Alpha Tree: The Gift of Giving

Yesterday, I spent my first Saturday of this great month giving back to the community and celebrating at Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated, Zeta Alpha Chapter’s annual Alpha Tree.

Alpha Tree is an event that students and faculty sponsor gifts for children that they are given by the Mizzou Alphas. As a sponsor, you are given the child’s name, age, and their desired gift.

I was a co-sponsor with one of my sorority sisters Tate. We had two young girls, one who requested a doll as a gift, and another who requested a Barnes and Noble gift card. Tate and I agreed that she’d get the doll, while I get the gift card.

The Alphas suggested that sponsors should not purchase gifts higher than $25, so I got my child a $15 gift card, which should be good for at least one or two children’s books.

The celebration took place at the Gaines Oldham Black Culture Center on Mizzou’s campus from 9:30 a.m. to noon.

Once the children arrived, breakfast was served and we were able to color and play games with the little ones.

Shortly after, sponsors presented gifts to their sponsored child.

Although, my sponsored child did not show up, I was able to meet some great other great ones, and my sponsored child will be able to receive her gift card.

My favorite part of Alpha Tree was meeting nine year-old Sangjiya. Sangjiya was very intrigued with my DSLR camera, so I taught him how to focus and how to capture photos and I let him go around and snap some pictures. After he snapped pictures around the event, he’d come back and I’d critique them and send him back out to snap more.

Here’s some of the photos Sangjiya took of my sorority sisters and I:

Sangjiya really seemed to enjoy taking the pictures, which brought a smile to my face. I remembered how one encounter could make a lasting impression. Who knows? Sangjiya could have just picked up a new passion or hobby after that.

 

Overall, Alpha Tree was a successful event.

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BFF Bargain Bonding: Nails and Thrifting.

It is tradition for my best friend Jasmyn and I, to spend at least a full day together whenever we have a break from college.

First stop for us…nails.

Jas and I had to stop at Lee Nails, a near by nail salon that we have been going to since high school.

We both chose very neutral colors. I chose olive green, and Jasmyn chose a pearl-colored nude.

 

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Safe to say Lee Nails never disappoints!

AfterwardI’ve been in desperate need for some retail therapy. I promised myself that when I came home to Chicago for the holidays that I would go thrifting, since it’s been a while.

Unique Thrift Store in Markham, Illinois is actually one of my favorite places to thrift.

Every Monday they have “half-off” day meaning that everything in the store is 50 percent discounted from the original price.

For years, I have dragged my best friend Jasmyn to the thrift store with me.

Both of us happened to be in town for the Thanksgiving holiday, so this year was no different she volunteered to tag along.

Many thrifters know that every trip to the thrift store is not a guaranteed success, however I must say that this trip was what I like to call it, “a good thrifting day.”

With the fall season coming to an end and winter approaching, I needed more appropriate clothing for the season, so that’s exactly what I searched for.

I wanted to share some of my great finds.

Did I forget to mention that Jas found some great looks, as well?

My Foundation Favorites

In my last post, I took a trip down memory lane and shared my first makeup purchase story.

As promised, I am going to share all of my foundation favorites with you all in this post.

For starters, I started off using Makeup Forever foundation powder from Sephora. At the time, this foundation powder was roughly around 38 dollars. Although this foundation seemed like everything, I was definitely naive for thinking that it was the only one out there.

In high school, MAC was a very popular makeup brand. People were praised if they had lipstick(s) from MAC, because the lipstick definitely was not cheap. One day I was in Macy’s, and I decided to stop by MAC, which happened to be attached to the department store. This was my first time really looking around and I noticed that they had foundation powder that was similar to the one I bought at Sephora, just made by different brands. Not to mention MAC, the popular name brand, had c h e a p e r foundation powder. Like 10 dollars cheaper. I was so flabbergasted at the fact that foundation wasn’t only sold at Sephora. Which made me think, “What else is out there?”

I’m a very adventurous individual who like to try new products, so I decided to venture away and try cheaper brands in hopes that my skin would mesh well with them.

The first foundation that I tried was not powder, however this time it was liquid foundation. It is by the Black Opal brand, and this specific shade was called “nutmeg”. I loved how “nutmeg” blended with my skin, I actually liked it more than both MAC and Sephora. Not to mention “nutmeg” by Black Opal was being sold at Wal-Mart for 12 dollars. That’s 25-30 dollars cheaper than what I initially was used to paying for, so i couldn’t be any less happier.

