Valentine’s Day Must Haves: Couples’ Edition

As we allllll know, Valentine’s day is around the corner. V-day is a day where love is the focus, and honestly it’s one of our fave holidays! That’s because………well come on, who doesn’t love, LOVE?!

This day often involves a very special date night, and we want to help you get right! We are bringing you Valentine’s Day Must Haves that will be sure to have you looking BOMB on your special evening. Not only are we looking out for the ladies, we got our men too! We hit up two of the hottest in the DMV, MUA extraordinaire @kingdupes and the KING of grooming @guidedhands. Keep reading to see how you can look your absolute best on that very special evening!

Women: by @kngdupes

The Look

The Perfect Red Lip

Cost/Where you can find them:

Mac Cosmetics: Ruby Woo Retro Matte Lipstick| $19.00

Juvia’s Place: Afrik Liquid Lipstick|$12.00

Milan Cosmetics: Amor Satin Lip Creme (Red)|$9.00

I think a red lip is always perfect for valentine’s day, it’s bold, fun & sexy. You can never go wrong with this!

Luxuious Lashes

Cost/Where you can find them:

Lilly Lashes | $30.00

Ardell Wispies | $5 & up 

Dupes on the beat luxe lashes | Stay Tuned

Having the perfect pair of lashes is essential, for those that want to make a statement or those that want to flirt a little harder – the right lashes will do the job, trust me. 

Poppin highlight

Cost/Where you can find them:

Mac Cosmetics “Gold Deposit” | $36.00

Artist Couture “Jackie Aina Collection” | $30.00

You know what they say… your highlight must blind your enemies! Lol, all jokes aside, your highlighter can make or break your face. When applying it, be careful not to use too much. Personally I think the less blinding your highlight looks the better. Soft highlight gives “grown woman” “talk to me nice”! So take my advice!

Blooming Blush

Cost/Where you can find it:

Juvia’s Place “The Saharan blush bundle” | $35.00

These shades are perfect for everyone! They are always a staple in my makeup routine on myself and my clients.

Many people don’t realize the importance of blush on your skin, after applying make up blush helps to bring back life into our skin by adding the color we’ve taken away with foundation, concealer & etc.

Cost/Where you can find it:

YSL Black Opium | $75

Viktor & Rolf Flower Bomb | $85

Gucci Guilty | $80

Ladies, you want to leave a lasting impression, Having the right scent is an absolute game changer! These are a few of my fave, and I promise they’ll have you smelling heavenly!

Men: by @guidedhands

The Look

photo by @kennykfromthea

Versace- Versace Man Eau Fraiche

Cost: $85

Where you can find: CVS

If you don’t smell good, you might as well pack up and go home for V-Day. Every woman needs her man to be well scented on that particular day. Versace Man Eau Fraiche has been well proven amongst the ladies

Curl Sponge/The Mane Choice Coconut Curl Mousse

Cost: Sponge-$5, Mousse-$11.19

Where you can find: Sponge-Amazon, Mousse- Sally’s

The curly top is the most popular style among the men these days. If you’re not sporting the waves, then you have to make sure your hair is contained and styled correctly. The curl sponge can help with that. Make sure to accompany it with the Pink lemonade and Coconut Curl Mousse from The Mane Choice brand.

Natural Peppermint Premium Hair Oil

Cost: $9.62

Where you can find it: Beauty Supply Store

A healthy scalp is necessary. Peppermint oil contains several nutrients that will help keep your scalp moisturized (while your lady runs her hands through your hair lol).

Jamaican Black Castor Oil

Cost: $16.24

Where you find get it: Walmart

Black castor oil is a must for the beard! Do yourself a favor and use this oil to help soften and moisturize your beard or facial hair. Keep the beard right for your lady on V-Day. (And if you don’t have a beard use this oil twice/day and add prayer so your beard will grow before v-day)

Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser

Cost: $6.39

Where you can find it: CVS

Wash your face fellas. You don’t need your lady getting pimples on her lips from kissing your face. Cetaphil facial cleanser does the job!

Women on the Rise: DMV Edition Pt. 2

As I have mentioned before, the DMV is the place to be. It is an area where black professional millennials reside, and thrive. Not only are the men doing their thing, but the women who are sure changing the game. In part 1, I highlighted some amazing, and phenomenal women. There were so many great women doing the damn thing…I had to come back with another one! So here we are again….Women on the Rise: DMV Edition Pt. 2

1. The Nicole Briana (@thenicolebriana)

Nicole Briana is currently an Internet Radio Personality, Social Media Manager and Event Curator in the DMV. 

Nicole’s passion for communications has grown more through her experience with social media, marketing, and branding. Her background and experience in social media management for both small and large brands is what allows Nicole to see such success when working with a range of clients.

Nicole is currently running her Social-Me Digital Marketing company that works on growing brands recognition both online and in person. Nicole works with brands through workshops, masterclasses and managing day to day social media accounts. 

She is also a freelance radio host working with a variety of platforms such as 1500 radio, Shoe City radio and DTLR Radio. Her hosting’s range from workshops to facilitate networking events, speaking on panels, and hosting social events.

