Jul 27, 2012

Feel Rich Friday: Passport Edition

Yollar has done it again!  Seriously, if you haven't signed up to receive Yollar deals yet, you are really missing out.  Remember the last Feel Rich Friday, Wanna Get Away Edition and the great deal it offered?  Well the bar has been raised way above our heads with this one!

So here's the deets on the deal.  For $128, you get a $1202 airline credit for 2 round trip tickets to....PARIS OR LONDON!  This is real people!  The caveats are as follows:
  • Approximately 3 DAYS are left to get this deal
  • Travel must be booked at least 45 days in advance
  • Hotel accommodations for a minimum of 7 nights must be booked through the providing vendor
  • If your flight plan goes over the $1202 credit, then you carry the cost of the overage
  • Travel plans must be requested and completed within 2 years of purchase
  • Airline tickets are good for either 2 adults or 1 adult and 1 child
  • Allow 7 days for voucher processing from date of purchase
  • Pre-sale questions are allowed
Still feeling unsure?  Look at it like this.  If you don't have a passport, this deal allows you nearly 2 years to get one.  If you need to save for hotel accommodations and spending, this deal allows that too!  If you need to get over a fear of long flights, this deal even gives you time to get hypnosis therapy, counseling, etc.  It's really a no brainer.  All I have left to say is suit up, boot up, feel rich and bon voyage! 

P.S. Thank you God for continuing to help me find great Feel Rich Friday deals...

Jul 22, 2012

The Rich, The Help and My Fashion Legacy

Vogue, August 1981
RIP Grandma & Princess Diana
08-31-97
Anyone who has a penchant for fashion has a memory of the person, place or thing who ceremonialized his/her fashion rites of passage.  We all have an old picture of a matriarch or patriarch in our family circle who influenced us to start down our own style path. 

My mother wasn't really into it.  Being a late 60's kid, of course I have pictures of my mother with bell bottoms and big collar shirts on, but nothing out of the norm for that time.  Personal style development just wasn't her thing.  The next level was my aunt.  I always laugh to myself on those nights I spend 1-2 hours doing a twist out because I have vivid memories of my aunt sitting in the bed braiding her tinted afro with Miss Cool 5 Minute Fast Set.  The next day she would take her hair down, put on dark brown lipstick, big hoop earrings and a Johnny Taylor album.  I would marvel at her easy coolness, but my greatest fashion legacy came from my grandmother.  She truly provided all of the tangible, as well as intangible tools that gave me my sense of style.

I was an awkward girl.  I was chubby (still am) and the oldest of 3 children.  I was the responsible one who did all the cleaning and babysitting.  I never took issue with any of it though...what else was there for a four-eyed, chubby, minimally popular girl to do?  I believe to this day that my grandmother either felt sorry for me (she was very vain about weight and presentation) or was attempting to do something really special for me. 

My grandmother was a housekeeper for a VERY influential family in St. Louis.  Their influence went all the way to The White House (2 times).  She would always fret about her misunderstanding of rich people being so untidy.  One day, within the untidiness, she found something that turned out to be a true treasure to me. 

One weekend while visiting with my grandmother, she told me she had something for me.  She came out of her room with a magazine.  She said, "I thought you might like this Vulga (Vogue) magazine."  I remember being excited, probably just to have some new to do, but the trickle of excitement I was feeling then was nothing compared to how I would feel once I started turning the pages. 

If my memory serves me right, I went through that magazine about 10 times from time I got it.  I was truly amazed at the glossy pages of high and sometimes unusual fashion.  I wasn't taken a back at all.  I was thrilled!  I'd been introduced to a whole new world.  Everything in the magazine peaked my interest--the clothes, the make-up, the perfume, the designers, the photos of well dressed people at social events!  I found something to dream about.  A few weeks later, my grandmother gave me another magazine, Elle.  I couldn't believe it!  There's more!  Month after month, my grandmother continued to christen me with more Vogue and Elle magazines.  I assume these were the 2 magazines that the women in the family she worked for subscribed to.  I also assume that she would wait until a couple of new issues arrived, then she would bring me the older ones and she kept doing this either until they stopped subscribing, or she saw I was finally catching on.
Elle, December 1988

Besides introducing me to high fashion, my grandmother was a God fearing, yet feisty lady who taught me that a walk is not about the steps, but the confidence and attitude with which you do it.  She also taught me that even a trip to the grocery store is worthy of a little lipstick.  Although she was born of little means, she owned her own home, always saved money and never ever bought cheap clothes or perfume. 

