Hello My Loves!

Yes it is been forever and a day, but I am happy to say that I officially finished graduate school last Sunday! Working on my 2nd Masters was definitely a challenge. I was in an accelerated program and completed what normally takes two years or longer for some people in 14 months. The program consists of six weeks of pre-course work, two 5-week intensives (five weeks for Summer I and five weeks for summer II) and a 10-month long internship. As I said in an earlier post practically everything suffered because of the intensity of the program. I was so busy I barely wore heels and if you know me, you know I love my heels. The last 2 1/2 weeks were the most intense. I haven’t pulled so many all-nighters since undergrad over eight years ago. Completing this degree was by far one of the most challenging and rewarding things I’ve done in my life. My degree will be conferred in October, and I will be able to walk across the BIG STAGE in May 2015.

Now that I’m finished I keep getting asked the same question…what are your next steps?

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Besides catching up on sleep and catching up with friends and family I haven’t had much time to really relax. While I was in school I decided to look for a new apartment. I know…what was I thinking right? Well this was my logic, I wanted to find a place before school was over, so once I was done I could just pack and move so I could be settled by September when the school year starts. Well I found a place and I am in the process of packing and moving. Don’t worry, my laptop won’t be packed up, so I will have time to blog!

I’m also planning a birthday/graduation/house warming shindig. I figured why not celebrate all three at once. This way I can catch up with my family and friends who I have not spent that much time with over the last few months because of school and the internship.

So what’s next? I need to relax, but I can’t get restless. I have to stay motivated and put to use what I learned over the last 14-months.

Yesterday in church was “Graduation Day,” and that is when everyone who graduated from high school, college, and graduate school go up to the altar and one of the ministers pray over everyone for guidance regarding their “Next Steps.” This brings me to my favorite scripture Jeremiah 29:11 (I reference this scripture all of the time to keep me grounded and to remain faithful to God’s promise). It says,

“11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” New International Version

I know what God has placed in my heart and I am not sitting around hoping for something to fall in my lap. 2014 has been a HUGE year for me and everything that I set to accomplish, I have by the grace of God. I gave myself a list of things to do before I turn a certain age (I’ll tell you what that age is in October) and I’m working hard to do that. I know that God is calling me to advance in my career, and I am taking the necessary steps to do that. Besides moving up the career ladder,  my next steps really are just following God’s word and plans that he has placed on my heart. That deals with improving my spiritual life, relationships, finances, health, and blog (Yes I pray about HGB constantly-this is my baby).

God has taken me in a totally different direction than I was going two years ago. Honestly, two years ago I didn’t think I would have my 2nd masters degree because I didn’t want it. I thought I was done with school, now look at me lol. I can only laugh and think about this:

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Of course I set goals…don’t think I’m just out here waiting for a “sign” from God, that isn’t the case. What I’m saying is that you  may have one plan for your life and it may not be what God called you to do, so instead of trying to do things your way, follow God’s plan because He always has your best interest at heart.

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It’s been WAYYYYYYYY too long since I’ve written a Motivation Monday post, so instead of giving you all of the fluff I’ll just tell you what’s been up.

1. Work- This year I had a lot more demands with work that occupied a lot of my time. I will have some of those same responsibilities, but with a more flexible schedule this September.

2. School- In about four weeks I will have completed my 2nd Masters program. I had a year long internship (at work), which consumed a lot of my time, so as of August, I will have a lot more time to dedicate to the blog.

That’s mainly it. My graduate school program has been extremely intense and I am almost at the finish line.

Although I haven’t been posting consistently here, I have been guest posting for my friend Kim on her blog Makeup By Kim Porter. So check out a few of my beauty posts.

One thing that I promised myself to work on for 2014  was to have balance. I would let work and school consume my life, but I have been managing my time much better. Although I’m not where I would like to be, my family and friends have been extremely supportive during this time. So that’s my update.

The BET Awards Red Carpet was a little uneventful for me. First of all, 90% of the women showed up in white gowns. I understand that it is hot and all out in LA, but there was really no variation of color or dress style. Here are my top 4 looks from the red carpet.

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Eva Marcille (she just had a baby a few months ago and she looks amazing!)

Amber Rose has this classic look that I love. It is not over done like some women. She kept it classy and simple.

I’m not a huge fan of Adrienne Bailon, but I am a fan of Michael Costello and he was the designer of this gown.

Regina Hall did something a little different in a white pants suit. I’m loving the short bob!

Now two looks that I didn’t particularly care for come from two very talented young women, Keke Palmer and Sevyn Streeter.

So I was watching the news one day and they did this entire segment on something called “Pevage” which is cleavage of the pelvis. So this include extremely high splits, cut-outs, sheer panels, around the pelvis area. Check out this article from the Daily News. I honestly think it is becoming extreme. I’m all for taking risks, but with more class. It seems like anything goes nowadays and it is ok to leave nothing to the imagination. I may be in the minority with my opinion, but I don’t conform to what society thinks is right, and “pevage” is just wrong.

