Things I learned from my mother

In honor of mother’s day I decided to share some life long lessons I have learned from my mother that has shaped the woman that I am today and can apply to almost anything.

Now my mother didn’t actually tell me everything I am sharing but some of these are implied by how she lives her life.

mom and me

Get out and do something

A funny thing happened with my mom in my teen years. She started to become more active (or so I noticed) in life. She went vacationing overseas, bought a new home. Later she went back to church, started exercising, went to all sorts of shows and events. Even some I begged to join her in but she only wanted to do with “her girls”, making me feel like the mom and she the bratty teen. Even after she retired she kept moving. Made herself a crew (the above mentioned girls) and continued to travel. She even did a solo trip to California for over a week.

When people ask me why I am always down to do hang out or seem to have so much energy, I can say “I get it from my mama”. We have plenty of time to just lay on the couch and watch TV but we only get one life to live.

Keep pursuing the excellence

My mom is a hard worker and expected the best of us. She always encouraged my sister and I to succeed and strive in school and at work and that is a motto I never forgot. She made it clear that we have to give 110% in this world even if other groups didn’t have to work so hard. And she wanted to make sure we had a better life than she did. I never forget that and it has formed my work ethic and led to much success.

Don’t let others limit you

My mom achieved a lot in her career and she never let naysayers/haters or whoever decide what she could and couldn’t do. Because of that spirit I made choices in my life to pursue options that others said weren’t for me. I graduated second in my high school class and did well on my SATs. When I went to my counselor to consider what schools to go to, I was only given local, fourth tiered colleges. I didn’t want to consider that I was only given these options because of my race but it does stay in the back of my mind. Nevertheless, I applied to those fourth tier schools but I also applied to several first tier schools. I even got accepted into an Ivy League university. Had I listened to the counselor I would have short changed myself.

Clean on Saturdays

Well this one is just practical. And though I don’t always do this it makes good sense. Then you can fully enjoy the rest of your weekend, including resting on Sundays. That’s what they are for.

Be giving, even to those who may not deserve it

This is a tough one. I watched my mom on many occasions be giving of her time and money to those who I wasn’t sure really appreciated it or, honestly, deserved it based on their treatment of her. But my mother believed in karma and just continuing to be a good person despite the behavior of others. In the end she has lived a great life because of it. This is a hard one but a lesson I keep at the forefront of mind when I’m ready to be full “Petty LaBelle” like.

Wear control tops

Another practical tip. My mom insists that my sister and I wear control top stockings and other undergarments. She swears that because she’s worn these all of her adult life that this is the reason her stomach is not big. I don’t know if that’s true but I’ve been wearing them since I was a teen.

Cheddar makes it better

And just for fun. My mom insists on loading her baked mac and cheese with cheddar cheese. And I do the same and, yes, it does make it better…

Love your mom!mother's day


Mini Chop: A Hair Horror Story


Once upon a time, not so long ago there was a girl who stopped using chemical relaxers and allowed her hair to grow in the texture she was born with. For a while it was fun. Her hair natural curls grew long and full. Her hair was almost effortless.

Then one day the girl decided to color her hair and bleach it to get blond highlights like she saw in the magazines.  She did not deep condition her hair and eventually it broke off. She had to cut it. Then she decided to flat iron her hair…a lot. This loosened the beautiful curls that she had growing again. Then she decided to get a weave. This weakened her hair.

Eventually the girls hair grew sad and grew out frizzy. Part of the texture of her hair changed from a 3b/c curl pattern to a 3c/4a curl and became highly porous making it hard retain moisture. Parts of her hair didn’t curl at all anymore and parts grew very thin.


My curls during the good times


It was a mess.

So the girl, heart broken, had to chop the damaged hair. She had to learn from her mistakes and start a new but what would she do differently?


The girl in the story was me. Big surprise. Almost three months ago I decided to do a mini chop and cut about 3 or 4 inches off of my hair. Whoever said natural hair was easy lied. Sure there are some textures that are easier to grow long with little effort. But if you desire long hair and have a tighter curl pattern (3c – 4c) then you have to put in effort or else just go short.

So deep condition, steam, or hot oil treat weekly. Anything that focuses on super moisturizing works so I won’t pick a brand over another.

Make hair strong like bull.