Many other memories exist that would give you an even better idea of my fashion legacy, but for now, the best way for me to honor it is to continue striving to live it. 

Smooches!

Jul 20, 2012

Feel Rich Friday: The You Can Get It Edition

Gucci Women's Twirl Black Rubber Watch
$435.64 or 5 Value Pays of $87.13 + $12.99 s&h
www.shopnbc.com
It's that time again!  I'm back with another You Can Get It, Feel Rich Friday deal.  Really, I should be saying ShopNBC is at it again because it seems they never disappoint with their great designer selections and Value Pay offerings.   

Each television shopping network has one thing they are big on.  Some are big on fashion, others household goods, but if you've ever taken even a slight gander at ShopNBC, you would soon realize that they are big on watches.  Sometimes they feature watches all day, which is why ShopNBC is a great place to cop a designer watch.  Well it just so happens that ShopNBC is in it's final hours of offering 5 Value Pays on thousands of watches. 

Featured here is the Gucci Women's Twirl Black Rubber watch for $435.64 or 5 Value Pays of $87.13 (shipping & handling is $12.99 on this watch).  Once again, ShopNBC has created a way for the budget fashionista to acquire a quality item.  If this Gucci watch isn't your style, then check out the dozens of other designer watches they carry such as, Movado, Invicta, DKNY, Michael Kors, Baume & Mercier and Tag Heuer.

If you've been in the market for a quality watch, I'd say go to www.shopnbc.com TODAY and check out the great selection of watches they offer.  Happy watch shopping!  Ciao!

Jul 18, 2012

Getting Back To Business: The Diva Plan

The original purpose of this blog was for me to encourage myself, as well as other women to strive for the life we really want.  I won't say I've gotten off track; I've just been trying to mix it up by featuring valuable information that enhances our lives.  I will continue  to do this, but I've decided, once a week, a blog post will be strictly dedicated to The Diva Plan. 

In the near future, I definitely want to give The Diva Plan more structure for my readers.  My personal Diva Plan is very structured--probably too structured for my lifestyle, but it's definitely something worth shooting for.  Structured or not, each woman's Diva Plan is her own and should focus on areas needing the most improvement or the things she feels are holding her back the most.  Here is a recap of my Diva Plan in order of priority:
  • Taking Care of Me (my plan for improving my spiritual and physical well-being)
  • My Money (my plan for improving my financial standing)
  • My Home (my plan for home improvement and hopefully increased value)
In each of these categories, there are other components.  For example, in Taking Care of Me, I have a detailed plan for getting my spiritual life back on track, exercising, as well as a list of beauty products that are my must haves.

Your plan doesn't have to be configured like mine.  It doesn't have to be as detailed either and if you are uber focused, you may not even have to write it down.  The primary purpose is to begin the work that is necessary to get closer to the life you want.  Have fun ladies!  Ciao!

Jul 16, 2012

Product Alert!

For the past few weeks, I've been trying to do a video product review for an amazing product.  Since I can't seem to get it done without interruption, I'm going to go ahead and bring it to you in a written post instead of a video.  I can (almost) promise you that all future product reviews will be video posts.
 

My Skincare Regimen
Garnier Moisture Rescue Fresh Cleansing Foam
Witch Hazel
Vitamin E Cream

About a month ago, I was at Dollar General shopping for household goods and I took a turn down the beauty product aisle just to see what I could see.  I did this mostly because I've been searching for products to create a more solid skincare regimen.  This wasn't my first time seeing Garnier skincare products at Dollar General, but this time I decided to take a closer look.  Needless to say, I purchased the product and I've been elated ever since.

Like most women, I've tried many facial products in search of the perfect balance for my skin.  I have cleansers and moisturizers in my bathroom that cost upwards of $40 with less than desirable results.  Most products I've used in the past either yielded no results or made my face itchy and bumpy.  I'm happy to report that I think I've found the one in Garnier Moisture Rescue Fresh Cleansing Foam.

The first great thing about this product is the scent.  Normally, I stray away from facial products that have a scent (be it good or bad) because I worry my face won't be receptive to it.  Not so with Garnier Moisture Rescue cleanser.  It does contain grape water and apple water extract which may point to the great smell.  The best thing about this product however are the results.  The first time I used it, as soon as I was done rinsing it off of my face, I could see a difference.  My skin had a fresh, bright appearance.  Another thing I've been experiencing since I began using this product is being asked if I have on make-up.  I very rarely wear make-up.  I'm a single mom who is always moving fast and trying to make things happen (on time) so make-up is a step I usually skip.  Since wearing make-up is a rarity for me, people who see me everyday definitely know when I have it on so I was surprised when I was repeatedly asked this question.  The other great thing about Garnier Moisture Rescue Fresh Cleansing Foam?  The price!  I paid $3.50 for it!  Amazing!  There is an accompanying Moisture Rescue moisturizer that I haven't tried yet, but definitely plan on purchasing (of course product review will follow). 

