Fall 2016 Basic Shoes Wardrobe from Target Buy1Get1 50% Off!

Time to get our shoe racks ready for the Fall and Target is having an amazing sale until August 20th to help us get started on the basics.

THE PICKS

1. Suede Pumps modern pointy pumps that are perfect for the office. They come in a classic black or a burgundy color that is very hot this season.

2. Lace-up Flats I want them in every color! These are so perfect, they have great aesthetics, available in beautiful colors and have a nice little height so that you are not completely flat on the floor.  Black is perfect for everyday work, denim is great with a white outfit, red looks awesome with jeans on the weekend or will add a pop to a black or white outfit, it also works great with stripes. And brown suede has autumn written all over it, perfect for a casual weekend outfit.

3. Mary-Jane Flats these playful leopard print flats will add pop to your weekend outfit.


4.  Classic Boots whether you choose black or cognac, you can’t go wrong with these classic, comfortable and trendy boots.

5. Open-toe Booties if you are looking for trendy, these are for you.  You can dress them up for a night out or dress them down in the daytime.

6. Cowboy Booties cowboy boots are a fall staple and the slick and more refined version of it cowboy bootie is something city gals can roll with.

7. Classic Bootie 
Anyone familiar with the snowball payoff plan, the envelope system and the rice and beans budget would appreciate Target’s Buy1Get1 50% off shoe sale.  As I get older I’ve learn to appreciate quality over quantity but the truth is I could build an entire wardrobe of pretty shoes at Target for a quarter of the price of a beautiful pair of Stuart Weitzman boots and that will do until I kick Sallie Mae to the curb.

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Date Night: Paint Night at Finer Studio

Are you looking for something fun to do on a low key date night, girls night or simply a weekend activity in the Bronx to relax your mind? You should try Paint And Sip on Friday and Saturday nights at Finer Studio. These BYOB classes take place in intimate setting guided by a fine arts trained instructor.  You don’t need previous art experience to join -AT ALL-  trust me, I’m artistically challenged.
I remember that up until about a year ago before we got married, my husband and I would search for things to do in a Saturday night but more often than not just ended up just catching a movie at Ridgehill Mall. That’s because we wanted to do something that didn’t involved loud music, dressing up or spending a lot of money on “ok” food and the key thing was that it had to be fairly close to us in the Bronx and not in Manhattan. We then just settled for netflix and chill but we enjoyed this so much that we want to try it out at least once every couple of months.
 
Here’s a video the studio owner caught of my husband and I in action: 

This was our first Paint the Night experience and it proved to be an inexpensive way to have fun, where we were able to create something beautiful together with my husband.  Here’s our masterpiece: 

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But this activity could be enjoyed with anyone, not just a significant other. I will even consider getting a group together in the future.  These ladies were having a blast on their ladies night, proof that this is for everyone not just for couples: 
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FinerStudio is mainly a yoga studio, offering vinyasa, kids and prenatal yoga as well as zumba classes, and it doubles as an social artworking studio on the weekends.
FinerStudio is easy to get to by car  if you live in Inwood, Washington Heights, Riverdale, Bronx’s Little Italy (Belmont), the New York Botanic Gardens/ Zoo area (Pelham), Yonkers and parts of Weschester – to name a few of the well known neighborhoods that are located within a 15-30 minutes drive.  
Drop me a note to let me know if you decide to try it and let me know about your experience.
Xo,
Leslie

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Ouidad Mongongo Oil Review + Giveaway!

I’m so excited to review the Mongongo Oil Multi-Use Curl Treatment kindly provided to be by for Ouidad for review.

A Few Points About My Hair

  • I’m transitioning to no-heat styling
  • I have very thin and dry hair strands
  • I stopped relaxing my hair and did the big chop 4 years ago but continued to use heat
  • My styling routine has been to triple heat style my hair weekly, that is hood-dry with rollers, followed by a blow dry and then flat iron. I also flat ironed my bangs daily which equals to lots of heat damage and clearly curl loss
  • 6 months ago I bleached and color my hair twice in one week in to color correct
  • My hair needs a serious change!

