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Sunday, June 28, 2015

My clear skin journey

Ever since I was a teenager, I've struggled with combination skin. I tried all kinds of creams, pills and regimes to no avail. It seemed the only thing that worked was birth control, but I didn't like the side effects like weight gain and lethargy. 

I decided it was time to take my skincare into my own hands, and find a more natural way to keep my skin healty and clear. The first thing I did was incorporate way more water into my life. 
It's recommended that you drink at least half your weight in ounces of water per day. I began drinking a gallon of water a day at the beginning of May. I noticed a slight difference, but my trouble areas along my cheeks, forehead and  jawline were still erupting. I was also still missing the brightness in my skin that I wanted. 

After doing some research I soon came across three supplements that helped me achieve the results I had been wanting and needing. 

Vitex Agnus-Castus (Chastetree berry) helps to balance premenstrual and menstrual conditions, and is an ideal natural product for supporting overall feminine health. I decided to take vitex to help control my pms after stopping birth control and to help keep my monthly breakouts at a minimum, which it's been doing! 
DIM promotes beneficial estrogen metabolism and healthy hormonal balance and is especially helpful for managing estrogen dominant conditions. It's definitely been helpful in also helping my hormonal transition after discontinuing birth control.

Women and men can use DIM as an integral part of a weight management program. DIM promotes healthy estrogen metabolism.Promotes fat loss, healthy skin and bones.Supports healthy prostate tissue in men. DIM also balances hormones that can help restore wellness and vitality. 

Last but not least I incorporated milk thistle. Milk thistle is beneficial for maintenance of the liver, the main detoxifying organ of the body. It also provides compounds that boost the body's antioxidant system. Milk thistle acts as an addition to detoxification regimens and is an excellent tonic for anyone under stress. 

I'm not a doctor or scientists, but I know the hormonal unbalance was causing my breakouts, and I needed something to re balance me. I also knew from the position on my face of my breakouts, that I need to work on my liver. I used a Chinese face mapping chart, I once saw on the Instagram page of Team A'TON (all things o'natural), to try to pinpoint what I could do to clear my skin. 
After two months of using the products, along with drinking a gallon of water, using simple noxzema, a toner and moisturizer with 30spf. I can now say I have skin that I am more confident in and love. My skin is improving daily and my breakouts have heavily decreased. My pms symptoms are noticeably under control and I've lost weight since dropping the birth control. I purchased all of my items off vitacost, and received huge bottles at a great price with rebates from ebates. The supplements can be purchased at any health food store or on Amazon as well. I will follow up in a few months with more progress on how my skin has been doing, but after two months I can say I'm very happy! 
No makeup! No filter! Just natural light and a smile! I hope this helps some of you that may have been struggling like myself. If you have any questions feel free to ask. I also recommend you do your research as well! 

Love, Light and Peace

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

B.L.I.S.S. Girl Beauty....My favorite things

So I wanted to share with you  a list of some of my favorite BLISSalistic beauty finds. As stated before I love being beat, but trust and believe that beat is usually on a budget, so here is the beginning of the beauty finds I will share with you.

L'Oreal True Match Foundation in W8.  Walmart-$8.99
This hands down is my favorite drug store foundation, I will go as far as to say this is my I can't live without you foundation and yes I wear it all the time, and I mean all. the. time, and I wear foundation 6 days a week ( Yes, I must be beat for work!) It is medium coverage and definitely buildable  and it will conceal the blotches and splotches you may need to hide, and honestly has yet to let me down, Set you face first with a good primer and setting spray/powder it will last all day. Want an old faithful, pick up this. You'll thank me.

Milani Bella eye shadows CVS-$4.49 each

So before I go on gushing about this product, let me tell you. I think Milani is one of the most underrated makeup brands around. Most people past in the drug store and go straight to the Covergirl or Revlon. Nope not me, I try..... Evrythang!
These eye shadows are so pigmented and go on sooooooooo smooth and has no to little fall out.