One thing to keep your hair from weakening is to build protein strength. You can do this by minding what you eat but an added bonus is to use proteins in your hair. I would not do this weekly because too much of a good thing can be bad. Try anything from Carol’s Daughter or Shea Moisture. I also like the very affordable Dominican line Kenechom for deep conditioning which you can find on Amazon. Some mix it with Silicon mix but be careful with using silicones in your hair. They are great for making your hair shiny but you have to use a clarifying or sulfate shampoo to get them out.

I also advise you Nairobi hair conditioner. It has protein and helps define curls but use this sparingly. Don’t leave on overnight like you can with the above named conditioners. Proteins can dry the hair out.

I also use Aphogee protein treatment every 4-6 weeks


mini chop

The mini cut

Heat and Color

I won’t say don’t do this. You have to have some fun with your own hair. But be careful. Limit using a curling or flat iron. Personally, I’m trying to keep it at no more than 4 times a year for straightening my hair and for now I don’t plan to straighten my hair until September for a length check.

For color, avoid bleaching, the farther the color is from your natural color the more likely you might see damage. Try to keep the color you pick in the semi permanent, ammonia free line. ALWAYS deep condition weekly.

Get Your Curls Popping

After the cut the first thing I did was fully embrace the hair that I had to work with little to no manipulation. The curls around the perimeter of my head are a 4a texture which is new for me.  That hair is also more porous. Therefore I tried the Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse  and the Max Hydration Method to get those curls popping and more moisturized to match the rest of my hair.

Ya’ll this is work and although the results are nice, I just don’t have the time to do this treatment every day for a week. Luckily the wonderful natural beauty brand Shea Moisture made a line that incorporates the goal of this method. It has been a life saver for me. Most of my curls around the edges came to life. The few that did not, I simply flat twist (just one or two) to match the rest of my hair.  I also use clear gel or pomades to lay the edges.SBHighProrosityGroup1-300x199

Refresh your curls daily with a spray bottle of water and conditioner. I also like a clear gel which most natural hair lines have or Miss Jessie’s Curly Buttercream.

Protective Styles

Low manipulation of hair is another way to get it healthy and growing. No worries about brutal cold or dry heat stiffening the curls or having hair rub on clothes and weakening it or over styling (especially with heat tools). So a popular alternative is wearing wigs.  Get a good lace front, synthetic or human hair, and let your curls relax a bit. Play with different colors, lengths and textures. It can be fun!

People also try sticking to braids or buns. Be careful with both. Use of synthetic hair with your own hair for braids can be heavy on the hair shaft and repeat ponytails for puns can weaken the hair around the ponytail holder.

That’s all for now folks. I’ll keep you updated on my journey and anything new I learn along the way. Have you learned anything about your hair after a big chop?







Iceland for the Urban Travelista

So I went a wee bit out of my comfort zone and tried a vacation in a cold climate. If you are like me and love travel but with comfort and a metropolitan atmosphere Iceland might not be on the top of your list. Yet I kept hearing about how much of a good time it was and then there are the cheap flights. So why not? So here are some to-dos for the urban gal for an Iceland adventure. iceland 7



To start I took Wow airlines to get there. It’s cheap but barebones. Pack your snacks and plenty of water and entertainment.

The ride from the airport to Reykjavik can be a long one and therefore expensive. Book a shuttle transport through FlyBus. Reykjavik Excursions and Grayline Tours both set up transport for Flybus so make sure if you do a roundtrip ticket that you go back with the right company (my mistake so I ended up paying twice for a return trip to the airport). A round trip transport is around $50.


One common theme you’ll find is that Iceland is expensive. I’m talking New York or Vegas prices. I still can’t quite understand why that’s the case and it didn’t appear as though the Iceland salaries were commiserate with the prices. With that in mind if you want to save some money but also want to be where the action is, as most cosmo/urban gals should, then picking an apartment might be a better, more economical option than a hotel.

I stayed in a one bedroom apartment in the Luna Hotel Apartments. It was a great location to restaurants, shopping and nightlife. I was able to walk everywhere outside of excursions which of course was a money saver. iceland 8

Iceland is a pretty safe place for travel so even during late hours I felt fine walking back to my apartment (although I did have a roommate). The apartment itself was tiny but stylish and comfortable with all the necessities. We saved money by buying groceries and eating in for breakfast and lunch. We didn’t get any housekeeping services which I was fine. Everything was clean when we got there and there were drawers with multiple towels and toilet paper. The kitchen had dishes and utensils as well as cleaning supplies. It was perfect and I’d be open to doing something like that again in a safe city. There is something to safety in a hotel if one is traveling solo though. But in a town like Iceland it was perfect.


