Still coming down from homecoming high, where we stood shoulder to shoulder with other black people gathered together for the chance to just be in the midst of us and our culture. There is something special about these spaces called HBCUs. They provide a space for us to grow and learn without the fear of being too anything. Or as my friend says, “gives me the freedom to be the black that I am”. If you’ve ever worked at a predominantly white organization, you know how hard it can to just change your hair in peace, or use certain terminology without thinking someone will judging you. These campuses cultivate so much culture and provide skills and knowledge that prepare us for the working world.Read More
So when looking at a problem or concern, you have to understand what to expect from yourself and your business. And usually these should be measurable metrics if you want to track improvement, even though I think it’s okay if it isn’t in the creative space. This concept is called Voice of the Business. For blogging this is: daily Instagram post, weekly blog post, compose three tweets a day, edit photos for two hours a day, monthly photoshoots, etc. Other ones can be: be influential, be a voice for women like me, but these are hard to measure, therefore difficult to show improvement or success. But that’s okay, success is defined differently in different spaces.Read More
When I walk into certain rooms, the strangest thing happens to me. Everyone looks down at my butt. Or if I walk past a guy in a grocery store and I turn my head I can see he did a double take to check out “what I’m working with”. There have been times when I have been walking around minding my own business and people stop me and comment on my body type. I once told a guy I was going to the gym to lose weight, and his actual response was “just don’t lose the butt”. How strange is all of this. That we engage in conversation based on body type, we place expectations based on body type, and get told we can’t do something based on body type. Why is how we are shaped so important?
“COME THROUGH GLOW” “YASSS SKIN!” “YES! BEAT” “ALRIGHT BROWS!!”
The hype is real when the skin and makeup is popping! And I’m here for it! I love a slayed face, but sometimes it’s hard when you wipe the makeup off and you have to deal with acne and acne scarring. I have dealt with problematic skin for all of my adult life. I wanted to share the products I use to address my problem skin and my favorite makeup products.
DISCLAIMER: When discussing skincare its really important to know you skin before listening to the advice of others. Know what type of acne you have and what types of products treat it. Otherwise you will be me, rubbing honey on my face for months, seeing no results.
So here’s a little skin history. I have had moderate acne since middle school. White and black head on my forehead, cheeks, and chin. And very little body acne. When I first treated my acne, I used Proactiv. This worked but one year they stopped sending me product (long story) so I decided to switch it up. I began using Acne.org, which also works for me, although it is a bit harsh. The product actually cause my eyes to tear up. And there were too many steps. Apply product let dry, add another layer. It wasn’t’t simple enough for me to want to continue. I still use in case of a bad breakout because it is really effective. Finally I use the custom skin care service called Curology.
It’s really important to know the cause of you acne, before treating. For me I have acne prone skin. So if I do nothing I’ll break out. No foods trigger my acne (except dairy). But a good portion of my acne came from dirty skin. I invested in a Clarisonic to make sure I was cleansing properly. I use the Acne.org cleanser. This eliminated all of my forehead acne. I always used to rock a swoop or bangs with my natural hair, so a lot of oils sat on my forehead with being properly cleansed caused most of my forehead acne. To this day, I do a mask and cleanse on wash days to avid breakouts. Y’all, did you know dairy products are full of hormones and extra stuff we didn’t ask for that can trigger acne in our skin. I try my best to avoid dairy products for the sake of my skin (and my stomach). Nothing else, give me acne. So if I keep my skin clear and avoid dairy products I can have moderately good skin. To deal with breakouts in general, I use Differin Gel and Curology, which really has minimized breakouts.
I am alway here for a good face beat! I have tried and tried several foundations. But once I found these productions, I haven’t strayed.
MAC STUDIO FIX IS BAE! It gives me coverage and is mattifying enough for my oily skin. The shade is a perfect match for me, which is why I stay loyal. If I get a tan in the summer, I use CoverFX custom cover drops in a. dark shade to tint my makeup to exact color of my tan. I also use MIlani’s foundation. This stuff is so waterproof! I went to an event where I sweating my life away on the dance floor, and every little bit of my foundation stayed in place. My infamous wing eyeliner is all thanks to Maybelline! This felt tip liner gives me all the control to create wings that cut!.
I consider myself a self-proclaimed selfie queen. So getting the perfect picture is super important to me. The perfect lighting, the perfect background, the perfect smile. All necessary and important. But what happens when you check out your selfie and see that your smile is less than perfect? You do what I do, you pull out your photo editing apps and edit those yellow stains away. We’ve all done it, there’s no shame in my game, But what if I told you, that you don’t have to rely on editing apps for the perfect smile? Let me give you one reason to smile that will change your selfie game forever!
At-home teeth whitening can be expensive and scary. I’ve wondered around the aisles of the dental hygiene aisle just wondering which kit actually works and which one is best for my teeth. Usually leaving empty handed in fear of getting a product that will produce bad or no results. So here I am to save the day *puts on cape*. Smile Brilliant is a dream. I have a better smile because of them. So get into the deets and get ready for a brighter smile.
When you receive your Smile Brilliant kit it will come with everything you need to make your custom (yes, custom!) trays for your whitening experience. All the specifics will be in the included brochure, but when you make your mold you’ll send it off to the lab for tray creation. Best part is, if you make your mold incorrectly they will send you another set of materials to remake you mold. Talk about feeling cared about! I made my first set incorrectly, so I was resent material and got it right on my second try.
And this was my favorite part of the entire process because you get to create a mold for your teeth so the trays will fit perfectly. Fun fact: your girl has a major overbite. And when deciding to whiten, trays were never an option for me because of that. Once, I used a store bought kit that came with one double sided tray that you bite into. And I had to put my jaw in the most uncomfortable position just to get the tray to fit my teeth. But with Smile Brilliant, these two custom-fitted trays made it a comfortable experience.
