Aug 4, 2014

Adventures of Pedicure Girl: A kid-friendly at home pedicure

My daughter loves a good manicure/pedicure, you may even remember I did a manicure party for her 6th birthday. In particular, she loves to take time out to get her nails and toes done with me-its a good mommy and me moment for us. The folks at Julep reached out recently and asked me to share my own summer pedicure story so it really made since to focus on Pedicure Girl and her next adventure.

When she goes she likes picking her own colors (she usually goes with a rainbow or a different color for each toe). Her favorite part is the warm towel oh and the massage gives her the tickles. Recently however we've been doing the summer vacation trips back to back so their hasn't been a lot of time to go back and forth to the salon so we've taken to perfecting a quick kiddie DIY at-home pedicure that has a few key elements to make sure those toes stay picture perfect. Below you will see our step by step pictorial that is easy to follow and replicate. Enjoy!

1. Before shot: This is a left-over pedicure from our recent trip to Puerto Rico. These itty bitties need help!

2. Our Tool Kit: I keep all these items in one place and tell baby girl never to touch them unless I'm around. Obviously this is a fun activity but its not something she can do alone.
  • Nail polish remover from Cutex as well as their touch up pen (the pen is perfect for fixing that extra polish that runs off trying to cover those tiny nail beds
  • Sally Hensen Nail Hardener
  • Inglot Dry and Shine Nail Enamel Drops- quick dry is essential on tiny toes. They never sit long enough to dry properly so you will need something to speed up the process. I like these drops.
  • And of course your nail polish
3. The most important step I would say is to clip the toe nails and file them so they have a good shape to prevent ingrown toe nails and promote proper growth. I still use my baby nail clipper from my hospital care kit because it handles their small nail beds gently. 

4. To the right is my CND cuticle oil which I apply to the cuticle followed by lightly pushing them back with tool to the left in the picture.

5. After all this I wash the toes off with a warm towel, apply a moisturizer and massage mostly to make her happy. We then apply a base coat to protect her natural nail from the nail color.

6. Our color of choice for our upcoming St. Lucia trip with be Tart Deco from Essie. Its bright, looks good on our brown skin and is perfect for the beach. I'm going to put it on my toes too.

7. Ten perfect toes all done. Now if I can just get her to sit still for 15 minutes so they can dry!!

Well that's it for Pedicure Girl latest adventure. We are soon headed to blue waters and bright sunshine, yay! We can't wait to dip our toes in some of Julep's new colors for the upcoming season. Stay tuned for more toe talk.

Jul 28, 2014

My Hair Journey: The Road to a Better Curl

About a year and a half ago I decided I wanted to reclaim my curls. My hair was getting noticeably thin when I would wear a straight style and limp for my curly style. I attributed this mostly to the years of blowouts and curling irons I had subjected myself to. The picture on the left was a very sad wash-n-go from over a year ago. I even tried to finger-curl individual strands but clearly that didn't really go so well.

I had always had thick curly hair but the drastic change for me was a wake up call that I needed to take better care of my hair.

My first step was to ban heat from my hair or for lack of a better term, make a commitment. I made a promise to only do curly hair for at least a year. The goal was to 1) Train my curls to actually curl 2) Return the thickness & shine to my hair. Below, you will see my almost two year hair journey in pictures. Its been a long road of trial and error but my curls are finally poppin!

1. Fall 2012 -The beginning...I still had perm left on the ends of my hair so what you see here was more of wave then an actual curl. The front was a challenge so I would pin it up with bobby pins. At this point I was using Shea Moisture curl products exclusively.

2. More of a curl with length. The wavy curls are still weighed down with dead ends. I had highlights put in and was nervous because I'd never done anything like that before. #hairprude

3-5. Team No Shape but I'm holding on to length for some reason. Some days are curlier then others. At this point I've transitioned into using Miracle 10 Leave In and then L'Oreal Ever Curl for my daily cream. It worked nicely on my longer hair. I was in denial about cutting my hair.

6. About two weeks after I finally went to Hair Rules Salon in NY (May 2014) and Yesenia blessed me with the cut that woke my curls from the eternal slumber they'd been in. At the time, I was so upset about how 'short' it looked straight that I didn't even focus on what it would look like curly. Then I washed it and voila'!

7. July 2014 - Curl Fever!!! everyone is asking me what I'm doing to my hair and what I'm using. I think I've found the lightest product on the market and its called Earth's Nectar Coconut Curl Cream and I use it with Eden Bodyworks Coconut Shea Hair Oil. The results are well, fabulous!

8. July 2014 -This is just a gratuitous curly shot of my mini-me and Me giving curl love.

Jun 13, 2014

Boy Do I Have Something for You!

Remember my limited time beauty box  with Cocotique? Well you can still order the box from by clicking here Also, get 10% off by using Code: CBM10.

Enjoy and don't say I never gave you anything!!! Smooches.

