Who Else Wants a Free 7- Day Gratitude Journal Workbook?

What do you have to be thankful for right now?

When was the last time that you felt appreciated? Did you make someone else feel the same?

How often do you reflect on festive moments in your life? 

I asked those questions to myself this week and was able to realize what aspects I wanted change to achieve a higher level of happiness. How did I figure that out in three questions? I made a list of goals and tasks by keeping a gratitude journal. I created The Gratitude Journal to encourage myself to appreciate and value the things and people that fulfill me vs. being fixated on what’s not fulfilling or of value to my purpose in life. 

Three of my personal wellness goals for the year are to explore how to change my mindset, practice mindfulness, and to practice letting go of negative thinking. I started my groundwork in January when I wrote an article for Blk Girl Culture, breaking down the benefits of keeping a Gratitude Journal and some key reasons why people begin journaling:

Continue reading “Who Else Wants a Free 7- Day Gratitude Journal Workbook?”

No Stress Just Self- Care Everyday

Whenever I neglect to practice personal care, it has an effect on my anxiety and general mood. We all know that stress is not the easiest to manage and can often be easier said than done. How many of us have started one thing that we’ve gotten motivated to do for ourselves, but have not stayed committed to the journey? Felt defeated. Discouraged. How often is your mood affected by your health? It’s time to change your self-care habits! You can manage stress, you can become stress-free. I’ve found that with regular practice with these six self-care activities has helped to improve how often I tend to personal care, how much I enjoy practicing self-care during each of these acts, and keeps me motivated to do meet my goals.

It’s almost like I’ve discovered a hidden message all within my mind, body, and soul, and I’m finally finding the courage to crack the codes. Yes, I’ve mentioned before that I am a full-time working wife and mother of one. Of course my life is hectic! Most often, there’s too much on my plate (even though I’m passionate about EVERY thing on my plate). What am I doing? I’m sitting at a table trying to finish all of my food, but truth is, I’ve been overwhelmed and full a long time ago. Whenever I get like this (and I’m sure I’m not the only person that does this), I have to remember to get up and go relax. To lower my risks of burn out, anxiety, and depression, I try to engage in things that I enjoy to rekindle the balance in my life.

Continue reading “No Stress Just Self- Care Everyday”

Why I Started Blogging (And maybe You Should Too)

Blogging is something that I have always expressed my passion and excitement for (See: Introducing Life + Style With Kris). After successfully starting a college blog in 2008, I never discovered love as deep as the one I have for writing (for a career choice). So why did I stop? What made me start back ten years later?

Continue reading “Why I Started Blogging (And maybe You Should Too)”

The Gratitude Journal Set Giveaway

Life + Style With Kris is celebrating 1,000 views! Thank you so much for the support that so many of you have shown to my Lifestyle blog. This moment is an incredible feat, and I am grateful to have a loyal support group to keep me inspired to create in new ways. When I started my blog in December 2019, I had a plan to inspire others to self-care and discover new lifestyle choices to maintain happiness. I am looking to bringing even more content ideas. Let’s keep planting seeds and growing together!

One of the highlights of my journey has also been working with other blogs to share my ideas. In January, I wrote a guest post for BlkGirlCulture.com titled, How Keeping a Gratitude Journal Can Change Your Life, and several of you agreed that keeping a gratitude journal does improve positive thinking as a form of self-care. I keep a gratitude journal to reflect on what makes me happy and what I’m grateful for, as distractions can come in copious numbers. Now, I’ve created an authentic gratitude journal for others to acknowledge gratefulness, appreciation, and even our not so great days. The Gratitude Journal consists of 80 lined- white notebook paper, an inspirational quote, and “Gratitude Garden” for you to plant seeds for reflection and reproduction gratefulness.

I am giving away a FREE Gratitude Journal Set to one lucky person! The set consists of (1) Gratitude Journal + (1) Life + Style Pen w/ Stylus. The Gratitude Journal Set is also available for purchase! Click here to purchase the journal or pen individually or as a set. Thank you for your purchase and support!

Giveaway Rules (Giveaway ends Friday, August 21st):

Everything You Need To Know About Veet’s 3-in-1 Wax Strips

Disclaimer: Heads up! My posts contain affiliate links. If you buy something through one of those links, you won’t pay a penny more, but I’ll get a small commission, which helps keep the lights on. Thanks!

On Instagram last week, I talked in my stories about wanting to try body waxing at home. I am still uncomfortable and apprehensive about going out. COVID-19 is like that guest that can’t seem to take a hint when they are on the verge of overstaying their welcome. Even though Mississippi (which is the state that I live in) has deemed it “safe” for residents to get back to some sort of normalcy, I will still be hosting Self Spa Nights at my home until further notice. I mean, I waxed my eyebrows in March, gave me and my husband pedicures in April, what’s a little body waxing? It should make for a fun activity!

My followers on Instagram agreed that I should try body waxing and recommended that I try Veet’s 3-in-1 Legs & Body Wax Strip Kit or Sensitive Precision Beauty Styler (which is an electric trimmer for facial hair). I decided to conduct a poll because I didn’t know which one I wanted to try out first. Both products seemed like a great fit for what I was trying to accomplish. The people voted and decided that the 3-in-1 Wax Kit was what they were so eager for me to try. A lot of you had positive feedback about what you liked about it and what it was able to do for you. “I can wax pretty much everything with this!”, “This stuff works!”, and “It smells so good. It does such a great job removing hair.” was all that I needed to hear. 

I purchased my wax kit from Amazon since I don’t plan on going inside stores to shop. You can easily get yours from Wal-Mart or Target while you’re out, but if you’re like me and shop online for the convenience, I got you. Grab yours here: https://amzn.to/3dIHMO5 

One kit includes:

  1. 40 count wax strips
  2. 4 Perfect Finish Wipes

I did not realize that I ordered a two-pack until it arrived at the house, so I have (80) wax strips total. I knew that since it’s been six weeks since the last shave that I needed to make sure I had enough. FYI: one box is enough. Take a look at the box contents below.

The use of these gel wax strips was simple and easy. I decided to wax my underarms and legs and you can watch as I review my experience in the video below. There are just four easy steps. Gently peel the double-sided wax strips apart using the grip tabs. Next, apply the strip to the skin, grip tab side facing downwards. Rub several times in the hair growth direction your hair grows.

Pro Tip: Always pull back the strip against the direction of hair growth, keeping the strip close to the skin as you pull. 

Hold your skin tightly stretched, grasp the tab, and pull the strip back on itself as quickly as you can! The faster you pull, the more hair you remove! After waxing, clean away any wax left on your skin with the Perfect Finish Wipe.

Very easy! I was so pleased and happy with the end result. My underarms and legs felt upon completion. I did have to clean up mid waxing because I waxed the same area more than once. It became TOO much gel TOO fast. LOL! The instructions for use do recommend to wax in a consistent pattern to make sure you don’t miss hairs. However, DO NOT wax over the same area more than once. My leg hairs did not show well in pics or on film due to lack of hair. Veet has made waxing at home super fun, quick, and easy. I was able to wax in under 25 mins! That was super convenient for me because my Landon (my son) was ready for me to spend some time with him. Saturdays at my home have been deemed “Party Saturdays” by him and I wasn’t following the rules. 

Let me know your experience with using Veet’s 3-in-1 Wax Strip Kit in the comments below. If you are looking to do more self-care things like this when you’re at home, give this a try. I have decided that I just might not ever return to a spa for waxing services ever again! Oh and if you’re not already, make sure you’re following me on Instagram and YouTube so that you can catch my posts and videos.

8 Relaxing Aromatherapy Blend Must-Haves

Essential oils are one of the ways that we combat stress and anxiety while allowing us to relax and take a load off. Each blend is unique with helping decrease chronic pain, tension, headaches, and even sinus pressure. People find ways to incorporate aromatherapy into their daily life to improve health and general wellbeing. Plenty of men and women have purchased electronic diffusers that can illuminate your home with your favorite scent for hours! Aromatherapy roll-ons are an easy application tool to try using on the body or a pillow before bed. I use them all of the time whenever I make Kreative Bath Bombs! They are one of the best features of a relaxing and rejuvenating bath bomb. One of the questions that I receive a lot is, “how do I know that I am picking the right scent to help me relax and unwind?” and I am so happy that I can finally answer this question for you. Essential oils have different aromas and all derive from a combination of different things such as fruit or plants. Depending on what tickles your fancy, you may not enjoy citrus or a pine fragrance. That’s okay! I’ve come up with 8 essential oil blends that are perfect for achieving relaxation and relief and I want to share them with you today. Let’s make this easier. I have options for anyone looking to find the aromatherapy fragrance for them.