So with custom trays in hand, time to whiten! The brochure provides exact details on how long to use the trays for each use. But after 7 uses you should have a noticeably whiter smile! One thing to keep in mind during this process is teeth and gum sensitivity. I was instructed to use vaseline on my gums if I experience sensitivity. When I whiten back to back I would experience a small amount of sensitivity. But when I switched to whitening every other day and using the appropriate amount of gel, I had no issues! Also super convenient because the trays are clear and you can carry on conversation and do work while whitening.
Seven days later and it’s time to smile bright!! My results were subtle but noticeable. Most of my discoloration were at the base of my teeth near my gums. After using Smile Brilliant I was left with an even tone that was not as yellow. Was I left with teeth as white as Ross from Friends? No. But I received a smile that made me less worried about taking selfies and laughing in public.
So here’s where your smile gets even bigger! Thanks to Smile Brilliant one of you will have a HUGE reason to smile. I’ll be giving away $149 Smile Brilliant credit, which is the value of a T3 Sensitivity System. So yes, I’m basically giving you a brighter smile!! And it’s super easy to enter to win. Just click the link below to enter. Your smile will thank you! And if you just want to purchase a kit use my coupon code “dreaspeaks15”
For some reason I am SCARED to show people things I am working on. Or to even tell people I am trying to develop a skill. There's this fear that people will think I'm weird or think I'm dumb for pursuing a certain career. For example, I was worried to say I wanted to be a photographer. I was convinced people would question why or think I wasn't capable. The other day I wanted to show my friends a picture I edited, but I was actually nervous because I thought she would think it was weird. But I'm here to say. GET OVER IT AND FLEX ON EM ONE TIME!!! Sharing your art is scary and takes vulnerability but you have to do it.
This is an important point, The fear of being good or bad at something cripples us. How will we ever know how far our minds and skills can go if we never practice. Practice provides clarity! I spent a whole 24 hours sitting in bed editing pictures, creating images I probably would never actually use or post. But with the practice, it gave me clarity on what I like, what editing techniques would be good for other projects, and how capable I actually am.
And here's the scary part. SHARE YOUR WORK. Find someone who can see it for what it is. Who can give you constructive criticism and feedback. Want to test it on your audience? Drop it on your Instagram stories instead of your feed. The 24 hour focus group for us with commitment issues. I know its nerve racking to think people can see your work, but people need to see your work. Whether it's writing, makeup, singing, photography, or graphic design. People need to experience your work. And don't forget there are plenty of eyes out there, so just because you post a bomb logo you designed and the person who is a beauty blogger doesn't like it DOESN'T MEAN ANYTHING. Maybe there's a artist, or business that's been looking for something similar to what you just created. So keep showing it off!! Hit em with that flex.
The point is, develop your craft. The day you decide you want to start going to the gym isn't the same day you automatically get in shape. You have to run and FLEX those muscles. Do not be afraid or worried of what anyone has to say about it, just do it. And let your friends in on what you. So you can practice on or with them. Recently I've been messing around with photography and photo editing. I'm not sure if I'm good or average, but I'm going to just keep practicing until it feels just right. And if the spirit of taking my own advice heres a gallery of all the random stuff I've been working on and some recent shots from photoshoots. Give me some feedback, but be nice lol. Let me know in the comments and are you want to develop!
Can I just say how HAPPY I am that I decided to attend this year's Summit 21 by 21 Ninety and Blavity. It was just the boost of encouragement I needed this time of year. People traveled from all corners of the country came to gather in Atlanta, Georgia for the meeting of the most bomb people you will ever meet, Summit 21! I'm not sure how 21 Ninety sent invites to heaven, because the most angelic, melaninated, stylish women showed up! Not one moment went unslayed!
The weekend started with a Wakanda themed mix and mingle event hosted by Sally's Beauty Supply Store. I got the chance to sip cocktails while chatting with fellow influencers and looking at some new products from several beauty brands. We were entertained by a bomb DJ and a dance routine that had live drums and everything! Best part? I won like ALL the giveaways! Well just two, but I received some awesome stuff!
Now get into the schedule for the rest of the weekend! Each day was crammed pack with sessions centered around three topics: impact, beauty, and money. Isn't that all we really want anyway?? (and God's never ending love and grace but you get the point). During Day 1, my highlights was heading from Brittany Packet. She talked about honing your power message. As someone developing a brand and trying to impact women of my generation, I actually had no clue I needed a message. This session really taught me to be aware of the message I am sending to others. Key Points from her session about your power message: 1. Is it authentic? 2. Is it responsible? 3. Will it activate? 4. Is it accessible? Good stuff right?!!
On the first day I rocked a pair of H&M jeans and a white tee layered with a cheetah print tank, and my new favorite pair of orange heels from Target!
And just when I thought Day 1 was good, day 2 got eeeeeeven better! And mainly because I got to see my girl Sarah Jake-Roberts. When I tell you sis preached and prayed us down!!! It was honestly just beautiful to see a woman of God have such relevant impact on people like me. She is actually #goals.
I absolutely loved all the things to do while at the conference. They had the cutest FREE pop-up shop called Chateau 21! It had a range of hair and skin care products that we could pick from. And yes, it was totally free! And the resources areas was equally bomb! An entire bookstore full of black authors!! It was absolutely beautiful! I really can't wait fro next year! Check all of it out in the gallery!
The moral of this story is. Don't confuse what others need and do for what you need and should do. I had it all the way twisted when I wanted to play into this perfect blogger life with my very cute planner. But nope, I'll stick to my phone this year.Read More