Hey folks, so as you know my BFF Nikki and I took a trip to Cali during Spring Break. Finding a place to stay in LA that doesn't cost an arm and a leg but it still near the city and not too far from LAX. We found this cute little hotel called the Beverly Laurel Hotel. For the price, space, location, and oh-so-cute vintage decor - we both found this to be a win in our book! Right next door is a little dinner, and there food was pretty good too!
Beverly Laurel Hotel:
Rating:  ★ ★ ★ ★
Located on Beverly Blvd in LA it is walking distance to Hollywood Blvd, and a convenient spot if you're looking to go to Hollywood Hills too! I wandered around the streets of LA and found some cute wall art and what not:
Artist WRDSMTH has pieces that can be found all over the U.S.!! 

 After a walk down Hollywood Blvd to go to LaLa Land, an all-in-one awesome gift shop that is on the Walk of Stars! Here you can find literally everything and anything. T-shirts, little Oscar Magnets and awards, mugs, and everything in between!
LaLa Land Gift Shop
Rating:  ★ ★ ★ ★ 

I most definitely want to go back to California to explore! I have a little travel itch...

LA Hits




About a week ago, I posted my {new} skincare essentials and wrote about the Mario Badescu drying lotion. Well, I picked up EradiKate from Sephora and decided to put them to the test. Are you ready?

$17 @ Ulta
Mario Badescu is described as a Drying Lotion that is a "fast acting, effective acne spot treatment". One of the main ingridients in the MB Drying Lotion is that is contains Calemine, hence the scent that takes me back to my childhood of when I had chicken box. Calemine is designed to treat pain, itchiness, and discomfort. When I used this it took more than 3 days to dry out a breakout I had. It did the job - but way too slow. In addition, it dried as soon as it touched my skin. Throughout the night it would crack and flake or peel off.

Price: $26@ Sephora
EradiKate is described as effective treatment to fight blemishes and minimize pimples, acne, and help prevent future breakouts. This does not have that calamine but it felt a lot cooler on the skin, and not as thin as the MB Drying Lotion did. However, this does have magnesium aluminum silicate which helps thicken the product. Although this can be practically useless, maybe this is what helped in keeping the treatment on my breakouts throughout the night! This helped my breakout in just ONE night. EradiKate does have sulfur in it, and an overall higher concentration of acne fighting ingredients! So, is the extra 9 dollars worth it?

Yes, I definitely think it is worth it. Overall it's better quality and more product!

Ratings
Mario Badescu                                           EradiKate
 ★ ★ 1/2                                                        ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Mario Badescu vs EradiKate

Many decide to take care of their skin once problems start to happen, but to make sure fine lines, wrinkles, and dark spots don't occur - it's all about taking preventative measures. Let's jump into some of my favorite and go-to skincare essentials and see how I rate them out of 5 stars!

 Biore Pore Unclogging Scrub
Use: Exfoliates and removes impurities. I use it in the shower for a nice scrub!
Price: ~ $7 @ Target {can also be found at drugstores}
 Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Biore Charcoal Pore Strips
Use: Apply to face/nose when skin is wet, let it dry completely. This helps remove impurities, whiteheads, blackheads, peach fuzz, etc. Even if it's not a charcoal strip, and it's generic brand - they work!
Price: ~ $7.49 - $11.99 @ Ulta, Target or a local drugstore
 Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ 

OLEHENRIKSEN The Clean Truth Foaming Cleanser
Use: I use this with a drop of Tatcha Pure Oil and this cleanses my skin so gently but really gets dirt and even any left over make up off of my skin!
Price: $30 @ Sephora
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

 Mario Badescu Drying Lotion
Use: Apply with a Q-Tip onto acne/breakouts, let dry overnight. The first time I used this - it worked overnight. I've been using it the past 3 days on 3 breakouts, and it's not drying out the break outs. I'll be trying Eradi-Kate by Kate Somerville soon. Want to see a comparison?
Price: $17 @ Ulta
Rating: ★ ★ 1/2

Dr. Denis Gross Ferulic Acid Retinol Brightening Solution
Use: Every morning + night before moisturizing
Price: $88 @ Sephora
Rating:

Caudalie VinoPerfect Radiance Serum
Use: Applying this to specifically dark spots as well as all over the face helps lighten dark spots, dullness and uneven skin. I have been using my sample size I received from Sephora.
Price: $79 @ Sephora
Rating

