FIVE SELF-CARE PRACTICES: HOW TO BE A KINDER & HAPPIER YOU!

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The majority of us are so busy achieving goals or simply surviving, that we often to live our lives in between the madness of it all.

I'll be the first to admit, my obsession with accomplishing tasks can be so unhealthy to the point where I completely shut down. Have you ever been in a place where you wanted to check off a million things on your to-do list but the thought of it made you take a nap? Oh doll, me either.

In this day and age, self-care has sadly become one of the most underrated routine. Our busy schedules (barely allowing space for a delayed commute) has no available slot to squeeze in a simple breather, let alone forming a new habit. Though I've recently failed with implementing this, taking time to pamper yourself is the most important facet of achieving goals. If you aren't physically, mentally and emotionally taking care of yourself, how could you possibly handle tasks at such a low frequency?

So, when was the last time you were kind to yourself? Whether it's been a few hours or all a blur, here are 5 ideal self-care practices for a happier and healthier you.

1. BE SELF-AWARE

The biggest correlation with self-care is usually lighting candles, body scrubs, bubble baths and a good ol' face mask. While I absolutely love the physical bit, it's also important to focus on the mental and emotional self. Developing the sense that every aspect of your life is a result of what you create is a type of mindset that pushes the anxiety away. Remember, what you think becomes. Slow down, be present because YOU'VE GOT THIS. 

2. PAMPER YOURSELF

Take a bath or a long shower, because you'll probably reconsider the latter if you tend to overheat like I do. Use a body scrub, it gets rid of dead skin. Wear a mask, especially if you have a stubborn spot. Burn a candle in your favorite scent, it'll soothe you. My point is, take a day to do the physical things I told you also mattered in tip #1, for YOU. And please, DO. IT. OFTEN.

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3. DE-CLUTTER YOUR SPACE

I find that a cluttered space clutters my soul, (this is dramatic but have you met me?) so it's also important for my area to be clean. Organizing your space, even chunck by chunk is a helpful way to provide clarity and peace. Try a minimalism challenge on pinterest or choose a day to purge, toss and donate. I promise, it feels good. 

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4. VISIT YOUR FAVORITE CAFÉ

One of my fondest memories is of my mother allowing my sisters and I to be creative. Nearly every weekend, she would take us to different centers or events to freely explore and create. This nostalgia has instilled my love for creative spaces and refueled the feelings I had as a pre-teen flipping through pages, in the freezing air-conditioned libraries of Africa. There's really something so soothing about being in a space where everyone else is zoned into achieving a goal they've set to accomplish. I know this seems counter-intuitive but actually being in a café, even to reflect instead of working, shifts your energy!

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5. CREATE A GRATITUDE LIST

I find myself noting things (even mentally) that I am absolutely grateful for; whether I currently have them or not, when I see my glass half empty. Creating a list of all the great things happening in your life, from smallest details to the biggest changes, is an excellent method for refueling. It helps with actually understanding, that while sometimes the progress may be slow, the growth stops. 

Contrary to popular beliefs, self-care is a necessity and not a luxury - which should be practice on a weekly basis. Join a challenge, try a new recipe or go for a walk. Whatever you choose to do, do it for you and your peace. The goal is to feel important, loved within and free from anxiety and depression.

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CRANBERRY EYES MAKEUP TUTORIAL | AÏCHATOU BELLA

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You're probably sick of all my dark toned tutorials, right? I know, everyone is happy with spring finally arriving (I swear, so am I) and yet here I am, dragging in these winter colors.

I promise! I am over the cold season too but ive always been the girl who wore different shades of makeup all year long! With that being said, here is another "fall/winter" look that I've been holding on to!

A cranberry eye is often my alternative when I am not going for a neutral look - if you're an OG subbie, you know this was my first tutorial ever! I won't ramble too much with this look but I will say that practice definitely makes perfect because I've gotten so much better.

I hope you enjoy watching this as much as I did creating it, don't forget to like, comment and subscribe!

All items used in this video are listed in the description box.

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DECIEM - THE ORDINARY COMPANY | FULL COVERAGE + SERUM FOUNDATIONS REVIEW

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In addition to purchasing their Ordinary Skincare Line, I went ahead and got the Deciem Serum & Coverage Foundations. I mean, why not? Both totaled to a whopping $13.60 in addition to their superb return policy,  (anything used could be refunded within a timeframe) so did I really have anything to lose?

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I hesitantly reviewed both products side by side prior to going to work and to my dismay, they look identical but felt different. The coverage foundation, made of a pigment suspension system with high coverage, felt creamier. While the serum foundation, made of a lightweight suspension system, had moderate coverage and felt water-like. The duos come in 21 different shades each, ranging from very fair to deep - annoyingly I am the deepest shade (3.2R) and that obviously contradicts with the fact that I am not the deepest shade of melanin.