Finally, I’m a curly in transition.  As of a month ago I decided to significantly reduce heat in my routine or completely eliminating it.  My husband is so supportive of this so it shouldn’t be hard. before-after-ouidad

The Verdict

I’m in love! This oil is very light weight and can be used in many different ways.  I love that it adds nice lasting shine without weighing my hair down or making it greasy. And it makes my hair smell great. I used the oil on a very humid day and my hair didn’t get out of control and I was surprised to see so many curls in the bottom half of my head.  My hair at the top is extremely damaged from the heat but you can see some curls starting to form.

 

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4 Ways You Can Use Ouidad’s Mongongo Oil

  1. Mixed with a deep conditioner
  2. In the Shower – spray on your hair after wash and massage onto scalp. Leave on for 5 minutes and rinse
  3. As a heat protectant if you use heat
  4. Daily as a finishing gloss
 

Enter to Win a Bottle of Ouidad’s Mongogo Oil!


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Thank You 2015 : Welcome 2016 How I'm exiting the old year and welcoming the new one

As we end the year we can’t help but to want to recount all of our accomplishments and successes and talk about the new goals for the year.  Though I welcome the new year with open arms, I will not say goodbye to the old year as if it the year was an uninvited guest.  I will acknowledge, honor and thank the year we left behind.
Before I share my successes in 2015 and goals for 2015 here are a couple of interesting things:
  • My most over utilized tools continue to be Pocket and Evernote.  Canva for blog images.
  • These cool life-hack Ted Talks available on Netflix.
  • I like reading yearly horoscope for entertainment and here is a cool one.
  • Unhappy with your life? Take action for happiness here.
 
