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

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

RALPH LAUREN POLO BEAR SWEATER

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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 

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

FOSSIL SINGLE ZIP SHAVE KIT

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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!

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MY CURRENT FAVORITE PRODUCTS | AÏCHATOU BELLA

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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.

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HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE FOR HER | FASHION, BEAUTY & LIFESTYLE

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To my last minute gift shoppers, fear not!

You aren't alone on the holiday explorations, that result to purchasing items from your own wish-list rather than checking off your loved ones'. Unlike my last gift guide, I really wanted to focus on a variety of fashion, beauty and skincare products- to perfectly fit into your aunt, uncles, BFF or even girlfriend's lifestyle.

Although it's meant to bring people together, we can all agree that the holidays is a bit stressful as gift givers. So to keep it simple and sweet, I've linked seven of my favorite items, from a few favorite shops, that you can purchase in the comfort of your snuggly bed. This list is for all the people who allowed your 2017 to be wonderful, by either tagging you in funny memes, listening to your stressful weeks and essentially lifting up your spirits. Are you ready to shop? Let's get to it!

TARTE LASH DELIGHTS EYE ESSENTIALS

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Let your BFF say hello to volume and lengthening lashes with this Limited Edition Eye Essentials set! A perfect stocking stuffer and a bedazzled beauty in her cosmetic bag.

MINI MANI MONTH NAIL POLISH

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I haven't personally tried this particular brand but Ciaté London has been on my list forever! This Mini Mani Nail Polish bundle is a great way to either countdown to the holiday or simply as present for a nice "at home" treatment. 

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My goodness! I mean, how gorgeous is this H&M Hooded Parka?! They've really stepped their game up with some of their pieces this season and this jacket proves just that. Keep your loved one warmed in a fashionable way by gifting them this reasonably priced jacket. Oh, please hurry up because they're selling faster than hotcakes!

READY, SET, GOLD! 35R EYESHADOW PALETTE

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I swear by Morphe Brushes and their very affordable products. The 35R palette is a purchase I made a few months ago and have zero regrets! If you know anyone with a rose gold obsession, this is for them! (Use my favorite Youtuber, Jackie Aina's code: Edges for $$$ OFF)

360 NOSE CONTOUR COLLECTION

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I had to include another Morphe item because you can't beat the price! For all the girls that want their nose snatched, it's just $18 away with this 360 Nose Contour! (Use my favorite Youtuber, Jackie Aina's code: Edges for $$$ OFF)

FACE MASK MAGIC!

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Sheet masks are truly one of the secrets to clear skin- these have work wonders for me and will for you sister too. It's a set of 6 bestselling masks at a value of $36, targeting any skin type. A cool (literally) tip is to keep them in the fridge, for a refreshing feeling during the pampering process. 

FENTY BEAUTY STUNNA LIP PAINT

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This. Lipstick. Is. EVERYTHING. One swatch literally lasts all day long and the consistency is very comfortable. She deserves the world for the holiday but giving her this Fenty Beauty lipstick might just be a gift close enough!

This ultimate guide is the perfect way to show gratitude during the holiday season, so I hope it was helpful! Is there something else I should've added to the list? What's on your wishlist? Comment down below!

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FALL / WINTER 2017 PANTONE COLORS

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Every Spring/Fall Fashion Week, color experts at Pantone examine fashion looks on the runway, and name the trendiest shade that consumers should expect to see in the next six months. Whether you're a fashionista or not, your chances of purchasing items from these colors are more than likely since they usually appear everywhere. 

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The selected fall and winter colors are as followed:

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PANTONE 18-1662 FLAME SCARLET

A vivid, powerful red, this strong shade leads the way in for Fall in London.

PANTONE 12-2904 PRIMROSE PINK

 An embracing and gentle pale pink shade.

PANTONE 16-1331 TOAST

 Toast brings a comforting, warmhearted presence to the autumn winter season.

PANTONE 14-4121 BLUEBELL

 This tranquil blue reflects connection and a soothing sense of peace.

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PANTONE 18-3531 ROYAL LILAC

 An enchanting purple, Royal Lilac provides a theatrical linkage to the other colors in the palette.

PANTONE 18-1018 OTTER

 A country color that comes to the city, Otter adds an earthy grounding and a sense of rootedness.

