health · life curation

Fibro Friday – How I’m Getting Better Sleep

Happy Fibro Friday, friends! I hope you all are having a great week and, if not, I hope your weekend is full of whatever you need to feel better.

This is a brief post, because I’ve already discussed the three biggest things I’ve been using to improve my sleep over on my Youtube channel. Anyone that has fibromyalgia, or any other chronic illness or chronic pain condition, knows that sleep is necessary to restore ourselves and to feel as good as possible. We also know that being in pain often means that sleep rarely makes us feel refreshed. So, anything that can improve the quality of our sleep can make the difference between feeling amazing and feeling awful.

The three things I’ve used that have helped me get deeper, more restorative sleep are weighted eye masks, magnesium supplements, and turmeric supplements. I’ve talked about magnesium and turmeric supplements (I’ve reviewed turmeric here and here) on this blog before, but I’ve never discussed eye masks. I’ll post my videos about each tool below, but if you’re short on time, here is the TLDW version:

  • Weighted eye masks help block out light (obviously), and the weight of it acts similar to weighted blankets: it provides a cozy feeling that helps with sleep. (I use the one by IMAK)
  • Magnesium is a muscle relaxer and a sedative, so it helps reduce pain while also giving you deeper sleep. (I use Nature’s Bounty magnesium supplement).
  • Turmeric supplements reduce inflammation and I take it at night, so it can do its work while I’m resting. For me, less pain means better sleep. (I use turmeric from Doctor’s Recipes and VitaBreeze: I alternate between the two).

More about weighted eye masks –

Why I use magnesium at night –

My daily turmeric and collagen supplements, and how the two I use measure up against each other –

These three things are the building blocks for improving my sleep, and I’m recommending these in hopes that they will help you, too! If you’ve tried any of these, or if you’re curious about any of them, please let me know in the comments below. Take care, and have a great weekend!

beauty

Saying Goodbye to Beem Box

Yes, you read that right: the Beem Box is no more. The owner of Beem Box decided to cease operations back in June, and I’ll be the first to say that I’m so sad to see them go. I hope that the owner eventually brings back the brand and starts doing subscription boxes again. Until then, I’ll just smile at the wonderful memories of learning about brands that I’ve never used, and trying products that I never knew existed. So long Beem Box: I hope to enjoy you again soon! Here are some of my previous Beem Box reviews from the past year:

books · culture · international · life curation · travel

Becoming Bilingual – 5 Free Language Resources That Aren’t YT, Duolingo or Podcasts

As an aspiring polyglot, I’m always reviewing language tools and resources that can help me fast track my mastery. Naturally, I dove first into Duolingo, YouTube and various podcasts. But, there are limitations with those resources, and sometimes you just want to try something different.

If you’ve been trying to learn a language but you want to go beyond YouTube videos, podcasts and Duolingo, then this is the post for you! I’ve located five other language learning resources that can help fast track your language learning, give you some much needed variety, and are all completely FREE! I discuss these options in a YouTube video (the link to the video below).

  • Amazon Kindle ebooks – This gives you a great source of free ebooks in various languages, as well as some free instruction books, too. To find them, search for books in a particular language, then filter by price (lowest to highest). Filtering by price shows the lowest priced books first, so you can quickly identify free publications.
  • MIT OpenCourseware – If you’re interested in college-level language instruction, this site is excellent. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) archives resources from courses taught during prior semesters. The courses include syllabi, worksheets, exercises, and links to other great resources. To find these courses, look under the Global Studies and Languages department.
  • Foreign Service Institute (FSI) Free online course material – This page speaks for itself: it’s the material developed by the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) to instruct diplomats before assigning them to foreign posts. These classes are developed to quickly acquire mastery at the highest levels of language. The link has lots of languages available, especially some that are somewhat rarer and harder to study online.
  • Alison & FutureLearn – Both Alison and FutureLearn offer language classes that are paced and offer certificates of completion at the end of the course (the documentation of completion has a cost). This also gives you the advantage of participating in group discussion and other ways of interacting with other learners.
  • Internet Archive – There is a host of free archived materials on this website, including movies, music, books and newspapers. Find the kind of material you want and filter it by the language that interests you.

Here’s my video, discussing the ways to use these resources:

Those are the five free resources I can recommend for language learning, outside of the most popular recs. Do you have any language resources that work for you? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

beauty · life curation · style

Perfume Review – CLEAN Warm Cotton vs CLEAN Fresh Laundry

It’s a perfume review, my friends! As a huge fan of CLEAN perfumes, I had several bottles lying around that I hadn’t reviewed yet. So, I decided two review two at once!