Now back to 2015, in a couple of sentences or paragraph let me know in the comments what this year was like for you? 
For me it was a selfish year.  I can’t recall when I initiated a phone call to relative/friend that didn’t involve me, nor did I  follow through on those ” we need to make plans to meet up” this year.  While I attended some friends events, I was absent from many of my good friends important life events such as moves, children, some birthdays among other things. All I talked about was my wedding in 2016 and whatever issues related to me.  I wanted to send Christmas cards but I didn’t. Yes, 2015 was a very selfish year for me…and that’s OK I needed  it to be.  After spending a couple of years giving, volunteering, worrying about other people’s problems, reaching out, trying to find balance in my life through outside sources, I needed this inward-looking time to myself.
Beside neglecting a lot of my friends/family (and I really do miss spending time with them) I am very thankful for what those 12 months brought to me.  So here’s to acknowledging, honoring and thanking 2015:
Dear 2015,  Thank You For:
  1. A wonderful relationship.
  2. Our friends and family, their health, presence, love and support. And for all of our friends and family that have confirmed their attendance to our wedding and those that wish they can be there but are not able to make it.
  3. My moms unconditional and overwhelming  love and support.
  4. A new job where I feel very happy.
  5. Our new house in The Bronx (peace rent!).
  6. Allowing us to save up and pay for our wedding cash, no debt.
  7. New friendships that are here to stay (you know who you are).
  8. Overcoming my fear of weights at the gym. I’ve always been skinny fat, basically I’ve never worried about diets or exercise and was never consistent with my workouts. I did steps and ballet in high school and occasional yoga in my 20’s (I had a gym membership for 2 months but hardly used it).  After working out with my fiancé, I now love weight workouts and want to have healthy diet and exercise plan.
  9. My blog 1 year anniversary, it’s successes and increased readership. As well as the awesome people I’ve met because of it.
  10. Our daily bread and being able to treat myself to Luke’s Lobster, Vosges Chocolates and my favorite foods when I craved them.
Things I will be saying good bye to in 2016:
  1. Shoe laces and trading them for this.
  2. My mole (I just wish i can move it closer to my lips!).
  3. Wisdom tooth.
  4. Hair breaking scrunchies and replacing them with these lovely things.
  5. Spending 2-3 hours in the hair salon every Saturday (they are always really busy and take no appointments) instead I’m going to use less heat and do my own hair more often.  Turning this into a hot oil mask is working magic on my hair.
  6. Buying lunch 5 days a week, reduce that to only 2-3 times a week.  these collapsible bowls are everything!
  7. Letting sales people talk me into buying things I don’t want or need or that are simply just not right for me. Instead, I will make more planned purchases.
  8. Clutter. I will continue my minimalist/clutter free project and will begin applying the 3-7-14 rule to anything new I buy.
  9. Boring clothes.
Things I will be trying in 2016 
  • Be Grateful: I will write 3 things I’m grateful for each day  or things that made me happy and dump it in jar like this.
  • Journal:  Continue to journal on evernote and on my blog.
  • Exercise: Develop a routine and stick to it.
  • Meditate: I’m already doing this.  If you are new to meditation sign up to be notified when the next Deepak and Oprah free meditation challenge is available.  I recently tried Kundalini Yoga and loved it.
  • Random Acts of Kindness: I was the recipient of a couple of acts of kindness throughout the year and I want to pay it forward.
Things I Welcome in 2016 
  1. Our wedding.
  2. Will this be the year of the baby bump? We want it to be.
  3. Go back to church / congregating.
  4. Keeping a gratitude jar.
  5. Spending more time with friends and being present in their lives.
  6. More blogging, more collaborations and making back-end changes to the blog to make it faster and prettier.
  7. A fitness routine (making fitness a priority, finding a gym and schedule that fits into my life naturally and without major effort).  My upper body strength is very week so I will be using this guide.
  8. Healthy meal plan / grocery list.
  9. Since my measurements rarely fit into anything straight from the rack I want to take a sewing class or improve my cooking skills.  There are fun classes on VerlocalWilliam Sonoma offers free cooking demos which is a good start too.
  10. Host a couple of summer backyard parties.
  11. Take at least one international trip other than our wedding.  Potential places are the south of Italy, Norway, the Dominican Republic where we have friends and family.
  12. Read good stuff.
  13. Stop being camera shy and take more photos of myself, my love ones, my surrounding.  They will make good memories one day.
  14. Support my fiance (husband by then) with his photography passion and business.
  15. Being the one who is always on time.
The 2016 MONEY-OUT wishlist 
  1. Pay off my smallest student loan.
  2. A laundry room in the basement.
  3. Let Ikea open up and redo my tiny kitchen.
  4. A space saving refrigerator that will help me stay organized and keep food fresher longer.
  5. New work wardrobe.
  6. A nice everyday handbag.
  7. An updated lingerie drawer. Getting rid of stuff and adding new things. So far I was gifted this beautiful robe that I’m in love with and this set.  I bought this gorgeous lace balconette set and picked up a couple of fun inexpensive pieces: a super comfortable uniform bra, this super cute nightie, this white and baby blue set, and this set in tequila sunrise, I didn’t love the color but its a nice fit so I’m keeping it.
  8. International trip other than my wedding.

The 2016 extra MONEY-IN to-do list

  1. I’m writing myself an abundance check a la Jim Carey with how much money I want to be making long term (big check) and another small one for much I want to make this year blogging.
  2. Help my fiance launch his photography side business.

That’s all folks.  Happy and Prosperous 2016!

xo, Leslie

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7 New Sexy Halloween Outfits 2015!

 On my last post I showed you amazing super heroes Halloween costumes that even celebrities are inspired by, and once again together with 3wishes.com I bring you the newest and most head turning costumes for this year.  Here are my favorites:
1. Mortal Kombat Mileena and Kitana 
Dressing as any of these two kick-ass ladies will have you ready combat, in case there’s any.
mortal kombat
images via 3wishes.com

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2. Star Wars Female StormTrooper
They will have no idea what hit them when they find out what is hiding under this suit. Talk about unexpected.