As stated above, eating out can be a costly event. An average breakfast can be about $20 bucks and lunch/dinner can range from $20-$50 for an average restaurant/diner. I have to admit since I have a sensitive pallet I wasn’t as adventurous as I could have been for meals but there were places I dinned that I liked.

Solon Bistro -I had a super yummy brunch there with French Toast and eggs. I also came for dinner and had wings and a salad both very satisfying. Prices were average fair.

Rossopomodoro- Good Italian restaurant. I split an Italian style pizza and had some calamari. Both were really good.

Kebabhusid  – I had fish and chips here. It’s just a small restaurant with affordable prices for Iceland at $28 compared to the $35-40 I was seeing at other places. I really liked my meal.


I suppose there are many things that people come to Iceland for but outside excursions have to be the key reason. As an urban dweller I can’t say that I’m the most outdoorsy but there are some basic activities that are a must do while in Iceland.

The Blue Lagoon- This is the reason many people come. There is something so cool about going to a huge natural body of water in the middle of nowhere that’s heated like a hot tub. Go as early as possible to avoid the crowds. Take advantage of the included mask and if you want a full experience get a massage. The weather wasn’t that kind when I went but I still had a great time there. I could have stayed all day if it hadn’t rained. iceland

Golden Circle plus trip- This was a really nice excursion via Grayline tours. It’s a ways out of the city in southern Iceland so it’ll be an 8 hour day excursion. On this trip you’ll see a park where Game of Thrones was filmed which was very amazing to see,  waterfalls, geysirs, craters and we visited a farm and had the popular Icelandic yogurt-ish food called skyr and ice cream. Both were delish. iceland 1

iceland 5

I also suggest taking a city tour either on foot or on a hop on hop off bus.

Southern Coast tour- I didn’t do this tour but I wish I had. On this tour you’ll see waterfalls up close, black sand beaches, volcanos…

Diamond beach– I also missed out on this and I wish I had gone. It’s not exactly a beach full of diamonds but rather a black sand beach with ice that have the appearance of large diamonds. Very much a photographers dreams.

Northern Lights- This is another famous reason to check out Iceland. It’s not always set that you’ll get a chance to see them, especially after March until their colder seasons because after that time the days get super long. When we arrived in late March it didn’t get dark until 9. There is a time where it’s mostly daylight there so you won’t get a chance to see the lights at all.

Kringlan Mall- Not too far from city center, if you get a bit tired of all the nature this is a good place to check out some shopping. The mall has mostly local Iceland chains which is a good because if you’re going to pay crazy Iceland prices you might as well get something unique.

Iceland also has a bunch of boutiques. Check out Laugavegur and nearby Skólavörðustígur for shopping.

To save a couple of coins on Saturday or Sunday stop by the Kolaportid Flea Market to get immersed in local Icelandic style and find a few cool things for lower prices.



Iceland has a ton of nightlife and bar hopping is super easy to do but again, with prices being so high you might want to pregame at your apartment first. Go to Vinbudin for spirits which is an Icelandic chain. You can also swing buy duty free on the way from the airport when arriving to grab drinks which is what we did (don’t judge!)

Most of the nightlife we visited was on Laugavegur street or right off of it. Some notables were:

Lebowski Bar– An homage to the movie The Big Lebowski they specialize in different types of white Russians which were very yummy. Stay for their Thursday night movie trivia night. iceland 4

Dillon Whiskey Bar- If you are a whiskey lover this is the place. They have a decent happy hour.

Prikid- If you like house and hip hop this is the place to be. the music gets better the later it gets so be warned if you get there too early it might not be what you expect. The drinks at cheaper especially on weeknights.

Kofinn- We happened upon this on a Friday late night. They were playing “real” hip hop and reggae. Had a fun time but they don’t stay open super late.

