#FashionAndBeauty

2017 Spring/Summer Essentials

With Spring in full effect, and Summer standing on our front porch, it’s time to fully prepare for this year’s warmest solstice. If you happen to live in the Northeast (especially New York) you know the weather has been a little schizophrenic lately. I mean seriously, one day it’s 90 degrees, the next it’s dropped down to a smooth 50. It’s madness, I don’t know whether to pull out my sandals or keep my UGG boots on a little longer. Well eventually the temperature will break and I’m going to give the scoop to be more than prepared.

In every season, there are a few selected items that you absolutely need to get you through. Kind of like a survival guide. No matter where you reside in the World, I can almost guarantee these selected items will be vital in your everyday life.

SUNGLASSES

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Sunglasses are extremely important when it comes to Spring/Summer. Not only will they provide protection for your pupils through the harsh rays of sunshine. But the perfect pair will be that final touch you’ll need to set off a bomb outfit. (All retailing at $10 top: @exclusiveeyesny, left: H&M, right: @exclusiveeyesny, bottom: @exlcusiveeyesny)

DAD HATS/BASEBALL CAPS

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The “Dad Hat” trend has been popping for a couple of years now and honestly, I doubt it’s going anywhere. At least for me, it’s not. A quick cap with a casual outfit is a perfect way block the haters. I mean the sun. If you’re having a bad hair day, throw one of these on and no will ever notice. Some companies try to extort you out of your money by selling them for and arm and both legs. No shade (pun intended) but it’s just a cap. My friendly advice is to check your local thrift stores for the dopest options and cheaper prices. (both caps: thrift store finds)

ANTIPERSPIRANT

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Do I really need to explain? We all know when the weather heats up, our pores are subjected to open up. This causes odor in those hidden folds of our body. Please don’t be that girl/boy that we have to have that “talk” with. Dove products are by far my favorite. Their invisible dry spray is perfect to prevent those awkward moments. It’s long-lasting and easy on your fabric. ($5-$6 Target)

BODY/BEAUTY BAR

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Did I mention Dove was a favorite of mine? Staying fresh should be an essential all year long; however, in those heated month’s you may want to freshen up a little more that often. The Dove beauty bar is PERFECT. It’s sufficient enough to keep your body smelling, feeling, and looking amazing. (4-Pack $6 Target)

WATERPROOF FOUNDATION

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Keep it light. During the Summer, it can be quite unbearable to wear a full face of makeup. Tone it down with an oil free foundation that is light on the skin, yet still giving you the proper coverage. This MAC Nourishing Waterproof Foundation, in particular, is buildable coverage, lightweight with a seamless finish. Perfect for Spring/Summer. ($34 MAC Cosmetics)

SETTING SPRAY

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Set it, don’t fret it! Locking in your makeup is going to be important this season. If you’re a makeup enthusiast like I am then you know the guilt of feeling like your face is going to fall off from forgetting to set it in place. From left to right:

Ben Nye Final Seal: This stuff is like glue. Spray this on after your makeup is complete and you are good for the rest of the day. Literally all day! If you are looking for a setting spray that is swimming pool safe, this is it. ($12.99 RickysNYC.com)

MAC Fix+: This is an oldie but goodie. I’ve been using this particular product for years, it’s a holy grail in my collection. It multi-functional. Spray this on before, during and after you complete your makeup for all-day protection.

Evian Mineral Water: This product I would recommend the most out of the bunch. Whether you wear makeup or not, carry this in your purse as a staple this summer. This isn’t really a setting spray, it’s more of a rehydrating mist. When your skin is lagging and feeling sweaty or gross. Spray this on for an instant pick me up.

HIGHLIGHTER

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I LIVE for a popping highlight all year-long but it’s something about the summertime that makes me want to take it up a notch. A glow on all the high points of your face is sure to make you one with the sun. If you’re extra like I am, try a little on your shoulders, neck, and décolleté. (top: Becca Opal $38; Sephora, Left: Anastasia So Hollywood $28; Macy’s; Right: MAC Highlight the Truth; limited edition)

 CAMERA

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Although our best moments are never captured, we can still have memories. The best way to do so is with a camera of course. Unless you live in the stone ages, we all own a smartphone with a camera embedded in. This is the easiest way to savor your memories. A Polaroid camera is also a cool way to capture the moment. Snap it, shake it, and the store is as a keepsake! (Fuji film Instax Mini 8 $59; Target)

BOOKS

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I challenge you to read a book this summer! Reading is fundamental and I always stick to the phrase, knowledge is power. Find a genre that is appealing to you, from there it’ll be upward moving. On a beach, in a park, or even by the lake are the perfect spots to enjoy the weather and zone out to the perfect read.