Now, I have currently switched over to “Fit Me” liquid foundation by Maybelline for better coverage. This particular foundation starts at six dollars. You heard me…”SIX DOLLARS”!

I love how the coverage of this foundation on my skin, and of course I’m obsessed with the quality of the product, with such a reasonable price.

So there you have it Bargain Slayers! Some of my foundation favorites. Remember it’s not always about the quantity…but definitely about the quality. SLAY ON!

 

 

Waist Training at a fair price.

The history of waist training, also known as waist clinching, traces back to the 1900s. Waist training started being practiced during the Victorian era in Europe and eventually made its way to America. It all began with the invention of the corset, a fitted undergarment that is worn to shape a woman’s figure.

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If you have come to the conclusion that the ultimate objective of waist training is so that one can receive what people refer to as “the figure 8” or “hour glass” shape, you are indeed correct.

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Who would have thought that an entire century later, waist training would still be popular among women of all ages?

Waist training can be done with a corset or a waist trimmer, which can both be purchased at multiple locations. The corset can typically be found online for purchase. However, different women have been selling these corsets via Instagram, the photo sharing social media outlet.

On to the most popular question…how much will this practice cost you!

Depending on the vendor waist training corsets can range from forty to one hundred dollars.

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Yikes! If you can afford that, then hey, more power to you.However, I started waist training about a year ago, and as a broke college student, the expensive Instagram route was just simply not an option. 

So what does one do to achieve this “coke bottle” figure, but at a fair price?

My motto is: There’s always a something cheaper. I researched, and came across a waist trimmer. Waist trimmers help you achieve the same objective as the corset but at more fair price. I visited my local Wal-Mart and found a Gold’s Gym waist trimmer for the price of  F I V E D O L L A R S.

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I personally have had great results with the basic Gold’s Gym waist trimmer. I was going to the gym regularly at the same time. Whenever I was not at the gym, I would wear this waist trimmer absolutely everywhere: work, the grocery store, and even to bed. What I personally like the most about the waist trimmer versus the corset is that you can wear it under your clothes, and it would remain unnoticeable since it was not as thick as the corset.

I knew the waist trimmer was effective, because I would sweat heavily around my abdominal after every workout. It was only after a month my pants were fitting better, and trust me, a month is fast for results.

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Ladies, don’t we all yearn for that figure “8”  body shape? So if your money is tight, but you still insist on getting your body right, try the Gold’s Gym waist trimmer for five dollars at Wal-Mart, I promise you won’t regret it.

Remember: Working out plays a HUGE role in waist training as a whole. For faster results I encourage you to get active!

…..by the looks of it Mr. West is a fan of ladies who waist train!giphy (1).gif

 

 

 

DIY: Make your own wig under $100

Things you will need:

PRODUCT LIST: (all can be found at beauty supply stores or online @ amazon.com + a hair vendor of your choice)

  1. Black Weaving Thread
  2. Curved Needle
  3. Net or Mesh Weaving Cap
  4. Wig Head Stand
  5. Extensions of your choice
  6. Lace closure
  7. Wig clips

 

I prefer to use a lace closure for my wigs. I am not a fan of leaving my natural hair out, due to constantly straightening it because that leads to breakage.

Step 1: First, you are going to get a wig cap of your choice.

In this case you should always try the wig cap on your actual head and mark where you would like your lace closure to be placed. Once you mark it, place the wig on the wig headstand.

Step 2: You can proceed to sew that piece down to the crown area of your cap first.

Step 3: Next you are going to take your thread and push it though the curved needle and double knot it.

(You will use the needle and thread to attach the extensions of your choice onto the desired net or mesh wig cap.)

Step 4: Proceed to sew the extensions, by going over and under with your needle and thread. You will end the sewing by repeatedly knotting towards the end.

Step 5: In this case, you will repeat steps 3, and 4, until your wig is fully covered on every side except the crown area where the closure is sewn.

Step 6: You can tightly secure your wig by purchasing wig clips and sewing them to the actual wig cap or try the headband method, where you sew an elastic band around the perimeter of the wig.

Step 7: You’re all finished! Style the wig as desired, and slay on!

DIY: MBDTF Halloween Costume

For Halloween my freshman year, I was a cheerleader. I rented my costume for $20 at a vintage store in downtown Columbia.

