Friday, May 27, 2016

Are Beauty Boxes Worth the money?

The Essence Beauty Box is actually my very first beauty box subscription ever.  Although I receive this box complimentary from Essence, I strongly believe in giving my honest opinions about all the products so that you can know first-hand whether to spend your coins or not.  I hate to review, just for the sake of reviewing.  If I'm not excited about it, I mean what's the point?  Sharing my latest beauty finds just comes natural for me.  Paid or unpaid.  Complimentary or not, you'll only see what I actually like here on Styled Chic.  You all know this about me by now right?  I say all this because there are SO MANY beauty boxes out there and it can be a bit over saturated when it comes to this stuff.  As you can probably tell from my previous posts on the Essence Beauty Box, I'm pretty satisfied with most of what I've received so far.  For me, I'm partial to this subscription because I'm a beauty lover and I'm always interested in trying new products.  What's great is that this box offers more than just cosmetics. There are hair and toiletries included as well.  I love that it caters to women of color, yet always has products that women of all shades can use.  Also, I like to switch things up.  If I've been using the same brand of mascara for months and I get a different brand in my beauty box, then I'm all for it.

Normally a beauty box can range anywhere from $10 to $25 per month.  For some, that may not be too bad, but those prices do add up over time.  We all spend our money on what we love.  Whatever that thing is, we budget or sacrifice for what we want, am I right?  If you're a beauty lover like myself and are on the fence about getting that monthly subscription, let me give you  a few tips to help you figure out if it's worth the money or not.

Are You a Beauty Lover?

I mean that should go without saying.  If you find yourself in Target down the beauty aisles picking up the latest hair product or in Sephora with 10 different lip color swatches on your hand on the regular, a box subscription just may be right for you.  Take that into consideration.  If you like trying new cosmetics on a regular bases, these boxes will give you the opportunity to discover something you love.  It's also the chance to take advantage of more luxy products at a fraction of the price.

Does the Box introduce you to new products?

A box should definitely expose you to products you've never heard of before.  It's that or whenever I open my box I find myself saying "Oh!  I saw this the other day and always wanted to try!"  I think a great box should have two factors:  it introduces me to a bunch of new products that I had never heard of before and will likely buy myself in the future. For example, in this month's box I received the 'Before You Go Toilet Spray Poo~Pourri'-- a bathroom odor eliminator that creates a barrier on the surface of the water of the toilet.  Just spray before you go!  Now who would've thought of that?!  Isn't that a great idea?  This is perfect to just carry in your bag for work or when you're headed to someone's home.  Courtesy mist is what I'll call it, lol.  I hadn't heard of this until now.  I'm going to have this item with me this weekend and see how it works.  You know how certain smells don't really eliminate the odor, just mask them?  Well we will see with this item.

New products?  Are they Good products? Useful?

Although  Simple Cleansing Facial Wipes, weren't new to me, I've never actually tried them out.  I could've also just went over to Walgreens to pick them up but how convenient was it to have them already delivered to my door step?  Plus I had just run out.  Gas and time saved.  We all have preferences in the types of cosmetics we like to buy.  The key here is to find the box that is most useful for you.  I'm a mixture between drugstore brands and high end brands so I hope to see that in every box that I get.  From past boxes are you able to see if the company takes the time to curate items that you see yourself using in the future?  Are the items right for your hair type, skin tone, or overall lifestyle in general?  I consider it a waste to receive products that don't work for my curls or makeup that doesn't compliment my skin tone.  I don't expect every item to be perfect for me.  BUT, lol, most of them should be something I can use.

Number of Items & product size?

I can take a box with 5 small to medium sized products for $10 bucks.  But if I'm paying $20 I had better be getting more than a few full sized items.  Take the cost of the box and the number of items and weigh it out on your own.  The Essence Beauty Box normally contains about 5-6 items that are of great quality. That easily justifies the $12 to $15.  That Before You Go Spray is $9 alone for 2 oz. (what I received) so that gives you a good idea.

