Beauty Routine: Activated Charcoal

Clogged pores, pimples, blackheads, uneven complexion—we’ve all been there. For me, the change of seasons always sends my skin into a frenzy. And with Fall swiftly approaching, it’s just about time to switch up my skin care routine. First order of business: skin detox. Weapon of choice: activated charcoal.


I know what you’re thinking: charcoal? For your face? But trust me, your skin will thank you later.

Activated charcoal draws out dirt, oil and other excess yuck trapped in your pores. It can be found a variety of popular skin care products, but I’ve provided the recipe for a quick and easy DIY charcoal mask that you can make yourself for a fraction of the cost.

While other masks remove only superficial dirt and debris, activated charcoal works well beneath the surface of your skin to remove bacteria and toxins on a microscopic level. This mask will result in refined pores, and leave your skin feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

If you’re wondering where you can get activated charcoal, I’ve found the charcoal capsules are the easiest to obtain. You can find them right in the vitamin section at your local drugstore or pharmacy. (They may also be in the laxative area since charcoal is often used to treat food poisoning and cleanse the stomach and digestive system.)


You Will Need:

1 tsp activated charcoal (about 2 or 3 capsules)
1 tsp aloe vera gel or juice (I prefer gel for this mix)
1 tsp water
1 tsp tea tree oil (optional, but highly recommended)

a small bowl for mixing


The Mix

If you’re using charcoal capsules, carefully open your capsules and empty charcoal powder into your bowl.

I recommend covering the area that you’ll be working on with a paper towel or old newspaper. Charcoal can stain or leave a dark residue if it isn’t cleaned up immediately.

Add the rest of the ingredients, one at a time, and mix everything together into a well-combined paste. Apply the mixture to your face in a thin even coat, being careful not to get the mixture in your eyes. Leave it on for about 15 to 20 minutes, allow it to dry. That tingly, cooling sensation you feel is completely normal and comes from the tea tree oil. Rinse and follow up with your normal toner and moisturizing routine.



This mask is safe for all skin types, but I definitely recommend doing a spot test just to see how you’ll react to it, especially for those with more sensitive skin.

Have you tried activated charcoal in your beauty routine? What are your favorite products? How else do you use it?

Tell me below in the comments! Can’t wait to hear from you!

Talk Tuesday: Beauty Bucket List

When I think about bucket lists, I think of skydiving, bungee jumping and other heart-wrenching feats that people set out to do before they kick the proverbial can. I don’t know if I’m that adventurous.  So here are 10 less-terrifying, beauty-related tasks that I have on my list of thing to do before I go.

Find the perfect nude lip.

For a brown girl, this can be a daunting task. I’ve only ever tried one nude lip that I like on me, Revlon’s Cocoa Craving (thanks Joanne!). But I’m not in love with it. It isn’t “the one.” So, I’ve done some research, scoured the blogs, and hit up some of my favorite YouTube beauty gurus to get some recommendations, and I’ve come up with a list of colors that I’m hoping to find and test in the coming weeks. Stay tuned! 


Sit and let my mani dry.

If you know me, you know that I absolutely hate sitting and waiting for my nails to dry. Nail decals are my saving grace (Salley Hansen are my fave). I’ll paint my toes then build my outfit around some open-toed wedges so they get time to dry. But when it comes to my hands, it’s a no-go. One of these days though, I’m going to paint them and sit still. (Or at least I’ll try).

See a dermatologist.

My skin is typically a picture of dewy perfection, but I do have oily/combo skin and sometimes (especially during the summer) I just can’t keep it under control. I think a trip to the derm could do me some good, even if I don’t need regular visits.

Master 5-minute makeup.

Because I’m tired of doing my makeup in the car, on the way to an event. I need to get it together: brows, liner, mascara, quick sweep of blush, maybe some lipstick, all in five minutes, and still look put together before I leave the house. Can it be done? I’ll keep you posted.

Pick a signature scent.

I’m not one of those girls who wears body sprays or perfume everyday, but I still like to keep a few choice scents in my collection. Right now my favorite is Eau Flirt by Harvey Prince.  As the name implies, it’s one of those flirty, seductive, notice me scents. I’ve worn it on a few special occasions and I always get tons of compliments. I’m not sure if it’s my signature, but it’s my favorite of all the perfumes I’ve tried.


Take a spa vacation.

I need a getaway, asap. A week or even just a weekend of complete relaxation, the full package complete with facials, body wraps and hot stone massages.

Work up the courage to get a bikini wax.

