Category: Series

How it all started…The Journey Leading up to 12/6/2014…Final Chapter

Catch up here…Through the next few months and a few sessions, I think that we were making some progress. The Friday before our original wedding date in May, we get the worst news ever…Robert has cancer…stage 4 cancer. A little background for a minute…earlier in the year, Robert started feeling funny and having stomach pains. After about a week of me pushing him to go get it checked out, he finally went. The doctors chalked it up as GERD and gave him a few prescriptions and sent him on his way. The meds made his symptoms worse and another month or so he went back. After getting an upper endoscopy done, there was still nothing. Not really having much relief and a new symptom on deck, he went back again a few weeks later. His primary ran some tests and did more blood work. That’s when we got the news. After the gut wrenching blow of news, we found ourselves in the hospital with our first issue…a blood clot. Outside of a few “love handles” Robert was in good health; now we find ourselves looking for answers.

Hospitalized for over a week, he endured more tests and scans to pinpoint the exact form of cancer even though they had a preliminary diagnosis. Hearing cancer, one of our top concerns was planning our future and what that meant. We decided to preserve our family before radiation and chemotherapy was started. Our decisions from here on out were the hardest one’s ever made. With too many details to share, we started radiation, gone through a second surgical biopsy procedure (this one from his kidney), and a round of chemo all by August. With a true diagnosis on deck, we took another blow; a rare form of kidney cancer that had little to no research and knowing life expectancy averaged 15-18 weeks from diagnosis.

Through it all, we still worked on our communication and decided to get married. The day was perfect! A nice cool Connecticut Saturday morning, nothing but close family and friends, we had our moment. Outside under the trees near the lake, I couldn’t have asked for anything better. It was an off week for chemo treatments and a good day for Robert so it was a great day for me. I was happy that in that moment on September 20th he was happy again and not worried or scared.

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Reality struck us and a week later he was once again hospitalized. Not knowing it at the time, this would be his last stay. He was admitted because of breathing issues stemming from fluid on his lungs. We took each day in strides in hopes of going home with some few extra pieces of equipment. We celebrated two months’ worth of anniversaries and spent Thanksgiving there. After two trips to ICU and intubation, he said he was ready. He was no longer scared, had no more worries, and was secure in his faith. He said his earthly goodbyes and on December 6, 2014 transitioned. A day to remember; only one year earlier I said yes to forever!

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How it all started…The Journey Leading up to 12/6/2014

Catch up here…Such an amazing night and weekend I was sad to see him off to the airport. Our time spent with each other is important since it’s only a few days a month, but we’re making it do what it do! Can we say WEDDING PLANNING TIME!!!!! So exciting to actually be planning my own, I mean I’ve been involved with plenty from planning, decorating and setting up, to a bridesmaid. Not wanting to leave my boo out and wanting him to be involved on some things we started going over thoughts and ideas of what type of experience we wanted to have. Of course, I wanted to be different and unique and of course outside, so we ended up agreeing on our venue being the Museum of Life and Science in their butterfly garden. Can we say gorgeous! To road to May 25, 2014 was off to a great start.

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It was a great feeling in the planning process from viewing the venue and picking out our specific location to selecting our food…which was a food truck! How can you not have an outdoor wedding as unique as a museum and butterfly garden and not having unique food?!?!?!?! And to top it all off, in addition to a traditional desserts, we’re having a shaved ice truck! Yummy!!! A nice intimate setting with a touch of fun, how could we pass it up? Along the way, I found the perfect dress (or at least the look and style that I wanted but not the price tag lol). So me and one of the girlfriends were on a mission to find a similar dress and style but cheaper and came across a close match for a fraction of the cost. Now the catch was it’s coming from China! We all know how shaky some of these websites can be, so before ordering it, we prayed on that thing hard that it would arrive in a timely manner and compare to the picture that’s posted online. Prayers were answered because the dress arrived fairly quickly (maybe 4 weeks) AND it was EXACTLY the same as in the picture posted online. STOKED!!!!!!!!!!!!

With all the excitement in wedding planning, reality still exist and during that time our reality was serious communication issues. With limited face to face time, conversations were being misinterpreted and we both were frustrated with our poor communication in an otherwise healthy relationship. For me, this is a deal breaker. It got to the point where I wasn’t comfortable starting a marriage on a rocky foundation. So I did what I felt was right in my heart which was to cancel/postpone the wedding. Did some disapprove, yes. Were some supportive, yes. At that time, what mattered was that Robert and I have the best start on this journey as possible because I know that there will not always be good days and we needed to know how to navigate that if/when it arise. So we navigated our way through pre-marital and relationship counseling. Final chapter… coming soon!