BODY SCRUB/BODY BUTTER

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Keep your body luscious this season! In the Summer, my skin takes on the harsh rays of the sun and drys out terribly. If you’re anything like me, you want to heal that by treating your skin daily. Soap & Glory products are vital in my skin care regimen. Start with a refreshing body scrub that will eliminate dead skin cells and debris. Finally follow-up with a body butter, which is thicker in texture and perfect for keeping your skin supple for the upcoming season. (left: Soap & Glory Sugar Crush Body Scrub $15; Ulta, right: Soap & Glory Righteous Butter $15; Ulta)

NUDE LIPS

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When in doubt nude it out. Is that a saying? Well, I just created it! I love a nude lip in the Summertime, it compliments everything. As a WOC it can be a little challenging finding the perfect nude that doesn’t cause that ashy lip effect, I’ve captured a few that are perfect for all my beauties queens. Here’s a tip, use a brown lip liner before applying your nude lip to alter the color and create the perfect shade for your skin tone! (top: NYX Liquid Suede in Brooklyn Thorn $7, left: MAC Lipglass in Oyster Girl $17, right: NYX Butter Gloss in Fortune Cookie $5, bottom: MAC Lipstick in Fresh Brew $17)

SKIN CARE

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We perspire, the smog is in full effect and the sun at times can cause more damage than anything. The best thing you can do is protect your face from natural attacks that aren’t so cute. Get yourself a regimen that works best for your skin type! I am a combination so my skin can get really oily or really dry, no in between. I cleanse my face nightly with products from LUSH, they’re all natural and less harsh on the skin. In the morning I rinse with warm water only (no extra product, except a moisturizer) and go about my day. (left: LUSH Ocean Salt $21, right: LUSH Kalamazoo $25)

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An Open Letter to My Princess

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Dear Zahra,

When I first discovered there was life inside of me it was July 14th, approximately 8 o’clock in the evening. So much was running through my mind, I was in disbelief. I made my first call to my best friend and what a conversation that was.  Still in disbelief, I made an appointment because I  just needed the proof. When I first heard your heartbeat on August 8th, I was seven weeks. ARE YOU SERIOUS? To know that there was life inside me I fell to my knees and prayed. I prayed so hard because I was so much in shock.  I asked God what I should do and he insured me this would be a blessing. I knew I needed you, I knew your life deserved a chance. I knew you were a blessing. I’m not going to lie I was a bit nervous but I quickly got over that. I had no time to waste, you were growing fast. I had to come up with a plan. I prayed so many nights for us. I prayed God would put me in a position to make sure no matter what, you will always be okay. Since then I have been receiving so many blessings so I know everything will be alright. When I found out what you were on October 27th, I told my ultra sound technician to tell my mom only. It was a moment I wanted to share with your dad, so I drove all the way to his house to surprise him and to both of our surprise IT’S A GIRL! That is one moment I’ll never forget. I knew in my heart you were my little princess, I felt it. The first time I felt you kick, I was so confused. Like was that gas? When I felt them again I laughed because it felt like little butterflies dancing on my bladder. I was so sick. For months I couldn’t eat anything, smell anything. I had BAD morning sickness every day, ALL DAY. Eventually it got better and when it did, I made my mom go with me every night to get Mexican food. Needless to say all I wanted was a Quesadilla and a water with lemon, those were my cravings.  When I see you on that ultrasound screen at each visit. I know it’s one day closer that I will be able to hold you. You’re so comfortable in there, so you have no idea how much pain your putting me through. My body aches, my feet are swollen, and my nerves are in pain from you resting on them. I wake up all hours of the night, but I know it will be worth it. You will be my greatest accomplishment to date. I can’t wait until they place you on my chest and I can kiss your face. Mommy will love you forever and even after I’m gone away from this Earth, I will still love you. I dream every night about the day when I finally get to meet you. Truth be told, I’m nervous but I know I’m strong enough to handle that pain. Once I hold on to you I won’t ever let go. I’m going to spoil you rotten and I know I’ll regret  it later with how much of a brat you’ll be. You have so much love around you and you don’t even know it yet. I just want you to always know I love you and how much of a woman you have made me. You have made me so much stronger. I’m a different person because of you. Because God needed me to see things in myself that I just couldn’t see before. I’m calmer, more mature, and even when I feel sad you kick me and I feel refreshed again. It took me some time and I know now that I had to change my ways for myself and for you. I’m so sorry if you’ve felt any of my tears or pain during this journey. This hasn’t been the easiest thing I’ve had to deal with. Just know when you get here I won’t ever show you any of that. And if you happen to feel any pain, just know I will be right there to dry your tears, I will be there to cancel any fears you have. I pray that everything you want in this life, it will be yours. I pray that as a little black girl you’ll know that you can do anything you put your mind to. I pray you’ll know how beautiful you are. I will tell you how beautiful you are. I will show you the World and give you things I’ve never had before.I want you to know anything you’ll ever need just ask. Don’t ever be afraid to talk to me. I will always provide for you and make sure everything you need you will have it and everything to want you will get. You have parents that love you, you have family that loves you. I want you to know that you are a blessing. I have never felt this kind of love growing inside of me. I thank you for choosing me to be your mom. I thank God for choosing me to raise a child in His Kingdom. So here’s to our future. I love you and I can’t wait to meet you in March Miss Zahra Raine.