Look at those swatches.Ugh, Doesn't it make you sick?!?!?!...$4.49.....Love it!!!! I can just go on and on and on! Love them!!!!!!! Look at the full spread, for the total price of three M.A.C.shadows,you could have alllllll of them.

Bella Cobalt and Bella Pink

Essence Lash Princess- $4.99 Ulta

So I got this mascara in my Ipsy bag and I'm like Essence, I've seen it in Ulta, I have there nail polish quick dry drops( another really good buy!) so I'll give this a chance. Plus the packaging is just so darn cute, I couldn't resist. My lashes are super plumped and elongated, it almost looks like I have false lashes for $4.99. Like dopeness on a stick, literally, and the price tag. Girl, go to Ulta.  While I can't be responsible for everything else you pick up there but this.....worth every penny!!!!!!

E.L.F Makeup Lock and Seal $3.99 Target
I got this originally heard about this product as I was looking for something to  adhere my glitter for my eyes for NYE two years ago and 3 bottles later (of course to keep replenishing my stock)....yea so I've seen the light and I've  realized it's wonderful multiple purposed wondery. 1. If you have large lips like mine, you are bound to get lipstick on your chin, a few swipes with it's companion brush, and yup no red lipstick on your chin.2. Got heavy lids oe forgot your primer for your eye shadow, yup keeps it put (just go light or it will lift your shade). 3. Back to it's original purchase reason it's great at adhering glitter!

Royal Care Contour and Highlight Black Kabuki Set $17.02 + Shipping

Let me just say one thing, I don't have tons of  experience with is high end brushes, I have a few Sedona Lace Brushes, that I use to highlight and contour, but these work just as great if not better. I love these brushes and the fact that these have gone up in price since I've purchased them, shows that I'm not alone, but 5 face brushes that don't shed all over your face for under $20.00?!?! Sign me up! I bought these for Amira too and SHE LOVES them. So yes I have had no to very little shedding in these densely packed, super soft brushes and I've had these for almost 2 years and they still feel the same. Although on a daily basis,  I alternate between this foundation brush and my real techniques foundation brush, but desert island pick, I'm grabbing my Royal Care! If you don't believe me, check reviews on them on YouTube, never found one bad one.

So my fellow BLISSers, that my favorite picks for now! Try any of these picks before, tell me what you think about them? Anything you are hesitating trying and wanna know if I've tried it and my thought? Just add a comments below.

Toodles Darlings,

Natay Hayes interview

Seven months ago a friend of ours Natay Hayes, embarked on a journey across the world. The trip was transformative, informative and inspiring to so many who follow her on social media. Below is an interview with Natay on what made her decide to take the leap of faith, how she prepared and how it’s changed her life. BLISS girls live life to the fullest, smartly of course and this is just one example of how it’s done.

Amira: First tell me a little about your background and how it influenced your decision to travel the world.

NatayMy background is in Human Resources. But that wasn't the reason I traveled the world. I read one book after graduating college and it literally changed my life. The book was Rich, Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. It talked about those who get up and go to work for money vs. those that put vehicles in place to bring them money. I looked at work differently ever since I read that book. I would not have been able to quit my job and travel the world had I not first put a vehicle in place that would bring me money. In other words, something that would sustain my travels while I was on the road. So ultimately, I had the financial means to do so and that probably more than anything influenced my decision to travel the world.

Amira: Was there anything you knew you wouldn't leave the U.S. without?

Natay:  Absolutely. My camera. 

Amira: How did you prepare mentally, financially, etc for this trip?

Natay:  Mentally - good question. Not sure if I have an answer. I didn't know what my day would be like, I didn't know what anything would be like I just knew I was going and I would be totally open to the entire experience. So I prepared my route. I planned about a year and a half out. Everyday I'm on the internet figuring out where I want to go and how I'm going to get there and marking out major historical places that were must see's and all the things I just had to do. Financially I saved almost 2 grand a month for this trip. I paid off all my credit cards, I turned off cable, and I lowered my car insurance and deferred my student loans so I had very little expenses before leaving.