Badger Foot Balm 

Curls Defining Movement Curl Release Serum  

Natural Style By Fubu 
Curl Defining Gel
Deep Conditioner & Co-Wash
Curl Elongator
Men’s 3-in-1 Wash

Harvey Prince Hello Fragrance 

Naked Bar Pit Cream Natural Deodorant

Remember use promo code: CBM10

Jun 9, 2014

My son sure knows how...

to pull at my heart strings. Two weekends ago we had our annual school Gala and I couldn't go! You see the Gala was on the same night of my dear friend's bridal shower.

When I got to school that Monday a couple of people came up to me and shared that I got a shout out in the video.  Really??? I knew I had to see it.  Fast forward to today when another mother mentioned this infamous video to me and subsequently sent me the link.

Can I just tell you this video GIVES ME LIFE! The kids are answering the question 'What Makes You Happy' and of course its to the tune of...HAPPY by Pharrell. You have to watch it- my son appears at about the 3:10 mark. Man I love that kid.

Brooklyn Chef Battle: Get the Deets

Looking for a family event that everyone will enjoy? Well mark your calendars for June 28th for the Brooklyn Chef Battle.




This Iron Chef Style Battle will consist of three teams. The aspiring cooks/chefs will have the chance to show off their talent by preparing three unique dishes for the audience to decide the winning team. Each team will be made up of one youth and one adult, this intergenerational aspect makes for a great opportunity for each team to share secrets from their ideas of old school and new school cooking.

Click here to buy your ticket and for more information: 











May 19, 2014

Embassy Suites: The Great Debate

Lord knows I must be a family travel expert by now- I’ve experienced first hand, written about, and had my friends write about life in the #HaveKidsWillTravel lane--yep I'd say I've had it every way. The family travel season is heating up  so befittingly I attended a panel discussion at Dylan’s Candy Bar with Embassy Suites, Brooke Burke- Charvet and a few of her friends to discuss ‘The Pretty Great Travel Debate’. 

The discussion led by Brooke, her daughter Rain and her son Shaya  (who were super cute and impressive on the mic) were talking to the audience about solutions for family travel. If you are a mom and planning a vacation the below Embassy Suites details are good-to-knows as you prepare:
  1. Am I the only one that didn’t know that Embassy Suites  is all two-room suites? This way the kids can be in one room and parents in the other. Everyone can watch their own shows and I don’t have to worry about the baby kicking me in my face all night. I was so excited about it that I went online to find a room for my trip to Annapolis in June but they were all sold out (insert sad face).
  2. The have free snacks for the kids and cocktails for the parent.
  3. There is free made-to-order breakfast. This is great for my kids because they like warm food and so do I.
  4. Each night there is a family reception- time for everyone to reconnect and wind down
The discussion which by the way I had to struggle to focus because I ate four Jolly Ranchers (THANK YOU DYLAN'S CANDY BAR!) before the conversation even started. That was my fault for having no self control but damn if it wasn't on the table calling my name.
The parent/kid panel 'debated' bedtimes on vacation, shared vs. separate rooms and social media (when is the right time to get a phone). Long story short, I don't currently have a Hilton HHonors (Embassy Suites loyalty program) but I'm signing up for one next week to add to my savings programs for my family.

May 18, 2014

Mommyshine: A Health Minded Mom

For this Mommyshine we are spotlighting Cassandre Charles. Cassandre is one third of the brain trust behind A Healthy U Conference as well as the creator of Losing in the City blog. A Healthy U took place last weekend in NYC after months of planning with her partners and fellow moms Nellie Acevedo of Brooklyn Active Mama and Kimberly Whittaker  of Manifest Yourself blogs. They set out to create a program that would inspire and inform all of us to live a more healthy lifestyle.

I sat down with Cassandre to not only hear about A Healthy U but to shine a light on her as busy working mother.

1. Why did you decide to build this conference? What need were you trying to fill?
The idea of hosting a health event is something that I had hoped and dreamed about for along time. I knew the day would one day come; it was just a matter of the right time. One evening last year, after having dinner with fellow bloggers Nellie and Kimberly, I approached Nellie about the idea of partnering together to host a health event where we can have workshops, workouts and a full day of health and wellness. As we started talking, Nellie was becoming as excited as I was about doing this and we promised to continue our conversations and to make this event a reality. Weeks later we connected with Kimberly and before you knew it we were planning A Healthy U.

The goal of A Healthy U was to help women make their health and wellness a priority by providing them with simple and effective solutions that they can apply to their everyday lives. Our hope is that A Healthy U will help people to realize that it’s ok to put “you” first.

2. How long did it take to plan?  It took us about 6 months to plan the entire conference.

3. You are a working mom right? What kind of work do you do and how many children do you have/ages? Yes, I am a busy working mom who’s trying to accomplish too much in to little time! I am the Marketing Director for a magazine. I have a three-year-old daughter. 

4. How did you manage to put a conference together and do your regular job?
    I won’t deny that it was tough. I work long hours and to come home and have to get my daughter ready for bed, dinner and then work on the conference wasn’t easy. But because it was something that meant so much to me, I always found the drive and energy to keep going. Also, Nellie, Kimberly and I had such a good system with how we communicated. We emailed each other like crazy on a daily basis and we had weekly calls to help us stay on track. Working with the two of them made this all possible. We supported each other every step of the way.

