Divided We Fall

Below is a list of events that I believe have really shaped 2016 and the future. I devised this list through personal beliefs and also with the consensus of a few friends.


President-elect Donald Trump

This past presidential election shook the world as Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton and was elected to be the new president of the United States. To me, the surprise is not necessarily rooted in his twisted ideologies; the surprise is instead rooted in the alarming amount of people who voted for him, despite his wicked thoughts. How did 61,201,031 (politico.com) American citizens believe that Donald Trump, a man with no prior political experience, with discriminatory practices, and with radical perspectives, is sane enough to lead a now divided country? The election of Donald Trump speaks volumes to the underlying racial undertones of this country and further pervades an understanding that people of color will always need to fight for their unguaranteed freedom. The aftermath of this election will have effects felt for years to come.

Charleston Trials (Michael Slager and Dylann Roof)

These two cases not only directly affected my own community, but it also affected the nation in which we all live. Michael Slager, the police officer who shot and killed an unarmed Black man in North Charleston, left South Carolina courts with a mistrial. The case will be brought to federal courts, as it also involves federal charges. Unfortunately, there is a trend of officers avoiding convictions, such as in the case with Tamir Rice and Philando Castile. Dylann Roof’s killing of 9 Black people at Mother Emmanuel in Downtown Charleston stunned the entire world. His trial is just beginning and has many different elements such as his non-guilty plea, the release of his confession, and his attempt to represent himself. This case especially will be monumental in history, as it encompasses the current racial climate, the downfalls of the justice system, and the direction this country will be going.

Police Brutality

This year was another year full of police violence against unarmed African Americans. Each story is gruesome. Each story is heartbreaking. Each story is infuriating. Each story deserves justice. Each story should never be forgotten. According to a study conducted by the Washington Post, a total of 221 Black Americans have been shot AND killed by police this year; this number does not include victims who were shot and survived the incident. The rampant outcry of the public against police brutality has proved to effect the entire nation, as some protests have brought about real change to their communities. For example, body cameras have been implemented as a way to combat police brutality, even though this has not proved to be 100% effective. It will take many steps to keep striving to truly be the UNITED States of America.

Colin Kaepernick

This San Francisco 49ers Quarterback created a media uproar when he decided to not stand during the national anthem before the start of some of his football games this year. According to an article written by Steve Wynche, Kaepernick said, “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder,” when asked why he refused to stand (nfl.com). Kaepernick’s actions gained positive and negative national attention and also influenced the actions of other star athletes. He was successfully able to use his own platform to address the racial tension in America.

Even with these few notable events in 2016, America was still impacted by theOrlando shooting, Hurricane Matthew, the Flint Water Crisis, and the death of legends such as Prince and Mohammed Ali. Each year, the global social atmosphere shifts, and 2016 proves to be monumental in that social climate change. Make America Better for all citizens because when has America truly ever been great? Hopefully we will find our way back in 2017.

Stress is Just a Test


I know it’s been a while since I have been here, but this last semester/summer has been a stressful one! From joining the best sorority in the world to maintaining an 8-5, I haven’t had much time to myself. With stress comes the importance of maintaining your identity, sanity, and physical and mental health. Even though stress does affect people in different ways, I have a few tips to share on how to eliminate the negative effects stress can have on your life.1. Remember, “Everything does not deserve attention or energy.” — I am definitely learning this the hard way. If it doesn’t bring you joy and happiness, then why channel energy into negative thoughts and actions? Conserve your energy and use it towards things that will build you and those around you.

2. Find positive avenues to release your stress. — These positive avenues can range from anywhere from cooking to doing hot yoga with your best friend every Tuesday at 6 PM. This is just another way to distract your mind from stress and using stress constructively. These mechanisms should help to alleviate stress.

3. Take time for yourself. — People often forget to make time for the most important person in the situation, themselves. You have to take care of your own mind, body, and spirit before you can effectively help those around you. Do not lose yourself in stress, that just created more stress.

4. Develop a personal relationship with God. — The key to overcoming stress. With God anything is possible. All emotions, trials, and tribulations are defeated under his name.

Birthslay

This is just a quick style watch. This was my birthday outfit. The entire look cost me under $100 (shoes included).  
The blush dress was purchased at $32.99 from fashionnova.com. They have a wide variety of sexy casual and going out attire, and it is all affordable! Definitely check them out if you are looking for party attire or an edge to your normal day to day look.

My shoes are BCBG, but were purchased at Dillard’s for only $45! I have had these shoes for over a year and didn’t know where to wear them, so I decided they could be a staple piece of my outfit. They aren’t the most comfortable, but beauty is pain.

Lastly, this faux fur jacket was purchased in strawberry, an urban store in New York City. My mom just happened to be there and picked out the jacket for me. Doesn’t she have great taste?! She has an eye for style and bargains because it was only $17. This is definitely one of my favorite new pieces in my closet.

