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Sunday, December 31, 2017

Kombucha Champagne Recipe
with SUJA

*I've partnered with Suja on this content but let's keep it real, we all know I'm obsessed with my Suja juices + kombucha LOL*

I'm not going to make this an elaborate Blog post because I'm sure you are here for only ONE reason... the Kombucha Champagne recipe.  It's ridiculously simple to create and taste AMAZING!  Head to your nearest Target and grab some Suja Kombucha in the refrigerated aisle.  They have sales on these all the time but even when they're not on sale, $3.99 a bottle is not much at all.  I've tried this cocktail with all three of the flavors: Peach, Ginger, Green and they all tastes great so choose whatever flavor you want really.  Next, you're going to grab a bottle of that bubbly (Prosecco) and make sure it's one you've tried and like.  You don't want tart/bad champagne to ruin the drink!

Now it's time to pour up!  This is the easy part... Pour 2 parts Kombucha + 1 part Prosecco for each glass.  I prefer to share this recipe in parts so you are able to alter the amount for any size glass you're pouring into.  You can garnish with some cranberries or sprigs of thyme/rosemary to make it all fancy looking.  Other than that, you're good to go!  Tell me that wasn't the easiest (and most delicious) cocktail you've ever made.  Thank me later.
Thursday, November 30, 2017

Last Minute Holiday Party Style
with Mielle Organics

Whether we want to accept it or not, we are at that time of the year again... the Holidays!  Every week there seems to be some sort of Holiday Shindig that we don't have time for but we attend out of courtesy.  And the nerve, some happen to be on the weekdays!  Who has time for that?  I know I don't and I work from home chile.  Luckily there are a few go to styles I keep in my back pocket for these occasions and they only take about 30 minutes or less.

The Half Up-Half Down style is so classic and is perfect for everyone but little girls especially.  If your daughter's hair isn't bone straight, no worries, that's not necessary.  You will need the Sacha Inchi Curl Enhancing Cream from Mielle Organics just to add some moisture back into the hair prior to heat styling.  Next, grab the Mongongo Oil Style Setting Spray and the Honey & Ginger Styling Gel + Edge Gel.  Use the Style Setting Spray to do a rough blowout of the hair prior to styling.  Don't worry if the hair isn't super straight because that's not the look we're going for!  Next take the Styling and Gel + Edge Gel and apply it to the edges to do the ponytail.  I like to use just a little gel prior to the edge gel because they work great together in giving a super neat look.  Last, we're going to take large chunks of hair and Wand Curl them.  Again, don't worry about being super precise... we're going for effortless waves, not perfection.

It's just that easy.  If you want to be a little extra (and who doesn't?), grab a cute headband and throw it on!  Baby girl is ready to go and no one knows that this took you less than 30 minutes to achieve.  Of course, if you have a little more time you can skip the heat and use flexirods instead.  For this, I would recommend the Babassu Oil Curl Mousse to set overnight!  One thing I'm not going to do is let these Holiday Events stress me the hell out.  That's what I have three kids and a husband for.  Am I right?!  Hope this quick style comes in handy + if you do happen to use it, don't forget to tag us!

Let's chat soon.  XOXOMCS

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Get Your Wallets Out
The Sephora Sale is BACK

As I fumbled to share my favorite products on Instagram Stories the other night, I realized that sharing here on my Blog might be a better platform.  It would have taken a cute 50 Instagram Story frames (or more) to really share everything.  15 seconds is just not enough, can we get 30 already Instagram?!  Or would that be too long??  Nevermind.  Anyways, the Sephora Sale is BACK and they're not being stingy with the discount like they have been in previous years (major shade).  20% off is a decent discount, especially when there are no limitations like there are at Ulta (shade again).

Let's get into this list.  Now I really only included my favorite products that it would be nice to get 20% off of.  No I didn't include anything on the lower end of the price spectrum because if you've been waiting all year to save $2 then your ass doesn't need to be at this sale.  That's real talk (no shade at all).

CLARISONIC MIA FIT:  I've tried all different types of face cleansing devices and the Clarisonic is by far my favorite for exfoliation.  As an oily/acne prone skin girl, exfoliation is definitely something I need on a regular basis so I  live by my Clarisonic.  I bought my first Clarisonic over 7 years ago (read my initial Blog post here) and I    still love + have one now!!  If that doesn't tell you it's a must buy product, I don't know what does.

ALGENIST COMPLETE EYE RENEWAL BALM:   If you're reading this then you need to be using eye cream!  LOL.  I've gone through quite a few different eye creams + I've only stuck with this one because I notice a difference.  It does a great job at smoothing those under eye lines and while it does help with darkness, this part takes time.  Just being honest.  For me, applying this daily is like applying moisturizer to my under eye area... it can't be skipped!

