Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Curvy. Courageous. Curly. Couture. Cutie of the Month: Danielle Wells

I was so excited about starting my new blog.  I had finally gained enough COURAGE to do something that has always been a thought in the back of my mind.  I sat at the computer for hours writing down all the topics I wanted to talk about.   After completing my list, I scanned through it again—at first very eager to start.  But then I noticed that everything I had written down was stuff I wanted to see…. What about my viewers? 

I suddenly had a flashback… I saw myself looking at blogs from GabiFresh, OnTheQTrain, Stylish Curves Everything Curvy and Chic and GarnerStyle  I’d remember looking at their blogs thinking, “Man I wish I could do that.”  It took a year to realize that I actually could…and now, I am.  Those young ladies inspired me to let go of my insecurities and do what I wanted.  Who cares what everybody else thinks? Then it dawned on me—I want to inspire others like they inspired me. 
After thinking of how I could inspire others, I finally figured it out!  I’ll feature a Curvy.Courageous.Curly.Couture.Cutie of the Month.  This person will be somebody who inspired me to become courageous and embrace who I am.  My hope is that by featuring this person, I will not only show my viewers who inspired me, but also offer inspiration to the next girl who is viewing my blog and wishes that they could be as COURAGEOUS as me. 

So… My first Curvy. Courageous.Curly.Couture. Cutie of the Month ….
Danielle Wells 

New Year! New Me!  Right? I’m sure you have already set your New Year’s Resolution for 2014.  What was it—to lose weight, get fit, stop eating at McDonalds? Most resolutions for the New Year are all about Fit and Fitness.  Well let me introduce you to Danielle Wells.  I’ve followed Danielle on her fitness journey it seems like forever.  She has been such an inspiration to me and my weight loss journey.  I asked her a few questions about her journey and have included her answers along with transformation pics down below.  I hope that her journey inspires you just as much as it did me. 

How long have you been on your fitness journey?
Honestly, I feel like I’ve been on this fitness journey all my life, but not until December 2010 did I become as dedicated as I am now. Many people ask me this question, but being “the big girl” all through junior high school and high school, I’ve always felt that I’ve tried to lose weight since I could remember, just to fit in.

What was the hardest part of your journey to overcome? How did you do it?
The hardest part of my journey to overcome would have to be realizing that the weight would not go away over night and that I had to learn to make healthy choices when my friends decided to have a night out of the town. I’ve always had this image of myself being “small”, and in my mental mind this is what I held onto every time I felt like giving up. As far as enjoying nights out with friends, I would fuel up on water and fruit before heading out. That way I couldn’t possibly overeat and if I did eat just because of the atmosphere, I was completely content with a small house salad no bacon or cheese.

What has been your motivation to continue your journey?
Once I became a Zumba® Fitness Instructor, I saw that people started to look up to me. My students constantly told me of the inspiration that I gave them. At that moment, I knew I was starting to touch people and how it affected their personal lives, I couldn’t stop. To know that I could change someone’s life, was all the motivation I need to continue.

You’ve dropped how many dresses sizes? Do you still consider yourself a CURVY girl?
 Overall, I’ve gone from a 28 to a 12/14. I am currently almost fitting a 10. ;-) Of course I still consider myself a curvy girl. I have hips and thighs and my tummy is not perfectly flat. My body is just now at a state where I can love my curves because I can see them and they are not hidden by layers of fat.

As soon as I start a diet it seems as if my friends want to go out for dinner and drinks.  How do you balance a healthy lifestyle and hang out with friends?
I know this part is hard for a lot of people. This is where I encourage people to have their cheat day. Now hopefully, you aren’t having 3-4 cheat days a week because then you are not accomplishing anything. If I happen to go out and it’s not a cheat day, then I fuel up at home so when we make it to a restaurant or wherever we may go, I will only order salad or soup. Yes, my friends make fun of me when I do this but I know the goals that I have set for myself. Another good option is to never look at a menu. Have in mind what you know you can eat for example; fish, brown rice, veggies, salad etc and tell the waiter/waitress what you would like. At that point, have them only bring half of the entrĂ©e and go ahead and box up the other half so that you can take it home. Have them bring the other half when they bring the check and you are getting ready to depart from your venue.

What made you become a Zumba instructor?
Zumba® Fitness is exercise in disguise! It is truly a party and like no workout that I have ever experienced before.  After I saw my body starting to change with Zumba® Fitness, I knew at that moment this is something I wanted to share with everyone. I really wanted people to fall in love with exercise and Zumba® was definitely the way to go!

What are you favorite CURLY girl products to use for your hair?
Aunt Jackie’s Curl La La Defining Curl Custard, is my go to ;-) Cantu Leave in Conditioner is my second favorite. I also have a friend that makes her own natural hair care product called Naturally Whipped. That’s the product Facebook name as well, Naturally Whipped :) 

What is your go to style during workouts? How do you balance natural hair with working out? 
Usually during my Zumba® Fitness classes, I wear my hair down and curly. The type of curls that I have, I can wash and go and let them air dry. I teach Zumba ® Fitness classes anywhere from 4-5 times a week, so it’s pointless to adapt to a style. Wash and go seems to work for me!