Love,

Mommy

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Weary of the ways of the World

Wednesday, November 11th 2016. Its 7:35 a.m. The morning after Election Day.
Waking up the sky was a different kind of grey and the air held a different kind of smog. The night prior, I fell asleep with Hillary Clinton in the lead, fully prayed up I was certain she would win. To my surprise the atmosphere I awoken with matched the new leader of this free world. I have never been so hesitant to check social media in my life, and to confirm that Donald Trump is president was all the more frightening. As I began my day to do my makeup, silent tears rolled down my face, as my mother began to pray.

I can recall, in 2008, the moment Obama was elected in office. The look on my face that a change had come. A fifteen year old black girl saw change for my loved ones and a breath of fresh air for those who had come before me. Being black in America was a good look. Our president was BLACK. Again in 2012, my first time voting, to know that my vote mattered and four more year of change was on the brink allowed me to feel a sense of relief.

On the contrary, going to the polls this year was full of sorrow, disbelief, and confusion. Why would I ever have to choose the lesser of two evils? How as a country (the wealthiest and most powerful country in the world) did we come to THIS?
People constantly make jokes around and create “Memes” to disguise what is going on. “I’m packing my bags.” “I’m leaving this country.” Why would you ever leave a country our ancestors built? This is a country my Grandfather fought for. This is a country our people fought to make change just so we can coexist. A country that inaugurated a black man for eight years. This is a country that our people died for our right to even vote, and my people have the nerve to claim they didn’t exercise their right to do so. How embarrassing. At least Trump supporters came together and voted. At least they supported what even it is they believed in.
I am not even upset that Trump is a Republican, I am not upset that he is white, and I am not upset that he is wealthy. I am upset at the fact that he displays the character of a deplorable bigot. He is a reality star that moseyed his way into this election and somehow won. How? He singlehandedly exposed ALL of the individuals that are similar in personality and have been hiding for years.
So many questions stir up in my mind. Are we going to be able to finish school? Can us as African Americans make it home safe every night. What kind of world am I introducing my daughter to? Thoughts of a world where I can survive and thrive and obtain the “American dream.”

In the midst of this chaos, God is and will always be in control. Do not be dismayed and do not be misconstrued by the ways of the world. I will NEVER question God and his ability to works miracles. His plan is already set in stone. This is not a battle for us, but for the Lord. Never underestimate the power that lies within. This is a test of faith, now is not the time to turn on Him.

To my fellow students in college please keep grinding and striving for that degree. To my fellow minorities working just to feed your families, please continue to provide. To my fellow mothers or mothers to be, please continue to set an example for your young, they are our future. Lastly to my fellow black men, you are the most feared species on this planet; your worth is more than gold to me. Please in a time like this we need you to be strong and understand that we got you.

“But in that coming day
no weapon turned against you will succeed.