GLAMGLOW SUPERCLEANSE: This is a new produced I recently added to my stash but I'm obsessed with it.  If you've ever tried the SuperMud Clearing Treatment mask in the white jar (kind of a cult fave), then this cleanser is pretty similar.  Think, a SuperMud cleanser... a little messy but 100% worth it!

ORIGINS PLANTSCRIPTION ANTI-AGING POWER SERUM: Another new one to the arsenal but definitely a heavy hitter.  I love that I can use this night or day.  It's absorbs really well into my skin and plumps it right up.  Within days I saw an improvement in my skin's texture and it seems to be helping in balancing my oily t-zone and dry patches.

SUNDAY RILEY U.F.O. ULTRA CLARIFYING FACE OIL:  GIRL.  If you are acne-prone then this oil needed to be in your arsenal like yesterday!  It's amazing and works FAST.  I tend to only use at night or on days where I'm wearing no makeup because oil under makeup doesn't work for me.  Hi, oily skin girl here FYI.  But I do get the occasional bump on my face so when I feel it forming under the skin, I break this bad boy out + slather my face.  WORKS EVERY SINGLE TIME.

ALGENIST POWER RECHARGING NIGHT PRESSED SERUM:  First of all, this smells like unicorns + angels.  Now that I've gotten that out the way, it's one of my favorite "final" products to use in my nighttime skincare routine.  It legit feels like my skin is drinking this stuff up every time I    apply it.  Immediately your skin looks better after applying and when you wake up in the morning, it makes you do that double take in the mirror because you can't believe how great your skin looks just overnight.  It's pricey but one of those items that's worth every penny.

ORIGINS ORIGINAL SKIN MATTE MOISTURIZER:  Origins sent me this product towards the end of the Summer and I totally wish I had when Summer started.  It has this cooling gel texture when applied that immediately sinks into your skin leaving it so smooth and matte.  But, not overly matte to where your skin becomes irritated because I hate those mattifying products.  If you have oily skin, it's hard finding the right moisturizer that doesn't feel too heavy but also does it's job at moisturizing.  Try this one, I bet it will be Holy Grail.  Thank me later.
GLAM GLOW VOLCASMIC MATTE GLOW MOISTURIZER:  You ever buy a product, love it but then forget all about it because you keep buying more products?  That was this product for me, LOL. Not sure how I kept forgetting about it because it smells like Fruity Pebbles and for a straight week I was obsessed with it!  The product in the container is a tad solid but it then melts into your skin and makes it feel INCREDIBLE.  I love wearing this under makeup because while it helps to mattify, it also gives your super matte makeup this soft glow.

NARS VELVET MATTE FOUNDATION STICK:  I will start off by saying YOU NEED THIS.  It's not the best foundation for super oily skin like mine but it's sooooo good that I don't care.  Coverage is medium but buildable to full coverage.  The formula is silky and just goes on so well... similar to how the Velvet Matte Liquid Foundation feels if you've ever tried that.  If you need to touch up makeup while you're out then this is the perfect product to bring along since it has it's own sponge on the other end of the stick.  I throw it in my bag for every event I attend because it's an easy touch up... go ahead and throw it in your bag too.

MAKE UP FOREVER ULTRA HD FOUNDATION:  I'm not sure I've ever used a more lightweight, full coverage foundation EVER.  Using this with a Beauty Blender isn't even possible because the sponge almost soaks up all the foundation since it's so thin in consistency.  You're probably starting to notice that every product I'm recommending is for women with my skin type... OILY/ACNE PRONE!  #facts  The line has a crazy number of foundation shades so finding yours may take a little time but you WILL find it.

NARS SUNWASHED DIFFUSING BRONZER:  Have you tried to contour and messed shit all the way up?  I'm talking about you just look like a dirty + muddy mess.  I'll be the first to admit this was one of the reasons I stopped contouring!  This bronzer is such a sheer and buildable glory.  It makes it nearly impossible to mess up the process of warming the perimeters of your face.  We'll just call this the "Impossible to Mess up Bronzer".  If you're a pro then you might be not be interested in this but for us natural makeup girls who don't really "beat our face", this product is perfect!

MARC JACOBS ANGLED BLUSH BRUSH:  I understand that it states "Blush Brush" in its name but thats not what I use it for!  For me, this is the perfect contour brush because of the angle and density of it.  It's funny because I've never even used it as a blush brush.  LOL.  Call me a rebel I     guess but it's the best damn contouring brush I've used... also the most expensive but definitely THE BEST.

Now go on, shop and be merry!  If you have any questions, ask me below but whatever you do, don't let these items sell out.  I'll share with you all what I actually purchased next week!  Happy Sephora Sale Shopping.