Amira: What were some of your fears?

Natay:   Getting robbed or raped or killed or falling off a cliff. Outside of that I didn't have many fears. But I guess that was enough.

Amira: What was the hardest part about planning for this trip?

Natay:  Figuring out modes and means of transportation. But, once I got to some of these places I realized I didn't need to do as much research for that. I could have easily figured out how to do all of that once I got there. The second hardest probably would be figuring out how I was going to stay within budget.

Amira: What places did you visit? Which was first and why?

Natay:  I did Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Morocco, Egypt, Jordan, Israel, and Greece. This is the order in which I did the countries. Thailand was first because they had the best weather. Actually all the countries had great weather. It was important that I had a route that included great weather. Thailand was an easy place to start because of the rest of the countries that followed. The whole South East Asia hub was relatively easy to travel through. So, no other real reason besides good weather and the route.

Amira: Any funny stories from your trip?

Natay:  Where would you like me to start? The bus broke down in the middle of Kenya. It was dark and literally in the middle of nowhere. My phone was suffering from water damage, because it fell in the water when I was swimming with sea turtles. I took an 8 hr ride to go find these sea turtles and never found them. Then my phone breaks, go figure. Anyways, everyone is getting off the bus to find other arrangements. They're calling their friends and family members. I'm panicking. There are no taxis or cabs or any other modes of transportation. I raise my hand and I'm like "uh anyone speak English, I'm going here can I hop a ride with someone". 30 mins later the bus comes back on. I didn't even care I was the only person on that bus. 

Amira: Tell us about a high and a low from the trip?

Natay:  Wow. I found the opportunity to be as present as I could in my entire trip. So many milestones. A high had to be my birthday, flying over Mt. Everest. I'm like wow. This is the highest point on earth and it was my birthday and here I am celebrating, right now in this moment. All I remember thinking was how magnificent is God's creations and how humble I was to live in this moment.

My low? I was pick-pocketed in Tanzania.  I never keep all of my credit cards in one spot, but I was literally on my way to try and book a flight and brought all of them with me just in case one didn't work. So, I lost a little bit of cash, my driver’s license and 4 credit cards. I thank God my passport and phone wasn't gone because it was right in the same place as the wallet. 

Amira: What was your favorite place and why?

Natay:  Easily Vietnam. I've never been to a country that had so much diversity in one place. I went to about 6 or 7 different cities there and each one was so unique and had such a different vibe that I just enjoyed it. Not to mention, the food is cheap and the people are some of the friendliest people I've ever met. Oh and all the clothes you can get custom made there too for super cheap.

Amira: What did you miss the most while away?

Natay:  Breakfast!!! No one eats breakfast, sometimes it's just tea. I'm like where's the food?!

Amira: What was the most profound thing you learned?

Natay:  Good question. That's hard to boil down. I learned so many things about other cultures and their experiences. I think I'd say I saw firsthand how interdependent we are on each other. It's easy to know these things from the news, but hard to make the connections. Now I can say well I've seen it. I've been to these places, I've seen how they lived, I see what life is like in Nepal and know firsthand the effects the recent earthquake will have on the country, etc.

Amira: What did you learn about yourself ?

Natay:   I think one of the biggest things the trip solidified for me was my ability to create and live out my creations. In living my life every day, the way I wanted too, life became this "store" for me. To use my thoughts and resources to begin to create the exact life that I want to live. So now that I'm back home the biggest thing for me is figuring out what I want next and how I'm going to create that.

Amira: Any advice to other people trying to do the same thing?

Natay:  Save a lot of money! My advice is always to do things and prepare the best you can. Life doesn't stop. I still had to pay bills, I still had responsibilities to come home too. I wanted to make sure I would still be in a decent financial position. I couldn't go back home to live with my parents.

Amira: Anything you want to share?