Disclosure: Heads up! My posts contain affiliate links. If you buy something through one of those links, you won’t pay a penny more, but I’ll get a small commission, which helps keep the lights on. Thanks!

Bergamot

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07H534CLN/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B07H534CLN&linkCode=as2&tag=kristen0f1-20&linkId=45bfca48cb54d196375bc3664c936497

Bergamot is a citrus and floral scent that is popular and commonly used in aromatherapy. If your goal is to reduce stress or enhance your mood, I recommend that you give this one a try if you haven’t already. Bergamot has antiseptic and analgesic properties, making for a possible solution to your stressful day. According to Very Well Health, this oil blend has been believed to treat and prevent:

  1. Acne
  2. Anxiety
  3. Depression
  4. Insomnia
  5. Headaches
  6. Psoriasis
  7. Nasal decongestion

Inhalation or absorption of Bergamot can increase serotonin and dopamine, which are our “feel good” hormones.

Grapefruit

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00R8GX5TM/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00R8GX5TM&linkCode=as2&tag=kristen0f1-20&linkId=5e27d570eaad56020d280714a6406105

Grapefruit aromatherapy might be my favorite blend of all time! I cannot get enough of this citrus scent. Whenever I use it, it is guaranteed to enhance my mood. Aside from this blend being one of the most aromatic, it is super beneficial to mental and physical health. Healthline.com states that grapefruit aromatherapy curbs and suppresses appetites, promoting weight loss. It can also lower blood pressure and treat acne. It can be great for mental clarity and reducing the stress in your life. Lift your mood by giving this one a try!

Lemon 

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00R8GX5QK/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00R8GX5QK&linkCode=as2&tag=kristen0f1-20&linkId=39db6d00d200664249e5d066cbd4521d

It may be time to renew and restore some balance in your life. One thing I know about lemon is that you can take a few of them and make lemonade! Lemon aromatherapy is perfect for renewing and restoring your physical and mental health. This is another citrus blend that can help reduce anxiety and depression symptoms. Lemon has been and can be used as a natural home remedy for:

  1. Cleaning and rejuvenating your home
  2. Clearing the skin; combating acne and hyperpigmentation

I have used lemon when I am cleaning my house and after I am done, I feel so much better. I want to start using it more in my skincare routine to help with dark spots.

Pro Tip: Expecting mothers can also use this to help decrease and lower morning sickness symptoms such as nausea and vomiting. 

Chamomile

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06Y2JVCHF/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B06Y2JVCHF&linkCode=as2&tag=kristen0f1-20&linkId=1ff8ddb35007448f13732c7cb2bf857c

Although this list goes in no particular order, chamomile is high on my list of super relaxing aromatherapy oil blend must-haves. This floral oil fragrance has been most noted for helping to promote sleeping and resting. It is also essential in helping to decrease depression, insomnia, and restlessness. Rarely is it noted that this scent can improve physical health. A list of body ailments include:

  1. Indigestion
  2. Nausea
  3. Back pain
  4. Arthritis

Pro Tip: Add 1-2 drops of chamomile oil to your favorite lotion or moisturizer, and apply it to the skin.

Jasmine

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00IN89TJO/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00IN89TJO&linkCode=as2&tag=kristen0f1-20&linkId=575841e63deb231fbda36573fce2f1bd

Another floral fragrance that makes the list of relaxing oil blend must-haves. If you have been looking for a scent that is loving and pure, hopefully, this one proves itself worthy of the title. Did you know that jasmine is commonly used in fragrances (ex. Chanel No. 5), sweets, alcohol, and desserts? Jasmine can be an aphrodisiac or antidepressant. The healing properties can reduce:

  1. Depression
  2. Increase positive feelings
  3. Increase energy levels

Pro Tip: Use this to set the mood in your house for a night with your sweet date.

Lavender

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00P6V0PPS/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00P6V0PPS&linkCode=as2&tag=kristen0f1-20&linkId=c5c7550739f6d140e72af5567b65724c

The Relaxing Aromatherapy Blends Must-Haves list would not be complete without the lavender fragrance. Everyone knows that lavender can help you to relax and get a peaceful night of sleep. What I love most about this versatile floral scent is how calming it can be. There is absolutely no doubt about how relaxed you will be after putting a few drops of this into your diffuser. I encourage you to get creative with this one. Roll it on to your pillow before bed, put a few drops into an empty spray bottle, and dilute it with water to make a mist. 

Neroli

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00SI597D0/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00SI597D0&linkCode=as2&tag=kristen0f1-20&linkId=423a1e5b6581c8973087957f90fdb172

Neroli aromatherapy is an essential oil blend that I stumbled upon while combining oils when making Kreative Bath Bombs. An orange citrus blend that is popular in skincare use. Neroli can stimulate your skin cell rejuvenation and is anti-scarring. For glowing and radiant skin, pair this with lemon aromatherapy. Super refreshing!

Pro Tip: Neroli can be a fantastic ingredient to rub on stretch marks, age spots, and scars.

Rosemary

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00R8GX6UU/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00R8GX6UU&linkCode=as2&tag=kristen0f1-20&linkId=f5ccf3b8c157a3fc261024ca24e089ef

Rosemary is a popular multi-purpose aromatherapy blend that you could use while cooking, treating your hair, or improving your health. Rosemary comes from a plant or shrub and is a forest pine fragrance. If you have been having trouble concentration lately, rosemary could be the scent for you. I would recommend finding this in a roll-on to apply to the temples of the forehead or base of the neck. Rosemary can also help with hair loss! A hair growth remedy to replenishing hair follicles. 

There are 82 other aromatherapy blends in the essential oil family. The must-haves I have shared with you have proven beneficial to my physical, mental, or emotional health. I encourage combining blends for a customized experience. If you are a beginner in this practice, these must-haves will help guide you in discovering which aromatic fragrances are pleasing to your senses. What will you use your relaxing blend for the most? Intermediate and expert users should share which essential oils help them to unwind in the comment section below.

May Amazon Haul!

Happy Friday!

In light of every thing that has been going on in the world lately, I wanted to bring something fun to the blog today. While I have been sheltering in place, I have had so much free time. Idle time eventually led to scrolling through websites and apps on my phone. Next thing I knew, I have spent more money than I probably should have shopping on Amazon these last few weeks. Every single day for a solid three weeks to a month, I have found myself on Amazon or websites like them buying some essential and some non-essential things. Clothes, shoes, makeup, purses, beauty products. I’m not even kidding! I probably left something out it’s been so much. It doesn’t help that having things like Amazon Prime, that will ‘guarantee your item’s arrival within 48 hours if you purchase today’ taunting you, either. While I have made it a point to grab my hand soaps and sanitizers online, I’ve been also making it a one stop shop for a lot of other things I’ve been needing but lacking. So I’ve decided to share a few things that I’ve purchased from Amazon within the last month. Don’t worry! I wouldn’t share anything that I would think that you couldn’t benefit from. I know that you’ll be thrilled to be introduced to these products and probably can’t wait to put them in your cart. I hope you look forward to seeing posts like this once a month. I must admit, Amazon has impressed me with the quality of the items I’ve purchased. Let’s get started.

Disclaimer: Life + Style with Kris is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This is at no additional cost to you, just a tracking for referrals by Life + Style with Kris.


Onyx professional hard as hoof nail strengthening cream ($7.94)

I purchased this cream after months and months of putting it off. Story Time: A year ago (maybe even longer), I split one of my nails after getting SNS nails. How I split my nail, under the dip, is unknown. I must have banged it on something. I really thought that SNS is supposed to be a healthier alternative to acrylics. Well, my nail is STILL splitting down the middle. Right down the middle. This has completely prevented it from growing and thriving like the others. I researched and found that this product as well as silk wrap has raving reviews on Amazon. It helps to stop splits, cracks and chips while strengthening your nail. Brittle and fragile nails will be able to live again! I’ve been using the cream for about a week and a half and I’ve already noticed my split getting smaller and more narrow. I’m looking forward to having a complete set of healthy, real nails again.

Cerave moisturizing cream ($24.36)

This product is so amazing, it’s sold out on Amazon right now. If you are following me on Facebook or Twitter, you might have seen me ask for product recommendations for treating eczema and dry scalp in the past. You’ll learn more about why I am mentioning “dry scalp” later. My son, Landon, is believed to have eczema (not dermatologist tested; mother self-diagnosed) and I have spent countless days battling with keeping his skin hydrated and moisturized. Only certain products have been able to work (Eucerin, Aveeno) and those products can be kind of costly for the ounces that you end up getting. I go through so many bottles; it’s ridiculous! We’ve been using CeraVe for three weeks and haven’t even put a dent in the jar. Although this product is kind of pricey too, the amount you get is completely worth it. The actual product I have is 19 oz in size, but is now nowhere to be found Amazon. I’ve shared a value pack that gives you the moisturizing cream + lotion.