In this review, I compared CLEAN Warm Cotton with CLEAN Fresh Laundry. I decided to compare these two because the names of these scents sound like they’d share some common traits (cotton, laundry, you get it). I figured that it would be fun to see what they share, and on which notes they diverge. There are some similarities but also some stark differences that I noted.

First, let’s start off with the notes. Warm Cotton opens up with bright citrus and lemon verbena, blooms into a combination of sea notes, orange blossom and fruit essence, then dries down to the scents of musk, fern and amber. On the other hand, Fresh Laundry hits you with notes of grass, Brazilian orange and Mexican lime, before blossoming into the essence of jasmine and rose otto, then finishing with the fragrance of musk, heliotrope and woody notes.

The shared notes of citrus on top and musk at the base means that these two fragrances are channeling the same brightness as the opener, and a fresh but earthy base. The difference shows up most with the mid notes and the differing base notes: Warm Cotton relies on the essence of brisk ocean notes and zesty orange blossom and fruits in the middle, while Fresh Laundry leans heavily on classic “soapy” notes, with jasmine and rose, as its middle. Finally, the base notes of fern and amber give the warmth to Warm Cotton, while heliotrope and woody notes add a powdery touch with some heft to Fresh Laundry.

Here’s the video where I discuss these scents a bit more:

Again, the notes are as follows:

Warm Cotton – Top notes: Citrus and Lemon verbena Mid notes: Sea notes, Orange blossom, Fruits (floral cotton) Base notes: Musk, Fern, Amber

Fresh Laundry – Top notes: Grass, Brazilian orange, Mexican lime Mid notes: Jasmine, Rose otto Base notes: Musk, Heliotrope, Woody notes

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Have you tried either of these, or any of the other fragrances from CLEAN? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

beauty · style

I Finally Reviewed My Favorite Exfoliating Product on YouTube

I’ve praised Dr. Dennis Gross’s Alpha Beta Ultra Gentle Peel Pads on this blog before. On my quest for glass skin (you all remember that, right?) I stumbled (head-first, naturally) upon this product. I’ve been using it since 2017(!) and I haven’t been disappointed at all.

After hearing me discuss the peel pads in multiple posts (like this one and this one), I figured it was high time that I did a video discussing the product, because, why not? I’ve posted pictures of my skin after the glass skin experiment, but this video is my most recent update/review, where you can see my skin as I discuss how well these peel pads have worked for me.

The great thing about this product is the gentleness of the peel pads: I tried other exfoliating brands but none have been as good on my skin as this one. I appreciate a good “bargain” as much as the next person, but this is one of those items I’m always sure to splurge on a few times during the year. The other products I’ve tried just don’t come close to the gentle effectiveness of this one. I’m a forever fan!

Do you have a favorite exfoliating product? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

*this post contains affiliate links.

beauty · luxury · style

Trying New Makeup – LYS Beauty Haul

Happy Monday, lovelies! I hope you all had an amazing weekend. We had some great weather (a spring precursor, if you will) and today is even warmer (though we do have a bit of rain). I’m still smiling from this fantastic weekend!

Last week, I shared a new video reviewing some products that I got a few weeks ago. I bought some products from LYS (Love Your Self) Beauty after I tried one of of their products that was featured in the Beem Box (I’ll post a link to that video shortly).

This is a clean, vegan, Black woman owned brand, and I love the stuff that I got! I got introduced to the product through the LYS Beauty Matte Bronzer in Strength (Dark). After perusing their website, I realize there were a LOT more products that I wanted to try. So I splurged on some foundation samples (LYS Beauty Mini Triple Fix Serum Foundation in the shades DN5, DN6 and DP5). I was really impressed by the company’s color range: the foundation is available in 35 different shades! So I got the three shades that seemed closest to my complexion. In my video, I swatched the colors (no worries: the video will be posted below).

I also decided to try the LYS Beauty Higher Standard Satin Matte Cream Blush in Empower (a deep berry plum shade). The formulation is soft and buildable: I’ve used it twice and I love it! I’m excited to try Inspire (a vibrant terracotta hue) and Passion (a vivid fuchsia pink shade). For those that don’t know, blush is probably my favorite color cosmetic to apply: it adds life to your face and instantly gives you brightness and dimension. I pretty much always throw on blush, even when I don’t do a full face of makeup. So finding a cream blush that I love is a real treat!

