Major Keys to Success: #1 Believing in Something

Hi there curly friends! I am super excited about our new series “Major Keys to Success” and I hope you all are too!

Today we’re going to be kicking things off by delving deeper into Major Key to Success number 1: Believing in something. In other words, having faith. Yes, that’s right faith. I’m sure when many of us hear this word what initially comes to mind without a thought is religion, which is absolutely ok. However, that’s not necessarily what we’re here to discuss today. Before we get back to faith and what exactly I mean by that word, let’s talk a little about why having these so called “keys to success” are important.

I want to believe that success is a chief component in the ultimate goal of all human existence. We all work very hard, sacrifice so much all in the confidence that one day it will all pay off. We hope to one day be able to look around and be satisfied but moreover, strongly convinced that we have achieved the highest level of success which we want to attain.

This is the dream, but getting there is the difficult part. Many people start off so well but along the way, things go south because they weren’t equipped for the journey on which they embarked. So here I am sharing with you all some major keys that have helped me on my journey thus far, and these same keys have helped many successful people.

I sat in an auditorium about 3 weeks ago listening to a pediatrician share her story of how she became who she is today, and I was touched because where she is, is exactly where I hope to be in the coming years. She shared with us her top 5 keys to success which I grouped together for a total of three and number one is faith. For the purpose of this journey to success, faith is believing in a supernatural power.  This does not mean that you must be religious, you just have to believe and be convinced that there is a power higher and much greater than your own.

Now you may be wondering why so here it is: There will be times when you want to genuinely give up. There will be times when you sacrifice all that you have accomplished in hopes of achieving one great reward but it does not play out the way you envisioned. There will be times when that dream that seemed so close to becoming reality now appears to be far out of reach. In times as such, only your faith can get you through.

For me personally, my faith lies in God and in Christ. I know that I have only begun my journey and have seen only the smallest of the tests and trials that there are to come. However, I can assure you that during these testing times, the one thing I know for sure that has gotten me through is trusting in God and relying on him for strength to carry on even when I feel that I no longer can.

So, whatever you choose to put your faith in, stick to it because in the toughest of times, that is what will carry you through. Inner strength to fight even when the battle appears to be lost only comes from a greater source. What will yours be?

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“New Year, New look” Evolve Your Style!

Every year universal trends and styles are either discarded, recycled or evolved. These fashion trends are incorporated into our personal style, meaning the way we express our individuality changes in time as well.  I have found that one thing that truly gets me excited for the new year is shopping! Splurging on new items to add to your wardrobe at the beginning of the year kick-starts your “New Year, New Me” look. I’m sure that I share that same excitement of coming back from break owning a new hand bag or pair of shoes with a lot of women. Here is what I suggest:

Do research! This is made fun by hundreds of different fashion bloggers or “vloggers” on the internet who have created very specific “lookbooks” to showcase outfit ideas. Just find a favorite youtuber who shares your taste in clothing. Also look for trends that are on the rise. I have noticed that metallic materials are starting to be used a lot more in unconventional ways. Take the iconic rose gold for example as it has been seen in phones, shoes and even sticker tattoos.

Step out of your comfort zone! Getting away from what you are used to is always a great way to grow and that can be applied to many area in life. What is the one thing you were too shy to wear in public? For me that was heels so I opted for Chelsea Boots. These boots are perfectly cute to style with a winter wardrobe and usually have a subtle 1 or 2 inch heel.

Image Via wheretoget.it
Image Via wheretoget.it

Step it up! Maybe you have a clothing item that is forever ingrained in your personal style like oversized sweaters or jeans. Make some tweaks in your style by changing details in these items. Blue jeans can turn to distressed jeans and oversized sweaters can turn to low-rise sweaters. Also, now is a good time to consider buying that watch you have been eyeing for months to a year.

Restock! Make sure that you have all of your clothing essentials to start the year off right. You would be surprised how much matching underwear and pajama sets can boost your confidence. Do you have enough basic long-sleeve shirts? Or maybe you wore out your sweat suits? This is why I accept socks as Christmas presents.

Make-up! Make-up trends are just as prevalent as fashion trends and the same steps apply if you are wanting to step up your make-up routine. Subscribe to youtubers that post bomb make-up tutorials. Don’t be afraid to ask employees at Sephora or Ulta for pointers. Amp up your look by trying different techniques than you are used to and decide if you are ready to splurge on high-end products.