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Year One…

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Hey luvs!!!! It’s been a few days, but I’m here today. Have you ever had a moment when you’re just not “feeling it”??? Yea that’s been me the last few weeks…just been in that BLAH feeling. Then one day while at work, cleaning papers off the desk and came across notes that I took last year when talking to the doctors and trying to understand medical terminology. It dampened the mood a little, but not for long. After work, I celebrated with one of his favorite drinks…San Pellegrino Blood Orange drink (even though I don’t drink carbonated beverages). I’m so excited about the small things these days. He may not be here in the physical, but the memories are just as good. Have a happy and blessed Tuesday!

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P.S.

I’m giving a special shout out to my baby brother…today’s his 18th birthday!!!!! (can we say photo-bombing lol but I SOOOOO luv luv luv this picture!)anthony

Year One…

Hi luvs!!! Happy Tuesday…I hope you all are having a great week! Since my last post, I’ve managed to get through two important dates September 18th and 20th. September 18th marks one year anniversary of me selling my house. It’s a big deal because it was something I had to do in order to transition to support my then fiancé. September 20th marks what would have been my one year anniversary.

Let’s get started on this lovely weekend journey. I planned a few weeks back to go visit one of my besties (“since 7th grade” as she would add to my name when introducing me 🙂 ) and her family at their new home in Colorado. Originally not thinking twice about the dates other than planning to do something for her oldest birthday that weekend, I realized what weekend it was; I was a little nervous. See like a best friend, at some point in time they stop being a best friend and are part of your family…sisters. We laugh, cry, share, are embarrassed and get in trouble together, and the list can go on for days. So she just so happens to be married to my fiancé uncle (only three years apart) as told in How it all started…Journey Leading up to 12/6/2014. So this was going to be an extremely “keeping it together” type of weekend. They’re not only family, but the ones who introduced us and who help facilitate an AWESOME surprise 30th birthday/engagement party. So needless to say they’re pretty close to him as well.

Going into the weekend, I didn’t know how it would go, if I’d be emotional or what. This is my second time seeing them since the funeral in December. I put my big girl pants on and went on about the weekend. Had a great lunch date with one of my goddaughters and enjoyed playing the rest of the afternoon with them both. Saturday morning enjoyed two pee wee/kids soccer games, which were pretty funny. Had an amazing time at Church In The City Christian hip hop concert featuring artists from On Faith Ent and Pettidee to name a few. Sunday was a different story…started off emotion free even with a few Happy Anniversary texts, but quickly changed. The support group that I have is so awesome and sincere I wouldn’t change them for the world. The heartfelt words that my girls shared on Sunday pushed me right on over. Memories and emotions took over, but just knowing that I’m covered, protected and comforted is good. Nonetheless, HE has kept me for the past nine months and I’ll continue to press on.

Thank you for your listening ears!!!

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Year One…

Hey luvs!!!! It’s been a minute but I’M BACK 🙂 I had to take some time to experience this thing called life. But nevertheless, lets press on. Often times I use blogging as an outlet, and today is no different. Maybe next year I will be a little different in my posts, but right now, it’s my therapy. In my Year One series, I often share experiences about life as a widow and this entry is no different. These last few months have been very busy in memories, special dates, moments, milestones, etc. I’ve sold my husband’s house, visited his grave site for the first time since his burial, moved his furnishings/belongings, and experienced his first birthday alone. Talk about an emotional roller coaster, and it‘s just beginning. I’m coming up on what would be our first marital anniversary, conclusion to Year One (anniversary of his death and proposal), anniversary to burial (which happens to be my birthday), not to mention the holidays. Pray my strength. If you’ve experienced the loss of a spouse and have encouraging words please share (even in general). Let me know what helped you make it through.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
Psalm 147:3 (NIV)

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#FMF:FillMeFriday

Happy Friday ladies! I would like to start a new Friday hashtag series called Fill Me Friday (#FMF, #FillMeFriday). This means that on Fridays I will share about being “Filled.” Being Filled? Yes being Filled, fill me (up) with LOVE, JOY, PEACE, LAUGHTER, THE HOLY SPIRIT, GOOD EATS, INSPIRATION, SAVINGS… just an endless list of categories that can be filling to our hearts, mind, and body, as well as to our families and friends. To begin this series I’ll make today

#FMF:GRATITUDE

Gratitude is the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.
911We will always remember the lives lost on September 11th, 2001.