My sophomore year, I rented a firefighter woman’s costume, which was one of my favorites might I add.

My junior year I went as nothing, because I did not participate in any Halloween festivities.

This year for Halloween, I decided to get creative with a “Do it yourself” or “DIY” costume.

I knew whatever I decided to make, I gave myself a $20 limit.

I looked around on Pinterest, and through old photos in my phone for costume ideas.

Luckily, I am a photo hoarder because I found an old screenshot of a random person’s Halloween costume from last year that I found pretty neat.

The screen shot was of a woman who was 1/5 album covers that artist George Condo collaborated with Kanye West on for the “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” album.

The album cover that this woman did was a remake of was the ballerina painting.

The ballerina in the photo was wearing what appeared to be her hair in a high bun, a black body suit, and a black ballerina tutu while she held a wine glass. As I stared at the picture, I noticed that I pre-owned more pieces that this costume required, which was a plus for me and my $20 budget.

Then, I decided to Youtube search the costume only to find a tutorial video that answered every possible question that I could think of.

After I found all of the resources that I needed, I decided that this costume was the one.

Items you will need:

HAIR

I put my hair in a messy high bun and to switch it up, I had bangs.

THE FIT

I already pre-owned a black body suit, a wine glass, tights, and shoes. I was only missing a tutu, and actual items to make the album cover.

Mind you, I tend to be a last minute gal, so I used my sister’s Amazon prime delivery to order the tutu, and took advantage of the free two-day shipping.

I found gold, cloud-print, and red posters at the local Michael’s store that I used to make a cut out similar to the MBDTF album.

I printed out a parental advisory logo to be placed in the corner of my album sign that I made to be used for pictures.

THE ALBUM COVER

First, I cut out one side of the card board to use the square shape so that the album can appear thick and sturdy.

Next, I used gorilla glue to attach the red posters to each side of the card board.

Then, I cut the gold poster in a smaller square and the cloud-printed poster in an even smaller square very similar to the actual MBDTF album cover.

I went ahead and glued that down.

In between allowing all of it to dry, I used my blowdryer to flatten out any air bubble that formed over time.

Lastly, I noticed that my Parental Advisory Explicit Content printed out logo was too big.

I reprinted out a smaller one, and glued that down the same exact way.

This is my finished, simple, DIY project!

Fun fact: I was originally going to do the exact same DIY as shown in the video, but I remembered that I was going to a costume party and wearing the album cover of my back may not be the best idea for a close-knit environment.

Instead, I just took these fun pictures below, that I hope you enjoy!

Story time: My first makeup purchase!

A few weeks before my senior year of high school, my best friend Jasmyn and I decided to take a trip to the mall. I had just gotten a new hairstyle and I wanted to walk into my last year of high school with a completely new look that would “WOW!” all of my friends that I had not seen since the summer break began.  We ended up stopping at Sephora, a cosmetic shop. At the time I was only 17 years old, and make up just was not something I had been prior to this. However, it was senior year and I felt like I was ready. Jasmyn, who had been using eyeshadow since our 8th grade year, gave me the run-down on different products…after all I was an amateur at this. bad-makeup-gif-

I randomly picked up this circular object that contained powder. I would often see this object in my mother’s makeup bags, but I never knew what my mother used it for. I called Jasmyn over and she told me that it was called foundation and she explained to me that you used this product on your face for full coverage. Luckily, Sephora let’s you try on their products, because I had a couple of acne scars, and I was definitely interested to see how this product would elevate my complexion before I invested in it. foundation.gif

I found my shade in the powder and tried it on. Two words: I N L O V E. I felt like a princess. I felt like foundation was the finishing touch to my new look for the upcoming school year, and indeed it was. I did not waste any time buying this product. The brand that I got was “Makeup Forever Pro Finish.” It was $40 plus tax, and at the time I didn’t know any better, so I figured that was the standard price for ever foundation. I now know that there are other brands out there for a more reasonable price,  but Make Up Forever Pro Finish, will always hold a special place in my heart. It was my first make-up purchase and it lasted me 6 months so I cannot complain.

This is a bargaining blog, so in my next post I will tell you guys about some of my favorite foundations and products that I use to achieve full coverage. So stay tuned for next week’s post of myself reviewing the different foundations, both powder and liquid.