style

My Latest Thrifted Finds

Happy Monday, friends! I hope you all had an amazing weekend. Here in the DMV region, the weather was rainy on Saturday and then we got typical summer heat on Sunday. I made the best of it, and I’m happy to welcome this new week.

I’ve thrifted for all of my life, though it isn’t always my first choice when it comes to certain ensembles. When I need something specific, I will go to either Amazon, Nordstrom or White House Black Market, where I’m (almost) guaranteed to find what I’m want. But, for unique ensembles and accessories, I prefer to thrift.

Here are some of my latest finds. I often go to one or two thrift stores a week, though there are periods where I don’t thrift for a few weeks at a time (this usually happens when my schedule is hectic). I’m thinking about writing a post on “How to Thrift”. If you’d like to see that, let me know in the comments below!

Peignoir set by Flora Nikrooz
Lace detailing on peignoir
Ceasikery faux wrap dress
Closeup of the faux wrap bodice
Vintage Bergdorf Goodman pleated dress
Closeup of the bodice
Tag inside the dress
Tahari shift dress
Gold detailing on the dress
Maggy London dress
Closeup of the architecture of the dress
Vintage dress by NPC Fashions
Closeup of the fabric
Back of the NPC Fashions dress

That’s it for today. I’ll be back tomorrow, with a topic that I’ve been eager to discuss. Talk to you all soon!

life curation · luxury · style

My Luxury Purchase Goals Are Changing …

This one published before I could finish writing it! Here’s the finished post.

As I mentioned in last week’s post about my 2021 goals, I reflected upon my luxury purchase goals and something about it just didn’t resonate anymore. Make no mistake: I still LOVE luxury and I enjoy spending a bit more in order to have something truly unique or expertly crafted. However, I noticed that nowhere on my list were any designers of color.

And that, dear friends, is unacceptable.

I realize that there is a need to shine a bigger spotlight on creatives – especially in the fashion world – that are also people of color (POC). As a Black American woman that enjoys supporting local Black-owned businesses and creatives, I am eager to extend that same energy into my bigger purchases. So I’m revising my luxury purchase goal list to reflect only Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color (BIPOC) designers. My purchase priority is also in that same order: I’m prioritizing Black American – specifically, American Descendants of Slavery (ADOS) – creatives, then Indigenous creatives (especially Native American and other people indigenous to the Americas), and then other POC.

I’ve decided to rank my purchase priority in this way (placing special emphasis on ADOS creatives) because oftentimes these designers end up reinvesting into other ADOS designers. I admire any group that prioritizes the fostering and development of talent of individuals that share their background and culture. As someone that admires this trait, I’m delighted that I as an ADOS, can participate in encouraging the development of ADOS talent by supporting ADOS designers.

While I’m excited to start actively supporting BIPOC designers, that takes me back to teh drawing board as regards my luxuruy list. I need to research new designers and figure out who excels in the kinds of designs that I favor. On the bright side, this exercise will force me to be more specific when it comes to filling gaps in my wardrobe. I’ll be more focused on getting items that truly “complete” my closet, instead of just buying things because I feel like spending some money.

In the weeks to come, I’ll share more details as I craft my new luxury purchase list, and I’ll let you all know what items I’ve purchased as I go through the remainder of the year.

That’s it for today! I’ll talk to you all tomorrow. Take care!

business · career · fitness · goals · health · international · life curation · luxury · reading list · travel · writing

July Goal Updates

It’s that time of the month again: time to review my annual goals and give you all some updates on what’s been happening on my end!

As a quick refresher, here is the 2021 goal list that I set out at the beginning of the year:

  • Publish 5 books
  • Lose 15 lbs
  • Manifest 3 international trips
  • Earn 6 figures in my businesses
  • Read 100+ books
  • Luxury purchases – Hermes, Christian Louboutin, Sophia Webster, Ralph & Russo
  • Cure my fibromyalgia

Next week, on Writer’s Wednesdays, I’ll be providing a publishing update, so I won’t be discussing that in depth today. However, I can say comfortably that I’ll have reached my publishing goal by August 1st, though, at this point, I plan to go far beyond my initial goal and aim for 10 books published by the end of the year.

