FOREST GREEN HALO EYE MAKEUP TUTORIAL | AÏCHATOU BELLA

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Hi darlings!

I am back with a fun video – doing a forest green halo eye look, with my Jaclyn Hill x Morphe Palette. It's no surprise that I am using yet again dark shades in a tutorial but you can't blame me! As I've said countless amounts of times, I do any color, during any season, as long as it looks great to me! It was my first halo eye in a very long time and I fell in love with the concept all over again.

As always, thank you for your continuous support, please remember to like this video, leave your feedback & subscribe!

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

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FIVE TIME MANAGEMENT TIPS FOR BLOGGERS WHO HUSTLE

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I've shared numerous blogging tips like 15 Habits to Being a Boss Babe & Eight Tips To Being a Successful Blogger - now what if your issue isn't being a badass nor successful but rather finding a way to balance it all?

If you're familiar with the blogosphere, then you know that in addition to our personal responsibilities and full-time employees, we enjoy it all while being creative. In fact, many bloggers aren't seeking to do this as a career and see this as an added bonus to their dream jobs. With that being said, as rewarding it may often be, blogging can be one of the most frustrating jobs with little to no guarantee of success in a saturated world.

We are often up extremely early or unimaginably late to edit videos, photos or to draft content at the pace of an exhausted mind. Being transparent about all this isn't meant to scare you away but really to point out how significant time management is in the world of a creative individual. If you find yourself getting home after an 8+ hour work day and struggling to stay on top of it all, here are some tips that should help alleviate some of the stress.  

1. PLAN AHEAD

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Did you know that there is a 42% chance that you'll complete something if it's written down? I always stress about time management because a goal is literally a dream with a deadline. Despite life happening and things popping up, creating a plan on a daily basis puts you in a position to tackle anything that comes your way seamlessly. My Erin Condren Life Planner (not sponsored) is a gem I've carried and renewed for years to keep track of my life. Everything from shoots, chores, to meetings and editing is instilled in my routine because of the habit I've formed through planning. Having a 9-5 shouldn't force you to give up your hobbies nor dreams- plan your day and see where you could squeeze in your hustle.

2. HAVE A NOTEBOOK

In addition to planning, I find that having a travel journal where I jot down ideas for future posts has helped me tremendously. I don't rely so much on my phone for this, as writing it down makes things more real me. Find a mini notebook and an artsy pen you don't mind keeping in your purse during your commutes so you could use them as idea flows through you!  There nothing worse than trying to remember that thing you meant to write down but didn't have to chance to! My favorite way to strategize is by outlining content because it helps with my creative bloc and keeping me in check when I struggle to produce things.

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3. STICK TO YOUR ROUTINE

This one has been a never-ending struggle, so I often ask myself this. What is the point of creating a schedule, outlining everything if you lack a routine? I've noticed that the best way to increase my following and viewership is by being consistent with my routine. I've gone from having viral posts to less than a handful of views because no one knew when I'd come back! A break is great and necessary, but don't work so hard to fall right back into old habits. Getting comfortable with procrastination gives you a feeling of instant gratification but incompetence, so why not work hard towards you goals and reward yourself when it is merited?! 

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4. USE YOUR RESOURCES

Even with an oversaturated world, it is the best time to be a creative with the answer to everything at just your fingertips. I encourage you to find inspiration everywhere and put in work to do the research you need for your growth. A few of my favorite resources are Canva for graphics, Facetune for photo editing , UNUM for planning and even going to my favorite bloggers for inspiration. Whatever is it you plan on doing, someone has already done it and so please save time and pay attention to your surroundings to reach these goals.

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5. SAY NO 

I generally have a hard time saying no to people, so imagine saying no to offers! I learned that taking on every project that comes my way hurts me more than it helps. As a blogger, your first collaboration will be encouraging and mind-blowing but be mindful of your worth, time and uniqueness. Work with companies that align with your brand and stick to your price! Yes, it's a scary thing to turn down opportunities but remember that not all that glitters is gold.

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Conclusively, I hope you can take away a few things from this post. As fulfilling as blogging is, I wish these were things people in the field shared with me before I dived in. Because everyone work differently, be cognizant of what is  most efficient way to manage your time and go for it!

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$1,000+ SPRING HAUL: ASOS, ZARA, MISSGUIDED, PLT & MORE! WHY?!

