48 HOURS IN ATLANTA

one of my best friends moved to atlanta, so that’s a good excuse to spend a weekend there. right?

my adventures in atlanta always start at the nearest waffle house. this isn’t just personal preference, it’s law.

img_3657after my obligatory waffle breakfast at 3 in the afternoon, we decided to take a look at atlanta from the top of the world. having a ferris wheel in your city is one of those perks that give your home a little oomph, ya know? skyview is one of the best ways to take atlanta all in. whether you’re taking on this adventure alone or with your friends, you’re in for a beauitful view. both day & night.

between the travel & my instant itis attack, i was ready for a nap (that kept me in the house for most of the night). but downtown atlanta reeled me in for a few good phtoto ops. it’s a good spot for locals & non-locals alike. something is always happening. and they have so much to offer to the public. you could spend all day right in this circle (trust me, i have). here’s a list of more things you can get in to downtown:

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day two, i wake up bright eyed & bushy haired ready to explore a part of atlanta i’ve never seen. after a morning movie & a little shopping at phipps plaza, we made our way to the real fun. hello, ponce city market!

on a beautiful sunshiney day, ponce city market is the only place i want to be. there’s shopping…there’s more food than i can dream of….and most importantly there’s a rooftop park with carnival games. for only $25 you can spend your whole day enjoying the views from skyline park & playing a few games. see if you’re any good at mini golf. have a skee ball tournament. hop in the photo booth.  watch the sun set. walk around inside the market. buy yourself a bouquet at jj’s flower shop. sneak in some exercise at corepower yoga. there’s just so much to do. hit it up & live your best life. me personally, i had a photoshoot all over skyline park. it’s such an instagrammable spot, i couldn’t help myself.

 

did i mention the easy access you have to the artsy atlanta beltline?

 

CHEERS TO THE SELFISH YEARS

I once read somewhere that your 20s are supposed to be about you. Your wants and your needs not only being put first, but being fulfilled.

So how do you do that?

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1. KNOW YOUR DREAM & FOLLOW IT

Our 20s aren’t for slacking, we still have work to do folks. Find your dream. If you’ve found it by now, make sure you’re actually going for it. If you haven’t found it yet, take a little time. We’ve got this whole decade. Take on part time jobs, if you can. Talk to your friends, your family. See what they do & see if any of it ignites any motivation for you. I’ve seen so many people, me included, stuck in jobs that don’t make them happy. Don’t be that person (i’m begging you). Money is important, trust me I get it. But making money while achieving a goal or a dream just hits different. When you follow your dreams, you’ll see such a huge difference in your confidence & the way you carry yourself overall. So find your dreams & give them your all.

2. LIVE UNAPOLOGETICALLY

Your life is yours to live. Don’t spend it doing so much of what will only make everybody else happy. Stop apologizing. If you took time to care for yourself or do something that made you happy, you did the right thing. Unless it was murder, don’t do that. But stop apologizing for not having time to hang out every weekend. Stop apologizing for not having a couple dollars to loan. Stop apologizing for going to the movies instead of showing up for that birthday dinner. Your friends & family are important, but to be there for them you have to be there for yourself. You can say no. You can forget. And you don’t have to apologize for it. I’m not saying be a jackass. I’m also not saying that you should only be all about yourself. I am saying, find your balance. Remember, relationships should always have give & take.

3. BE CAREFUL WITH YOUR SPACEProcessed with VSCO with ku1 preset

Your space is precious. Sometimes, a lot of the times, we tend to be really generous with it. Maybe, learn to protect it a little more. In our 20s we meet so many people. We go out. We stay in, but then stay online. We go to work. New people are everywhere & there’s essentially no way to escape them. And with every encounter, we’re sharing our energy, our minds, our hearts, our time. It’s spread in every place we go, even when we don’t talk. Be careful to only be in places & spaces where you’re comfortable and safe. Protect yourself, your mind, and most importantly your sanity.

This is just the start. Essentially, just do whatever it is that will make you genuinely happy. Just remember to put yourself first, and you’ll make the most of your 20s.

 

 

 

 

MILLENIALS & MINIMALISM

What is minimalism? Is it having a specific color palette for your clothes? Is it only buying one color for all your furniture & home decor? Is it only owning one brush? A 2-in-1 shampoo & conditioner? A soap that you can use for you, your dishes, and your laundry?

