Friday, June 30, 2017

Reclaimed Readables, June 30th

Happy Happy Friday! Today's Readables feature the cult beauty brand launching designer grade skincare for $7, tips to rock your curly hair, the brand trying to capitalize (unsuccessfully) off of BLM, the leggings company that is actually saving the world, one woman documenting the struggle with bathing suit shopping if you're size 10 and up, and 15 beauty products to keep your skin cool all summer long.

HelloGiggles: Bathing suit shopping troubles, 15 beauty products to keep skin cool
Refinery29: Curly hair tips, how BLM became a fashion scandal, eco friendly workout wear
The Zoe Project: The cult beauty brand launching $7 skincare

Thursday, June 29, 2017

The Wrong Way to Tees: More Jenner Appropriation

The faces of "we didn't think this one through".
Last week, I told you how to find great vintage-like tees (and where to find the real things as well) for cheap.

Apparently everyone is trying to get in on the vintage concert tee action, including non other than the Kardashian Jenner clan.

But that isn't the problem.

The problem that always occurs with the Kardashians/Jenner is how they go about it. The youngest of the clan, who both are STILL embroiled in several earlier culture mishaps, decided to place their KK's and super exposed faces over the faces of non other than Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls, two top icons in Hip Hop. And charging $125 for it...

Insert HUGE eyeball here.

As reported by Refinery29 writer, Channing Hargrove, this is not the first incident of K&Js appropriating Black culture specifically for their own gain, writing,

"How can a brand-new, $125 top available in multiples be authentically thrifted? Exactly. Second, there's something that just about the way the tees are overly sexualized. But, the biggest head-scratcher for me is: Why did a family constantly called out for appropriating Black culture think it was a good idea to cover the faces of icons (and music pioneers) like Tupac and Biggie with their own. Between criticism over Kylie's cornrows, wigs, and even lips, and Kendall’s entire Pepsi fiasco (which alluded to a Black Lives Matter protest), this situation seems like (yet another) not-thought-out decision — and I'm not the only one who thinks so."

No, Channing, you aren't the only one who thinks so. In fact, Twitter is currently having a field day with this one. Here are a few of the best responses:

Honestly, there were so many good ones, I couldn't keep up. And it wasn't just Black Twitter. Twitter itself got involved, even Biggie's mom had something to say. And the shirts have since been removed.

I asked it before and here I am asking it again: Where were your designated Black friends to tell you that this would not be a good idea? Seriously...we could have avoided this foolishness and public dragging...

What are your thoughts? Drop a comment below!

Reclaimed Readables, June 29th

Happy Thursday loves!

Today's Readables feature over 30 easy ways to make money online, 9 things you spend way too much on and how to fix it, how to do Costa Rica without going broke, 7 sites to give you DIY home decor fever, over 20 expensive looking pieces from Target, and the woman making bank off of her awful financial advice.

The Cut: The 1 woman getting rich off of her awful finance advice
HelloGiggles: 29 expensive looking items from Target, 7 amazing DIY sites 
Refinery29: Affordable Costa Rica
My Domaine: 9 things you spend way too much money on and how to fix, 35 creative ways to make $ online

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

12 lessons I learned after a full year of Entrepreneurship

Photo by Carl Heyerdahl on Unsplash
As of a few days ago, it has been a full year since I have launched into the land of self employment and entrepreneurship. It was (and is) a scary place to live, however when I say that there is no better place to grow and thrive than when you only have yourself, believe me!

I have learned probably more than I can fit in one blog over the course of this year. However, I will give you the short version here.

Here are the lessons I have learned over the past year of working for myself:

This is a real job, no matter what anyone else says:
And don't let anyone convince you otherwise. Just because there isn't a company or individual signing off on your paycheck doesn't make it any less of a real job.

Show up:
This is not a prolonged vacay. You may be working for yourself, but you need to be working for it to work. That means don't sleep in (too often). For this to work, you need to get your butt out of bed and to your work station. That being said...

Create a work space:
This is an area designated and designed to allow a steady flow of productivity. That means minimal distractions, and maximum inspiration. Just because you can work from your bed, doesn't mean that you should. Clear off that cluttered desk of yours, get a plant and some inspirational artwork, hang that vision board you've had since January, and get to work.