I know, I am a shopaholic – like I tell my mom, I could be addicted to so much worse!

I really enjoy watching beauty and fashion hauls, so why not participate in some?! I've accumulated cute finds from some of my favorite shops and thought I'd share it with you before they were completely sold out.

I wanted this haul to be a bit different so I included a few styling tips and tricks, based on how I would wear these new pieces.

Overall, this is pretty straight forward and long enough video. So please grab some snacks, watch and enjoy!

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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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GLOWY SKIN FT. ARTIST COUTURE & JACKIE AINA

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If you've never heard of "Jackie, Jackie, Jackie…" (I mean, that is nearly impossible if you are active in the beauty community) go check her out!

Jackie Aina is a Nigerian-American Youtube Guru + Army Veteran, who has taken the beauty industry slowly and steadily by storm. Her 2 million subscribers (which includes me, duh!) fully trust her to fight for and be the voice of equal representation in a world that lacks the ability to cater to the melanin team. Her personality is the perfect combination of humor, integrity, intellect and no nonsense honesty.

So of course, when she released her second collaboration with Artist Couture, I went ahead and showed my support by purchasing her La Bronze and La Peach set. While La Bronze is a shimmering powder packed with rose gold/ copper iridescent, La Peach is quite similar but more on the peachy side - these duos are literally fairy dusts! The versatility allows you to use these as highlights, eye shadows and even lip toppers. I haven't been able to put these down and I hope the videos shows you exactly why! 

My final review on this is, GET IT WHILE IT LASTS! The success of this launch not only speaks for itself but shows how wonderful is it to have something universal. I hope this tutorial shows my genuine love for these glow powders because they will surely be making a cameo in my upcoming videos.

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

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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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BEST OF 2017 | A YEAR IN REVIEW

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Although we are well into the second week of January, I still wanted to do a 2017 recap for the blog. I enjoy doing these type of reviews because more than often, it is a reminder of my progression when I am being super hard on myself.

To my understanding, the best nine feature was introduced to Instagram in 2015 – it's a website that generates a collage and algorithms on 9 of your most like pictures within a year. Like reviewing my old journals or planners, this is a great digital way for me to measure my growth and visualize what I would like to alter in the upcoming years. 

Like I've done in the past, I took this concept from my account over the years (pictured above) and decided to do a similar take on my favorite/most popular posts on this platform. 

HOW NOT TO GIVE UP ON YOUR DREAMS \\ SPRING STYLE: KHAKI TONES WITH JORD WATCHES

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Interestingly enough, this post applies to my current demeanor and lack of interest towards  my goals and endeavors. I've been chronically suffering from a "blogger's block" that I can't seem to shake off but this a gentle reminder that I will eventually figure things out. No matter what you are going through, remember to go after your goals because they are achievable regardless of what your circumstances are.

Collaborating with Jord Watches was quite the experience! While I was excited for one of my first collaborations of the year, bringing my vision to life in a promotional way was rather challenging. As a creative, I have come to terms with expecting the unexpected and working with my resources to make the best out of my challenges. This blog post was solid proof that ignoring my fear of failure and enjoying the journey can in fact produce great results. I have always been afraid to work with companies and ultimately not delivering what they asked for but this was my personal issue! Everyone has their personal struggle so looking past it and staying focus through all obstacles is imperative.

 OLIVE SMOKEY EYES + NUDE LIPS

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To my surprise, this didn't quite make the cut as my most liked photo on Instagram but I am pretty sure it was a close one. It was my first time in nearly a decade that I had my hair braided in cornrows and I never felt more liberated. Braids were considred to be too "afrocentric" or "unprofessional" in my line of work and as soon as I was able to embrace my culture, I did just that! So yes, expect to see more hairstyles on the blog because your girl got a new job!

PEACHY HALF-CUT CREASE TUTORIAL

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The peachy vibes was a hit on all my social media platforms! I purchased new equipment to improve my video and photography skills - thankfully many of you noticed! I've been slacking with the channel because of my demanding schedule but I promise to get it together soon. In the meantime, please subscribe!

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My first festival ever and definitely not my last! I attended the moon-fest, documented my look and shared a few survival tips. This shoot is also a reminder of a time when I started being a little more versatile with my content and choice of photographers. Be sure to check out these tips because festival season is right around the corner! 