As far as my weight loss goal, I’ve never progressed nor regressed. However, August 15th will be kicking off a dietary overall for me, which is connected to my last goal (curing my fibro). My next few Fibro Friday posts will cover this in more detail, as well as provide some background for context.

My international travel goal is not inspiring me nearly as much as it did when I first envisioned it. Make no mistake: I will be doing some travel this year. But with the Delta variant of COVID-19 on the rise, even my best plans may be thwarted by a new set of travel restrictions. For this reason, I’m focusing more on local travel this year. If an international trip is still possible in December, then yes, I will do that. But I’m not putting a ton of pressure on myself to “manifest” 3 international trips in 2021. Domestic travel can be just as satisfying, and it will allow me to reconnect with loved ones stateside.

My reading goals are coming along nicely. I’ll have my latest Books Read post coming out next week. At the rate that I’m going, I should be at 100 books by late October (fingers crossed). Audiobooks have really been saving me so much time! However, I’ll also be getting back to my ebooks and paperbacks soon: I miss looking at words in print.

My business goals are … meh. Monday’s post covered this topic already, but I’ll be doing some more strategizing in the upcoming weeks to see how close I can get to reaching the $100K+ mark in my businesses. It’s quite a stretch, but I can see where, with some adjustments, it’s doable.

And finally, about those luxury purchases . . . I’m adjusting this as well, and for good reason. I had a revelation that is far more aligned with the kind of consumer I intend to be (going forward). When you have those sorts of “aha!” moments, doing some course correction is the natural next step. The post all about this revelation will be coming out within a week or two, so look out for it soon.

That’s it for my goal updates! Progress in some areas, stagnation in others, and completely rewriting one or two. I’m pleased overall, and I’m looking forward to seeing how things come together over the next few months.

I hope you all are having a great day, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!

beauty · style

My Boohoo Wish List

It’s been quite some time since I discussed fashion on this blog. I take it that this means that I’m starting to feel more like my old self (which is a good thing!). I still love fashion, though it took a backseat to my physical and emotional health over the past 18 months.

However, a recent haul video done by the lovely Jessica over at Wigs and Wanderlust reminded me of my love of Boohoo clothing. The clothing is, as I’ve heard it described, “cheap and cheerful”, but the designs are cute and last a while when you take good care of them. So I decided to see what beauties Boohoo had for me. I wasn’t disappointed with what I saw!

Full disclosure: I adore midi length dresses, so pretty much everything will be a little longer than many of the designs offered on Boohoo. I will occasionally wear a shorter length, but something about midi-length dresses make me feel sleek and more elegant.

This square neck midi skater dress is dreamy: it looks cute and summery, and there’s a lot of potential to dress it up or down. I’d love to get this one in a couple of colors.

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The pleated bodice on this midi dress is so dynamic, yet the overall silhouette is controlled and sleek. The pleated top bandeau midi dress is a great option for a summertime cocktail party.

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The puff sleeves may sound a little silly, but paired with the structured bodice and sweetheart neckline, this organza mesh puff sleeve midi dress is a stunning study in harmonious contrasts.

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The blue version of this dress reminds me a bit of a design offered on Boohoo a few years ago that I adored. However, I like the white version of this bust detail porcelain print midi dress. I’m not sure if the print is visible in person, as it would be white-on-white. But if it has a slight contrast, it could be very pretty when viewed in real life.

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These are just a few of the designs that won my heart over at Boohoo. I don’t have anywhere fancy to wear them, but at this point, I love dressing up to walk around the house LOL!

Have you been making any wish lists recently? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments below!

 

life curation

This Week’s Happenings . . .

Despite these difficult times, I’ve been making the most of things. This week, I’m focusing on BALANCE, both internally and externally. I’ve taken some mini-breaks from social media to help keep my spirits high, and I’ve also been doing some other things that I’ve found beneficial.

