Talk 30 to Me (A Milestone Birthday Re-do)

Last year I turned 29 plus 1 by which I mean that birthday didn’t count since I spent it in quarantine. With the rollout of the vaccine and the number of cases going down each day, I figured it was safe enough to have a mini-staycation in the city with some friends for my birthday weekend. I reached out to my friends to see if this was something they would be up for, wrote up an itinerary with activities, booked a hotel room, and shopped my closet for outfits for the weekend. (And for the first time I actually didn’t over pack for a 3 day trip! I guess with age comes all kinds of wisdom even some for packing, hahaha.)

I had a blast with this “milestone birthday celebration re-do” that I simply had to share the experience with you. Giving myself this “get away” was an amazing way to recharge from being glued to the computer for work and such that I’ve found myself to be less anxious as a result, even today.  I’m hoping that  it inspires you to take some time off from working and disconnect for a staycation, be it solo or with friends/family.

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Spring Fantasy Cottagecore

Of all the trends that came out of quarantine life, there is one that I grew to appreciate : Cottagecore. While this is more of an aesthetic than an actual trend, it really took off over the last year and the appeal is totally understandable given how we’ve spent the last year.

The premise conjures up nostalgic images of tranquil moments of whimsical escape,  complete with frolicking in flower fields, and picnics with tea served on vintage porcelain. As one would expect, even within this aesthetic niches like cottagegoth, and witchcore (to name a few) have sprung up as well. Bringing a more dark and edgy vibe, these lean more towards historical,  romantic and sometimes fantastical elements via color palettes as well as folksy mysticism.  That being said, there are those who have argued that cottagecore is basically a glamorous extension to boho and I totally can see that given the similar color palettes and even prints. Bandanas and bandana prints,  for example, have made a comeback in fashion due to the rise of this trend, some even in very stylish ways as is the case with this dress.I first stumbled across this bandana dress while scrolling through Instagram, I was in awe. It’s a simple idea that is so brilliantly executed that I can’t help but wonder why we haven’t seen these before. Or maybe they’ve been around and I just haven’t noticed. Who knows, the point is that after I spotted it, learned more about the brand and the designer I knew that I must have my own in my two favorite colors.

Being a little extra with a  faux suede fringe handbag, sunglasses and platform creepers.

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A Quarantine Hair Story

I’ve been #teamnatural my whole life but I am far from perfect when it comes to knowing and doing what’s best for my hair.  I have type 3 hair (though I’m 100% not sure if I’m A or B if I’m totally honest) and it has suffered through some major heat damage in the last 10 years due to straightening with heat. Since my sophomore year in college it has become a sort of traditional to straighten my hair every fall/winter, be it via a roller-set or blow out. It started out as something I did for internship/job interviews but later it I realized that having straight hair also made things much easier for me during the colder seasons as my curls are not fans of winter outerwear, hats or scarves.  (For context, my hair tends to get a bit matted and seriously frizzy under any kind of duress from wool and other winter knits.)

How it started (March 2020) vs. How it’s going.

Quarantine began around the time I would normally begin transitioning back to my natural curls, however once it became obvious that I wouldn’t be working at the office anytime soon, I started to change up my weekly hair care routine in order to give my hair the care it desperately needed after so much neglect. By the time my birthday came around in May, I started to see an improvement so I fully committed to staying curly for the rest of the year. No heat styling at all.  I even went so far as to packing my heat styling tools deep in storage so I wouldn’t be tempted to keep up with my old ways.

While it did take some trial and error with products, as well as patience, my hair now is the healthiest it’s been since probably high school. I know that all curls are not the same, but I wanted to share the products I’ve used  (in the order that I received and tried them) that helped get me to this point. I hope you find it helpful whether you have curly hair or not, as some of these work on all types of hair.

Disclaimer: Some of the products listed here were sent to me as samples for review. All opinions are my own. 

Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal + Coconut Oil Micro-exfoliating Scalp Scrub Shampoo

Ok, first let me just say that this is probably the priciest product I will ever share on this blog, but I had to. I got a sample of this product last May as my Sephora birthday gift and from the first time I used it I was in awe. In an attempt to limit frizz, I tend to be pretty heavy handed when it comes to applying styling product to my hair which often times leads to my scalp flaking so having a product like this is a God-send. I immediately went to see about getting myself a full size bottle only to see the $42 price tag.  It would be months before I could convince myself to spend that kind of money on my head, but I don’t regret it for a second.

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5 Ways to Add Self Care to Your Daily Life

With everything that has happened over the last year it has been difficult to not sink deep into my usual stress response of survival, and coping mechanisms.  I am so guilty of not taking care of myself when things were “normal” and this has only gotten worst between dealing with the possibly of being laid off (again), financial insecurity and the logistics of having to move during a pandemic to name a few. I know that I’m not alone with this, nevertheless I’ve been actively trying to find some sense of peace in chaos.

And yes, things may seem a bit quiet and boring being under quarantine for so long, yet that too can be a form of chaos for some of us. (Yes, even for introverts.) Today I’m sharing five ways I’ve been incorporating more self care into my routine. While some of these may seem obvious, some are still hard even for me, but I’m trying and I hope you’ll join me.

1.) Get cozy and cute (but only if YOU want to)

I’ve taken to treating myself to some new sleep and lounger wear to bring in some changes to my overall dull WFH wardrobe. Most recently I got this black sleep shirt from the Modcloth-exclusive collaboration with Hello Kitty. It has a classic pajama silhouette with lapel collar, cuffed long sleeves and curved shirttail hem, red heart-shaped buttons down the entire front, piping throughout and an embroidered patch of this Sanrio icon on the chest pocket.  It is adorable and soft though also chic enough that I deemed it worthy of including a few accessories and makeup despite the fact that I’m just staying home because, why not?

I’ll admit that like most people that have been working from home,  I really haven’t been dressing up much, though I try to make an effort at least on those days I have a scheduled  Zoom call.  Somedays I’ll do this and other times I simply don’t care enough to try. Both are fine. The important thing is to do what is comfortable for you.

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A Caged Heart (feat. Black Thorn LA)

I’ve mentioned this before but I’m not a big fan of Valentine’s Day. No, it’s not because I’m one of those “bitter single people,” I just find Christmas to be more romantic. (Maybe Hallmark is partially to blame for this, but who knows.) Although I must admit that being a chocoholic I do look forward to all the V-day chocolate so that’s something at least.

So as you can imagine rather than celebrate this “holiday” in the traditional sense, I tend to use it as an excuse to dress up in theme-inspired outfits, as well as a moment to treat myself. This year I’m combined the two and decided to  get myself something from a brand I’ve been wanting to try since they launched back in 2018 – Black Thorn LA.

Black Thorn LA is an alternative/spooky loungewear and sleepwear brand that carries both straight and plus size options, up to size 3X. It is also very affordable, as most of their products are $50 and under, however, this isn’t even the best part. No the best part is that both the straight and plus size pieces are priced the same! I just had to point that out because this is simply unheard of especially when it comes to plus size alternative fashion.  (And just in case you’re still looking for some alternative Valentine’s day “nightwear” definitely check out their plus size lingerie collection. They have some great pieces available including body suits, robes, bralettes and more.)

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