FINDING YOUR PURPOSE + LIVING BY YOUR OWN RULES

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This was taken on an extremely hot day, right under the sun and not a cloud was in sight to protect me from its beaming rays. Honestly, I have no poker face so to even see how great the images turned out through the heat irritation is beyond me! Luckily, my heat exhaustion wasn't in vain because reading this post sets my soul on fire! 

YEAR 27 | WHAT 26 HAS TAUGHT ME

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Wow, this was my most liked and interacted photo of the year. My 27th birthday was an interesting milestone because if you really knew my story (which I will share with you all when I am ready), you'd understand why this post meant so much to me. 2017 was really my year of health, strength and uncomfortable growth - while I won't deny that there were some sad times, I gratefully can say that the good did outweigh the bad.

BTW, this outfit was super last minute but it all worked out in the end! 

GIRLBOSS: 15 HABITS TO BEING A BOSS

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Girl! Let me tell you, I've had this suit for nearly 7 years and honestly wanted to squeeze into it one last time before it was too late. Turns out that everyone is into tweed and being a badass babe is never out of style!

HOLIDAY 2017 | SEX IN THE CITY THEME // NYE 2017 | AN UNEXPECTED HOLIDAY LOOK

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Sealed the year with another holiday shoot! I nearly froze to death and was photobombed more than I can could but who cares right? I got the shot right? Any blogger knows the struggle.

What was one of your favorite blog post I've published in 2017? If you're a blogger or have a creative outlet, what was your personal highlight? If you're not a blogger, what do you hope to accomplish in 2018? 

Don't just read, comment down below because I would love to know!

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NYE 2017 LOOK | SOME OF MY 2018 GOALS

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Oh my goodness! I can't believe this is going to be my last post for 2017!

Firstly, thank you to everyone who has supported my journey as a blogger. This year has been a bit challenging in terms of being inspired and staying consistent, but I pushed through the very last day of the year!

As most of you may know, I am not really fond of resolutions, nothing against anyone who believes in them, but they usually have a 14 day expiration with me. Through previous experiences, goals have always been more tangible and realistic because I seem to speak them into existence and achieve them. 

I want to keep this post very concise and sweet, nonetheless, I hope you're inspired to create your own tailored agenda just in time for 2018.

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GOAL 1 | SELF-CARE

This has been my biggest priority in the last few weeks and I plan on sticking to it well into the new year. Taking the time to pay attention to my needs and protecting my energy has really allowed me to better prepare for my future and understand my present state. I've been dedicating my Sundays to self-care by lighting candles, taking a bath, putting a mask on or going to the spa and it has really helped me refuel for the week. 

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GOAL 2 | TUNE INTO MY EMOTIONS

Coming to terms with the fact that I am a sensitive person and being aware of my feelings, rather than sweeping them under rug has been a rough journey. For a very long time, I've hated the fact that my feelings would easily get hurt but really understanding what I feel this way and taking nothing personally has been the trick! I believe the world needs "soft" hearted people like me to balance its blackness- finding an outlet to release my sensitivity while going through it to grow through it has been the key!

 

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GOAL 3 | EMBRACE / EXPLORE MY CREATIVITY

I've literally been all over the place in terms of my creative outlet! If I am being honest with myself, I've wanted to just quit and disappear quite often this year, hence my frequent hiatus. I plan on removing my self-doubt and ambivalence this upcoming year by just doing it and enjoying the journey. After all, the enjoyment of my creativity is is why I started blogging in the first place.

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GOAL 4 | FORM GOOD HABITS & BREAK BAD HABITS

These two are viewed as a paired in my opinion because I need to remove the bad by placing the good. Getting rid of some habits I am not so fond of and creating new ones that will help me grow as a person is undoubtably on my list of goals for 2018! This includes signing up for the gym (I already been training but I am ready to spread my own wings), cutting out soda (don't judge me sis, I don't drink!) and sticking to my early morning routine. I am sure we can all relate to that breaking habits are hard but creating new ones are so much more rewarding.

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GOAL 5 | BUDGET BETTER

Did you know that 75% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, no matter what their income?! I didn't know this but sadly, I've been part of that statistic, even with an increased income (praise Allah for this blessing!!!) I am working on a budgeting plan and really sticking to it so if you have any recommendations, please comment down below!

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I hope your 2018 is prosperous and filled with health, wealth (I mean who doesn't want more money?) and ultimately positive vibes. Thank you again for all your support and see you in 2018! 

