Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Conscious Shoppers

Almost all stores have some type of weekly sale (especially this time of year) to lure customers into their doors or make entice them to make online purchases. Because of my business degree, I have had some exposure to the psychology of marketing.  I have seen first hand how retailers encourage customers to buy, buy, and buy and how to encourage their employees how to sell, sell, and sell-- to be honest, this is how they keep their doors open.... But fortunately, because I've been exposed to both sides of the coin, here are some tips for the shopper to use when preparing themselves to look good, avoid the retail traps, snag some good deals, and still save some cash!
 
1. Emotional shopping will lead to you wanting to spend money until you "begin to feel better".  But a lot of times, emotional shopping is not the way to go if you are trying to save money. But if you absolutely have to reach out to just "get something...you have to start somewhere.  Instead of going to the mall, go to a discount store or even a thrift store. You can snag some unique and affordable finds!  You have to be conscious of your caution that you don't buy and end up debt.. because then you end up with 2 problems instead of one.  Proceed with caution, but this works. 
 
2. Practical shopping people will shop because they feel they don't have anything to wear. Trust me, I KNOW you have SOMETIHNG to wear. It's just about thinking outside the box.  When this person feels the clothes they have are not good enough to wear, they will go a spend money on what they feel will work for them in that moment. I know people that have more clothes than two or three of my friends closets put together, and still say "I have nothing to wear!" What???? Try going on www.polyvore.com to get some cute ideas. Pick things that are similar to what you already have, and get creative.  
 
3. Identity shopping will lead to wasteful shopping every time.  When someone shops because they don't feel good about themselves to fill an emotional void.  Honestly, I don't feel like trying to buy more clothes/items when you have no direction is the way to go.  Take the time to figure out who you are and what you stand for. Stick to your authentic style.. search to find what that is.  Make sure that you shop for what YOU LIKE, not what you think everybody else will like.  You can't shop for what you see someone else with. What works for one person, may not work for everyone else.
 
4. Financial shopping is easy for those that have a lot of money. But don't be fooled. There are people that spend and spend like they have a lot of money, but in reality, they are drowning in credit card debt.  These shoppers spend money because of their relationship to their money. It can be hard to save money and shop wisely when there is no limit. Setting a budget is important. You can spend what you want, but you need to figure out if YOUR object spending or saving.
 
 
You can have nice things and not have to go broke to get them. TRUST ME, I DO IT ALL THE TIME.   If you are conscious of what your goal is, no one can take that from you. I'll admit, shopping makes me feel better too...because the reality is, if you look good you feel good.  You just have to know it can be done in a strategic way. You know your style and the types of things you like, a sale can be a great thing.  If these shopping issues are stronger than your discipline, you need to rethink what is important. Do you want to look good and be broke? Remember, there's a way... you can have a fat wallet and a fabulous style as well.  

 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Holiday Spending Tips

The holidays are approaching very fast. Most of us will be traveling, cooking and shopping. I have to admit, even though it can get a little crazy, I love this time of the year and spending time with family. But in all the mayhem, we can get caught up and go overboard! Let's admit, most of us will eat more than usual, spend more than than we could afford to spend, and simply indulge more than we need to....all because it's a "sale" and "it's the holidays".  But here's a few tips that I've used over the years to help to avoid getting caught up in that trap.  
 
Five ways to save money during the holidays when shopping and still stay FABULOUS ON A BUDGET!  
1. Plan ahead, Make a list, and set a budget! (That's actually 3 tips in one). Only shop for the people you plan to get gifts for. When you know who you're hopping for, it makes for easier budgeting. When you go shopping don't get caught up in the, "oh, I know this person would like this and its on sale" mess... Hunty, you are setting yourself up for over spending. Stick to the list! 
 
2. Shop outside the box! What do I mean by that? Well, try to focus on getting ONE universal gift for a group of people instead of buying a bunch of gifts for individuals. This is when you can use your creativity! Get crafty, bake, host a dinner, etc.  Not only are you crafty, you have earned a title of being a "socialite" as well :) That's always a plus. It shows more of your heart and will help you stay on task.  
 
3. Shop at discount stores (even online) rather than the mall. In order to do that, you have to get over "brand names" defining the quality of the gift. Who's all that for? Is it for you to get credit for buying an expensive purse or is it really for them?  I have been able to find some FANTASTIC deals online on boots, dresses, accessories, etc. recently.  And still keep my diva going :).  You can do the same too.  If you are a person that only purchases based on brands, but are always claiming your broke, then it may be time to re-evaluate some things. If you are looking for you to purchase a gift that will set you back a few months....WELL......at the end of the holiday, remember, you still have bills to pay!! Check out www.amiclubwear.com. This has been my fav site in the last weeks... TRULY money savings and still allowing me to keep my fabulous right :) 
 
4. Pay with cash. It is easy to know how much cash you are willing to spend and have more control. If you swipe and swipe, understand you are creating another bill you will have to pay well after the holiday season. But it's your choice.  I rarely get store credit cards. I don't care about the "extra percentage off the purchase" because I just literally earned myself an ADDITIONAL bill that is going to cost more than what I was going to pay in the first place. If don't have the cash in hand, it goes BTTR (Back To The Rack)!" 