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3. Special Ops SWAT
Agile, armed and ready to take down any threat. Nobody will dare refuse any of your orders.

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4. Malificient
Will they be scared? or will they fall into your spell? Either way, this costume will make you one sexy evil temptress.

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5. Harley Quinn
Joker or not, this outfit will have you ready for a night of mischief.

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6. Sexy Alien
Hello earthlings!  this is what we look like in Mars.

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7. Minnie Mouse 
And all the Mickeys’ mouths will drop.

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Hope you enjoyed my picks for the most sexy Halloween outfits.  Let me know which one is your favorite in the comments and be sure to check out www.3wishes.com for an immense list of high quality costumes for every style.

Xo,

Leslie

Follow 3Wishes here:  Instagram | Twitter | Facebook

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7 Halloween Costumes from Heroines that Inspired Beyoncé, JLo, Nikki, Katy Perry and other Celebrities

Halloween is the one day that you could be anything you want, from a scary mean witch to a cute little kitty to your favorite heroine. While searching for a Halloween costume I discovered  the heroines and characters fashion-forward celebrities look back at for their on-stage outfit inspiration.  I then picked out Halloween Costumes from my sponsor 3wishes.com, where you can find some of the sexiest Halloween outfits.
1. Katy Perry – Wonder Woman
Does Katy Perry’s all-American-flag-bearing getups and black hair remind you of someone? A super hero maybe? Yep, that’s because Wonder Woman wore it first.  She rocked similar outfits bearing the American flag and had signature black hair.

wonder woman - katy perry - halloween costume - celebrity inspired - 3wishes.com

Do you see the resemblance? You can be an all American heroine too with the costume on the right, get it here.
2. Beyoncé – Playboy Bunny
I’m pretty sure other celebrities owe the leotard trend to Beyoncé, whom ever since her famous single ladies video has worn the trend a million and one different ways.  But way before Beyoncé, the playboy bunnies were walking around in their leotards all over the place. While Beyoncé’s personality is way too bold to be anyone’s little bunny, she’s now the owner of what used to be the bunny’s trademark look.

Beyonce - playboy bunny - leotard - bunny ears

Doubting the connection?  Beyoncé has been caught wearing bunny ears on multiple occasions but not with her leotard because that would be straight up infringement.
luckyseventen.com for 3 wishes.com
You can bring back the playboy bunny look too with this sexy retro take of the playboy bunny outfit (pictured above to the right) or this more classic one.
3. Jennifer Lopez – Cat Woman
I’ve been seeing a lot of jumpsuits lately,  this trend that started in the 60’s has not been this popular since it fizzled  in the 80’s.   JLO wore a very 70’s version while starring in the movie Selena, but it was her “On the Floor” spiderweb silver jumpsuit custom created by Zuhair Murad that has inspired more modern and street-wear friendly versions of it on the clothing racks of stores everywhere. But leather or not  we all know the all-time crowned queen of the bodysuit is Cat Woman.  She’s been wearing it since the 40’s! Talk about a lady with style.
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You can release your inner Femme Fatale on Halloween with this sexy wet leather look body suit Cat Woman costume.
4. Lady Gaga / Spider-Woman
Lady Gaga’s costumes (ahem, outfits?) have sent her fans on a frenzy and spider woman was no stranger to freakish and bold outfits, she wore a bright red and yellow body suit (or was that body paint?) but her most distinctive look which she also has in common with Lady Gaga is her eyes mask.  Lady Gaga has a crazy collection of sunglasses and her best selling album “Fame” bares just her face with those crazy studded sunglasses that had everybody wondering how could she see through those.
lady gaga - spider women - studded glasses
You can let your inner stylish freak this Halloween with this bold and daring Spider-Woman costume.
There’s definitely a resemblances with Gaga and Spider-Woman but I couldn’t stop there.  If there is one character that Lady Gaga reminds us of is the crazy lady Harley Quinn.  They have more than just the joker in common, just look at their outfits.
luckyseventen.com for 3 wishes.com (2)
 Get this stylish checkered Harley Quinn outfit here.
 