I have made it a point to avoid in-person shopping as much as possible. I’m extremely thankful for grocery pickup services offered at local grocers such as Kroger. I fill my virtual cart, select a pickup date and time, pay for my order, then get it when it’s ready. It’s fantastic! I also love that I’m able to give cash tips to the person that brings the groceries to my car. I’d like to think that if most of the customers gave these hardworking people some sort of gratuity, it could help make up for the fact that they are generally overworked and underpaid. Besides, we can all use a little kindness during this time.

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I’m not doing any leisurely grocery shopping trips right now

I haven’t done much online shopping, except for items that I actually needed to restock. I bought some inexpensive acne cream and cotton pads from Amazon, since I was running low on both.


A new acne cream that I’m trying for the first time: Acne Free Terminator 10 Acne Spot Treatment (updates will be posted soon!)


Always necessary: cotton pads (Bellacotton Premium Cotton Rounds)

I also bought a couple of things from The Ordinary. I recently watched a YouTube video demonstrating how to do a facial at home (more about that tomorrow!) and I bought a chemical peel for when I decide to give my face a treatment. All the details will be in tomorrow’s post.

I’ve been using yoga and gentle stretching to help calm my mind and ease any physical pain. I have tried several different yoga videos on YT, but I haven’t gotten a “favorite” video yet. Once I have my “favorite”, I’ll be sure to share it here.

That’s what’s happening with me this week. How are things where you are? I’d love to hear all about it!

Disclaimer: this post has affiliate links.

luxury · style

My Top Three Tips for Finding Luxury Fashion Bargains

Hi friends! The roads are being cleared in the Mid-Atlantic region, only for more snow to fall in the next few days! I’m still staying warm and dry, and I hope the same for you all.

A few weeks ago, I went to one of my favorite thrift stores and just decided to check out what new finds they had. I walked out with two large bags of clothing and spent only $40. The bags contained several designer suits and some beautiful vintage blouses. I had gone to the same thrift store several weeks prior and gotten two lovely winter coats.

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Now, as you all may recall, I like to shop selectively. I don’t enjoy spending my money on items that won’t last very long. I like high quality pieces for great prices. This is part of the reason why I’ve distanced myself from some of the bargain retailers that I used to enjoy . . . I need clothes that will give me the best bang for my buck.

I also don’t like to clutter my wardrobe with a bunch of items that won’t last beyond the season. When I shop, I prefer to purchase investment pieces. This applies even when I’m at thrift stores. Just because the item has been pre-owned does it mean that I don’t hold it to a high standard! My family and friends are always amazed at some of the incredible buys that I can find, especially since these items are usually designer pieces. Their questions led me to creating this post just for you all to describe how I can find amazing luxury item for great prices. Enjoy!

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  • Do your research

What good is saving your money, picking an item, and purchasing it if you find out later that you invested poorly? It’s important to do research before investing in any luxury item. Remember that cost does not equal high quality: there are many items that label themselves “luxurious” but are in actuality overpriced, low quality goods. So do your research before purchasing any luxury item. Learn about the items best features and why it’s superior to its competitors. Compare it with similar items. If you find an item that’s being presented as a bargain, it helps to know the average selling price so that you can determine for yourself whether the price that it’s being offered for is a true bargain or if it’s too good to be true. There are a lot of high-quality knock-offs on the market, that are being sold for a pittance. If you are interested in buying true luxury goods, knowing the regular retail prices can help you avoid purchasing a good-looking fake.

  • Never be in a rush

When buying a luxury item, it’s crucial to take your time. Some of the best items can be purchased for  a steal if you time it right. Timing is not only about waiting for Black Friday sales; Actually, when it comes to most luxury goods, Black Friday is not the day that you can expect to find your best prices. Some retailers have seasons, or certain times of the year, when they clear out their overstocked  items. Patiently waiting for discounts can save a savvy consumer quite a bit of money when purchasing luxury goods.