It is easy to fall for all the advertising being sent in the mail, on television and online. There are some folks I know who start tallying all the items that are going on sale without figuring what their budget it. After they spent all this money they didn't have, now they're borrowing money for gas to put in their car, cell phone bills, and even rent. I'm here to say, you can do both! You can look good and still have some cash left over!
Next week, I'll show you how! 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Why do you have confidence?

Things happen in your daily life that have affects on your mood, attitude and emotions. Self-esteem is one of the      most important assets you can posses.  Can you build your confidence to the point where no matter what happens   in your life, it will not shake or break you?  What happens when you feel stronger than you actually are? Do you give up or give in? Do you find a person you know is strong and ask for encouragement? Well, today I am going to           encourage someone. It may not be you directly, but you may know someone who needs that encouragement. Here   are 10 ways  to boost self-confidence and here it is...

S-Strength, have the strength to know you can handle and deal with anything that is given or thrown  at you.
E- Enlightenment, when you have that knowledge and understanding. When you know that you know.
L- Love of self. Easier said than done, give yourself a break. You are harder on yourself that anyone else is.
F-Fulfillment, Don't forget to take care of yourself. Do what is required to maintain good health.
E- Energy, Always stay positive. Think about the good qualities and good results.
S- Selflessness, put others before your own self. You are important, but someone else may need you.
T-Trust yourself.  Trust yourself that you will make the right decisions or choices.
E-Emotions, you always have to stay in touch with the way you feel.
E-Effectiveness, have an affect or someone or something that is positive. Change for the better.
M-Motivation, be you own cheerleader. Find that reason for doing what needs to be done.
www.psychologytoday.com

Sometimes we find that it is easier to encourage someone else, but why is it so hard for us to encourage ourselves the same way? Sometimes, it is ok to encourage yourself.  I challenge you to     look at yourself in the mirror.  Really look at what you see when you see yourself.  Find one thing that you love about what you see.  Own that, love that, and the next day, do it again.  You are all you've got.  You really can't love someone else until you learn to love yourself.  After that, you can then be able to give more and more of yourself to help encourage someone else.  We all are in this walk together.  Try it... .



Wednesday, November 13, 2013

What are you saying without speaking?

Things happen in our everyday lives that seem to knock us off course. There are times where we feel the world is on our shoulders or even against us. One thing I would like to tell you, no matter what happens in your life, never loose confidence. It is so important that you keep your body language saying what you want have interpreted.

Here are 3 ways your body language can make or break you.

1. Maintain an assertive posture.
Stand upright. Period.  Even if you are scared out of your mind to talk to someone, smile. Believe that or not, that is your game face.  A smile will help to boost your confidence, and produce more of an interest in the other person to actually hear what is it you are saying.  Because everyone is so "serious" all the time and associates that with confidence, smiling simply help you stand out from the crowd.  I know a lot of people that when things are not going great, they slouch and hunch their backs.  Really!?!?! What's all that about? We're not going to do that business... It could always be worse...look at how far you have already come.

2. Watch your hands.
You don't want to talk to someone and have your arms crossed. This is often seen as defensive posture. There is nothing more irritating than talking to someone that claps their hand with every other word they speak. Y'all have seen people in Charleston do that mess.. "See, (clap) what I'm trying to tell you (clap) is I am all about my business (clap)"  What the heck is that? That is a distraction all by itself.  I've already gotten tired of hearing that noise.  Pull it together.  I would be focusing more on the beat and tap my feet to a tempo...trying to figure out if they are going to break out in a shout.  Leave that alone! Check out this example of what NOT to do...




3.  Pay attention to your face.
If someone is speaking to you in a conversation, and you really are not interested in what they are saying, you still need to honor them (no matter how much you want to escape). Don't start yawning, rolling their eyes, giving black stares, or looking away. That is just plain rude.  You will be sure to provoke an emotion that is negative toward you.  The thing is, that will precede you.  Proceed with caution. That one may come back to bite you. 


At the end of the day, your body language has a voice of it's own. Be careful of what that body language is saying to others. As you saw in the video, the little girl said her mom claps her hands like that. Actions speak louder than word, your body language is also your action.





Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Inexpensive Facials At Home

www.realbeauty.com
I'm sure you've heard the saying "Put your best face forward."  Well, today I want to give you 2 quick tips on how to do just that! Better yet, your face is one of the things that people remember most.  Even if you have only 3 teeth left in your mouth, a smile is you best accessory by far. It shows confidence, and is welcoming to everyone you meet.  Our skin is the second most important asset we have.  Of the different tones, textures, and sizes, taking care of your skin now is an investment that will repay you several times over.  If you have dry skin, oily skin and are a mixture of the two...take time with it.  So if you are running short on cash for your Noxzema, Saint Ives, or Olay, here are some things I've done at home that will help to keep your skin hydrated.  The cool thing is, you most likely have everything you need right in your pantry!

Need a good exfoliation to your skin...here you go...


1.  Sugar. Yes, just plain table sugar creates a great "gentle abrasive" that you can use as a base to help with your exfoliation efforts. With the right material, you can create blemish scrubs, anti-aging scrubs, even skin tone and basic sugar scrubs.
  • Making a slight mix with 1/2 cup of sugar, 1 tablespoon honey and 1 tablespoon of melted coconut oil (jojoba or olive oil) works great for blemishes or as a basic scrub.  If you need to thin the mixture out, eyeball added water.
  • Another scrub that I love to use is 1/2 cup of sugar, 1 tablespoon honey, 1/4 cup of water, and 4-6 drops peppermint essential oil. Honey is a wonderful natural humectant (draws moisture into the skin).  No matter which scrub you choose to create, these are two simple ones that are cheap, works well, and are all natural . Just try it out! (Just caution if you have allergies). 

