger and immature? Was it possessiveness?
I spoke about this female dilemma with a friend who came to visit a few weeks ago. She said that a lot of my issues with women that I associate with may be insecurity within them that manifests in a lot of different ways. Are some women really that insecure with themselves that they have to tear someone down or participate in unnecessary passive aggressive behavior with "friends"? And if so, what part of tearing someone down actually makes them feel good about themselves?
I know so many beautiful, intelligent and accomplished women and I just want to believe that this isn't the case! My husband (who never gets into my female drama) has even commented about the "switch-up" that I experience so often -- when a friends turns to foe.
I'm protecting my energy by any means necessary now. If it doesn't feel right, I'm not doing it. If someone gives me a vibe, I'm listening to it.
What has your experiences been with cultivating adult friendships with women? Chime in below in the comments!
Who doesn't love a day at the museum? You see beautiful works of art and leave the museum feeling completely inspired! Don't want to lose said inspiration? Here's a surefire way to create your own personal collection of works at home that will breathe life into your space and make you an art collector!
Read the tips below to help you navigate purchasing your first piece:
All About You
Make sure that you choose pieces that reflect who you are. This will help strengthen your collection as it grows. Think of what colors and art genres you like and remember to trust your gut. You don't need a reason to like a piece. Connecting and being drawn to the piece is all the reason that you need!
Do Your Research
See Saw is an app for your phone that helps you organize in-person trips to galleries in your city. This can help you become familiar with the curators, art dealers and galleries in your hood. The Journal is a great resource for discovering artists and learning more about their work.
Out of my three recommendations, Artsy is my favorite -- there's so much that you can do in one place! On this amazing site, you can learn about artists, purchase pieces, participate in live auctions and get information about exhibitions, fairs and museums all over the world.
Know Your Budget
Although I just cried inside about the live Kerry James Marshall piece being auctioned via Artsy for 35k, that kind of money is not needed to own works of art. Understand what you can afford and stick to that. You will be surprised to see all of the pieces that you can buy without breaking the bank.
Make Your Purchase Official
No matter how much your piece costs, you should have a certificate of authenticity that comes with it. This will help you understand the value and origins of your artwork.
Once you start, you can't stop. Be sure to install your pieces as soon as possible. You will be so content coming home and knowing that you've invested your money in a piece that will last forever.
Will you be investing in any pieces anytime soon?
There are some interesting people in this world who are doing some truly remarkable things. I personally love DJ Khaled’s Snapchat with his inspirational messages, viral catch-phrases and behind the scenes play-by-play of his daily rise as one of the most influential artists of 2016. Seeing this side of DJ Khaled is genius for his brand and makes a perfect fit for other influencers with cult social media followings.
I am all about building one’s personal brand by showing the world what you’re good at and what you are passionate about. What we do best inspires others! On social media we share our everyday occurrences, experiences and thoughts with our peers, friends, family and co-workers. What I struggle with when sharing parts of my personal life and career is, “How much is too much?”
Not an easy question to answer. A pastor of a church and a porn star would clearly have a very different presence on their social media handles (well let’s at least hope so!). There’s no end all be all when it comes to social media etiquette. Keep this in mind as you know your target audience and brand more than anyone else. Always do what's most organic for you!
However, for personal brands I truly believe in sharing a lot and keeping somethings mysterious. Those early morning conversations with your husband or that fight that you had last week with your bestie – do these moments really need to reach platforms like Instagram and Facebook? What do we hold sacred anymore? Are we oversharing or just giving no fucks about what anyone thinks?
I think that we are forgetting how sexy it is to be mysterious. We are all guilty of it. Our favorite fragrance is just that – ours. Getting a pedicure…who hasn’t? A snap of every look that you tried in the fitting room? No thanks, babe. There’s something to be said about a man/woman who doesn’t put all of their cards on the table. You want to get to know them. You want to know what hand they’re dealing.
Let’s all try to find a healthy balance between letting the world in and shutting it out. I know I will. You can’t know where I am right now, who I’m with or what I’m eating. Are you impressed? I hope so!
Keep it sexy my friends!
The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them. -Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic
If you know Pinterest, you know the beauty of the life hack. It is serious! You can turn an old skateboard into a shelf or find an almost identical alternative to your luxury lipstick that you paid retail price for.