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I felt the need to compare and contrast these two side by side so you could truly see the products for what it is. The foundations are cruelty-free, naturally made, and most importantly contain SPF 15. My only concern for these reasonably prices and beautiful packaged foundations is, HAVE MORE DARK SHADES! I can't stress enough how important it is to equally represent darker shades. There is a common misconception that "dark" "deep" is the darker shade of makeup and we truly need to go beyond that. It's 2018, please do better.

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Watch until the end of the video to see how my face looked with these foundations, after a very busy 12 hours!

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DECIEM - THE ORDINARY COMPANY | SKINCARE REVIEW

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I've always been obsessed wit getting rid of the texture of my skin! So much that I pushed back my desire to create a Youtube channel for so long. An acne-free, texture-free, pore-free, glossy skin was the goal and I wasn't doing anything else until I perfectly executed it.

Somewhere along the way, I realized that no one is perfect and eventually built so much confidence. My skin as an adult was never terrible to begin with, but the high schooler in me was still traumatized from years of pimple popping and terrible scars.

As someone who magically dodged chemistry throughout her years of education, Deciem became a tab bit intimidating at a glance. The selection of skincare products seemed to have much of success story but was composed of a foreign language to me – so I made it my business to physically go to their soho location and ask as many questions as I could possibly have answered. The store greeted me with a lab-like atmosphere inclusive of much more excitement than beakers and microscopes. The brightly lit subway tiled rooms were cozy enough to keep me in for nearly an hour, ignoring the crisp winter night. This company, with a growing portfolio of more than 50 products in 15 different markets truly met my price demand! After using the pictured products for nearly two months, here are my current thoughts on them.

THE ORDINARY | GLYCOLIC ACID 7% TONING SOLUTION $8.70

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I've heard so many incredible things about this toning solution for acne-prone skin and had to double my quantity, seeing that I sells out like hot cakes. I learned about how well Glycolic acid works for my skin type when I had a facial around my birthday. It's meant to improve the dullness & texture of skin with continued us and should only be used in the evening. I use this product after my evening shower, in addition to the Lactic Acid, Alpha Arbutin and a pea size of African Shea butter. 

THE ORDINARY | LACTIC ACID 5% + HA $6.50

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Not to be confused with Lactic Acid 10% (a stronger formula,) the Lactic Acid 5% mildly exfoliates, in order to smoothly remove dead skin and painlessly give a new layer. In addition to the Glycolic acid, I use this in the evening as recommended, to allow maximum absorption overnight. If you are looking for something to help soothe sensitivity from too much acid on the skin surface, this product is for you.

THE ORDINARY | ALPHA ARBUTIN 2% + HA $8.90

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Alpha Arbutin has a gel consistency and reduces the appearance of spots and hyper-pigmentation. Simply put, this product can be used in the morning and evening and helps with pimples and uneven skin-tone. This is my third step in the evening after using the above products.

THE ORDINARY | ASCORBYL GLUCOSIDE SOLUTION 12% $12.90

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This is pretty much a long word for a vitamin C serum. Ascorbyl Glucoside helps brighten the skin-tone and reduces sign of aging. Because of its abrasiveness, this product should not be used with GLYCOLIC ACID 7% TONING SOLUTION. I cannot fully vouch for it as I plan of using this once I am done with my first bottle of Toning solution but it was highly recommended. 

I can't stress enough how important it is to use sunscreen in addition to this routine - the sun can be very damaging and will reverse all your hard work! As always, please purchase these with your discretion and understand that because we all have different needs everything that works for me may not work for you. Deciem employs skin experts who can truly direct you to your needs.

Conclusively, it's safe to say that I will be revisiting this store for a restock! I purchased 7 items for a total of $61.87! A complete steal in comparison to other brands that provide the same results. While it doesn't carry the entire line, Sephora does have a few of its best sellers on their website too.  

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2018 UPDATED FOUNDATION ROUTINE FT. FENTY BEAUTY

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What's up babes?! I am back at it with another tutorial and this time around, it's an Updated Foundation Routine ft. Fenty Beauty! I've been dreading filming this routine again (it was so tedious when I filmed it last year) but I am glad I pushed through! This foundation worked so well with my oily combination skin and I received tons compliments about it! I initially didn't want to purchase the line because it thought it was overhyped because of Rihanna – I stand corrected. It's one of the best I've had up to date. I am sure I am the millionth person to review and demonstrate this makeup line but it's for a good reason so stay with me! After filming this video and using the brand for several weeks, it's safe to say it's going to fit right into my routine.