You will silence every voice

raised up to accuse you.

These benefits are enjoyed by the servants of the Lord;

their vindication will come from me.

I, the Lord, have spoken

Isaiah 54:17

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So, What does Black Love mean to You?

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Brown Sugar is my favorite movie of all time .. In the movie Sidney Shaw (Sanna Lathan) has an opening question she inquires in all her interviews; “So when did you fall in love with hip hop.” For so long I searched for my own personal tag line and I believe I found the perfect one! Black Love is so important to me so much that I wrote about it on MyBlackMatters.com. When I speak to and hear from my people, I am intrigued to know what it means to them. Be it good or bad. So I asked a few of my peers what this meant to them and here are their beautifully thought through responses. So what does Black Love mean to you?

“Black Love to me, is the coconut oil in the morning. It’s that Saturday, Etta James kind of feeling. It’s the ‘let’s clean the house while the kids aren’t home’ kind of love. It’s a love that is unconditional, and conditioned into being strong and firm in times of need. Black Love is having a Praying Grandmother that dishes out the church dirt. Black Love is running around carefree and having a good time because you know can’t nobody party like us. Black Love is being able to grove to Jazz and then turn up with your partner because you know there’s nothing like a couple with some soul. Black Love to me will always be the epitome of beautiful. It’s soulful, it’s raw and it’s always real.” LaTifah Wright
“When I’m involved with a black man everything seems heightened. My senses all over. One word I have immediately is intense.” Keana Lopez

“Black love is being faithful and trust worthy in a world that encourages you not to.” Teahna Lockhart

“Black love is feeling like you’re the only person in this world. Its feeling safe and knowing that no matter what happens that you can depend on one another. It’s about uplifting each other and helping each other to reach our goals.” Jasmin Reid

“From my experience black love is a love that is deeper than just a physical attachment or desire, it is a soul bond that cannot be imitated. There’s nothing like having two black people come together with unison, knowledge of self, respect and unconditional love. It’s a certain spice of life that can’t be detained in words when the love, trust and admiration is shared fairly. We connect on a different level, who can understand you more when you’re from the same lineage? Who knows the struggle of being black in America, but will still support you through it all? It’s not only beautiful but it is powerful to have someone who can connect with you in a supernatural way. To say black love is phenomenal is definitely an understatement.” Serenity Bracey

“When I hear the words, ‘black love,’ I hear a term that transcends-be it love of self, love of a significant other, the love shared between a mother and child or that between brothers. And that type of transcending love, once truly given or accepted, to me is one of which births great radiance in strength and power through unity. Black love to me is a real reflection and insight as to how great our greatness can ultimately be. Something so beautiful and serene in its uniqueness, and lends way too much prosperity.” Cassie Denis

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Being Blessed in Dark Places

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My spirituality has stood the test of time in many areas of my life, some battles I won some have been losses. Lately my faith has been tested significantly in which I found myself battling hardships. I’ve recently watched a sermon by pastor Joel Osteen, where he preached on being ‘blessed in dark places.’ Needless to say the questions I had to myself are now slowly being answered.

Pastor Osteen brought forth a metaphor in which he compared life’s heinous situations to a mere seed. When a seed is planted it is in a dark place, underground, alone, and nonchalant to what is about to happen. But in due time that seed will grow, come to the light and blossom into something much greater. Something beautiful! This particular comparison spoke to my spirit in ways unimaginable. Many times I feel low and down on my luck; wondering how I’m going to rise up out of a bad situation. But I know now whenever my faith is being tested, it is a set up from God to bring me into something much greater.

At times life can hit you all at once and the adversary can try to attack from every area. From people trying to mentally and emotionally break me down, to real-life situations that effect my family. At times I have no physically person there to console me or to even talk to, I tend to try to handle things on my own. Bishop T.D. Jakes had an AWESOME message where he talked about letting people go. So many times I have attempted to try so hard to make people stay in my life because of my fear of losing them. But the inspiration I received from Bishop T.D. Jakes, has me searching for my gift in goodbye and to refrain from raising dead situations.

I have to know and put my best foot forward and look to the greater outcome. My faith is strong and is something I cherish deeply. So even when it is being tested I have to know in my spirit that God is placing me in a position to receive something much greater and blessing me in those dark place.

