The World’s Shortest Skin Care Routine

I promise. It’s just 3 steps.

In early 2017 I had theeee worst breakout of my life. Cystic acne. Cystic acne everywhere. Chin, cheeks, nose (not the nose!!), you name it. I tried every method out there to get rid of self-esteem killer–and little did I know that my diet was the real culprit of my face freakout.

So in addition to being non-dairy for a year now (yes, dairy is probably the culprit to your lifelong issues with acne but doctors don’t want to tell us this!)–I’ve incorporated a simpler skin routine that is less costly and for the lazy inclined.

Step 1: Cleanse

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Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser is the best facial cleanser I have ever applied on my face. It’s so luxurious to the touch and even though my face is oil-prone, I feel like it melts away all the layers of dead skin and makeup built up throughout the day. When I’m in the shower, I allow for steam to open up my pores before I pump the product into my palms. It leaves your face feeling clean but properly moisturized. It doesn’t feel stripped. Never going back to over-drying chemically-heavy drugstore cleansers.

Step 2 (ish): Face Mask

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Nobody told me that face masks are a game changer in skin care so when I snagged this from my local CVS and started to use it three times a week I was, as the youngins’ say, “shooketh”. I would apply the mask immediately after I showered and waited for 20 minutes while perusing Instagram. Not only was it therapeutic to have a mini spa session right before bed, it left my skin feeling plumper and detoxed. It does have a tingling sensation that could be interpreted as burning though. I don’t mind and it doesn’t have any negative effects on my skin, but it’s important to always check in with your skin so that you’re not putting unfavorable products on it. (Included in the slideshow is also the Glossier Mega Greens Galaxy Pack–facial mask. This also gave me the same results, but I know that this CVS brand is $10 as opposed to $22 if you’re trying to save a buck.)

Step 3: Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize!

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This last step was probably another reason why my cystic acne was off the charts. I wasn’t properly moisturizing. The truth about acne, aside from diet, is that an over-production of oil on your face can eventually seep into your pores, become infected and voila! You got a nasty one forming. BUT, if you properly moisturize (especially at night when your body is doing all it’s repair work) your skin won’t have the need to overcompensate with oil! I learned this from watching Liah Yoo’s Youtube channel dedicated to all things acne and skin care. She warns against moisturizers that just “sit on top of the skin.” With the Glossier Priming Moisturizer Rich, it didn’t “sit” on my skin. How did I know that? When I woke up in the morning, I felt like my skin had some bounce to it. Try it yourself–you’ll thank me later.

I know, I sound like a talking billboard for Glossier–and I honestly wish I was and that they would pay me to promote them. They changed my skincare routine for the better and I think EVERYONE needs to have the answers. Granted their products aren’t drugstore prices–can you really put a price on healthy skin?????

xx

-A

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Let’s Talk About Body Lava

And briefly why I’m so late to the game.

Maybe it’s because I’ve been moving for the past two weeks or that I graduated with a Master’s degree. Perhaps those are the reasons as to why I didn’t catch on to the amazingness that is Fenty Beauty’s Body Lava.

My interest was first piqued when I saw someone on Instagram (of course) buffing the dewy concoction on their collarbone in a short 5-second video. I was then led to the 10-minute Vogue video of Rihanna guiding us viewers through her makeup routine (which was really pleasant to watch because the girl’s personality is so surprisingly disarming–whatta gift!) and then towards the end you witness her slathering a generous amount of Body Lava on her chest and shoulder.

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It was then that I decided that I MUST have it. I don’t know about you but ever since the dewy trend (spearheaded into the mainstream by Glossier I think) has taken the beauty-sphere by storm, I have had a grand ol’ time reveling in the fact that I have been on the “dewy”, borderline sweaty, train the day that my facial sebaceous glands started overreacting during puberty. Now when people ask, “Are you oily?” I can respond, “Nah fam, I’m dewy.” What a time to be alive! And to also give proper credit, my mom (the most moisturized female I have ever met. I have never once seen one streak of ashy on her in my 24 years of living) has been on the dewy tip circa 2000 when she taught me and my sister to put baby oil on our bodies immediately after we jumped out of the shower (thank you, Johnson & Johnson).

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Now with Body Lava, inspired by Rihanna’s Barbadian roots, she has made it totally cool to be a glowing light bulb all over. She is making oily great again and I’m livinggggg for it. Who said that highlighter is limited to the cheekbones? Some might find the whole thing preposterous. To that I say, come over here and let me dust some Killawatt on ya cheeks.

xx

-A

Easy, Breezy, Beautiful.

