Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Summer Lovin

Don't get too excited, I'm not about to divulge all of the inner workings of my love life. Reason one - it's not your business. Reason two (and most importantly) - it's too complex for this blog to handle. So let's get to what Summer Lovin really means ... I'm loving and living life to the fullest ALL summer long. I've had lots of great things going on personally and professionally. Along the way, I've been wearing some amazing and inexpensive outfits to match my Summer Lovin vibe. So what have I been doing, well ... everything. I gave a presentation on the Campus of Georgetown University, I threw my mom a birthday cookout, I attended the Beyonce concert (yes, Jay Z was there BUT I was there for Bey), I spent Fourth of July at the beach and so much more. So what have I been wearing this summer? Lots of dresses, lots of sandals and lots of - wait for it - sleeveless attire. For those of you that know me even just a tad, you know how much I hate my arms. Therefore, me wearing sleeveless attire is pure growth!  So I know what ya'll really want to know ... what did I wear to Beyonce? Well, the entire look cost less than $100 so that's something to celebrate. What I realize about summer outfits, I don't re-wear them from year-to-year as often as my other seasonal attire. Therefore, if I buy cheap clothing that won't last it's not a big deal. Here's the look!

Bodysuit: Rainbow - $10
Bermuda Shorts: Fashion to Figure - $35
Sandals: Rainbow - $15
Purse: Ross - $15
Choker: Claire's - $10
Earrings: Torrid - $5
Hair pins: Beauty Supply Store - $3

Monday, June 11, 2018

Keep Pushing

Let me preface by saying that this post is more for me than for you. I am writing about my weight-loss journey because it's an opportunity for me to hold myself accountable and encourage myself to keep pushing. In the fall of 2016 I was diagnosed pre-diabetic and instantly freaked out. Most of the people in my family have diabetes or high-blood pressure and I promised myself that I didn't want to be the next. However, despite my resistance to the same diseases that plague large numbers of African Americans nationwide I was not doing anything to prevent myself from becoming part of the statistic. Well that Fall 2016 diagnosis was my wake up call.  I immediately began adjusting my eating habits (NOT dieting, it's a lifestyle change) and increasing my activity level (not always working-out, sometimes just moving around). So far, I've lost a total of 35 lb. which for some is no big deal but I celebrate every single ounce because it hasn't been easy.  And more importantly, I am no longer pre-diabetic, my numbers have been normal for a year now!!!!  It has been a very slow process but you know what they say, "slow and steady wins the race."  I have had great weeks when I've lost 2 to 4 pounds and I've had horrible weeks when I've gained 5 to 7 pounds. But thankfully for a year and a half now, I've managed to trek down more than trek up. When I have a bad week I don't throw in the towel for the rest of the month, I work extra hard the next week or two to kick that vacation food or wine fest tasting or Netflix and chill snacking in the butt.  So how have I lost the weight:

1. Eating a high protein breakfast
2. Limiting carbs to one serving daily (ie. 1 slice of break or 1 cup of pasta)
3. Consuming lots of vegetables raw and cooked
4. Eating fruits low in sugar (raspberries, blackberries, grapefruit)
5. Getting 30 min. of activity five days a week
6. Packing my lunch at least 4 out of 5 days
7. Planning my meals for the week
8. Eliminating stress from my life

I have made such great progress but I want to lose more weight, tone my arms, legs and of course my stomach and increase my endurance.  So, I have to keep pushing because the best is yet to come!

Monday, May 14, 2018

Take Me Back

Last month I celebrated my Jesus year, YES 33 and proud of it. The past year has been very rewarding yet challenging.  While professionally, I'm on an upward slope, my personal life took a couple of unexpected detours. So with a vast array of ups and downs, I decided that I wanted to do something big to celebrate me. My success, my challenges, my growth, my life. So, I went to Cuba to support the people and experience the culture of this little island that most Americans have never visited despite it being only 90 miles from Florida. The history, architecture, culture and people have always peaked my interest.  And because of the recent changes in regulations for Americans to visit Cuba, I thought it be best to go now before travel is completely prohibited as it was for decades. So my Cousin Kim and Friend Crystal were elated to take the adventure with me to Havana and I'm so thankful they were.  We had a FREAKING BLAST.  We stayed in a beautiful Air BnB (that was just a block and half from the Museo de Revolucion), to support a local Cuban family.  We also visited many of the historical landmarks, purchased music and art from local artists, learned how to salsa, went dancing with locals and more.  Many people have asked "What was your favorite part of the trip?" Well I have to say, Callejon de Hamel which is an Afro Cuban art and dance festival. It was an amazing experience full of beautiful people (who looked like me), dancing, singing, telling stories of their ancestors, reenacting their history, cooking traditional food and keeping their culture alive. It was an awesome event and I felt right at home. So far, 33 is off to a great start and I can't help but think Cuba was just what I needed to kick off the year.

P.S. A close second favorite was meeting a sweet, kind and humble woman name Marta.  She (mother of five children) was a local vendor who asked for pampers for her baby instead of cash money. As you can imagine, this saddened my travel mates and I deeply and we decided that before we flew back to the States, we would donate anything we could to Marta and her family. And we did. We gave clothes, shoes, baby wipes, toiletries, maxi pads and more. I often think about Marta and the other amazing people that I met in Cuba. They reminded me to be more humble and definitely more thankful. I pray for them and I hope to see them again one day.