She is a woman on the rise because she’s a boss that is determined to make her dream come true. I met Briana a few years ago while we were both on the Black and Gold Royal Court at our schools, since then she has stood out. She is a go getter. She has a vision, and she follows through with it. This can been seen in her her workout journey (her body is bomb), her companies, and who she is as a person. She inspired me to create a lane and dominate it. She teaches me to put my shyness and fear aside and go after what I want, all while being me.

2. Yetunde Oriola (@yetunchi)

Yetunde Oriola is a 24 year old beauty-boss from Prince George’s County, MD. She has been a makeup artist for 6 years. She specializes in photoshoots, video, bridal makeup, special events makeup artistry, and makeup classes. She realized her love of makeup and beauty at the age of 16. Once she started college at Morgan State University, she found her drive to push forward and pursue makeup artistry seriously. My sis also has a Beauty Line called Beatbyye Beauty. She has so many upcoming things in store for 2020. She attained her degree in Public Relations from Morgan State and she applies it to Beatbyye daily, but she plans on getting into the PR industry in a big way next year and she’s excited to show everyone what she has in store!

Yetunde is a woman on the rise because she literally loves watch she does and she does whatever in her power to take it to the next level. She is the definition of investing in yourself. She has invested into her business and has used it to enhance every client that sits in her chair. You sit in her chair and you come out feeling like a new woman! Not only does she care about her business, but she cares about each and every client she comes across. When you sit in her chair, I promise…you’re in for a good time!

3. Anuoluwapo “Liz” James (@lizlenses)

Anuoluwapo “Liz Lenses” James was born and raised in Prince George’s County ,Maryland. She is a 24 year old first generation Nigerian. She received her B.A in Public Relations, Advertising, and Media Sales, and she is currently getting her Masters in Human Resources Development and Project Management. Liz describes herself as a 24-year old millennial trying to take the world by storm! Growing up, the pressure to become a doctor or lawyer was put on by her parents. She grew up rebellious because she wanted to break the mold, and forge her own path. Elizabeth has a constant desire to excel. She’s doing so by taking the right steps by working and attending graduate school. Although she’s a student, she still makes time to pursue her true love of photography and media corresponding.

She is a woman on the rise because there are few and many Nigerian women in Media, and even less who are as good as Liz. She is a mastermind behind the lens, and her vision is game changing. I have seen it first hand how she has worked her ass off, and networked to make her dream a possible one. She’s the sweetest person ever, and as soon as you talk media to her…her eyes light up. You can literally feel the passion she has for it. I respect her so much, and I am so proud of the woman she’s becoming.

photo by quis.mar

4. Funmike Lagoke (@funmike.lagoke)

Funmike Lagoke is an educator in the arts, a performer and recently crowned Miss Nigeria USA 2019. A Nigerian-American born in Washington, DC, she was raised in Lagos and London. She earned her bachelors of Arts in Music from Morgan State University. She is a vocal instructor and music teacher for Baltimore City Public Schools. Funmike has been teaching music for the last five years and believes that she has found her purpose in teaching by giving back as well as being a positive influence and advocate for our future leaders of tomorrow. In performing, Funmike is a classically trained singer. She has performed in many Operas and continues to perform and make debuts throughout the country. This past May, she won a beauty pageant and became Miss Nigeria USA 2019. She went on the platform of Promoting Performing Arts in Education. Since then she has been attending many galas and events to promote her platform. She is also working on an event gearing towards the youth and arts. Funmike continues to teach as she educates her students on music being a universal language, and a tool that gives power and  expression. She continues to perform and promote her platform as Miss Nigeria USA 2019.

Ms. Lagoke is a woman on the rise because she’s a star whose light will probably never go dim. When you hear her sing, I assure you it’s nothing like you’ve heard before. Sis is GIFTED. What is even better is that she uses her gift to educate and inspire the youth (y’all know I love the kids), and I stan. In addition to being a fabulous star and an amazing educator, this beauty is a Queen. A Queen who is utilizing her platform and putting on for our sweet country of Nigeria. I really look forward to all the amazing things she has in store.

5. Brittney Andreá Mays (@ill_bambina)

Andreá Mays, (pronounced Un-dray-uh) was born in DC and raised in Suitland, MD. At a young age, she understood that she loved every aspect of capturing memories first through photography and then moving towards videography during college. She knew that her future was in the visual arts.
Attending thee illustrious Morgan State University, she successfully crossed over into her true passion TV/Film Production. With more than 10 years of professional and technical skills, her hunger, drive, and determination led her to relocate to Los Angeles, CA, where she is currently a Producer and Digital Media Tech. Andreá is fueled by her passion to continuously learn more. She always says a forever student is forever evolving and she believes this is the key to success! 
Website: andreamays.com

She is a woman on the rise because…for starters, she literally decided to move cross country and made it happen. She packed her things into her car and moved to California. In addition to all this, Andrea is a person who wants to use her passion in TV/Film production to change the narrative of minorities. Her projects have highlighted and brought awareness to many under represented communities, and it has educated me in so many ways. Saying I am proud of this young lady is an understatement. I’m looking forward to the day I can see her name in the credits of a major movie!

photo by: tayojr

6. Gloria Nnaji (@africanglow)

Gloria Nnaji (commonly known as Africanglow), is a 25 year old born and raised in Washington D.C. by way of her Nigerian (Igbo) culture. She is a model and a creative. Even though she was born here in the United States, she never fails to express her Nigerian culture. 