Presentation and Packaging

The fact that I feel like I'm getting a gift every month is nice.  It's something to look forward to.  I want to feel like the company cared.  Especially since I'm spending my money.  Does the box look like they just dumped the items in and taped it up all every which way?  Is everything beautifully wrapped?  Do they include a cute little beauty bag to keep in your purse?  I can say that I'm always impressed when I open the Essence Beauty Box.  I always want to take photos of it for you before I tear off the wrapping sticker.  There's always a note that thoroughly explains the items and what they are used for.  I love the color--everything.  I love the details that make you feel like they packaged it just for you.

So for me, yes.  A beauty box is worth the money because I've found one that is cost effective, offers enough items, has quality products, and I feel like I've gotten my money's worth on products I actually use.  Have you subscribed to a beauty box?  If you haven't, think about the tips I gave you and see what works.  If you want to give it a shot, definitely try the Essence Beauty Box.  For more details on this box head over to to see if these items interest you!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Chic Reads | 3 books on my night stand

Reading use to be a favorite pastime of mine growing up as a child and into my teen years.  I remember loving to read so much that if I ever cut up, as punishment, my parents would just take all my books away.  Crazy hunh?  Well it worked.  They knew how to get me, lol.  But then life happened.  I grew up went through high school, then college and got a full time job.  Girl, I wasn't reading anything other then those text books I had paid half a million dollars for for classes.  I just didn't have the time.  I was too tired, too stressed, busy, and dealing with...EVERYTHING.  These days I just make the time.  I find that reading is very relaxing and a perfect way to end my day.  I tend to keep in rotation books of whatever I may be going through at the time.  Right now it's books regarding career, business, and topics that have everything to do with the style and beauty industry.  My collection is growing.  Here are 3 books that are on my night stand right now.

The Career Code:  I have been following Katherine Power and Hillary Kerr since I purchased their 'Who, What, Wear' style book back in 2011.  Together, they have built a media empire by creating, the leading platform for premium, shoppable fashion and style content.  I'm on this site almost everyday!  Shortly after, they created Clique media, a content and technology company behind home décor site, Domaine (, beauty site, Byrdie (, and exclusively represent a large, curated collection of the top bloggers in fashion (such as Atlantic-Pacific, Song of Style and Something Navy), beauty, and home décor as part of its online sales offering. Not to mention they've got a new clothing line with Target!

Since I enjoyed their last book and am pretty much inspired by their careers, I figured this would be a good read.  The Career Code has everything to do with helpful tips on navigating through your career.  It includes great topics, such as:  Job interview tips, style advice on what to wear to get promoted, and the easiest ways to get a raise.  Right now I'm taking note of  the book's 'Life Hacks' which gives tips on making you more efficient and effective in life in general!  My favorite life hack is 'Always be Ready'.  Which has so much truth to it.  Life is unpredictable.  True.  These ladies make a great point that the benefit of being prepared actually allows you to be more spontaneous while keeping your stress level down.  We all know that you have to stay ready, so you don't have to get ready.  Hello somebody.

Leave Your Mark:   Aliza Licht is formerly the voice behind the popular @DKNY PR GIRL twitter feed that boasted over half a million followers.  In 'Leave Your Mark', she shares advice and  inspiration through her own experiences as a top fashion publicist, while providing information about building your personal brand.  I'm still reading this one.  But I'm loving the passage in the book that talks about getting experience when you have no experience.  Hey, if you can't get through the front door, sometimes you gotta go through the window.

Love  x  Style  x   Life:  I'm so in love with this book because the aesthetic is very much my style.  French illustrator turned blogger, Garance Dore, opens up about her favorite topics in Love Style Life. From her childhood in Corsica, to finding her sense of style, to career advice and love stories.  Almost every section in this book is tied together so classically and I love the quality of the photos.  This book gives me all types of Parisian vibes.  I'm taking every last bit of it in!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

The Skinny Scarf

I was super excited to find this cute little skinny scarf from the Who What Wear clothing line while in Target a few months ago.  This item looks sold out online, but check for it in your local store.  I've got some cute alternatives down below.  This small accessary fits my personal style so well because it adds so much character to simple outfits.  I tend to not really overdo it on accessories.  I love wearing things that I can just breeze out of the house and wear to lunch downtown or to a concert.  Speaking of breezing around: These high waisted jeans are so comfortable!  The fit is so perfect and I can't help but wear them every single weekend.  FYI:  I wear the same outfits all the time!  Most of these pieces will be mixed and matched with other items in my closet as always.