PANTONE 19-4029 NAVY PEONY

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Just as we saw in New York, the dependable and anchoring Navy Peony is a mainstay for the season. Solid and stable, the hue takes some of the load off of black as a go-to neutral.

PANTONE 16-1338 COPPER TAN

Copper Tan, a burnished shade known for its welcoming warmth.

PANTONE 15-0751 LEMON CURRY 

Exotic and spicy, Lemon Curry adds a touch of piquancy to the seasonal color story.

PANTONE 16-0639 GOLDEN OLIVE

A staunch yet stately green Golden Olive provides sturdiness.

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Because I've grown to love timeless and basic pieces, I usually shy away from items that stand out too much. However, I had to make an exception for this particular look since a few statement pieces here and there never hurts! The striped Zara co-ordinate set (sold separately like all your childhood toys) I am wearing is the perfect combination of pattern complimenting solid top. 

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This year's favorite is obviously Tawny Port and Grenadine but don’t be surprised if I make an exception for more since they are just too pretty to pass up! What is your color this fall / winter 2017? If you don’t have any favorites, what have you unintentionally been sporting? Comment down below! 

When Pantone color palettes are released, I usually aim for one or two shades to help pop my neutral pieces. Clearly current favorites are Tawny Port and Grenadine but don’t be surprised if I make an exception for more because they are just too pretty to pass up!

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GIRLBOSS: HOW TO BEAT PROCRASTINATION

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If you want to make an easy job seem mighty hard, just keep putting off doing it.

Procrastination may be an easy solution for those of us who excel meticulously under pressure, but for the majority us, it becomes a minor anxiety attack to put together a masterpiece near its deadline. 

"I'll finish this Netflix series first...Oh there's only 10 episodes in this season?! Maybe I should watch one with 14 episodes."

These are the silly decisions I've tirelessly made prior to submitting an important project, despite knowing that the quality of my work derives from having a good amount of time do it. I still struggle some days but more than often, that dark cloud lingering over my conscience makes me get up and get things done. The 3rd habit mentioned my GIRLBOSS: 15 HABITS TO BEING A BOSS BABE post was so relatable to so many of you, that I needed a post solely dedicated to procrastination. Without further ado, here are a few Girlboss habits I acquired to beat my awful procrastination habit!

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ADMIT THAT YOU'RE A CHRONIC PROCRASTINATOR

The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem.
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You can't solve something if it isn't seen as an issue- so truly analyzing habits and admitting to procrastinating more than often is the first step to beating it. I find it easier to tackle this problem when I tell myself that I am falling into old habits and need to get it together. 

IDENTIFY YOUR WHY

Why is it that you're pushing this project away today into your mystical land called "tomorrow"? Are you creating issues that don't exist out of fear? Why are you pursuing this project in the first place?

I've personally procrastinated on blogposts or other professional projects out of fear of failure and self-sabotage. Try to identify why you are choosing to push back something you view as valuable in the long run and see how you can end this terrible cycle. Whether it is work related, going to the gym or even a hobby we've grown to love, procrastination is an underlying issue deriving from fear of not being good enough at it.

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SEPARATE YOUR WORK INTO SECTIONS OR CHUNKS

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The best way for me to complete something is by dividing it into steps in order to have an overview of my progression towards the end goal. Creating posts is a prime example of projects I enjoy breaking into pieces because checking off things, once they're completed, is an extremely rewarding feeling.

REWARD YOURSELF

Treating yourself after completing a task, is the best way to go! It allows you to look forward to your end goal while enjoying the good things, guilt-free!

STAY CONSISTENT

Do not work so hard to kick procrastination's butt, just to fall into old habits again. Staying consistent makes things so much easier so it's better to stick to it then having to start the process all over again.

 

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What are a few procrastination habits you struggle with? Have you been able to beat it and if so, how? Comment down below because I'd love to pick up on a few new tips!