We are
One color
One class
One generation
One gender
One faith
One language
One body
One family
One soul
One people
We are The Power of One.
We are United. We are America.
~Cheryl Sawyer

Have a wonderful weekend ladies!
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Dare to Bare…

What’s underneath your clothing?

Its Friday beauties! And as I wrap up the Summer Beauty Series 2015, I want to personally thank each and every guest blogger that participated in making our series a success. We also want to thank each and every one of you our girlfriends for supporting us during this series.

So lets talk BODY SHAPERS ladies! Now this isn’t specifically a Summer only beauty secret because I personally wear them all year round, BUT this Summer I learned how effective a SPANX can actually be.  Now I’ve had my fair share of body shapers, girdles, and shape wear whichever your preferred name for them. And I’ve also been a fan of the high waist panty or shorts with corset hooks in the waist. The hooking of the corset portion tends to give me the flattest look in my tummy area. My experience with this type in Summer time has not always been so flattering though. See the thing is with the heat here in the Carolinas thinner/lighter material clothing is a must! But with the thinner/lighter material clothing comes the embarrassment of the body shaper being exposed. So a few weeks ago while shopping at a local women’s clothing store I decided to try on a pair of SPANX. I was very optimistic that because it didn’t have the corset hooking in the midsection that it was only going to smooth me out and cause my tummy to appear more round and have that preggo affect. And much to my surprise it actually didn’t at all! Now, it still doesn’t hold me in as much as the corset type but it does hold and smooth the midsection.

For me, wearing a body shaper gives me needed confidence. I feel better in my clothes and I certainly think I look better in my clothes when I wear them.  I know that for some they’re not the most comfortable but once you’ve worn them for years as I have its just as comfortable as wearing my panties LOL. Over the years, I’ve tried many different types/styles of body shapers trying to get that instant curvy look without putting in the real effort of healthy eating and exercise. It’s a short lived quick fix while I’m still a work in progress! (continue to pray for me)

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I really hope you ladies have enjoyed our Summer Beauty Series 2015. We have enjoyed sharing with you and having special guests share as well. We want to personally thank all of our special guests that were featured in this series:  Cannie, “MzNaturalLife” post titled – Listen Up Summer Naturals, Tanisha Walker of In Gods Image post titled – What’s Hot, and Shanna Fife “Ms. Naturally Random” post titled – L.A. Girl Glazed Lip Paint Review. Thank you ladies for your sharing with our Girlfriends!

Have a wonderful weekend, we’ll talk to you next week!

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L.A. Girl Glazed Lip Paint Review

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When visiting a local beauty supply store I noticed the vividly colorful display of L.A. Girl Glazed Lip Paint and decided I’m give them a try. Now, I’m totally into frugal beauty and although they only cost about $2.99 each, I still will not often buy cosmetics in every color that’s available. Reason #1: I’m not an MUA, there’s no makeup kit building going on over here.
#2 Hubby don’t play that! He knows I’m a #lipsticklover but buying stuff “just because” isn’t how we work. We’re “not bout that” useless splurge life! lol

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Also I noticed tons of other beauty enthusiasts are stating (and you’d think so due to the packaging) that L.A. Girl Glazed Lip Paint are dupes for the Too Faced Melted Lipsticks.

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Too Faced Melted Lipsticks are liquid lipsticks and L.A. Girl Glazed Lip Paint is a high pigmented gloss. I am mentioning this because if you are looking for a really close dupe of Too Faced product, this isn’t it.

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Now, back to the great things I wanted to share!

Pros.Cons

Now this wouldn’t be an honest review if I didn’t state that there were a few CONS. I can share a few tips I’ve found that help to solve the aforementioned issues with the product.

#1 Its feathers quite a bit and gets messy quick!

Solution: A lip liner will keep everything in its place.

#2 It comes out of the tube pretty quickly.

Solution: I recommend using a lip brush to apply so you can control the amount of product onto your lips.