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NYE 2017 | AN UNEXPECTED HOLIDAY LOOK

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Whoa! It feels like just yesterday when I was brainstorming on my 2016 holiday posts, yet here I am putting together looks for this upcoming New Year's Eve! If you’re a subscriber in your late teens or early twenties, believe people when they tell you that time actually does fly by - your metabolism slows down too but I’m going to keep this post positive! HAHA. 

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As opposed to my NYE 2017 Disney themed post, I wanted this year's look to really represent the go-getter and intellectual baddassery (yup, it’s a new word now, just kidding) within me. I've had a tuxedo look planned for a while but just couldn't find one that was well tailored and didn't cost me an arm and a leg. So when I stumbled upon this Zara suit, I just had to snag the last size.

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New Year's Eve events usually equates to women like myself wearing gorgeous dresses but I wanted to ditch the traditional route and have some sort of feminist and unexpected approach. Suits are usually associated with men but if he can wear it, so can I! 

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So, to those who are going the traditional way and the not so traditional ladies- may your 2017 end on a sexy, sophisticated and badass note!

Stay tuned for part two of this post.

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HOLIDAY 2017 | HOW TO BEAT THE HOLIDAY BLUES

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While many of us are excited to celebrate the holidays, it is also a sad reminder of unfortunate times to a vast majority of people. Which of course is understandable, considering there was a time when I passionately hated the festivities and wanted to crawl under my bed. If you're going through the holiday blues, I'd like to let you know that you are very much entitled to your feelings. I'd also like to remind you that you're also entitled to happiness and trying these "simple" tips will help push you beyond the sadness.

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KEEP YOURSELF BUSY

One of the best thing to do while going through tough times is getting your mind off of it! Keeping yourself busy will not only distract you from your current circumstances but also boost your confidence in terms of productivity. Do you have a project you've been meaning to tackle for a while? Are you on a deadline? If not, even better because you can beat procrastination by staying ahead of your schedule.

SURROUND YOURSELF WITH PEOPLE

Being around loved ones (even when you feel like being around happy people is a dreadful task) is a great reminder that you are cared for. I highly recommend you surround yourself with joyous and encouraging people, who can either relate with your current experience or essentially makes you aware of your worth.

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BE GRATEFUL

I've formed the habit of shifting my perspective when I go through a hardship, by counting my blessings. Look back at the beginning of this year or even further back and reflect on how far you've come. Have you accomplished certain goals you've set earlier in the year or grown from who you were in the past? I am more than sure you the answer to these questions are yes, so dig deeper, count those blessings and celebrate yourself.

GIVE BACK

If you're like me, giving back leaves you with a heart so incredibly full! I firmly believe that blessings come back ten-fold when you help someone in need- the universe has truly proven me right. A massive way to feel helpful is giving back to your community or a charity of your choice- this not only makes you feel good but ultimately changes someone's current circumstances.

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REMEMBER THAT THE BLUES ARE TEMPORARY

Being cognizant of how you're feeling by knowing that there is ultimately light at the end of the tunnel, should alone push you to keep moving forward. All triumphs or failures are temporary and just a part of living- a great mantra to have is to be okay with what you cannot control.

Although these tasks are rather difficult to achieve when you're physically experiencing the blues, achieving them can undoubtably give you some form of happiness! Whatever it is you are going through, I pray that time quickly heals it and if you're not experiencing the blues, I am so glad!  

May this holiday be your one of the most joyful ones!

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HOLIDAY 2017 | SEX IN THE CITY THEME

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I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve never watched the Sex in The City series but to my defense, I wasn't even in the United States when it first aired- I watched the movies though! Nonetheless, I've recently added the show to my watch-list for my "snowed-in days” and truly look forward to binge watching.

Besides the obviously relatable characters, what mostly intrigued me to get into this show was the ability to vicariously live through their 5th Avenue lifestyles and top notch New York City wardrobes.

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As opposed to my extravagant Christmas and Aid Awareness blogposts, I wanted a "cleaner" boss-like theme for this holiday. So with a bit of brainstorming, the Sex in The City theme was born. Both of my holiday looks (stay tuned for the NYE one) are a representation of the joyful, daring, adventurous yet no nonsense year I've had. 