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GIRLBOSS: 15 HABITS TO BEING A BOSS BABE

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A Girl-Boss is a woman of purpose with a dash of feminism because she plans, handles her business and exudes confidence even when she struggles with the occasional self-doubt. She talks the talk and walks the walk without having to knock anyone else down on her way to success. Inspired by the book #Girlboss, whether you’d like to be a CEO or take charge of your life, here are 15 habits to being the boss babe you’ve always dreamt of becoming:

1. A GIRL BOSS SETS A ROUTINE

Transitioning into one could be challenging if you’re a “go with the flow” type of person but I promise it'll eventually be seamless once you nip it in the bud. Setting a schedule not only helps you get things done but also makes you better at time management. Try waking up an hour or two before your usual time to plan and prioritize- it'll help you ease into your day when tackling current projects.

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2. A GIRLBOSS PLANS / VISUALIZES AHEAD

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Always forecast and set goals. What are your daily, monthly, quarterly and yearly goals? While these shouldn’t be set in stone but rather altered as you go on,  having some sort of foundation for the near future instead of winging it like your eyeliner (pun intended) is the way to go! 

3. A GIRLBOSS DOES NOT PROCRASTINATE

“Tomorrow” is truly a mystical land where all adults dump their responsibilities to continuously enjoy “today.” I say this to let you know that you’re not alone and you’re human but don’t get comfortable. Procrastinating is a draining habit that dawns upon you when you’re enjoying the moment instead of just doing what you're supposed to do. Please do what you should do, when you should do it whether it's enjoyable or not. Put a deadline on your goals! Your future self will thank you when you're freely surfing through social media. 

4. A GIRLBOSS SINGLE-TASKS

Multi-tasking is the icing on the ice-cream cake called procrastination. I am sure we can all agree that running so fast to get no where is a waste of time; so it’s best to slow down and do it right, do it once, one at a time. If your mind is scattered like mine, sticking to visualization will help you focus with what’s currently on your plate, instead of what's being served next. 

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5. A GIRLBOSS PAYS ATTENTION TO DETAIL

We've all used this as a skill during a job interview or in our cover letter, but are we really attentive to details? I personally have been working a lot on this since single-tasking but to tell you the truth, I slack off. Rushing to complete a project that has your name on it without paying careful attention is a terrible move. A girl boss is mindful of these things and make sure whatever she delivers represents her properly because it can potentially make or break a deal. 

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6. A GIRLBOSS DRESSES THE PART

Yes, a Girlboss is entitled to her off days but she dresses the part when it is time to show up and glow up. As an entrepreneur or a business professional, dressing appropriately for the occasion exudes confidence and ultimately sparks an internal confidence that helps get things done. 

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7. A GIRLBOSS IS IMPECCABLE WITH HER WORDS

A Girlboss works on her vocabulary and knows when to be a cup of English tea (around professionals) or a bottle of Vodka (around her friends). She never ever dumbs herself down to make others feel better about themselves. A struggle many of us face when expending our choice of words is, those who lack confidence judge us. That is none of our business, keep being a boss babe. 

8. A GIRLBOSS TREATS PEOPLE KINDLY

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Please do not be someone who is selective with their kindness by being respectful to their higher up but rude to everyone else. A Girlboss is respectful and kind to everyone she encounters no matter who they are or what they do. She remembers her humility, thinks before she speaks and tries again when she fails to do so.

9. A GIRLBOSS SELF-REFLECTS

 It’s important to track down your progress and see what has been achieved and what needs to be polished. A Girlboss knows she isn't perfect but is still cognizant of her behavior, obstacles and opportunities. She reflects on personal and business goals in order to plan and prioritize better. 

 

10. A GIRLBOSS IS INSPIRED NOT ENVIOUS

It’s easy to get lost in the world of social media by comparing people’s digital lives to your real life. A girlboss see people’s highlights as inspiration and not comparison. She is not envious of people’s success but celebrates their achievements as she would like hers to be celebrated too. 

11. A GIRLBOSS SURROUNDS HERSELF WITH AMBITIOUS PEOPLE

Surrounding yourself with like-minded people who push you beyond your limit is extremely important in life. A Girlboss knows the importance of having a circle of friends who inspire her when she is filled with self-doubt. 

12. A GIRLBOSS NETWORK

Even with a solid circle of friends, it's important to get out of your comfort zone and expand your contact list. When you meet people who are where you'd like to be, it fuels a drive within to go after what's yours. A Girlboss knows that her network equals her net-worth, so she builds and maintain important and genuine relationship.