Pre-k workbooks ($5.39- $10.99)

In my blog, Social Distancing: Choosing to Self-Care & Keep the Faith, I told you guys how the pandemic has forced me to become a teacher, right? Miss Mama’s P-4 Academy is STILL going strong, with a few updates. Landon’s original preschool hasn’t been able to send work packets home to the students since March. So I have had to get creative with his “classwork”. My goal and focus is to keep him on track with the learning and education that he’s been receiving at Mary’s Little Lambs. My Sight Words, Learn to Read Activity, and My First Learn-to-Write Workbooks are keeping LJ on the right path. My Sight Words and Learn to Read Workbooks are great for kids (ages 4-6) and can make learning fun w/ over 100 high frequency words. Landon and I practice saying, tracing, and then writing the word. There are lots of fun activities to help your little ones w/ word recognition and learning to read. My First Learn-to-Write Workbook (ages 3 and up) is great practice for line tracing with numbers, letters, and shapes.

design essentials almond and avocado curl enhancing mousse ($14.97)

Okay so I’ve been natural since 2014 and my natural hair journey has been a process (putting it mildly). I’ve tried transitioning, I’ve done the big chop. I’ve struggled with maintaining moisture for FOREVER. Whenever I twist my hair, I find myself always saying a little prayer. Dear Sweet Baby Jesus, please just let this twist-out be cute! The problem is never struggling with moisture while twisting, it’s whenever I take the twists down. My curls are always half-way popping! I read great reviews about this mousse locking in moisture and decided to try it. The verdict on how I feel about this one is still out. I’ve only used it once and it didn’t really do what I thought it would do. I mean, I wasn’t upset, I just thought maybe I didn’t use enough of it? My curls were really defined in the back, but I had to sponge the top of my hair for the desired look. I mean… my hair is longer at the top, so maybe I just need to try it again. I’ll keep you guys updated.

anti-dandruff shampoo for kids ($9.95)

Along with eczema, Landon’s also got a bit of a dry scalp. Okay, it’s a lot of a dry scalp. He’s had it since being an infant and he’s still got it. I”m not sure if it’s considered cradle cap or just dandruff. It just won’t go away, no matter how many products I’ve tried. O-M-G! After two washes, I can say that I am seeing improvement to his scalp. It’s probably going to take several more attempts to get rid of it but I really do think that it’s helping. The lavender, tea tree, and jojoba oils are really cleansing his scalp and the smell is heavenly. The best tear-free natural treatment for kids I’ve found so far. TIP: it’s not just for kids! Adults can try some too!

Selfie ring light w/ Tripod ($59.99)

Love, love, love this! I’ve been needing this essential tool to help with creating content. As a digital content creator, it is imperative to have quality digital media (see blog: How to Create a Beautiful Image Backdrop On a Budget)! You’ve got to be able to see me clearly, okay? LOL. This 8″ Selfie Ring Light is really amazing. It has three different adjustable light settings (white, neutral, and warm) and comes with a tri-pod that is also adjustable. It also comes with a remote shutter that connects via Bluetooth. I can now record my YouTube videos and take wonderful, beautiful photos thanks to this lovely product. Five-star rating! Get you one because you’ll love it!

callus remover for feet by majestic pure ($17.50)

I stumbled upon this product after searching on Amazon for products to complete my Spouse Spa Date Night, weeks ago. I needed to get a pedicure BEFORE staying at home all these weeks, so my feet were already screaming for some attention. My husband and I can most likely vote this product as the MVP of Spouse Spa Date Night. It is smooth and soothing and after soaking your feet with this on, your feet will soon feel like your hands. All you need to go with this is a pumice stone, grit file or loofah and it’s going to be a majestic feeling. Thanks to this callus remover, I’m able to slide my feet back and forth on my king-sized sheets with ease. NOTE: I believe that this item is out of stock at the moment. Turn on your notifications so you’ll know when it becomes available.

Tree Hut Shea sugar scrub ($6.48)

This sugar scrub is runner-up for the MVP award from the Spouse Spa Date Night. Tree Hut did their thing with this scrub! I’m huge on how products smell and it’s got an amazing scent. I purchased mine in the scent Tropical Mango but they have several others that I’m planning on trying after this. You get a whiff of goodness as soon as you open the jar! Sugar scrub can be gritty (sometimes a little too much) but I found this one to not be as overwhelming. I could just rub this into my skin for hours. It feels so good and also leaves your skin feeling silky smooth with a little hydration. Definitely buying me some more!

Nad’s facial wax strips ($4.99)

If you’re following me on Instagram, then I know you’ve already seen me RAVE about Nad’s waxing strips. O-M-G! First, let me just say, that I originally went into this thinking that it wasn’t going to work. I doubted that the wax was not strong enough. Completely wrong! Got most, if not all, of my hair in one strip. Nad’s sends you 20 strips and 4 post wax calming oil wipes to help with irritation (redness, inflammation) after waxing. I’ve even turned a strip into a few mini strips and waxed my eyebrows with this product. The strips are intended for facial waxing, but don’t worry! They’ve got body waxing products as well. Check out their website.

Terez + Honor enhancing eyelash and brow serum ($19.99)

My eyebrows and eyelashes have been troubled long before the pandemic, okay? LOL. I have been working on shaping my eyebrows and growing my lashes for a while now. One eyebrow lacks a tail and the other eyebrow has a higher arch than the other. Chile, a mess. That comes from just letting anyone touch your brows besides your regular ‘Brow Girl’. I used to not have this problem. Anyway, this product is here to save me from my problem and yours too, if you too can relate. I’ve noticed results since beginning to use this one almost instantly (it’s been about three weeks). I have seen brow hair growth and my lashes are getting longer, just waiting for them to get fuller. I can’t wait to see what they look like in a month. Make sure you’re following me on Instagram for updates on how well this works! This is truly a lifesaver. No more freaking out about how to fix my brows!


That’s going to complete my roundup of products from Amazon this month. I hope you all enjoyed this month’s roundup. There’s still a few products that I have ordered that I’m still waiting to review, so hopefully those will make it to next month’s haul. Guys, please don’t forget to mention me or tag me if you purchase any of these products! I want to hear your testimony, too. Leave me a comment if you’ve used or have any of these products already.

How To Create a Beautiful Image Backdrop on a Budget

Do you love to take quality picture and video content? Have you ever found yourself trying to take the perfect photograph for your Instagram feed, but your background looks a mess? Maybe you’re a blogger/ vlogger trying to record a video but your shower curtain is photo bombing you because that’s the only space where you can create. You could be trying to take the cutest photo of your kid for a special occasion without wanting to pay a photographer for services. Photography services can be expensive!

Having backdrops can really enhance your photo and video aesthetic value to your digital content. That’s why professionals like photographers and videographers rely on them so heavily! You, too, can have your very own backdrop sis! What’s even better is that you can make a backdrop yourself, saving money on future professional photography services forever. Woohoo!

While social distancing I have been creating lots of content but I’ve been lacking in being able to have a “universal” go-to place for where I create my pictures and videos. In the midst of conveying my thoughts, sharing my experiences and opinions, I realize that it’s certain things I don’t want shown in my content (I love y’all but you don’t need to be seeing my shower curtain). So, I hopped on Pinterest to search ideas for photo/video backdrops and backgrounds. I soon learned the basic essentials to making a flower wall backdrop! This was a great idea, as people use flower walls for backdrops for weddings and baby showers. Pinterest makes every thing seem so easy!

Here’s a list of all the materials that I used to create my Sunflower backdrop wall. The grid panel frames I got from Amazon. All flowers were ordered from eFavor Mart.

Note: LIFE + STYLE with Kris receives commission for using Amazon products for the projects that I share in posts.  Although I receive a commission for using and linking their products, they are extremely good for my projects. All opinions and suggestions are unbiased.

10-Pack Grid Plant Wall Frames ($25.99)

Hot Glue Gun + Glue Sticks ($8.99)

Thumb Tacks ($5.99)

The steps that I took to building my Sunflower wall actually were as simplistic as Pinterest made it seem to be. There really aren’t many steps involved in building a backdrop BUT it is time consuming. I decided to share the parts involved in making my wall that I crafted over a week’s time span (six days to be exact). I could have completed this in less than six days and you may be able to finish in a shorter timeframe; I wasn’t in a rush to complete it. I wanted it to turn out beautiful and honestly, I had so much fun making it!