Have you ever discovered a hack for getting rich? In what seems to be the most simple hack discovered this year, Time shares the easiest ways to attain and keep your wealth game strong.
The secret to getting rich is living below your means.
"The bigger the difference between what you earn and what you spend," mentions Time, "the sooner you’ll find yourself with enough money to do what you want with your life."
Easier said than done, no? Americans no longer desire just the "American Dream". In a world where celebrity rules, we've become obsessed with luxury, acquiring "stuff" and being or having exclusive things.
Trying to keep up with your favorite Instagram star is the quickest way to fall into debt (especially when most bloggers/celebrities receive lots of things for free).
Living below your means is the truest way to amass wealth. When you spend less than you earn, you will begin to see how easy it is to reach financial goals and develop economic security.
Do away with unnecessary expenses.
To support this mindset one must live frugally. Live in a place that you can afford, don't purchase items that will put you in a financial bind and do away with expenses that are not necessities. Choose Netflix over cable, Planet Fitness over that fancy gym that you go to or shop at Trader Joe's instead of Whole Foods!
Automate your savings, use personal savings goals apps like Betterment. Put a significant portion of your tax return, bonuses or raises away.
This may not be the most exciting life hack or method to get rich, but with these simple steps you will have money saved in no time. Cheers to building wealth!
Valentine's Day was just two weeks ago. I repeat, just two weeks. I walked into my neighborhood pharmacy the other evening and saw Summer beach toys for kids and Easter baskets. I rolled my eyes. Can we process the Russell Stover chocolate and wilted flowers that we received on V-Day before we move on to the next holiday or calendar-based season please?
I started to ask myself questions. Have things always been this way? Did my Mom roll her eyes when she walked into her local pharmacy after Valentine's Day in 1992?
If you're wondering why I rolled my eyes, its because America has become Holiday and "National Day" obsessed. In my calendar alone, I have counted 66 holidays and "National Days" like National Slurpee, National Magic and National Punch Day (hoping that it's the drink -- or not). From Labor Day to Independence Day, we cannot catch a break!
Now don't get me wrong, I am all about grilled corn and fireworks on the Fourth of July just like the next girl. I love eating my Grandmother's cooking and whippin' the Nay-Nay with my family during Thanksgiving. With the average American working a longer work week than ever before, we certainly need holidays. They remind us to slow down and enjoy life.
I really appreciate National Sibling Day but do we really need a National Pie Day? Here are my issues with holidays.
We Never Plan For the National Days
If it weren't for Instagram and Facebook, I wouldn't know that it is National Grandparents Day. I just log on as I normally do and see tons of photos of senior citizens on my feed along with a #NationalGrandparentsDay hash tag. All of this is really cute and touching (especially the captions) but who really took the time to rub icy hot on Pop Pop's back or take Grandma to the hair salon to get "her hair fixed"?
We can enjoy the special days only if we plan for them -- my new planner features all of the special days for the year so I'm going to try to be more aware!
Celebrating the Wrong People
So why do we celebrate Christopher Columbus day again? We know the true facts on his "discovery". We have also uncovered how terrible of a person he actually was -- he committed gruesome acts amongst women, indigenous people and slaves when he came to America.
Thank God that President's Day is more about getting savings on a mattress instead of actually celebrating presidents who didn't really want slavery to end. Unless you've been under a rock, you know that Lincoln didn't really want to abolish slavery. While the Internet will continually debate on whether George Washington's teeth came from the mouth's of slaves, one thing is for sure -- he needed slaves to maintain his lifestyle.
We don't need to wait for the government to do away with these holidays -- we can stop celebrating them now!
Do We Really Need A Day For Everything?
National Doughnut Day. Sorry not sorry, but I celebrate doughnuts everyday.
Money Is the Motive
Did you ever stop and think about how much money our holiday obsessions contribute to the economy? If you just can't live without that Santa Claus hat, be sure to shop small -- there are people in your city who need your support!
Create Your Own Holiday
We all have our very own holiday -- our birthdays. It's a time when we not only celebrate ourselves but our friends and families celebrate us too! Be open to creating other holidays that suit you, your family or your interests. Love to escape the winter? Take an annual Girl's Trip in January to a tropical getaway of your choice. Throw a party to celebrate being debt-free or make the last week of every June, family week where you visit relatives in different cities. Make your holidays count.
Do American Holidays bother you too? What holiday would you eliminate? What holiday would you create? Chime in below.