Kaffibarinn, – This trendy little spot is super tiny but if you like dark and cool this is it. On Friday we heard house music which I loved. Great spot for hanging with friends but not so much for meeting new people.

iceland 2

In sum it turns out the outdoorsy vibe of Iceland can be a great spot for a Cosmo girl. Iceland is a flexible town to be enjoyed at any level whether you are camping or staying at the Hilton you can find your comfort there. iceland6

Beauty Haul: Urban Decay, Kat Von and Clinique, Glamglow

So I get a monthly subscription for a Sephora box. Each month many fabulous new products come to me in mini sizes for review. Sometimes it’s a hit sometimes it’s a miss. I’m on the search for a new subscription box so any suggestions are welcome. I like Sephora but I’d say that many of the products cater to certain skin care issues that I don’t have a big focus on like dry skin.

However, there are some hits. Here are my recent favs along with a quick review of urban decay naked pallet that I got separately.

Glamglow tinglexfoliate youth mud- this is perfect for exfoliating and making skin glow. For dry skin this is great. This also works for people like me who might get peely skin after overusing acne care products. s1463801-main-lhero

Nars velvet lip glide bound – This is beautiful against my skin. Has a very natural look; like a pinker version of my natural lip, but gives a hint of color with glam eyes. Not super long lasting but you maintain a color even after eating and drinking. Nars is pricey but might be worth the cost.

Clinique lip stain black honey- Although this shows up a bit reddish brown because it’s sheer it’s not overpowering and is another good lipstick for work or with a strong eye.





Black Honey



Urban Decay Naked Pallet – I really like this pallet. What made me pick it is that there were many reviews with women of color to show that it complemented darker skin tones nicely. I wanted more Smokey eye color options and this pallet has it.



Urban Decay Pallet and Nars Bound lipstick


Kat Von D Tattoo Liner- I am not a pro at lining my eyes but this is a great liner for doing a cat eye. The liner is bold so you don’t have to go over again and again. It also doesn’t wear off which is big for me since I have oily skin. I’ve heard good things about this makeup line so I’m curious to try more.



Kat Von D liner and Urban Decay eyeshadow



Lancome hypnose mascara- Since I don’t know how to put on fake lashes to save my life, I’m always searching for a mascara that will give me that look. This one is pretty darn close. Really just gives me that “done” look without putting too much effort into it.




Urban decay all nighter makeup setting spray- I usually stir clear of setting sprays because of my oily skin but decided to give this a whirl one night. I really liked it. I rocked a bold eye so I wanted my make up to stay in place. Not only did my make up stay but it didn’t make my skin oily. urban-decay

Hope this helps and if you have any subscription box recommendations let me know!


Cooking at Home Review: Home Chef


So if you don’t know I am on a home cooking kick. For a while now I was all about Blue Apron but I have to admit some of their recipes were starting to not connect with me. Since I don’t eat red meat or pork the options get slim and although you have limited opportunities to pick your own meals there still weren’t many non carb heavy options. Not to say the food isn’t good but I needed a change.

Enter Home Chef. I hadn’t seen as many commercials for them compared to Blue Apron so I was nervous. However, it works just like Blue Apron with a weekly delivery. But here is where it differs. Where Blue Apron only lets you pick three meals a week at the least, with Home Chef you can go as little as one meal a week. Note that they will include shipping feels for orders under $59, therefore you get more bang for your buck if you do three meals a week to even out at $10 a meal; the same as Blue Apron.  And like Blue Apron you can skip weekly meals if you’re going out of town or nothing on the menu interest you.

Also Home Chef gives you more flexibility of meal choices as well. With Blue Apron some meals can’t be ordered together for reasons I don’t get. Home Chef lets you put any meals together. Further there are more low carb options and they even have breakfast options.

As far as cooking and prep, it’s very similar to Blue Apron with each meal taking an average of 45 minutes to prep and cook. I also like that they add how soon you should cook the meal before the ingredients aren’t as fresh.

Finally, regarding taste. So far everything I ate was very delicious. Very flavorful and fits my particular taste buds since I have the ability to be more selective.

Overall I would definitely recommend this service. If anything you can have both services and just rotate weeks depending on meals you might like.



Salmon and green beans with special soy sauce


Shredded chick sandwich and sweet potatos


Unbothered Gal Jamaica Travel Tips


I have been to Negril quite a few times and written past posts about it but I decided to write a different post after my recent venture there. Specifically from the perspective of a female traveling alone or with other women. It might sound crazy to some but not every woman goes on vacation to an island with the hopes of “getting her groove back.” Sometimes you just want a relaxing getaway and nothing more.