Like many African kids, she was brought up in a well structured and strict household. Modeling was not considered to be a career option. With that in mind, she attended Trinity Washington University where she was forced to major in nursing. Through her matriculation, she figured out it wasn’t for her.

Throughout her life she has worked with children. Having worked with children, this introduced her to children who come from broken homes. Hearing so many of their stories, this inspired her to become a child life specialist. However, circumstances occurred that did not allow her to finish school, but she does plan to finish what she started.

Modeling was something she never imagined herself doing, but in 2013 she stepped in front of her very first camera and from there “Africanglow” was born. Despite many struggles and pressure in the beginning, she began turning her modeling into art and her creativity began to blossom.

Her goal as a model and creative is to break the barriers and stereotypes in the modeling industry, as well as inspire other through her art. She hopes to become an international model and be a role model for other women around the world! Since her start as a model, she has been mentioned in Yahoo Beauty, Kontrol Mag “2017’s popping models you should follow”, This is 50, Pluto TV, Allure Magazine, and BET.

Gloria is a woman on the rise because she has had so many obstacles thrown her way, and instead of letting it stop her, she uses it to fuel her drive. From the pressures of being an upcoming model, to having to deal with personal health issues, she hasn’t let anything stop her. She instead continues to create art, and bless our timelines daily. Sis is so poppin, she’s had many people recreate her shoots, and not give her the credit. Either way, this is one woman who will take the modeling industry by storm.

7. Taylor Moore (@tay3k_)

In a male dominated field ….she’s the 1% they talk about. She creates experiences that can’t be duplicated or imitated only rewatched to savor the memory. She is the host with the most…Taylor Moore.

Taylor Moore, better known as Tay3k, is a 23-year-old professional host and media personality from Washington DC. She graduated from Morgan State University in May of 2018, where she obtained her degree in Strategic Communications. She did this while serving in more than 7 organizations. Hard-work and Dedication is nothing new to her. She is committed to using her platform to inspire people to become the greatest version of themselves while living their dreams. Her philosophy on life is that people remember none what you say, but they will never forget how you made them feel. She looks at herself as a Content Creator not a host. With plans to land her own segment on MTV, she uses every opportunity to her advantage to create a once in a lifetime experience that can never be replaced. The 3K experience is truly one like no other.

Tay is a woman on the rise because through her hosting, she really provides an experience. She started hosting in college and to see where she has come is so inspiring. She has a plan, and she is sticking to it. She is a hard worker and one hell of a creative. Her personality and vibe is unmatched and she is a good time. She is guaranteed to make any event she hosts a poppin one. Be sure to catch her this October at MimosaCity Homecoming, where she will be curating all the vibes!

8. Kayla Thomas (@sheisk.nicole_)

Kayla N. Thomas born and raised in Landover, Maryland. She was raised in  a single family home with my two older sisters , mother and grandmother. She didn’t grow up in a traditional family style home with a father or marriage, but the women who raised her have shaped her into being the amazing women she is today. She graduated from one of the National Treasures of this country, Morgan State University. She received a Bachelors of Science in Family & Consumer Sciences with a concentration in Fashion Merchandising. During her Matriculation at Morgan state University she was able to serve as Miss F.A.C.S for the 2015-2016 academic school year by aiding in community service, Fundraiser for The F.A.C.S club and assisting in multiple Morgan state Fashion shows. 

After graduating, she set out to be a personal stylist and Lifestyle blogger. Thus, creating her Personal Signature Agency and SheIsKnicole. Both platforms were created to bring awareness to young professionals excelling as entrepreneurs and creating the life they so desire while looking great. Her vision is to be able to serve her peers in multiple ways to encourage them to go after their dreams, goals, and aspirations. 

Ms. Thomas is a woman on the rise because she is one of the most consistent and determined people I have ever met. She is one of the most talented and professional bloggers I come across. She continues to grow and expand, and as a blogger she has inspired me in so many ways. The content she pushes out is amazing, and she is a role model for women everywhere. If you haven’t checked out her blog, you are missing out!

9. Rakiatu Bangura (@queen.raki)

Rakiatu is a Sierra Leonean born dancer that has always had a love and passion for dance since the womb. She started competing in dance competitions at the early age of 6 years old, but she later stopped to pursue cheerleading. She resumed dancing in college by joining her school’s African dance team. From there, during her sophomore year, her dance career took off and she became a professional dancer. She has worked with many world renowned artists and organizations since then. Her most profound achievement was starting my own dance company, Adama Dance Agency (@theadaofficial).

Her dance agency aims to manage aspiring dancers and aide them in their professional careers, using various resources and connections. She has experienced so many setbacks when she first started her dance career, and she knew she wanted to impact other dancers as well. She created the company to help those, who like herself, need the support and guidance. Although most people know her for dance, she has many other gifts. She’s a hairstylists and ABA Therapist. She is extremely passionate about children and she believes kids are truly the driving force behind all that she does.