Let's chat soon.  XOXOMCS.
Sunday, November 5, 2017

#SallyBeautyDC Influencer Pop-Up

First off, if you ever get an invitation to attend an event hosted by Sally Beauty, GO!  You will NEVER be disappointed because they always go above + beyond.  This is my second Sally Beauty event that I attended, the first being in New Orleans.  Both times I received invitations and had no idea what to expect.  I'm dead serious.  It seems like they want you to be pleasantly surprised when you arrive so they give out very little details prior to.  This event did NOT disappoint at all.  From the swanky venue at The Fathom Gallery in DC, to the gorgeous outdoor deck, to the open bar, to the amazing flower wall + photo station.  When was the last time you were at a photo booth with 5-6 umbrella lights PLUS a ring light.  You might think that's extra but for Sally Beauty, it's standard.

Once I arrived at the space,  I was given a run down of what to expect throughout the evening.  In addition to the food, drinks and dope stations... there would also be a few demos and a panel.  Not going to lie, whenever I hear panel I roll my eyes because the information tends to be redundant when it comes to hair (for me at least).  Boy was I WRONG!  During the demo, Monica Stevens (@moknowshair) shared the importance of choosing a Ceramic flat iron over a Titanium one.  Two words, HEAT DAMAGE.  I don't know about you, but I didn't know that before she told me.  Then on the panel, the stylists (Gregory Patterson, Maria Antoinette and Monica Stevens) explained the importance of washing your hair and not replacing shampoo with Cowashing.  Again, I was ready to roll my eyes until they began talking about how hormones can affect hair growth and hair loss.  The hormone DHT can build up on the scalp if not frequently cleansed and begin to cause hair loss.  This is one of the reasons why it's important to not only shampoo but shampoo frequently.  Lord, my mouth was wide open because this was all new to me.  Sometimes I go a good two weeks without washing my hair out of pure laziness.  Not anymore!

Maria (@themariaantoinette) + Yolanda (@etcblogmag)

LISTEN.  Thank you Sally Beauty for having me + sharing the knowledge!!  Oh and the Swag was ridiculous.  Check out that picture (below).  ALL full size products from brands like: Eden BodyWorks, Cantu, Silk Elements, Ion and Col.lab!  I said what I said... If Sally Beauty invites you somewhere, GO.

Let's chat later. XOXOMCS.
Friday, November 3, 2017

Space Buns FTW with:
Mielle Organics

Every year Kennedy asks me to wear her Halloween costume to school if Halloween falls on a school day.  She also asks to wear it to bed but that's not what this Blog Post is about.  The idea of children running around school in costumes just doesn't sit right with me.  I mean,  I can't take school serious if I'm sitting next to Chewbaka... it's just not going to happen.  So I figure, her not going to school in costume is one less distraction in class.  And, BAM!  I've saved the day.  Not really, but it makes me feel so much better inside.  Anywho, this year I decided it wouldn't be the worst thing for her to be a little festive so I gave her some colorful space buns using a combination of products from the Mielle Organics Tiny + Tots and the Original line.  The style was super easy to do + Kennedy loved it.


We used a good amount of products because it was also Wash Day for Kennedy so we don't actually use ALL of these products when styling her hair.  For the Wash Process we used the Tiny + Tots Sacha Inchi Cleansing Shampoo, Babassu + Mint Deep Conditioner (original line) and the Tiny + Tots Sacha Inchi Detangling Conditioner.  What I absolutely love about the entire Mielle Organics line is the ability to mix + match products as I need them.  If Kennedy was a baby, I would likely only use the kids line on her but she's not + she has more hair than myself so it's sometimes necessary for me to step outside the "kids" box with her.  I'm really glad I did in this case because that Babbasu + Mint Deep Conditioner from the Mielle Organics original line worked wonders in her hair.  Left her hair SO soft, manageable AND moisturized.  Just as I suspected, the Tiny + Tots Sacha Inchi Shampoo + Detangling Conditioner allowed for easy detangling and left her hair super soft.  One of the reasons I love wash products catered to children... they usually provide incredible slip.

Now for styling, I used the Mielle Organics Mint Almond Oil on her scalp, Moisturizing Avocado Hair Milk to stretch her hair while Blow Drying, Honey + Ginger Styling Gel to slick her hair back in ponytails, the Flexible Hold Edge Gel to clean up her edges and the Tiny + Tots Sacha Inchi Curl Enhancing Cream to add moisture to her twist.  I know it seems like a lot but I promise it really isn't because I use small amounts of everything so her hair doesn't get weighed down.  Check the video out below to see exactly how this style came together.

Now you can skip the part where we added glitter spray and temporary hair color obviously.  We did it to jazz up the style + add some fun to it.  Currently MY favorite product for her is the Tiny + Tots Sacha Inchi Curl Enhancing Cream.  GIRL.  This. Stuff.  Is.  BOMB.  The product is thick and a little goes a long way.  Now HER favorite product is the Mint Almond Oil because she suffers from dry itchy scalp especially in the winter.  She loves to apply this to her scalp at night and then do a nice little scalp massage.  And when I say "she loves to apply this...",  I mean, she loves to ask me to apply this.  LMAO.  Let's keep it all the way real!