 
2.    Oatmeal! It can be used on blemished and oily skin. Oatmeal is great because it soothes itchy dry skin.
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/2 cup of oatmeal
  • 2 tablespoons water (or coconut water)
That's it.  Put the egg on face first.  Apply with a applicator brush or simply with your fingers.  Place plain oatmeal in a plastic bowl with the water, and create a paste.  Apply to face.  Let dry, and rinse off with water.  Your face will feel more refreshed!
 If you don't have eggs, you can use just the oatmeal and warm water as a basic scrub. A hydrating scrub... would be a combination of
  •  1 cup oatmeal
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • coconut milk (eyeball enough to create a thick paste)
 Apply to your face with your fingers or applicator brush. Let the scrub stay on your face until you feel it getting stiff. Simply peal the mask off. Rinse your face with warm water.
 
You can be your best, for less. These tips are very easy to do and very cheap. Enjoy your way to better skin!!!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Domestic Violence...Why do They Stay? by Olivia Seymour

I can sit and talk about many domestic violent situations I have seen with my own eyes. I have also known people who were being abused and they tell me, they don't know how to get out of it. In listening to their personal stories, I realized they all had different reason for feeling "why" they wanted or needed to stay.

Picture this..............You are introduced to a new group of people by a mutual friend. Within an hour of meeting these people, a couple within the group is having an argument. The male then grabs the female by the arm and pushes her upstairs. She is falling and crying for him to let her go. Everyone else is just standing around, not saying anything. What would you do? Well, I was in that situation and I asked a very open ended question...Is somebody going to stop him or something? Everyone of those people who were with me said "That is none of my business!" Ok, really, none of your business eh! Well, that couple would fight and I would venture to say that he would literally beta her up almost everyday. When I'd talk to her I would ask "why are you staying!" I felt like my hands were tied. It was one of the most frustrating times in my life.  I knew she deserved better. I knew she could do better... but she still would stay! What would you do?

In talking to her and reflecting on my experience, I could imagine that there are many reasons why a person in an abusive relationship many not feel free enough to leave. But I've compiled a list of some things that I think may be the cause. 

1. Fear – Many abusers threaten to harm themselves, their partners, or the children. I'm sure that would play a part in keeping someone in a relationship that they want to get out of. But after being manipulated into thinking that their family would be harmed, it would literally make them feel like they were "forced" to stay.  Where fear is bigger than the realization of needing to protect yourself or children, a victim can feel weakened.

2. Love – Victims are more often in love with the abuser and want the relationships to work. But is it truly Love??? True LOVE like we mentioned in one of the previous posts.....SHOULDN'T HURT!!! If someone makes you feel like you are not who they want to be with, gather yourself and leave them to find that person. Anyone can say "I love you" until they are blue in the face. But baby girl, their actions speak louder than their words.  At the end of the day, love should not leave you with black and blue bruises.

3. Economics – People may not have the money or the job skills to become independent enough to make it on their own. A victim might feel they will not make it without the abuser providing for them. Believe it or not, there is some good news.  If the victim doesn't have the money or means to move out or leave, there are resources and places a victim can go to get help and begin to build themselves back up.

4. Faith – Sadly some victims believe the abuser will change. Please understand you can not change a person, they have to want it themselves!! A person can say they have or will change.  The facts are, they may actually show this alleged change but that may last only for a little while. If this person hasn't made up in their mind or heart they are serious about change, their old ways eventually come back. Don't put all your faith and trust in man....period

5. Self-esteem – Victims often feel like a helpless or not able to make a decision to want to leave. I've seen strong independent women get with the wrong person and their lives change. Their mindsets change.  Now you find yourself having to follow "rules" that say that you can't come around family, hangout or even talk to friends. You have been confined to the walls in your home and you do what he says or else. You walk around with your head hanging down. You don't speak up, and you jump at hearing anyone who raises their voice. You have lost yourself. Remember, you can't love anyone more than you love yourself.  Don't get to the place when you look in the mirror, you don't even know whose looking at.

6. Children – Many victims believe that it’s better to keep the family together, particularly if the children are not being abused. This can be very damaging to children, they may not be physically abused but mentally it is steering the course of their lives. Do you really want your child growing up thinking it's ok to be abused or abuse others?
www.heartlyhouse.org    



 Although this is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, domestic violence happens everyday!! Between 600,000 and 6 million women are abused every year. Between 100,000 and 6 million men are abused every year. Women 20-24 years of age have the greatest risk. And even about 2.2 million people have called a domestic violence crisis or hotline seeking advice or assistance. To be honest with you, those numbers make me nauseous when I think about them.  Literally! But at the end of the day, you have be able to trust your gut.  Trust that intuition that was planted in you. If you feel like you are in a situation that just "doesn't feel right" that feeling is there for a reason.  The sad part about all of this is that those numbers may actually be higher if  everyone reported it.
www.evefoundation.org

At the end of the day, life is too precious to be treated like a punching bag physically, mentally, verbally or financially! Trust your gut. It's ok to put you first...
        