Jamaica is a beautiful place but navigating your way through some of the social aspects of it can be tricky. Here is my guide for the cosmo gal who travels to Jamaica and wants to enjoy it safely.jamaica-1

Hotel: This time around I stayed at the Negril Treehouse Resort. I’ve been to other hotels that I’ve written about and they were nice but one thing that gives Negril the edge is that you aren’t bothered by the vendors walking the beach. I’m not sure if it’s because the location is further down from the center of 7 mile beach or if it’s because security keeps them at bay. It’s also hotel away from Margarittaville and a short cab ride to other main nightlife spots. Also the staff is very friendly (which is a theme for most of Jamaica). A free breakfast buffet is included with local and Westernized dishes. They also have a two for one happy hour every day at the outdoor restaurant/bar located right next to the hotel beach area, pool and Jacuzzi. The rooms are comfortable and I felt safe. They have separate outdoor seating with tables and a swing for each room. We were on the second floor with not much of a view but it was still nice. I would suggest looking into their suites that face the ocean. For a highly rated hotel it is also very reasonably priced. jamaica3jamaica2jamaica-5


If you want to do more than sit on the beach, reading a  book and sipping cocktails (which is a fine plan indeed), think of these other solo safe activities.

Rockhouse Spa– There are many spa services in Jamaica to get massages right on the beach but if you want a bit of a getaway, undisturbed experience going to a spa in a hotel is a nice option. Rockhouse is a hotel on the Cliffs with cute rooms with their own mini cliffs for you to get into the water. The spa offers more than massages and includes facials and body treatments. jamaica7

Falls: YS is more populated with tourist, maintained and a little farther away.

Mayfield is less populated, not well maintained but you get more care from your hosts and the waterfalls are just as beautiful. Because it’s not as popular you get more time to experience it which is a major bonus. I’ve been to both and had the better time here. Although this was less popular I still felt just as safe. There are other tourist around so you aren’t in the middle of the land alone with just your host.


Dining- You can really go anywhere to eat alone and not feel like the odd man out. Socializing is different there in my opinion and it’s not just about being seen but rather experiencing. One of my most favorite places to dine is Kabuya. I could have eaten there everyday. Spicy Seafood Medley everyday all day. The drinks are also delish and the ambiance is visually interesting to keep the eyes busy if you are alone.

Nightlife- So this is where I get a bit nervous in the solo traveling game. For some reason men in Jamaica (be they tourist or locals) don’t get the idea of a female, especially a black female, traveling on her own. This is where solo or even traveling with just one other girlfriend get’s tricky. In summary, many local men were overly flirtatious to the point of making me uncomfortable. In one place a guy didn’t even accept my not being interested and my friend and I had to leave. In addition, there is a growing population of local female “escorts”. I was propositioned by an older male tourist. Once he heard me talk and saw my reaction he said he was just joking and walked away. And before you ask, I was not dressed like I was about to work the stage.

For this reason I would suggest being careful with your nightlife options. Certain hotel bars playing live music are a better option for the solo gal to avoid any harassment. The Jungle, the only club in Negril, was also a fun environment  but that isn’t much fun for solo night out so this is a good option to go with friends.

In the end Jamaica is a great place to travel on your own or in a duo. As with anyplace just be smart and talk to trusted locals about best places to go. One of the main pros for solo travel is that it allows you to really get to talk to people and you will find that many Jamaicans are very helpful and only want you to have a good time in their country so that you come back. So enjoy…and relax!


Sheet Mask Decoded

I am a sheet mask fanatic. This Korean trend that is now The Beauty must is my favorite way to tackle skin issues without the mess of regular masks. Sure you might look a bit like Hannibal Lector or Jason but hey, don’t look in the mirror.

Beyond the weird look factor, the differing types of masks can be overwhelming. So here’s my guide to which masks to buy (regardless of brand) based on your skin issues.

You can really pick any brand although some brands have more options than others. For newbies I recommend going for affordable brands you can find at  Ulta or Sephora or even drug stores (any place from Walmart to CVS sells them although with more limited options). Brands I like are Tony Moly, Miss Spa, Skinfood, Yesto, Sephora Band and Boscia.