Identify what makes you unique:
This may seem like a no brainer, but a lot of people skip this step on their path to self employment. Be honest, there are dozens of people out there who do EXACTLY what you do. You have to find what makes you special, different, unique. Not only that, but you have to place high value on that thing. For me, it was a combination of my own particular writing style, customer service skills (a lost art if you ask me), social media background, and my style and fashion leanings. Find the unique vibe and skill combo you offer.

Identify your talents:
Another no brainer, but you need to do this in order to successfully run your business. And it doesn't happen once. If you are doing it correctly, you will be picking up new skills and talents over the course of your time. I learned some minor coding, photo editing, and took a few social media marketing courses over the past year. In addition to those new skills, I have added some experience to the foundational skill set that got me here in the first place. Keeping tabs on your talents will help you  more easily market yourself.

Get creative:
You must take those above talents and creatively think of how you can use them to bring in the bacon. I currently have I have my freelance writing that I do for different sites and publications. I have my social media consulting and management that I do for different brands and companies. I have my growing content creation for a few steady clients. And I have this blog, my social following that I use to help me become a micro influencer, and my own personal brand. Notice I haven't even mentioned my online course that I have edited since launch last summer (relaunching soon!) or The Reclaimed Vintage. The more creative you are with your business, the more opportunities you create for yourself to be successful.

Photo by Garrhet Sampson on Unsplash

Be willing to learn and grow:
View every obstacle and opportunity as a chance to grow. Remember above, I said I took some classes on social media marketing. These were offering through an up and coming fashion brand I offer my social media skills to.

Position yourself as an expert, but never call yourself one:
This one is HUGE! There are so many people out there in my industry alone who pose as industry leaders and experts, but when it comes down to it, they are nothing but glorified social media posters. Particularly for social media, which is a constant, ever growing, ever changing monster unto itself; saying you're an expert sets you up for failure. However, having great work, exceeding expectations, meeting deadlines early, all poise you to look like an expert. Constantly growing and applying what you've learned poises you to look like an expert. Doing a damn good job and letting your work and past clientele speak for you poise you to look like an expert.

Don't be afraid to ask for help:
If there is anything that is a pride killer, it is entrepreneurship. Face it, you don't know it all, and you won't ever, so ask for help whenever you need it. It shows humility, it creates and maintains relationships, and, once you get the help you need, will push you further.

Be realistic. Be positive:
I didn't expert to earn a million dollars this year. However I wasn't going into this first year feeling nothing but defeat. I frequently take "reality check" breaks to see how my business is doing. How are my clients doing? What can I improve on? Where do I need help? Where can I cut back? Where should I expand? What works? What didn't? Check in and get real, but continue to speak affirmation to your work.

Get a mentor:
I am so late on this train, but I cannot express my excitement and gratitude for the chance to be working with one of my industry's top writers. Seriously, God opened the door for us to meet and chat and begin a work mentor relationship and I have ALREADY reaped the benefits. Get yourself one, whether by following one of your top industry leaders on social media and literally binge read everything they write or take the step to reach out and ask for coaching. It is incredibly worth it.

Trust God:
For every lesson above, this is the undergird of them all. God gave you your vision, talents, gifting, and callings, don't you think that if He has given you all of these blessings, surely He has a plan of direction for them? If you feel Him moving you out into professional self reliance, take the step. For me, while it was and continues to be a scary place, it has also grown my faith and my trust and my believe in God as a sustainer, a way maker, a provider, a friend, and a Father, just to name a few of the ways that I have come to know Him better throughout this process. If He is leading you to something, entrepreneurship or any thing else, TRUST HIM and move.

These are the 12 ways that I have grown over this past year of entrepreneurship. I am not alone in this journey and have met so many wonderful women who have inspired and encouraged me whether directly or indirectly, along the way. And with that, we are entering a new series, called "Created by a Black Woman", featuring the growing community of dynamic and beautiful creatives that I am privileged to know.

Stay tuned!

Reclaimed Readables, June 28th

Happy Hump Day readers!

Today's Readables feature the scar Black women all over Twitter are bonding over, trends southern gals will love, Serena Williams glorious Vanity Fair cover, how these cowgirls of color are taking over Rodeo, and a step by step guide to protesting the crap health care bill as told by Kamala Harris.