13. A GIRLBOSS INVESTS IN HERSELF 

Setting a percentage of your income (5-10% is recommended) aside to invest into yourself is one of the keys to growth. Purchase books, take courses, renew memberships because whether you own a business or not you are your best when you work on yourself. 

14. A GIRLBOSS BELIEVES IN HERSELF

You become what you think and if you don't believe in yourself first and the most, then who will?

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15. A GIRLBOSS TAKES CARE HERSELF

One of the most important part of being a Girlboss is self-care. None of the above can possibly be enjoyable without physical and mental health. You can't take care of the world if it's not right at home so remember who comes first!

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I had a great time sharing and putting together these 15 habits that I myself need to also work on. Girlboss or not, I really think these are some things that can make our lives better in the long run. What are some things that makes you the badass Girlboss that you are? Comment below and let's start a discussion!

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YEAR 27 | CURRENT GOALS

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Now that I've talked about what my 26th Year has taught me, it's time to streamline my current goals for my 27th year. While these are not all of them, posting some of my goals here always give me a sense of accountability in addition to inspiring you to create your own list! Before we get started, I'd like to show an infinite amount of gratitude to everyone who wished me a happy birthday- my heart is so full and the love was just incredible. Now that I am done being emotional and all mushy, let's get right into these goals!

BELIEVE 

I've been filled with so much self-doubt this year that it started to hinder my desire to produce content, socialize and even go to work. In my moments of inadequacy, I easily gave up and self-sabotaged. Any little obstacle easily closed me off to the point of where I'd stop working for the things I loved and believed so hard in. One of my priorities for this year is to stick to my craft and be my own cheerleader even when sh*t hits the fan because if I don't believe in myself and dreams, who will?

TRAVEL OFTEN

Having the opportunity to see the world as a child is one of my fondest memories. It gave me a strong desire to enjoy and experience other cultures by understanding that there is so much more out there. Seeing the world gives me an undesirable feeling and broadens my horizon but sadly I haven't been traveling as much as I would've rather lately. My goal for my 27th year is to travel at least a hand full of times both nationally and internationally.

CREATE A CARE PACKAGE FOR SOMEONE IN NEED

Curating a care package for the homeless has been on my mind for a long time, so it's only right that I finally check it off my list! It such a small act of kindness that really makes a great difference to someone else. If you're interested in doing the same and would like some ideas, please feel free to email me. :)

MAKE MORE TIME FOR LOVED ONE

Work, blogging and YouTube is important but my relationship with my loved ones is so much more important to me. I am still finding the balance between this beautiful madness that I call life but clearing out my schedule more than often to spend quality time with family and friends is definitely top on the list.

SAYING NO

I have a hard time saying no to people! I've continuously talked about how I will put my foot down but to be quite honest, I've been more on my tippy toes. Being too nice and worrying so much about people's feelings rather than my own has backfired because I get taken advantage of. My inability to say no has always been a draining struggle but it's time that I start doing things that work for me and my personal feelings even if it means that it won't work for everyone. 

HAVING A HEALTHIER LIFESTYLE

GIRLFRIEND! There's not much to say about this. I shamelessly eat extra fries, I don't exercise and I need to knock it off before I have a heart attack. It's time to tackled this. NO EXCUSES.

I hope you enjoyed reading this compilation of goals I have set for myself and somehow found a bit of inspiration and laughter along the way. Do you set goals for yourself? If so, what are they and when is your deadline? Comment below because you can inspire me too!

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YEAR 27 | WHAT 26 HAS TAUGHT ME

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I am pretty sure I start every birthday post with the word HOW?!

But seriously, how could time cheat me like this and continue to fly by so quickly?! I wish it would slow down a bit so I can savor the blissful now’s but I’m sure if it did in fact slow down, I’d be begging for the tomorrow’s too. 

It literally feels like just yesterday when I was writing DEAR AÏCHATOU & GOLDEN 26 for my 26th birthday, yet here I am now talking about a few things my 26th year has taught me. I can’t possibly recall every single thing that has sunk in along the way, but here are a few highlights that you’ve probably seen throughout my blogging journey. 

I CAN’T CONTROL EVERYTHING

If you know me well, you know that I am a control freak. I love planning everything to a T which can be a blessing and a curse. Finally accepting that I can’t control every single detail of my life has ironically taken away my worries and given me peace. Let’s just say I’ve compromised and became a bit more realistic but, my planner still stays!