Oliology 100% Natural Rosehip Oil Collagen Facial Treatment
Use: I use this especially when my skin feels dry to help with dark spots
Price: $20 via Amazon
Rating ★ 

Tatcha Pure One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil
Use: I actually use a drop or two of this with the OLEHENRIKSEN Cleanser, and it leaves my skin super soft! I also like to apply this to my face before using the Dermaplaner.
Price:  $15- $48 {depending on size}Sephora
Rating: ★  ★

Belief The True Cream Aqua Bomb
Use: I use this as my holy grail night + morning moisturizer and has been through the ultimate test - Texas Heat! This is cool on the skin and leaves my skin hydrated.
Price: $38 @ Sephora
Rating

Supergoop! Everyday Sunscreen Broad Spectrum
Use: Sunscreen, typically apply after moisturizing before any type of primer for make up. This isn't thick or tacky on my skin. Has a typical sunscreen smell though.
Price: $19- $148.00 depending on size @ Sephora
Rating:    

Soap & Glory - The Righteous Butter Body  Lotion
Use: As a body lotion, the scent isn't too strong and this leaves my skin soft without leaving behind a residue or tacky feel!
Price: $10.99- $12 @ Target or Ulta
Rating:
Soap & Glory - Peaches & Clean Deep Cleansing Milk / Melt Away MakeUp
Use: I like to use this as a makeup remover more than a cleanser. It doesn't leave a heavy residue whatsoever nor does my skin feel stripped - but it removes all my makeup!
Price: $10.99 -$12 @ Target or Ulta
Rating:

Tweezerman Bright Complexion Facial Dermaplaner
Use: After my nighttime facial cleanse, I apply some serum and cleansing oil to my face and use this in a down up motion to get dead skin and what not off. I've only used it twice, so I'll have to see in about a week or longer if it really works. And yes it gets my peach fuzz off too!
Price: $30.00 @ Ulta 
Rating:    
 Tweezerman Complexion Cleansing Brush
Use: I use this typically with a foaming cleanser in circular motions. So far I find using it with something that does not already have scrubbing beads or an exfoliant really helps. It's super soft, and I love the it has a cap that has holes to allow for drying.
Price: $16.00 @ Ulta
Rating:    ★ 

 With stress and changes my skin has been acting up these past few weeks so I am excited to see how sticking to a routine + these new products work out! 

Skincare Essentials


But you're young - I am told
So do I truly understand love? 
To have a hand to hold,
Do I know what love is? 
It was a deep friendship, 
a shoulder to lean on,
someone there at my fingertip.
That is now gone.
Caring for someone unconditionally, 
whether they are sick, well, or stressed. 
It sometimes require one to wait patiently.
So I grew and adapted, that's what my experience showed. 
Two individuals with a connection
Some things unspoken, but mutual respect 
I thought there was a clear direction.
No one needed to be checked
Sure a fight here and there
But in it for the long haul no matter the stresses to bear.
Then, I was sacrificing myself 
Where did you go? 
You left me hanging, 
You left me hurting. 
Maybe it was time for me to go.
It was a love only I knew. 
What followed has been a loss, a hurt, a pain.
I never knew I could feel.
I don't know if you'll return again.
But I know everything we had was real.
This love has taught me,
has opened my eyes.
As we said our goodbyes
 our hearts were breaking.
I just want to feel the same again,
this love...

This Love



Ramadan, as many of you know is the 9th month of the Islamic calendar. It is observed by the fasting before dawn to dusk. I have grown to learn this is also a time to reflect, repent, learn, and grow. With the start of this blessed month I ask you this - if I have ever hurt you, upset you or angered you in ANY way, please forgive me. I may strive to be a 'perfectionist', but I am far from perfect and make mistakes I don't intend to. I know I can be one of a little patience which is one, of the many things I intend to work on this Ramadan and after. 
I am genuinely sorry if I have ever hurt you, please forgive me and may the Almighty forgive me for any and all of my shortcomings. 
This month could not have come at a more perfect time for me. With many chapters in my life coming to an end, I need and want the guidance. I plan to work on myself, my strength, patience, and more. May He make this a blessed month for us all and grant all of us our prayers. May He help us overcome any and all obstacles while helping us understand the reason as to why we are put through them. I wish you all, my loved ones, a happy, healthy, successful life with your family iA. 
Here is to my new journey for a better me.