My razor and some shaving gel have never steered me wrong. But I think it would be a crime against womanhood if I  lived my life without ever getting a wax. Any tips for a first-timer?

Dye my hair purple.

No, I don’t want anything outrageous or neon. I’ve seen purple done subtly, and done well, and I’d love to give it a try.

Take a milk bath.

I’ve only heard great things, and I use milk in a few of my DIY facial treatments so I know how amazing it is for my skin.

Splurge on a beauty product

The most I’ve ever spent on a single beauty product is $50 for my Naked II Palette.I know there are far more expensive beauty products on the market and someday I’d  like to make a big purchase without cringing at the the thought of swiping my card. Maybe some Creme De La Mer?!


What’s on your beauty bucket list? Have you tried any of the tasks on mine? Tell me all about it in the comments! Can’t wait to hear from you!


Style, Et Cetera

Hey there! I know, I know…it’s been a while. But life has been super hectic and I feel like I’m scrambling to get things sorted out! So I’m just here to give you a few updates so you know that I haven’t completely abandoned blogging! This will be the first of many personal posts on the blog. Now, I won’t be sharing all my business because for the most part I’m a very private person. But I made a promise to myself that I would be a little more transparent. I want my readers to get to know me, and more than just the fashion-crazed beauty junkie side of me. So here it goes!


Deshawn starts preschool in a week!  And somehow I managed to convince myself that back-t0-school prep for a four-year-old was going to be easy. WRONG. In addition, my son is adamant that he’s not going to school and he can do all his lessons via WRONG again lol. (But it’s a great program for teeny boppers to supplement in-school learning, so you should definitely check it out if you’re a mom!)


His face melts my heart


When kids learn to take selfies


He let me in on the selfie action :)


Being silly!

Grad School

The thought of being back in school makes me cringe. Or maybe it’s the thought of how much it’s going to cost to be back in school.  BUT I need to further my studies if I’m going to be the best in the game. Over the next few months, I’ll be taking the GRE (and maybe the GMAT) and getting applications out, and hopefully I’ll be starting classes somewhere next summer, maybe even the spring. So my life is about to consist of lots of studying and prep.

New Etsy Shop

I’ve decided to turn one of my longtime hobbies into a small business venture: I’ll be making and selling handmade clutches, bags and other accessories. This is just one small part of my overall business goal, but I decided to let you guys in on the fun a little earlier than planned. Here are just a few of the handbag styles available in my shop, more will be added in the coming weeks so stay tuned!


From now until Sunday, August 25, you can use the discount code SNEAKPREVIEW to get free shipping on any of the items in my shop. Be sure to check out my shop announcement for sales, discounts, and info about custom orders! Hope you find something you like!

DIY Sewing Kit in a Jar

Lately I’ve been doing a lot of sewing and diy projects (and clearly not enough blogging). And while I’ve been accumulating new tools and supplies, I’ve also had to come up with new ways to keep everything organized since my sewing space is in a small corner of my room. Next move, I need to have an entire room dedicated to my sewing and DIY projects.

The most difficult things to keep in place are my pins and needles, buttons, bobbins and all the other little knickknacks that tend to roll around the bottom of my tubs and drawers. This DIY pin cushion and sewing kit is great little way to keep everything organized. It’s made from from a mason jar: the lid will serve as the pin cushion, and you’ll use the jar for storage. It’s super cute, and more my style than that old school “tomato” pin cushion my mom and grandma have in their kits.

Here’s what you’ll need to make it:


  • a mason jar—any size will do
  • pieces of scrap fabric
  • foam, batting, or other scrap material to stuff the cushion
  • a hot glue gun


I cut my scrap fabric into two circles, one larger than the lid sealer, and another optional circle about the same size as (or slightly smaller than) the lid.


The first thing you’ll do is create a fabric, foam, and lid sandwich.


Pull the edges of your fabric up around the foam and glue to the bottom side of the lid, working your way around the circle. Be sure not to pull too tight as you want it to be sort of fluffy.


Once you’ve gotten the entire circle glued, you can leave it as is or cover the white area with your second smaller piece of scrap fabric.


Push your cushion up through the screw cap part of the lid.


Fill your jar with your sewing knickknacks and screw the lid on, and you’re all done.


This project is pretty easy to do, and now that my mom has seen it, she wants one too. How do you organize your sewing supplies? Let me know in the comments! And if you try this, be sure to take a pic and tag me on Facebook or Instagram.

Glamour Look by Mary Kay Influenster VoxBox

I am a member of the Influenster community. I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.