If you're into being subtle yet want to be the life of the party, this detailed laced dress from Kholyns Couture is the perfect balance for you! It's the LBD (little black dress) with a chic and edgy construction, giving the illusion that you put it a lot of effort into it. Because the dress makes a statement, I decided to pair it dainty jewelry like my studs, spiked heels and a grey overcoat (not pictured).

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As a girl with a closet filled with clothes and often nothing to wear, I find some form of solace knowing that I can wear this lace gown in the near future and well into 2018!

Have you completed all your holiday shopping? Are you attending any parties or sticking to a theme this year? Comment below!

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HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE | FOR THE MEN IN YOUR LIFE

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I had to do a "Gift Guide for Him" because I couldn't possibly leave out the amazing men in our lives- especially after doing a "Gift Guide For Her" too!

Although most of my posts are geared towards women, it didn't seem fair to exclude the men that deserve some lovin'. Ultimately, this guide is more than likely being read by women, who are planning to gift their favorite fellas with thoughtful items. Showing gratitude to our loved ones during the holiday season is important and these guys are definitely inclusive in these qualifications.

I've compiled some equally badass items as my previous guide post! I hope this either inspires to get the listed items or gives you some form of direction for your shopping travels. Below are my top choices for your brother, papa, hubby and anyone in between these categories:

RAPID BEARD GROOMING & TRIMMING KIT

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This Rapid Beard Kit, packed with natural & organic ingredients, is the right fit for your "No Shave November" babe. We all know beards are the endless trends that we admire so much, so this in a wrapped up black box is a hit.

TOMMY HILFIGER STADIUM SCARF

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Looking for something for a dapper & dandy fella? No problem! I've got you covered with this Tommy Hilfiger Stadium Scarf, to compliment his tailored look and overcoat.

DIGITAL POLAROID CAMERA

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A man with a great eye for still images? This vintage style Polaroid Camera will keep his  wonderful memories alive.

GOOGLE HOME 

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As much as we love our men, we can all agree that they aren't the most organized people! Help yourself by gifting him a personal assistant, to of course free yourself from the headache. HAH!

FOSSIL PAUL MAGNETIC CARD CASE

FOSSIL-BILL-FOLD

A timeless Magnetic Card Case for the classic guy. Because, why not? 

RALPH LAUREN POLO BEAR SWEATER

RALPH-LAUREN-POLO-BEAR-SWEATER

This Ralph Lauren Polo Bear Sweater is a unique collector's item and always comes back during the holiday season. I actually gifted my brother this and plan on wearing it myself. (Shhh, don't tell him). You can also check their Bear Shop out too because it's to die for!

RALPH LAUREN TARTAN TIE 

RALPH-LAUREN-WINDOW-PANE-TIE

This Tartan Wool Narrow Tie is the perfect combination between the holidays and a preppy guy.

FOSSIL SINGLE ZIP SHAVE KIT

FOSSIL-DOP-KIT

I am really into dopkits and travel bags- so I had to include this Fossil Shave Kit. It's an amazing gadget for a wanderlust to stay organized. 

This gift guide was really challenging (because gifting men are just a headache to me) but I had so much fun putting it together! Have you completed your list or are you a last minute shopper like me? Comment down below, I am curious to know!

Thank you so much for stopping by! Please feel free to click the title and leave a comment below. Don't forget to join my family by subscribing on the side bar (right below the "Meet Aïchatou Photo"). YOU are appreciated! 

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MY CURRENT FAVORITE PRODUCTS | AÏCHATOU BELLA

CURRENT-FAVORITES

I don't remember ever doing a "Current Favorites" video on my YouTube channel, so it's finally time that I one! This is a short clip of items I've continuously and religiously used in the past few months and cannot keep my hands away from. Because I've really been exploring more on skincare, I can vouch that every single item in this video has given me great result and while not everything works for everyone the reviews speak for themselves.

I want stress that you should truly do your research no matter what a blogger's opinion is and strongly urge you to try samples at Sephora before splurging. Let me know if you've tried any of the listed products and your thoughts on them! 

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

Thank you so much for stopping by! Please feel free to click the title and leave a comment below. Don't forget to join my family by subscribing on the side bar (right below the "Meet Aïchatou Photo"). YOU are appreciated! 

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LET'S BE FRIENDS, CONNECT WITH ME ON MY SOCIAL MEDIA HANDLES!

SUBSCRIBE TO MY YOUTUBE CHANNEL HERE!