Go Purple for Lupus Awareness Month

May is Lupus Awareness Month! Weeee! Don’t get it twisted. I’m not excited about lupus. I actually really hate lupus but I am happy that this disease is getting covered more and that education about it is being spread worldwide.

Some of my girls in the Beauty Bloggers of Central Florida group and I decided to post a purple nail polish mani in honor of Lupus Awareness month.


Nails for Lupus Awareness

All Lacquered Up inspired this look but honestly…I’m not THAT in love with it. I mean, it’ll do but my nails look a bit clown-y and silly, don’t you think? Ah well. And it doesn’t help that the butter LONDON Matte Finish that I used on top smeared the whole look. Yours truly was too lazy to re-do it. Ha! I used Zoya Blu as my base and Dutch’ya Just Love OPI? as the purple in this look.

Nail polish for Lupus Awareness

But posting purple nails won’t do a darn thing for lupus so I thought I’d share some facts and resources that may be able to help you or someone you know who may be dealing with this disease. Every bit of information that I am grabbing is coming from Lupus.org.

  • Lupus Foundation of America research estimates that at least 1.5 million Americans have lupus.
  • It is believed that 5 million people throughout the world have a form of lupus.
  • Lupus strikes mostly women of childbearing age (15-44). However, men, children, and teenagers develop lupus, too.
  • Women of color are two to three times more likely to develop lupus than Caucasians.
  • People of all races and ethnic groups can develop lupus.

(source)

I know at least 4 gal pals (all are Black women under 40) that deal with lupus and they are such strong women in my eyes. One friend told me that some days are great and others are debilitating. It’s the roller coaster of pain that seems to frustrate her the most. But she’s still smiling and doing what she can to get the word out about this disease.

Please, oh please, oh pleaseeeee, scientists. Let’s find a cure for lupus sooner rather than later. Check out the looks that my fellow BBCFL girls did…

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Color Me Rad 5K – Orlando 2014

Yo. So I am all over running races. It is just a wee bit of an addiction. I’ve gone as far as to run 2 races in a weekend and sign myself up for races that aren’t for months and months. I figure this “get fit” thing has to be some kind of fun and so doing races is my way of enjoying it. Kinda.

Color Me Rad 5K

When I was offered the opportunity to score a pass for the Color Me Rad run here in Orlando on March 30th, I jumped at it. Because…obviously. A fun 5K that involves a ton of rainbow dust, loud music and doesn’t involve a huge clock that will track my time? DONE!

Color Me Rad friends

By the way…I took all of these pictures with my iPhone. If they look a bit gritty, don’t judge a sista, ok?

There are many color runs that are held in cities nationwide and since this is my first one, I can’t compare Color Me Rad to any other run. What I can do is give you fellow runners and non-runners an idea if this is the kind of race for you.

Color Me Rad

The short answer is YES! For $50, those that register for this race get a race bib, t-shit (and a VERY cool t-shirt, at that), RAD tattoo, sunglasses and a sticker. More than anything, though, you’re paying for the experience and had this race been around when I was in elementary, middle or high school, I would have sooooo tried to convince my parents to let me run. I would have also done it with my college girlfriends and boyfriends. That’s just it. This race is so much fun at all ages and I think many non-athletes will appreciate how carefree and FUN it is. In fact, many people didn’t run at all. They casually walked with friends and chatted.

Color Me Rad race

So, let’s get down to the details. What to expect at Color Me Rad…

Color Me Rad operates on a wave system. When you register, you sign up for a time and that’s when you head to the Start line. And that’s when the madness begins. Things like this happen at the Start line…

Rad-001

You get to chattin’ with strangers and watchin’ them toss color bombs all over each other. It’s good time to be had and this is all before the race even starts. Unlike many races, Color Me Rad is NOT timed. I love this idea. I tend to be pretty competitive but I love not having to worry about meeting my personal record. I ran with a gal pal who keeps me motivated and so we did run but it was great not having to worry about beating a certain time.

Color Me Rad Finish line

Every half of a mile or so Color Me Rad has a color station set up that blast with you different colors of colored cornstarch or colored water. I am clearly a 7-year old trapped in a 29-year old’s body because I loved this part.