On a 1-10 scale, I give Garnier Moisture Rescue Fresh Cleansing Foam a 10.  For $3.50 you really have nothing to lose, especially if you're like me and have spent much more on cleansers.  Give it a try and let me know your results.  Ciao!

Jul 2, 2012

My Side Table Life

When I was a young woman and before I had my own place, I used to admire the older women in my life, like family members and my girlfriends moms and their fabulous bedrooms.  The one thing about these divas and their thrones I really used to be fascinated with were the tables next to their beds.  I learned that you can tell a lot about a woman by what's on her side table.  Some had lace runners, others expensive perfume and ornate lamps.  So when I had my first shot at living on my own, a nightstand or table next to my bed was high on my priority list.

Over the years my side tables have gone from typical (alarm clock, lamp, magazine) to convenient (baby bottles, burping cloth) to not having them at all.  After 4 years in my house, I'm finally rebuilding my side table life and it feels so good!  I'm still on a search for the perfect lamps and other pretty things, but here is a glance at newly reborn side table life.

Jun 29, 2012

Feel Rich Friday: The Wanna Get Away Edition

One of my life ambitions is to be a glamorous jetsetter.  Idealistically, I would love globe trot from one baggage claim to another in a pair of Louboutins to pick up my Louis Vuitton luggage.  Although not impossible, where I stand in life right now, that's a bit far fetched.  For the time being, I think I would do better to aim for Amtrak with the Iman Global Chic weekender that was featured 2 weeks ago.  I came to the conclusion a long time ago that state of mind is far more important than materialism.  With that said, I've found a deal that will allow you to be a mini-jetsetter for 48 hours.

If you've ever signed up for Groupon or Amazon Deals, then you'll definitely understand how this Feel Rich Friday feature works.  Yollar is very similar to Groupon except its appeal is to moreso offer experiences.  This site offers a wide array of travel deals, as well as some dining and shopping deals.  For instance, right now, they are offering a Last Call Studio by Neiman Marcus deal where you can purchase a $100 voucher for $50 and that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Yollar is currently offering a travel deal that is simply amazing!  For $99, you and a friend (both must be o/21 with a valid drivers license) can purchase an $850 travel credit to either Las Vegas or Orlando.  $350 of the credit is applied towards a 2 night hotel stay in either city.  The remaining $500 is used for round trip airfare from any U.S. or Canadian international airport to Las Vegas or Orlando.  If this isn't a budget jetsetter deal then I don't know what is.  Now of course there are terms to this deal, but after reading them, I must say they don't seem tricky at all and of course if any part of your travel goes over the voucher amount, then you have to pay the difference (plus baggage fees to the airline).  Even with that, Yollar has definitely set the bar high with this deal.  Also, there is a time limit to this deal, about a day and a half remains to get in on it so go ahead and dip your feet in the magic of the jetsetter lifestyle.  Bon voyage!

Jun 22, 2012

Feel Rich Friday: The You Can Get It Edition

At this stage in life, I sincerely pride myself on being a bargain shopper.  The days of freely using a Neiman-Marcus charge card are long over and I've learned that great style doesn't have to be expensive to be fabulous.  I do believe however, based on longevity of usage, that some things are okay to splurge on.  Handbags would be one of those things.  If I need a black handbag for fall and I know the bag is versatile enough for me to carry through the winter, then I see this as a justifiable wardrobe expense (aka fashion splurge).  There is only one other thing I feel relatively passionate about and that is sunglasses. 

After spending my young adult life buying multiple pairs of cheap sunglasses each summer, I decided it was time to up my game.  Around 1998, I purchased my first pair of designer sunglasses, Versace tortoise shells.  Fast forward to 2012 and I still have these sunglasses.  They are in perfect condition, have never needed repair and there isn't one scratch on the lenses.  This 14 year journey brought me to the decision that if I an expensive pair of sunglasses can last for 14 years, then there's doubt in my mind that it's okay to splurge on them.

I'm going to up the anty though.  I've found a way to invest in designer shades without having to immediately break the bank.  Check this out...