When you first started your fitness journey, what was your favorite meal/snack?  What is it now?
Frozen grapes are my favorite snack to eat, because they taste like candy! My favorite meal would have to be Tilapia and Sweet Corn, I still find myself eating this now. It’s quick, easy, and yummy! I think now, I love cajun grilled chicken with stir fry vegetable and brown rice.

What must we cut out if we want to start living a healthy lifestyle?
This is such tricky question! I am not a nutritionist, therefore I can’t tell anyone exactly what to cut from their diet other than the obvious things like fried foods, french fries, heavy sauces and dressings, heavy seasonings, sodas, excessive sweets like candy bars, fruit snacks etc. If you want to start living a healthy lifestyle, you have to adapt a healthy way of eating. Cleaning up your diet is just hands down, the best way to go. Incorporating more wholesome produce is just the logical way to go. My best advice is to just love fresh, wholesome foods. Simply enjoy time in the kitchen experimenting with new food ideas. 

Did you ever expect your weight loss to be inspiration to others? If you could speak to everybody who’s thinking about starting a fitness journey, what would you say?

When I started on my weight loss journey, I had no idea as many people where watching me as they were. As I started to see my results, more people began to ask me what I was doing. At this point, I figured it was all just a part of the reaction of people seeing me gradually losing weight. It was not until I started teaching Zumba® Fitness, did I see that I was inspiring others to live a healthy lifestyle. As humbled as I have remained, I can never put into words how it makes me feel to know that I have changed so many lives. What I would say to anyone that is thinking about starting a fitness journey is simply to just do it. Find your “why” and dig deep to transform yourself. Realize that there will be obstacles and that peer pressure is hard when you are trying to eat right. There are many things in life that we will never be able to control, but the one thing we can control is the food that we put in our mouths. Weight loss starts in the kitchen, and no matter how much you stay in the gym, if your nutrition is lacking then you will not accomplish what you initially went out for. You have to be mentally prepared for weight loss; your brain has to be in order. Set small goals initially and reward yourself as you accomplish them. Of course do not reward yourself with food, but rather with a pedicure, manicure, new makeup or a smaller size tee shirt or bottoms. We are given only one opportunity to live in this flesh, why not take care of it?

Feeling inspired??? Follow Danielle on Facebook and Instagram 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Comfy Chic

We all have them... Your hair just doesn't cooperate and you feel like BLAH.... You really want to walk around in your PJs all day, but you have a million things to do. 

Problem Solved: Comfy Chic
This is how I dressed up my lazy day.

Pants from Forever 21, Sweatshirt from H&M, Cap from Aldo but similar found at UrbanOutfitter

FOTD achieved using +Too Faced Cosmetics Pretty Rebel Palette, +MakeUpForEverUSA HD Foundation and AquaBrow, and Mac Punk Couture

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Fashionably Curvy at the Gym

So you are finally committed to working out.  You join your local gym and walk into your first Zumba class.  Suddenly you realize you're a little under dressed.  (The first time I went to Zumba I was amazed at all the colorful outfits).   As soon as you get home you want to torch your old and tattered high-school t-shirts and sweats.  You begin to search the web for full figure activewear but didn't know where to start.  Don't worry... I've got you covered.  Here's my guide to being CURVY, COURAGEOUS and COUTURE even at the gym!

 InspireLove, JoggersLive Learn Burn, Shoes

Dare to Bare

Yoga PantsTeeShortsSneakers

Swimwear 1. 2. 3. 4. 

Here's what I wore for my first training session in 2014.

PantsShirtSimilar JacketSimilar Shoes

Here's a few pictures of my favorite bloggers in activewear.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Tam's Top 13 Products of 2013

Okay... I get it... 2013 is over, but I just couldn't let a new year come without talking about all the products that helped me make it through 2013.

1. Detangling Tools

February 2013 I decided to SAY NO to the Creamy Crack.  At first this journey was so easy.  Having had a relaxer since I was 5, I knew how to manage my mostly relaxed hair.  Now being 10 months posts relaxer the two different textures have been giving me a lot of trouble when styling and washing.  I had to stop that fast! I found the following detangling tools and they have made my transition journey a heck of a lot better.

Beautiful Textures Taming Leave in Conditioner is a miracle worker.  It simply dissolves all my twists and tangles and lets me glide through my hair no matter what style I have planned for that day.
Tangle Teezer  If you're familiar with the natural hair community (NHC), I'm sure you've heard of the tangle teezer (TT), a brush that just melts all the knots away.  After watching countless YouTube (YT) videos reviews I just had to get it!  I knew it had to be the real deal, because I went to three different stores before I found it. Luckily I was able to get to Ulta just in time to get the last one.  My $5 coupon also made it a good purchase because I only spent $4 on this $10 brush! It was definitely worth the hype.... Until I discovered the Wet Brush.  (I now reserve the TT for dry detangling)
The Wet Brush  I discovered this tool shortly after picking up my TT.  It was including in a set I had purchased from Sally's.  I really hadn't planned on using it.  Having little hope for this brush because I was so amazed with my TT, I just decided to at least try it out since I had purchased.  OMG it was a life changer.  Amazingly, I know use it more than my TT.