Minimalism, for me, has completely been about the journey. It’s nowhere near done either. I’m essentially clearing out anything that I wouldn’t define as a necessity, so that I have the mental & physical space to prosper. Where did this all come from? DEBT. Am I the only one who adopted minimalism to save themselves from debt? I figured if I could own less and buy less, I can afford to do more & be more in this lifetime.

I think, as millenials, we want too much. We see it, we like it, we buy it. Why? Because we can. The internet makes it really easy to get all the things. I can wake up, open Instagram, watch a story where an influencer has really cute boots, swipe up to buy them, use PayPal to pay for them in the same 60 seconds that I’m brushing my teeth. Have you done this, because I have. I’m not ashamed of doing it, I’m ashamed of not being careful when I do it. Sometimes, I shop out of my budget. Sometimes, I go out and pay for dinners I could make at home for a third of the price. I do, my friends do, maybe you do. Sometimes it’s just really easy to get caught up in having all the things you want, you end up with way more than what you really need.

I have been working hard to clear my spaces, both physically & mentally, and fill them only with the things to get me by. Now, this looks different for everybody, but I think at least 90% of minimalists start with their closet. I’ve narrowed my wardrobe down to certain colors that always match. Therefore, I don’t shop for clothes much at all. This has cut down my spending costs by 80% at least. I used to go to the mall once a week, and would never walk out empty handed. Now that my wardrobe is only black, white, and tan (for the most part), I feel like it’s complete. In addition to spending less, I’m also selling a lot of my old clothes that don’t fit in with the new color palette. So if you want to find some new clothes for under $10, feel free to check out my Poshmark closet (shameless plug. did i mention I have debt?)

After clearing out my closet, I cleared out my room. Just a smidge. I live in my parent’s basement, so I don’t have much in there to begin with. But I realized that I value space more than things. I took a day to get rid of the things that I kept from my apartment that made no difference in my life. Doing so created so much open space for me to have to just BE. I wake up to less mess. I have room to do my mini workouts. I even sleep better, so much better I don’t want to get out of bed most times. It’s comfortable, and clearing out the clutter helped to clear out my mind. I feel so at peace now.

Don’t get me wrong. I still have plenty of things. And I am definitely obsessed with what I do own. If you’ve ever seen my vanity, then you know. The biggest change that minimalism has made is…it taught me intention, over everything else. I don’t do anything that doesn’t move me forward. From the jobs I choose to apply for, to the places I hang out at with my friends, to how & when I spend time alone. It really is the simpler things in life that make it worth while.

 

IT’S JUST HAIR

if you follow me on anything aside from this blog, you’ll notice i cut my hair. again.

who even am i? i remember when i used to turn my face up at the mere thought of cutting dead ends. now i gladly walk up to a barber and ask them to shave my head. seriously, if you knew me at 18, this is something you would’ve never imagined.

one thing that held true through my entire adolescent years was the fact that i loved my hair. i especially loved its length. not like it was down my back or anything magnificent. but it was mine, it was pretty damn healthy, and i was proud of it. it was beautiful, it was natural, and it was versatile. my mom never put a perm in our hair, and i thank her behind her back for it all the time. although i started getting my hair straightened on a biweekly basis at the age of 11, i have always been natural. this kept my hair in good standing. but, me and my mom had a deal after high school. graduation = hair color.

img_3926a few months (and colors) later, i decided i was going to cut it some more. by some more, i mean alot. it was the same year i turned 21. and i changed, alot. my life changed, alot. it was around thanksgiving of 2015, and it was time for the big chop. i did it partially for the health of my hair, but mostly because i felt different and i wanted to look different. my mom gave me a hairstyle that was to die for, and i dyed my hair a greyish purple. i was definitely a new woman. but i grew tired of it quickly, because i wasn’t a fan of the cut with my natural curls. so i completely shaved my sides so i could have a fade & enjoy my curls again. i kept it short, kept appointments with my barber.

but then i got busy, and i stopped getting it cut, so it was growing back. and let me tell you, fades do not grow back in a flattering shape. so later that year, i shaved it down to an even length. i started over and decided i was going to cater to the health of my hair this time. was i cute bald? yes. but i have way more fun when my hair can fit into a bun. my hair was growing, flourishing. unfortunately, the thought of drastic color changes came back to me.