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Silence hides violence...Love shouldn't hurt.

This is the second blog for the month of October in our "I Rock!" series. This week, we'll be discussing domestic violence.  Unfortunately, like Breast Cancer, many of us have known someone who has been a victim of domestic violence. According to www.domesticviolencestatistics.org there are some shocking statistics most recently.  These I admit have shocked me too!

Here are a few that I have found.
*   Every 9 seconds a woman is assaulted or beaten.
*  1 in 3 women have been beaten during her lifetime where the abuser is a member of her family.
*  Up to 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence annually.
* 16% of adult men who reported being raped and/or physically assaulted were assaulted by a current or former spouse, cohabitating partner, boyfriend/girlfriend or date
* It is estimated that 835,000 men are physically assaulted by and intimate partner annually

http://www.ncadv.org/files/MaleVictims.pdf

This had my jaw dropping! The thing is, that not all abuse is created equal. Since the boom of technology over the years, different types of abuse have been added to the list of the most common types.

1. Emotional or Verbal abuse is non-physical behaviors such as threats, insults, constant monitoring or “checking in,” excessive texting, humiliation, intimidation or isolation.

2. Stalking. This abuse is a person being watched repeatedly, harassed or followed.

3.Financial abuse. This happens when money or assets are used to keep or hold control over another person.

4. Physical abuse is the use of force with the intent to cause fear or injury, like hitting, shoving, biting, strangling, kicking.

5. Sexual abuse is where a person is forced to have sexual activities or any action that impacts a person's ability to control their own sexual activity.

6. Digital abuse, the use of technology such as texting and social networking is used to bully, harass, stalk or intimidate a partner. Often this behavior is a form of verbal or emotional abuse perpetrated through technology.
www.loveisrespect.org


Regardless of the type, it all leaves a scar.  This is one of the hardest topics to talk about right now for many different reasons. But in all of that, I want to challenge each of you reading this to this one thing. All this month, be an voice of encouragement, a ear to hear and not to judge, and a source of comfort for someone that you may know that is dealing or has dealt with any form of abuse.  You may be the only peace they have. So show love, strength, and remind them that love shouldn't hurt.



 


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Tackling Myths About Breast Cancer.

Welcome to the first blog that begins the "I Rock!" series of events geared to empower, inspire, and educate you this month!  October is both Breast Cancer Awareness and Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  These are two topics that are dear to LaJule, so this entire month we are dedicating these series of blog posts to touch on some things that have been a constant source of conversation.  October is most recognized as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so I'm going to tackle that topic first.  Those who support people who have been affected by Breast Cancer is represented and displayed with a light pink ribbon. I would venture to say that most of us know someone with either breast cancer or some other form of cancer. The most current statistic states that, ......1 in 8 women will develop invasive breast cancer. www.breastcancer.org
 There are two categories for cancer. The first is Noninvasive, this is where the cancer stays in one location. The second is Invasive, this is where the cancer spreads throughout the body.

But even with that overwhelming statistic, there are even more myths out there.  Right now, I'm going to tackle a few of those myths.

1.  Myth:  If you find a lump in your breast then you have cancer.
Truth: Only a small percentage of breast lumps turn into cancer. It is very important to see a physician for a clinical breast exam. He or she may possibly order breast imaging studies to determine if this lump is of concern or not.
 
2.  Myth: Only women get breast cancer
Truth: Every year it is estimated that approximately 2,190 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 410 will die. Breast cancer in men is usually detected as a hard lump underneath the nipple and areola.  Men carry a higher mortality than women do, primarily because awareness among men is less and they are less likely to assume a lump is breast cancer, which can cause a delay in seeking treatment.

3. Getting a Mammogram spreads the cancer.
Truth: A mammogram, or x-ray of the breast, currently remains the gold standard for the early detection of breast cancer. Breast compression while getting a mammogram cannot cause cancer to spread.

4.  Breast cancer is contagious.
Truth: You cannot catch breast cancer or transfer it to someone else's body. Breast cancer is the result of uncontrolled cell growth of mutated cells that begin to spread into other tissues within the breast. www.nationalbreastcaner.com

I want you to take self-examinations, clinical examinations and mammograms. They are the cornerstone to early detection and early resolution if you should find yourself facing or having to tackle breast cancer.  The sad part about it is I just recently heard someone say "I will never get a mammogram because they will smash my breast in a big machine."  In engaging further in the conversation, this person has a sister that just had surgery to have both of her breast removed because of breast cancer! I couldn't believe it.

At the end of the day, please don't let myths, hear-say or fear prevent you from saving a life of someone else or even your own.




Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Forgiveness

Let's say someone in your family is accidentally killed by a drunk driver, a stray bullet, or even in a fire. In each of those incidences, there can be a person held responsible. Maybe your child was playing on the sidewalk and a driver lost control of their vehicle, jumped the curb, killing your two year old baby. Maybe your sister was coming back from cheerleading practice. While at a red light, she is shot by a stray bullet. What if  your neighbor was cooking and left the stove on while they went to the store.  This starts a fire that spread next door killing your grandparents. In each scenario, the person to blame is in your presence. Can you forgive them?