Build Your Panel Frames

I used the beautiful chocolate carnation flowers as what I call my “base” color. The panel size dimensions are 19 x 14in. and require a lot of artificial flowers. There are over 100 pegs to fill! To fill them, simply attach the stem of your artificial flower to the peg on each panel frame. I used nine panel frames for my backdrop. I originally wanted a combination of different carnations (chocolate and cream) but made a choice to forego. Buying flowers in bulk can be expensive!

TIP: Think about what color(s) you will use in great detail. The more color you want, the more money you will spend.

Gluing Paper Flowers

If you choose the perfect flower, you may not want to add additional details. I added white paper roses to the center of my carnations for a 3D look. Using a hot glue gun, I glued the roses to every other carnation for each panel frame.

TIP: If you are fine with the flower you’ve already used, then you can easily move on to attaching your panel frames to your wall.

Place Frames on the Wall

Designate your space/area where you will build your frames. I used a wall in our home office because that’s where I go to create most of my digital content. I used thumb tacks to pine each panel closely together evenly.

TIP: Building a full wall is great for full body images. If you are going to use your backdrop for mainly selfies/headshots, you should use less (roughly six) panels.

Continue Adding Embellishments: Peony Flowers

The last task for me to execute is adding the peony flowers. They arrive flat after ordering, so I had to fluff out 12 paper peony flowers before attaching them to the frames. Each peony has a clear string hook that makes for easy attachment. I love that they also came with peel-off adhesives! I should have ordered more of these (probably will go back and buy more).

Social Distancing: Choosing to Self- Care & Keep the Faith

How are you doing? What have you been doing? What do you make of all of this?

The world has been under stress while trying to remain calm in the midst of chaos. The arguably most infectious virus, COVID-19, continues to sweep the nation indoors! I have been following the frightening headlines since February to present day, and you know what? I’M TIRED! Two weeks ago marked the last time that I would have punched a time clock, the last time my son would see his friends and teacher, and the first time I was forced to distance myself and my family from the outer world due to safety concerns. Our regular routine as we once knew it is no more. I’ve had to get innovative to keep some sanity and normalcy, to keep from spiraling out into a depression. The thing about home is that this is our resting place, our “safety net”, where we come to take a break from the things we used to do everyday. Now our home is home to Miss Mama’s P-4 Academy, the Buchanan YouTube GYM, and our updated version of “The Office”– minus the paper sales. All of these headquarters reside right in our forever transforming living room.

Miss Mama’s P-4 Academy was created to keep Landon sharp on his writing, tracing, coloring, and reading. Every morning (Monday- Friday), Landon and I begin classwork after breakfast–around 8-9am. We first tackle the task of tracing and writing his name. Mary’s Little Lambs, the school Landon attends, put together a packet of schoolwork to keep kids busy and on track with the curriculum. The packet consists of writing, coloring, counting and matching skill sets.

Landon practicing writing his name, coloring, and matching opposites.
Landon practicing writing his name, coloring, and matching opposites.

After classwork is completed, Landon has the option of going outside to play in the front yard or taking a walk in the neighborhood. He almost always chooses going for the walk first and we decide to just go back outside later in the afternoon. The walk– which is fun for all parties involved– is usually no more than a block or two and we come back home. The rest of the afternoon is dedicated to free time, usually after a well needed and deserved nap.

TIP: flashcards have been our latest game to encourage spelling of words. We also have alphabet letter magnets on our refrigerator that we use to also encourage spelling.

I’ve made it to the peak time of my day, which usually involves Miss Mama taking off her name tag, and taking care of important business in “The Office”. Usually I get started around 2-3pm, and that time consists of working strictly from my laptop or phone. My main job doesn’t require or call for working from home, so this is a benefit to working on building my brand. I’ve been given more time to create more content, engage with and build my audience, and committing to a more consistent writing schedule. This will last until about 7pm, and then I start transitioning into retiring for the day.

Self-care time with Que Bella Beauty products!
Hydrating Pineapple Peel Off Mask/ Intensive Foot Sock Mask both left my skin feeling rejuvenated!

Self-care is important and I believe in it without a shadow of a doubt. It’s even more important to take care while I’m going to be inside for at least the next 30 days. Last week I gave myself a mini facial and a foot mask all while still managing to fit in family time! Every self-care activity I choose is different, of course. I may decide to meditate and/or workout. Yesterday, I did a 25- minute Hip Hop Workout right from my living room TV. Sometimes I choose to rest and simply “be still”. I also choose to avoid the internet for a few hours (and that can turn into days) to shut out all the noise. Internet traffic is HEAVY right now and actually, so are all streaming platforms. I’ve been watching more TV than usual due to all the extra time I’ve got on my hands for the next few weeks. Below you can see a list of all the movies and TV shows that I’ve been watching while being in the house. Make sure you’re following me on social media to see my thoughts and reviews!

NOTE: this list is subject to be updated at any time.

It may seem like I’ve got it all figured out but I’m just winging it. There’s really only three keys to making it through quarantining and social distancing, with the main one being following through. PLEASE! Stay at home and practice social distancing only in essential situations (going to work, going to grocery stores). Stay positive! This is an obstacle but just like any other, we can and we will make it through. Find the silver lining to what this has forced us to do, which is be still and take care. Creativity will lead the way if you allow it. In times of boredom, it’s amazing what your mind can create.

Comment below and tell me what you’ve been doing during this time. I’m looking for new ideas! I want to share these experiences with you all.

35 Things I Want To Do Before Turning 35

Time waits for no one.

With everything that is happening in the world right now, I can’t help but sit and reflect. Life has a funny way of slowing you down. It’s been forcing me to really sit down and put some long thought into what I reaaallly need to be coming to terms with. What’s that? So glad that you asked. Life is short and if you let it, it can pass you by.

I know you know the sayings, just like I know the sayings. We’ve heard them quite a few times throughout our lives, but is it just a saying or is it really that real? While I have been choosing to isolate at home by way of social distancing, I’ve been thinking of all the things that I should be doing. That I have been putting off or simply making excuses as to reasons why they can’t be done. I’ve let myself get distracted from meeting my goals, guys!! I’m thirty-one years old and there’s still so much that I want to do. The younger me thought that I would’ve been “settled” and boyyyy was I wrong. 

Hold up! Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been enjoying life but I’ve realized that there are things that I have not had the chance to do yet; that I thought I would have by this stage in life. I haven’t and will not give up on them, as there are other things I want to experience again because it makes me happy. Who doesn’t want to experience something that made them once happy over and over

So, I’ve decided to come up with a list. A list of things that I would like to do before reaching the next “major milestone” in my life. I did the math. I’m thirty-one now. In four years, I will be thirty-five. Four years should be enough time to knock off a few goals, right? Did I come up with realistic ideas that can be achieved? How much can one achieve in four years? It’ll at least give me some things to look forward to doing. As long as I am manifesting my goals, I can keep being the driving force in actually accomplishing whatever it is I want! I’ve attached my list below and included a few that I’m working on already, to give myself a head start. Read the list and wish me luck! Maybe, just maybe, you’re inspired and want to make your own list. That’s awesome!  Leave me a comment below so that I can follow along with you! 

  1. Become a Successful Blogger
  2. Travel/ Vacation to Miami, Florida
  3. Buy/Build a House
  4. Travel/ Vacation Outside of the U.S.
  5. Renew my vows
  6. Relocate to a new state
  7. Take Online Courses/ Go to University
  8. Go on a Cruise
  9. Increase my net worth
  10. Upgrade my car
  11.  Lower my debt/ increase my credit score
  12. Partner with a major corporate brand
  13. Travel/ Vacation to Los Angeles, California
  14. Attend a concert/ Attend a festival
  15. Successfully own a business
  16. Become a member of a church
  17. Own a creative space
  18. Redecorate/ Interior decorate my home
  19. Learn a new skill
  20. Spend more time with family/ friends
  21. BE HAPPIER!
  22. Support a hobby/ extracurricular activity of my son’s
  23. Attend a Paint ‘N Sip Party
  24. BE HEALTHIER!
  25. Take my mother on a shopping spree
  26. Take myself on a shopping spree
  27. Go to therapy
  28. Create a meditation schedule
  29. Chase my dreams
  30. Gain 25 pounds
  31. Establish a tribe
  32. Read 10 different books
  33. Make/ create a new project
  34. Exercise two times a day
  35. Go to a ball/ gala

How Letting Go Of Negative Thoughts Changed My Life

The road to self-improvement can be a constant journey that requires regular maintenance. I know myself, I know that I have what it takes to continue working on myself, but I can’t always find the time to work on every aspect that bothers me in my life. I am consistently being challenged to find more ways to persevere through obstacles that arise and it sometimes triggers me to react negatively. My thoughts and fears take over (and not in ways that are optimistic or positive); sending me on a downward spiral of self-doubt and uncertainty. I’ve learned how to channel that energy into practicing mindfulness and meditation and it’s really been essential to my self-help development. But—real talk. I don’t always feel like being mindful or meditating everyday. I AM HUMAN. I get lazy, weary, and unconcerned just like you and anyone else that reacts to negative thoughts and fears in their lives (personal, professional, social).