Hope you enjoyed this breakdown of Kennedy's latest style.  Let us know if you have any questions!!

Let's Chat soon.  XOXOMCS.
Saturday, October 28, 2017

A Bully Cut My Daughter's Hair:
What We Learned From This Experience

We hear the word bully used everywhere these days.  It's almost as if bullies just emerged out of nowhere but let's not forget, bullies have always been around.  What's the difference now?  How they are bullying is getting to be more + more serious each year.  As a family, we never really had a problem with bullies.  We told our children to "ignore" mean kids and they will go away.  I'm sure that's a common statement many parents tell their kids and sometimes it works.  But in a case where another child comes at your child with scissors, then what?!  Certainly we're not going to ignore it!!

Most of us Moms have received that phone call from the school that starts off with "Hi Mrs. Horn, your child is fine, I just called to let you know...".  It's intended to calm a parent because the school doesn't call you regularly so when they do, we immediately think the worse.  Especially in this world we live in.  Unfortunately as the conversation went on, it was clear that this teacher was way more calm than I needed her to be... "one of the students in class cut off an insignificant amount of hair on Taylor's head.  Everyone is fine.  I wanted to call and inform you in case Taylor came home upset".  Insignificant?  INSIGNIFICANT?!  First of all, scissors are considered a weapon.  So, what you're telling me is that another student came at my child with a weapon and you're JUST calling me in case Taylor comes home upset?

When I say, I couldn't get dressed fast enough to drive up to that school...  To this day, I can't remember why my husband was home from work but I'm convinced God knew that I would need to be calmed down.  I hung up with the teacher and called the principal immediately in which I was told that they were proctoring state exams.  Obviously I was in that 'spiraling out of control' Mom mode and hearing that the Principal was too busy to tend to this situation just angered me even more.   Next up, time to go to the school.  My husband questioned a million times why we were heading to the school if the Principal was busy.  My answer "we'll wait..."!  Long story short, we spoke with the Principal and the "bully" was suspended for several days.  Although I did get the impression that nothing would've happened had we not cared enough to address it.

DISCLAIMER:  Taylor Big Chopping was already planned prior to this incident.
What happened with Taylor?  Glad you asked. She came home un-phased.  It actually was a very small piece of hair (think a piece of frizz) that was cut... doesn't matter though.  Furthermore, she seemed upset that we had gone to the school and spoken with the Principal.  She was concerned that the girl and her friends would become retaliatory and tease her for "telling".  You see, Taylor had been ignoring these girls bullying her since she started at the school.  They made fun of the way she dressed, how she acted and even how she talked.  She took our advice that we had always given and ignored the girls.  Where we failed as parents is not sharing with her WHEN she should get help.  WHEN to say something because it's going too far.  Taylor shared that these girls giggled and talked about her (they sat right behind her) almost everyday and she just ignored them.  When asked if the teacher knew or heard them, Taylor said the whole class heard them so it would only makes sense that the teacher knew and did nothing.  Hence the teacher's laid back demeanor when calling me about the INSIGNIFICANT incident.  It was clear to me that it was time to update our ancient parenting tips we had given them as toddlers and so we did.

We do our best as parents to teach our children to be kind to others.  Respect your friends, Keep your hands to yourself, Stick + Stones may break your bones but words will never hurt you.  But words do hurt and sometimes those words turn to actions.  It's important that our children KNOW (not think) we are in their corner for situations like this.  Remember way back in the day, the phrase "Ooooh, Imma tell my Momma...", would be a serious threat?!  Let's bring that back.  This entire situation taught us that the lessons we may have taught our children years ago need to be dusted off and refreshed from time to time.  All of our children now know that they don't have to fight battles by themselves.  Mom will always be here to run up into someone's school and Dad will always be here to be a voice of reason so Mom doesn't get arrested.

If you want to know more about how this incident played out once the student returned from suspension + the school year continued, let me know below.  Maybe we'll do a video or go Live on Instagram.

Until next time.  XOXOMCS.
Friday, October 27, 2017

Lunchbox Chronicles:
Stonyfield® Organic YoKids® yogurt


A big thank you to Stonyfield® Organic YoKids® yogurt for sponsoring this blog post! This year started off with me promising Kennedy that I would make lunch for her everyday. A few weeks into the school year, that was adjusted to every other week and she would buy lunch on the off weeks. We are currently taking lunch on a "if Mommy remembers" basis. Certainly, it's a far jump from the greatest intentions I had at the beginning of the school year. But that's okay, there's plenty of time for
me to get back on track!