Let's even say you have been victimized. Your were a victim of sexual violence, theft, or even abuse.
Maybe you were raped or molested by a family member or family friend. Maybe your wallet was stolen during a family gathering. How about remembering the verbal abuse from your parent, the physical abuse from your boyfriend/girlfriend or mentally abuse from a sibling?  These are the same people you see during the holidays and even break bread at the table with them on occasion. Can you forgive them?

According to Webster's dictionary, I've defined forgiveness and forgive. Here it is...

Forgiveness (noun) is defined as the act of forgiving someone or something. It is also defined as the attitude of someone who is willing to forgive other people.

Forgiveness comes from the root word forgive.

Forgive (verb) to stop feeling anger toward someone who has done something wrong, to stop blaming someone, to stop feeling anger about something,  and/or to forgive someone for something wrong.

A lot of people find forgiveness to be something that is very hard to do. There are also some people that find forgiveness the be very easy. But, there are those who find themselves stuck in the middle.

So you ask while reading this... Why should we forgive? The fact of the matter is, forgiveness is important. If you refuse to forgive someone, it would literally become a trap of bitterness.  Now if you don't forgive someone, what happens when you see that person again? Do you think about what happened and why you are still mad at them?  Naturally, your blood pressure may begin to rise, you may even become anxious and stressed. Why deal with that? Without forgiving them, you become a slave to those emotions, until you release yourself from them. Forgiveness equals freedom.  Freedom from being bound by someone else's insecurities.  It is freedom from being bound  by their selfish behaviors and their hurt. Essentially, it is imperative that you give yourself the opportunity for your freedom from mental anguish for the rest of your life. So no matter how much of a challenge is to forgive, it's a step you have to take. Don't do it for them, do it for you!!

 
 





Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Sheryl Underwood, what were you thinking???? by Olivia Seymour



I watched the video on YouTube. At first, I didn't think her comment was offensive. After pondering on what she said, I began to feel differently. This is hair of children who are biracial, being discussed. They have a different hair texture from those who have two African American parents. Sharon Osborne asked the question, "What unusual things do we all save?" She was referring to the shows topic of Heidi Klum saving her children's hair as a keepsake. Not only did Sheryl Underwood make a bad decision in the words she chose to say, but she never answered the question that was asked.  Sheryl said, "Why would you save afro hair?", later calling it nasty.  "Why save it, you can't weave it. You don't see us going to the store and asking for it." I am going to comment on all of Sheryl's concerns...

1. Why would you save afro hair? A woman that has straight hair could possibly be fascinated with her children's hair being different from hers.
2.  Why save it, you can't weave it? My mother chose to save a Christmas tree topper I made in Kindergarten. It was what she chose to save, because it had meaning for her, just like Heidi.
3.  You don't see us going to the store and asking for it...... Uh hum..I HAVE!!!! It was an afro drawstring ponytail to be quite frank.  As a matter of fact, I have two!

So, Sheryl, we get it... you are a comedian. What makes things funny from your standpoint, usually has some truth to it or some basis of what some people may have thought at one time, but just didn't say.  But, at the end of the day, referring to afro hair as "nasty" ruffled a few feathers.  Just learn your lesson from this one my love...

xoxo, Olivia



Monday, August 5, 2013

Stylin' on a Budget

Hey family!

I got a visit at the office from a friend of mine who was asking for some help.  She was looking for a way to be stylish, but do it on a budget.... a TIGHT budget.  So, after having a conversation with her, she realized that we could still help her.  The sigh of relief came shortly after. 

I figured this information may potentially help someone else as well.  So, here we go!

Here are some quick tips that I've shared with her about stylin' on a budget

1. Get creative. If you didn't have to invest a lot of money in your clothing, don't be afraid to change it into what you want it to become. Use your imagination to create what works best for you. 

2. Think outside the box. Can you get your hands on a old men's dress shirt? Turn it into a dress! Have an old bed sheet? Turn it into a skirt! There are no limits to what you can do with what you already have.

3.  Have fun with it! I'm sure you are tired of thinking "I can't afford it" or "I can't do this because...".  Use what you have and get what you want.  Don't let excuses limit you. If you have the will, there is always a way.

Here's a quick video where I show you how to create 5 different outfits or only $20!

Check it out.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

What do I do with this hair???

Ok, as you all know, it is hot as Hades this summer in Charleston.  I've started my natural hair journey about 2 years ago this month.  I'm not claiming to be an expert, but I will tell you that I have learned a lot about my hair since my big chop in July 2011. One thing I learned (and did pretty quickly) was that the weather directly effects the condition of your hair.  When the heat, humidity, summer time elements are at its best, it is guaranteed to do a number on your hair. To be honest, it totally zaps it! Well, you are not alone.  My 4c hair was a TOTAL mess last week.  Talk about dryness, breaking, and brittle.  I needed some help ASAP.  So I turned to my Old Faithful Deep Conditioner ( I'll share what I did in a second).

So, one big question may come to mind.


1. Well Sha-Sha, a how do I know what my  hair needs?
2. What's my hair type? 

To answer your first question, Audrey Sivasothy, author of the Science of Black Hair, has a great demonstration on how to be able to tell exactly what your hair needs. To tackle that second question, here's a quick hair type reference I've found helpful







Well, right away, I knew that my hair needed some serious protein.  So I turned to my Old Faithful Deep Conditioner.  Believe this or not, I have always been interested in how things work, why they work, what happens they are combined, putting things together, and analyzing at the outcome.  I guess that explains my science background. But anyway, when I was relaxed, as a teenager I remember going into the kitchen on Saturday mornings to create different mixes and "experiment" with things we already had. This is where I learned to develop skin and hair care regimens for myself. As a result of trial and error, I came up with my Old Faithful Deep Conditioner mix. It's pretty simple. 