 

PRO FILT'R SOFT MATTE FOUNDATION | 440 $34

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Reasonably priced in comparison to a lot of high end foundation, this gem comes in 40 different shades and undertones – making sure that everyone in the skin tone spectrum is inclusive. It's cruelty free, blurs out my pores and very true to its soft matte finish. While I did have the option of purchasing the primer and foundation as a pair, I opted out of this decision, as I wasn't eager to spend $32 on it. If my current primers were currently effective, what was the point of buying more? But of course this logic didn't apply to my foundation addiction! One thing I would warn you about the foundation is that it may not work so well on dry skin, it oxidizes a little and from what I have heard there is an ingredient that may break you out.

 

MATCH STIX TRIO | DEEP 400 $54

Firstly, can we talk about the genius world play on the products?! GOOD JOB ROBYN! The Match Stix can be purchased separately but since I love a good bargain I snagged the bundle deal. As shown in my tutorial, the Suede Concealer appeared to be just that and because I like a bright under eye I have to overcompensate with other items. Espresso was a perfect contour shade and Sinamon could be worn as a natural highlight or a base to adhere to my powder ones. The magnetized bundle is the perfect trio for traveling or as a display in your beauty room. A few things I would adjust in this would be that the deepest shade, a match for me would never work for someone darker like Nikki Perkins. Additionally, it would have been nice to customize my own trio so that I could select a lighter shade as a concealer but of course, this is me nitpicking.

 

STUNNA LIP PAINT | UNCENSORED $24 

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This was my first Fenty Beauty purchase and that alone ignited my desired to support the company even more. Literally described as its epitome, this perfect universal red is pigmented beyond words. I've used this lipstick countless amount of times and have fallen in love with it all over again. The packaging, composition and it reminder of an old school nail polish look just sold me! I will undoubtedly use this more often in my upcoming Fashion looks and Tutorials – you've been warned!  

I will 100% continue to support this black owned because of the marketing strategy, quality and long overdue inclusiveness for the black community. This is a clearly a portion of what Rihanna has released and while I wish I could review every single thing (speaking things into existence about being on the PR list!) it's just not ideal for me at the moment. I do urge you to head to your local Sephora, grab some samples and feel the products for yourself. If you have tried the above already or have any recommendations, please comment below and share your thoughts!  

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HOW I CURATE A COHESIVE INSTAGRAM FEED

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A frequent question I get asked nearly every week on my Instagram is, how have I created a theme for my feed. Because I consider my life to be a pleasing bubble of aesthetics, making sure my personality digitally shines through as been both fun and satisfying. Besides my Pinterest account, Instagram has been the source to my analytic growth on the blog which also stems from the pattern of my visuals encouraging a longer interaction. Before we get started, I'd like to bring to your attention that a cohesive theme on your feed doesn't automatically equate to having the same exact photo style – as OCD as I am, I couldn't possibly commit to something so tedious!

YOUR EQUIPMENT  

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An important thing to keep in mind is the tools you use to post on Instagram – not be confused with having with having expensive equipment. Whether it's your phone, a DSLR or any other form of electronics, having the equipment to capture your documented moments is a starter. I personally use my Canon SL1 with a 50mm f 1.8 lens to capture my products shots and blog photos, which are all the images below!

YOUR LIGHTING

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If there's one thing you need to take away from this post, it's that having good lighting really matters. Shooting yourself or a subject facing an opened window or with artificial lighting will take your images to the next level. Over a couple of years, I've purchased a ring lighttwo soft boxes and savage paper background to use depending on the background I am in the mood for. Again, you do not need to splurge to have good lighting, the sun is actually my favorite of them all as it is the most natural.

YOUR IMAGES

Without an images, there's really no feed – so make sure it's a good one! Try capturing photos with different angles (or the same if that's the look you're going for) to show your personality. My rule of thumb for this is, if I second guess the quality of my images, I won't post it. End of story.

YOUR EDITING

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in addition to having good lighting, editing plays a massive role on the outcome of your photos and into the beauty of your feed. There are countless amounts of affordable (and free apps) that allow you to make your pictures pop - so take advantage of them and do your research! Some of my favorite apps are VSCO CamFacetune and A Color Story but I am currently using Adobe Creative Cloud to complete most of my photo editing. My current favorite Lightroom preset (essentially a filter) is by Moss Onyi. 

YOUR THEME

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Your theme is what brings the visuals and your consistency as a whole. What does your feed look like as a whole the minute someone is on your profile? You can go for bright, dark, warm or anything in between but having a particular mood on your feed is what brings it all together. I usually switch my images around but always post uniformly by 3 – this means 3, 6, 9, images and so on look the similar before I start a new theme.

YOUR NICHE

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This is really self-explanatory, especially if you're an entrepreneur! Be yourself but pay attention to what your crowd likes. Not only will this help boost your following but also teach you a few marketing tactics. Be sure to have your Instagram as a business account so that you're able to view your analytics.

