Fashion

XLIV: Travel Essentials, What Are Mine?

Given that I recently traveled and somehow managed to leave all of my shirts at home, I figure it's time for a Travel Essentials post! I know, you're probably thinking, 'well if you couldn't even remember to pack shirts for a trip to your favorite place, then how could you possibly know what is essential for travel?' 

Good question! 

Answer: I have no idea, but here are my essentials:

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SHIRTS!

I suppose I'll make the first essential shirts since I didn't have any while in Washington D.C. during the Labor Day holiday.

Thankfully, I traveled with someone who wanted to absolutely spoil me for my birthday weekend! He took care of all of my clothing woes while we were away. 

Now that we’ve established that I need shirts, let’s talk about what type of shirts I wanted for the holiday weekend. Lately, I have been big on the long, dress-type shirts that are flowy and loose-fitting. Either that or a simple t-shirt dress!

Shoes: Vans - Old Skool (Blk/Blk)

Purse: Charming Charlie

MY COMFY SHOES:

 My “comfy shoes” are literally just Vans.

I’ve been an avid Vans-wearer for approximately 19 years (Geez, that’s a lot of time). I remember back in middle school when Chuck Taylors were in, but my feet were too wide, so I ventured over to the Vans store and fell in love!

Unlucky for me, however, the “Vans” song by The Pack became a big thing and my Vans store experience has been a crowded one ever since. This was an excellent thing for Vans, but an annoying one for me.

Ah Well! I still buy them!

Shoes: Vans

RUNNING SHOES:

I like to work out wherever I go.

A big part of that has to do with the fact that I like to see what each gym has to offer. And, another part of that has to do with the fact that I'm already in the routine of working out regularly. So, I cannot travel without at least one pair of running shoes, always Nikes (even if I don’t get a workout in).

MY MAKE-UP BAG:

Now, the chances of me actually putting on make-up when I go on a trip are slim to none, but let it be the case that I travel somewhere and don’t bring my make-up bag, I'd have a fit! I would definitely freak out as if I were actually going to wear make-up each day of my vacation (knowing that I won't). 

But, since I’m crazy about actually bringing my make up, here’s what I always seem to pack: 

Primers & Setting Products: 

  • Smashbox Primer Stick (click here for a list of my favs)

  • Smashbox Priming Water

  • Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray

  • Sacha Banana Powder

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Eyeshadows & Liners:

  • Anastasia Beverly Hills Palettes (Modern Renaissance, Prism Palette, Subculture, Soft Glam, Norvina)

  • Melt Cosmetics Rust Stack & Baby Girl Stack

  • Fenty Beauty Flyliner Longwear Liquid Eyeliner

 Blushes, Highlighters, & Contouring:

  • During the summer months, I like a reddish blush, so I use Mac Cosmetic’s Raizin Blush

  • I haven’t found a highligher that I can’t live without just yet, so, if you know of one, tell a friend!

SNACKS!

I cannot travel without snacks for the plane! For some reason, the pretzels and soft drink just don’t hit the spot the way that the flight attendants want them to. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t need a full meal on a 4/5 hour flight, so I don’t expect the airline to change a thing, but I do snack quite often. Because of this, I know better than to travel without an arsenal of snacks in my carryon bag.

My Kindle/A Book:

We all know that traveling without entertainment has the potential to be some of the worst experiences of your life, so I usually bring my Kindle to catch up on blogs, books, and homework.

An EXTRA LUGGAGE TO CHECK:

On trips that I know I am going to shop until I drop, I always bring a carryon sized luggage and check it with the airport so that I don’t have to carry it around. This way, I am free to shop without worrying about going over weight with my bigger checked luggage (especially since I tend to overpack). I sometimes even put my extra travel sized items in this luggage, this makes it easier to bring a ton of lotions, soaps, bath bombs and different camera lenses.

MY LONGBOARD:

This is my newest travel essential. There’s something about seeing the city with the wind blowing in your hair! Each morning we woke up and hopped on our long boards to either ride to the monuments or to ride to Union Station for food and it just turned out to be a quicker way to see more of the city and to add a bit more adventure to our adventure!

Sunglasses: Quay Australia    Shirt : Old Navy   Bottoms : Nike   Shoes : Nike   Longboard “Deuce” : Sector from Zumiez

Sunglasses: Quay Australia

Shirt: Old Navy

Bottoms: Nike

Shoes: Nike

Longboard “Deuce”: Sector from Zumiez

Welp, those are some of my essentials for travel, what are yours?

XXXIX: Why Aren't You Watching Insecure?

I obsess over good shows and good food. You will mostly catch me watching re-runs of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Girlfriends, Living Single, Boy Meets World, or Martin, but I've added HBO's Insecure by the magnificent Issa Rae to the list of brilliant television reruns that I frequent. In honor of this creative genius, and, of the miraculous return of her show, I felt it necessary to do a slight recap of the former seasons and give you a taste of what's to come and my predictions for the new season.