Raki is a woman on the rise, not only because of her talents, but her heart as well. She is one of the most nurturing and caring women I have ever met. She literally puts everyone else before her own, and she isn’t lying when she says children are her life. Aside from caring for the youth, she uses her dance talent to being smiles to people everywhere. She’s such an amazing dancer and choreographer, and I am so happy to come across such a beautiful soul. If you’re an aspiring dancer, this is the woman to follow!

10. Elizabeth Morafa (@lola_mora)

Elizabeth Morafa, best known as Lola Mora, was born and raised in the DC Metropolitan area . She attended Frostburg State University, where she found her passion for fashion . Serving as the President of Visual Couture models for 3 years, it prepared her to be the leader she is today . After producing 6 fashion shows and designing her first collection, she noticed the absence of curvy couture clothing in the fashion industry. This gave her a push to start her own custom clothing company. In 2017, she launched her clothing business right after graduating from Frostburg. After a year of ups and downs with her company , she rebranded and renamed her clothing boutique to Zamora LLC, and my good sis decided to go into international manufacturing. 

Lola was so determined to figure out how to get into manufacturing for Zamora, she decided to randomly go to China and figure things out on her own . Although it was a very bold and risky step for her business she describes it as the best move she could’ve made. She is currently working on her plus-size luxury line that is projected to debut the end of the year.

Although fashion is her passion, she is studying for her Master’s in Health Informatics Administration at University of Maryland. She is currently a health educator, and plans on using her health education experience to transition into the health technology industry.

She is a woman on the rise because she is paving her own way. She is the definition of self made. Her business wasn’t something she just built in a day. It was a culmination of things since her days in undergrad. I remember being in college, and seeing the pieces she designed herself. She has always been confident in who she is and her abilities. She works hard and goes out of her way to make her brand quality, and you all will be able to see that in her upcoming collection!

11. Jamia Coleman (@miajcosmetix)

Jamia Coleman, born in Washington, D.C. and raised in PG county, is a 24 year old salon owner (YES, I said salon owner!), brand ambassador and beauty entrepreneur. She graduated from thee illustrious Morgan State University, where she received her B.A in Public Relations. Jamia Co-founded Luxe Cosmetix Beauty Bar (@luxecosmetixbeautybar) in February, and has worked with many beauty brands, including SheaMoisture.

Her passion for the beauty industry came from a very young age. It stemmed from her having very long thick hair. Her mother never wanted to manage it, so she learned how to do it herself! By the age of 7, she was doing her own hair, and by the age of 10 she started doing her friends’ hair. As she got older and social media developed, she took that as an opportunity to brand herself. Throughout her career, Jamia has curated beauty tailored events and developed brand content. She has her hands in all things beauty, and she continues to evolve within the local beauty culture! Pretty soon this beauty boss will be taking over everywhere.

She is a woman on the rise because used her talents to establish a business for herself. At such a young age, she is the co-owner of her own shop. She hires other boss women to work there, and provides a luxury experience for every woman who talks in her doors. She loves everything hair and beauty, and she is a branding genius. If you want to get your hair slayed, while getting an amazing experience, be sure to visit Luxe Cosmetix Beauty Bar located in Fort Washington, Maryland!

12. Lolade Faniola (@lolamontanaa)

Lolade (Lola) Fanilola was born in Nigeria and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. In 2013, Lola had her very first job as being a server. While working, she noticed the people in the kitchen made more money with more hours, despite the fact that she had no interest in cooking, she asked to be transferred to the kitchen.

After working there for a few, she ended up getting fired because of school, from there she relied solely on her hair business. Her roommate, Yetunde, (who is mentioned earlier in the list) did makeup and every-time she had a client, she would watch and learn. Eventually, she picked up the skills and took up a few makeup classes. From there, she developed her hair and makeup brand, LADEMADEIT.

Last November, she began to notice she picked up on a few cooking skills from her old job. From technique, to presentation, she saw she was really good at it. This pushed her to start posting her work on instagram. Once she did, people began inquiring and was the start of her cooking business.

What inspires her cooking is the art of it all. She loves to decorate food and plates, and she loves how one can make a dish look more appealing than it actually is. She describes her style of cooking as clean. Apart from Youtube University, she learned majority of what she knows from the kitchen she once worked. Her amazing skills have reached many people, amongst them are African celebrities like King Promise, R2bes, Mr. Eazi, Masterkraft, and Tekno. She is currently building her “Brunch-in-Style” brand locally and nationally for others to enjoy her experience!

She is a woman on the rise because she is a triple threat. She does hair, makeup, and is a professional cook! She has single handedly changed the face of cooking as a Nigerian. She brings a twist to our traditional dishes, while making them brunch appropriate. Her brunch in style brand has introduced many people in the dmv a way to experience our dishes. While she’s not providing delicious meals she’s slaying faces and heads. She is a one stop shop, and this is a black owned business you won’t regret supporting.

13. Yaya Luchi (@yaya.luchi)

Yaya Luchi is a graduate of Salisbury University and Bowie State. She has her masters in Human Resource Development from Bowie State and she double majored in Conflict Analysis Dispute & Resolution and Sociology at Salisbury University.