  • 2 heaping tablespoons of Dukes Mayonaise 
  • 1 farm fresh egg for every 2 tablespoons of mayo
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Optional 1 teaspoon Avacado Oil
That's it.  Mix until thick, but easy to spread.  If you need more mayo add a bit more, if too thick, add a bit more oil.   It doesn't have to be perfect! If you run out, just repeat the recipe for more.  

My hair literally curled up and became "bouncy" like it had a "wake up call". As I applied the mixture.  I will tell you, the smell of the mixture is, for lack of a better description, not very pleasing (to say the least).  It's quite funky to be honest, but really if you can get over the smell, your hair will get exactly what it needs.  

 The smell literally is the catalist to speed up your application process. Trust me, you'll be fine.  In about 15-20 minutes it will all be over.  This is how I did it

  • I sectioned off my hair in 4 parts
  • Apply the mixture from root to tip with an applicator brush (I had an old one from Sally Beauty Supply I used)
  • Make your way around your entire head.
  • Once complete, rinse out with luke warm water section by section
  • Shampoo with a conditioning shampoo, and finish up your normal wash routine. Apply your moisturizer, leave-in conditioner, and oils that you typically use.  

 
Voila! My Sha-Sha fro came right back to her old bounce and moisture. 
The best moisturizer I've found for styling my hair is Shea Moisture's Curl Enhancing Smoothie.  This is a must have in my bathroom.  It's an all natural product, filled with hair goodness! I absolutely love it.   I will tell you, this 4c hair, can often be a challenge to manage. But honestly, I wouldn't have it any other way.  

What are your staple products that work best for your hair? 
I would love to hear about them in the comments section below.   
xoxo, 
Sha-Sha


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Thoughts of a Fashionista: What's all the fuss about?

I was thinking...

Ok, so I’ve been thinking, and to be quite honest, we need to be more conscious about what we say.   Yes, I said we… that means, you and I both.  But before I get into all of that, I want to ask you to go on this journey with me.  I want to ask you to think about a few things today. It won’t take very long, I promise.  Think about the times when you have been ridiculed and judged to be something that you know you are not.  I want you to think about what you felt like during the times when people just would talk and talk and talk more about you, making assumptions from second hand information, appearances, or other’s opinions before even asking you what you thought.  Lastly, I want you to think about when those people literally threw you under the bus-- left you there to fend for yourself – floating like a ship without a sail…just waiting to see how you would handle things just before you cracked.   


I know that you’ve experienced all of these situations before.  In your past or present, so I’m sure it won’t take long for you to remember when that happened to you.  Didn’t you just want it all to stop? Weren’t you simply just over it already? Could you imagine that happening to you on a national platform?

The crazy thing is, believe it or not, it happens on a national platform every day! Yes, even to you. Whether you like it or not, or whether you know it or not, social media has now become the place where people get their “news”.  So friend, you literally can’t avoid being subjected to it.  When that person “tags” you on Facebook in a picture, or you post a photo on Instagram or where ever, you can trust an believe there is someone is going to have something to say about how you look, what you have on, or whatever.  If you are totally honest with yourself, we are all guilty of the doing that same thing.

So, you may ask, where is all of this coming from? Well, I’ll tell you.  I’m sure you couldn’t help but see it yourself. This actually got me to thinking.  There has been a huge storm of conversation surrounding Megan Good’s royal blue dress at the BET Awards this past Sunday. To be honest, I actually liked the dress (even without seeing the BET Awards, you couldn’t help but see it as soon as I got online the other day).  I have to also admit, if I had a reason or an event to go to where I was on a red carpet, I wouldn’t have any issues with rocking a dress just like that.  But I digress.  People weren’t feverishly talking about the Firemen that selflessly died in the Ariziona wild fire or the staggering statistics recently released regarding the numbers of children who are sold into slavery each year (which are absolutely infuriating) ..Nope! The hot topic that was all in the media after the BET Awards aired was this dress!

Megan Good at 2013 BET Awards

Why is that? There was nothing else to talk about? To be honest, I rarely heard anything about the award show in general.  Were people so chatty only because Megan Good is married to Devon Franklin (who is a successful Hollywood studio Executive and Preacher) or did they have another motive in conversation?  How was her dress misrepresenting her husband? Shouldn’t every wife represent her husband well regardless if he’s a preacher or not?  Quite frankly, he really didn’t seem to mind her dress at all.  What’s the line that is drawn or should there even be one? Is there a box that women who say they believe in God be put in?  Should we only look a “certain way” at events? Are we not supposed to dress in a way that makes us feel confident and strong just because we believe in God?



To be honest, I couldn’t imagine being the topic of a conversation where people all over the nation are throwing stones at me just because they can, just because.  I would be over that real quick! I would be over people making Facebook and Twitter posts that flood the internet about me just because it’s something to do….yeah, you could keep that. 