Color Me Rad finish

Color Me Rad color bomb

And at the end of each wave (and several times during), at a stage an MC will pass out color bombs to every one, a countdown begins and folx toss the bombs all over the air. Best.time.ever. It has been forever since I’ve bounced up and down with my hands in the air begging for free t-shirt. But it was a fantastic time. And I would so do it again.

Color Me Rad dust

Pros:
-When registering, you save money by signing up as a team.
-Color Me Rad is ALL kinds of high energy. Lots of music and lots of excitement.
-Registration at the event was super easy.
-Parking was well laid out (this may vary at different locations).
-The post-run party is a lot of fun with the chance to score a ton of freebies.
-Staff was helpful and plentiful.
-Bottles of water and snacks greet you at the Finish line.
-The colored cornstarch removes easily from skin, clothes and hair.

Cons:
-The race wasn’t mapped out so well. We got lost around certain parts.
-We didn’t receive our post-run color bomb.
-There aren’t any medals.
-The course was far less than 5K. In fact, I tracked it on my GPS and it was only 2.60 miles.

Color Me Rad face

But hey, you know what? The cons are practically forgettable as I think anyone that participates in this race will have an amazing time. They will be at a ton of locations in the U.S. Sign up today!

 

Disclaimer: I received a press pass for this event but all opinions are my own.

Let’s Talk About Everyone’s Favorite Subject…Birth Control!

This post is sponsored by Bedsider.Org  but all the opinions are all my own.

As I started to write this post, I was somewhat perplexed on how I wanted to approach the topic of birth control. I mean talking about birth control can be extremely awkward and uncomfortable. But it is something that needs to be discussed. As I reached the point of frustration, Beyoncé’s Grown Woman played on my iPhone and then I got all the inspiration I needed. Sex is a part of everyday life and sex is how you create life. If you are grown enough to be having sex, you should be grown enough to protect yourself.  The stats for unplanned pregnancies are way too high and if you aren’t ready for  littles ones, take the steps you need to in order to protect yourself. I can barely afford gas in my car so there is NOOOOO way I can afford kids right now.

What people do not know is there are so many methods of birth control and the information is literally at your fingertips. Bedsider.Org is your online headquarters for learning about birth control. Bedsider realizes that talking about birth control is a serious topic, but they make it lighthearted and informative.

The most information I got on birth control came from the movie Mean Girls.

mean-girls-movie-quotes-39

Of course I knew about the pill and condoms, but I had no idea what fertility awareness was or what and how a sponge worked. Bedsider.Org explains it all. Not only does the site go through each form of birth control, but they let you know how it works and the potential cost. You get to hear real testimonies from people who are using that particular method. I loved hearing the male point of view in the videos because sometimes we forget that birth control is something that both partners need to be aware of.  Another one of my favorite things about Bedsider.Org is that you can sign up for birth control reminders. If you are on the pill, shot, patch, or the ring, you can sign up to have daily, weekly, or monthly reminders to take your birth control. How awesome and convenient is that?

With Valentine’s Day in a few days, you may be planning to get hot and heavy with your loved one, boo, or the hot guy who bought you a drink at the bar, but before you do, make sure you take some time to go through Bedsider.Org  to find out which birth control method is right for YOU and YOUR body.

Make sure to you stop by the website and follow them on Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube.

Stay Pretty, Positive, and Safe!

About the Author:

Courtney is the younger sister of Brittany and a 2012 graduate from Florida State University. Courtney loves listening to Katy Perry, nail polish, reading, and a good work-out. She hates peas, lima beans and negativity. She also ate deodorant once because her lovely older sister made her do it. [B’s Edit] Follow her on Twitter at @CourtNichelle.

Shark Week Can Be Fun Again…Kinda. Thanks U By Kotex!

Because I’m all about keepin’ it real up in here, you should know that this is a sponsored post for U by Kotex, who provided me products to review. You can get a free sample from U by Kotex too here and Do the Demo.