Hello and welcome back to my little corner on the internet.

I got some looks and a few thoughts to share per usual.

Some of my favorite style icons lately include Jeanne Damas (whom I recently have been stalking), Julia Sarr Jamois, as well as Freddie Harrel. What do all these women have in common? They are French yes, but what really intrigues me most about all of them is how effortlessly they dress, walk, and carry themselves.

It’s hard to pinpoint what exactly contributes to their blithely posture, but my best guess is that French culture highly values women who display elegance through natural beauty. Or as the French say it, je ne sais quoi. 

They don’t let their clothes wear them. They make their clothing fit their lifestyle however hectic or lackadaisical it may be, always incorporating a signature look that remains classic to their name. When I think of Julia, I think about how her cheetah print boots go hand in hand with her voluptuous fro. I think about Jeanne Damas’ impish eyes crowned by mascara and her finger-applied red pout when I see her wearing Prada pumps and a canary yellow sundress. I picture Freddie Harrel’s cheshire smile while posing in an electric blue jumpsuit reminiscent of the American 80s.

It’s about the woman in the clothes. It’s not about piling on embellishments for the sake of it.

When I think of natural beauty–the first image that comes to mind are flowers. When I bought these flowers and brought it to my office, people were gushing about how beautiful they were. Yet–they didn’t primp and pamper themselves. They just grew like dis. Luke 12: 27 “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.

In fashion blogging where the emphasis on being beautiful is constantly advertised by burning through dozens of makeup palettes and buying new clothes every season, sometimes I have to remind myself that just being the person I am is enough and is beautiful enough on my own without the need for embellishments. It’s about the woman inside the dress. Besides, if God created the flowers of the field so beautifully, how much more me?

Yellow Dress: Thrifted.

Choker: Boutique shop.

Shoes: Doc Martens.

All Photos taken by : Ryan Jirapong + Edited: Yours truly.

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California, Let Me Be Great.

Let’s talk about this coat.


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It’s my most raved about piece since it debuted on my Instagram last week.

So we are clear–it is thrifted folks. Yes, this is what happens when you remain dedicated and faithful to finding rare pieces of beautiful clothing amongst the heaps of ratty, worn out apparel in thrift stores. As some of you might know, for the most part I’ve given up fast fashion as a main source of shopping. The industry is literally stabbing our planet to death. I don’t want to get on my soapbox, but if you can help it–stop shopping fast fashion too!

Okay, back to the coat. When I first laid eyes on it–there were two thoughts that went through my mind. 1) It’s gorgeous! It’s mine! 2) But it’s California though….

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You see, California has an interesting relationship with winter wear. SoCal never even touches sub zero temperatures, not to talk of even grazing the high 40s. Your weather app could say that it’s going to be 55 degrees and you can come prepared, only to be attacked by the beating hot noonday sun that makes you sweat bullets within your tweed coat. Then we have short stints of rain (although there seems to be a little more than usual this year), and before you know it, beach days come back into full swing. Because the cold is so brief and fickle in nature, no native Californian seems to own a proper pair of winter boots (unless they happen to be from the Bay or a ski aficionado). And it’s not their fault. Most retailers around here distribute non-insulating, incredibly thin polyurethane boots that are absolutely useless the moment the temperature goes below 50 degrees (but it’s a cute style though). We wear hooded sweatshirts paired with flip flops (how strange and unacceptable) and most laughably, we have “peep toe boots” made popular by the head honchess, Kim Kardashian. Sidenote: Only SoCalifornians can get away with peep toe boots in the “winter.”

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But in Adaobi like fashion I don’t conform to the LA/OC winter staple of NorthFace fleeces, and Rainbow flip flops. I will do no such thing. My favorite season of the year is winter because of the versatility of layering and mixing unexpected textures together. So yes, I enjoy wearing stylish, elaborate outerwear to bundle me up for 60 degree nights. I recall a time when I wore my favorite houndstooth peacoat and my friends promptly took it upon themselves to roast me for being “extra.” And in all honesty, I was probably being extra. I still feel extra on this campus when it comes to fashion in general. I’m also probably living on the wrong side of the country. (New York 2018???????)

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In turn, because of the experience of being personally flambéed by my wonderful circle of friends, there was a little bit of PTSD that came with buying this camel coat. However, the $10 price tag spoke volumes more. So I’m going to wear it as much as I can. California, let me be great please. Thanks.