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Youtuber Raven Elyse

I hope that I have encouraged you to “glo up” for 2016! Here are a list of my favorite fashion and shopping websites for great looks and deals.


Some of my favorite places to shop:

asos.com

shoptagr.com

fashionnova.com

Here is a list of my favorite “Beauty Gurus” of color on youtube:

Jayla Koriyan

Raven Elyse 

Nicole Guerriero 

Tasha Green 

Erica Fae 

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Janelle’s Holiday Wishlist

Hey ladies! It’s that time of the year, and you still don’t know what to put on your wish list that your grandma is begging you for- literally. So, I thought I would share my wish list with you all, hopefully to get you thinking and inspired!

 

1. Nike Juvenate, $85.00Untitled3

 

The perfect gift for an on-the-go, yet stylish college student! This olive color is really “in” right now, so you’ll definitely be trendy with this purchase.

Store.nike.com

 

2. Michael Kors Quilted-Sleeve Asymmetrical Zip Coat, $94.99

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With winter weather comes the need for more layers and thicker coats- this does that job perfectly! Not only is it designer, but it also comes with quilted sleeves for extra warmth! How great would it be to be warm while managing not to look like a big ball of layers? Get this look at www.macys.com

 

3. Kate Spade Rose Gold Metro Watch, $175.00

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We all know that the “rose gold” color is totally in right now! Gift this watch as a simple yet beautiful piece of wrist wear. Every girl needs at least one fashionable watch- it shows she’s about her business, punctual, and stylish all at the same time.

www.katespade.com

 

4. Victoria’s Secret Fantasies Fragrance Mist & Lotion Gift Set, $21.00

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This is probably one of the easiest gifts to give, and I can guarantee that your giftee will love it! With three different scents, this set comes out as a number 1 seller from the VS fantasies line. We all like to smell good, and whether it’s working or traveling, we all need to freshen up sometimes. The travel size bottles make storing these items easy, making for an overall easy and fantastic gift!

Shop this set at www.victoriassecret.com

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Holiday Gifts for Naturalistas

It is that time of year again. Tis the season for hot chocolate, fuzzy socks, red and green coffee cups, and all the moisturizer you can get your hands and hair on (We all know how this weather can dry up your curls).

So as you are exchanging Secret Santa gifts at your job and checking your family’s Christmas list…twice, share with another natural the gift of hydrated, perfect curls. Here are a few gifts that are most likely on every natural’s Christmas list.

1. Diffusers. Can’t go wrong with one of these babies. Everyone wants that perfect wash ‘n’ go but without the frizz. Diffusers help eliminate that while bringing an elongated and defined look . Pay attention to some of her favorite natural Youtube vloggers and see which diffusers they are using. I recommend buying a regular blow dryer, and going to a beauty supply store and buying an attachment there. Feel free to throw in a matching heat protectant while you’re at it.

2. Natural Hair Expo. I cannot speak from experience, but I can speak through referrals. I always hear great reviews from people who attend Curls over Brunch or natural hair expos. It can be a ladies night out where you and your girlfriends rent out an apartment in the city and attend a natural hair event during the day and do dinner and drinks at night. Tickets are usually not very pricey, but make sure to get them early because they always, always sell out.

3. A Gift Basket of Hair Products. Shea Moisture, Mane Choice, Carol’s Daughter. There are so many brands out there with incredible lines. Pick one that she has been wanting to experiment with. Choose a line and create a gift basket with all the products from that line. Choose a shampoo, co-wash, leave-in conditioner, oil or serum, and a deep conditioner. TIP: you may want to double up on the deep conditioner, after all it is winter. Buy a woven basket from Hobby Lobby or Target. Pick up some clear tissue or wrapping paper and a bow. After placing all the products in the basket, wrap the basket with the paper making a knot at the top and place the bow around the knot for a cute presentation under the tree.

4. Gift card. When in doubt, gift cards NEVER FAIL. If you are afraid she may have all of the above or she may not like what you picked out, a gift card to ULTA can definitely do the trick.

Hopefully these tips above can make the rest of your holiday shopping a bit easier. Another tip: stay updated with sales, discounts, coupons, and giveaways on social media. Many companies use this time to reach out to all of their customers, so stay on your toes, or should I say finger tips, so that you can buy all the best gifts without breaking your wallet.