IT’S OKAY TO LET PEOPLE GO

I can’t nor will be everyone’s cup of tea and sometimes it’s not a realization until the tea has been served. Letting people go can often be unimaginably painful but it’s a wonderful disguise of liberation. Not everyone is meant to stay for the entire journey, some are just here to teach a lesson and move on. Let. Them. Go.  

CONTINUE TO PERSIST

 Not going to lie, this one was a hard one. I’ve taken so many breaks from blogging this year because truthfully, I just wanted to give up. There’s been so many times when I threw my hands in the air and just said “forget it, I can’t do it anymore” but somehow I only meant it for the day because as soon as my frustration wore off, I was back to working hard. If there’s one thing I’m proud of, it’s my drive and determination to stick to the things I want the most. The end goal is wonderful but the persistence and journey is what has been molding me.

PUT YOUR 10,000 HOURS IN

I am an avid reader and plan to really discuss more literature here. I read a while back “The Defining Decade of Your Twenties” and one thing that stuck to me the most is the 10,000 Hour Rule. This simple principle holds that 10,000 of “deliberate practice” is what’s needed to become an expert in any field. I would always complain about not being good enough at a new hobby until I read this rule and even after putting my 10,000 hours in I choose not to give up because I may be a minute away from my break through.

GOD’S TIMING IS THE BEST TIME

 Whatever you believe in, I firmly believe that the universe is aligning with everything you are destined to be! In addition to all of the above, I’ve come to a realization that I can either cry about the things I don’t have or truly appreciate what is in front of me. What’s meant to happen will happen, at the right time and moment because truthfully, half the blessings that has come my way were far greater than what I’ve asked for. 

As mentioned before, these are the “little” experiences that have made life changing differences in this past year. Stay tuned for my next post to find out my 27th year's goals, because I am mean, who am I if I don't have a goal list for everything?! HAH!

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WHAT'S IN MY BAG TAG | FALL EDITION

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I’m always curious to know what my friends carry in their handbags or about their suitcase packing skills so it’s no surprise that I decided to join in on this fun tag. 

The “What’s in My Bag” tag has circulated the YouTube and Blogging community for a while now, joining the bandwagon was just as fun as watching it from the sidelines. Thanks to global warming (not really) it’s been warm enough in New York City to rock this Ellen & James woven bag I purchased sometime around the summer. First of all, their customer service is unimaginable! I wanted the bag just in time to attend the Moon Festival in July and though it generally takes several weeks to ship this item from Australia, they met my request with ZERO complaints. 

This woven bag is the perfect size for running errands or attending fun events without feeling the need to carry so much. It’s composed of a very sturdy material yet fashionable nonetheless. There’s so much nostalgia wearing this because this is exactly what my mom enjoyed in her closet during the 90s. 

Now let’s get into this video and see how much I can pack into this statement piece!

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

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GO TO NEUTRAL LOOK | MAKEUP TUTORIAL

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I know what you’re thinking- here goes Aïchatou again doing a neutral tutorial! I can’t help it guys but as I’ve said many times in my videos, I’ll be introducing more colorful looks into my channel. I PROMISE!

Can you blame me though? I’m just doing what flows better for me and this is exactly it. I recently started doing this look when I wanted to look put together without too much of a hassle. Although I wore lashes here, a nice coat of mascara is usually what I’ll go for if I’m in a rush or just don’t want to bother with lashes. 

As always, I hope you enjoyed this look and feel free to leave suggestions below!

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

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I AM A DREAMER | WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT DACA?

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I've always stressed about real life situations on my blog because that is the type of blog I'd like to be known for. While "Stilettos" bit of my blog is all about fashion trends and beauty secrets- the "Standards" bit is just as important to me. In spite of my obsession for all things glam and glitz, I am human with REAL feelings just like everyone else. 

It's rather ironic for me to have a photoshoot near a judicial establishment considering that nearly a decade ago, my heart would drop at just the sight of one.

Although I am not an undocumented immigrant today, I feel every bit of pain for the 800,000 people who are affected by DACA. Because like all of them, I too was once a DREAMer.

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WHO ARE DREAMERS? WHAT IS DACA?