I hope you like the look. This look was created in collaboration with @RavensStyleHaven. Check her out on Twitter (RavenStyledMe) and Instagram (RavensStyleHaven). She also has a vibrant fashion blog RavensStyleHaven.com! 

My Lip Gloss Is Poppin’

Colourpop is one of my favorite new websites! The site is full of eyeshadows, blushes, and lip wear with very pigmented and long lasting colors. And get this, EVERYTHING IS UNDER $10! That’s right this is any college student’s dream. Even if you just like to bargain, this site would be worth checking out. I have recently ordered their Guess and Limbo Ultra Matte colors as well as their Leather Lippie Stick.Pictured below is the color Guess. The picture to the left is when the product was first applied. The picture to the right is after sleeping and eating with the product on for more than 6 hours! I didn’t not use a liner because the applicator lends to easy application.

 The product is definitely long-lasting and vibrant. It is definitely hard to find cosmetics for brown girls that applies true to color. Even though it took about a week and a half to get my products, it was definitely worth the wait! Check out their cosmetics at colourpop.com to see new goodies you hope to add to your collection! 

Wake Up, Dr. West!

Today, I was able to hear the inspirational Dr. Cornel West speak. Even though many may call him a radical, I believe he is revolutionary and truly understands the issues of humanity. Below are a few quotes that stood out to me. His overall message was that most ideas wouldn’t exist without the doings or ideals of those who came before us; also, love should be the basis of your fight against wrongdoings, not hatred or anger.  
“Don’t become well-adjusted to injustice.”

To me, this means pay attention to the wrongdoings of this world as if they have never happened before. Another individual, another family, and another community is devastated every time an injustice occurs in the world whether it is police brutality or other forms of racial discrimination. This has somewhat been a problem for me given the fact that there has been an abundance of police brutality. It has been hard to separate all of the victims along with their stories as well as their backgrounds. We can not become desensitized to an epidemic because then we fail to realize its severity. In order for the future to be different for those who come after us, each injustice should be attacked vigorously with love at the root of the fight.

“Everybody’s suffering.”

This quote was eye-opening. Being a Black female in America, I usually only notice the injustices faced by women but especially by African Americans. I often forget that there is a world full of people who suffer on a different caliber than myself. For example, when is the last time you thought about the many Syrian refugees? This story was very popular in the last few months, but since we are not experiencing their plight, their misery is often lost in the wind. Americans often become self-absorbed even though we have an overarching duty to HUMANITY. We must understand that we are not the only ones who are struggling towards “freedom” whether that is the freedom to be ourselves, religion, speech, etc. America has some fixing to do but so does the rest of the world.

“I am who I am because someone loved me.”

If you truly think about this quote, it is very true. No one can get to the place they are without the help of someone who truly loved them. This help may not be financial, it could be emotional support or even wisdom. This idea stuck out to me the most because I can personally relate to this idea. I know that without my support system, I would be a different person living a totally different life. This is the life that is meant for me, and everyday I am closer to truly understanding my purpose in life. Thank you to everyone who has helped me along my journey and those who have believed in me since I was a little girl. You are appreciated.

*All of these quotes are taken from Dr. Cornel West’s speech at the University of South Carolina on January 19, 2016*

My Staple Natural Hair Care Products

I’m here with a few of my must-have products. I can truly say I’ve tried a wide variety of products, but on my 2+ year natural hair journey, it finally seems as if these products provide my hair with bounce, moisture, and frizz control.
In my opinion, every girl needs 4 types of products when it comes to hair: a good conditioner, deep conditioner, leave-in conditioner and sealant (oil). I have stayed away from using shampoos as it strips your hair of its natural oils. I do shampoo after a sew-in or braids/twists. To see a detailed explanation of my “Wash Day” routine, check out my post with that same title. With that being said, I’m going to share my top 5 natural hair products for healthy, beautiful curls.
  
1. Tresseme Naturals Nourishing Moisture Conditioner (Co-Wash)

Price: $5.49 (Target)

Wow! I actually ran into this product by accident simply because it was on sale at Target, and I was not satisfied with the conditioner I was previously using. I felt that my hair was not as clean as it could be and lacking moisture which resulted in frizz. After my first co-wash using this product, I was in love! The consistency and smell were both satisfying as well as its ability to not only cleanse the hair but also moisturize. The price was unbeatable for the size of the bottle (I’ve used the same bottle for my natural hair and extensions from August-December). I definitely recommend this product to anyone looking for an affordable co-wash.