  • There’s no shame in buying used luxury items

The beauty of pre-owned luxury items is that many of the previous owners have taken excellent care of their possessions.  if you don’t disclose when and how you bought an item, no one will know that you purchased it used. Also, depending on the luxury item, having previous owners may be unavoidable. Think of fashions from the 1920s and 1930s: surely you wouldn’t be the first person to own those items! So when purchasing used luxury items, just make sure that the items are in excellent condition or, at very minimum, in a condition that is suitable to you. Some items, such as furniture or home other home goods, may not need to be in pristine condition for what you’re intending. In fact, depending on the item, a slightly used, worn-in look maybe preferred.

Since this conversation is about luxury fashion, you would want to make sure that the clothing is in great condition before purchasing. Even vintage items should be scrutinized for signs of wear that can detract from the attractiveness of the garment.

Those are my top three tips for finding luxury fashion bargains! Do you all have any other tips? If so, please let me know in the comments below!

style

Black Friday Deals and Musings

Happy Black Friday, friends! If you were able to spend time with your family and friends yesterday (on Thanksgiving), consider yourself very fortunate. I was able to visit one of my good friends, and I think it did us both a lot of good to share some time with one another.

Today, however, is Black Friday, the only day of the year where people are expected to act insane while trying to save a little money. I used to work in retail many years ago, and I worked several Black Fridays in a row (5 years straight, to be exact) and I haven’t physically gone out on Black Friday since then. I really lost my taste for shopping on this day, after I saw how wretched some people acted over “stuff”.

Don’t get me wrong: I like “stuff” as much as the next person. But I always found the Black Friday riots to be degrading and, to be frank, truly asinine. I never wanted my face to be caught up in that foolishness when the media covers the brawls and stampedes happening at big box retailers.

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Instead, I’ll peruse the sales at home and if I see something that I truly want, I’ll purchase it online. As an introvert, buying from home saves me the hassle of forced human interaction but also reduces some of the visual stimuli that can overwhelm me when I’m in disorganized, overcrowded stores. Today, I saw that some of my favorite retailers – White House Black Market, Black Halo, and Macys – are all running some pretty great sales this Black Friday. Even if you (like me) aren’t keen to interact with the crowds, this is a good time to purchase something that has been on your list for a while.

If you find some awesome deals, let me know in the comments below. Or, if you find that you just can’t hang with the Black Friday crowd, I’d love to hear all about it. Enjoy your day, and happy shopping!

life curation · travel

An Abbreviated Travel Itinerary

Happy Thursday, beloveds! I’m enjoying my first full day in Raleigh, NC and, if all goes well, I’ll have a special treat for you all in the next few days. I thought I’d share with you all some of the basic things I consider when planning my travel. I hope it helps you to plan your perfect trip!

checklist

Make a list, check it twice

  • Visit to at least one museum
  • Dine at one of the finest restaurants in the area
  • Dine at a “local favorite” (a restaurant most highly recommended by people living in town)
  • Spend time in a park, at a river or on a trail in the city I’m visiting
  • Shop at a local thrift store
  • View the local monuments and the downtown area
  • Visit a local bookstore

Whenever I plan a trip, I try to include as many of these things as possible. For me, these things comprise an ideal trip: shopping, dining, sightseeing, books, and some time in nature. Every now and then, I can incorporate two or more of these things in one outing (for instance, a visit to a park in the downtown area that’s located a block or two away from the “local favorite” restaurant).

One item that I didn’t list on this sample itinerary that I *hope* you all will include is REST. I can’t begin to describe how hard it is to do all of the fun stuff you’ve planned when you’re exhausted. So make sure that SLEEP is part of your plans, as well!

That’s it for my mini-itinerary. Enjoy your Friday, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!

 

 

 

life curation · style

Preparing for Spring: Wardrobe Ideas

Since doing the Kibbe test and confirming that I’m a Soft Classic, I’ve been spending time brainstorming what pieces I should add to my wardrobe. I want to add some whimsy to my wardrobe (along the lines of the Joe Browns line) but I honestly look best in clean, streamlined silhouettes.

Using the Soft Classic information I gleaned from the Truth Is Beauty website, I found that Naomie Harris is one of the few Black celebrities that falls into this category. And when Naomie gets it right, honey, she absolutely knocks it out of the park. I’m loving the fact that she appears to have a neutral undertone that leans toward coolness (much like my own). So I should be able to wear most of the same shades that she does, since our coloring is similar.