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Balancing Work and Personal Life

"Don't get so busy making a living, that you forget to make a life."

Finding the perfect balance between our professional and personal lives can be tough sometimes.  Most of us work full time (40 hrs a week) and maybe even more if you have a second job. For me, I find myself consistently modifying my daily routine to balance my day time profession with my blogging business and everyday life. If you have a job that you love, it's easy to pour all of your time and energy into it. Or, if  you aren't too happy in your current position, it's likely that you are pursuing your passion in another field. Maybe you're working late nights or on the weekends.   I'm all for pursuing our dreams so give everything you set out to do your all.  But whether your career is your life or you have a "side hustle", at the end of the day, when your day job is done, I've learned that the key to joy inevitably lies in balance.   I don't think we will ever have the perfect balance, but I do believe there are things we can do to help us keep our sanity and lives together.  Here are a few tips to help you out:

1.  Prioritize

I can't stress this enough.   As I talk to you, I'm talking to myself as well.  I'm pretty big on making 'To-Do' lists so this may help you as well.  If you're limited on the time you have throughout the weekday, take sometime on a Saturday or Sunday before logging in to Instagram or Facebook to note everything.  What is it that you need to get done that day?  Professionally, make a list of emails, tasks, or phone calls you need to make early in the a.m. and then go back and order everything by importance.  Do this for personal things too like food shopping or gasing up the car, walking the dog, or getting your nails done.  I find that whenever I make a prioritized list, it creates a more clear cut outline of what's important to get done.

2. Spend Time With Loved Ones & Friends

How easy is it to get caught up in the hustle of work life that you zone out as soon as you get home?  Very. We wake up, rush off to work, go through our day, sit in traffic, get home, shower, eat, zone out in front of the t.v., and go to sleep.  All to do it all over again the next day.  That is not living boo.  I want to LIVE life and not be a complete zombie through it.  Acknowledging our loved ones around us is so important.  Life is short.  So I don't take for granted how much support I have around me.  I don't ever want my spouse, family, and friends to feel abandoned.  Make time with them.  I love spending quality time, if it's not date night with my husband, something as simple as a conversation about how our days went or actually eating dinner together fully engaged without a cell phone in hand.  I probably talk with my mother and sister nearly every other day.  A simple text or planned activity on the weekend will do.  Have a wine and cheese night with your girlfriends.  Stay connected.  Make the time.  It will give you something to look forward to and deepen the relationships you have with those you love.

3.  Exercise

Exercise is an extremely effective stress-reducer. It releases endorphins, which boost your mood and can even inspire additional productivity!  The other day on my lunch break I took a 40 minute walk with my supervisor and definitely did me some good.  It was a warm sunny day outside and the scenery alone lifted my sort of blah mood I was feeling that afternoon.  It's so important to get out of our cubicles or off the couch, even if its just for 20 minutes.  Take a walk around the block if you can't find time to hit the gym.  With our hectic schedules, it can be so easy to skip a workout but ultimately, it can really boost your energy level and ability to concentrate.  I'm telling you what I know.

4.  Schedule down time and disconnect

I think disconnecting is good for the soul.  By disconnecting I mean, when you're off work, you're off.  Emails and phone calls should be limited to a certain time. Silence your iPhone. Unless your boss demands that you be available at all hours of the day, turn off work e-mail on nights and weekends. I enjoy having a night time routine when I'm off from work.  Also known as 'Getting Un-Ready', in which I put down my work bag, take off makeup, take a warm shower, and do a light pamper of skin moisterizers and oils.  Lavender oil is actually very relaxing, so I dab it on my wrists and collar bone.  When it's time for bed, I may read for about 20 mins and then lights off.  Try to power down all electronic devices.  Also, make time in your schedule to do hobbies you love.  Relax your mind by drinking a cup of tea in silence.  If you are out enjoying friends or your significant other put the phone down and fully engage with them.  We are so engulfed with social media in the age it's so common to see everyone with their phones in hand staring at their screens.  By disconnecting from social media and work we allow ourselves to be fully present in our real lives.