Versace Women's Matte Black
www.shopnbc.com
$189.39 or 6 Value Pays of $31.57

Tory Burch Unisex Tortoise
www.shopnbc.com
$153.37 or 6 Value Pays of $25.56


Something to bear in mind...ShopNBC is currently celebrating Heritage Days and is offering 6 Value Pays on almost every item on their site.  If you want to catch a deal on nice pair of shades like the ones shown here, you should probably jump on it this weekend.  They also carry other designers such as Marc Jacobs, Giorgio Armani, Vera Wang and Kenneth Cole.  I see this as a great opportunity for a budgeting fashionista (like myself) to add a quality piece to the wardrobe.  Let's get it!!!!


Jun 16, 2012

Feel Rich Friday...on Saturday

Admittedly, I'm not doing too well staying on schedule with this new column, but improvement is on the way!  Hopefully, the two products featured today will make up for my tardiness. 
IMAN Global Chic Summer Style Python-Print Clutch
www.hsn.com
$29.95
This clutch comes from Iman's Global Chic collection for HSN.  First of all, I love snake print because it never goes out of style.  Also, this clutch comes in several colors, the cream shown here, black, fuchsia, orange and yellow.  I featured the cream because it looks so rich and classy, but if you're looking for a pop of color for a night out on the town, then this clutch is for you.  The best thing is that it's only $29.95!  That's a great style, return on investment!
IMAN Global Chic "Style Diva" Metallic Canvas Glam Weekender
www.hsn.com
$59.95 or 2 payments of $29.97
Imagine...it's summer...you want to go somewhere and you are a woman who likes to make a statement.  For me, I especially like to make a statement when traveling.  I revel in the entire experience.  Well whether it be a weekend at the winery or a Mediterranean cruise, this weekender should come along.  The Iman Global Chic weekender (featured here in olive, but also comes in cream and black) is big enough to be a weekend getaway bag/carry-on, but small enough to be a large handbag.  When thinking about my most wanted carry-on items (magazines, a book, Ipod, Blackberry, eReader, chargers for these items, an extra set of clothes in case my luggage gets lost and my daughter's most wanted items), I know this weekender will fit all of that plus more.  For everyday use, dump that extra work bag and collaborate everything into this bag!  The most amazing thing about this weekender is the price!  HSN allows one payment of $59.95 or 2 payments of $29.97.  The initial payment of $29.97 + shipping will get it home!  Go to www.hsn.com for a side view of this bag so you can see how absolutely accommodating it is.

Jun 3, 2012

New Column: Feel Rich Friday

After obsessively watching full episodes of Suze Orman online last week, I've been inspired to start a new column on my blog.  Feel Rich Friday will be the title and each Friday I will spotlight an item that gives a fabulous look without breaking the bank.

I'm a woman who has always wanted a lot, but always put the cart before the horse (champagne taste with a beer wallet).  I've improved over the years, but watching Suze Orman allowed me to see that I basically can't afford any of the luxury items I so desire.  For example, currently on my wish list is a pair of Louboutins and Louis Vuitton luggage.  Even though these are things I could save for and still buy, my eyes are now opened to the fact that I don't need them and really can't afford them.  As a result of the lessons learned in the past week, I instead opted for opening a 529 college savings account for my daughter and an online stock trading account.  When you know better you do better.  Enough said.

Now being fully aware of my new priorities, what about my style desires?  I can't just let them fade to black!  I'm determined to still be able to feel fabulous without going broke.  I'm also aware that today isn't Friday, but since I can't wait so I've decided to give a sneak preview of Feel Rich Friday.  So without further ado, here is a sneak peek of the first Feel Rich Friday item.
Epiphany Diamonique 100-Facet Tennis Bracelet
6-1/2"L 6.85 carats; 7-1/4"L 7.65 carats, 8"L 8.45 carats
$114.00
www.qvc.com





This bracelet has mixed reviews, but many great reviews.  One review even said that a jeweler mistook it for being the real thing!  I love tennis bracelets because they can be worn with anything from a t-shirt to a ball gown and everything in between.  A genuine bracelet similar to this would cost $4000 plus!  The other good thing about this bracelet is if you lose it, you won't be totally devastated.  With that said, Welcome to Feel Rich Friday (on Sunday)!  Don't forget to check in every Friday for the next exciting find!

P.S.  Never be ashamed of who you are and what you can or cannot afford.  Life is a one-time shot so live it and live it your way!  Muah!

May 31, 2012

Natural Hair...Why?