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Photo of Naomie Harris (courtesy of InStyle magazine)

So, I don’t have a red carpet lifestyle – yet. So my daily wardrobe can’t be quite as ornate as Naomie’s. But I can draw some inspiration from the way that she styles herself. Here are a few items I’m considering adding this spring:

A duster in pale taupe or light gray

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Naomie at a Calvin Klein show (from Business of Fashion)

The key to making this look classy (and not sloppy on my frame) is to make sure that it has some moderate structure, light tailoring and minimal frills.

This light tan trench by Aphratti gets pretty close to Naomie’s look. A belt gives some extra definition in the waist.

A magenta blazer

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Naomie at the 2014 BAFTA Awards (from Elle)

Structured but undeniably feminine, a bright blazer in an intense pink hue would be a great addition to my wardrobe. a 3/4 length sleeve is perfect for me, so I’ll aim for a blazer that closely replicates the top half of Naomie’s dress. I couldn’t find anything quite like this yet, but if I do, I’ll be sure to post it here!

 

Sunny A-line dress

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At the Spectre press conference (from Vogue UK)

An A-line dress that skims gracefully over the hips but remains tailored in the waist is great for creating the hourglass silhouette.

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The Eva Square Neck Midi Skater Dress is a bright yellow that isn’t too acid or too warm.

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Another option is the Zoey Sleeveless Cut Out Mixi Skater Dress: no cleavage but the side cutouts keeps it sassy.

Pale blue or green chiffon skirt (tea length)

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Naomie at the Mandela screening (from The Fashion Spot)

A pale blue, gauzy skirt is soft and unique. It’s the kind of signature piece that can be dressed up or dressed down.

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This crepe skirt from Boohoo is giving me a similar vibe (the Neave Crepe Pleated Mini Skirt). It isn’t as soft as the chiffon material that Naomie is wearing, but the below-the knee length and structured pleating gives the garment more shape.

Drape-y satin blouse in oyster white, pewter or champagne

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With Olivia Palermo at the launch of Maison Makarem (from Getty Images)

I’ve always shimmery satin tops in pearlescent hues. Add some careful pleating and draping, and I should be able to get the Greek goddess effect without getting lost in a sea of fabric. I’m still looking for one of these, so if I find it, I’ll post it here as well.

That’s all of my ideas for now. I suspect that I’ll continually refine and improve on this list, and as I do, I’ll share it all here.

life curation · style

Using Kibbe’s Metamorphosis to Enhance My Style

One of my passions is fashion, as you all already know. I love shopping and I’m constantly trying to refine and perfect my personal style. Luckily, I am friends with some other stylish ladies that are on the same path: we are all seeking to create the best physical presentation of ourselves.

An absolute angel in a Facebook group I’m part of posted some information on David Kibbe and I started reading it out of curiosity. Imagine my surprise as I discovered the secret to mastering a consistent and impeccable personal style! As it turns out, the best way to style your clothing is to use your body type and facial features as a guide. It’s genius: emphasize your natural curves and lines, and you can’t help but look your best!

I did the Kibbe quizzes linked here, here and here.  The first link is a quick summary of the Kibbe quiz, and the subsequent links are the two-part quiz with photo illustrations. You have to combine the results of Part 1 and Part 2 to come up with an overall score. The quizzes confirmed that I’m a Soft Classic, which resonates deeply with my personal tastes.

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Some Soft Classic staples (from Pinterest)

This revelation both excites and frustrates me a bit. Now that I have a clear idea of what silhouettes will most flatter me, I have to go through my closet and clear out the items that don’t suit me. This will be an ongoing project for the next couple of weeks, but it will be worth it.

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This dress that I purchased from Boohoo is perfect for a Soft Classic

So far, the Truth is Beauty website has been one of the best ones for explaining the Classic archetype and the Soft Classic (Romantic Classic) subtype. I can’t wait to show you all how I factor this new information into my style repertoire!