5. Dita Von Reese/ Mariah Carey and Jessica Rabbit
What do these ladies have a common?  Apparently everything.  they are divas, entertainers and they sing. Ironically Dita and Mariah don’t seem to have much in common in plain sight but they undoubtedly take their pinup look wardrobe inspiration from cabaret queen Jessica Rabbit. .
mariah carey, dita von teese, jessica rabbit
 Let your inner diva come out this Halloween with this sequin scarlet red dress and thigh revealing split.
6. Rihanna / Ariel
Rihanna made clown-red hair popular but Ariel has been rocking her bright red hair and inspiring little girls long before.  In this vogue cover the resemblance to Ariel is pretty clear.
 rihanna, ariel, halloween costume
Bring out your inner mermaid with this super cute costume, add a red wig to complete the look.
7. Nikki Minaj / Poison Ivy
While Nikki’s one and only character inspiration is unclear, because one day she’s a Barbie doll, the next one she’s into S &M, a character that truly suits her is Poison Ivy.  Nikki was as not as subtle as the other celebrities about her inspiration when she wore the outfit below, as she brought out the entire forest to her performance. But does she care about the environment too?
nikki minaj, poison ivy
 Environmentalists everywhere can release their inner heroines in this 5-piece outfit and of course remind those that come close that this super-villain dedicated her entire life to eco-terrorism.  Sounds like a noble cause after all.
I hope you also found your inspiration for your outfit this Halloween.  Please visit my sponsor 3wishes.com and shop more amazing costumes.
Xo,
Leslie
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An Intimate Chat with Raquel Harris: We talked about Lingerie, Body Image, Tragedy, Strength, Confidence and More…

Raquel Harris - Baiser MarsaiMeet Raquel Harris, a stunning young entrepreneur and owner of Baiser Marsai (be-zay mar-say) lingerie boutique, who is turning a tragic life experience into victory for every woman who feels their needs are ignored by the lingerie companies.

When Raquel first reached out to me to introduce me to her lingerie store, the first thing that stood out were her models, I thought wow, I can see myself wearing this and that model has my body type! I felt understood and a sense of belonging.

I later found out that this is part of her intention, when picking out her models Raquel wanted them to be representative of her clients and herself instead of models the fit the usual idolized idea of beauty because she doesn’t believe that beauty comes in a perfect size or perfect body type, she believes beauty is you and that what is perfect is you just as you are.  Beauty is “I am confident with who I am, I like who I am and like what I see in the mirror when nobody is looking” she said to me.  The passion in Raquel’s voice as she uttered those words during our phone conversation could not have sounded any more pure, it was clear to me that she holds herself to that belief and it translates into effortless confidence, grace and beauty that makes you want her around all the time.   

Hiring non-traditional models didn’t come without objections but Raquel stood her ground and hired models that are diverse in terms of race, size and shape defying the norms of the industry and rejecting all advice that went against the way she wants to do things.

baiser mersai lingerie models - multi cultural

Lingerie is not about sex is about intimacy

“I’ve always wanted a boutique and I knew that I wanted the boutique to somehow gratify the beauty of a woman.  I think as women we are most beautiful in our intimate moments.  Many think of lingerie as super sexual, however I want the intimacy of loving and knowing oneself to be acknowledged and embraced with Baiser Marsai.  When we start the day, it all begins with how we are feeling about ourselves inside, so feeling beautiful in your underwear sets a great tone. Lingerie is something I’ve always love and it is very personal to me and it represents all of this, always acknowledging that the first building block for becoming anything, from having self-love to be invested and be intimate in any kind of relationship whether it’s a friendship or love is Oneself.   The more you embrace your own skin and who you are genuinely and confidently the more your beauty will truly come out, it’s like domino effect.”