Me!  At the beginning of the "grow out" phase.
The natural hair phenomenon is trending for black hair everywhere!  Many wonder how long it will last or if it's a permanent movement for black hair.  All of the naturalistas I know have different reasons for making the change.  Some do it believing it will be easier and it can be, depending on the game plan and trust me a game plan is needed when going natural.  Others do it for more internal reasons, stemming from a belief or desire to embrace the natural state of their hair.  I'm sure there are other reasons I'm not privy to.  For me, my reasoning is about 5-fold.

Well before natural hair was common or popular, I had natural hair.  I've never been resistant to doing different things to my hair, nor afraid to display it.  This go 'round is different because I plan on it being permanent.  During most of the time my hair was relaxed, I had a superior stylist!  With her help, my hair stayed healthy and her cutting skills I can't say enough about, but it came at a price.  At the time, I was willing and able to pay for the services she offered and I felt the cost was well worth it.  Life changes and time management issues caused me to shy away from my stylist and I started doing my hair myself.  Mistake!  I am a living testament to the fact that chemical treatments should be left to the professionals.  This disastrous journey caused me to contemplate going natural again, but this time I wanted it to be different.  I wanted to embrace it and not just use it as a temporary fix. 

I started with a big chop, which wasn't all that big of a chop since I always kept my hair cut short and it never grew beyond chin length during my relaxed days.  My big chop remained a big chop for several months because for me, it was easier to keep my hair cut short.  Now I'm in the process of letting it grow which is a little more challenging.  I watch hours of YouTube videos for styling tips and product recommendations. 

I would be dishonest by not saying that going natural is a physical and emotional journey.  As I began to see the change in my hair, I also began to see the change in my appearance.  Honestly, I felt more beautiful than I did before.  Inside, I felt more authentic presenting my hair to the world the way it was meant to be.  Actually taking time to embrace and be cognizant of the journey has been an affirmation for me that I'll be on my natural hair journey for a long time to come. 

P.S. To my relaxed, weaved, texturized and otherwise sisters; I say do you.  Natural hair is not for everyone and doesn't fit every lifestyle.  It's a choice and that's the wonderful thing about today's women, we have the ability to choose the path that's right for us.

Apr 6, 2012

One Thing I Know...God Is

Today was a Good Friday for me.  I went to work today.  I've been working for the same company for almost 17 years.  It hasn't always been what I want it to be, but it's always has been what I need.  I have good medical coverage; I was able to buy a home with a "good" mortgage and it allows me to care for my child the way I always dreamed I would when I had one.  On my way home from work, I stopped at the grocery store to buy groceries for our Easter meal and I got a few more things for my daughter's Easter basket.  Tonight we are dyeing eggs!

The reason for this blog and me creating The Diva Plan is because like everyone on this planet, I've experienced ups and downs.  The Diva Plan is my way of showing that I want to keep improving my life regardless of my situation.  Ups are easy, happy times where everything goes my way.  Some downs, I've triumphed over quickly and others I'm still unable to explain the emotional turmoil I went through.  However, the one thing I do know is that God never ever forgot about little ol' me.  I'm just one person on this planet and somehow (yes it still surprises me), He never fails to rescue me, cover me, hold me up, guide me, love me, correct me, put fabulous ideas in my head and surround me with the most wonderful and loving people.  Wow!  He's been so good to me!  More than I deserve!

I don't want to let this Easter holiday go by without acknowledging what's important.  My faith in God keeps me going and knowing that everything will work out just the way it needs to.  My savior, Jesus Christ, is my biggest supporter in everything I do and even in the things I shouldn't do.  There's no better friend one could ask for and this is what Easter is all about.  It's about the persecution, pain and suffering that Jesus went through.  He sacrificed His life for us.  We should take a lesson from Him by understanding that pain and suffering is only temporary.  If we are faithful and put one foot in front of the other, there is a beautiful journey waiting for each and every one of us!

Mar 29, 2012

It's Complicated

With all of the media hype about the lack of marriage and relationship choices for black women, is coming a lot of opportunity.  Opportunities for black women to find out where all of the relationship seeking black men are?  No!  Opportunities for men to attempt to teach us how to get and keep a man.  Some say we should think like a man, but act like a lady and some simply want to let us know how the mind of a man works so we can get one and keep him.  Some of the points made are interesting and worth consideration, but the problem I have with all of it is that it screams DESPERATION!  Furthermore, what about what we think and want?  What does a man need to do to get and keep us and does it still matter?  Well it does in my world.

I'm a decent woman.  I love God, my family and I love myself.  I'm not dependent.  I take care of myself and my child.  I care about other people.  I work hard.  I have dreams.  I have faults.  I can be a little mouthy.  I'm not looking for Mr. Perfect.