As for what I wore ... lots of summery items with a Latin flare!  Most of which now belongs to Marta :)


My fabulous travel mates!
Marta excited to be receiving our donation!

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

California Dreaming

Last month I visited Cali for the first-time and it was SUBLIME! The food, the scenery, the weather it was all perfect.  When one of my oldest friends moved to the Bay Area last summer, I promised myself a trip to The Golden State. We spent time in San Jose, Wine Country and San Francisco.  I did a little relaxation around her super cute crib, a lot of drinking wine, even more eating some of my fav foods (seafood and latino cuisines), and lots of sightseeing. So whenever I travel I reflect and takeaway at least one favorite thing.  Even if I don't like the city/area as much as I loved the Bay Area, I still find one positive takeaway.  Well needless to say, that wasn't hard to do this time around but fav takeaway from Cali was the beauty!  I loved just riding around and looking out the window to take in the sites. And on a day like today, when it's 44 degrees and gloomy in Washington, I'm "California Dreaming and screaming "take me back."

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Comeback FTF

As most BBB Think readers know, I shop at Fashion to Figure quite often.  It's my go to for cute, quick and inexpensive clothes.  It's not always my first choice but it's always the most convenient choice.  There's one located less than five minutes from my home and several others within a 15 minutes drive.  Well until last month.  the one closest to me, closed the week after Christmas.  But not before having one heck of a blowout sale that included $4 and $5 items.  So if you haven't heard, let me give you the 411.  Fashion To Figure was sold in the fall to New York & Co. or if you're an old school fashionista like me then you're still calling it Lerner.  According to my sources, ie. the girls who work in the various stores, LOL ... certain brick and mortar locations will reopen as well as the online store under the same name but with new products in February 2018.  Now of course I asked which locations, that answer was not so clear.  However, they did tell me that the one in Annapolis, MD will not reopen because sales were down at that location.  I was sad to hear that because I often would go to that location when I was having trouble finding what I was looking for at the other locations.  However, I was not surprised for that same reason ... they always seemed to have way more inventory in stock.  But the good news is that while shopping over the weekend, I walked past the one closest to my home and saw a sign on the window reading BRB February 2018.  So, that gave me a little hope.  In closing, I'm ready for February 2018 because I'm already having FTF withdrawal. I'm looking forward to the stores return and seeing how the products may or may not change. PS...I got TONS of great deals during the closing sale including this off the shoulder, lace top!  The black tuxedo pants are also from FTF and the boots are from Ashley Stewart.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

NYE 2018

Happy New Year Friends!!!
After five years of having spent New Year’s  Eve at home or at a friends house, I decided that this year I would switch it up a bit. 2017 was an amazing year and although I faced major challenges, I also accomplished a great deal. The biggest success, being the purchase of my first home. Although I received tons of moral support, it was all me financially! So, this deserved a celebration that was worthy of me getting dolled up and dancing the night away. And that’s exactly what I did. So what did I wear? After a search online at some of my favorite plus size stores, I decided to look on ASOS. I don't often shop there because I never know what size to order.  Well their website had many great options and since I couldn't decide on one, I got several and hoped that one would fit.  NOTE - ASOS does FREE returns :).  By the way, I ordered a size 20 in all of the dresses and the only one that was a little too snug for my taste was was by John Zack.  The ASOS Curve brand is definitely more forgiving. After doing a photo shoot in my bedroom, I chose a black, high neck - cold shoulder dress with lace and ruffle detail. It was a great choice! I paired it with a gold metal choker, which really dramatized the look, lots of gold bangles and platforms made with a gold metal anklet that perfectly matched the choker. The last but most important accessories, were the bright tricolor fringe earrings from ViVi Trendsetter and fuchsia BCBG purse...both gave the set just enough pop. Everything came together nicely and the only new purchases were the dress and earrings. The choker, bracelets, purse, and shoes are items that I already owned. The grand total was $82 ... $70 for the dress and $12 for the earrings. WINNING!!!

PS: I chose to wear my hair in a simple top knot to avoid my hair taking away from the outfit.  My hair is long and big and tends to get in the way :)

Monday, December 18, 2017

Holiday Hottie

Holiday party season can be stressful and expensive. And although we’ve almost made it through Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanza don’t forget about NYE. You can save yourself time and money by re-purposing already owned attire. If you’re like me, your weeks were loaded with multiple holiday parties. They kicked off November 30th, yep...I didn’t even make it to December. So far I’ve attended six (not counting the invites), and I still have four more to go. So here’s an example of one of my holiday party looks, in which I didn't purchase one single new item.  And I suggest you do the same ... Don’t go broke trying to buy something new for every single event! Get creative with what you already own.
1. Shirt (6 mos. old) - Fashion To Figure
2. Skirt (4 yrs. old) - Ashley Stewart 
3. Shoes (2 yrs. old) - Cole Haan
4. Purse (3 mos. old) - Torrid 
5. Choker (1 yr. old) - Forever21