Simply put, DREAMers, are children of undocumented immigrants who arrived to the United States as children and are protected by the DREAM (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) Act. Under the qualification of being a DREAMer and other technicalities, these children were granted legal residency and the chance to work and go to school. 

The DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program was introduced by our former President Barack Obama (still my president, just saying) and allowed DREAMers to freely obtain a valid license, enroll in college, legally secure jobs and pay taxes. Although DACA didn't necessarily pave the way to citizenship, it was a starter and deferred deportation for 2 years- which could be renewed for a fee of $495.

WHO IS AFFECTED BY THE CHANGE IN DACA?

  • In September, the Trump administration ended any further applications for DACA and only accepted renewal applications through the end of October.
  • Anyone protected under the DACA Act will be allowed protection through the expiration of their permit-for now. 
  • Nearly 800,000 people will be directly affected by the change in DACA and could face immediate deportation.
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WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT DACA?

Imagine your parents migrating to another country due to war, natural disasters or absurds reasons like women and children's rights. Now imagine only knowing this particular country but being limited by your family's decision to live a better life. These feelings are most likely parallel to those affected by these grave changes. 

The first thing I'd suggest is to educate yourself on what DACA is and how we can help make a change on these current circumstances. Get involved locally by contacting your representatives and stay updated.

DACA may not directly affect me, but it is nonetheless an unimaginable pain as it hits close to home. I am a citizen of the United States but I was not born here and would've qualified as a DREAMer years ago. My point in all this is that 800,000 lives will drastically change when people are thrown out of the only place they've known and sent to a country they are completely unfamiliar with.

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OLIVE SMOKEY EYES + NUDE LIPS | AFRICAN INSPIRED MAKEUP TUTORIAL

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This makeup look makes me feel all warm and nostalgic on the inside.

The color palette and vibe take me back to growing up in my beautiful country (Benin, where I was born and raised for 9 years) and eventually traveling with my family to experience different cultures, even if it were within our continent.

I can see my young hands devouring the fresh mangoes of my mother's home country Guinea, skipping through the deserts of Mali and sneaking cola nuts of Cotonou in my pockets. The sun beaming over my dark skin and the warm breeze cooling off my sweat. 

There's just something about being born and raised in African that makes me beam with so much pride for my melanin, culture and continent.

No matter where I go, Africa lives within me.

Within my soul.

This isn't just a tutorial, it's an homage of where I've come from and where I am going- so I can make my continent proud.

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PRE-FALL STREET STYLE DENIM LOOK

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Who else is excited for fall as much as I am?!

I mean I'm still living in the moment and savoring all the melting ice cream cones my stomach could possibly consume before it's officially pumpkin spice latte season. But that doesn't mean I can contain my excitement for my FAVORITE season- it fall under my birthday too! 

Although fall always feels super short before the coldest blizzards take over the concrete jungle, I am nonetheless stoked about the transitional period it brings. The possibilities of wearing dresses or a chunky sweaters are so endless and that alone is beyond refreshing.

I am looking forward to wearing a larger variety of looks like this street style one so be on the lookout for more fall related posts.

What are you looking forward to the most as fall arrives? Do you have any exciting goals to complete before the beginning of Q4 2017? Comment down below because I'd love to know what you have going on!

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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!

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SHOPPING WITHIN YOUR WARDROBE + RECYCLING FASHION PIECES

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There is a fashion taboo in the influencer community (or social media for that matter) that repeating looks or reusing pieces from previous ones are huge no's. And I am here to say to that...GIRL BYE! 

With fashion repeating itself so often, it's nearly impossible to accumulate so different pieces and getting rid of them after being digitally "caught" wearing them without going BROKE. Although sponsorships & PR packages are another story, spending that much on a regular basis just doesn't sit well with me. My rule of thumb is keeping and repeating the basics (neutral shirts, dark and light washed jeans, muted toned heels) while mix matching the statement pieces (like this bag you've seen me post about in my FESTIVAL INSPIRED LOOK) for recycled looks.

One thing blogging as taught me after all these years is really budgeting and staying within my means. When my income grows, my budget grows but that doesn't mean I get to toss away pieces I have purchased just to keep up with other bloggers!

As my "FINDING YOUR PURPOSE" post emphasized, do what works for you and follow your own rules! 

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