Finding strength in tragedy to fuel her purpose

Marsai is the name of my childhood best friend who was murdered at a high school football game our senior year in college.  I always wanted to do something that would somehow pay homage to her.  Marsai loved empowering her girlfriends and had the most amazing, bubbly, contagious spirit.  She’s my angel, and Baiser means kiss, so the name behind my brand essentially means Kiss Marsai, or Kissed by an Angel.”

The most exciting thing that has happened to her store so far

“The first day I launched I was able to sell out of two of the products (this one and this one). I wasn’t expecting that. I didn’t do a big marketing thing or anything paid, it was organic and I just used social media.  I also love that people comment on the high quality of my products often and they find that it is within their reach”

Raquel Harris - Young Entrepreneur - Lingerie Boutique -

And of course I know you want more so here’s our Q&A :)

Tell me a little about yourself

I am a Houston, TX native – born, raised, and schooled there.  I moved to Austin in March 2013 and have lived here since.  In my free time I can easily be found in a random coffee shops known for their affogato and bomb playlists :-)  I enjoy coffee and music so I’ll go into a coffee shop on a Saturday morning with my MacBook and before I know it I’ve spent the entire day there working, reading, and people watching.  It’s great.

Being an entrepreneur is not easy, do you have any mentors?

I learned tremendous amount and some of my entrepreneurial skills from dad who is my very best mentor. He can look at a process and paint the full picture from beginning to end. That’s what I have seen and mimic from him, but most importantly I learned two things that are invaluable from him; which are to do everything with honesty and integrity. I worked for my dad through summers of my childhood and noticed that people always had wonderful things to say about him. Working for him I was able to see that the measure of a person is not what they have but what they do with what they have and he maximized every opportunity, bringing others along as he did so. I want do the same thing, and this business is just the beginning.*

Lingerie is fun so let’s get back to that…

Raquel Harris - Entrepreneur

What is your favorite lingerie color?

I have a blog that talks about what your favorite/go to lingerie color says about your style (link here).    Mine was black for the longest.  For a few years I literally only owned black underwear.  I’d say I have two go to’s now; black and nude!  Both go with everything and look great!  

What is your favorite lingerie piece in your store and why?

My favorite piece is the Michelle V Lace Teddy.  It’s just hot!  It be worn intimately or even coupled with a high-waisted skirt or pant and worn for a night out!  I actually wore it to my first trunk show :-)

Can you build our lingerie wardrobe from Baiser Marsai?

Can you pick a bra for us to wear daily?
My daily choice is the Strapless Convertible Bra by Nubian Skin.  I love this bra so much that I have it in all the colors offered.  It fits true to size and you can literally do whatever you want with the straps, crisscross them, take them off and wear it traditionally.  It’s a go to bra.

What about sexy lingerie for date night/ special occasion?
I love The Crimson Satin & Lace Corset.  It’s flirty and feminine and I’ve seen it work beautifully on a variety of women.

My wedding is coming up, what lingerie piece should I wear on wedding night?
For wedding night I recommend something comfy to wear to bed – White Lace Kimono It’s lightweight and very angelic.  It gives just a peak at what’s under and you can wear it on wedding night and easily through the honeymoon.

And finally something sexy to wear to bed?
For bed I’m really feeling the Black and Chrome Camisole Set.  It’s feels great, really soft and silky, and it’s equally as pretty.  It’s a win-win because you go to bed looking good and feeling good too.  Only thing about this piece is it’s so comfy I love to lounge it longer than I should sometimes :-)

What’s next?

I’m working on designing my own line of luxury lingerie.  God willing, in 12 months it will be in Baiser Marsai as well as a few other retail shops.

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I hope you guys enjoyed meeting Raquel as much as I have, and if you feel inspired, heard and understood I encourage you to support her small business.  She told me she wants to hear your suggestions and requests so please do reach out to her if you have any comments and finally follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.  

Xo,

Leslie

*updated

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