YOUR INSPIRATION

Screenshot, save online, Pin and search up some inspirations on the gram! I enjoy saving images from my favorite pages to recreate them with my own twist. Finding inspiration always pushes me out of my creative block and beyond my limit. As they say, surround yourself around people you can grow with – even if this means virtually for the moment!

Now that we've handled all the "secrets" to a successful feed, please remember to have fun. Yes, the algorithm sucks and I can 100% relate to the delayed gratifications from my decreased engagements but don't give up! Enjoy the ride and remember that this should be a fun hobby

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EASY HOW TO: LAY YOUR 4C EDGES

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I've been meaning to do this long overdue "How To Lay Your Edges" tutorial for the longest – so I hope you enjoy it!

Though this may be the simplest video, struggling to lay my thick, natural 4C hair has been a challenge. When it comes to finding the right products and the proper care to prevent hair loss, making sure my edges are up to par can be a headache. I alternate between my Hicks Edge Control and my all-time favorite Eco Styler Gel, to achieve the effortless looking swirls.

The best advice I can give beyond this video is to search for the right control paste that works for your hair type, care for it by applying natural oils overnight and to be gentle, unlike I was in this video!

I hope this video showed you a simple trick or two and gave you a minimal perspective on making your baby hair "presentable." It's all about having fun and practicing so please don't sweat it too much!

All items used in this video are listed in the description box.

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EIGHT TIPS TO BEING A SUCCESSFUL BLOGGER

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I couldn't leave the topic of blogging on just pointing out its "ugly truths" without actually giving positive pointers!  Being realistic about what I enjoy doing and laying things out on the table to potential blogger is important to me, but so is actually sharing my tips and tricks. I am fortunate enough to have many of you ask me questions about my brand - if I can help one person with starting their blog, my job is complete!

Knowing the good and the bad of the blogosphere is an imperative part of conceptualization, as it fully prepares you for what is within your control. What are others doing that you should recreate with your own twist? What can you learn from their mistakes? Now of course this isn't a one size fits all guide, but merely what I've acquired through the four years of my creative career. Whether you are just starting out (like any blogger who is now at the top of their stardom) or already traveling the world with your entire work crew, here are some tips that could be a gentle reminder or an eye opener.

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1. WRITE FOR YOURSELF FIRST

 Let's take it back to the time where blogging was considered as a digital journal. Before you are for anyone, you are for yourself.  If you don't write for yourself to least to look back on, it'll come off as forceful, which in fact is an aggravating disadvantage. I cannot stress enough how important it is to genuinely enjoy this because of how challenging it becomes. A vast majority of successful bloggers / YouTubers will all tell you that they started this as a hobby that eventually developed into an accidental dream job. So, my first advice to you is to do this for you, write about the things you love, get creative and the rest will eventually follow.

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2. BE CONSISTENT

I am currently sighing at how evident my lack of consistency has been in the past several weeks, but I am going to stop dwelling on my multiple hiatuses. A break is necessary in order to refuel but do not get comfortable and take them often, otherwise your subscriber retention will be at an all-time low. Bringing consistency and sticking to a schedule will effortlessly drive traffic to your blog- when people connect with you and know your schedule they come back!

3. GIVE AWAY YOUR KNOWLEDGE

For a very long time, I felt as though keeping all my blogging "secrets" will put me at an advantage but to be truthful, someone has already done it! SHARE, SHARE, SHARE. Showing what equipment you use, where you've purchased your looks or what tips you have for blogging will not hinder your growth but actually help it. No matter what the obstacles are, what is meant for you will be! As they say, "A candles does not lose it light by lighting another candle," so please shine on and share your light!

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4. MAKE IT VISUALLY PLEASING

 What gravitated you towards my blog? Would you still be reading this post if it weren't visually heavy or pleasing? Well, me either! Having quality images not only bring readers to your blog but also keeps them there. You don't need the most expensive camera to deliver good visualization. Do your research, search for alternatives and see what investments you can make to fit into your budget.

5. CREATE AN EDITORIAL CALENDAR

Generating an editorial on a monthly or weekly basis is an excellent prevention to the constant creative block bloggers face. When you have an outline or a schedule for your posts, you're more prone to committing and being stress free. Print out a calendar and outline some ideas you can potentially manifest- the easy part is jotting down ideas so don't forget to actually follow through with them. Another suggestion that works best for me is compiling a checklist of topics that attracts my target audience and referring back to it when I am not inspired.  

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 6. EFFECTIVELY BRAND YOURSELF

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Branding is when someone creates a form of identity to their brand that is recognized any and everywhere. It's what makes you unique among your competitors and brings traffic to your blog. Is your work uniformed across all platforms? Can someone see a photo taken / edited by you and immediately know where it's from? These are the type of questions you'd want to ask yourself to understanding the concept of branding. A way I brand myself on Instagram is by having a cohesive feed that also corresponds with my blog. I also make sure that all profile pictures on all of my platforms are the same – that way people know that it's me!