Now take notice, I didn't mention any of the traits that we often hear about when single black women are highlighted--educated, homeowner, career-driven.  I mentioned the ones that would matter to me in a relationship.  It's almost as if we are now being punished for forging ahead with our lives without a man.  Harriet Tubman did it so why not?  Some men are turned off by independent women because there's nothing left for them to flex about.  I don't care.  Find something.  Surprise me.

Personally, I don't think there is any advice out there that can help any man or woman find the right mate.  Okay, the basic stuff--take a bath, brush your teeth, etc.  I still believe in fate and I also believe that if you continue to present your authentic self, the right mate will come.  Stay up!  Muah!

Mar 10, 2012

Natural Hair?

For some reason today I became extra inquisitive about natural hair care, styles and products.  I started watching YouTube videos of transitions, styles and product reviews earlier this evening and it is now a new day and I just finished watching them. 

When I transitioned from relaxed to natural hair, I jumped right in with a big chop.  Having a close cut didn't bother me because I'd done it twice before.  Also, short hair works well with my face so I wasn't worried about how it would change my look and since the big chop, I really haven't put much thought into my hair.  I've continued to get it cut and faded on a not so regular basis.  Recently, I've been thinking about letting it grow.  For real this time!  Every time I consider growing my hair out, I end up taking the convenient route by getting it cut again.  There's nothing wrong with wearing a twa (teeny weeny afro), but consider this, I'm a woman and women change hairstyles like we change shoes, handbags and earrings.  Feeling the need to do something new, I decided to do a search for twist outs and my search is what resulted in me watching dozens of YouTube videos today.

Along with enjoying the videos, which I must say were made by truly natural beauties, I also paid close attention to the products they were using.  I was completely overwhelmed (in a good way) to see the progress they made with regards to styling and hair growth.  Now I'm on the bandwagon.  It's time for a grow out.

Here are the products I'm currently using/trying:
  • Miss Jessie's Super Slip Sudsy Shampoo
  • Miss Jessie's Sweetback Deep Conditioning Treatment
  • Miss Jessie's Baby Buttercreme
  • Hollywood Beauty Argon Oil (I just started using this.)
  • Jamaican Mango and Lime Cactus Gro (I just started using this.)
Here are the products that come highly recommended from the YouTube videos:
  • Eco Styler Gel
  • Garnier Fructis Triple Nutrition 3-Minute Undo
  • Jamaican Mango and Lime Lock Twist Gel
  • Giovanni Direct Leave-in Conditioner (most users recommend adding oil to the product)
  • Suave Coconut Cleansing Conditioner (WOW!)
  • Cush Cosmetics curly hair products
Many products were reviewed, but these are on my hit list because they had so many fabulous reviews.  Funny thing though, you see how I totally bought into the Miss Jessie's phenomenon and I considered others before buying Miss Jessie's, such as Kinky Curly and Shea Moisture), but the well known and well marketed products had the worse reviews.  However, I do get a lot of compliments and questions about my hair when I use Miss Jessie's Baby Buttercreme. 

As I continue through my natural hair journey, I'm will definitely try some of the recommended products and I will do more posts about my discoveries.  In the meantime, if you've used any of these products or can put me up on other products for natural hair, it will be very much appreciated.  Until then, stay up.

Feb 27, 2012

My Fav Looks From Fashion Week Fall 2012...a few of them

Diane Von Furstenberg

Diane Von Furstenberg

Donna Karan

Herve Leger by Max Azria

J. Mendel

L.A.M.B.

Michael Kors

*All photos courtesy of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

Feb 13, 2012

Inside Out Love

Tomorrow is the big day!  Love will flourish, die or be longed for.  Valentine's Day used to get me down; especially when I was in my 20's and 30's.  I was anxious to fulfill the expectations of a woman--get married and start a family.  If this wasn't accomplished by 30, I would be in the danger zone!  All of the good men would be taken and my chances of a fairy tale ending would quickly vanish. 

I'm in my 40's now and although I still haven't seen my fairy tale ending, I'm living.  I've learned it's not good to be anxious for love.  Love is a process which develops over time and should never be rushed.  Do I believe in love at first sight?  Of course, but even in those situations, trust, honesty and loyalty still have to be addressed.  I am satisfied with the life I have.  At this stage in the game, I wouldn't want to be a woman who rushed love in the 20's  and 30's and now in the 40's have to deal with divorce court, custody issues and legal bills or not have enough courage to do so.  