as you can see i went back & forth, from bleached hair to jet black back to bleached. and that last round of bleach didn’t do me any favors. my ends were dead. so…

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i cut my hair in october 2018. i got out the shower one morning, and i just wasn’t feeling my curls. they were so loose that nothing would help them hold a curl. i had tried finger coils, flexi rods, perm rods, twists. half of my curls were gone. i thought about what it would take to revive my curls, and i was not convinced i could do it. i sat around for about an hour before driving to the nearest hair cuttery to just shave my head. shaving my head comes with ease these days. saying goodbye to a few inches doesn’t break my heart anymore. i’m in love with the process.  i know that i’m the one damaging it, but color is just hard for me to resist.

in these last few months, i have resisted every urge to dye my hair. i’m adjusting my diet & hair care routine. my goal this time is increased strength & length retention. the most important thing i’ve learned through all my experiments with my hair is that, it is just hair. i’m so happy i learned to let go of the mentality that my hair was a defining factor of my beauty. it’s moreso an extension. it adds to my beauty, sure. but my beauty remains no matter the length. the health of my hair is now prioritized over the legth of it. so sometimes i make the mistake of overprocessing, and causing grave damage to my hair. but i take my L & just start my process all over, knowing that it’s not that big a deal to just let it go.

this is how far i’ve come in three months.  where do you think i’ll be at the end of this year? this is my first real hair journey. i have hair goals & i’m actually working on achieving them. are you on a hair journey this year too? let me know if we’re in this together. let me know your own hair journey! i’m all ears ladies (and gents too)!

Skincare Essentials: Masking

whether you have normal, oily, or combination skin, there’s a mask out there for you. face masks are great for selfies, self care, and self love. it’s that extra step in skin care that really levels you up. Here are some of my favorites out of my (unnecisarily) large collection.

for a deep detox

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kiehl’s rare earth deep pore clansing masque is packed with some of the best ingredients to draw out your skin’s impurities. amazonian white clay is known to remove bacteria, toxins, dead cells, and excess oil. one solid layer of this mask clears out pores & reveals clean, fresh skin.

origins clear improvement charcoal honey mask is a slight upgrade from their original charcoal mask formula. the bamboo charcoal from the original penetrates deep, drawing out the dirt & impurities dwelling in the pores. and the added honey is the necessary nourishment to leave the skin healthy & smooth. a perfect mask for sensitive, acne prone skin.

for balancing oily skin

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photo: @alissa.ashley

ole henriksen cold plunge pore mask was a game changing release this year. great results came along with the bomb selfies that came from using this mask. in one use, this mask instantly shrinks pores and draws out oils. the cold plunge mask is packed with AHAs and BHAs that balance oils, improve skin texture, and detoxifies the skin.

freeman apple cider vinegar mask is a 4-in-1 product. they say you can cleanse, scrub, tone, and mask with it. i only use it to mask & tone. it’s great at drying out the oils in my t-zone, without drying me out completely. apple cider vinegar is known to help tone & balance skin, as well as improving elasticity. the effects from this mask last me about 5 days. that’s pretty long lasting results, okay sis!

for maximum hydration

summer fridays jet lag mask is a cult favorite at this point. this mask is your best bet at soft, smooth, glowy skin! the jet lag mask debuted this year, and it was made to combat what’s in the name. you know how harsh traveling can be on your skin, right? but that can happen any day. especially in the winter, feeling dried out is the norm. but with the jet lag mask, you get a concoction of vitamins a, c, and e to bring your glow back & block all the bad environmental factors. the best part is that you don’t need to wash this mask off. just lay an even layer on your face, let it sink in to your skin, and watch the magic happen!

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the body shop ehtiopian honey face mask is a hidden gem. you either love the body shop’s face mask collection, or you’ve never heard of it. there’s honestly no in between. their honey face mask is made from community trade honey, marula oil, and olive oil – which is the perfect blend of natural goodies for a natural glow. the consistency of the mask feels like you’re literally drenched in honey. it’s thick, but in the best way. does that appeal to you? it does to me.

for exfoliation

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the body shop chinese ginseng & rice mask is a creamy exfoliating mask. it is a blend of ginseng extract, rice extract, and sesame seed oil. the active ingredient, rice, is known to polish away dead skin and support healthy turnover.

andalou naturals pumpkin honey glycolic mask is a mask full of chemical exfoliants. pumpkin is a natural enzyme that brightens and smooths the texture of skin by removing dead cells. glycolic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid that dissolves cells reveals radiant skin.