Natay:  Live your life. We hear it all the time. It hits us only when we lose people close to us. We forget about how precious life truly is and how much of a gift it is. We take this time for granted; we get caught up in the rut of paying bills and just going to work. Set yourself up to win. What are you waiting for? What have you got to lose? 

Amira: Would you do it again?

Natay:  In a heartbeat. 

Oh and of course I had to visit her along the way, BLISS girls always support a sista and show love 

Thank you Natay for taking the time to give us this interview, we know you have been busy since returning. This story is just too amazing not to share with our readers. You are truly an inspiration to our readers and to us. If you guys have any questions for Natay you can leave a comment below or follow her on facebook Natay Hayes or on Instagram @diamondstamps.

#blackgirlstraveltoo #travelnoir #travel #blackgirlsrock
#theblisslife #blissgirllife #blisslife #lifestyle #world #worldtraveler

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Juice From The Raw. Whenever Cleanse

Last week Wednesday I decided to try a juice cleanse to jump start my weight loss and healthy lifestyle routine. I had tried a juice cleanse last year, and all I received were three gallon jugs of the same juice. I was weary of the juice cleanse, because I didn’t want the same boring juice for three days or the foggy feeling I had before. A friend of mine suggested Juice From The Raw, and informed me they had a sale on the site as well as a groupon.

After doing some research on the site, I decided to order the whenever cleanse. The whenever cleanse is recommended for first timers and includes a great variety. You get six organic, cold pressed juices to drink a day that are different! The site also recommends prepping your body by cutting out acid forming foods like, dairy, meat, sugar and alcohol. I had already changed my diet in an effort to lose weight, so I placed my order and waited for it to arrive.

The juices arrive in a cardboard box with a insulated bag inside to help keep the juices frozen and it's important to freeze them immediately. If you can’t be home for delivery, I suggest having them delivered to someone who will be home to freeze them until you can pick them up, or send them to your job. I had my juices sent to a co workers house until I could pick them up. The juices did arrive semi defrosted , but it was also 90 degrees outside the day they were delivered. 

Along with the detox I enjoyed a tomato sliced with pink Himalayan sea salt daily. Juice from the raw does allow one raw vegetable a day, along with a small amount of salt. During the detox the tomatoes were like gold for me. The tomato was enough to allow me to chew something(mentally important) and provide me with the sustenance to hold on for three days. 
Day one wasnt bad at all, I dont know if it was the excitement of starting the detox but I didn’t feel any major differences. I felt a little tired toward the end of my day, but I contribute that to my work schedule that would have left me tired regardless. I definitely felt like the juices were more than enough to drink during the day, I didn't even finish my coconut fusion the first day (my least favorite). I thoroughly enjoyed the two breakfast juices, the detox greens go down very easily and the piney apple mint was sort of like a desert. It was a treat that I looked forward to in the morning. The piney apple mint is not too sweet, but sweet enough to give you a little boost in the am. 

Day two was both good and bad, mentally I was starting to miss food and get over the excitement but I also found myself happy that I was halfway thru the cleanse. My level of energy was slightly less than normal, but I didn't feel any grogginess or crankiness. The two lunch juices were also very enjoyable. The sweet greens went down like a charm and the spicy lemonade is delicious. The spicy lemonade is so good, I’m going to try to make it at home to have as my after work treat. The spicy lemonade tasted so fresh and refreshing that I definitely looked forward to lunch. 

Day three, the struggle was REAL! I felt good physically, but mentally I wanted food. I realized how mentally dependent I was on food and I felt like I was going thru a withdrawal of sorts. I will say friday was my last and longest day, yet my energy stayed steady the whole day and I was able to keep all of my commitments. 

Overall I would recommend this juice to anyone looking to jump start their weight loss, or break through a plateau. The company offers different sets of juices for different reasons, but the whenever cleanse was definitely a great start and boost to my weight loss. 

In the three days I detoxed, I lost seven pounds and four days later I have yet to gain it back. I went to bed Friday thinking I was going to wake up Saturday and pig out, but I didn't. I had no urge to eat anything unhealthy because I didn't want to lose the good feeling. I felt and still feel lighter and healthier than when I began. 