Now. Who’s ready for some TMI? You know I am. I stay in the TMI Lane. As lady people, we shouldn’t be so secretive about the things that so many of us deal with. And let’s face it, we’ve all dealt with our cycle at some point in our lives. It’s been about 16 years since Aunt Flow has made herself a regular visitor. And I hate her. I really do. But she’s a necessary evil and so while I cringe at her every appearance, I have come across ways that make dealing her, well…easier.

U by Kotex box

Through Socialstars I had the opportunity to test some of these U By Kotex products and at first I was like “Oh snap…my menstrual cup lovin’ friends are so going to disown me.” Yes, I do proudly roll with the cup crew but honey, I’m a girl who likes options. And no one likes to be unprepared when their cycle decides to make their first appearance after 21 months of being ghost (thanks pregnancy and breastfeeding!). And said cycle comes when you are out of town. Oh yes, girl. This happened to me. And I wish I would have these U by Kotex CleanWear pads on hand.

U by Kotex

First of all, can we talk about the pretty packaging? “B, who cares if they’re pretty. They’re sanitary napkins!” Look. There ain’t anything pretty about Shark Week. But U By Kotex is trying to lighten the horror a bit with colorful wrapping and decorated pads.

Kotex packaging

And, I for one, can appreciate this. In fact, how I’ll go back to regular plain pads is beyond me. It was as if U By Kotex sat down and said “Hmm…how can we make this awful time of the month just a little better?” And while they aren’t able to make the cramps and bloat feeling disappear, they can at least bring a smile on my face when I open up these pretty pads.

Kotex napkin

Just, wow…

And they aren’t just pretty to look at. Without getting too graphic (calm down…I won’t put it ALL out there), I love how the U by Kotex Barely There Thin Liners don’t leak. They just don’t. Also, the adhesive has a nice and firm stick and you can ensure that it’ll last for as long as you need it to.

Kotex tampons

Colorful pads with pretty packing and housed in a slick and sexy black box? Well done. U By Kotex gave us something that we didn’t even know we needed. And I love it. Now if only they can think of a way to get rid of that “Give me all of the sweets and leave me alone for the next 3 days” feeling…

 

I wrote this review while participating in a content series through Crowdtap on behalf of U by Kotex, and received products to facilitate my post and compensation for my time to participate. But y’all know me. I don’t mind writing about this kind of stuff for free because, well, uh…I have before!

So About That 5K That I Ran…

…I ran it! And it was awesome. Seriously. I had such an incredible time running that race. And this is all kind of crazy, because, hello…I’m not the running  type.

Granted, runners don’t have a “type” but I don’t think I have the outwardly appearance of someone who could run. I’ve got awkward flat feet. My thighs rub together. I’ve got ginormous boobs that have to get tied down with TWO bras and I when I run, I breathe heavily; I don’t have a breathless stride with brief puffs of air. But you know what?

I don’t even care. Because at least I’m running. I wasn’t running last year so I try to provide myself with plenty of “You go girl”s.

Clumps of Mascara 5K

My first post-baby 5K was excellent – mainly because I didn’t have a goal. Well, I take that back. My goal was to complete. And I did. I ran with a girlfriend of mine and we decided to do 1-minute run/1-minute walk intervals the entire way. This was great for me as I was able  to control my breathing better and looked forward to the breaks. At the end of each break, I mustered up everything in me to run. My stride could use some work, but I think that’s because I need new shoes.

Run a 5K

But I won’t be getting new shoes until I run another race. That’s right, at the end of every race, I reward myself with something. At the end of this one, I got a heart rate monitor watch. And I’m loving it! I’m just getting back in town from NYC and haven’t run all week (except during work when I got caught in a rain storm and got SOAKED) but I am so looking forward to it this weekend.

I’ve got another 5K at the end of March and that will be another fun run except I think I’m going do run 2-minutes/walk -minute intervals. By Spring, I would love to be able to run an entire 5K without stopping. I’ve found fantastic support in my local Black Girls Run group and between them and the local running stores in Orlando, I’ve been feeling the love.

Nike + Running Stats

I’ll keep you guys updated! Oh, and I’ve lost a total of 6 lbs with Weight Watchers. Totally thought I would have lost more but I have lost 3 inches on my waistline so heyyyyy…progress is good, right?