7. PROOF READ EVERYTHING

I've had the luxury of having an editor, with an English background, for the last three and a half years, but learning to proof read my blog has been such a breeze thanks to her! I like tend to outline my posts, draft them, walk away for several days then review them with a fresh pair of eyes. If you know someone who can gladly proofread your blog-posts, FANTASTIC! But it's truly a no-brainer if you were to try it yourself because for the most part, this is what every blogger does.

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8. ENGAGE WITH YOUR AUDIENCE

Keeping your current viewership by interacting with your audience is much more effective than trying to recruit more. Retention is important! Letting your audience know that you hear them by replying or gifting them is the perfect way! Always ask open ended questions, create call to actions, generate giveaways when it's merited- treat your audience like the people they are and not just as numbers.

There are countless of accessible ways to have a successful blog, please do not limit yourself to the above tips! Do your research and follow what works best for you. Most importantly, remember that although having a massive subscription count is great, it is not contingent on the success of your blogging career. I truly hope you learned a few things here and please, if you have any questions feel free to comment below!

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FIVE UGLY TRUTHS ABOUT BLOGGING

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Blogging is a dream to every creative who loves experience! I mean, you receive products or services, document your journey, get tons of like on your social media platforms and BAM! A few thousand dollars is deposited into your bank account from the company you advertised for. Right? WRONG.

The term blogger is usually associated with a group of people who have the easiest profession, that comes wrapped in a package of free trips and commodities for a trade in reviews. While there is some truth to define us in this excessively saturated world, most of it is exaggerated through the pacified obstacles that are swept under the rug.

In between hectic shoots in unbearable temperatures, long written reviews that are assumed to be false and curated inspirational posts when we are discouraged, bloggers too try to balance their “real life” goals and relationships. Blogging is a satisfying outlet to creative individuals whose heart are filled by it but like any career path pursued, it can also be stressful. While I don’t regret my experience in the past several years, I do wish some things were laid out in the open before I dived in head first. It’s rewarding, satisfying and incredible but it’s also draining, disappointing and frustrating. Editing these long overdue images I took back in the fall reminded me of just that – the good times and also the realistic times of my blogging career.

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1. IT IS OVERSATURATED

Youtuber or a Blogger is one of the most saturated professions, but to be quite frank, so are other career path in the working force. Because there are so many of us, it's hard to really stand out (with the exception of very few people) and immediately become a sensation in the digital world. DON'T GIVE UP! As much as this sounds like an oxymoron, there are not enough people in this industry; joining the blogging or youtube world through persistence, consistency, uniqueness and determination will get you where you would like to be. Just be careful not to be so destination focused or intimidated by the market.

2. IT'S A LOT OF WORK

Blogging is a lot work and it is draining, especially if you want to make it into a career. You'd have to truly love it because looking from the outside it seems like an breeze until you're actually doing the work. Many of us have full-time jobs, are parents and in relationships, so finding the time to really put in hours of quality content can be challenging. Planning ahead by sticking to a routine and fighting off procrastination make a huge difference.

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3. IT'S EXPENSIVE

It's expensive as hell! Considering so many people are delivering quality content, it's safe to say that in order to succeed I had to at least follow the structure of successful blogger. Booking photoshoots, staying relevant with editing skills and having the right equipment takes time but it also add up. I don't recommend diving into it by buying everything on day one, but I do think investing into your brand once you're sure of it is important. Find ways to cut back on certain things in life by compromising on unnecessary expenses, that way you can things like that ring light you've been eyeing for a while. Just because it's expensive doesn’t mean you have to be broker so do your research and be frugal!

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4. IT TAKES A WHILE TO MONETIZE

On average, it takes at least a year for influencers to make some any type of income - one of the many reasons you'd like to do this because you genuinely love it. Many successful people in this industry will tell you it took them up to about 50-100 posts to receive a $100, yet they still push through with it because it is their passion. Starting off by purchasing your own products and services for an honest review will eventually get you noticed (among other things) and prompt companies to reach out to you. 

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5. YOU'LL WANT TO GIVE UP

Even as someone who is passionate about my craft, I've considered giving this all up (hence constant my hiatuses) but I am still here. I constantly remind myself why I started - to inspire people to follow their dreams and pursue what sets their soul on fire. 

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As transparent as these truths were, I hope you realize that like anything else, having a blog requires a lot of work, consistency and dedication. Even with these facts laid out, I am more than positive that I would've still dived into this head first because that's just how passionate I am with this. DO NOT be discouraged and please remember that even the most creative and influential people once faced these challenges and still do. If there's anything you should take from this post is to better prepare yourself and be cognizant of what's to come if you pursue this path.

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WARM MONOCHROMATIC | BLAC CHYNA MAKEUP TUTORIAL

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All the gorgeous recreations I've seen on the internet prove that I wasn't the only one gasping at this Black Chyna makeup look!