Like I’ve said many times before, God has a way of speaking directly to a situation if you seek him.  I started thinking about this when something similar happened to me and I was reflecting on mistakes I’ve made in the past. I started thinking about how people have made opinions about me when they don’t even know me or have let alone had a conversation with me for one second.  But I was reassured that we can actually find comfort in knowing “blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.  Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets.” (Matthew 5 10-12).  So when I read that, I said…Ok, God, I’ll let ‘em talk.  I’ll let them go right ahead. 

I say this to you my friend, the facts remain… what you wear doesn’t validate, confirm, or deny your relationship with your God.  Period.  YOUR relationship with God is yours…not what people think it should be or what they think you should look like, or even what they think you should become.  Secondly, your style is also YOUR own.  Again, it is not what people think it should be, what they think you should look like, or what you should become.  If nothing else, be confident, strong, and sure in who you are and what you represent. They are going to have something to say about it regardless right? So, what do you have to lose by being who you authentically are? Be true to yourself and give them something to talk about. But when they do talk, insult you, or falsely say all kinds of evil, let them.  At the end of the day, you’ll get your reward and be blessed by it in the end. 

xoxo, 
Shana



Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Haute Style: What Should I Do With My Hair???



Above is a question that you have probably asked yourself many times...better yet, dare to ask someone else. Trying to figure out what the best style is for you on your wedding day, coupled with the opinions of others can be very nerve racking! No need to sweat! How to sort all of that out? Ask yourself these questions: What’s the shape of my face? Would this hairstyle complement my face shape? Does this style complement the look that I'm going for? Well today LaJule is going to help you figure all that out!  

Remember, love the skin you are in! Let's start with the top, your face. 
Question one was...What’s the shape of your face?
Being able to correctly identify your face shape will definitely help you to define the type of hairstyle you will need for your big day. Here are the three most common and basic face shapes. Here's what to avoid, and what to shoot for.

Round faces: 
Think about a fuller face with soft contours towards the outer edges of your face. The widest point in this type of face is at the cheeks. Most faces that are round have more of a youthful look! I guess having "chubby cheeks" as a child is not too much of a bad thing huh :) Still Puzzled? Think of Cameren Diaz, Fergie, Oprah, Kelly Clarkson, and Catherine Zeta Jones. These ladies all have a round faces.  As you may notice these ladies love their long bobs, shoulder length hair styles, asymmetrical long or side swept bangs. These styles fit your face best. Avoid bob cuts that stop right at the chin.  This will make you look like an apple with a wig on. Cuts with layers will help elongate the face.  Target those styles.





Square:
If you have a square-shaped face, you have a strong, angular jaw line. If your face has equal proportions vertically as well as horizontally then you’re square shape. There is also a distinct square line at the forehead.  Your beauty is strong and pronounced...let's put that smile right out there.  Some of the most recognized beauties are Demi Moore, Jada Pinkett Smith, Keira Knightley, Sandra Bullock.  They all have square faces. Long loose waves, layered bobs, and side swept bangs, best will compliment your face. Think:  lovely, and loose. Long straight hair will have a tendency to show the pronounced features of the face more.  If you want to soften it up a bit, these ladies can frame and soften the face with a short bob stopping at the chin.  It rounds the face a bit creating that soft supple look that highlights those amazing cheek bones of yours.







































Oval:
This face shape can be very versatile! These people have a slightly narrower jaw line with only a slight roundness at the hairline.  You ladies can wear almost any hairstyle. Just be careful, with a bad haircut, your face can start to look too long. High cheekbones allow the versatility with your hair.  These gorgeous ladies have your same face shape! If your face tends to look too long, a bang or some side swept bangs help to break of the face a bit and combat it from looking too long.  You can even play with a edgy short cut.  Rihanna, Camilla Belle, Tyra Banks are true oval shapes. Long, short, waves...your face loves them all. I would avoid high ponytails that at at the crown of the head...that creates even more length to the face.....you don't want too much of a good thing.
                                                                         Taylor Swift

Ok, ok, since you asked...I'll throw in a bonus. You Heart shape faces:
I honestly think of you ladies like I do an oval shape lady.  Having long layers where the waves start right below the chin really works great with this gals.  It helps to fill out the "point" of the heart and soften the features a bit.  I would avoid any dramatics starting at the top of the head...unless it's kept to a minimum..

 

Hope this helps...muah! 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Haute Style: Wedding Day Eye Do's and Eye Don'ts

Ok ladies, I know it is the season for everything bridal. As the spring flower bloom, love is in the air and there are going to be lots of weddings to attend...maybe even your own.  Because I'm thinking about you, I'm going to share some quick Do's and Don'ts regarding your eye makeup that you can use to help make your wedding day even more special ( and I'm going to throw in a couple extra bonuses).

 Let's get into the EYE DO's EYE DON'Ts!!
Where's my veil?
Where's my shoes?
What time is it?
How is my make up?
Is my hair flat? I'm a girl, I get it...these are the questions that are going to be running through your head on your wedding day. But RELAX! We have your back.
Theses are some of the common questions that you may, well, you will find yourself asking anyone and everyone that can give you an answer these questions.  But it is imperative that you STOP and BREATHE. Remember: It's one of the most special days of your life. No matter what happens it will be okay. Trust me. So let's start at the beginning and we'll give you the guide to everything bridal over the next few weeks.  Since your eyes are the keys to your soul, we are going to make sure they look their best right along with everything else.  I'm going to give you my top 4 DO's and the top 3 DON'Ts especially when it comes to eye makeup on your wedding day.