I also noticed my skin was brighter after the detox which is a plus for someone with blotchy skin. I plan to keep juice from the raw as a part of my healthy lifestyle regime. I will probably do a cleanse monthly until I get to my ideal weight, and then quarterly for maintenance. On a scale of 1-10 I give this detox a 10 for the extremely fresh taste, ability to fill me without feeling groggy and variety. Even though I wasn't a big fan of the root veggies drink or coconut juice, they are very healthy and fresh tasting. 

Peace, Love and Positivity

#blissgirllife #theblissgirllife #blisslife #theblisslife#blackgirlsrock #browngirlsrock #juicecleanse #juicefromtheraw #joy #peace #love #freedom #ambition #abundance #newjersey #delaware #philadelphia #philly #jersey #beauty #meetup
#success #lifestyleblogger #beautyblogger #fashionblogger
 #thankful #grateful #goals #dreambig 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Color inspiration

So I a few months back I went to a Natural Hair show hosted by Kim Coles, from Living Single,other than it being an awesome event, I met a lot of really dope vendors. One of the vendors, Simply Neftah, based out of Wilingboro, NJ talked to me a lot about color and how it impact not only our inner feelings,but the energy that we put out to the world. She gave me this chart and asked me to really evaluate how I  feel when I wear certain colors  and how people interact with me.

So I've personally have  been using it a lot especially when  I want to reflect a certain mood and vibe. Everyone who knows me, knows that my color is pink. When she explained that pink means love and affection, it completely made sense! I'm an extreme hopeless romantic, but I wonder what it may say to people who around me or to those I haven't met yet. While love is not  bad thing, at all, but I found myself wondering since it projects "Universal love" does it say come one, come all? Is all the love on constant display, in my pink arsenal of clothing, removing my power from my serious side at work? So as I share this color chart think about what your go  to color may project both for the positive and the negative:

  • Red- Stimulates mentally and physically. Its the 'sacred' life energy of vitality that warms and energizes the body. Stirs passion,courage and self confidence. Warning: avoid wearing if suffering from hypertension, seizure, and anxiety.
  • Blue- calming effect on body. Lowers blood pressure and heart rate.  Both blind and sighted respond the same way as do babies. Kemetic sense of feminine energy and spirituality. Positive effect on pain.
  • Yellow-Stimulates memory. It's the color of happiness,peace and intellectuality. In Egypt it signifies the divine owner and enlightenment. Strengthens nerves and lymphatic system. Considered sacred color in many eastern cultures.
  • Orange-Physical realm, stimulates appetite and reduces fatigue. Emotional realm, flamboyant and fun loving energy. Good for depression and brings out JOY!
  • Pink- Nothing effect on  body, tranquil effect on violent and anxious people. Synonymous with love and affection void of passion. Universal Love.
  • Black- Signifies the suppression of secret desires and hidden depths. For many black is a power color. In some African traditions,  it is the color of death,illnesses,  and mourning. Warning: Black absorbs energy, so be mindful where you wear it. 
  • White: Mixture of seven different colors hence it symbolizes a little bit of the quality of each color. Due to the ability to reflect to reflect colors back, considered color of sacredness and purity. In ancient Native and African traditions, it is the color of life and the universal cosmic energy, but is also a color of mourning in the East and often worn at funerals and other spiritual occasions as symbol of peace and all we have experienced. White reflects light and energy.
  • Grey: Color of compromise. Often worn by those who turn away from excitement and worldly things. Symbol of renunciation and suppression. Discipline. Dedication.
  • Brown: Conservative and earthy. Grounding
  • Purple family: Color of royalty and flamboyancy. Though deal with Spiritual self, "Heavy" color requiring powerful personality. Worn in both spiritual and ceremonial occasions. Vanity. Meditative color, balance emotions, sooth muscle, and calms nerves.
  • Green: Abundance, fertility, new life, creativity, prosperity, peace, and harmony
  • Turquoise: Helps strengthen concentration, communication, and emotional control

Look at the colors we've chosen for our own logo, when we sat and talked Amira sent me many images with pink and turquoise, and I wanted the black silhouette. We wanted to inspire and show women growth. Black is a power color and we all have power.  Pink because we truly love our sisters and turquoise because we wanted this to be a forum of communication between us.