Journey To...

Were we broken or bent?
Maybe things to talk about,
to work on.
It was a two-way street,
But at some point our hands drifted
and we approached different paths.
To let go, 
we had no other choice. 
Taking the laughter and tears,
and the memories of the year.
I have to let you go,
so you can grow.
You have to let me go,
so I can grow.
We must let go,
so we can learn.
Neither of us are broken,
we are just bent.

Not Broken, Just Bent


Friends, I want to address a topic that has been on my mind for a while. After my amazing trip in Cali this past spring break - I embraced my sun-kissed glow + I needed to let my skin breathe, so I nixed foundation, blush, bronzer, etc. for a solid month and a half! I would use my serums, moisturizer, and sunscreen. And now, I find myself not wearing foundation every single day. But I don't mind throwing on some winged liner and mascara - maybe ever a pop of color on my lips!

But, with it being finals time, graduation around the corner, and work - that means late nights, rushed early mornings, and a laid back look. I am gravitating towards my university shirts, jeans and my sneaker wedges. As I sit at Starbucks at school studying, I can't help but find people greet me with
"You look tired".
First off- rude. Second, if I do, I probably already know that I look tired, so thanks Captain Obvious. Third, everyone looks this way - but you don't see me saying it to people's face. When are we ever going to be a society that can say "Man, you look comfy!" or "Your skin looks great!" I don't mean to sound conceited, but I am loving my bare skin lately, if I do say so myself. So, if you don't mind, take your non-complimenting, negative Nancy, condescending, rude attitude elsewhere, because it's definitely not needed here.

This Is How I Look...


I know, I know - the amount of time I have been away is absolutely ridiculous and nothing I say can make it better. Actually, that's a lie - because today I have an amazing SHOE HAUL to tell you about.

Before my trip of a lifetime with my BFF Nikki - (more to come) , we hit up the outlet mall and to much of our disappoint stores weren't in 'Spring Mode' like we were! After a day of constantly being let down, Payless came through. And by came through I mean Nikki walked away with 4 pairs of shoes, and I with 3! A few days after I went to a local Payless to snag a pair shoes I had my eye on, and sure enough, walked out with 4 pairs. Of course that would happen to me. BUT! as crazy as that sounds, each pair was $10-$25 not including the coupons I had! I introduced Nikki to one of my favorite shoes designer, Cristian Siriano who makes affordable NICE shoes for Payless, he also has a line of bridal dresses at Kleinfeld. Now, let's get back into the swing of things and swing into action shall we?

Here are the flats I snagged they were $10-$15 without my using a coupon.
/ Taupe Flats are the perfect neutral, but with the texture they look a lot more fancy than the $$. I've been wearing these at work quite a bit lately, with black slacks, and even indigo! 
/ Faux Grey Suede with a touch of faux snakeskin are the perfect pair of statement flats. They are bold enough, yet subtle in color that it is sure to perk up your outfit. Wear it on dark denim or even slacks!
/ Black flats do a different texture and shape, but my holy grail Forever21 flats have finally given out after at least 2+ years. These are comfortable, and held up in a rain storm earlier this week!
/ Faux Denim: these are soft and have a little bit of sparkle to them. These are definitely statement shoes. I plan on wearing these on black skinnies or black slacks, with a nice white top paired with some blue jewelry.
Next up, are some block heels by Brash, an exclusive Payless brand
/ Brown & Black Brash Block Heel: I absolutely loved the black so I bought them in brown too! 
 These were great for Cali nights out! And are actually really comfortable, the caged straps do not dig into my feet at all throughout the night!
Lastly, I picked up these 'high-top' sneakers by Brash as well.
/ Brash Hidden Wedge Zip-Up High tops: These shoes have a hidden wedge, are so comfortable, and as my cousin said when she saw me in them 'so L.A.' I love that these dress up my look, but I'm still casual! They have these tiny 'holes' in them throughout the design, so my feet are actually able to breathe throughout the day.


How would you style any of these shoes?
 Check out www.payless.com to see if you can still snag some of these shoes before their fall collection is completely sold out!