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Drop the Scissors: Alternatives to the Big Chop

Three years ago, after my failed attempt and short lived experience going natural, I decided to give it another try. I watched Youtube video after Youtube video, read blog after blog, and was sure this time I was ready. But seven months after my last perm and four months into my natural hair journey, I was over it.

I started out well with braid outs and twistouts, (braidouts were my favorite) but as my new curls grew in, my styles would not look as nice anymore because of my stringy, straight ends. On top of that, my hair was shedding by the pounds. I was not sure if it was due to the stress I had senior year or if this is what vloggers warned me of. I am talking about the infamous demarcation line.

Whatever it was, I was sick of transitioning. I wanted to be fully natural already, but I was not ready for the big chop. And for the ladies reading this blog who are finding themselves in the same position I was in, I have a few words of advice that may help ease your natural hair journey.

Instead of going for the big chop and heading straight for the TWA, I decided to do a mini chop, multiple ones. As scared as I was, I got the scissors and handed them over to my sister (there was no way I could trust myself) and she cut about 1/3 of my relaxed hair into the trash bin. The next day I got braids for the first time. I was not used the heaviness of it on my neck but I got used to it. I left them in for a tad bit too long, but when I took my braids out in March, I could not believe how long my hair was. It made me wish I just went for the TWA instead.

After taking out my braids, I worked with a bun for a few weeks. Soon it was time for prom. At that point, I cut off what I thought was the last of my perm and had a weave installed. I had leave out, not realizing that I would have to re-straighten it every, single, day, but I made it work. I left my weave in for graduation and then tossed it. I realized I still had a few relaxed ends leftover. I cut those off and had braids put in one last time for the summer, which resulted in my hair growing incredibly once again. I straightened it in August for my sister’s wedding and a year and a month later my hair was down to my shoulders.

So rather than doing the big chop, I chose the mini chop instead. Thanks to protective styles, I was able to maximize moisture and retain length throughout the entire process.

For ladies who are not ready to go for the big chop all at once, I definitely encourage you all to take it step by step, cut little by little, or in increments. If all else fails, remember, it is just hair. It will always grow back.

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My Four Staple Shoes for Fall

When thinking about fall, thoughts of pumpkins, dark colors, and images of falling leaves usually come to mind. While we’ve already discussed fall fashion here on CurlyInCollege, I believe it’s time to zero in on another aspect in fall fashion. Shoes! *cue the OMG Shoes! YouTube viral hit from 2006 here* There are hundreds and thousands of different shoes one can wear this season but I’m going to focus on my four go-to pairs. After all, the shoes are what make the outfit.

Doc Martens/Combat Boots

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Featured: Macy*s / Missguided.com

Doc Martens are a classic pair of combat boots. In all honesty, I haven’t broken mine in yet and I have had them for almost a year (sorry mom). Nonetheless, I do reach for these due to the edgy look they instantly give my outfits.

I purchased these glossy maroon combat boots from Missguided last winter and love the pop of color they bring to an outfit. Maroon is also a staple color for this season and these boots incorporate it easily into outfits. Both pairs are comfortable which is important when I’m running around campus going to work, class, and grabbing food with friends.

Doc Martens usually retail for over $100 but can be found cheaper here from Amazon. A similar pair for my patent maroon combat boots can be found here from Missguided.com.

Ankle Boots

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Featured: Kohls

Ankle boots are an easy way to take an outfit and make it look more put together. This is another pick that allows you to be both comfortable and stylish. Ankle boots are always in style whether there are leaves on the ground and a chill in the air or flowers blooming with a shining sun. Simply slip these on and you’re good to go! The pair featured can be found here from Kohls.

Lace Up Flats

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Featured: Boohoo.com

The lace up trend has found its way into every article of clothing this season. From head to toe, you can find lace-up detailed clothing. As for footwear, lace-up flats/heels are a huge trend. For comfort reasons, I opt to pursue the trend in the flats variety. Flats already give an outfit a feminine touch but there’s just something about the lacing up detail that makes flats so much better. I personally am not a lover of flats but this pair just kept grabbing my attention and now I absolutely adore them. A similar pair can be found here from Boohoo.com (also love the fact that they come in red, might just have to get them myself) and here from Topshop.