Stop and Redirect Negative Energy

When my thoughts and emotions start taking over and controlling my reactions, I’ve learned to stop and redirect them. The one thing that I’ve learned while practicing meditation is that the mind can drift off if you let distractions deter you. You know that you can multi-task, you know that you can focus on more than one thing at time. It’s very easy to lose focus on positivity and the things that matter the most to you. Shifts happen all the time in everyday life, what went well today may not go well tomorrow and boom! You’re in your head again. Adjusting to shifts in your routine and everyday life isn’t always a quick and easy transition. PRO TIP: stay vigilant. You cannot allow negative emotions dictate your life. The moment that you feed into that negative energy, you are creating and building more obstacles and hurdles for yourself. Discipline yourself to stop and redirect that energy somewhere. Channel it into something else that will emote positive results and energy.

Write Your Thoughts Down

My head can easily get clogged attempting to process every single thought and feeling that you have. Painfully overwhelming! What makes it more difficult is trying to sort out those feelings and emotions all at once. It’s too much! How can I solve my problems when I can’t even clearly think about them? Writing down thoughts, feelings, and fears can and will declutter your mind, giving me at least a moment of peace. Writing has always been a safe haven for anyone to be able to speak their mind freely. PRO TIP: write it down and read it to yourself aloud. Decide if it’s worth holding on to. If your answer is yes, stop and redirect. If your answer is no, ball up your piece of paper with your thoughts and feelings, and throw it away. Let go of that feeling of wanting to think and react negatively.

Nobody Is At Fault

As I’ve stated earlier, I AM HUMAN. There’s no way that I should be expecting myself to be perfect, yet I still do. I’ve trained myself that I should expect nothing but excellence. I’m a planner and an organizer. In my mind, I think that I have what it takes to be perfect. Truth is, it’s impossible for anyone to be perfect. However, for some odd reason I think that I’m supposed to handle every thought and feeling perfectly. I’ve since learned that I need to take a moment, stop and redirect. Realistically I cannot think that everything that I do or every emotion that I have is going to be positive. Especially while on a path to self-improvement because *spoiler alert*– it doesn’t happen overnight. I’m going to stop blaming myself every time something goes wrong. I’m also going to discipline myself to stop blaming others every time something goes wrong. PRO TIP: the plan is to always continue moving forward. It’s never personal, it’s a challenge. Don’t question the challenge (no matter how difficult that it may be). Stop and redirect. Know that you are deserving of a happy life and believe it!

Stay Consistent

One thing that I know for sure is that I can never give up on improving the way that I want to live my life. Negative thoughts come and go and they only linger if you fuel that energy. Stop giving life to things that doesn’t make your life better! Dead it. Consistently putting in the work to defeat negativity and the pessimist views that it brings is going to require great discipline. Implement discipline and routine practice daily to stay focused and on track to meeting the goals that I want to meet and attain. In the beginning it may be rough, but you’ve got to see it through by staying consistent. PRO TIP: repetition is key.

I’m taking control over what consumes my mind and I encourage anyone else who hasn’t been in control of their thoughts to also do the same. I’m human, you’re human. Discipline yourself to stop and redirect negative energy. Continue to move forward even when you’re feeling like you’re not ready for the challenge. Stay consistent and develop a high level of focusing on what positively impacts your life.

Black History: 5 Historical Places to Visit in Mississippi

It’s a celebration! February, Black History Month, is our annual celebration of achievements of African-American people and a time for recognizing our success, our central roles that have made a difference in the world, and an undying love and appreciation of our culture. African-American culture is both distinct and influential to the lifestyles of so many Americans. This year, I wanted to highlight some of the best places to visit in Mississippi for Black History month. All of the monumental places (mostly museums) can be found throughout North, Central, and Southern Mississippi. If you happen to be near any of the places highlighted, do yourself a favor and sign up to do a tour. There’s so much to be inspired by in the Magnolia State, and I am certain that you just might learn something.

African American Military History Museum

Photo Credit: African American Military History Museum

This museum opened in 1942, for African- American soldiers that were stationed at Camp Shelby. The African-American Military Museum is the only building remaining for African-American soldiers in the United States. The museum aims to educate the public about African-American contributions to the United States military. The museum can be found on 6th Street, in Hattiesburg, Mississippi and offers free admission to guests that decide to visit the exhibits. Some of the exhibits that you can explore: Lobby Exhibits (Discover the history of the USO Club, from a WWII Recreation Building to Hattiesburg’s first African American Library and Community Center), Revolutionary War, The Founding of Hattiesburg, Buffalo Soldiers, World War I & II, Desegregation, and Desert Storm to name a few. To see how you can schedule your visit to the museum, go to their website to learn more about how you can tour the museum or make a a donation!

Delta Blues Museum

Photo Credit: Delta Blues Museum

The Delta Blues Museum is place to go to explore the history and heritage of the American musical art form of the blues. If you’re looking to find meaning, value, or perspective about the blues and its origin, this museum is located in Clarksdale, Mississippi (better known as “the crossroads” of interstate sections HWY 61 and HWY 49). Established in 1979, this museum has been dedicated to the mission of preserving the story of the blues, as many of the legendary blues musical artists are born in or around Clarksdale, MS (Muddy Waters, Ike Turner, Sam Cooke). This month the museum has several historical exhibits that include: Ike Turner and Rocket 88, Panny Mayfield: Live from the Mississippi Delta, Don Nix: Memphis Man Living High, Laying Low, Blue Portraits in Steel. For those looking to purchase tickets to tour The Delta Blues Museum, General Admission is $10. Check out their website to download museum brochures, make a donation, learn more about pricing, and how to purchase your tickets.

The Grammy Museum

Photo Credit: The Grammy Museum Mississippi

The Grammy family is in Mississippi! The Recording Academy Grammy Museum provides unique learning opportunities about the entire creative and technological processes of Mississippi recording artists. The Grammy Museum, located in Cleveland, Mississippi, is an interactive celebration of the power of music. In 2011, the 28,000 square foot museum was built on the campus of Delta State University, and has provided inspirational and educational public programs featuring exhibits, film, lectures, and intimate performances. This month the museum features the celebration of Jermaine Dupri, 25 Years of Jermaine Dupri and SoSoDef. Exhibit highlights include: lyric and concept books from Kris Kross, performance wardrobes for So So Def artists, the original beat machine that Jermaine Dupri used to make his earlier productions and more. To find out how you can tour this exhibit before it leaves, go to The Grammy Museum’s website to get touring information.

Mississippi Civil Rights Museum

Photo Credit: Mississippi Civil Rights Museum

According to their website, The Mississippi Civil Rights Museum shares the stories of a Mississippi movement that changed the nation. The museum promotes a greater understanding of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement and its impact by highlighting the strength and sacrifices of its people. Visitors will witness the freedom struggle in eight interactive galleries that show the systematic oppression of black Mississippians and their fight for equality that transformed the state and nation. The museum has eight interactive exhibits that include: Mississippi Freedom Struggle, Mississippi in Black and White, This Little Light of Mine (a soaring space filled with natural light from large windows), A Closed Society, A Tremor in the Iceberg, I Question America, Black Empowerment, and Where Do We Go From Here? Be sure to check out the website as it also lists special events happening throughout Black History Month. General Admission is $10 for adults and as of 2020, the museum now offers audio tours! This one I highly recommend to experience.

Mary O’Keefe Cultural Center

If you’re not going to be in any of the North or Central Mississippi locations this month, the Gulf Coast will have Black History events and programs throughout the month. The Mary O’Keefe Cultural Center (Ocean Springs, Mississippi) will be hosting events February 7th, 15th, and 28th for local black artists and businesses. Two of the events have free admission, and if you’re going to check out the live performances event, admission is only $5. If you are an artist or business owner, you’ll get the chance to showcase your talents and promote your brand. Check out the website for additional information.