 

2019 GOALS

hello, 2019.

i read an amazing book last year, extreme living by Keith Veney. this book, along with the right influences, have led me to change my life in one major way: be intentional. every move i make must serve a purpose. the purpose can be something as small as “to fill my heart with joy,” but it cannot be as frivolous as “i felt like it.”

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this year, i decided to take the time to reflect on 2018. i took this first week of the year to plan how to go after what i want in this new year. taking the time to evaluate my highs & my lows, so i can successfully move forward. the most important part was focusing less on my lows, and more on my highs. what were my accomplishments? how did i reach those levels? what did they bring me? by focusing my energy on my high points, i’m reassuring myself that i am on the path to success. so last year:

 

  • i consistently worked with shea moisture & influenster to review products and create content, success.
  • i launched my blog, success.
  • i traveled to a new city, success.
  • i minimized my lifestyle after 2 years of trying, success.
  • i lost 20+ pounds, success.

these may be mini accomplishments, but they stand out as major for me. at the end of the year, i didn’t even remember my resolutions. why? i wasn’t tracking any of them. as most people don’t. the new year sorta flies by. you anticipate it, you come up with some pretty solid ideas for ways you can change. but then, you’re faced with new year’s eve. so you party, get the last bit of your bad habits out of your system (maybe), the ball drops, and boom it’s a new year just like that. in the matter of a literal second. and maybe you stick with your resolutions for the first month, but then life happens, and you sorta lose sight of it. so let’s make this year different. let’s make a plan & hold ourselves to it. i’ll start…

in this year i want to start my career in beauty, cut my debt in half, and consistently post on my blog. now what is that going to take? faith, pereseverance, support, and my planners.

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the most important goal of mine is cutting my debt in half. i spent the last year feeling like the more i owed, the less i was free to do. it casued the quickest & longest episode i’ve gone through in my life. i started to feel trapped in different aspects of my life – my job, my home, my overall freedom. this year, i have taken control of my finances. i have assured myself that my debt is manageable, and i am capable of getting rid of at least half of it by new year’s eve. aside from taking on side hustles like lyft & taskrabbit, this will be achieved by creating a strict budget & fully abiding by it.

the second most important goal is securing a job in the beauty industry. cosmetology is the highest passion of mine, and i did not recognize it until i was 21, 4 years out of high school, and already making strides in different career paths. i am turning 25 this year which means i spent another 4 years working jobs i still didn’t love. this year i am committed to getting my foot in the door. i will stay true to this by only applying to jobs with a connection to cosmetology. from there i will be on the right track, creating a network to grow in the industry. i don’t expect it to come easy, but as long as i am putting myself in the realm of beauty, i am sure that i can make this happen.

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consistently posting on my blog, is the easiest goal of mine in my opinion. but that doesn’t mean it comes without work & dedication. my blog is based on the idea that there’s always something to do. when i originally wanted to start my blog it was meant to be the motivator to get me out the house. my best friend & i were always lounging around the house, when we really wanted to get up, get out, and do something. my blog is my escape from the grown up life. while i’m working my way towards financial freedom & career i can be proud of, i need time to still enjoy my life. there’s at least one day i am free every week, and that one day is dedicated to creating content for my blog. this is without negotiation.

so now it’s your turn. what is at least one goal you have for the year? and what exactly are you going to do to make it happen?

OUT & ABOUT: HIRSHHORN MUSEUM

img_3027my “out & about” series is all about the dmv. i’ve lived here my entire life, and the one thing i can promise you is that there’s always something to do. from maryland to d.c. to virginia, there’s something for you. so whether you live here too, or you’re just visiting “out & about” is your new personal tour guide.