HuffPost: Kamala Harris' guide to protesting the health bill
The Cut: Cowgirls of color
The Zoe Report: Serena Williams Vanity Fair cover
WhoWhatWear: Trends southern girls will approve of
BuzzFeed: Why Black women are bonding over a knee scar

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Trend Alert: Summer Pink Sneakers for $50 and Under

Today in the Readables, we talked about the continual growing popularity of the pink sneaker. Spring saw a major influx on the pink sneaker, catching up to a close second only to the white sneaker that currently reigns supreme. These comfy and deceptively versatile kicks are summer ready, whether paired with your pretty dresses or the girly pop to your all black ensembles.

Here are my picks for pink sneakers for summer, all at or below $50. Happy ShoesDay.

Trend Alert: Summer Pink Sneakers for $50 and Under

Reebok shoes
$36 -

Reebok lace up shoes
$43 -

TOMS pink sneaker

ALDO sneaker

River Island lace up shoes

New Look floral-print shoes
$38 -

Dorothy Perkins lace up shoes

New Look lace up shoes
$25 -

Reclaimed Readables, June 27th

Happy Tuesday loves! This week's #TuesdayShoesDay Readables feature the latest affordable gems from WhoWhatWear, the best summer flats for commuters, the $30 sandals Fashion editors love, stylish sandals for summer, pool slides at each price points, the cute and cheap shoe brand on Amazon, the new hue for your summer sneakers, and the best shoes with bows.

Best shoes with bows
Pink sneakers
Cute and cheap shoes brand on Amazon
Pool slides at each price point
Stylish sandals for summer
The $30 sandals fashion editors are loving
Best summer flats for commuters
WhoWhatWear's latest shoes

Monday, June 26, 2017

Summer Style on Reclaimed Tumblr

Guy's summer style has taken over not only this blog, but this blog's older sister, the Reclaimed Tumblr.

Now, before all of the blogging purists and Tumblr haters start to dive off of this site, hear me out. As I have told you guys, before this site, there was my mini foray back into the blogging world, bka my Tumblr.

On one space, there is all of the fashion, style, and culture commentary that you get here combined with the faithful, fashionable, and funny nonsense I end up doing on social media that may or may not make the cut for this particular polished site.

Today, however, the two hold hands in honor of #ManCrushMonday and the official season change. I have loaded my Tumblr with some of the most dapper, stylish, and interesting looks you may want to try this summer. So, check out all of the cool looks compiled at the Reclaimed Tumblr.

Reclaimed Readables, June 26th

Happy Monday, handsomes!

This week's #ManCrushMonday features GQ chosen ways to dress for work when its 99 degrees outside, men's summer style mistakes, how to pair a suit and a tank top a la Steph Curry, common men's grooming mistakes, Chance the Rapper's off the cuff BET Awards speech, and Jay Z's essay on social justice.

Refinery29: Jay-Z's social justice essay
Dappered: 10 mens summer style mistakes
BuzzFeed: Chance the Rapper's off the cuff BET Awards speech
GQ: How to do a suit and a tank top, office outfits for summer, common grooming mistakes

Friday, June 23, 2017

Reclaimed Readables, June 23rd

Happy Friday good people! Today's Readables feature online shopping hacks that will save you big, the best of the best from Zara's summer sale, a clever hack to fix your broken lipsticks, magical crap you need under $10, and 8 super easy wrap styles for summer.

BuzzFeed: 8 super easy head wrap styles, magical crap you can buy for under $10
Refinery29: How to fix old lipstick
WhoWhatWear: Zara's Summer sale is really quite good
Hello Giggles: 9 online shopping hacks that save you $$$

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Thrifty Thursday: Vintage-ish Concert Tees for Cheap

By now, you all know my love of all things affordable and quality.

You also know my love of the affordable shopping destination, Primark. Ever since that first fashion show and visit, I have been hooked! It's where I get most of my affordable items as well as my trendier pieces.

After reading an article some time last week about how celebrities and fashionistas alike, I got to head scratching. I mean, come on, who really spends $200+ dollars on a concert tee from 1979? Apparently a lot of people. And that break

Me? I would rather discover a long lost band treasure on a thrift jaunt than pay that much for one, but that's just me.