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Photos were taken by the lovely Ryan Jirapong.

xx

-A

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#OOTD: Don’t Touch My Hair

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie articulated in a BBC interview that hair, particularly a black woman’s hair, is political. (PLEASE WATCH THIS BRILLIANT INTERVIEW).

“Is it?” the interviewer responded incredulously, waiting for her to explain her statement further. She pointed out that the way she chooses to style her hair inevitably gives off unintended statements. For example, she may wear her hair out in an afro because she’s tired of styling it and wants to wear it out freely. In turn, others will see her ‘fro and may coin her as a “sistah” or a “vegetarian” or  “soulful” when it reality, she just wants to give her follicles a break. (As you can imagine, snap-assumptions of this sort can be detrimental for black women when seeking employment. But that is another post for the future). I want to go as far as saying that because black hair is so political in nature, the common response for outsiders is to demand for explanations!

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I say this from experience. I walked into my friend’s birthday party a week ago with my new hairdo and upon sitting down, I was immediately DRILLED on questions about how my hair was done, if it was all my hair, and how long it took. In that atmosphere of loud music, dim lights, and alcoholic beverages, I didn’t fully comprehend the impudence of the situation. I didn’t realize how bad it was until a few hours later when a friend of mine came up to me and told me that she loved my new hair, but she wanted to tell me this privately because she understood how the unwelcome attention could lead to me publicly defending the authenticity of my hair right on the spot. Another friend overheard her comment and added that “I was so patient” with the girls that greeted me with prying queries within the minute of my arrival to the gathering.

Which by the way, for those of you that don’t know, if the first thing out ya mouth is “Is it yours???” to a black woman, STOP. Well-intentioned or not, that’s a micro-aggression and it is extremely degrading. Please, a simple compliment will surely suffice.

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Since then,  I’ve been hit with a few more unwanted (and a few wanted) opinions on my hair and it has bothered me simply because of the fact that there are so many! This is not to talk of the content of their opinions. Pero, Who. Asked. You?

Do wavy-haired brunettes get the same unbridled speculation on their hairstyles as well? That was the question that darted through my mind when I went through the previous week–somewhat reluctant to go into social situations for fear of being bombarded with another person’s “assessments.” When I first viewed Adichie’s interview a month ago, I ruminated on the assumptions that she spoke of–not really knowing that her declaration would bring me into a higher level of consciousness, making me more aware of the social dynamics took place that night and many other instances before that.  What a curious world to be in as a black woman.

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Solange’s song Don’t Touch My Hair has also resonated with me for this very reason. Her statement, “Don’t touch my hair” establishes boundaries in terms of physical touch, but I want to add to that conversation by also establishing a boundary around how one speaks about and responds to black women’s hair choices/styles. It is my and many other black women’s “crowns.” It is our personal space and no one has the right to challenge our authenticity, or forcibly digest dispensable judgements. We got to respect that boundary for black women, period.

Comment or message me below if any part of this post resonated with you, if you had an experience similar to mine, or if you learned something vital. Love to hear some thoughts!

Top: Gifted by Modupe Alabi

Shoes: Adidas Originals Superstars

xx

-A

Follow me on Instagram and Twitter for more opinions. lol.

Zipper

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Your art will always look different in comparison to someone else’s even if it’s taken in direct inspiration of another’s creation. Your body shape, your hand stroke, and the lens in which you see the world will be uniquely different than anyone else’s strokes, shape, and perspectives. Your experience is uniquely yours.

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Lets not forget that within the fashion blogging sphere! I see way too many flat lay Instagram pics and monochromatic outfit grids taking over this wonderful sector of fashion on social media. I’m over the commercialization of blogging. It’s sad to slowly watch my once favorite bloggers turn into replicas of other ones. The industry puts so much pressure to put out content that content becomes unoriginal. I refuse to fall prey. #imnotcommercialanymore

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I named this post Zipper because I feel like my lip color pulls the whole outfit together. It gives it an interesting edge. Interpret my outfit, the makeup, and the lighting of these images as you will. There was no particular thought process in putting my ensemble together. My subconscious is sometimes drawn to certain pieces coming together depending on the music I’m listening to, the books I read, and the place that I am in. Draw inspiration from it–your interpretation of it will be uniquely yours. Build upon that.

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Pale Pink Heels: Asos

Lip Color: Zipper from ColourPop

xx

-A

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#OOTD: Serving A Look

Winter in California isn’t brutal compared to other states in the U.S. Of this, I am highly aware.