2.  Make Up Forever HD Foundation

This is another product that all the YT gurus swear by...and... because I believe everything they say (lol), I had to get it for myself.  Luckily, this product is worth every penny.  It's a liquid foundation that dries to matte.  I highly suggest trying this in 2014 if you haven't already.

3.  Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is an essential oil with antiseptic, antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial properties.  Like, seriously, it is the best essential oil on the planet!! I use it for my itchy scalp and mild acne.  This is definitely a product you should have in 2014!

4.  Eco Styler Olive Oil Styling Gel

This is nother product that all the naturals swear  by.  I'm sure if you're natural or transitioning you've already picked up your bottle of EcoStyler Gel.  It does amazing things for twist outs, braids outs, wash and gos and high ponytails without the leaving behind a gel like residue.

5.  Too Faced Cosmetics

In 2013 I really got fascinated with make up.  Being in pharmacy school stresses me out so much that I had to pick up a hobby that wouldn't take so much time away from studying.  IDK how I begin experimenting with makeup, but it's something I do on weekends to relieve some stress by pampering myself.  Before being introduced to Sephora, I'd usually get all of my eyeshadows from drugstores and beauty supply stores.  They worked for a while until I really started learning how to do make up.   All the pigments would sort of just fade on my chocolatey brown skin.  So one day I walked into Sephora and saw this beautifully packaged palette,  Pretty Rebel.  I swatched the colors on my hand and were amazed at how pigmented they showed on my skin--I'd become a fan.  I followed up by purchasing their holiday palette, A Few of My Favorite Things and can't wait to purchase the new Chocolate Bar Eyeshadow Palette.

6.  African Pride Olive Miracle Anti-Breakage Formula Braid Sheen Spray

2013 has been filled with protective styles.  I've believe for most of the year my hair was braided.  An itchy scalp follows any long-term protective style.  This braid spray is amazing at combating an itchy and dry scalp.  I mix mine with a few drops of peppermint and tea tree oil for an added scalp relief.

7.  Purple Lipstick

Purple! Purple! Purple! Purple is my favorite color and this fall I discovered purple lipstick.  Stay tuned for a separate blog dedicated to my purple lipstick collection!

8. Miss Jessie's

I'd admit that I was hesitant about buying MJ's products.  I'd heard a lot about them, but I couldn't bring myself to purchase the overpriced bottle of shampoo.  Luckily, MJ decided to give us all a break and discount her products 40% their original price.  I was still hesitant until a classmate told me that Target was also participating in the sale.  I rushed to my nearest target and purchased the Miss Jessie's Super Slip Sudsy Shampoo and Miss Jessie's Pillow Soft Curls™.  They both were a great purchase.  The shampoo is a sulfate shampoo with great detangling properties. The PSC are like fabric softener for your hair.  I used it before using curl formers and it left me with soft curls that smelled AMAZING!

9.  YouTube

I'm sure I'm not the only one who can say YT has changed their life.  It is like my go to social network.  I've learned so much about styling my hair, wearing makeup and I even use it as a study tool.  If you haven't checked out at least one video on YT in 2013, I'm sure you were hiding under a rock.  If you need any hair and/or make up inspirations, I high suggest subscribing to a few of my favorite channels.  I believe all the ladies listed below helped me look fabulous in 2013.

Alex Amethea

10.  LA Girl Pro Concealer

As I stated earlier, I'm new to the world of make up.  How to use concealer is probably the most talked about on YT channels that I watch.  If you're just getting into makeup and don't want to spend a lot of money on MAC's prolongwear concealer, I'd highly suggest trying out this product.

11.  Apple Products 

I wish Apple had a rewards program.  I've spent all my money at Apple stores.  I have the iPad, iPod, MacBook, iPhone5 and just about every accessory that comes with each device.  I can't speak for any other product, because I've been #teamApple since the first generation iPhone.  I can say that I am very pleased with Apple Products.  Throughout undergrad and now pharmacy school I have consistently been able to rely on my Apple products.  If you're looking for a new product to try, I'd highly suggest making an investment in an Apple product.

12. Real Technique Brush Set Dupe

My new found love for make up began to get a little bit expensive.  I had to find cheaper alternatives to all the name brand products I would view, especially the brush sets.  I fell in love with the Real Techniques brush set but fell out of love after viewing the prices.  I researched dupes for the set and came across a company with good reviews on eBay.  I've never tried a RT brush, but this dupe set is amazing.  It literally took my make up game to the next level.

13.  Pinterest

Okay, I can forgive you for not having a YT account, but if you don't have a Pinterest account, what are you waiting on??!?!!? I browse all the boards on Pinterest for daily inspiration.  It is the perfect outlet for everybody.  Whether your'e interested in fast cars or diy projects, I'd highly suggest getting a Pinterest account and start pinning away! Make sure you follow My Pinterest Board.

All 13 products listed above helped me survive 2013.  If you haven't tried any of them, I highly suggest trying at least one for 2014.  I'm sure they will change you life just as much as they did mine!


Tamera Hughes