Payless Shoe Haul

Everyone keeps talking about how awful 2016 was. It wasn't the best year for me, but it wasn't the worst either. So, I want to highlight some of my top moments from 2016!

{via}

ONE
 Faith and Belief
Hard work is one thing - everyone says they are hard working. But do you actually work hard? Do you actually believe in yourself and the effort you put in? These past months, I turned to the power of prayer for answers, guidance, strength, and reassurance. God never leaves our side. He is the planner of all, the All-Knowing. He never puts us through anything we cannot handle. He tests only his strongest soldiers. I went through a lot in the past month, and I am glad for the obstacles I was put through because I wouldn't have the level of understanding I have right now if  I hadn't. I learned, nazr {the evil eye} is real man!

TWO
Friends & Family
This year I really found out who my true friends are. I don't use the term friend lightly - at all. But this year I have leaned on the same people time after time, and for some odd reason they are still by my side choosing to put up with me and my craziness. So thank you, FK, Nikki, Jamie, Aishah {M.} Brad, Jojo, Pumbaa, Coach Steinhoff, Baaji, Dr. Felvegi, and yes too Jack! You all have given me support, strength, and encouragement. Thank you for believing in me, pushing me, holding me {literally} wiping my tears, and making me laugh until I cry. Thank you guys for the serious conversations, the jokes, and being the reason I got through the last few months. I love you all more than words can express!

THREE
Photography 
This past year, the past 6 months to be more specific, I was blessed with not one, not two, but three amazing, once-in-a-lifetime, photography opportunities. I am so proud to say that I was the Official Photographer for the Hasan Minhaj: The Homecoming King Show in Houston, TX. In addition, I was able to work with former NBA player, TJ Ford and his Basketball Association as well. Not even 2 weeks ago, I was honored to meet and photograph Amir Khan and his gorgeous wife, Faryal Makhdoom for the Amir Khan: Heart of a Champion Fundrasing Gala! Thanks to the person who helped make all of these opportunities happen! I appreciate it so much Pakobe! Thank you to all those who let me capture your precious moments throughout the year, from senior portraits, to head-shots, to events, and family portraits. Thank you to those who have believed in me since day 1!

FOUR
Expect the Unexpected
In case you haven't noticed - I'm kind of a planner. I like to know what is going on- with my life, my future, so on. You can attribute it to my OCD, I guess.  This year I did lose what I thought were incredible, irreplaceable opportunities. I lost them faster than I got them. The job search - that is tough, no joke. What I had - I was so sure that it would be life-changing, and oh boy was it! I didn't even get a chance to experience it. But I learned a lot from it. I learned what I want within a company what I want to work for, and learned vital skills and knowledge about the job process. If I could go back, I would have done things differently- but if I didn't do them the way I did, I wouldn't have learned and grown. 

FIVE
Standing Up for Myself
Again, these past few months, a lot happened. Good and bad. But one thing I learned -- I needed to stand up for myself. I ended up in a battle for my personal rights at school with 3 different people with 'power'. After tears, panicking, and feeling like giving up I was told I needed to fight for myself. So, that is exactly what I did. If I hadn't stood up for myself, I would have risked a lot. But now, I have brought more awareness to an issue on campus and protocol for students and professors. The biggest takeaway from this is knowing that I do have rights as a student, and although our professors and instructors know more than we do - there are times that they are wrong, and just need to be informed, and frankly there is nothing wrong with that.

SIX
Writing / Launching Websites
This year I focused on writing a lot more, a dear friend helped me realize that I express a lot more emotion and my feelings through words when I put pen to paper. Sometimes I don't immediately express my feelings, whether it be of anger, sadness, discomfort, uncertainty, etc. But an hour or so later, if I open my journal the words come flooding, and once I am done, I feel so relieved. I took a big step by launching not one but two websites right before the semester started back up. By launching this website as well as my photography website, I have been more secure in my work, and know the things I want to improve on. This website lets me focus on writing, beauty, and fashion. It's my little corner of the web.

Thank you all for your support & encouragement this year. Let's make 2017 a great one! I cannot wait to see what the new year has in store for me, and cannot wait for my senior year semester!
 I know I'm already planning things with a new planner by Sugar Paper Co. Check out my instagram to see it!

Top 6 of 2016

Latest Instagrams

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