Let’s Recap:

Hand Swatches

It’s a great price point, but (not exactly) a dupe for Too Faced Melted Lipsticks. Also, keep a lip liner and lip brush handy for neat application! So when you are looking for a new lippie, try your local beauty supply store. That’s my summer beauty secret. You never know what you are going to find! The frugal finds are always right under your nose! With a little patience and reapplying from time to time, you’ll be able to achieve a highly pigmented lip color for low cost!

~Shan, Ms. Naturally Random

Beauty Is…

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Girlfriends!!! The summer season is coming to a close and so is our Summer Beauty Series!!! This week is all about beauty secrets and I have to be honest I DON’T HAVE ANY!!! **Shame Face** I have struggled with what I was going to talk about this week. I mean I have been googling to see if I could find something to report on, but I got nothing! I told you all in Less Is More that I’m a simple kinda girl. No fluff added, what you see is what you get! Honestly, it’s slightly embarrassing for a 32 year old women, but it’s the real me which I promised to give you all so I digress! I mean yeah sure I can drop a few nuggets that you may already know like:

  • Always wear a good body shapper (Spanx being my preference) to give yourself a smoother look in a dress/skirt/jumper or putting on your Sunday’s best
  • Use a feminine body spray (Summer’s Eve being my preference) to spray on your under garments to keep it fresh down there, especially on those hot days and if you have thunder thighs like myself lol Hey no shame in my game, you don’t want to get caught slipping, feel me?
  • And for those well-endowed up top, put a little deodorant in between and under your breasts to help control sweat and odor. (I just recently learned this trick and it works wonders lol)
  • Want clear skin? Drink plenty of water!!! The Girlfriends and I have challenged each other to drink 1 gallon of water a day and it is working wonders for my skin!
  • Not able to get a pedicure as often as you’d like? Get you a 4-in-1 pedicure brush from the Target, some foot scrub and go to work honey!!! Then apply some Vaseline to your feet, put on a pair of socks and boom! Soft heels again!!! LOL!

But like I said I’m sure you all already knew that right? So me being me, I wanted to flip this week’s post around a bit and talk about beauty from within. Let’s face it you can have all the beauty secrets in the world, but if your self-esteem is low, your character is flawed and your heart/motives aren’t right, those go right out the window. How many times have you put on a fly outfit, a full face of makeup and a forced smile, yet still felt as though you weren’t pretty or felt as though you still missed the mark. I’ve been there where others told me I was pretty but in my mind I felt like I was too fat and not as cute as the little petite girl next to me. We (blogger included) have to stop that and start loving on ourselves. The Bible says that we were fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). God created us in His own image, therefore regardless of what society views as beautiful or how that voice in your head makes you feel, honey you are beautiful!! Beauty is you!!! Yes you!!!! Say it loud, I’m CUTE and I’m proud!!! LOL!

No but seriously the message I’m trying to push today is to love yourself just the way God made you. Loving yourself doesn’t have to hurt, as I told you in Pretty Hurts, and can be done modestly. I’m not telling you to start being arrogant or thinking too much of yourself, but I am saying that you should portray the beautiful spirit that God intended for you to have even while you were in your mother’s womb. Honestly I know that sometimes it’s hard to find her from within, but trust me she is there! Beauty is knowing who you are and to Whom you belong! Starting today let’s make a pack to not only spend time nurturing and enhancing our outer beauty, but let’s go a step further and take just as much time, no let’s take more time, molding and strengthening the inner you. If we can share beauty secrets to enhance the outer woman, we can also share those to bless the inner as well, right?

“Let not yours be the [merely] external adorning with [elaborate] [a]interweaving and knotting of the hair, the wearing of jewelry, or changes of clothes; But let it be the inward adorning and beauty of the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible and unfading charm of a gentle and peaceful spirit, which [is not anxious or wrought up, but] is very precious in the sight of God.” 1 Peter 3:3-4 AMP

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Final Week – Summer Beauty Series 2015

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Okay Girlfriends, its the FINAL WEEK of our Summer Beauty Series 2015. We hope that you’ve enjoyed all we’ve had to share on BEAUTY from the inside out! This week you can expect to get some helpful tips, tricks, and secrets to encourage you to end the Summer with a BANG!

We have a special guest blogger coming to share with you this week as well, so be sure to stay tuned! (To find out who, you better start stalking Facebook lol)

We would love to get your feedback on this beauty series and please feel free to share ideas for future series. Also, if there are any products of interest you would like us to review, share those as well.

Have a wonderful day ladies!!