Yaya grew up in the DMV, and it was here that she realized there is a surplus of Yoruba women. With that in mind, she felt that she could create a great space for like minded individuals who share the same culture to network together. Thus, Yoruba Girls Connect was born.

Yoruba Girls Connect is a platform for women to share their love for the Yoruba culture. The goal is to culturally uplift one another while supporting, encouraging, and expressing their individual gifts. This group will promote networking, professional and social development, political awareness, and ultimately collaboration. This group is not limited to the DMV area, but will be the start up of a world wide venture. The group gives Yoruba women a space to come together and grow together.

She is a woman on the rise because she created a space for young women to come together to fellowship, grow, and support one another. I am all for women’s empowerment, and anyone who creates a space for women to come together in a positive way, I will always support. If you are a Yoruba babe in the DMV area, make sure you’re following YBC for more updates and events!

All these women have inspired me in one way or another, and I wanted to support and highlight them for the great things they are doing. I charge you all to get to know these women and hear their stories. You are sure to be inspired as well. I look forward to working with these women and bringing you all amazing things! I hope these two posts have brought a sense of togetherness and pride in being from the DMV. Again, thank you for the support……and the Men’s edition is coming soon :)!

Before You Give Up

Whewwwwwwww! Sisters, it has been a whileeee. I missed blogging and of course I missed you guys! Needless to say…I’m back, and for good this time! These past few months have tested me in every way possible. I can honestly say 2019 just might be the top 5 worst years of my life…so far (because a change is going to come, amen!) I literally lost almost everything, and because of it I was in a pretty low place. Honestly speaking, I have not felt this low in a while. Usually, I am pretty good at weathering the storm. I get knocked down, but I always get back up. I am the definition of staying ten toes, but this time…it hit different. It was so much going on. I had so many rejections, failures, BETRAYALS, it was bad y’all. I finally got to the point where I wanted to give up. Honestly speaking, I did give up…a lot. Like, I literally couldn’t do it. There was a point where it was a struggle for me to even get out of bed, but it’s by the grace of God I can even write this post. Despite this year being a tough one, I’m super thankful for it. This lesson I have learned has literally changed my life, and I’m praying it’ll change yours. 

So boom, so many bad things happened this year. I lost my job, my apartment, I got into ANOTHER car accident (if you know me, you know my car struggle), and so many other unfortunate events occured. This caused me to become really depressed. For about three to four months I was going through it. The struggle was sequential, one thing after the other. Question, has anyone  ever been through something like that? Its like the blows just don’t stop? Yeah, I was there. I was not me at all. I literally was not eating, I would bust out crying randomly, I was hopeless, and unmotivated. I felt like everything was stripped away from me, at once. There were so many points where I didn’t see a light at the end of the tunnel. Like y’all. My faith was gone. I used to think there really wasn’t any point in me being here. Nothing was going my way. I prayed and fasted, and nothing. I went to church, nothing. I was listening to all these sermons, and you guessed it….NOTHING. After a while, I stopped praying because your girl was fed up. I just chose to wallow in self pity and I was comfortable doing so.

I was so upset and so confused. How could God sit back and allow all this to happen? Adulting is already trash, but adulting for me….suuperrrr trash. Everything I worked hard for in a year, gone. I take pride in being an independent woman and taking care of mine, so when I couldn’t do that anymore, I was hurt up. In the midst of all this, I also lost friends. People who I called family, at my lowest they left me. Literally dipped out, and I was super hurt. I don’t really let people in so when I do and things like this happen, it hurts a great deal. It’s crazy because we tend to have a plan about our life and you think it’ll work out and your friends will always be there, but life doesn’t care about any of that. When it comes, it comes. Life really ruined allll of my plans, and for the longest I was so lost. I did not know where to go, I would just cry.

So it got to a point where I was fed up with my situation. Yes, life is trash right now, but what do I do? What happens when your plans are ruined and your life seems to have no sense of direction? What happens when we face struggle? When you’re going through our own journey in the wilderness, what do you do? Cry? Wallow? Dare I say it…give up??? No. You don’t give up, you fight and adapt. The key is to adapt. Adapt to the waves of life, the ups and downs. In life, everyone has their own struggle, their own journey in the wilderness, and the only way out is through. You have to get through. The more you give you up, you just prolong your own journey. No storm lasts forever, no matter how bad it is.

I wanted to write this to encourage someone. I know, right now it may seem like life is hard and you can’t catch a break, but I promise, good things are coming. Keep pushing. Keep going. Do not let your current struggles stop you from living. You go through these things as a test. God is testing you. He’s pushing your bounds and your limits. He’s strengthening you and preparing you for that next level. There are certain things you have to learn and experience so when you elevate, you have those tools that will help you. I look at struggles like working out, in the moment they suck. They hurt, they make your body sore as hell, but in the end its ultimately shaping you into an even better you. Everything on this earth serves a purpose, including our struggles.