5. Why is healthy living a personal focus for you?
   As an African-American women, the numbers that exist about the health disparities within the our community are real. African-Americans in general over index when it comes to several ailments that can be prevented with a more healthy living lifestyle such as hypertension, diabetes and obesity. I have dealt with weight issues all my life and when I finally came to a place of truly understanding food and how to lead a healthy lifestyle, it became important to me to spread the word and help out as many people as I can. I’m on a mission to help get our community healthier.

6. What tips would you recommend to someone who hates exercising but wants to start somewhere. The first thing I would recommend is to keep it simple and to find something you love. Research shows that if you love your exercise you are more likely to stick with it, particularly when you’re just starting out. For example, if you like to walk, just walk a few days a week then gradually add something new to your routine. Maybe one of your walks becomes a light jog.

I also recommend starting at home.
Going to the gym for someone who is just starting to workout can be intimidating and quite overwhelming. Social media and Youtube have made working out at home really easy. Between Instagram and Youtube alone you can find full-length workouts and demonstrations that can be done in your living room that don't cost you a thing. Lastly, try different things before you commit to one exercise.

7. What are you top 5 power foods for healthy eating? This was another question that we asked our panelists during the healthy eating session at A Healthy U. Our registered dietitian responded in a way that I completely agree with. It’s hard to say that I have 5 power foods vs. 5 power food groups everyone should incorporate in there every day diet. When it comes to eating what works for one person doesn’t work for another. So, my list of 5 power food groups are leafy green vegetables, fruits, lean protein/dairy, healthy grains (i.e. brown rice, quinoa, oatmeal, and sweet potato) and I can’t stress the importance of water. Water is the ultimate power food that everyone should incorporate into their diet.

8. Are health and weight interchangeable? Meaning can you be healthier at a heavier weight? This is an interesting question. Yes, you can be heavy and healthy. But I could never recommend to someone that just because you are heavy and healthy that you shouldn’t work to lose weight. Too much weight on your body is never a good thing.

9. Do you plan on doing any more conferences? What were the common threads you heard from your attendees?
Absolutely, we’re already talking about 2015. The main common thread for most of the attendees of the conference was a lack of time. A lot of people struggle with finding time to be healthy and/or exercise. There were also a lot of questions from attendees about not knowing where to start. We were encouraged as there were many women in the room that are well on their way to being their healthiest self.

10.  Speaking of time, what advice would you give to women & more specifically moms who feel they can’t find the time to adjust their weight/diet? I am a working mom and living proof on how challenging it can be to focus on your health and exercising when you have so much going on in your life (family, work, etc.). The struggle is so real and tough.

Personally, I have some weeks that are better than others with my healthy living journey.  But no matter what, I stay focused on my goals and I’m not hard on myself if I have a bad day/week. Life happens; being healthy is a lifestyle and there will be bumps on the road to good health. The key is to incorporate small and simple changes to avoid disrupting your overall life.

Also, at the end of the day, people may not want to hear this but, we make time for the things we want to make time for. If I can make time for a hair appointment and come hell or high water I will make it, why can’t I adapt that same mentality to my health?

11. What’s next for Losing in the City? I became a certified health coach last October (insert round of applause here), so now that the conference is over, I really want to jump back into building my health coaching practice. I am also going to start working on a redesign of my website and of course planning A Healthy U 2015.

12. How do you get your family involved/excited about being healthy?  For my daughter, it’s pretty simple. She’s a part of everything that I do. When I exercise she’s right there with me. To the point where she will sometimes say to me, “Mommy, let’s plank.”. When it comes to our food. I completely changed all the snacks we buy in the house. Before I would buy the healthy snacks for me but my husband would still eat some unhealthy, prepackaged food, but now we’re all eating the same healthy snacks. Basically, they are part of the journey too.

13. Organic food- how do you know if something is really organic? It's also super expensive so how can families in a budget also afford to feed themselves smarter without breaking the bank?
This was actually one of the questions we discussed at A Healthy U. Just because an item says it’s “all-natural”, doesn’t mean it’s organic. For an item to be deemed as organic, it has to have the official USDA Organic seal.

Also, eating healthy doesn’t mean you have to eat organic. That’s the biggest misconception. Yes, eating certain foods like meat/chicken that are organic is great to avoid eating meat that’s filled with hormones and other additives but that’s a personal choice. Also, some fruits that are known to have pesticides such as strawberries are also great to buy organic, but you can also buy them frozen and they are just as good for you. During our healthy eating panel at A Healthy U, one of our panelists shared the list of the “dirty dozen” fruits and vegetables that you should buy organic or frozen. I recommend doing some research on what you “really” need to buy organic and what you don’t.

Hmmm, guys I know this is a wealth of information I personally would love to have this Dirty Dozen list maybe I can snag it from Cassandre and share with you. Below you will see some photos from the sold out A Healthy U Conference.  Enjoy and be on the lookout for the event in 2015. Claps all around for Cassandre and her partners in health. I'm super impressed and proud I know them.

Photo Credit: Tamy Cozier