Season one

In season one, we are introduced to the wonderful, and awkward, world of Issa Rae. 

We start out at her job where the kids are hounding her about her personal life instead of getting the help that We Got Y'all offers. She works for a non-profit organization that is supposed to help out within the "at risk" communities and provide resources that will help them get through school and beyond, but she finds herself struggling to say anything that will actually keep their attention. 

Issa has been in a five year long relationship with Lawrence who is played by Jay Ellis. He has, however, found himself on the lower end of the motivated totem pole as far as employment options are concerned, so their relationship seems to be taking the blunt of that blow. Issa struggles with deciding to break up with him and just not coming home each day, but her best friend, Molly (Yvonne Orji) does her best to convince her that this dating game is not as much fun as you think it is.

Molly is a successful Black woman that can connect and mingle with just about anyone. Her only problem is that she wants a man but can't find one that checks off all of her boxes. In this season, we watch Molly go from dating randoms, to dating apps, to Enterprise guys and back to no one at all. 

Daniel (Y'lan Noel) is a character who we get to know fairly well. He is an old friend of Issa's who comes in and shakes things up a bit!

Season one introduces themes like: relationships, dating, race, gentrification, youth outreach and engagement, and so much more!

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Season two

This season, we see Issa try to navigate and even conquer singledom all while attempting to make a good impression on her boss at work, check up on her ex regularly, and maintain her friendships with her friends Daniel, Molly, Tiffany and Kelli. 

Although she still turns out to be just the same wreck that she's been, it is a thrill to watch her attempt to change her life's pace. She begins to explore dating apps and even neighborhood relations. All of this occurs between lies to herself regarding her love for her ex Lawrence and attempts to check up on him throughout the season. Eventually, they get the closure that they've longed for and they come to terms with the fact that their relationship is over and apologize for all that they've done wrong to each other.

Molly starts out doing much better in the dating world. She is less pressed about dating and more pressed about working hard to getting a promotion. Her focus is shifted when she runs into an old friend and begins a whirlwind of a relationship with him -- one that she struggles to deal with and find a way out of. 

This season tackles wage differences/gaps, discrimination, dating, marriage, friendships, and much more all while focusing more on Issa and Molly's work lives and the stressors that they face while there. 


Season three

We are one episode in and I have so many questions!

Last season, we left off with Issa deciding that living with her brother simply was not going to work out, so she showed up on the front door of her ex-Achille's [crotch], Daniel. Issa and Lawrence finally got the closure that they so desperately needed and we have seemingly seen the last of him. Molly was finally taking the "should" out of her life and finding out what could actually be and Daniel was being the good friend to Issa that he's always been, despite their rollercoaster of a friendship. 

What we left unanswered, however, was who's shoes were those at Molly's place when she answered that phone call because I completely thought that they were Quentin's, but all we got this episode was some rando on an island and Dro! We see Molly trying to act like she's not pressed over her situation with Dro, but clearly she is, so I imagine we will watch another season of her getting her feelings hurt. 

Another unanswered question was, WHERE WAS TIFFANY DURING THE DUE NORTH FINALE? Her husband surely thought that she was at Issa's house, but she wasn't. It's clear that there is a secret between Tiffany and Kelli that Issa and Molly are not privy to just yet, so I am waiting for this to unfold. 

Daniel, there's so much that you're not saying! But, oh so much that you are doing. Daniel is doing the most this season and showing a low level of "care" for Issa's thoughts and feelings on it. I predict that he will come out eventually and say what he's feeling.

Issa's job has taken all of it's trust and placed in a jar that Issa gets to stare at from her desk because she's surely not out in the field after last seasons mistakes. Although her intentions are usually good, things just aren't curling over for her at work and she is stressed about it! I predict that she will erupt soon and I definitely think that it will be on her boss. Yes, the same boss, who seemed to be on her side in the first season but not so much now. It seems like the pro-Black narrative that her boss works hard to push may just be all for show... hmm. 

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My predictions!

1. We Got Y'all - there's a hurricane coming and it is a category 4 hurricane named Issa. I predict that she's nearing the end of her rope with this job and not only will she start searching for a new one, she may even go off on her boss (who deserves it).

2. Molly - you're fighting a losing battle and Dro kind of pointed to that when he told you not to speak on him and his wife. Molly slow it down, you will not win and this seems like a game you're not fit to play anyway (which is a good thing). 

3. Daniel - you have feelings for Issa, but you're tired of her games. I get it but you're on the road to ruining the friendship that you both have also! Slow down buddy. Be the friend that you've always been to the woman who loves you. 

4.Tiffany, Derek and Kelli - I need information on Tiffany and Derek. How is the pregancy going? Is the baby even Derek's since y'all have tried but weren't able? What really happened when Derek got kicked out for a while "last year"? And who did Tiffany actually watch the Due North finale with? 