Enter Primark's Band Tees. The badassery is so real, ladies. I snagged two myself, one grommeted Ramones tee and one damn near ripped to shreds ACDC tee.

The best part? I didn't spend over $20 for the both of them. Meaning if your local thrift or salvation army doesn't have any of these goodies, you can always hit the mall and find one (or in my case 2) for cheap.

Reclaimed Readables, June 22nd

Happy Thursday folks!

Today's penny pinching Readables feature top rated drugstore skincare, 7 small ways to get your life together, stylish vacation essentials under $100, drugstore foundation celebrity MUA's actually use, why you should check out & Other Stories for summer stuff, and the designer level skincare you can get for pennies.

HelloGiggles: The designer level skincare you can get for under $20
WhoWhatWear: & Other Stories Summer goodies
The Zoe Report: Vacay essentials under $100
BuzzFeed: 7 small ways to affordably get your life together
Refinery 29: Drugstore foundation profess MUAs recommend
Huff Post: The top rated drugstore skin care

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Trevor Noah Calls out the NRA on the death of Philando Castille

Just to get straight to the point:

I know we all feel "some type of way" about the Philando Castille murder verdict.

I stumbled across the newly released dash cam footage of the incident this morning and regret seeing it. All of the sudden, my heart thundered in my chest. Waves of anger, pain, frustration, and sadness washed over me, the feelings all came back from the day I was one of many to witness Mr. Castille's murder live on Facebook.

That is why when one of my personal favorite commentators, Trevor Noah, spoke on the matter, I had to listen. Not only did he speak about those frustrations with the countless rising number of incidents involving police brutality and unnecessary deadly force on Black people, Trevor, brought up an interesting point of note. The difference in this particular case...

Which is that Philando Castille was a licensed gun owner and carrier.

If there is a group who wails and moans any time the whisper or hint of new legislations about guns, gun laws, and the like come up (even in the midst of events like the Pulse night club and Sandy Hook) it is the NRA. Who have been absolutely vocal about every other incident of gun owners feeling like "their rights are being taken away", yet here, with a perfect example and a perfect martyr to their cause, the NRA is "oddly" silent.

Things that make you go hmm...

Here is the clip:

Trevor is right (as he is with most things). The NRA should be losing their damn minds behind this insane verdict. That is unless you account for ethnicity.

Let's face it: if Philando Castille was Phillip Castle, a white man, riding in his car with his white daughter and white girl friend and every other detail was the same, there would be rioting in the streets. The NRA wouldn't stand for it. Society in general wouldn't stand for it. There would be vigils and masses and town halls. The NRA would lobby so hard to see than the officer who killed Phil would instantly lose his badge and end up behind bars for murder.

But because he was an African American man, Philando merely gets a hashtag on social media. His death seared into the collective consciousness of Black people as another brand of injustice...

Liberty and justice for some.

I don't have the answers. I wish I did, but I don't. Honestly, to live in the United States as a descendant of the African diaspora is to live with the constant under current of rage and frustration. And every brutal murder, like Philando, like Trayvon, and like Emmitt Till, the lynching of decades not too far gone, get buried in us, seeds of anguish and anger producing bitter fruit that we are forced to swallow day in and day out.

In choosing, Trevor said some other things I actually caught just today, on the experience of African Americans living here in the US. Here is the behind the scenes clip from last night's show. I think he sums it up better than I...

Reclaimed Readables, June 21st

Happy Hump Day my loves!

Today's Readables feature under $20 swimwear, over 20 amazing scented beauty products, how designer Prubal Gurung changed the plus size game, Halima Aden is the first to wear a hijab on Allure's cover, why you're probably wearing the wrong bra size, and Kamala Harris has created your play list for Black History.

Hello Giggles: 16 under $20 swimwear pieces
BuzzFeed: 26 beauty products that smell amazing
Fashionista: Prabal Gurung plus collab
Huff Post: Halima Aden first to wear hijab on Allure's cover, you wear the wrong bra size, Kamala Harris Black History playlist

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Reclaimed Readables, June 20th

Happy Tuesday loves! This week's #TuesdayShoesDay features  the Vans and Marc Jaobs collab you have to see, comfy heeled sandals for summer, Zendaya's fancy sneakers in her first Vogue shoot, what $30 shoe Wonder Woman wore on the Red Carpet, Adidas' cool kid rerelease, the perfect heel that has a waitlist of over 25K you can get your hands on, and 15 sandals you can literally spend all day in.