I decided, on a whim, to try some of the skin care offered by LYS Beauty, too. The LYS Beauty Think Bright Glow + Hydrate Serum with Vitamin C & Hyaluronic Acid is a reasonably priced product that promises to “a succulent glow and long-lasting hydration”. I’m doing an in-depth video and write-up about this product separately, but I wanted to mention it, since it’s part of my purchase. I have . . . Thoughts! But again, that’ll be coming your way soon.

Finally, the company graciously threw in a freebie for purchasing over a certain dollar amount, namely, the LYS Beauty Mini Speak Love Glossy Lip Treatment Oil. This is such a great lip product that is perfect for adding moisture and shine without weighing your lips down or feeling sticky/tacky. I love it!

Below, you can see the video where I first learn about LYS Beauty, as well as the video showing you each of the products of this haul. Additionally, one of my favorite YTers, Cheryl over at Free Range Diva, reviewed the LYS blush. You can check out Cheryl’s review here.

That’s it for today! I hope you all have a fantastic rest of your day, and I’ll talk to you all soon. Take care!

health

Fibro Friday: Managing Inflammation with Turmeric

Happy Fibro Friday! I hope your week was great, and I hope your upcoming weekend is even better!

Over the past few months, I’ve been keeping close tabs on my fibromyalgia: I’m looking out for new (or recurring) symptoms, any difficulties in recovering after flares, or other changes that may be worth noting. I keep up with these because I stopped using prescription medication a few months back, and this is my first time – since my diagnosis – observing how fibro shows up in my daily life when managed through other methods.

As part of my symptom (and overall health) management, I’ve been incorporating supplements that promise to reduce pain and inflammation in the body. While fibro is not an autoimmune condition, nor is it a condition that is typically associated with inflammation, my research confirmed that inflammatory conditions exist in most people’s bodies, and most of us benefit from the reduction of inflammation. For this reason, I decided to add turmeric into my daily supplements.

I opted for a liquid supplement, and, since my flexible spending plan covers glucosamine and chondroitin products, I got a glucosamine supplement that also included turmeric (2 for 1!). I have thoughts on glucosamine products that I won’t share today, but I’ll touch on that in a future video. Anyways, back to turmeric: I decided to use Tropical Oasis Joint Complete Premium Plus- Liquid Joint Support Supplement w/Glucosamine, Chondroitin, MSM, Plus 800mg Turmeric Curcumin. I took this product for more than 30 days, and I did this consistently, just so that I can confirm whether I have gotten any results.

Here is my YouTube video discussing fibro and inflammation:

And here’s a YouTube video that I posted earlier today, discussing the outcome of my experiment:

I have to conclude that, while I didn’t notice an immediate or drastic difference in how I felt, I compared the way I felt to how I usually feel in the winter season and I took note of what symptoms were present, missing or mitigated. In previous winters, I am extraordinarily achy, tired and suffer from mild flu-like symptoms, even while taking prescription medication. However, this year, I only felt a little tired and very few aches. I only noticed flu-like symptoms when I actually had the flu (you can read about that ordeal here). So, comparing this year to prior years is the best metric I have, and I can confidently that adding turmeric was a good move for me. I didn’t feel the normal winter “slump” that I usually experience, and I found myself needing less down time when I felt a little tired. I also started adding another supplement into my rotation (more about that next week) and that has been making a difference, too, though I only added that in toward the end of the turmeric experiment, well after I determined how effective the turmeric was for me.

I’m also considering adding in a different turmeric supplement to see if I have different results. I’m thinking I’ll choose between Qunol Liquid Turmeric Curcumin with Black Pepper, Dr. Mercola Organic Fermented Turmeric, Turmeric Gummies for Adults & Kids with Ginger & Black Pepper Extract, or I may try something completely different. You’ll just have to stick around to see what I choose!

That’s it for today. I hope you all have a great Friday and a fantastic weekend! Take care, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!

*This post contains affiliate links.

beauty · culture · hollywood glamour · luxury · style

A Review of Emeraude (As Worn By Billie Holiday)

Recently, over on my YouTube, I’ve been experimenting with a lot of fragrances. I love the transformative power that can be experienced by changing the scent you wear: the right perfume can make you feel invincible!

I decided to research some of the fragrances worn by old Hollywood stars, and I was really excited to discover the fragrances worn by some of my favorites. I researched these scents and I found that some of them were extremely affordable. So I figured, “Why not?” and bought some bottles.