5.  Jump Start Your Mornings

Most times I find that by getting up an extra 30 minutes to an hour, allows me to get ready in peace.  I hate rushing.  When I rush my day is kind of thrown off.  The earlier I'm up, I'm more likely to pray or do some devotion ( I'm pushing myself to get better at staying connected to God daily).  It really does the soul good.  I have time to make a decent breakfast and groom myself just how I like.  If I'm doing really good, the night before I'll even prep my outfit, breakfast and lunch for the next day.  It doesn't always happen this way- I too have struggle mornings- but when I do map it all out like this, those mornings are the best.

Early on in my work career, I struggled with having a balance with work and home life, especially when I attended college.  Now that I'm a little older with more experience, I've been able to recognize my weaknesses and improve.  How do you keep balance with work and personal life?  I'd love to know.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Family Dollar Grand Opening Event with ORS

I hope you all had a great weekend!  This past Saturday I had the pleasure of taking part in Family Dollar's Grand Opening Event located in Norfolk, VA.  At the grand opening I represented the ORS Haircare brand as their featured hair & beauty Blogger!  ORS, formerly known as Organic Root Stimulator, is the number one brand in the ethnic haircare market!  Founded in 1996 by Gary Gardner, the company was founded to address the health-conscious, multi-cultural consumer market. As  a teenager, this was my go-to brand for relaxers and as a natural I absolutely love their 'Shealicious Moisture Lock Cocktail'.

I got to work alongside ORS technicians to talk about the latest hair, beauty trends, and products with customers.  It was such a great experience that was held right in the local community.  This was also a great time to meet and talk with readers outside of the blog and social media!  From the hours of 8am to 1pm, the ORS team along with other vendors, welcomed customers into the store with music, grilled food, and giveaways.  There were lines wrapped around the building at 8am!  The crowd and the energy was upbeat and everyone was so pleasant to work with.

The ORS team made it priority to educate consumers by having complimentary hair/scalp analysis, styling tips, and product reccomendations.  Both men and women were interested in the health of their scalp and found the analysis to be helpful.  Each analysis was very professional and most people didn't mind getting candid.

Each consultation ended with guests walking away with a gift bag that included free samples and also gave a special winner a prize of a $500 gift card!

This was probably one of the first times I've seen a brand promote more education over just styling and products.  You can't beat a complimentary hair analysis and product reccomendation.  You'd normally have to pay for that.  The fact that ORS was able to give back to the community in that way really left an impression on me.

Thanks so much to the ORS team for making this event a success.  I'm so happy I was able to join in on all the fun!  Thank you to Mr. Rahmlee, Janet, Mother Nature, and Dana for working together to provide excellent service to all of the customers.  I enjoyed each of you and am so glad that everything went smoothly and according to plan.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

What's In My Work Bag

A typical day for me involves  8 hours of work with my daytime job, which includes assignments at my desk, meetings, training with co-workers, and a quite a bit of walking downtown.  I take time out on my lunch breaks (Normally an hour) to set personal appointments, make conference calls, work on blog content, catch up with family, and edit photos.  The list goes on.  I also have to do a mild commute, so I could spend a lot of time in the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel traffic (Blah).  I try to carry everything I need so that I don't need to make the hike back home.