A couple of weeks ago I tweeted that I’d received my very first Influenster VoxBox filled with some complimentary goodies from Mary Kay. And today I’m finally sharing with you what I got in the box. I should have had this post up a week ago (because I have a review or two that I need to get up now that I’ve had a chance to try the products) but I’ve been super busy with LIFE! Anyways, here are the products from the Glamour Look by Mary Kay Influenster VoxBox.


The packaging was super cute!


I got a beauty tool plus four full-size products.






I love love love the products I’ve tried so far so stay tuned for some reviews! If you’d like to hear what other Influensters are saying about Mary Kay and the Glamour Look VoxBox, tune in to our Twitter Party this afternoon at 3:00 PM EST. Use the hashtags #MKGlam  and tag @MaryKay and @InfluensterVox to join the conversation! If you’re interested in joining the Influenster tastemakers and trendsetters social community, head on over to the Influenster site.

Loafer Love

Loafer Love



1. ASOS Miller Loafer $54.30
2. Bamboo
Kiwi Laser Cutout Loafer $26
3. Dolce Vita
Rima Woven Loafer $169
4. Dolce Vita Greer Loafer $79
5. Aldo Kaeli Loafer $26.23
6. Nasty Gal
Noted Slingback Loafer $105

Sometimes I don’t feel like being bothered with sky high heels. I just want to be casual, kick back a little, but still look nice without being too over the top. Sandals aren’t really my thing. I mostly reserve those for the beach or one of those rare days when I don a casual summer dress. I love loafers. They’re versatile, comfy and chic. And as you can see from the image above, they come in a range of style, some a bit more fancy than others. There’s something for work, play and everything in between. Tell me, what are your favorite kind of casual shoes? What’s are your go-to’s on a more relaxed day?


Pins & Things: Leopard Print Everything

Happy First Day of Summer! Today I’m bringing you another edition of Pins & Things, my Friday Favorites from Pinterest and around the web. This week, it’s all about my love for leopard print!


With royal blue accessories for the win!


A girl can never have too many pairs of shoes.


In decor.


Fancy little gadgets like this charger reviewed by Miss Foodie Fab


Dessert is always a plus!

What prints are you obsessed with?! Tell me in the comments! And don’t forget to leave your link if you’re on Pinterest!

DIY Oatmeal Mask

As summer sets in, in all it’s hot and humid glory, my skin starts doing something crazy. I’ve mentioned before that I have oily combination skin, and during the summer months the problem intensifies. Sometimes, the excess oil leads to teeny tiny heat bumps on forehead and sometimes around nose. Not a good look! This DIY oatmeal mask is my go to treatment for summer skin troubles.

You will need:


1/2 cup oatmeal
1/4 warm milk
2 tbsp honey


Grind your oatmeal in the blender or food processor until it resembles a fine powder. Warm your honey in the microwave for a few seconds so it easier to mix.In a small bowl, combine your oats, honey and milk (a little bit at a time) and mix until you get a paste-like consistency. Apply to your face in small, circular motions then let it sit for 15-20 minutes before rinsing.

Why It Works

Oatmeal is a gentle, natural exfoliator. It’s also very soothing and provides relief for skin troubles such as dry, itchy skin, eczema, and sunburn. Oatmeal also absorbs and removes surface dirt and impurities and leaves your skin feeling supple and smooth. Honey has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties that help to detoxify your skin. It’s chock full of antioxidants which can help to restore damaged or wrinkled skin, and it’s humectant properties also draw moisture to your skin. The enzymes and  lactic acid in milk help to hydrate and smooth your skin.

You can also substitute yogurt for milk in this mask for a more luxurious texture and treatment!

Have you tried an oatmeal mask for your skin? What are your favorite masks or skin treatmeants to use during the summer? Tell me in in the comments! Chao!

Talk Tuesday: What’s Your Style Uniform?

Recently, one of my favorite bloggers did a short post on style “uniforms”. Well, what’s a style uniform? It’s basically your go-to style or outfit, the items in your closet you reach for when you just can’t decide what else to wear. On a daily basis, the pieces might change but the finished look might be very similar.

My style uniform looks a little a lot like this.

styleuniform3Dress up your basics.

blazer8Boyfriend blazer and shorts.

styleuniform9Details on this look here.

For me it’s always a blazer and _______ [jeans, shorts, dresses, skirts, chinos, jumpsuits…etc].  Blazers are one of my favorite pieces. I own quite a few of them. I love the chic simplicity of a classic blazer. It’s a  definite must have for every woman’s closet.

What’s your style uniform? Tell me about it in the comments!

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