XV: So You Went To The Barrister's Ball?

This past weekend, the students of McGeorge School of Law took a break from studying, reading, and crying to dress up and pretend to have a life! The night was filled with laughs, food, friends, dancing, and of course, a ton of pictures. 

This week, I am sharing some of my law school babes with all of my readers! I hope you enjoy!

I am so proud of the beautiful and handsome people in these photographs (and those that I missed). Law school is no easy feat and yet here you are. You are working hard to make a name and reputation for yourselves while attempting to maintain some sort of a personal life. 

I admire each and every one of you. I watch many of you study on lunch breaks while working full-time; I watch you workout after 13 and 14-hour days; and I watch each of you support one another. As hard as it is, I encourage you all to enjoy these moments and enjoy each other. A couple of years from now it'll all be over and we'll be wishing for a Barrister's Ball to take our heads out of our work! 

With this, I hope that Barrister's Ball was as memorable for y'all as it was for me!

The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it.
— Peter Pan

III: How Can Style Change Your Perspective? My Journey From Fearful To Fearless.

Hello, dear readers!

My contribution to this blog is meant to be a collection of my personal dreams and ideas. My posts will often feature fun lifestyle topics, like fashion and travel, but you will also see me delve into deeper subjects, such as the challenges that come with navigating today’s dating scene, achieving a work/school/life balance, or the existential crises that strike all of us at random moments.

Ultimately, my blog entries are intended to be as relatable as they are honest.


"Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak." - Rachel Zoe

I have always adored fashion, but not for the reasons you might expect. For me, fashion is so much more than a superficial desire to look “hot” or jump on the bandwagon of the latest trend. My style is an outward illustration of my personality. It allows me to express my identity in ways that I could never do when I was younger. 

So, why am I focused on bargain fashion finds, specifically?

Well, my parents were both immigrants from Soviet-era Europe. During my mother’s youth, she wore a uniform, and she never experienced the liberating feeling of using fashion to express herself. When she arrived in the United States, my dad took her to her very first discount store—Marshalls—and that, my friends, is where it all began!

My mom was always on a limited budget, so she relied on stores like Marshalls, T.J.Maxx, and Ross to expand her wardrobe. To this day, she is such a classy and elegant woman, and she proves that you can make a 20-dollar dress look like a million bucks. She instilled in me the idea that a person should always strive to put his or her best foot forward.

“Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.”
“Your personality is not the first thing people see.”

Sound familiar? Whether we like it or not, our appearance is at the forefront of how we portray ourselves to the world. Psychologists say that when we meet people for the first time, we only have a seven-second window to make a powerful first impression. In those seven seconds, I want people to see that I carry myself with professionalism and grace.

It took a long time and a lot of confidence-building to get to this point. My younger years were a very uncomfortable time, as they were for many of us. I felt strange in my own skin, and I was constantly picked on for the way I walked, the way I talked, or the way I looked (nerdy, thick glasses, you get the picture). You can definitely call me a late bloomer.

Secretly, I dreamed of a future where I would shed my awkward outer shell and grow into the self-assured woman I am now. When I started earning my own money, I began building a legitimate wardrobe piece by piece. Years later, I finally breathed life into what has now become my “style."

I stopped fearing bright colors and shying away from bold patterns. In fact, I stopped being afraid, period! My newly discovered style helped shape my confidence, and vice versa. The bold, vivacious version of me was always in there somewhere—it merely took some introspection and courage to pull her out of her comfort zone!

Sharing my story and my style with all of you matters to me, because I want to show the world that you don’t have to spend a fortune in order to look presentable and put-together. Everyone has a style that suits him or her; what matters is that you wear your style with composure.

The bottom line: I believe in finding quality items at a fraction of the price—sometimes you just have to look a bit harder! I consider myself a bargain shopping connoisseur, and “SALE” is my favorite (appropriate) four-letter word! 

Pictured:

Trench Coat – New York & Co. ($69.00 on sale)*

*This is on the pricier side of my usual purchases, but when it comes to outerwear, you can really get your money’s worth when you buy a quality coat. It will last forever, as long as you take proper care of it!

Shoes – Impo ($19.99 at Ross)

📷: Brianna J. 


Pictured: 

Blouse – New York & Co. ($25.00 on sale)

Skirt - Forever 21 ($12.99)

Tights – Jones New York ($6.99/2 pairs at Ross)

📷: Brianna J. 


Pictured: 

Dress – Express ($30.00 on clearance)

Jacket – Zara ($69.99)

Shoes – Shoe Republic LA (Free from a friend! Usually $39.99)

📷: Brianna J. 


Pictured: 

Jacket – H&M ($20.00 on clearance)

Sweater – Ralph Lauren ($24.99 at Ross)

Pants – Express ($25.00 on clearance)

Shoes – A.n.a. ($9.99 on clearance)

📷: Brianna J.