This point in your life is a test. Don’t fail. That is what the enemy wants. Your season of struggle is almost over. Do not let up. Put in the work and win. The work you do now is the groundwork for your future. You can’t give up. You have to keep at it. You’re losing hope in your business, keep going…You don’t think you can get into school, keep trying….You can’t find a job…keep applying and use this time to focus on you. You cannot give up at whatever it is that your heart desires. There are people attached to your dreams, goals, gifts, etc. that are depending on you. They need you! You are intertwined into their destinies. It is through whatever power God has given you that you help others. You can’t stand in the way of that because things got a little hard. In the end of time, God will ask you. What are you going to say? Oh my bad God, I was going through a tough time…uhhh I think not! 

I learned in life you are going to fail, but those failures just propel you to your greatness (if you allow it). This year I have given up on myself so many times, but I’m thankful for my tribe for constantly talking to me and telling me all that I’m telling you.  Things may not be 100% for me, I’m still going through it, but Im not letting up, I refuse to give up. I’ve come too far. I learned giving up is weak. It’s easy and it’s selfish. No matter how hard things may be, we don’t give up. We refocus, plan, and execute. 

If you are like me and you have lost hope, I’m here to tell you to push through. Nothing worth having comes easy. Don’t let these obstacles stop you, let them challenge you and push you towards growth. Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it. Don’t fold. Have faith and trust the process. Center yourself, take care of you, believe in your vision, and get it done. Don’t give up.

Be The Light

It has been a little over a month (or two lol) since I have posted. Thats due to personal challenges, fear, and a bunch of other things we can get into a little later. What got me out of my “hiatus” was a message I felt people should hear.

When this idea came to write on this topic, I was in tears. This was days after news broke that Nipsey Hussle was shot and killed. Usually, when a celebrity dies, I say a prayer, pay my respects, and keep it pushing. This one hurt different. I was really hurt. I cried like he was my own. I was crushed. One of the main reasons I was hurt was because I felt this world is so evil. His death had me thinking about how people are so wicked and this world we live in is a dark place.

I thought about all the individuals who lost Nipsey, all the children in the world who are suffering, everyone who is going through one thing or another, or all the people of color who have been killed…..I thought about everyone. I just felt it all at once and my entire day was ruined. I couldn’t even focus at work. I just kept thinking about everything that was wrong with the world.

To distract myself I went on Instagram (I should’ve been praying tbh, lol) and I saw my explore page was full of Nipsey. There were a lot of clips from interviews that he had done. I watched a number of them. In each one, he drops knowledge, whether it be on business, financial freedom, or personal development. He had alllll the keys. But in a few of them he talks about love and goodness and letting your heart be pure. He spoke about being a change maker; a light.

His words stuck with me. I thought about it and I remembered, in my church, they often talk about how we are the light of the world. They reference Matthew 5:14, “you are the light of the world. A city on a hill that cannot be hidden”. It was no secret that Nipsey was indeed a light, a pillar in his community, and his light was not hidden. When you have this light, you have to know that there are also people of darkness. They live to dim your light. Nipsey knew that and he moved in his light anyway. He didn’t live in fear of anyone……he just shined.

I believe everyone has a light in them, even people of darkness. They have just allowed this dark world to take it away. We can’t do that. We all have a purpose; to inspire, teach and help. Thats why you face trials and tribulations, but that is why you also overcome. This happens so you can help those after you. Your light leads the way for others.

This world is crooked and evil, but we cannot conform to it. We rise above it. We keep our hearts pure, and we move with LOVE. This isn’t an easy task but its one we are all given.

You have to let your light shine. By doing so you “unconsciously give other people permission to do the same”…… How do you be the light? By being your absolute self, fearlessly. It means pursuing your dreams, living vividly, inspiring, laughing, teaching, not playing it small, but most importantly, loving. It means to live with love and share it with others. We  all are to be the light, the light that is needed light up this world.

We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others”.- Marianne Williamson

I want to dedicate this post to Nipsey Hussle. I may not have been his biggest music fan, but that mans words have helped me in one way or another. He inspired me in some of my darkest times and even in death he continues to do so. He was an Angel here on earth and his legacy will forever remain.

Lately

Usually, I’ll come up with some catchy name and a cute graphic, but this time I just wanted to be raw and transparent about how I’ve been feeling lately with life and about my journey. 

Lately, I’ve been going through a whirlwind of things. Life has really been coming at me and its like PAUSE………….what did I EVER do to life?! Like why do I deserve this, lol. I’ve been feeling lonely, powerless, confused, lost, all the above…despite this I have moments where I have “power feels” (where I feel spirts of motivation and I feel unstoppable), but then life levels it out and I crash. I feel like my world is collapsing. Everything I am going through at the time just hits me all at once.

Issues with my job, finances, living away from home on my own, not being in a relationship, not being where I planned to be has contributed to my feelings of doubt and sadness. These are things I deal with regularly, but as humans we all come to a point where we feel enough is enough, and I was there.

I was feeling extremely low and it physically showed. You could see me and tell I was going through it. You ever heard the saying “I thank God because I don’t look like what I’m going through”? Well, I looked like what I was going through times two, lol. The good thing about being low is that you’re your most vulnerable state, and you are honest with yourself. Its during this time, you hear yourself the most. 