But being a born and bred Californian, when the temperature starts to flirt with the low 60s high 50s, you will catch me in a wool trench coat. Some say I’m being dramatic. I say I’m serving a look.

So speaking of serving one, I’m going to showcase my newest addition to my closet: my Zara square toed heel.

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I have to admit, I was somewhat hesitant buying these because I know that square toed shoes are trending–and when it comes to trends, they don’t last long. I wanted to make sure that I would wear these bad boys to death. And fortunately, I have been. They’re are comfortable to trot around in, and give a nice touch of edge to any outfit that is looking a little blasé.

These particular ones are sold out (I made a good choice then!) However, these are the closest version to them.

Shout out to Modupe for quickly snapping these shots for me. IG: @mo_alabi

Follow me on Instagram. You know where to go by now (well at least you should).

xx

-A

 

 

Fro-Tastic

I’m wearing my afro out. I don’t know it’s because the summertime makes me lazy, or if I’m just becoming prone to caring less about what the world thinks about me. Nonetheless, but I am wearing my natural fro out.

I woke up in the morning, dunked my head under a stream of water and let it dry. This was the result. Sure it’s not “styled” the way natural hair aficionados would recommend, but I was having a “who cares?” day when I got up that morning.  I looked at myself in the mirror and 100% appreciated what I saw. Don’t get it twisted, there is nothing wrong with styling, and taking care of your hair. But sometimes us black women can go overboard with the hair routine. We buy one too many products, we touch it every 2 minutes, we tug, we de-tangle, we just do too much. Sometimes we just need a day to walk outside and just BE. Funnily enough, I got quite a bit of compliments and a lot more stares…but I don’t know if it was admiration or confusion. Anyway, I have learned that I too, can wash n’ go. Well…for about a day then I have to get my hair back on a hot oil treatment.

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PRO TIP: My White Choker is DIY’d and I’m pretty excited to share another tip for you choker lovin’ gals out there. Tired of spending $5 a pop on strips of fabric? Cut off the hem of an old shirt or pants and voila! You got yourself a new choker. I cut off the hem of an old white shirt to achieve this look.

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Sandals: ASOS// Overalls: Santee Alley// Black Crop Top: Forever 21

Photographed By: Samantha Lopez

Edited By: Moi.

p.s. Someone suggested that I do a post dedicated to taking care of natural hair. I’m still new on this journey so any advice that I offer would be for newbies like me. Let me know in the comments: yea or nay.

xx

-A

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Autumn in the Summer

As I was going through the photos from this shoot, I realized that a lot of my clothes reflected my favorite season (if you can call it that in California) of the year. Autumn. My clothes reside in the warm, brown, and orangey range that complements the typical colors of autumn leaves around that period. Never been a summer kind of girl, really.

The first look is inspired by the longstanding 70’s off the shoulder vibes that has inundating my Twitter and Instagram feed since last year. In the beginning I paid no attention, and then subconsciously my mind began to register that it was a look that I must emulate. Boom, this top ended up in my closet. No regrets.

Of course, I had to pair it with my signature high-waisted mom jeans. A quick note I wanted to make about mom jeans. As you’ve probably read in my the last post, I’m off of FF (fast fashion) permanently. But even prior to that decision, I absolutely refused to buy “mom jeans” from a FF retailer. Why? Because they’re not the real thing. Real “mom jeans” are made out of real denim.  Currently, jeans from FF stores are usually made of this stretchy jegging/polyester material that wears out in 2 years. By then, the color fades and the material starts to loosen (especially if you have skinny jeans). You’re lucky if you get a 3rd year out of them. There is a reason why the jeans from your mother’s closet has lasted 3 decades. Trust me on this–bite the bullet and thrift your jeans.

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Mules: ASOS (I still own FF items so the transition will be slow)

The second look was built around this corduroy skirt I bought from Topshop way earlier in the year. I was wandering around the store and saw this sticking out of the sale section. It was love at first sight. Again, the skirt has an autumnal 70s vibe that my subconscious can’t seem to shake! Damn you, StyleWatch. It will be interesting to see how my style will evolve from here on out since I will no longer will a part of the massive hysteria surrounding seasonal trends.

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Shoes: Zara // Corduroy Midi Skirt: Topshop

All the credit goes to Photographer, Karlo Morcilla who shot and edited all these photos. Check out his Instagram here!

xx

-A

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