Vans and Marc Jacobs collab
Comfy heeled sandals
Zendaya's fancy sneakers in her first Vogue shoot
Gal Gidot rocks $30 sandals on red carpet
Adidas' next reissue is too cool
Everlane's shoe 28000 people are wait listed for
15 sandals you can spend the day in

Sandals for Gypsies and Summer Nymphs Under $50

It is pedicure season and that means showing off your cutest colors in the best sandals. For those of us of the Bohemian persuasion, that means beaded, embroidered, suede, and of course very comfortable. Here are some fun flat sandals to wrap at the festivals or the flea market. Oh and the best part? These are all under 50 bucks. Happy shoes day loves!

Sandals for Gypsies and Summer Nymphs Under $50

Monday, June 19, 2017

Trend Alert: Pool Slides for the guys

Some days. It is honestly too hot for shoes. Who wouldn't want to slip into something with the comfort of a sneaker and the openness of a sandal? Enter the pool slide. And here are my top picks under $50.


Trend Alert: Pool Slides for the guys

Vans mens slipon shoes

NIKE mens open toe shoes
$21 -

Superdry men's shoes
$19 -

Puma men s fashion
$23 -

Jack Jones men s fashion
$18 -

Reclaimed Readables, June 19th

Happy Monday handsomes!

This week's #ManCrushMonday Readables feature the on trend pieces worth investing in, how to build your summer capsule wardrobe, the best lifestyle apps for busy guys, the best of Pitto Uomo street style, how to do a white suit well, and Trevor Noah's cool suit combo you want to see.

GQ: Trevor Noah's cool suit combo, white suit tips, best of Pitto Uomo style
Menswear Style: Lifestyle apps for busy dudes, summer capsule wardrobe, on trend pieces

Saturday, June 17, 2017

How to do Father's Day when your Dad is Darth Vader

The relationship I have with my dad is, well, complicated at best.

I love him. I love my father like I love no man in my life. I will always love him. And he will always have a special place in my heart that no one will ever take.

That being said, my dad, for all of his wonderful traits, was an abusive man. I saw was, even though he is still alive and we speak briefly, because I have placed the necessary distance from him in order to keep myself emotionally and, at certain points in our relationship, physically safe.

The truth is at one point in my life, my dad became everything I despised about the male gender: misogynistic, womanizing, unfaithful, violent, dishonest. He, at times, felt more like the villain of my short story than the hero I even at those young ages knew he was supposed to be. He felt more like Darth Vader (Star Wars) than anything else. There were epic battles, hurtful exchanges, and periods of silence and distance I know for sure hurt us both. That compounded upon the fact that he was indeed my dad, that I was half him, and that his reign of pain and terror didn't just affect me but my many siblings and their mothers as well hurt me deeply. I learned to keep my tender heart on guard and incased as to avoid pain that I had almost become accustomed to.

However, the truth is also, as I got older, that there were moments where I did see him trying, where he was doing his best, and where genuine love for me was expressed.

But my at times rocky relationship with my dad has not embittered me for Father's Day. Over the years, I have learned so much that has actually helped me celebrate fathers, even mine, on Father's Day:

1) Honor him, even if that means not being like him
I have vivid memories of my dad breaking promises and being absolutely frightening to us. I hated the way that being around him made me nervous and unsure. So, I promised myself that I would never let anyone, especially not the little ones in my life ever feel that way. I would try my hardest to do the things I said, I would do my best to be a woman of integrity and of my word. I would lower my voice, be tolerant, patient, and kind, especially to kids. In that way, I fulfill my faith commitment "Honor thy mother and thy father, so that thy days be prolonged and it may go well with you" without putting myself in a potentially dangerous situation.