I try my best to keep organized and carry essential items that will get me through my day.  My favorite tote to carry is my Stella and Dot Madison Tech Bag.  It’s very sturdy, with a spill-resistant interior. It has a removable strap, and you can zip it up for a smaller, classic shape or unzip it for more room. I can put everything I need in this bag, and it’s the perfect carry-on when traveling.  Unfortunately this style is sold out, but you can shop some similar styles below.  Here's what I pack in mine: 

Leopard Print Calf Hair pouch:  Anything from lipstick to coco butters and small sized perfumes.  All of my feminine products go in here.  I purchased this from J. Crew, which is sold out, sorry loves.  You can find really cute alternatives at Target.  Also shown in the photo are my Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in 'Lolita' (The PERFECT everyday lip color.  I wear this daily.) and my Fekkai Hair Fragrance Mist that I got from my Essence Beauty Box.  

iPad: Sometimes I need to do some quick editing or check emails.  If I'm having lunch downtown and need to do some work with the blog, I'll pull this out.

2016 Planner:  I told you guys that I have two planners.  I like to carry this one at all times because it's light and tucks away easily in my bag.

Kate Spade Back up Battery Bank:  I absolutely love this thing and recommend you get one if you're away from home for most of the day.  I just charge this every night and use it all during the day.  It's so cute and compact.  I'm always on my phone so this just works.

iPhone: We all need our phones these days! Calling, texting, social media.  What is life without the iPhone?  Lol.

Eyeglasses:  I rotate between my contacts and frames.  Lately for work I've been wearing frames.

Kate Spade Work ID Holder:  I work in a secure office, so we need our badges to get in and out.  Plus it's pretty much required that all employees have to have identification at my agency.  I carry mine in this cute Kate Spade ID Holder.  You can find it HERE.


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A Fresh Start with Essence Beauty Box

The Essence Beauty Box is making it so easy for me to travel light!  Whenever I'm away on a work trip or a weekend out of town, I now grab all the goodies that I've been sharing with you all from this box.  I love how small and compact each item is.  The Essence Beauty Box never disappoints when it comes to qualities and brands.  That makes me feel good when I'm traveling--it's like I'm being pampered!  Have a look at what's inside:

1.  Jane Carter Solution Seal & Shine

This product is made to provide your dry, curly, and natural hair with shine.  It said to aid in reducing dryness in your hair.  It contains Jojoba, Soy oil, Shea Butter and Mango Butter.  I'll more than likely use this to seal my hair after I've moisturized it.  It's been awhile since I've tried this line and I'm super excited to revisit.

2.  Earth's Nectar Coconut Curls

What's funny is that as a kid I hated coconut.  I think that really came from me trying Almond Joy candy bars and despising them. Lol!  It was a texture thing I think.  Now, I can't get enough of coconut.  Especially in hair products.  Coconut Curls is a lavish moisturizing cream that is said to detangle, soften, and smooth away frizz and fly aways.  If you didn't know, Coconut oil helps protect hair from damage when combing and blow drying.  I'm definitely using this the next time I wash these curls.

3.  Paula's Choice Resist Vitamin C Spot Treatment

I used this the other night before bed and I'm excited to see a difference in my skin.  A few years ago I had a horrible breakout.  Things have pretty much cleared now, but you can still see a few spots of discoloration in certain areas of my skin without foundation.  This spot treatment uses 25% stabilized vitamin C to reduce stubborn brown spots, sun damage, and post acne discolorations for smoother, even toned skin.  PERFECT.  Hopefully in conjunction with my spot correcting moisturizer this will give me the results I'm looking for!

4.  Palmer's Cocoa Butter Stick

Perfect to stash in the tote and carry on.  This is definitely an oldie but goodie and a MAJOR KEY.  I grew up on this stuff.  My mom used it and her skin is absolutely flawless.  Use this on the face, body, chapped lips.  It's great for sensitive skin and can be used regularly to prevent stretch marks.  You better get into it.

5.  BioDerma Sebium H20

I'm excited about this because I almost purchased some micellar water the other day.  Glad I waited. This is the first make-up removing micellar water for combination or oily skin that actually mimics the natural composition of skin.  This will come in handy when removing eye makeup at the end of the day.  I love my makeup wipes but the smearing that happens when I remove my mascara can be annoying.

6.  Mally Beauty Evercolor Shadow Stick

I would definitely suggest using this stick if you are a beginner at applying shadows.  What's cool about this item is that primer is included in the formula!  Just swipe on the color and boom.  There you go.  Easy.

Visit to purchase your box today!

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