EYE DOs!

Test different make-up artists
*Not everyone can or will understand your taste or your style. Be willing to try different looks and styles of make up before your big day. Do the test run.


The Dark Knight
You want to get plenty of REST the night before! You want to avoid tired eyes and dark circles.  Let your planner plan, let the florist be a florist...essentially, let others help you.  You should be relaxed, calm, and well rested.  But, if you just have too many things going on in your head the night before, make sure you have your concealer on hand and ready to make an appearance over those dark circles. Just make sure you have the correct colors and the proper blend to your makeup...

Lights, Camera, shine! NOT!
 Use matte eye shadow they don't reflect or look too shiny. You want to look put together, not painted.


Polished and Perfect
Blend well paying close attention to the corner of the eye because cameras pick-up visible make up lines. You want to look as natural as possible.

















EYE DON'Ts!

Last Minute Lashes
Don't wear false lashes unless you are 100% comfortable and 200% sure they are not going to move.  The last thing you want is to be the girl with the lashes that look more tired than you are at the end of the night!



Picture Perfect
Try to tone it down! Too much glitz,glow,and glitter can turn your makeup into a very bad drag-ish mess in 2.5 seconds flat!

Smokey Oaks
Wearing dark shadows like charcoal, black, and dark browns that are not blended properly may cause you to look tired or even punched in the face (NOT CUTE)!! If you want to go for a more sultry smoky eye, make sure you have someone who does this technique well.  Pairing a smokey eye with a nude lip helps to give balance to the face...But, don't get caught in the shuffle or looking confused on how to make that happen...
 











Remember its your day, If you are saying "I do" make sure you follow the "Eye Do's" as well.. especially if your groom are going to be staring at you while you are giving those vows....

Do have fun and Don't worry and enjoy one of the most memorable days of your life.  xoxo



Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Haute Style: Flash Backs

It’s the 70’s RETRO (PER)SPECTIVE

Food, Film and Fashion have always held hands as intertwined creative forces. Today, we’re leaving food behind for the day, and talking Film and Fashion! The two entities are often a merged product of time, space, and inspiration.  So, color-block me verklempt to feel that the hottest designers are as excited as I am to gain fashion inspiration from the era that keeps on keepin’ on!

2013, as was 2010, 2011, and 2012 is back to the future to 1970’s fashion.  The 70’s are timeless.  Designers such as Marc Jacobs, Carolina Herrera, Versace, Gucci, Rachel Roy, Tommy Hilfiger, Tory Burch, and one of my all-time favs, the incomparable DVF, Diane von Furstenberg have upgraded the Bohemian Oeuvre to premier levels of sophistication; the Disco Queen personifies Luxe; and the Lady Fox is timelessly Über Chic.  Sub-, Un-, or more often Consciously, designers have drawn inspiration from such fashion character icons of 1970’s cinema as Diane Keaton as Annie Hall, Diana Ross as Mahogany, Faye Dunnaway as Laura Mars, Pam Grier as Foxy Brown, and Jody Foster in Taxi Driver

Who knew forty+ years ago that the 70’s were here to stay!  I did!

When you think of Annie Hall.  Wait, you HAVE seen Annie Hall, haven’t you?!  If you haven’t, immediately add it to your Netflix queue.  Know you will be blown away by the confidence of Diane Keaton’s ease in the “boyfriend look”.  Do as Annie does this upcoming season: think layering of blazers, vests, loose trousers, long skirts, brogue wedges, and boots.  Don’t forget Annie’s signature tie, and you’re well on your way. 


Pam Grier?  Exceptional.  What more can I say?!  Forever THE quintessential 70’s IT Girl!  THAT wardrobe with so much talent, body-ody-ody, attitude, and STYLE!  Never a wardrobe malfunction; Sista wore that Fro!  Grier’s versatility of style was uncompromising, confident, and secure.  Casually, Grier’s flared pants, midriff tops, billowy hair, and platform shoes aren’t at all dated.  Not today.



It may be that most women don’t think, “I wanna dress like a 14-year-old prostitute from the ‘70s” – HA!  However, it must be said that Jodie Foster’s look as Iris Steensma in “Taxi Driver” is a true inspiration.  Marc Jacobs has been bringing sexy back through the casual fire of crop tops, high-waist short shorts, platform sandals, and big floppy hat. 
Who doesn’t love a BIG floppy hat?!   Effortless glamour on a hot sultry day is what’s happening TODAY!





Diana Ross will forE-V-A and always be Mahogany! You are not allowed to call yourself a fashionista, or a diva if you have not seen this movie … at least twice.  As a part of the creative costume design team for this movie, Ms. Ross does the Damned thing.  The wardrobe in this movie is electric!  The ‘wider-the-better brimmed hats’, sleek hair, draping for days, juxtaposed color blocking, and fur accents! In the 70’s Ms. Ross was a revelation! In 2013 … You better WERK!!!!!VERSACE!


The Eyes of Laura Mars stars Faye Dunnaway as a New York fashion photographer.  There is intrigue, super natural phenomena, and one hell of a closet.  Faye embodied suspense, a darker side to allure.  In an on camera wardrobe of predominantly camel shades, Faye Dunaway is CHIC CHIC CHIC. Tory Burch brings it home this year with movement!


Right on!
Can you dig it?
We certainly dig it!
It’s all Groovy!