My Favorite Things in Life

People always seem to make a list of the things that they despise or dislike more than they seem to talk about the things that make them happy! We spend so much time focused on the things that we wish to change, without reflecting on what we love the most. The things that we love the most are what keeps us inspired and should help us to see that the things we dislike are minimal compared to the things that bring us joy. I created a list of ten things that make my life golden.

#1. LOVE

I am blessed to have a loving family that is always there for me, in times of need. I can turn to my husband and son, who are always waiting for me daily to shower me with love. My parents, grandparents are always just one phone call away, should I ever need any thing. I have a close circle of friends that I can confide my securities and insecurities in, without any judgement. It’s a beautiful feeling.

#2. APPLE PRODUCTS

I love, love technology. I love it ten times more if it’s a product of Apple. I cannot function without my iPhone X, iPad, or Apple Watch. My life is in its hand. Literally. Every thing that I could ever need is right there on my device. It never lets me down and if there ever comes a day when it does, I will not be a happy camper.

#3. BEYONCE

Giselle. Knowles- Carter. There’s not any thing I think she could do to not make me happy, at this point. There’s a song for any and every mood I am in, I aspire to achieve my goals as if I were Beyonce, herself. I’m sure there’s a possibility to some that she may can do wrong, but tell it to any one other than me.

#4. MUSIC

Music has always been my preferred method of expression. Although I am no singer, I love how so many different artists can find very different ways to express their feelings and thoughts. No matter the artist, there is always a song to fit the mood. Just turn on the good tunes, and I am happy.

#5. DOCUMENTARIES & AUTOBIOGRAPHIES

I love a good story! Learning about topics and/or people that I have been intrigued by is fun. There’s great gems in documentaries and autobiographies. It helps the person seem relatable to the audience & captures you in a way that can be entertaining. All I need with this is good cuisine and a bed, for afterwards.

#6. COMEDY

Admittedly, this is how I sometimes deflect, however laughter is great for the soul. I find the humor in a lot of things, even if it isn’t funny in the present moment. Inserting a joke to lighten the mood or build rapport is my go-to thing. I also love when others can be witty, it makes for good dialogue and conversation. I love when there’s a good comedy special on Netflix, too. In the words of the Joker, “why so serious?”. Live a little, laugh a little.

#7 CREATING/ CRAFTING

Making things makes me happy! It’s therapeutic and I love to see the entire process, from beginning to end. Art is beautiful and even more beautiful when it’s something that YOU’VE created. Creating gives me great pride. Execution and following through is all that is needed in this one.

#8. SHOPPING

I mean, there’s not a list that is complete without this one. This isn’t a hidden fact. Most, if not all, women love to shop. This is also another form of therapy for yourself. Once upon a time, it used to be just shopping for myself. Now, I love shopping for my house, my kid, my husband. The rarity in which I do spend on myself, I spend it on the next item on this list.

#9. MAKEUP

The beauty enhancer. Yes, I love a good bare face as well. However, makeup is fun! I can’t tell you how many times I get giddy over a new eye shadow palette, lipstick, or a good foundation. Learning different ways to apply is also fun! There’s thousands of YouTube videos these days from every woman that has found a way to apply makeup that may be beneficial to me.

10. MY BILLS BEING PAID

Finances are the biggest headache for most of us. The joy of truly enjoying life with all your bills being paid, nothing past due, is a beauty. Sometimes, it feels weird when you have something extra left. You’re checking to make sure you didn’t miss a bill. It feels like a huge weight has been lifted! All for them to come back around, in thirty days. Wild!


I can’t believe that I have ten things that are currently making me happy. There are times that I often look at the glass being half empty, not half full. I’m glad that I decided to do this post because it made me realize that I am a lot happier than I thought I was and I should stop focusing on the things that don’t make me happy. Yes, that list may be longer, but this list is better. It’s positive and not negative. Maybe I can continue to add to the list in the future.

What are ten things that make you feel happy all the time? Let me know in the comments!

7 Lessons I’ve Learned in Life

There are so many lessons that have been taught to me over the course of my thirty-one years of existing on planet Earth. It’s hard to even recall all of the lessons that many people have taught me, or the self-taught ones that I’ve learned over the process of trial and error. What I’ve come to find out, is that, the most recent lessons that I’ve learned are the ones that have shaped and molded my self-improvement journey. I decided to share them with readers, in no particular order.

#1. LOVE YOURSELF.

Although I said earlier that my list is in no particular order, perhaps this is the best way to start; with yourself. You are important, you are beautiful, you are talented, you are deserving of love. The most beautiful thing about loving yourself is that if you’ve mastered self love, you can then be able to pour that love into the ones around you that you love the most (ie. family, friends). Be proud of yourself and your accomplishments or your falls! Own it.

#2. TRUST GOD, NOT MAN.

This one may go over a few heads, but it’s really quite simple. Yes, if you know that you will never let yourself down, please place trust within yourself. However, people can sometimes disappoint. That goes for everybody, no one person is exempt. Family, friends, spouses, business partners. At some point, you will find yourself in situations where you have to question “can I honestly trust this person?”, and you need to be prepared to know a few things. Not everyone is YOU. People will lie, mistreat, abuse their power in your life. When you place your faith in God and also yourself, you run a decreased risk of disappointment.

#3. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF.

Your body is truly your temple. Your mental health is just as important as physical health. Do your research to find out the best practices for self-care, that work best for you. Everybody has a different vice but there are many different options. Exercise regularly, visit a therapist, meditate! Most important, pay attention to your triggers and know when you need to take that moment for yourself. A big gem that I learned here, is that deep breaths really do work.

#4. SILENCE IS NOT ALWAYS GOLDEN.

You have a voice, use it. Especially during conflicts and conflict resolution. Learn to express yourself and your feelings in color. Learn how to communicate loudly and effectively, but without raising your voice or getting too angry. You should be able to convey your thoughts concisely, in healthy dialogue.

#5. PASSION DOES NOT EQUAL ANGER.

You just care a whole, whole lot. That’s okay! You’re not an angry Black woman, contrary to what the masses say. You care about particular things and people way more than others sometimes, and that is what makes us all unique. No one person is the same. Passion will eventually help your creative process, with being able to figure out new way(s) to express your thoughts.

#6. OPINIONS ARE NOT FACTS.

Why do people care so much about what others have to say? Stop seeking for others to validate you, and validate yourself. People will always talk and have solicited and unsolicited opinions, but why let it dictate your life? Tune out the naysayers and do you. It can start to add unnecessary anxiety and stress that you may not even realize exists until after you’ve listened to what others have to say. Just remember, if it’s not fact, it is fiction. If it doesn’t apply, then let it fly!

#7. EDUCATE YOURSELF.

The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.– Socrates

Educate yourself. Research, research, research! Read lots of books, browse the internet. Especially if you want to be an entrepreneur. Every thing is not always taught in school, we can learn in so many other ways!


I hope that by sharing what I’ve learned in life, helps any of you that’s been looking to change your thought process on how you view life. Hopefully we are all on a journey to improve ourselves and become happy humans, enjoying life. Who would have thought that these are things we have to learn? Some of you may have already learned these lessons, and that’s great. I hope that by paying it forward, it will reach someone that may be struggling with any of these lessons that affect our day-to-day operations.

What are some life lessons that you’ve learned? Leave a comment below. If you know of anyone who this may benefit, share/ reblog!

The Complete Guide To My Skincare Routine

I get compliments and questions on what I do to maintain clear skin all of the time. I’m usually a modest person, attributing it to drinking more water and staying indoors, but I must be honest. I do have a skincare routine. Every 3-4 weeks, I follow a simple three-step process, and I will sometimes add more products based on acne breakouts or hyperpigmentation. The steps that I am going to share with you are instrumental in cleansing, correcting, and moisturizing your skin. They are easy to follow, should also be easy to stick with, and are results-driven, no matter what your skin type may be!

There are products for all skin types, so before you begin taking notes of the products that I use, please remember that my skin type is considered to be normal. The products that I use are universal and can be absorbed into most skincare routines. I encourage you to look at all products that are going to address your concerns and will be something that you can use regularly. Disclaimer: Heads up! My posts contain affiliate links. If you buy something through one of those links, you won’t pay a penny more, but I’ll get a small commission, which helps to keep the lights on. Thanks!

Start With The Cleanse

I always begin washing my face with a cleanser. I know that if I want to see results, the first step is to start at the beginning; with a fresh face. I use CeraVe’s Hydrating Facial Cleanser to hydrate and clean my face. The hyaluronic acid in CeraVe’s facial cleanser is essential for helping to retain my skin’s natural moisture. I feel like my skin is hydrated all day long whenever I use this.