*EXTRA: How I Style My Lace Up Flats (brought to you via Snapchat, of course!)*

micklaceupflats

Cardigan: BCBGMaxazria, Top: Forever 21, Boyfriend Jeans: Topshop

Desert Boots

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Featured: Marshall’s

Last but not least, my go-to pair of shoes for fall are desert boots. Mine happen to be a more pointed toe pair but the more popular style features a round toe. Comfortable (like all my choices), desert boots can also be dressed up or down. From jeans and a cozy sweater to a nice cardigan and dress combination, desert boots are super versatile.

Hopefully this post inspires you to go out and incorporate new footwear in your fall wardrobe. Being that I own way too many pairs of shoes (I like to be prepared for all life/footwear situations okay? Don’t judge), I’ve made it my goal to wear a different pair of shoes for the duration of November. You don’t have to go as far as that, but stepping out in a pair of shoes not usually in your routine can be the start of switching up anything else in your life. Take that first step!

The Truth About Long Distance Relationships

Most college students would agree that long-distance relationships are challenging, but the relationship can work if the couple wants it to.

There are numerous ways to help make long-distance relationships successful. One way is by talking to your significant other every day.

Whether it’s by Skype, on the phone, or texting, communication in long-distance relationships is vital. Couples should talk every day because it will help them remain involved in their partner’s life, without being in the same location.

If a couple talks every day, they can talk about what happened at work, some new renovations to their home, or about their children or pets. The couple is not together, but sharing details about their daily activities, helps the couple keep up to date with what their significant other is doing.

Another way to help make long-distance relationships work is by doing activities simultaneously while you two are apart.

For example, my boyfriend and I are in a long-distance relationship and at night we watch the same shows together. Since we watch the same show, at the same time, it makes us feel connected.

Being optimistic is another important tip to remember when in a long-distance relationship. The relationship will not work if you don’t have faith that it will work.

Staying positive and focusing on the future you and your significant other will have together will help make the distance not seem problematic.

Make sure to visit each other as much as possible when you are in a long-distance relationship. Visiting at least once a month or every other week will keep the couple’s bond strong and show that you still love spending time with your significant other.

A method I use in my long-distance relationship is giving gifts. By giving gifts I mean that each partner should give each other gifts, so that the other partner will have a little reminder of your love.

My boyfriend bought me a stuffed panda and every time I move from my home to my college, I bring it with me. The gift could be anything from a poem, keychain, ring, or even a pen.

As long as the gift comes from the heart, it will be appreciated.

So don’t worry and stress too much about your long-distance relationship and don’t be scared to get into one. Follow this simple guideline and you will be on your way to having an awesome long-distance relationship!

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Bye Bye Summer, Hello Fall!

Soon most of us will be waving goodbye to the hot summer days and care free nights. Now we have to get ready to go back to school and start thinking about that Thanksgiving turkey (or at least that is what I will be thinking about)!  Summer break is a time of reflection and that is just what we are going to do.

The summer of 2015 seemed so much different than others, and yes I used past tense.  Even though the summer is not officially over we need to get in the mind set that it is, if not when it actually is over we be overwhelmed.  We must prepare ourselves for the mental exhaustion and exploration of college.

Every summer there are those goals of losing weight, taking amazing Insta photos, traveling the world, and spending all the time you can with your friends before you have to hit the books in the fall.  But how many of us really truly ever achieve all of our summer expectations?  We want to do all these things and more but as most of us have realized there is not enough time and defiantly not enough money!  Not enough time to watch The Bachelorette season finale, see J. Cole in concert, or travel to Afro Punk!  Oh and I forgot to factor in that summer job that will occupy your time for probably 40 hours a week.  As teenagers and young adults we think it is possible to do everything, but as we see over and over again it is not.  This applies to college as well; we have the book reports, bio lab hours, math tutoring, computer assignments, and don’t forget about your friends, parties, campus events, eating, and going to class! Just thinking about this is tiring.

There are so many things that we didn’t get to do that looms over as we settle into this new fall semester.  But don’t get down because August and September are a new start where we can focus on new goals inside and outside the classroom.  Maybe you want a 4.0 your first semester or make a lot of new friends, but what ever it may be just know that there is alway next semester and another 3 years to achieve those goals.

Whether you are a freshman, returning student, or thinking about college just know that college is an amazing time.  This is the time where you finally get to find what you like and to figure out who you are.  There are no teachers telling you what to do and no parents to ground you, but this doesn’t mean to go crazy and slack off.  This is when you prove to yourself, your parents, and the doubters that you can make it on your own and be a responsible adult.  So out there, into the real world of college and find ur niche! And don’t forget while you are getting all those A’s … HAVE FUN!