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What was your favorite look from the night?

On Saturday April 19, 2014 I did something that I never thought I would do, complete a Tough Mudder race. I don’t mean that I never thought I could complete a Tough Mudder, I just thought I’d never participate in one. I’ve seen the Facebook sponsored posts and photos from a few people that I know that completed it and said, “Yeah they got that.” My brother sent an email early January about the race to a few people so we can join his team. I was a bit skeptical, but I let him talk me into joining his team. Only a few people obliged and the “Brooklyn Squad” was born, with three people from Brooklyn and two from Queens lol.

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Tough Mudder is a 10-12 mile, 25 obstacle race that will definitely challenge you physically, but it is more mental than anything. Tough Mudder Poconos was 11.6 miles (I wanted to cry at mile 11 lol I was so happy). I joined a gym in January and began “training.” All of the work that I did was nothing compared to what was required to complete the obstacles. With the help of God (I called on His name and prayed through a few obstacles, especially the Arctic Enema), my teammates, my family and friends, and my fellow tough mudders I earned my orange headband.

Electro Shock-to get to the finish line you had to run through electrical wires....so yes you had to purposely get electrocuted lol.

Electro Shock-to get to the finish line you had to run through electrical wires….so yes you had to purposely get electrocuted lol.

When I first signed up there were many people that were like, “You are going to run through mud?” lol. As a fashion blogger and an all around girly girl who loves floral prints, feminine dresses, high heels, and lipstick I understood where they were coming from, so it made me want to do this even more.

I crawled and waded through 500,000 gallons of mud, scaled walls of varying sizes, jumped in a dumpster filled with tons of ice and the coldest water that you could imagine (34 degrees), tested my balance walking across beams over water, used my upper body strength to climb up a rope, jumped across mud filled ditches, carried tires, crawled under barbed wire and logs, and much more. At the beginning of the race we had our send off speech by Sean Corvelle, the Tough Mudder motivator. I think after our last Hoorah we were all amped and ready to go. One thing that he said that stuck with me was that Tough Mudder was a challenge not a race. It’s about giving your best and fighting though obstacles for yourself and your loved ones.

Here are a few pics from the challenge that our spectators (family and friends) took

Start of the race with our wave.

Start of the race with our wave. I was number 3432

My brother and his friend and Laurel. We were the only girls on the team. This was after our first obstacle- Kiss of Mud

My brother and his friend and Laurel. We were the only girls on the team. This was after our first obstacle- Kiss of Mud

Glory Blades! Yes that's me climbing over a wall with a little boost from my teammate Ian

Glory Blades! Yes that’s me climbing over a wall with a little boost from my teammate Ian

My brother Lloyd and sister's boyfriend Ian hoping over the wall for glory blades. They definitely inspired me! They were just jumping over those walls like pros.

My brother Lloyd and sister’s boyfriend Ian hoping over the wall for glory blades. They definitely inspired me! They were just jumping over those walls like pros.

Here is the team’s before and after photo

We started off smiling...lol

We started off smiling… Antonio and I kept smiling lol

Here is my before and after photo

Before and After

Before and After I was FREEZING if you couldn’t tell

Yes I was a hot muddy mess. I was able to get my muddy clothes off and change into something much cleaner for the 2.5 hour drive home. When I got out of the car I could barely walk. My body had never been through such an intense physical challenge at once like Tough Mudder. I managed to gain enough strength to shower because all I wanted to do was get in the bed.

Here was my “After Tough Mudder” Routine

I needed to do a deep deep cleaning because that mud was thick! I had to give my skin the ultimate treatment. I was in and out of water and mud for hours. My skin was very, very dry.

Body
1. NIVEA Touch of Renewal Exfoliating Body Wash- I used this after I rinsed off the dust and mud. It was great for exfoliating, cleansing and moisture.
2. Olay Ultra Moisture Body Wash- Restored the moisture in my skin in addition to cleansing my skin.
3. H20 Plus Sea Salt Skin Smoother-infused with natural oils and sea salt, this left my skin feeling silky smooth.
4. Boiron Arnicare Arnica Gel- I don’t remember where I got this from, but I’m glad that I had it. It provided immediate relief to my sore muscles and joints.
5. NIVEA Extended Moisture Body Lotion- After I applied the gel I used NIVEA’s extended moisture body lotion. This currently my favorite body lotion because of how moisturized my skin is after I use it. I love it because it is not thick and it is long lasting (48 hours)