To remove any last traces of dirt build-up, I then use Obagi’s Nu-Derm Toner. I use this to continue prepping my skin for treatment and to restore my natural pH. Most toners can feel drying, but I love that Nu-Derm has done the complete opposite for me.

Addressing the Problem

In this step, I begin to correct my concerns by using a treatment mask. I use two different masks, typically a hydrating or vitamin C mask. For my current routine, I use Murad’s Hydrating Gel Mask. I apply to face, neck, and decollete and rinse off after 5 mins. I love the scent and it has cucumber, chamomile, and sunflower oil to lock in moisture for maximum hydration. 

Normally, I move on to eye repair cream, but I added a step to help with scarring from a blemish. I experienced a break out a few weeks ago that left a dark spot. I have been using Lumixyl Brightening Cream to help to lighten, and then Murad’s Renewing Eye Cream for dark circles. Another plus is that it’s firming and tightening. Can we say YES to a youthful glow? 

Retain the Moisture and Use SPF

After cleaning and treating my skin, the only thing left to do is retain my moisture. I’ve been using CeraVe’s Moisturizing Cream, but I recommend using a moisturizer that has SPF. Estheticians and dermatologists would also encourage this! I love CeraVe and Murad’s products, so I would recommend:

  1. CeraVe’s AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion w/ SPF 30
  2. CeraVe’s Ultra-Light Moisturizing Lotion w/ SPF 30

My only reason for not using them was because I was out. Get you some protection against the sun! Lastly, I put on Murad’s Soothing Lip Care (a balm) to restore hydration in my lips. 

If you would like to see these steps in action, you should watch my skincare video below. I like to listen to music while I do things because well who doesn’t? The Brandy vs Monica playlist made this demonstrative video so fun to make and share. Let me know what steps make up your skincare routine while you’re here. I’m a product junkie so if you have things you’d like to recommend, leave them in the comments below! Also, follow me on Instagram and YouTube to see more Skincare Routine videos. 

8 Beginner Yoga Poses to Ease Anxiety and Depression

If you have been following me on social media, then you know that I have been practicing yoga. My practice method is 2-3 times a week, and sometimes I’ll post the transitions I’m practicing on IGTv (Check my Instagram for “Self-Care Sundays”). I’ve been enjoying getting to learn more about how it can help improve my physical and mental health. Regular discipline and practice have increased my ability to find inner peace and salvation. Oh, and did I mention that I’m not an expert at this? Although I am not as trained as some, I’ve still gained a bit of knowledge about the art of yoga. We all don’t have to be Yogis!

Being at home for five/six months has taken a lot of adjustment for all of us, and it steadily affects my mind and body. Yoga has allowed me to escape to find release. I’ve learned eight poses or transitions that have helped me to relieve tension, stress, and anxiety. These eight yoga poses are great for beginners like me and are steps in the direction towards allowing yoga to heal your body.

Pro Tip: Remember to breathe and follow the breath consistently when entering and holding a pose. It is key to deepening your stretch or finding where you need the most release.

Upward Salute (30 secs- 1 min)
This pose is a considerable starter or ending to your yoga practice. I’m amazed at how standing firm can begin to change my overall mood and energy. To enter this pose, stand tall and straight with your legs and feet close together. Send your arms out to the side, palms facing up. Slowly lift or raise the arms upward above the head where the palms will meet. Whenever I’m in this pose, I will feel a stretch throughout the spine and shoulders.

Bound Angle Pose (1- 5 mins)
My hips give me numerous fits when it comes to tension and tightness. The Bound Angle Pose is a go-to for me when it comes to opening up the hips, along with it being one of the painless poses to transition through. While remembering to follow the breath, sit with your legs out in front of you. Bend the knees and bring the heels inwards to meet each other.
Pro Tip: To deepen the stretch, lift from the pelvis to bring the spine to the heels of your feet.

Seated Forward Bend (30 secs- 1 min)
Next time you’re sitting and watching Netflix or your favorite movie, try out the Seated Forward Bend. You can use this to help calm the mind for a bit and take a load off! This pose can help soothe headaches and reduce fatigue while stretching out the spine, shoulders, and hamstrings. Just extend your legs forward and inhale to send the arms to grab the feet, holding the pose for 30 secs to a min.

Bridge Pose (30 secs- 1 min)
I love this pose for the broad array of benefits from it. Bridge pose can be whatever you need it to be. Allow your body to heal and find relief anywhere from the neck, lower back, legs, and see how to restore and rejuvenate your body within this transition. While laying flat, adjust to bend and keep your knees and feet parallel on the floor. While pressing into the floor, use the arms and feet to lift the tailbone upwards, towards the sky.

Extended Puppy Pose (30 secs- 1 min)
A great beginner pose that can help prepare you for follow up transitions, such as Downward Facing Dog. Allow Extended Puppy Pose to help lengthen your spine and stretch out both the spine and shoulders. During your breath cycles, attempt to deepen the stretch by taking full inhales through the nose and letting go by exhaling through the mouth. Simply come to all fours and extend the tailbone back to meet the thighs, then lift the tailbone upwards to the sky. Extend the arms as far as you can forward, attempting to keep the elbows in line with the forearms and gently release the forehead to the floor.

Camel Pose (5- 10 Breath Cycles)
Ustrasana Sanskrit or Camel is one of the more intricate poses that I’ve chosen for the list, but you’ll be happy to know that when you’ve completed this transition, you’ll be in a better mood and on your way to healing. To start, kneel on the floor or mat, keeping the legs and feet a hip’s distance apart. While pressing into the feet, lift through the pelvic to send the hips and tailbone forward. When you’re ready, send the arms back to meet the feet to grab and hold for a few deep breath cycles.

Big Toe Pose (1 min)
If you are a runner or someone who suffers from tight hamstrings, you should find this transition beneficial like I seem to have done. It is easy to get into, and it certainly is brilliant for lengthening and strengthening your hamstrings. It’s one of my favorites! Stand upright and keep the feet a couple of inches apart. Then, keep the legs straight, and bend forward through the hip flexors to meet the feet. Send the arms down to have the fingers grab the feet or “big toes” and hold the pose. Inhale deeply to lift the torso back up, and if you’d like, repeat this one a few times.

Extended Triangle Pose (30 secs- 1 min)
The Extended Triangle Pose is one of the supreme standing poses in yoga and is beneficial to increase strength and stability. Similar to the benefits of the Big Toe Pose, I find that this transition helps with tight hamstrings and shoulders. To enter the pose, stand upright (hip-width apart). Turn the left leg and foot inward and the right leg and foot outward. Next, extend arms out sideways and then shift or lift from the hips to send right arm down to meet the left foot. The left arm should be extended upward to the sky. Repeat the steps for the opposite side.

I hope that the transitions I’ve shared with you today will help you to calm the mind, increase flexibility, let go, and increase your happiness and healing. I know that they’ve certainly been a blessing to me. If you’re new to this, I would recommend investing in a yoga mat. You don’t have to necessarily have one, as you can use towels and rugs if you wish, but the yoga mat is honestly easier on the body. I got mine from Marshall’s, but here are a few that I’ve found on Amazon. Please share in the comment section any other transitions and poses that you may know of that are beneficial to easing anxiety and depression!

DisclaimerHeads up! My posts contain affiliate links. If you buy something through one of those links, you won’t pay a penny more, but I’ll get a small commission, which helps keep the lights on. Thanks!

Retrospec Yoga Mat

Gaiam Yoga Mat

BalanceFrom Yoga Mat

Our Trip To Gulf Shores, Alabama

Summer 2020 has been nothing like I envisioned it to be. An eventful, sunny season is ultimately my favorite time of year and honestly all that I’d hope it to be. Due to the ongoing and everlasting pandemic, COVID-19 has gotten in the way of many things. I miss vacations! I miss itineraries and sizable events/ activities. Will traveling ever go back to being what we knew it to be? I just want it to be over!

I am optimistic that we will be able to take trips like we used to, but in the meantime, I’d like to be creative and find a way to just… get away. If not only but for a short and sweet moment, wouldn’t that be nice? July is a significant month for me and represents a time of love, joy, and happiness. For starters, it is the birth month for myself (July 10th) & a host of other family and friends! CANCERS UNITE!

It’s also the month that my husband and I wed. July 2020 will always be significant, marking five years of marriage! Could you imagine being equally excited to celebrate an occasion such as this but weary about how to even approach the planning for it? To be truthful, we’d almost given up on planning anything. What was there to do? What was SAFE to do?