If you could go back, what would you have done with just one extra hour each day over the summer? Maybe you would have watched one more episode of “A different world”on Netflix,  hung out with our friends for a hour longer, or took the oh so needed hour nap?

 

Mini-Twist Out Challenge Update

Sometimes when you challenge yourself to something it falls through. Well this challenge has fallen through for me. I got tired of wearing the same style all of the time. I am the type of person to switch things up from day to day. However, I am proud of myself for sticking with the challenge for a month. I loved wearing the twist because I did not have to do my hair every morning, but most importantly, my hair grew a lot. I was really happy to see my hair growth progress because that was the reason I started wearing twists.

I took my hair down last Saturday. I had to take my picture for a photoshop project I had for one of my classes. I really wanted my hair down and in a fro. It really did not help that the next day was Easter, and I did not want to wear the twists that day either. Since my hair was growing, I decided to take it down. The twist out left my hair really curly and pretty. I was amazed at how well my hair responded to the twists. The growth was evident in my fro as well.

When I started the challenge, my plan was to wash and re-twist my hair every three weeks. I stuck to the plan, so after the first three weeks I took my twists down and left my hair down for a day. I did this to prepare for my wash the next day. Here is the process of my wash day after three weeks of twists.

  • Co-wash with As I Am Coconut Co-wash. I decided to use this instead of regular shampoo because the co-wash helps me retain moisture better than the shampoo.
  • Condition with Aussie’s Moisturizing Conditioner. I just use this to help with detangling. I apply the conditioner to my hair, and then run my fingers through it.
  • Apply Leave-in Conditioner. I used Shea Moisture’s Leave-in Conditioner from the castor oil line. I really do not like the smell too much; I like what it does to my hair though. It leaves my hair really soft.
  • Twist hair into six sections. I do this to allow my hair to dry for an hour. I realized that if I twist my hair while it is slightly dry, they would be more elongated.
  • Apply Shea Butter and Black Jamaican Castor Oil mixture. This is what I use as I twist my hair. The mixture allows me to keep my hair very moisturized.
  • Twist the hair into mini twists.

After I did this process, I left the twists in for a week, and that is when I took them down. I have decided that I am going to finish the semester without the twists, in which I get out the beginning of May. I am going to wear the twists for a month to finish the challenge. I am not going to just give the challenge up.

Have you stuck with the challenge?

 

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Acknowledging Your Progress

Photo Credit: Ivie Enoma

This is my second time returning to natural hair and I am happy to say that I am far more patience this time around then I was the first time. This can be attributed to my hectic schedule and exhaustion or my overall desire to not focus too much on my hair. Either way, I’ve noticed tremendous growth in my hair and so have others! It’s so easy t
o convince yourself that you’re not making any progress in your hair journey (if it’s geared towards length) because shrinkage is the ultimate form deception! However, once you slow down and begin to notice the little things like finally being able to do a bun without needing bobby pins (I have yet to reach there) or you’re using up your products at a faster rate, you’ll know you’re retaining length. Some people like to have routine length checks but at this point in time I’m not too concerned to get back into that habit. However, every once in a while I will stretch my curls whenever I do notice growth. Just within 5 months I’ve noticed great growth! The last time I straightened my hair, I was struggling to do my signature flip with my bangs and couldn’t hold on to my ends very well. 5 months later and my bands are flippable and significantly longer. I could possibly be at the same length from when I relaxed again in 2015 in the next 5 months.

With longer hair comes changes. I’ve experienced texture change where my hair is now more wavy near my roots and curly towards my ends (I have a head full of lazy curls) and dryer ends which I have to pay more attention to or even switch up my products for. I definitely think my low maintenance and coconut oil massaged has helped a lot. If my hair isn’t in a flat twist and low bun, then it’s in mid-bun and a headband. I sometimes dabble in the occasional wash and go but I’m not a fan of the awkward length stage. I’ll dabble in a bantu knot out if I’m feeling fancy.

Now that I’ve figured out a stable regimen that works best for me, I may play around with different hair products now. Any recommendations you’d like to see my try? And that things do you like to do that you feel have helped you retain length?

See you in the next post!

xoxo

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