2. Eden Body Works All Natural Deep Conditioner (Deep Conditioner)

Price: $9.47 (Walmart)

This deep conditioner is fairly new to my routine, but it was a great addition! I usually let my deep conditioner sit for hours, so my hair can absorb as much moisture as possible. After using this product, my curls literally come back to life. They are bouncier, softer, and frizz free! The only complaint I would have about this conditioner is that the smell is not very appealing, but the benefits of jojoba oil takes away from this. The consistency is in between a cream and a more-water based conditioner which is also a plus. I tend to unknowingly use a lot of this product because it is in a jar container, but the excess product slides off into the shower cap showing how it works with the hair. This product is great for the winter months!

3. Cream of Natures’s Straight from Eden Plant Derived Conditioning Treatment (Deep Conditioner)

Price: $8.90 (EBay)

I couldn’t quite find the Walmart price for this product, but the EBay price was about the same as I paid. When I first began transitioning, I hated every Cream of Nature product I tried, but after some research, I decided to give their new Straight from Eden line a try. I think this is currently my favorite deep conditioner. It is lightweight, extremely moisturizing, and long-lasting. I do appreciate that this product is in a bottle instead of a jar because it helped me use less product. There is no unappealing smell; I actually love the smell of this. This deep conditioner is the perfect balance of hydration and slip a good conditioner needs (Slip can be described as how smooth or sleek one’s hair is after using a specific product). Ladies, if there is one product you must try, it is this!

4. Kinky Curly Knot Today Natural Leave-In/Detangler (Leave-In Conditioner)

Price: $11.99 (Target)

Leave-In conditioners were probably causing me the most grief being that nothing seemed to be compatible with my hair. I had tried high-end and low-end products, but nothing made me hair feel AMAZING…until this! I was told about this product from a friend, and I’m so glad I decided to give this a try. It makes detangling a breeze as well as giving your hair extra shine. The only downfall of this product is that I have only been able to find it in Target, simply meaning it is an extra trip when it is time to re-up on hair care products. This is definitely worth the trip. I use this and only this as a leave-in, detangler, and styler because nothing else is needed.

5. One ‘n Only’s Argan Oil (Sealant)

Price: $8.99 (Sally’s)

Last but not least is my favorite oil. Even though people love to gas coconut oil, I love everything about this oil. I only use a dime sized amount (if that much) when using this specific product, making it last for a long time. This product literally brings all of the others together as it seals in all the moisture, provides shine, eliminates frizz, acts as a heat protectant, and much more. Everyone loves the smell of Argan oil, even though I find it to be a bit overwhelming at times. Nonetheless this is one of my must-haves as I use it on not only my natural hair but my extensions as well. Definitely invest in a quality oil to make sure it enhances the use of your other products.

I really hope this helps you if you’re looking for a better product to add to your hair regimen or was hoping to simply try something new.

Disclaimer: I have 3b/3c fine hair, so products may react differently from person to person.

Love to be Loved

  
There are so many people who yearn for the feeling of being loved. Being cherished, respected, adored, and comforted beyond belief. It seems as if not as many people get to feel that feeling anymore. Everything is centered around sex and beauty instead of love and emotion. Who knows when men will stop shying away from their emotions, and women will learn how to intelligently protect their hearts. 
There are young people today who truly believe they will never get married. That they will never find someone who loves them unconditionally. Who loves them enough to say “I know things are hard right now, but I know this is worth it.” 

We can’t even get to this stage because relationships are nearly nonexistent…they are becoming an antiquated notion among those in the dating scene. Courting is now dead. People are still looking for everything that comes along with courting without putting in the necessary work creating a lack of fulfillment. 

I am not speaking to bash the modern dating scene, but instead, to encourage a world of meaningful love.

Face Beat on a Budget

Over the past few years, I have seen the world of makeup flourish beyond belief. I don’t know if that is due to the fact that I’m getting older and want to glo’, or if makeup is truly becoming a more popular and flamboyant trend among young adults. There is this myth that if something costs more, then it is often times better or of a higher quality than something that is cheaper. I write before you today to say that this myth will always be a myth. I can help you achieve a million dollar face while still on a budget. You don’t necessarily have to purchase pricy name brands such as MAC and Sephora in order to beat your face. This is not to throw shade at these two brands of course because we all know that they have some amazing products. I am writing for that college girl on a budget. Let’s find some makeup in the store where we also go to buy clothes, shoes, accessories, and even food: Target.

The first step when applying makeup has to do with understanding your skin. For example, you should get to know the different hues, undertones, and dryness or oiliness of your skin. This step is essential when purchasing products. Not every skin type is compatible with every foundation. Say you have warm undertones, this means you should get a foundation with a more yellow base, using a foundation that compliments cool undertones may create a grayish look for the face.

No Kim

NO

Yes Kim

YES

The next step in applying makeup is starting with a fresh face. Before a proper face beat, I recommend starting with a face cleanse, then astringent, and lastly a light moisturizer specialized for your type of skin.