One day, I was laying in bed thinking. Like okay boom…..this is the problem, this is how you feel, do you want to feel like this forever or do you want to change your situation? This is when I found my power. I realized we control our narratives. Yes, we know life will not be easy, especially being a Christian, but wallowing in pity and self doubt does nothing for your tomorrow. It’s about what you will do in the face of adversity.

I tend to read on powerful and influential women for inspiration, and out of all the inspiring stories I read, I noticed 1 similarity about all these women. When times were tough, they never gave up. They looked each trial and tribulation and took it head on. Of course they had their moments, but it wasn’t for long. They adjusted their crowns, and got back to business. I decided this was the mentality I wanted to adopt. 

Lately, yes, life has been kicking my ass, but I have been putting up one hell of a fight. In my time of struggle, I am realizing my power. I am more resilient, I am strong, I am beautiful, I am a fighter…I am so much more than what I am currently facing. And me realizing this has caused to me to love myself so much more. I’ve been in my bag, getting things done, and feeling a little more sexy (my weight loss has also contributed to this s/o to Allison!). I see what I am truly capable of and I love it.

All in all, what I am trying to say is that when you have your moments and everything around you has come crashing down, it is in that moment that you rise. These situations are temporary and they allow you to see what you’re made of. You access and harness a power you didn’t even know you had. Ayabas don’t let temporary defeats keep them down. They look situations straight in the face and go beast mode. I just wanted to send words of encouragement, because I know lately I have been in need of it, and I’m sure someone somewhere needs it too. Don’t let your lately determine or affect your tomorrow. Put your faith in God and always have hope. My mother tells me where there is life there is hope. That means as long as you’re still breathing there is a chance for change to come. Keep going. Decide to be unstoppable, then become it. Do not let anything stand in your way. 

Valentine’s Day: Single Edition

As we all know, February 14th is that divine day of love. It is a day where you shower your significant other (or loved one)  with undeniable love and affection. It is a day full of I love you exchanges, bae probates, roses, and just a general outpour of love for that special person. Now, what do you do if you’re………single? If you have been single for as long as I have, you know a thing or two about spending that special day alone. Now, I’m not saying this in a sad or heartbroken way, but I can admit I know thing or two about “maximizing your singleness”. This post is to help you do the same once “doomsday” hits.

Often times once V-day comes around, we see those “bitter bettys” all up and down our timelines. It’s like they’re the “grinch” of love. They try to take away the “awwwwww” moments from us. I know because I was that girl! BUT I have been deliveredT. Besides, this year we are not doing that! We are going to be genuinely happy for others and that is that on that. We will waiting patiently for our bearded Kings to arrive, okay. Ayabas are never haters, it’s distasteful. So instead of being sad, watching romance movies, while eating a tub of ice cream and crying on and on about how we wish this was us, you could be doing the following instead:

  1. Treat your damn self: Excuse my french, but treat your damn self, seriously! Use this day to love on you. Spoil yourself. Take yourself shopping, do a little TLC, or even take yourself on a date. Spend it doing whatever you want to. After all, whose going to love you more than….you?
  2. Celebrate Galentine’s Day!: Galentines Day is a V-day but with your girls! You all hang around each other and spread love to one another. I remember one year, my best friend Jillian surprised my other friends and I with a Valentine’s Day care package. It had Hot Cheetos (our favorite snack), cake pops, and a card letting us know how much she loved us. 

Another year, my friends and I had a cute little sleepover the night before Valentines Day, then that night of, we got super dressed up and took ourselves out for a cute little dinner. It was so nice and it made me love my girls even more. This day, you appreciate your friends. You bask in the blessing of sisterhood!

Use this time to have fun with your girls, for example, have a “love-a-thon! You can spend the day being inspired by love by watching all your favorite Romance/Rom-Com movies. From The Notebook, to Friends with Benefits, even the Netflix show You (WARNING: That show is wildddddd), you have the world of movies at your fingertips! 

3.Go out!: Just like you are single, there are hundreds of other people who are just as single. Get up, get dressed reaaaaaaaaalllllll nice, and meet someone! You get in your bag, and bag whoever your little heart desires, RESPECTFULLY. We are not home wreckers ladies. If that man is taken, peace be unto that side, pls. Use this time to meet new people! I mean why not? You’re attractive/beautiful, you have goals, you’re ambitious, anyone would be lucky to have you. Don’t be afraid! Just go out and have fun. You never know who Cupid can pair you with. After all, it is a day for love :).

4. Cut Them Offfffff: This day is also the day where some people lose their God demn (yes, I said demn) minds. Especially the ones you kind-of sort-of just started talking to. At this point, you’re in that phase of “are we Valentines orrrr is it too early”? Instead of him/her being upfront about their stance, my friend decides to do one of the following:

a) Go ghost a few days before.

b) Picks a rubbish fight a few days before to avoid the holiday

c) Completely ignore the day

I had C happen one year. Mans said he doesn’t believe it. I respectfully let him go. If any of the above occurs, let that child go! If they cannot communicate despite the conversation being difficult, that person is not the one, period.

Just because Valentine’s Day is a day usually spent with your special someone does not mean you cannot participate. Spend it doing whatever you want with whomever you want, in the name of love. It is not a day for us to sulk about us being lonely. It is a day for you to spread love. Even if that love is to yourself. Use the time alone to love on you and work on you. That way when your bearded King comes, you’ll be readdyyyyy. I hope you’ve been inspired to be happy this Valentine’s Day and to spend it loving love! Happy Valentines Day Ayabas!