 

 

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Feathered Fun


These Tumblr inspired heels I created  were so much fun to wear, I embraced every strut I took in them.

They were so simple to make:

  •  The heels were on sale at Target.
  •  The feathers are from Party City

To put it all together I took my trusty glue gun (which everyone in life should own) and meshed it all together. Of course I made a huge mess but there was obviously beauty in all the madness.

I wore these out in New Years Eve and  definitely plan to make more in an assortment of colors …. I’m thinking pink. Hmmm?

#FashionAndBeauty, RetalTherapy

MAC Oval 6

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People let me tell you about my best friend *singing*

Obviously you can tell I am gagging over this brush. I’ve been using this tool for a little over a week now, and I can now share my honest opinion. This brush is pretty much LIFE. As a girl who swears by the beauty blender sponge, I find that this has quickly taken over. The application is so smooth and gentle, leaving your foundation looking as if it melted seamlessly into your skin.

This brush is described as a tool that is ideal for powder or liquid. It is MAC’S largest brush in the “Oval” franchise. Made of synthetic fibers, and allowing a more flawless coverage to blend in all the contours of the face. This tool has a specially designed grip and a brush tip that is slightly titled for ultimate precision. The retail price is $42, but I must say it is without a doubt worth the every penny.

My method of application starts with me first priming my skin (per usual), followed by applying my liquid foundation directly onto my face, from the bottle. Then I take the Oval 6 brush and gently rub it all over my face until all of the product is evenly blended. At this point my skin is looking absolutely smooth and flawless, I can continue on with my daily make up routine.

It may take some getting used to when using this brush, especially if your more accustomed to using a blending sponge or a regular foundation brush. Some users have claimed that the brush isn’t sturdy enough and it can be likely to snap in half; however, I must disagree. This brush is not meant to be vigorously used, and no one should even be aggressively applying their make up anyway (Lol).

The only negative I have is the fact that it could be a little bit bigger. I find myself taking more time applying my foundation because it is slightly smaller than I would like it to be. However there are other brands that make the same brushes in a variety of sizes.

If you’re a makeup lover, hoarder, or just interested in trying new things. You NEED this brush. I’m telling you, it is a life changer.

#FashionAndBeauty, RetalTherapy

It’s Lit …. Literally 

  
What is Fall/Winter without candles? The aroma, the vibes, the calming therapy it gives; make this season all the more merrier. I must admit there is no better feeling than cuddling under your favorite blanket and burning a sweet smelling candle. 

Plenty of companies market and sell candles but in my humble opinion, none compare to Bath & Body Works. Their 3-Wick’s are BOMB and can stand the test of time for hours. The smell is so potent, you can expect your entire home to smell beautifully. It’s best to catch them when they are 2/$24 that way you can become obsessed along with me. Bath & Body Works has to have a PLETHORA of scent, I’m certain you will find some perfect for your palate. So let’s get comfy and gear things up right for the Winter with a delicious smelling candle !

Here’s a list of the items I purchased (top left-bottom right)

  • Spiced Apple Toddy
  • Golden Cinnamon 
  • Champagne Toast 
  • Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin
  • Cinnamon Caramel Swirl 
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MAC Matte Collection 💄

   Although I’m SLIGHTLY late getting this post up, I wanted to share my thoughts on this new product. On June 11, MAC launched “The Matte Lip” collections in all physical locations. Now because I’m a sucker for a matte lip as well as new launches, I knew I needed a few colors from this collection. A wide range of 22 lipsticks were released PERMANENTLY in the collections but two of them really stood out to me the most.

Matte Royal: I mean can we talk about this color. It is a BEAUTIFUL and UNIQUE hue that almost looks navy blue in its packaging. This color is sure to work on just about every skin tone. While it is a blue tone don’t be alarmed by the way it appears in the bottle once it’s applied, the color evens out beautifully, giving a smooth texture that is sure to turn heads (In a good way). I highly recommend pairing with a lip liner of a similar tone or a deep brown color.

Stone: Wearing this color, I feel like I need to throw on my baggy high-waist jeans, get the finger waves popping with an over-sized Tommy shirt and Doc Martens on the feet. COME THROUGH 90s, I’m getting all types of golden era vibes with this lipstick. This lippy has a grey-ish, brown finish that is sure to bring you back. Paired with a dark brown lip liner (such as MAC Chestnut) will make this shade all the more beautiful.