Next, primer is necessary to keep your makeup fresh throughout the day and also to keep the makeup in place. I have oily skin and found that a cheap alternative to expensive primers is to use milk of magnesia as your base primer. If you don’t know what milk of magnesia is, simply put, it is a laxative. I know you all probably think that putting it on your face is gross, but trust, I would never steer anyone in the wrong direction. I mean it only costs $3.99 from Target, and you can use it for its natural purpose if needed :/

If you sculpt your brows, this is where you would do it. NYX has a great brown crayon that is connected to a brow brush. I love the espresso color because it is darker than dark brown but not as dark is black, so the color is very natural. Don’t forget to line your brows with concealer in order to clean up any little mistakes.

The next few steps are often interchangeable depending on the type of coverage you want. I will be explaining this with a light to medium coverage description. I apply a light amount of liquid foundation using my elf foundation brush. Two weeks ago, I bought something new to try and fell in love! The liquid foundation is called FIT me! by Maybelline. The makeup was not caky or heavy. It also did not leave my skin oily or bogged down. Best of all, it was only $5.99! Now I can be fabulous while on a budget.

Now it is time to conceal those blemishes. NYX has an affordable concealer palette for only $11.99. I personally try to only use concealer in the areas where the sun naturally hits such as under my eyes, the bridge of my nose, my chin, and also my forehead. The most crucial part of this step is to BLEND, BLEND, BLEND. Blending is the key to making your makeup look natural and smoothly shift from one shade to the next. A failure to blend just causes you to look like the “NO” Lil Kim picture shown above.

After proper blending, it is now time to set your face with some powder. I love both the powders from BlackRadiance and CoverGirl. For the purpose of this spiel, we will focus on the CoverGirl for the love price of $5.99. With the compact powders from CG, they come with a circular applicator, but I still like to use a brush to apply the powder.

I am not very big on eyeshadow or eyeliner, but I love mascara. Every girl should find a good mascara that they love. I advise you to stay away from fake lashes because they can destroy the lashes you already have.

makeup4 makeup3 makeup2 makeup1 makeup

Last but not least, lipstick can transform any look. My advice is to try different shades! Most drugstore brands are less than $10, so you should experiment! I hope these tips help you the next time you visit your local CVS or Walgreens.

For The Natural Jawns

Since I’m always asked “is that your real hair” or “how’d you get your hair like that” I decided to do a post about how I style my hair throughout the week. Trust me it is so simple, and now I can share my secret with you!After freshly co-washing my hair (I also have a post about how my wash day routine), I apply my leave-in conditioner and oil. Next, I part my hair down the middle and flat twist my towards to the side (5 on the left and 5 on the right). Sometimes while twisting, I may add a styling cream or gel, but not very often. 

 I then apply my bonnet and go to sleep. Usually, I try to keep my twists in for more than just a day by wearing different scarves or stylish hats. When it is time for take-down, I apply whatever oil I have and use my fingertips to slowly unravel the twist. You should follow the pattern of the twist and go SLOWLY to avoid frizz and keep your curls.

To go to sleep at night, I simply add a little more leave-in and oil and twist my hair in the same manner as I did after freshly co-washing. The results this time may be a little less defined, but your hair will be bigger and fuller since it has stretched. The result will be as followed: 

 I hope you enjoyed this, and if you have any questions about styles or products, I’d be happy to help!

I Am Not My Skin

  “You’re pretty for a darkskinned girl.”
“How’d you get your hair to be so curly.”

“I would never date a darkskinned woman.”

“Darkskinned women are mean and angry.”

I’ve heard all of these statements. Some of them even used against me, but I never really noticed the effect that they had on me personally. Colorism is real.

At times, I have personally felt that because of the color of my skin, I was not as beautiful or good as someone with lighter skin. Even at a young age, it could be seen with some habits. For example, when playing games where you had to make an avatar (cartoon version of yourself), I would often make my avatar one or two shades lighter because she looked “prettier.”

Many men that I know have not learned to appreciate all women, regardless of their skin color or race. For example, darkskinned male rappers often have light skinned women, Hispanic women, or other fair skinned women as the love interests in their videos. Many places you look, lightskinned with long hair is always more beautiful. Light skin is worshipped while dark skin is shunned.

Even though it hurts me to hear women not be comfortable in their own skin, I have noticed that I am not always comfortable in my own skin. I have never thought of taking steps to lighten my skin, but the media has taken this to a different level. Because the media has perpetuated these ideas, they also have a responsibility to erase them.

We have to be conscious. Aware. Every day I am working on my self-awareness and self-esteem even in the face of adversity. We are all beautiful, and one day, we will all believe that statement. White is beautiful. Light is beautiful. Dark is beautiful. Black is beautiful. Everything in between is beautiful.

*This post is not to receive any sort of sympathy, just an expression of many thoughts and feelings. It is also not to advocate any form of beauty over another.*