The Time I Made A Mold Of My Teeth…

Smile Brilliant Whitening System

I’ve been crazy excited about sharing this with y’all. I’ve always been pretty serious about dental health but lately, I’ve gotten a bit well, uh…lazy. I glanced at myself in the mirror some months back, noticed that my usually pretty white smile was just a wee bit dull. Smile Brilliant reached out to me at the perfect time. I got the opportunity to get a custom made tooth mold!

Wait. Did that sound crazy? Because, I felt a bit crazy typing it. By tooth mold I meant “custom fitted whitening trays”. Smile Brilliant offers several products but I think their real claim to fame has got to be these things…

Teeth whitening trays

Because where else can you find a brand that goes as far as to create a whitening tray for you? It really is the coolest thing. And relatively easy too. You spend spend a few minutes playing scientist, mix some clay, pop ‘em in the tray, pop the tray in your mouth, get the mold and mail the mold to Smile Brilliant. In less than 2 weeks, you’ll get your trays back and boom, you’re ready to get to whitening.

Custom fitted teeth whitening trays

Quick disclaimer, I have had serious issues with whitening products in the past. How do I put this gently? Um…THEY HURT! I’m talkin’ I’d rather have a migraine-kinda hurt. I’ve sworn off of all whitening products but what made me open up to Smile Brilliant is the fact that they have Desensitizing Gel. That’s right. A good 15 minutes before application, I can simply use the Desensitizing Gel ahead of time and not have to worry about the pain that comes from teeth whitening.

Also, like a bad blogger, I didn’t take before photos. Grrrrr.

Smile Brilliant teeth whitening

How do the molds feel?
Pretty cool, actually. I found them to be  comfortable. I was able to talk with them. Ideally, I think they’d be best to use while sleeping, but if you HAD to use them while awake, chances are people will understand what you’re saying.

Who are these for?
Anyone with teeth! Seriously. Thanks to genetics and my distaste for coffee, for the most part, my teeth stay pretty white. Overtime, I know that they will dull up a bit and so Smile Brilliant is coming in handy for occasion touch-ups. It is also fantastic for those with yellowing and stained teeth. Don’t believe me? Check this out.

Does this kit actually work?
YES! While difficult to notice in my pictures, despite my aggressive flossing (haha, sounds like a band name), I can’t seem to whiten up the area between my 2 bottom teeth. Until now. After 2 treatments the Smile Brilliant trays completely whitened up the teeth. Woot!

Okay, B. Sounds good. Is this affordable?
Compared to what your dentist will charge you, this kit is definitely affordable. Keep in mind that it is an investment and getting a mold made ensures that you will be able to use it time after time. The mold plus 1 syringe of whitening gel with run you $89. One syringe will only get you 3 treatments, so I highly recommend getting 6 syringes for $129. Still not bad considering getting this professionally done can cost almost 3x as much.

What is the whitening gel made from?
It is dentist-strength 22% Carbamide Peroxide and comes in 3ml syringes.

Whitening gel

I’m a fan and I’m thinking about gifting Esposo with some Smile Brilliant goodies? That isn’t bad, is it? Gifting your husband with teeth whitening goodies? Ah well. I am very excited to see what other cool things Smile Brilliant launches in the future. I love brands that stay above the trends.

Smile Brilliant trays

What do you think? Would you ever try something like this?

Weight Watcher’s Simple Start…I’m ready!

Well, here we are again. This is my second attempt at trying Weight Watchers. Attempting to start a weight loss plan 6 months after a baby just wasn’t ideal for me. I was trying to get into the groove of going back to work and breastfeeding had my hormones doing crazy thangs. But now, I’m weaning from the pump, and I’m ready!

Through Socialstars, I was given the opportunity to try  Weight Watcher’s Simple Start plan and I couldn’t be more excited. Nervous? Well, yeah. I don’t want to fail again. I want to be successful. I want to be one of those women who when I tell you I lost 50 lbs, you look at me in amazement. I want be an inspiration to others.

And uh…excuse my vanity a bit, but seriously…I NEED to drop this post-baby weight. Not because I’m in 2 weddings this year. Not because I feel so uncomfortable in my skin but because I’ve got a little one who is becoming more observant.