So look at your closet, think at what you wear day in and day out. What are you projecting? Are you a grey girl who could use a little purple. Or are you constantly in red and might need a little blue or a splash of turquoise.

What do you think about the color projections? Let us know on the comments below?

Toodles Darlings,

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Roots Picnic 2015

So this year I attended my first Roots Picnic, being a newbie to the area I was told it's a must do event. I gathered the troops and we got tickets, hotel rooms and made it happen. The Roots Picnic is the The Roots (a band from philly), ingenious way to stay connected and make money. What better way than to host your own annual concert where your the headliner? This year was the 8th annual event and they teamed up with Erykah Badu to headline. 

Anyone who knows philly, knows they go hard for their artists and they come out to support. The event gets packed early in the day, but it was a little too hot and early for me to be there at the start. My friends and I met up at Jones restaurant nearby for brunch, bottomless bellinis and to park. I advise parking elsewhere and taking uber or lyft to the festival pier. The multi stage event gets crowded pretty early, which makes it difficult to find people you didn't arrive with. 

There are two entrances, depending on what stage you want to be near. One entrance has most of the liquor vendors, the other has the food vendors. You can move freely between both entrances with your ticket, but you must go thru security each time. 

We finally arrived around 3:30 in time to catch Afrika Bambaataa, but we were on the wrong side and once we figured out the logistics it was over. Moving around the roots picnic is not easy because of the volume of people, coupled with the heat. I highly suggest wearing something comfortable and breathable, heels are definitely not needed. You will be on your feet and walking a lot in heavy crowds that care nothing of your toes. 

Honestly around 9pm, I was ready to go but the roots were due at 9:15. I was disappointed The Weekend hadn't performed "Earned it", and  I was wondering if this concert earned my money. Then around 9:30 the roots come out in grand philly form. 
Taking the stage Black Thought revives me and the crowd by asking, "what are you passionate about". They perform "Peace of light" and then "Love of my life" as Miss Erykah Badu comes out on roller skates.
The crowd goes wild for Ms. Badu as she remind a us all who she is, as she entrances us with her melodic flow. Even if you aren't the biggest fan, you found yourself singing along to "On and On". Then just as you get your groove, out comes Afrika Bambaataa for a cameo, followed by YG singing his hit "My N*%#%". Before you know it,Black Thought introduces Freeway and the crowd sings "it's freeway in the place to be seen and I got what it takes to roc the mic right" So now the crowds hyped off Freeway, and Black Thought brings out the Lox singing " All about the Benjamin's". 

It's like a baseball game, the crowds going wild and they calm us down with some more Erykah Badu. Ms. Badu sings more hits and just when we think it's over, out comes The Weekend to sing "Earned it". At that moment, I knew I would never miss another roots picnic if I could help it. It was already 10:30 and they had given me my life, taken it away and given it back.

The Roots and Erykah Badu team up to do "love of my life", then we hear "Green eyes" and one last song I don't know and it's finally over. I left hoarse, tired, and hot but it was all very worth it. The end of the show was an amazing hour and a half long ride down memory lane. The Roots put on an amazing show that made you forget about the troubles of the day. 

Overall I give this event a 9/10, only because I wish the venue was larger. The heat is up to Mother Nature and the roots can't predict that, but the music from the different acts on stages so close did make things confusing. If your visiting philly, live near or in philly and want something to do I say go for it. Be sure to check in mid March , because I believe early bird tickets go on sale late March. Buying tickets early, saves you about half the cost. Hope to see you next year!

Peace, love and positivity!

Photos courtesy of The Roots picnic