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now, what did i tell you in the last post? the smithsonian area is a dc gem. there’s so much to do that by time you’ve done it all, there’s something new for you to see so you have to start all over again. dc is home to a few FREE art museums. art museums feel like home to me. i go just to stare & appreciate the work put into each piece. the colors, the materials, the structure, the variety of it all – it captivates me & warms my heart. i’m not one of the people who want to look & dissect every piece. i just want to admire it in the moment & let it inspire me to create my own art, ya know?

imgp2513one of my favorite places to go downtown is the hirshhorn museum. if you live here, i feel like you’re supposed to know this place. and if you don’t, here is your introduction to it. the hirshhorn is easy to find, as it’s this large circle in the middle of the city. you’ll spot some of the art from a block away, with the sculptures outside in the plaza. the hirshhorn is home to contemporary art exhibits that last for a season or two. one of the most known & appreciated pieces is barbara kreuger’s belief + doubt exhibit that lines the walls & floors of the basement. i’m sure you’ve seen the photos! one of the most popular exhibits at the moment is rafael lozano-hemmer: pulse – it’s an interactive exhibit that mixes art & technology to create a captivating experience for visitors. kids & adults alike will enjoy the magic of it all. but if you’re more like me, one who is drawn to colors & composition, maybe you’ll find charline von heyl: snake eyes to be the star of the show. these painting stole my heart.

there’s more exhibits to check out, and even more coming in the next few months. so what are you waiting for?

OUT & ABOUT: SCULPTURE GARDEN

 

bc6c8104-5135-4a69-a286-471c5f63b99byou can always count on d.c. to make winter really feel like winter, ya know? cue “winter things” by ariana grande. there’s christmas decorations all over. just before christmas, it’s the perfect winter wonderland. there’s almost always snowfall before winter even officially starts. specialty cocoas at all the cafes, and the best ones have fireplaces that you can cozy up to. most importanly, there’s an outdoor ice skating rink in the middle of d.c.!

 

 

Processed with VSCO with fr4 presetif you’re from the area, you know down by the capitol is one of the most popular areas to hang out. there’s museums, gardens, monuments, food trucks, and more. you see so much & have the opportunity to learn a lot just by taking a trip down to the smithsonian area. and for the most part everthing is extremely affordable (most of them being free), so an exciting adventure won’t cost you much.

 

 

Processed with VSCO with fr4 presetthis particular adventure will only cost you $13 ($9 if you already have your own skates).  the sculpture garden’s ice skating rink is dc tradition. if you talk to the right people, you’ll hear the generational stories of folks taking their kids downtown to go ice skating. it really is a good time. pros & amateurs alike will make their way out to the rink for some fun. you get to skate around (or fall flat on your ass) for about 2 hours. there’s 15 minute intermissions every 45 minutes so they can refresh the ice. that gives you just enought time to check out the cute cafe right behind the rink. grab a cocoa to warm you up & keep you in the holiday cheer! 42aac6b4-a938-47bf-8771-449c5b1f2a26

i dragged my best friend, nadia, with me to embarrass ourselves on the ice. so go drag yours and see how long you can go without falling. it’s in business all season, until march 10, 2019 .

OUT & ABOUT: CITYCENTER DC

@citycenterdc is one of the most insta-worthy spots of downtown dc. visiting citycenter gives you your fix of visual art, luxury shopping, and good eats.

 

it’s one of my favorite places to visit all year round, because there’s always an installation dangling above your head.  they switch it up every season to give the city something new to marvel over. but citycenter at christmas is just as magical as you could imagine. the storefronts are loaded with holiday gifts & decorations. and this time of year, the park is full of sculptures & decor about 10x your size. and they just keep adding more!

at the start of december, the tree was up and they held their annual lighting of the tree ceremony to premiere it in style. but the oversized decorations don’t stop at the tree. you can walk your way down palmer alley and look up to see the most beautiful sight. the dream closet installation is made up of your winter wonderland dreams. hundreds of uniquely shaped “snowflakes” dangle from the store tops. they’re the perfect prop to your newest selfie.  there’s also the holiday gift box & the oversized reindeer for your festive photo needs.

what’s really special is their pop up ‘winter in washington’. this is the only time you’d be able to experience the city’s monuments as ice sculptures. only up for one weekend, you either made it or you missed out. it’s the kind of winter experience i didn’t know i needed. what else will they come up with?!?!

if you find yourself downtown, stop by citycenter for some holiday joy, gift shopping, and a sweet treat from the milk bar.

WOMEN SHINING IN MUSIC VIDEOS

we are undoubtedly the most beautiful specimen on the planet. don’t try to fight me on this, because i’m right. you know i’m right.

lately, women are taking their power into their own hands. they’re defining their own beauty, standing in their own light, speaking their truth, and living their best life. i’m here for you, and you, and you in the back too lady! Continue reading “WOMEN SHINING IN MUSIC VIDEOS”