#Simple Start weight loss

A great deal of parenting is leading by example and now that Elle is eating food, I want to make healthy choices for the both of us. It just makes sense.

And I want to feel confident again.

I always joke that red lipstick is confidence in a tube, but I truly feel confident when I am happy in my skin. Lately, I haven’t been happy. I can acknowledge this with ease because I know that the real work comes with FIXING this problem. And I can do it because I’m ready to love my body again. Ultimately!

Weight Watchers #SimpleStart challenge

So about this Simple Start deal… My Mom was the first to tell me about Simple Start and I think it’s a fantastic idea for those new to Weight Watchers. Starting any lifestyle change is challenging but Simple Start allows you to sloooooowly make your way into to selecting healthier food options. It takes the guesswork out of what many people find challenging…finding eating healthy meals to eat. And the best part? I don’t have to worry about portion sizes just yet. I just use the app, select menu options, make it and boom…eat it. The menu choices can be as easy as grilled chicken on top of a salad to as gourmet as pasta primavera. And if you’re like me and your chef of a husband is working late and you’re too lazy to do something fancy, you can build your own meal from their options. Like a spinach and tomato omelette.

Weight Watchers #SimpleStart

Cool, huh? Simple Start will last for  2 weeks and then I’ll continue on with the regular Weight Watchers program. I like the ideal of taking baby steps. Jumping right into Weight Watchers with the point counting can be a bit daunting so I really appreciate the flexibility that Simple Start provides.

Wish me luck! I can be pretty hard on myself so I REALLY want to succeed this time. If you’ve got any tips, thoughts or advice for me, let me know. I’ll be sure to keep you updated!

 

 

I was given a free one month subscription to Weight Watchers to try their new Simple Start plan and write about my experience. Though I was compensated for my time and commitment, all views, positive and negative, are my own.

Weight Watchers, here I come!

clumps does ww

Guess who joined Weight Watchers?! Meeee! And the cool thing is, I’ll be blogging about my experience the entire time. I actually started last week but that was more of a dry run. It was hard, y’all. I’ve been on many weight loss challenges before and this is proving to be the most difficult because I am a breastfeeding mother. I express on average 60-70 oz of breast milk (through a breast pump) a day and aside from it being draining, it makes me incredibly ravenous. Breastfeeding burns a ton of calories and in return, moms HAVE to steadily nourish themselves. Weight Watchers is the only weight loss program that I’ve ever heard of that actually has a track for nursing moms.

I actually gained a pound from last week. Opps! I’m not worried. There will be up’s and down’s and I’m ready for ‘em. I will even unveil my current size and where I’m looking to go.

So I’m 213 lbs. This is NOT baby weight as I was actually 216 before I gave birth to Elle. I only gained 9 lbs during my pregnancy and quickly lost it all. I am not embarrassed at being 5’6 and 213. Is it an ideal weight? No. But is it fixable? Absolutely. I am human and of course I have insecurities but I have always felt that I looked like I weigh less than I do. I toggle between a size 12/14 but I just happen to have a solid build. I will never be a small girl because I’m an amazon woman. I’ve got big thighs and legs and so when it comes to loosing weight, I like to set realistic goals for myself. I recently had a physical at my midwife’s office and my BP and cholestrol numbers are in healthy ranges, so really it’s just my weight that’s an issue. I have no intentions of being a size 2 and I don’t think my body would let me be a size 2 anyway.  But weighing less would put me in healthier ranges and in a happier disposition so I’m all for it!

This will be the biggest weight loss challenge yet. Trying to find the time to workout, battling the cravings and trying to stay satiated through breastfeeding will be tough but I can do it! I will also be giving you the ins and outs of the very cool Weight Watchers online program. Stay tuned for next week’s update!

Got any healthy snack or workout tips for me? Moms who have breastfed and tried to loose weight, I would love some advice from you!

 

*I have received a free 3-month pass to experience Weight Watchers online. I am not being paid to use or endorse Weight Watchers and thoughts are my own. People following the Weight Watchers plan can expect to lose 1-2 pounds per week.