2) If it is safe (physically, emotionally, spiritually) reach out and wish him a Happy Father's Day
I plan on speaking to my dad on Father's Day, if for nothing else, because it is the right thing to do and I have placed him at a distance where I can be safe. If you can speak to your dad and it won't do any harm to you, then do so. But be wise and keep yourself at a safe distance, whether emotionally or physically.

3) Let it go
Ever met someone who was unforgiving? Ever notice how bitter and resentful that person is? Nobody sets out to be that way, but letting the hurts of life steal your sweetness makes you bitter.

Forgiveness is vital for your sweetness and your sanity. Carrying around resentment only ruins your life. It may make the other person feel bad, but at the end of the day, the only person trapped by your resent meant is you.

Forgiving someone is not letting someone off the hook. There is a huge difference between Forgiveness and Restoration. You can (and should) absolutely let go of the slights and abuses without restoring someone back to the place where they once were. In fact, sometimes, that is the only option.

4) Do not let that relationship affect your other "fatherly" relationships
I have been blessed by being surrounded by a plethora of fatherly relationships. Awesome and whole men like my step dad, family friends, ministers, reverends, and the like have all filled a fatherly function in one way or another. I have received more wisdom, help, and kindness from these blessings to my life than I can count.

If I let the complicated relationship I had with my dad affect that, where would I be? I would have missed out on all of the joy and advice that has so enriched my life.

5) Find a dad to celebrate
This really helped me. Those dad's above really blessed my life. It is easy to celebrate them. But even if those dad's weren't there, I can look at my peers and celebrate them. I can look at friends and celebrate them as fathers. There are dads everywhere you look, whether biological or spiritual, they are everywhere. Find a few and tell them what a good job they are doing.

6) Don't spoil Father's Day for others
Here is the truth: Father's Day has become this embittered platform for the hurt to rant and rave about the problems have as a people with the dad epidemic. I understand that. And that discussion has a time and a place.

But Father's Day isn't about you and your feelings. It's a celebrations of the dads who are doing right. For dads who have been there and did well. For dads who may be gone but their spirit lives on in their children who remember them. If you cannot find a dad to celebrate, do not take to social media or find a place to rant and spoil it for the good ones.

7) Celebrate your Heavenly Father
God is the ULTIMATE Father. He created Fatherhood and stands as the perfect representation of that. Having a relationship with my Heavenly Father helped me do all of the above and then some with my own dad. Psalm 27:10 says "Even if my father and mother abandon me, the LORD will hold me close (NLT)". I could "punish" God by keeping myself far from Him because of the father he gave me here, or I can realize that ultimately, God is my Father and that my earthly father is as flawed as I am, forgive him, and let the love of my Heavenly Father fill the voids I felt by earthly dad.

In Matthew 7:9-11, Jesus talks about how loving our Heavenly Father is using this example, saying "What man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? "Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!" Jesus, in essence, is saying that no matter how "good" or "bad" your dad is or was, no one can beat the love, provision, grace, and kindness of our Heavenly Father.

So whether your dad was the villain or the hero of your story, make the choice to make this year a happy Father's day. The choice is in your hands. May the force be with you.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Reclaimed Readables, June 16th

Happy Friday loves!

Let's wrap up this week with Readables featuring the summer color combo Tracee Ellis Ross is responsible for, how real women are reconquering the beach, the pattern everyone wears in the summer and why, 6 life lessons you learn when making jorts, the next cult beauty product under $20, and 15 ruble awesome facts in Wonder Woman.

HelloGiggles: Tracee Ellis Ross summer color combo
Refinery29: Real women take back the beach
The Cut: Gingham in the summer
Racked: 6 life lessons learned from making jorts
The Zoe Report: The next cult product is $16
BuzzFeed: 15 subtle things in Wonder Woman

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Reclaimed Readables, June 15th

Greetings and Salutations!

This week's Sweet and Cheap Readables feature cheap sunnies that only look expensive, how shopping on a budget affects your actual style, how to make a week's worth of healthy lunches for about $20, free or cheap Father's Day ideas, the best discount travel sites, and creative ways to earn extra cash.

My Domaine: Best discount travel sites, creative ways to make some extra cash
HelloGiggles: Free or Cheap Father's Day ideas
BuzzFeed: A week's worth of lunches for $20
ManRepeller: How shopping on a budget affects style
The Cut: Cheap sunnies that only look expensive