What I've come to realize is that this Super Mom needs assistance from pre-packaged items that I can just throw in her lunchbox. Pre-cut veggies or fruits, bagged cookies/crackers and yogurt has been our favorite snacks so far. On the regular we buy Stonyfield® Organic YoKids® yogurt for the kids to eat as a snack after school or after dinner so it's a plus that the packaging makes it easy for Kennedy to take to school as well. Buying the pouches, cups, smoothies, or Squeezers makes it super easy for her to consume without a mess since a spoon is not needed. Bonus is knowing that I won't be getting a side eye for sending her to school with anything less than the best, especially since Stonyfield recently announced a sugar reduction in their yogurt products that started with YoKids and features between 25% - 40% less sugar than the leading kids’ yogurt.

The road to being consistent in this "Lunchbox Life" hasn't been easy but I'm finding ways to make it less stressful day to day. Stonyfield® Organic YoKids® yogurts are a great addition to the lunchbox + your girl, Kennedy, is loving them! Tip: definitely only add to an insulated lunchbox with an icepack so the yogurt stays fresh until lunch. Anyways, I've shared my little helpers + tips... share yours below! Do your children take lunch to school or buy? Help a Mom out...

Until next time... XOXOMCS

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Stonyfield® Organic YoKids®.
Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Easiest Dairy Free Nacho Cheese Recipe

I've been making this Nacho Cheese pretty often ever since I realized how easy it was.  Soaking nuts overnight is optional and depending on who is eating it (just me or the entire family), I can alter the heat in it by adding more Chipotle Peppers.  We love dipping Sweet Potato Wedges in it but it's perfectly fine with some chips or even veggies.  Scroll down + see how easy this one is... you will probably end up making this tonight!  LOL.

If you are making this in advance, feel free to soak your raw cashews overnight.  This will soften them up to make the cheese sauce as smooth as possible.  If this is a last minute thing, no worries, I got you!  Throw those raw cashews into a pot, cover with water and bring to a boil.  Once the water begins to boil, turn off the fire and let the cashews sit for about 15 minutes.

Vitamix E310

For this recipe, I'll be using my new Vitamix E310 that was gifted to me (thank you Vitamix!) as it has ALL the power you need to get this done in less than 2 minutes.  In the blender, combine all of your ingredients... Softened Cashews, Seasoning Mix (salt, chili powder, black pepper, nutritional yeast), Water and (1) Chipotle Pepper.

Slowly increase the speed on the blender until the texture is nice + smooth like nacho cheese.  Since using the new E310, I have not had to bang or shake the container when making things but feel free to do a little jiggling + jabbing if your blender has any trouble.  Once the consistency is to your liking, you're done!  Feel free to tweak this to your own taste but don't forget to come back + share so we can try it too.  Pour + Enjoy.

EXTRA:  Take (2) large Sweet Potatoes and cut them into a wedges.  On a baking sheet, spread them out so that they aren't touching each other.  Drizzle about (1) tbsp of Olive Oil over the wedges, Sprinkle about (1) tsp of Salt + (1) tsp of pepper.  Want some fun?  Opt to sprinkle (1) tbsp of Old Bay over the Sweet Potatoes instead of Salt + Pepper.  Man, this is some kind of delicious.  Bake on 425 for about 20-30 minutes depending on how thick the wedges are.  Dip + Enjoy.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

I Want To Be An Influencer

I know my crew has been asking for this post for a while now but honestly, I didn't feel like I had been through enough to speak on this topic.  Now that it has been a full three years of getting paid to "Influence" as a Blogger, sharing my insights and tips seems like the right thing to do.  Everyone is at different phases of "starting" so I will try to address a few of them while providing tips to progress each phase.  I don't want this post to be pages long so I've decided to expand this conversation into multiple posts.  You won't get a full blueprint by reading all of the posts, but you will get an outline + hopefully some direction.

Jumping into Phase 1: I want to be an Influencer but I don't have a Blog or YouTube channel yet and all of my Social Media is loaded with pictures of my family.  The first question I have for you is, why do you want to be an Influencer?  I ask this because when a person truly 'wants' something, they can't help but integrate that passion into their daily life.  The fact that you haven't started a Blog or YouTube channel even just to share with your friends + family on Facebook makes me question if you want to be an Influencer for the right reasons. Would you want to be an Influencer if there was no money or products involved?  I know, you're probably laughing right now but I'm so serious.  The majority of Bloggers + Influencers you see today started when no one was checking for them.  Products were being purchased with their own coin + shared with people they went to school with + followed them to be nice.  Though these were rough years for them, it's how they were able to build their authentic following.  And guess what?  Brands only want to work with you based on your authenticity + your following.   You can't be hella authentic with 10 followers and you can't have 100K followers and be fake AF.  Balance.  So I recommend you evaluate why you haven't 'started' doing anything to follow this path you love so much.  Start doing 'something' even if it means curating images of the products your family uses.  If you've only posted pictures of little Ray Ray then start sharing what products you use on little Ray Ray.  That could be your specialty... Family Blogging.  Once you start then you'll be ready to move on to one of the phases below.