I was scrambling around looking for the perfect palette the minute I saw this monochromatic makeup paired with the perfect nude. I used the Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance to achieve the eyes and one of my Kylie Send Me More Nudes lipsticks for the right shade of nude.

I will surely be rocking more mono warm tones this fall so be on the lookout!

All items used in this video are listed in the description box.

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MAUVE COOL TONE CUT CREASE | MAKEUP TUTORIAL

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I've been seeing the Urban Decay Heat Palette take over the beauty world lately because compared to all their other palettes, this one was actually really different with its amber-warm hues. 

As tempted as I was to add it to my collection, I quickly remembered my other Naked Palettes collecting dust in my drawer. I mean, how could I buy ANOTHER palette when I had two from the collection that I wasn't even putting to use?! I can't continuously hoard makeup so low and behold I had to either use it or give it away. 

I achieved this cool tone mauve eye look (that I actually really enjoyed doing) with my Naked Palette 3. Contrary to looking so complicated, the secret to my defined look was doing a cut crease. I've really been branching out of my neutral and warm looks by doing cool tones and pop of colors so I really hope you enjoy!

All items used in this video are listed in the description box.

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FINDING YOUR PURPOSE + LIVING BY YOUR OWN RULES

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When I shot this look after the Fourth of July, I was very ambivalent about posting it. There were numerous thoughts running through my head but what stood out the most was if people were going to judge me for wearing red, white and blue shortly after Independence Day. It was merely a coincidence that I was representing the USA so patriotically but my ambivalence on breaking a fashion rule almost ruined such a successful photo shoot. 

It's a new era in fashion- there are no rules. -Alexander McQueen

This natural human behavior led me to thinking about all the rules we get so caught up abiding by due to the fear of being ourselves. Now don't get me wrong, I don't sit around seeking approval from people before I get things done but as a human being and like many others, I am guilty of occasionally being distracted by what my appearance may seem to others.

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My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style. - Maya Angelou
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I immediately stop these negative thoughts with a friendly reminder that nobody is perfect and I can't live life worrying about everyone's opinion of me. As long as I am happy doing what I love without harming anyone, (fashion or life related) nothing really matters! Had I insisted on changing my outfit, I wouldn't have had the opportunity to even write this blogpost. 

If only our eyes saw souls instead of bodies how different our ideals of beauty would be.- Anonymous 

There is truly one life to live and unless anyone could prove me otherwise, I highly recommend living it for YOU. Do what you love, because if you were doing anything else someone will complain anyway. As my best friend would always tell me, "Stop doubting yourself and letting people question you!" It's okay to have a personal taste in things in life because we were made differently and I mean how boring would the world be if we were all clones? 

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We are often so focused on what people do, what they have in comparison to us and how we appear to them that we don't bother answering what's more valuable to us:

  1. What is my purpose? If I can't answer that, which is okay, am I soul searching for the answer?
  2. What is are my current goals? What am I doing to achieve these goals? Am I setting goals that are easily achievable? If so, how can I write BIGGER goals and go HARDER for them?
  3. What makes me feel good both internally and externally? What can I do to implement that in my daily routine?
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It's so important for us to find our purpose by focusing on what matters the most to us while ignoring the silly rules that someone woke up and decided to set in stone. If there's anything I'd like you to take from this post is that you should live your truth and do what feeds your soul.

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FESTIVAL INSPIRED MAKEUP TUTORIAL

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Okay you guys, I could never relate to the struggles Youtubers endure until now! Before we get into the glam and glitz of this look, let me tell you it was a HEADACHE to finally upload this video and get it through! My hard drive gave up on me and it took a week+ to get a replacement (I'll spare you the very long sob story) which prevented me from editing anything I've recorded.

Any who, I'm back to regular programming and not stressing over something so minuscule because this is life and things happen.

As promised, here is the makeup I had in my FESTIVAL INSPIRED LOOK + SIMPLE SURVIVAL TIPS! If you've been following me for a while you'd know this is completely out of my comfort zone because the pop of colors shy away for the neutral shades that I tend to comfortably stick with.

One last thing I'd like to point out before we get through with the tutorial is my tan and how crazy it has been trying to match my foundation. I am still on the hunt for the right shade but this tutorial had to happen so don't judge me (especially since this is a judgement free zone).

As always, don't forget to subscribe to my channel & like this video because I'd appreciate it a billion times!  

All items used in this video are listed in the description box.

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FESTIVAL INSPIRED LOOK + SIMPLE SURVIVAL TIPS

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I had the time of my life attending the Full Moon Festival and kept asking myself, "Why haven't I done this before?!"