Face
1. Simple Foaming Cleanser- I use this cleanser at night because it is gentle and does not leave my skin feeling dry.
2. Mary Kay Satin Lips Lip Mask- This is my favorite lip scrub. After the race my lips were dry! The sun, wind, water, and mud left me looking like Tyrone Biggums, well that’s what my sister said lol. I mad sure that my lips were kissable again with this scrub.
3. Ambi Even and Clear Daily Moisturizer- My favorite moisturizer at the moment. It is light weight and very moisturizing. Great for combination skin.
4. NIVEA Lip Butter- This lip balm left my lips very soft and smooth

Hair

1. Shea Moisture Retention Shampoo
2. Shea Moisture Restorative Conditioner
3. Shea Moisture Detangler
4. Eden Body Works Jojoba Monoi Deep Conditioner
5. Karen’s Body Beautiful Leave-in Conditioner
6. Personal mix of oils: Coconut, grape seed, avocado, extra virgin olive oil

Here are some of the products that I used:

 I also soaked in Epsom salt all weekend because my body was incredibly sore. I never felt so much pain in my ankles before in my life. And my brother laughed at me when I told him the back of my knees even hurt. Yes I was in that much pain. I thought I was in decent shape, but next year will definitely be better. This experience ignited something in me that makes me want to get more active. So our next feat will be a 5k, I’m not sure if it will be timed or not time, but I’m just getting started.

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I’m happy that I can call myself a Tough Mudder! This was a great experience.

Disclosure: With the exception of the NIVEA products, Arnicare Gel, H2O Plus Sea Salt, all products were purchased by me with my own money. The products mentioned above were provided in a gift bag from various pr firms.

Can you imagine the perfect night with your closest friends? You bond over drinks, work, great fashion, and of course men! Well that was not the case in the new movie “The Other Woman” starring Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann, and Kate Upton.

These three ladies form the strangest bond because they all have one thing in common, Mark King played by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. That’s right! You have the wife, Kate King (Leslie Mann), the girlfriend, Carly Whitten (Cameron Diaz), and the mistress, Amber (Kate Upton) all teaming up to give Mark what he deserves. Talk about unlikely friendships! The camaraderie between these three is outrageous! Definitely one of the funniest movies I’ve seen in a very long time.

The film’s head costume designer was none other than Patricia Fields. Yes the Patricia Fields! So can you say Sex in the City? After the screening there was a Q&A session with Pat, as she is affectionately known. She was asked a variety of questions even what are her staple pieces or favorite pieces in her wardrobe in which she responded, “I love everything.”

POPSUGAR  Fashion Kate Schweitzer and Patricia Field

POPSUGAR Fashion Kate Schweitzer and Patricia Field

When it came to the fashion for the movie Pat said it starts with reading the script. She said you have to know the story. Then she gets to know the characters. Her job is to make the characters come to life through fashion. The fashion isn’t the focus, it’s the character, so she chooses items to fit their personality and lifestyle portrayed in the movie.

Leslie Mann, Cameron Diaz, Kate Upton

Leslie Mann, Cameron Diaz, Kate Upton

Without giving away too much here’s a short breakdown of the fashion in the movie:

Cameron Diaz- The powerful attorney girlfriend- What would you expect a powerful attorney who works in midtown to wear? Contemporary and modern. I won’t even begin to describe her apartment (swoons). She dresses like she is in control black power suits, sexy yet mildly conservative dresses in a bold red, and stilettos galore!
Leslie Mann- The suburban wife-She had to be my absolute favorite character. Pat describes her as a Stepford wife. She wears the cardigans around her neck, the bright floral prints, sun hats and tunics and kitten heel sling backs.
Kate Upton- The young mistress- She’s like your typical college sorority girl. Most of her wardrobe consists of short shorts and lots of cleavage.
Nicki Minaj-Lydia the assistant- She pretty much played herself lol. Her character was very believable and seemed like a true side of Nicki. She also dressed her role as well with different wigs, body con dresses and tight skirts in gorgeous prints and patterns.

One guest asked Pat has there been one piece that she just had to get into a movie or who her favorite designers and brands are to pull from. She simply said it’s not about the clothes or fashion. It’s about making the characters believable. Kudos to Patricia Fields and her team! They did an amazing job with the fashion in this film.

Prior to the screening all of the guest mingled of champagne, popcorn and the cutest candy bar to get ready for the film:

Me with the lovely Patricia Field

Me with the lovely Patricia Field

POPSUGAR Candy Bar

POPSUGAR Candy Bar

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Me with my line sister Robyn

Me with my line sister Robyn

All of the guests were gifted with POPSUGAR MustHaves during the screening. And Patricia Field gifted all of the bloggers her infamous “Patricia Field Lucky $1000 Money Clutch”

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So plan your next girls night out! Dinner and a movie always work! So ladies plan your next GNO to see The Other Woman, you won’t be disappointed!

Check out the trailer below and click here for more info about the movie

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Fox through their partnership with POPSUGAR. While I was compensated by POPSUGAR to write a post about The Other Woman, all opinions are my own.