There may not be much to do, but there was one thing that we knew to do: we had to get away. Our research on VRBO led us to condo rentals that wouldn’t be too far from home in Gulf Shores, Alabama. We have vacationed there a couple of times before and have always managed to have a great time. We hadn’t heard in any surge of COVID-19 cases there, and the rental properties seemed to have accommodations, rules, and guidelines due to the current pandemic that we could comply with. I started to become intrigued by the possibilities of being able to escape my bedroom, office, and living room spaces.

DisclaimerHeads up! My posts contain affiliate links. If you buy something through one of those links, you won’t pay a penny more, but I’ll get a small commission, which helps keep the lights on. Thanks!

Young’s Suncoast Condo Rentals
We found a beautiful one-bedroom condo within minutes from the Gulf Shores beach. Young’s Suncoast has several properties within the area (Orange Beach, Gulf Shores, Fort Morgan). The One Club condo property offered us many amenities, a few that we could take advantage of such as a restaurant and bar that delivered, 24/7 Fitness Center, and private cabanas. Check out pictures from the Young’s Suncoast website for pictures of vacation rental properties. I decided to decorate our condo on arrival day with themed balloon colors and anniversary keepsakes. Everything turned out flawlessly and set the tone for a weekend full of love, happiness, and relaxation.

White, Gold, Teal Balloons
Gold Backdrop
Feathers

Beach Bums & Sandcastles
Public beaches are open if you’re in or near Alabama! It’s dead in the middle of Summer and thanks to COVID, my family and I haven’t had any family fun at the beach. We were able to find a spot on the beach, at a safe distance from everyone else, and hang out for the day. It was nice to watch the waves (which were high that day) and lay out in the sun. I walked the shore for a bit before building sandcastles with my husband and son.

Eat and Merry
Normally when I travel, I like to dine-in at restaurants that I’ve never experienced. I truly miss life pre-COVID. We worked around restaurant closures and limited menus the best that we could and honestly owe Door Dash a huge thank you! If you don’t have this food delivery service it is worth the app to download on your smartphone. Another Broken Egg is one of my favorite brunch restaurants and every time I visit Gulf Shores, it is a must-have. Usually, I’d recommend restaurants like GT’s On The Bay or Barefoot Island Grill. If you don’t have to venture out, let the food come to you. Here’s some Door Dash promo codes for July. Hurry, they’ll be expiring soon.

We Are Family
I envisioned a tropical vacation trip out of the country (it would’ve been my first time) for my fifth wedding anniversary. I’d previous thoughts about taking a cruise or a trip to the Bahamas. However, circumstances allowed us to create memories in other ways. Fun Fact: My husband and I didn’t get to have a real honeymoon after our wedding. The trip to Gulf Shores allowed my family and me to find innovative ways to bond. Usually, vacations are filled with activities, events, and itineraries. Quality time indoors while you’re away from home is typically minimal but, it deepened our communication with each other. For example, we played Zingo (a fun sight word game for toddlers) for a family fun night. Landon enjoyed identifying words on his (and everyone else’s) boards and getting a taste of winning at games.

What Summer travel plans did you have to change due to COVID-19? Will you still be taking any trips with the Summer almost coming to an end? Have you taken any trips yet this Summer? Leave a comment below.

Here’s what you don’t know about college that could save your life

Congratulations High school graduates of 2020! Hats off to all of you who will be graduating this month. You’ve made it through grades K-12 and the grand finale to your academic challenges would be to master your last semester in the middle of a global pandemic. You deserve to celebrate! I know that prepping for graduation has not been ideal this year. Most of your graduation ceremonies will take place on a live stream or in your parents’ garage and, unfortunately, a traditional ceremony can’t commence, given the circumstances. Don’t let this stop you from enjoying this milestone in your life! I know that sheltering in place is hard to work around, but we need to start preparing ourselves to make small adjustments when this is over. After all, there’s so much you’ve got to learn and experience now that your general studies are over. Embrace this moment in time, for when you get to college, it’s a whole new world!

A new fantastic point of view. No one to tell you no, or where to go. College is going to teach you things about yourself and you should be prepared for some of the experiences headed your way. College doesn’t come with a manual or an attachment PDF file on how to maintain during your tenure there. I’m sure that this post won’t be the only piece of advice that you’ll receive, either. Family is going to persuade or dissuade some of your decision makings. The beauty of all this unsolicited advice is to take heed but still “do you”. To truly enjoy this dazzling place that you’ve never known, sometimes you do have to let your heart decide.

Be Ready To Meet The New You
I know that self-discovery while in grades K-12 was an emotional and physical rollercoaster. Usually, high school can do a great job of making you believe that you’ve got everything figured out (including self). You should know that you are going to change quite often after your first college experience. This will give you opportunities where you can develop and transform into who you truly are or want to be. Imagine being shy and reserved throughout high school but begin shedding those outer layers, exposing your newfound appreciation for your overtly outgoing personality. Imagine being a procrastinator in grade school and developing into a person that’s OCD about organization and punctuality. College can bring some amazing qualities and attributes that you most likely did not know resides within you!

Go To Class… On-Time!
This should be common sense, but the one thing I know about the younger me is that I was not always present in class. Of course, if you’re enrolled in courses at a University or two-year college, why wouldn’t you be attending class? You’ll be surprised at the overwhelming plethora of things to do on campus. All of those activities can make going to class seem inferior to what you feel is more important at the time. Don’t listen! Go to class! It’s even more important if you’re going to be staying on campus. There’s not going to be anyone around to make sure that you’re up on time for class. Your roommate could but I wouldn’t rely on that too heavily. They’ve got their schedule to follow. Invest in a reliable and sturdy alarm clock (not just the one on your phone). Note: Select courses that don’t start super early! A 7 am or 8 am class is not good for anybody but early birds.

Join Programs & Be Social
One way to make friends with peers is to meet them. There are SO many people to meet in college! They’re from all over the world and they’re looking to create the same experiences as you. I met several colleagues through campus programs and activities being offered. Getting involved in something like a fraternity or sorority might be one of the things to interest you. Joining the student newspaper or Resident Assistant program might also be some things to look into. I guarantee you that there will be plenty of phenomenal activities to take part in and you should take advantage!

Live on Campus
If you’ve decided that you will attend your local college or enroll in online courses, I hope that I’m not too late to persuade you to try out the dorm life. Please consider staying on campus! I know, I know. You don’t like the idea of sharing a tiny space with someone you don’t know. You’re timid just thinking about the idea of showering in a common “private but public” space and prefer the privacy in your bathroom. I had those same sentiments but still gave on-campus housing a try. Honestly, staying in dorms for three years of my college life gave me one of my biggest unforgettable moments. It’s such a fun experience and gives you another opportunity to meet new people through roommates and other hall residents. Think of it as your first taste of living on your own by making it your new home. Decorate your room with basic dorm room essentials! Amazon is giving students the opportunity to sign up for Amazon Prime for just $6/mo. Just in time to stock up on things that you need before August gets here.

College Isn’t The Only Option
School may not be for everybody. If you haven’t committed to a school yet, what is holding you back? Do you have other plans for your life? You could. For those that are looking to join the workforce as soon as they’re able to cross the stage, take your time to research job opportunities. There are systems set in place like trade schools to help you learn your passion craft. You’ll have to keep in mind that you’re graduating high school right now. Some if not most jobs will require previous experience and/or advanced training. Then there’s another option. You could join a branch of the military. If you’re looking for someone to advocate that decision, I regret to inform you that I can not support the decision. However, I could and would respect it. I’ve seen a couple of my friends turn military life into something to aspire to have. My advice would be to weigh the pros and cons. It’s still an option that’s available and one for you to consider. The other option you could choose would be opting to attend a two-year college first. That’s certainly one that would be high on anyone’s list that may be graduating from high school! You should be finalizing your decisions on whatever you’re planning to do after high school soon.

Seize The Moment
The only thing that there’s left to do is to enjoy your new life! You’ve made it to college and that’s a major deal. Look at you and how far you’ve come! College is going to bring you memories that are going to last a lifetime. Get excited about those Homecoming nights & the captivating nightlife. It’ll feel as if you’re in a movie. Participate in tailgates and social gatherings as much as you can. You and your peers will rewrite college culture and make it your own! I’m certain that the libations and spirits will make for a great time. Enjoy this rollercoaster ride and worry about dating and children later. Spend this time chasing your dreams and enjoying even the bumps the road.

To those who have graduated, what advice would you give to the graduating class of 2020? What things have you learned throughout your time in college? What is something that you wish someone would have told you before you started at college?