Phase 2:  I have a great following on all of my Social Media platforms but brands never approach me about collaborating.  This is actually all too common, especially for those who recently graduated college.  Whenever you post a picture you tag every brand that can be seen including your panties.  Believe me, the brands are seeing this and scrolling right past.  You are not sharing an experience.  It's like you waving someone down and then when they finally come over, you have nothing to say.  Clean up your feeds and become more intentional about your content.  There's nothing wrong with posting a picture and tagging brands but instead of sharing an image of your newly redecorated bedroom with every brand tagged, caption reading: "I wanna put you to bed..." (J. Cole referenced)  Try referencing the products/brands you love the most about this new space + why you love them!  Before I move on to the next phase, I want to ask you how many brands have you reached out to via email?  Theres fifty eleven people trying to become Influencers every day.  Brands can't keep up and they surely can't find each and every person that may be a right fit for them.  Sometimes YOU have to be the go-getter.  Find their PR email and introduce yourself because if you're waiting for them to find you then you might be waiting longer than you need to.

Phase 3:  I just want free products, I'm not trying to work this into a business or anything.  My advice to you is start entering giveaways.  I'm dead serious!  Believe it or not, there will always be a certain amount of work required even to receive free products.  Look at these people receiving free products left + right, their feeds are impeccably curated + they're hella creative.  Brands want to know that there's a chance their products will end up on one of these gorgeous feeds.  They don't want their product stuck between a picture of some janky meme + the food at your niece's graduation cook out.  It takes time to photograph those products WELL + share a story that your audience will relate to.  So if you really just want products, I'm sorry to tell you that it will take creating a space that brands will want to be highlighted in.  It will take intention, creativity and lots of work!  I will be the first to tell you that when I get lazy and don't feel like posting to my Blog or Social Media, nobody sends me anything.  Real talk.  It does take a certain amount of 'work'.

Hope you enjoyed the first of several Blog posts dedicated to the many who are interested in this lifestyle.  I understand that while some may be ready to risk it all + quit their job at this moment that there are others who just want a side hustle which is why I provided the different phases.  Stay tuned as we continue to move through the various steps you can take towards this path.  In the meantime, figure out which phase you're in and define your goal.

Until next time XOXOMCS.
Monday, October 2, 2017

Pumpkin Spice Energy Balls

Pumpkin Energy Balls

I've made so many different variations of this Energy Ball but this is by far my fave.  For those that have been waiting, please know that I have been tweaking my little life away.  Not to be confused with twerking my little life away.  Huge difference!  Many Energy Balls have been consumed in your honor.  For the longest, they were coming out way too sweet but I finally have a snack that's sweet enough for the kids but not overly sweet for adults.  They take a good 15 minutes to make and if you can hold off on eating them all, they do best when put in the refrigerator or freezer until firm.  Try them + let me know what you think!  Oh, and don't hesitate to alternate ingredients to suit your diet or just switch things up (like adding nuts or grains).

Mix everything in a bowl thoroughly.  Use a tablespoon and grab a nice amount to begin rolling into balls.  The mixture should be solid enough for you to do so but if it's not, just place it in the fridge for about 15 minutes or so.  It will be sticky when you're rolling but if you find that it's too sticky then sprinkle more oats until you can reasonably roll the mixture into balls.  This should make approximately 10-15 Energy Balls (depending on size).  If you're interested in "making them look pretty" then roll the Balls in Coconut Flakes before refrigerating.  They don't last long in my house (maybe 2-3 days max) but they should last in the fridge for about a week or less and in the freezer for quite some time (I haven't tested this option yet because they don't last that long).

This recipe is super duper easy, I told you!  Keep an eye out for even more recipes that are just as easy as this one.


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

5 Ways I Use My Clarisonic

clarisonic smart profile

I've been raving about my Clarisonic for a while now.  Since, 2011 to be exact.  (check the receipts here)  It without doubt is one of the key components that helped clear my acne back then.  I still use it now in my skincare routine for many different reasons: Cleansing, Makeup, Body Exfoliation, Mask Removal + Skincare Absorption.  The one thing that I've loved about my device, is that over the years I've been able to buy new brush heads but haven't needed to buy a new device.  Recently, Clarisonic gifted me the Smart Profile device but my Clarisonic Pro had lasted me 5 years and was still working!  Initially I paid $250 for my Clarisonic Pro in 2011 and I gave it to my sister in 2016... now, that's what I call an investment.

clarisonic, urban skin rx, tgin, iman cosmetics, origins

Moving along...

1.  I use my device daily for cleansing, duh!  This is probably the most common use for it and for me daily use is necessary with my super oily + acne prone skin.  I know a lot of people can only use it every other day or every few days.  I recommend doing what's best for you or switching brush heads if you want to use it more.  Currently, I'm using the Sensitive Skin brush head for cleansing.  I use an Urban Skin RX Cleansing Bar with my Clarisonic device at least once a day + they've work great together at keeping my acne at bay.