I posted several photos and snippets of my day on Instagram and immediately felt a rush of inspiration to properly recreate this look as a blog post + a YouTube tutorial (be on the lookout for that)! Festivals to me signify joy because so many different demographics come together as one to celebrate their love for music or food. That's something I will ALWAYS stand for any and everyday. 

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I noticed that many people either go hard or go home regardless of the exhausting heat and intense music. The makeup style is very fun and creative while the fashion look is bright and tropical.

Since it was my first festival, I decided to play with color (but honeyyyy next time I might be a mermaid) by adding a pop of blue on my lower lash line and a true red lipstick. Contrary to the heels I wore for this shoot, I preferred wearing a similar version in sandals for comfort.

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A few simple survival tips to keep mind when attending any festival are:

  1. Pack lightly, a fanny pack or a messenger bag is perfect as you will be walking A LOT! (Should I do a "What's in my festival / Summer bag?!)
  2. Make sure you carry a portable charger, just in case your phone dies and you need to contact whomever your with. 
  3. In relation to tip #2, have a checkpoint if you plan on splitting up. There's nothing worse than having to worry about losing your squad instead of getting lit!
  4. Wear sunscreen! I don't care if you're blue, white, or yellow, you NEED to wear sunscreen regardless of your skin tone. I even apply some on my face before wearing makeup.
  5. Carry cash and don't forget your ID (even if you don't drink) because certain food stands ONLY accept cash moneyyy. 
  6. HAVE FUN! Get out of your comfort zone and dance to the beat even if that particular song isn't your jam because it's contagious.
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Have you been to any festivals? I am thinking of attending Coachella and Essence fest next year. What are some recommendations for looks, treats and locations? 

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GLOWY SUMMER MAKEUP LOOK | AÏCHATOU BELLA

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I had fun creating this look as it is all about glowing from within through the surface of your skin. I've always been into highlights since I've discovered them and the brighter the better! This tutorial is just in time for summer and all about preparing your skin so I really hope this is helpful. 

As always, thank you for watching! Don't forget to like, comment and subscribe!  

˗ˏˋ PRODUCTS LISTED ˎˊ˗

SKINDANAVIA MAKEUP PRIMER SPRAY // https://goo.gl/yoIUjk

L.A. GIRL PRO CONCEAL ORANGE CORRECTOR // https://goo.gl/4qBrpj

L'OREAL TRUE MATCH FOUNDATION CAPPUCCINO // https://goo.gl/s5cFXq 

NYX TOTAL DROP FOUNDATION CAPPUCCINO // https://goo.gl/254XAX

L.A. GIRL PROCONCEAL FAWN // https://goo.gl/976kBp 

BOBBY BROWN FOUNDATION STICK CHESTNUT // https://goo.gl/26qfQn

BEN NYE LUXURY POWDER TOPAZ // https://goo.gl/GUk9lh

BH COSMETICS CONTOUR PALETTE // https://goo.gl/8KaaN4

MAC MINERALIZE SKIN FINISH DARK DEEP // https://goo.gl/sPxYAQ 

URBAN DECAY EDEN PRIMER // https://goo.gl/ox71qE 

ABH MARIO MASTER PALETTE 

NYX MIXING MEDIUM PRIMER // https://goo.gl/C2pYMQ 

MAC FIX + // https://goo.gl/vd5WTh  

BENEFIT SUN BEAM HIGHLIGHTER // https://goo.gl/8kS1KZ 

ABH GLOWKIT SUNDIPPED // https://goo.gl/kwpEHj

MAC SWEET AS COCOA BLUSH // https://goo.gl/bcxZ5s 

SKINDANAVIA MAKEUP FINISHING SPRAY // https://goo.gl/5bCk80

MAYBELLINE BIG SHOT MASCARA // https://goo.gl/WQx6IT 

CAKEFACE BEAUTY KIM THAI LASHES // https://goo.gl/Db2d1n

MAC CORK LIPLINER 

COLOURPOP LIPPIE STIX CHOKER // https ://goo.gl/5P28av 

SEPHORA PERFECT NUDE LIP GLOSS // https://goo.gl/FGL13h 

 

| FACE BRUSHES USED |

ZOEVA CONCEALER BUFFER // https://goo.gl/3V9oed

MORPHE M224 // https://goo.gl/qlKxp7

ZOEVA SILK FINISH // https://goo.gl/QO9Dgw

ZOEVA FACE SHAPE // https://goo.gl/WXYnwm

ZOEVA WING LINER // https://goo.gl/em5lAA 

NARS ITA KABUKI // https://goo.gl/75Kz57

E.L.F EYESHADOW BLENDING // https://goo.gl/NLJTMD

ZOEVA POWDER // https://goo.gl/hsEJ9u

ZOEVA LUXE SHEER CHEEK // https://goo.gl/ZvxCaf

MUFE 134 WAVY // https://goo.gl/IkCO9q

MORPHE M558 // https://goo.gl/Lwqudr

 

|EYE BRUSHES USED |

ZOEVA LUXE CREASE // https://goo.gl/omR14D 

ABH MASTER PALETTE BRUSH

MAC TAPERED BLENDING // https://goo.gl/ZJ84hB

ZOEVA SMOKY SHADER // https://goo.gl/3nMXtn

 