We have to truly love ourselves before we can provide the love that is required for a lifelong commitment and it has to be a conscience process.  I'm more excited than ever about falling in love now because I've had the time I need to deal with me and I know my love reward will be better than I ever imagined.  Although I won't be treated to a candlelight dinner and I love yous tomorrow, I will be anxiously awaiting the delivery of a new pair of shoes and business cards because I'm in the midst of loving myself.  I'm loving it!

RIP Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston 1963 to 2012

Feb 4, 2012

The Diva Plan: Progess Report

Time to get back to business!  Having a busy lifestyle makes it easy for me to get off track and stay off track.  As a result, I haven't been putting all my focus on my Diva Plan, but I'm happy to report that I've picked up some good habits as a result of having a plan.

If I were to grade myself today, I'd give myself a C.  I'm still juggling my finances, but no services have been discontinued so progress is at least plateaued in this area.  I've been faithfully using my shopping list and even had a long talk with my hands about picking up things that are either not on my list or not needed.  Also, as soon as I get home from work I get clothes out for my daughter and I for the next day.  Any little preparation seems to help with the morning routine.  My daughter and I have also started attending church again, which is a component of my plan which is very important to me.  With this, I feel like I'm doing the right thing for us because our faith is being fed again.  The big thing is that I'm in the process of quitting smoking!  It's quite a process too, but I'm dedicated to seeing it through.

The most important result is the level of positivity I'm feeling right now.  I truly believe having a positive attitude and outlook brings about an abundance of positive results.  For instance, I've taken up listening (I can't watch and work so I listen) to full episodes of Black Enterprise television shows.  I've gained so much knowledge and inspiration by doing this.  Also, the cessation of my smoking has caused me to want to take the stairs sometimes instead of the elevator.

As you can see, I'm definitely a work in progress and I'm much closer to the old me than I am to the new me, but anticipating the new me is so much more exciting than looking back and that's my golden rule--never look back, never live in the past, never wonder what might have been.  My life is full and I'm forging ahead to the future with gratitude.

If you haven't created your own Diva Plan yet, please read my post What is the Diva Plan? as well as all of the posts that have The Diva Plan in the title and begin creating a vision of the woman you desire to be.  No perfectionists allowed!

Jan 27, 2012

Growing Pains

I'm not going to make this a deep issue, but a funny one.  Life is becoming so funny to me.  I'm forty-two years into this saga and learning that laughter is the best remedy for my issues.

As I create this post, my daughter is at a sleepover.  I could barely get a hug and kiss from her before we departed.  I checked in with her all week to make sure she was still feeling as motivated about going as she did the day she got the invite.  She was.  Trust me, I'm taking this opportunity to get in some chill time, but clearly I am missing her more than she is missing me right now.  I have my phone right by my side in case she needs to reach me or has a change of heart--yeah right!  The funny thing is, at one point in our lives I would have never expected her to be able to leave me so easily.

When my daughter started kindergarden, she had a serious case of separation anxiety.  I thought it strange because she had been in daycare since she was 1 and breezed through pre-k like a pro, but for some reason she was far from thrilled when it was time to start kindergarden.  To make a long story short, SHE HATED IT!  If I remember correctly, she was suffering so badly that she asked me why couldn't I be a teacher so I could stay home and be her teacher.  Little did she know I could have done that, but somebody has to pay the freakin' bills around here!

I, on my high horse was totally against her going to public school because she was born of 2 highly educated parents and there was no way I was sending her to a public school!  Well God said otherwise and a little over a month later, a nervous breakdown, much prayer and 2 private schools, I enrolled her in public school and guess what?  She loves it!  She's in 2nd grade now and has more "friends" than I can count.  The phone rings incessantly and play dates are now planned without parental knowledge.  To her credit, she's a straight A student and has received numerous accolades for her academics.  She's the ultimate kid package--smart, well-socialized and I must say, pretty.  Now I am required to change my parental outlook on a daily basis.

The point I am making is, now I am the one with separation anxiety.  The tables have turned and I'm sitting at home clutching my cell phone (and a cocktail) unsure what to do with myself.  It's funny to me how life can turn the tables on you and allow you experience, what someone else has already been through.  Bottoms up!

Jan 15, 2012

The Truth About Single Black Women!

I was perusing the web recently searching for statistics and articles about women like me--black, educated, single mothers.  My search was not successful because apparently to the rest of the world, these characteristics are not nomenclature for black women.  I did however find mountains of statistics for black, uneducated, single mothers in poverty and educated, childless black women who can't snag a man. 