The first scent I purchased was Emeraude by Coty. This was the fragrance preferred by none other than Lady Day, Billie Holiday. The notes of the fragrance are as follows:

  • Top notes: Bergamot, Lemon and Orange
  • Middle notes: Brazilian Rosewood, Ylang-Ylang, Jasmine and Rose
  • Base notes: Opoponax, Benzoin, Vanilla, Amber, Sandalwood and Patchouli
Lady Day herself, Billie Holiday (as seen in the movie New Orleans)
Emeraude by Coty, Billie’s fragrance of choice

This fragrance is peculiar to me: not in a bad way, but in a good way. The perfume is citrusy before and immediately after spraying, then it quickly diffuses into a soft but earthy bouquet, and dries down to a warm and slightly sweet essence. The peculiar part is, throughout all of this, the perfume retains powdery notes, which I didn’t expect. When I first read the list of notes, I figured this would be bright, spicy, and then mellow. So to have the essence of baby powder lingering while wearing it was completely unexpected, but nice.

I have more information about the scent in the YouTube video, which I’ll insert below. But, you can always pick up a bottle to try it for yourself: it was less than $12 USD (I’ve seen it sold for as little as $9) so it is extremely accessible and, if you don’t like it, you can probably easily resell it or give it away. Full disclosure: while this is powdery and rather soft, I find it does smell a bit . . . dated (the formulation is over 100 years old!). This is definitely for someone that wants a unique scent that isn’t syrupy sweet or overwhelmingly floral. Also, this is a cologne spray, so it won’t have the same longevity as, say, an eau de parfum. So if you love it, prepare to refresh your fragrance at least once during the day. But at $9-12 per bottle, using the product more frequently probably won’t be a huge issue.

That’s it for today! I hope you all are having a great week, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow. Take care!

  • This post contains affiliate links.
goals · health

Fibro Friday – A Reflection On My 2021 Health Journey

Happy Fibro Friday! I hope you all are doing well and feeling great as we wind down the year.

I’m reflecting on my 2021 health journey as respects my fibromyalgia, and BOY has this been a ride! I’m thankful that I filmed some of my experiences, and I’m sharing those videos here, with you all, as a kind of log of my journey. Here’s some of the Fibro Friday videos I’ve shared in 2021!

I started off the year by outlining some of the unexpected things that happened when you have chronic illness:

Next, I discussed a massage roller tool that I found gave me some relief:

Then, I shared a recipe for a body balm that helps tremendously with nerve and muscle pain (I love this stuff!)

Next, I discussed an action plan for improving my overall wellness.

I talked about things I wish I knew before I was diagnosed (or, that I wish someone had told me about the process of getting diagnosed:

Finally, I talked about my transition off of prescription medication and how I’ve been dealing with my symptoms:

Those are some of my favorite fibro videos for this year, and so excited to see what 2022 has for me! Next week, I’ll be sharing my health goals for the upcoming year and some ideas on how I will reach them.

Did any of you have a favorite video or topic related to fibromyalgia? I’d love for you to tell me about it in the comments below!

Have a great holiday weekend, and I’ll talk to you all on Monday. Take care!

beauty · luxury

Let’s Talk About the Beem Box

Happy Monday! I’m so glad to be back at the blog after spending a few weeks investing in my self care, relaxation, and overall wellness.

I’ve been publishing a series of pre-filmed videos on my YouTube channel, including a number of videos about beauty products. I’ve shared several videos about Beem Box, a subscription service offering cosmetics and skincare for women of color (my first Beem Box review is here).

My first Beem Box review

Since my first box, I’ve received three more, for a total of four Beem Boxes. So I feel confident that I can discuss the products and service objectively, as someone that has purchased multiple boxes and used products from each of them. Here are the pros and cons that I notice from the Beem Box:

Pros

  • Reasonably priced ($45 per box) and the value of the products in each box far exceeds the price
  • Provides me with the opportunity to try brand that I’ve never heard of before
  • There is skincare in each box, so the focus isn’t exclusively on cosmetics
  • Beautiful, decorative boxes that are recyclable
  • The perfect amount of products: not too much, not too few (just enough to try until you get the next box)
My second review

Cons

  • You only have one option for delivery frequency (one box every 8 or so weeks)
  • There aren’t different levels of subscription so you can’t opt for a “deluxe” or upgraded box
  • Sometimes the products aren’t stellar (I’ve been underwhelmed by a couple of items)
  • The description cards no longer show the product original pricing (which is helpful for comparing the box’s value to the box price)
My most recent review

Overall, I enjoy the boxes and the cons certainly don’t outweigh the pros. I love getting to try new stuff every few weeks, and it discourages me from overspending in other places. I love that I get a few cosmetics and a little skincare in each box. Also, the fact that each box has products from vegan, cruelty free, and women-owned businesses is a huge plus. This is a great service that also makes a great gift, too.

Do you have any subscription services that you love? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments below!