Acne/Oily Skin- Masks with these ingredients are good for handling acne flare-ups and oily skin


Tee Tree- great for healing the skin and acne

Anything with the word Detox or Clarifying- Anything that helps with cleaning out pores is good for you

Charcoal- also great at detoxifying


Rice- great for helping with oily skin

Red Wine- pore tightening

Cucumber- also great for pores

Aloe- great for helping with acne


Dull Skin- these masks are all wonderful for helping with dry skin issues and bringing out a glowing and brightening tone


Proposes and Bee




Snail Gel

Vitamin C


Dry skin/Wrinkles- Masks with these ingredients help soothe dry skin and attack wrinkles

Gold Caviar masks-caviar






Now go experiment away and try not to scare anyone with your masks!


Beauty Haul: ColourPop

So some time ago I made a beauty purchase to ColourPop (my favorite inexpensive lippie, eyeshadow, and blush brand) and so I’m giving you a quick review of my purchases.


Lips: Metallics Jam, 3 way, Zebra


I think they look great on medium brown skin. 3 way and Zebra are stand alone for your lips. Make sure your lips aren’t too dry as it can highlight lip lines. Jam looks better topped over another color, especially a nude color. It gives a nice pop as a center lip highlighter.


 Cheeks: Swift Blush and Candyman Highlighter

Both are fabulous on my skin tone. Swift gives my cheeks a bit of color and it’s not overpowering. Especially if I’m going for more of a bold eye or lip look. Candyman gives my skin a nice highlight and is now one of my favorites.


Here are some looks with the blush, highlighter and lips (zebra then 3 way)




Hope this helps!



It’s a New Year But Focus on the Now.


happy-new-year-2015So each year we start with resolutions and hopes that this new year will be Our Year. Then things don’t go our way and as the year comes to a close we feel more beaten down and then repeat our mantra for the next year. I don’t know about you but I’m over that. I just want to be enjoy each year, each day, as it comes.

So for the new year I say focus on being in the moment and focus on the positive, creative and smart energy you need to get you to full realization of your dreams.

Easier said than done, right?

I’m, after all, a type A gal. My mind is always racing and causing me worry or stress. I sometimes think I can think my way into achieving my dreams. And yes positive thinking can work but not just overanalyzing or rehashing things you can’t control. Instead be in the moment you are in and focus on positivity as if you have achieved what you already want. I want to be thin, successful in my writing ventures, successful with my travel brand, married, a mother and so forth. Some of these things are within your control and others are not. The best you can do is push away the worry and be happy in your day to day with the expectation that you will get what you want.

So some quick things I use to help me keep my energy positive and be in the moment:


Rhonda Byrne Dailypedia App– This is basically The Secret in daily messages to you to help you stay in positive thinking

Headspaceheadspace– Awesome meditation app












Get Away

From Social Media- I have found that social media, especially Instagram and Facebook can be a root of all evil.  Comparing yourself to other people, feeling less than. People are only showing you the good sides of their lives. Don’t believe the hype we all have problems. social-media

Go somewhere- For me my happy place is traveling and it’s an awesome way to be in the moment, especially if that moment is on a beach


Build your happiness- If you can’t get away you can find ways to recreate your good vacation vibes at home. Think about vacations you loved and what made them enjoyable. Relaxing in a peaceful environment? Make a trip to the spa. Exploring a city? Check out your city or a nearby one as if you were a tourist. Having a great meal? Book a nice place in your town.

Make your home or a space in your home your sanctuary- I love a good smelling house, warm, low lights and candles. Turn the TV off for a while and read a book or write something. Of work on another creative venture. Basically do something you really like even if it’s for an hour. spa

Say and Feel Thanks

This is the most important one of all and can be easy to take for granted or to forget about when we are feeling down. One way to help you be in a thankful mode is to write down on a note card all the things you are thankful for, both big and small. Place it somewhere you can see often to remember. This will also put you in the feeling of thanks as you remember those things you are thankful for. Whenever I hit frustration over not yet achieving a goal I step back and think about the things I have achieved. Puts me in a better space and actually helps me work out the barriers I might have that are preventing me from reaching my goals. there-is-always-something-to-be-thankful-for

Well I hope this helps! Happy New Year!!!