Does this anger me?  No, because my world consists of the life I live, love and manage and trust me, it consumes my days and nights so I have very little time to devote to being angry at news articles and stats.  What did tick me a little bit were the comments I read accompanying such articles, which were published by major media outlets such as CNN, MSNBC, New York Times, New York Daily News and the Huffington Post.  Perception is not reality, just opinion, if you know nothing about the reality of something.  Here are the realities that I know about black women:

  • All black women who are single are not desperately seeking marriage.  Considering the current divorce rate and the number of girlfriends we've had to provide a shoulder to because of a failing marriage, many single black women have redefined how we want our story to end and for some, marriage is not a chapter in the book and we are okay with it.
  • The single mothers I know who are black are not living in poverty.  Even before I was a mother and had reached my highest level of education, the single mothers I encountered were employed, homeowners and some were investing in private educations for their kids.  Basically, MAKING IT HAPPEN!
  • Black men need to understand when you date a black woman who has been REQUIRED to do EVERYTHING on her own, your presence is not going to automatically be met with damsel in distress qualities.  Don't let it be a turn off, step up your game and go to the next level of manliness.
  • Married black women, you are the new oddity so watch yourself because the world is now watching you, not us.

I would be insincere to not admit that I've overused my single mother status as an excuse for many things-- some plausible, some not.  I'm getting better, as my child gets older, at overcoming feeling different because of my parental status.  My desire now is to simply set the tone for our lifestyle and enjoy it.  Period.com!

Disclaimer:  I have not given up on the idea of being married.  BOOM!

Jan 10, 2012

Swagged Out Love

Solange Knowles and Alan Ferguson chillin' on the French countryside for a friend's wedding.
 

This blog post is for my single divas.  I'm single and I've been struggling with sustaining my belief in love, falling in love, being in love, etc.  Partially, because I have very little time to invest in the love game and also because of the relationship horror stories I've been hearing lately.  For me to become excited about anything, I have to be inspired.  I think my inspiration for believing in love again has been found!

While browsing the web last night, I came across a pic that is helping me visualize how I'd like to feel in love.  No misinterpretations here!  It's not about the people in the pic, the money they have, nor their ability to do and go where they want while enjoying each others company.  This photo is a dead on interpretation of how I'd like to feel.  Relaxed, not tense and mad.  Comfortable, not uptight and lacking confidence.  Just chillin' out with someone who enjoys some of the same things as I and shares the same intellect and feelings.  That's it!

Gaze into this picture or find your own and let's be inspired to not give up on love.

*Photo courtesy of mydamnblog.com, a photo blog by Solange Knowles.

Jan 3, 2012

Taking Care Of Me: My Products

In order for me take care of myself the way I want and need to (while also staying on budget), I have to invest in products I know work for me.  The key is choosing carefully and buying the ones that are tried and true.  It is easy to become a product addict (I've been one!) because all products are marketed with promises of great results.  To save money, time and keep my beauty regimen solid, I've broken down my required products into 3 categories--skin, hair, and nails. 

  • Skin
    • Aveeno Positively Radiant Cleanser
    • Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer
    • Witch Hazel
    • Hot Six Oil
    • Vaseline
    • Dove Unscented Soap
    • Wax for face & legs (still searching)
    • Exfoliator for face and body (still searching)
  • Hair
    • Miss Jessie's Super Slip Sudsy Shampoo
    • Miss Jessie's Creme De La Creme Conditioner
    • Miss Jessie's Baby Buttercreme
    • Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil Moisturizing Hair Lotion
  • Nails
    • Fingernail and Toenail clippers
    • Emery boards
    • Sally Hansen Hard As Nails

I'm not going to even get into make-up because that is an addiction I haven't kicked yet!  When it comes to this category, I love trying different colors/brands and usually when I find one I love it is discontinued.  I will say however, that Oh Baby Tinted Lipglass by MAC, which is still around, stands as my absolutely fav everyday lipgloss.  Also, I haven't kicked my love of Great Lash Blackest Black waterproof mascara by Maybelline.

I can't say this enough, everything doesn't work for everybody and each woman has to be free enough to operate according to what works for her.  Many of my products also incorporate what works for myself and my daughter collectively.  My hair is natural and my skin is dry, so my list includes products that work for my lifestyle.  In the economy we are currently living in, for many, beauty products take a back seat to other necessities, but some are still necessary.  Creating a firm list of the products that you know already work for you and that you are willing to invest in not only saves beauty cents, but makes common sense.  All real world divas can get with that!  Smooches!

P.S.  Remember, some beauty treatments should be left to the professionals!