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SPRING STYLE: KHAKI TONES WITH JORD WATCHES

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While many would consider this look fall-related, which I can also agree on, I've always had fun breaking "fashion barriers" by wearing my muted tones all year long. With Spring offering some seriously challenging wardrobe decisions, this color palette suits the weather with exactly what it's offering. My favorite way to accessorize muted tones are by adding a bit of rose gold and usually a dope watch like the JORD one. 

Style is all about personality, how you feel and what vibes you'd like to give out. The oversized sweater, Yeezy inspired boots and exclusive wooden watch perfectly set the tone for my comfy boyfriend yet girly look. This timeless wooden watch fits right into my creative lifestyle by being fashionable and practical.

 

ABOUT JORD WATCHES & HOW I STYLE MY WATCH

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JORD is a creator of unique wood watches made with details by artists, designers, marketers and minders. The company makes timepieces that reflects a modern lifestyle for individuals like you and I. 

What I admire the most about their story, besides them being relatable to their consumer, is the ability to portray a timepiece for people who not only have somewhere to be, but somewhere to go. As someone who runs on a very strict schedule and has a lot on her plate, this spoke volumes!

My watch personally tells more than time because it shows my style and personality. It's subtle (with the gray, brown and gold color palette) yet bold (with its wooden composition), it's unique but fits perfectly with any style. Whether I am on a Starbucks run in the concrete jungle, pressed for time due to a meeting or simply enjoying the scattered sunshine at a cafe during this spring season, I like to have functionality and style. 

As a creative who plans accordingly and enjoys timeless projects, I like my accessories to marry into my lifestyle. April showers might bring May flowers, but dealing with the inconsistent weather while being cozy in style helps gets the job done. 

 

SURPISE GIVEAWAY!

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If you've read this post through this far, surprise! I've teamed up with JORD to give you guys an instant giveaway! All entrants will receive an e-gift code for $25 OFF a watch of their choice but a lucky winner will receive a code for $100 OFF a watch of their choice. Want a chance to win or receive a gift card? Simply follow Jord Watches & Stilettos & Standards on Instagram and sign up for the Exclusive Giveaway Entry Form

 

This contest ends on June 1st 2017, exactly one month from the day this post was published.

GOOD LUCK! 
 

DISCLAIMER- Please note that my watch was gifted to me from Jord Watches however, this post is not sponsored and all opinions are honest and mine.

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HOW NOT TO GIVE UP ON YOUR DREAMS

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Blogging is an incredible creative outlet that can potentially turn into a career. However, it can easily become stressful if the main focus, which is enjoyment, is lost. Comparison has always been the thief of my joy because it often lead me to ignore what I should be grateful for. So after another serious hiatus, I'm back at having peace within and understanding what my purpose is. If you're a blogger or simply a creative who is on the verge of calling it quits, hold on. I've felt the same way and here are some tips that helped me get through it. 

THERE'S ENOUGH ROOM FOR EVERYONE

Do NOT listen to small minded people that tell you not to go after what you dream of because they are too afraid to do it themselves. No, the market isn't saturated and NO, there aren't limited spaces for whatever it is you want in life. Have people succeeded at what you dream of? Great because if they can do it, so can you. 


QUALITY OVER QUANTITY

I knew I needed a break when I felt the need to blog just to produce content. It wasn't authentic because I was loosing sight of who I was and what I wanted my brand to represent. Do NOT post just for the sake of posting. DO put a 1000% of yourself into everything you create and ask yourself if you would enjoy what you've created. 

DO NOT COMPARE

If you've been following Stilettos & Standards for a while then you know how I feel about comparison. I've always stressed about not comparing your journey with anyone else's. So let me remind you once more, STAY IN YOUR LANE & DO YOU. The worst thing you can do is lose sight of what's on your plate because you're too busy looking at someone else's.

BE YOURSELF

Be unapologetically and fearlessly, comfortable in your own skin. Blogging has truly taken me out of my comfort zone where I am constantly judged through the lens of people who can't step out of their own. I've often felt awkward or conscious about it but I've come to the realization that it isn't my job to make someone comfortable with my confidence. Regardless of what your passion is, do not let anyone dim the light that sets your soul on fire!

TAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF

Mental health is extremely important. More than often, if you aren't feeling like yourself it becomes transparent with the results of your creation. YOU come first, that is the most important thing to remember. While consistency is important and I don't encourage an excessive amount of breaks, if you need a day or a few weeks to shut the world out and work on finding yourself, I support you darling. 

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