There are many more shades that I intend to pick up, however; I knew these two would be everyone’s pick of the litter. Keep in mind these shades are Matte but surprisingly they are not overly drying. For best results prep your lips with an exfoliator, followed by a moisturizer. If you love a GOOD matte lip, I know you’ll adore this collection.

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Key C

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Dating in This Generation

What is LOVE ?

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It seems as though the topic of discussion on modern dating is non existent in many conversations. However the matter does in fact exist. As intricate as this discussion may seem, allow me to state my opinion on why most relationship do not work out in this era.

Without a doubt, music is a major part of our daily lives. In some ways music can influence certain individuals more than others because of the lyrics. When half of the songs on the radio are rapping about ‘Fu*k that B*tch’ and going in to detail about how these “Hoes” ain’t loyal, then people will actually start believing it. Now granted many of these “Hoes” may not be loyal; however, that is not to say that all females are hoes and all are not loyal. Often times I imagine myself being the age I am now in the 90s, where it seemed like love existed. When the to lyrics to a song had meaning. It almost made you want to fall in love. Growing up in this generation I often find myself questioning what love really is. Music plays a vital part in our daily lives, it is supposed to inspire and uplift in most cases, but if a large percentage is doing the opposite than it has an even larger impact on the way an individual may view a relationship.

While I feel music is a huge part of failed relationships, it also has to do with fear. In this generation we are very sensitive beings; once you’ve been hurt once or even twice, it’s very difficult to trust again. I bare witness to this, and many of my closest friends have as well. Relationships can be so temporary these day which makes it more challenging to want to jump back into something you feel is going to end. This develops trust issues, walls and barriers as high as the sky, and guards shielding your heart from further damage. We are used to switching it up, rarely are there relations where you can find yourself being in for a long period of time. Sadly we’ve become accustomed to these “situationships.”

Although these are facts, you will never know until you try. With every failed relationship that you have encountered in your life, take it as a lesson learned. People are specifically placed on your life to help YOU develop YOURSELF. If your’re feeling nervous and timid it is important to be choosy about the people you decide to spend your time with. Not everyone you come across is the one, and not every one you come across is a hoe, a liar, or a cheater. We dwell on these ridiculous “relationship goals” on twitter and instagram without even trying to develop our own personal goals. Not every relationship is the same and honestly you have no idea what occurs behind those perfectly photographed pictures. This may sound contradicting, but relationships are ALWAYS complicated no matter the circumstance is. But when it’s meant to be it will be. If you notice signs from a previous situation take that as an opportunity to quickly address it or get out immediately. There’s nothing worse than knowing there’s an issue and not addressing it head on. Then feelings get involved and you have another heartbreak on your list. Be VIGILANT, Be SMART.

Lastly In this generation we lack PATIENCE. We are all guilty of wondering when we are going to meet Mr./Mrs RIGHT NOW. Honestly we have to live with the fact that they may not come tomorrow and they may not even come this year. But either way THEY WILL COME ! We often seek too much out of a relationship that does not require our valuable time. We must stop thinking that everyone we encounter is The ONE. Now I’m am NOT a relationship expert; however, I have been through some rough patches in my journey to find “THE ONE,” and in many cases I have stumbled. With all that I’ve been through, I have gained an substantial amount of knowledge to further my quest and HOPEFULLY assist someone in need.

The most important resource is to seek a relationship with a higher power, whomever that may be to you. Seeking a higher power can lead to a development for yourself which will then allow things to seamlessly fall in to place. Also do not be afraid to date around, it is completely harmless to go on dates and talk to different people in order to figure out what and who is best for you. However keep it cute and set some standards and morals. Do not commit so easily and do not feel pressured into doing so. Take time for yourself get to know YOU, and never seek approval or validation from anyone EVER. Be Self- validated. As woman we need to value ourselves and know you’re worth is more precious than any relationship (BUT THAT’S ANOTHER CONVERSATION .. LOL).

So don’t live by the lyrics you hear on the radio, its pure entertainment. Half of those artist are in a relationship anyway lol. 90s babies, as we enter into our 20s this is our time to make mistakes. All of those teenage heartbreaks, that was just a warm-up; life has just started. Discover yourself before you can discover someone else and this is the PERFECT time to do so.

-Key C