2.  Unless you've been under a rock then you probably heard about the Foundation Brush that Clarisonic released this year.  It's a game changer.  Before this release, I had been eyeing other devices that worked similarly but never pulled the trigger because it just sucked having to buy yet another device.  In steps Clarisonic like... nah girl, we got you!  Changing the brush head is super duper easy.  Same goes for cleaning the brush head.  And as far as performance, you have never seen flawless application of foundation until you've used this.  It takes my face from a 7 to a 10 every single time.  Do I use it daily?  No (just being honest) because I'm not going for a flawless look daily but I definitely notice the difference (just being honest again).  For a cute $35, you might as well see what all the hype is about.

3.  It's summer time and we're all out here trying to get as Golden as possible in this here sun.  Don't get caught looking all patchy though... Body Exfoliation is necessary.  Most of us use a scrub to do the job which is nice and all but wouldn't you like to experience the finer things in life?!  *totally sarcastic* LMAO.  But seriously, its just so easy to switch out the brush heads and just use my Clarisonic to exfoliate versus adding yet another product to my shower routine.  Sometimes it seems like there's so much to do in the shower that it's time for me to take another shower by the time I finish showering.  I'm all about minimizing (IF I CAN) and my Clarisonic + brush heads let me do just that.  I like to use this with the TGIN soap bars since they're loaded with oils + I love the bar form!

4.  Now this latest technique was taught to me by Clarisonic recently and that's using the device to REMOVE my masks.  Yes, you heard me right.  I never thought to try this before and it made me wonder what I had been doing with my life all this time.  Let (claps) me (claps) tell (claps) you (claps)... this technique will have your skin feeling and looking all types of amazing.  It takes any mask you're using up a good 5 notches.  Currently love taking off my Algenist Clarifying Pore Correcting Mask (in the shower because it gets messy) using this method.

5.  The last use for my Clarisonic is skincare absorption and unfortunately it's only possible with the Smart Profile Clarisonic.  This is the one feature that is only available with this specific Clarisonic.  At first I didn't think it would really make a huge difference.  My fingers were doing a great job smearing my serums and creams onto my face.  Or so I thought...  This device works so good that it had my skin tingling using products that I've been using for years + it never tingled before!  The way your skin absorbs the skincare products you use is on another level.  In a way it becomes addictive!  LOL.  I want to feel that tingle, I want to see that glow in the morning, I want fast results.  I've been using this Urban Skin RX Vitamin C Serum with the Clarisonic Firming Massage Head and I swear this little tool speeds up my results when I use it versus when I don't use it.  I would say this tool is for those of us who are serious about skincare and don't mind making the investment.  If your skin is bomb even if you don't wash it daily + you use the same cleanser for your body as you do your face, then you can probably pass on spending the coins.  Although we need to talk about your priorities ASAP.

So that's it.  I just wanted to share all the ways I use this device so you guys don't think I'm just cleansing my face 5 times a day when I talk about it.  There are different devices out there on the market that can accomplish these tasks but I love that with my Clarisonic all I need to do is change the brush head, not buy a whole new device.  If you have any questions about which device might be best for you or which brush heads you should have in your arsenal, let me know... ask below!

Until next time... XOXOMCS
Friday, August 4, 2017

Stop Mom Shaming
Working Mom vs. Stay at Home Mom

Hey girl hey.  We're going to jump right into this one because the Mom hate has to stop.  If anything, we should be supporting each other through this journey not making each other feel bad.  School is starting back up so I know the side eyes are just getting ready to judge each other as I type.  This is a conflict I've been on both sides of before so I speak from experience.  I've been a Stay at Home Mom for the past two years (yes, it's been two freaking years!!) and although I'm thoroughly content in my space, I can tell it makes some uncomfortable.  Why?!  Because everyone is more worried about the grass of others...

As Moms, we have enough guilt to deal with.  The disapproving comments and glances are unnecessary really.  When I worked in the corporate sector, my hours were long and a third of my paycheck went to paying the Nanny.  I constantly forgot about Parent-Teacher Conferences and had to drag myself to school plays + musicals after work.  The guilt ate me up inside.  Here I had another woman raising my children (the Nanny) and I could barely muster up the energy to do what little was left for me as a Mother.  What I didn't need were additional comments from other Moms to make me feel less than.  You know... the "We missed you yesterday at the Field Trip Mrs. Horn", or the "Taylor is such a sweetheart, I love having her in my group when I volunteer".  All of it is to remind one Mom about how much she is missing out on.  Guess what... they know!!  Instead of the backhanded comments, have some compassion.  That Mom is doing everything she freaking can... it just may not be exactly what you're doing.  Let's learn to have a different approach.  If you're able to attend a field trip, take lots of pictures.  Then ask the teacher to share it with all the parents so that whoever missed out can get a glimpse at what their child experienced.  I've had a lot of parents do this for me over the years and every single time it put tears in my eyes.  It's thoughtful, its understanding... it's everything Motherhood is about!  We're in this together.