P.S. I do want to emphasize the fact that it should not take a holiday for one to proclaim their love, it should be an everyday thing! 

Purpose

Does anyone know the story of Esther? No, not my story, haha. The story of Queen Esther in the bible! If not, thats cool because you’ll get a cliff notes version today! If you are a non-believer, do not let this discourage you, keep reading! I promise you will still learn from this. It’ll resonate with you. The story of Esther is one of my all time favs. Not because this amazing woman and I share the same name, but because this story speaks to what it means to have a divine purpose. 

Esther was what we call the “underdog”. She was counted out. She had all the odds working against her. She was a poor Jewish orphan that was raised by her Uncle Mordecai. At this point in history, Jews were not it. They were the “lower” race. The King at the time was looking for a new wife (he kicked the old one out). So he did an “America’s Next Top Model” search. He took all the land’s most beautiful women, placed them in a palace, pampered and, had them undergo etiquette training for a year or two before deciding his next Queen. The moment he saw Esther, he was immediately in love. He knew she had to be his wife. So he chose her. She was picked out of the hundreds of women in the land. Pause……Remember this!

Now, she’s in the palace living her best Queenly life.The King has a very evil and wicked right hand man. The King doesn’t know of his evil ways (not a point I was going to make, but please be mindful of the company you keep), but this man was indeed evil. Right hand was not very fond of the Jews. In fact he hated them. He got into the King’s ear and concocted a plan to have them all killed. Esther got hip to the plan, and she knew she had to do something. At first, she was scared because no one in the palace knew she was a Jew, but her uncle encouraged her. He told her “who knows if perhaps you were made for a time such as this” Esther 4:14. Pause……Remember this point too! 

Esther made the choice to put her fear aside, took action. She secretly sent a message to all the  Jews in the land to pray and fast with her for three days; at the end of three days, she would confront the king (despite her fear), and fight for her people. Pause….Remember this again! To cut the long story short, Esther ended up saving her people and the evil right hand man was killed. I shortened the story very much, so I urge everyone to take the time and read it!

Now what exactly did we learn from this story in relation to purpose?

1. When you have a particular purpose, no matter how many are in that lane or field, you will succeed. You will find favor and success will be yours. Remember point #1. Esther went up against endless women. Every single one, beautiful. Others, even more beautiful than her, others, more rich than her, and most likely other were more cultured than her. Despite all that, she was the one. Why? Because sis served a purpose! God placed her there for a reason. To save her people. 

In life, there are certain dreams and aspirations that we have that are there for us to fulfill our purpose. We want them to manifest, but we fear they won’t come to pass because that area of interest is “oversaturated”. “I want to make a youtube channel, but everyone is doing it”…..”I want to be a makeup artists, but so does everyone else”……..”I want to start a fashion line, but….” My response to that is so? What is destined for you will be yours, no matter how oversaturated that market is. Do you know how many other blogs are out there? Others are more advanced, others have more followers, and others have more influence. One thing I know is that not anyone of them have a me. 

2. The second thing I asked you all to remember is that verse, Esther 4:14.                                   Who knows if perhaps you were made for a time such as this? I came across this verse while I was doing the Black and Gold Pageant for Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. My pageant mom Amber (Shoutout to Amber!!!) blessed me with this verse. Up until then I knew nothing about it, but ever since, it has been my life’s motto. That sentence is purpose in itself. There are moments where you realize that wow, I was created just for this. I’ve been through a number of things in my life, some you cannot even imagine, but it used to really get to me. I came to the realization one day that everything I have ever faced is for a purpose. How can I preach about lack of self love when I haven’t even known how that feels? Without my experiences, this blog would not exist. Life can be hard, but understand it is all for a purpose. There will be trials and tribulations coming from situations, people, and just uncontrollable circumstances, but they all serve a purpose. Imagine if Esther was not a Jew. Those people would’ve perished. With her being Queen, she saved them, and in her new position imagine all the things she could’ve done for them. 

3. Finally, when you know/have your purpose, you have got to face your fears.  Esther had to let it be known that she herself was a Jew in order for her to save her people. To keep it stack, sis could’ve been killed right then and there, but she looked fear in the face and went for it. What fear is holding you back from fufllinig your purpose? When you have purpose, things like this will come, but you have to push through. Till this moment I get thoughts about how I should quit blogging, but I push through. I do my part by doing it anyway. Then I get messages from Ayabas telling me how I have helped them. This gives me confirmation that I am living in my purpose. 

My purpose is to help others. I want to do this in so many ways. By being a doctor, blogger, influencer, entrepreneur, and so much more. In every field I aspire to be in, I’m helping people in one way or another. I know that in my journey I will be hit with hardships, I will see others that may even be better than me, but what I know is, despite all that, this is what I was put on Earth to do. No matter what I am living in my purpose. Ayaba, are you? If not, put aside doubts, fears, and hardships…..pick your head up, fix your crown, and go forth. It’ll be apart of your story to tell. Live in your purpose!