Now I know you didn't think I was going to forget about the "Oh, you don't work?" commentary that Working Moms give to Stay at Home Moms, did you?  Yes, she stays home!  That's her way of supporting her family and it fulfills her.  Or maybe it's temporary.  Hell, we've all been laid off before!  Either way, it's nobody's business.  Let me tell you something.  Those Stay at Home Moms can be LIFE SAVERS so instead of thinking your shit is perfect + isn't flawed, you better grab hold of one of those Moms because you never know when you may need one to help you.  Emergencies happen, last minute meetings pop up, shoot even traffic can be a huge deterrent.  Form a bond + get you a Stay at Home Mom who will stand in for you at school when YOU can't.  Believe me, your child will benefit more than you think!  My oldest daughter still remembers Mrs. Marsh inviting her to have lunch when she would drop by to have lunch with her own daughter... and that was in elementary school (she's headed to high school now).  Thank you Mrs. Marsh!

I say all of this to say that every Mom has their own battles.  We can either choose to help her fight or be another obstacle she has to face.  Let's uplift each other + encourage each other because in reality we have no idea what the future holds.  Motherhood is complicated enough, let's support our sisters + stop the judging.

Until next time... XOXOMCS
Thursday, July 6, 2017

Royal Sonesta New Orleans
(sponsored media stay)

Royal Sonesta New Orleans

In 2016, I stayed in Metairie for Essence Fest weekend.  Although the hotel was great, I hated being so far from all of the action.  I vowed to make sure I was in the middle of it all come 2017.  What's a trip to New Orleans if you're out in the suburbs, right?  Insert 2017 at the Royal Sonesta New Orleans and my experience was completely different.  In one word it can be described as LIT.

I'll admit, I've stayed at the Royal Sonesta Baltimore Harbor before so my expectations were already high.  But when I walked in, it was pretty evident that this hotel was not here to play.  Picture New Orleans vibe with a modern HGTV update.  Now when my stay is being sponsored by a hotel, it's hard to evaluate customer service because everyone is being super nice to YOU.  So, I like to observe how other guests are being treated.  You know, see things from their perspective... A real perspective!  The staff seemed to genuinely engage with guests whenever they could.  Whether it was a quick 'Good Morning' or a more in depth conversation about local happenings, the staff was super engaging.

Royal Sonesta New Orleans
Double Queen Guest Room
Royal Sonesta New Orleans
Gorgeous Bathroom
Royal Sonesta New Orleans

Royal Sonesta New Orleans
Royal Sonesta New Orleans

Now that you're totally smitten with how fabulous the Royal Sonesta New Orleans looks (you shallow + superficial person you lol), let's move on to the FOOD.  Let's be honest.  I wanted to start with food but didn't want to come off super greedy.  The hotel has 4, yes FOUR, eating outlets on site.  When planning for this trip the anticipated weather claimed rain the entire stay.  First thing I thought was at least we'll have food right at the hotel.  LOL.  I kid you not!  We ate at two out of the four on site restaurants, Desire + the Jazz Playhouse.  At Desire, everyone seemed to have a platter of the grilled oysters on their table so that's what I ordered and it did not disappoint at all!  Truthfully, we revisited Desire a few times during this weekend and ordered the Grilled Oysters every single time.  The Jazz Playhouse was an amazing time and I actually enjoyed it WAY more than I thought I would.  Although, we ordered and thoroughly enjoyed the Roast Beef Debris Cheese Fries (Yes you read that correctly. No I didn't have a heart attack while eating.), the star of the evening was the Ella Fitzgerald's Pearflower Martini + the entertainment.  If you find yourself staying at the Royal Sonesta soon, DEFINITELY enjoy a show at least one evening.  

Royal Sonesta New Orleans, Desire Oyster Bar
Fried Oyster Po Boy

Royal Sonesta New Orleans, Grilled Oysters, Desire Oyster Bar
Grilled Oysters

Royal Sonesta, the Jazz Playhouse
Jazz Playhouse

Royal Sonesta New Orleans, the Jazz Playhouse

Would I stay here again?  ABSOLUTELY.  Even though the hotel is directly on Bourbon Street, having a courtyard view helped immensely with any noise/sleep concerns.  In fact, you would never know that we were on Bourbon street and a small carnival was happening outside of the hotel at 1AM!  If you're here for all of the action (noise included), just go ahead and reserve a street view room with a balcony.  The hotel is literally in the center of everything so getting to/from our destinations took minutes + was less than 2 miles.  With that being said, getting to our Ubers wasn't the easiest since the hotel is literally in the middle of everything.  LOL.  But hey, that was certainly an easy trade off!  If you've stayed at the Royal Sonesta New Orleans, how was your stay?  Or if you plan on staying soon, ask me any questions below in the comments.

Until next time... XOXOMCS

Shoppe Owner


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