Bridal Bliss: Wedding Planning Tips & Tricks



Hey Fashloves,

As you all know, my wedding is quickly approaching and there have been SO many things that I have

FashTalks: Post Grad Life, NYFW & Career Confusion


Hey Fashloves!

So let me warn you all, todays post will be a little different. I won't be chatting about the latest fashion trends or giving you guys tips on how to maximize your wardrobe. Today I'm going to be real. I'm going to share my thoughts and hope that it resonates with you. Today I'm going to give the 411 on this journey that I call life and not sugar coat anything. Today is our first FashTalk. 

FashTalks will serve as my opportunity to provide insight on what goes on in this millennial filled mind of mine and share various things that take place in my life that I leave behind the scenes. I promise they won't be blog posts of me going on and on about my woes or pumping up my accomplishments. I would love for this to serve as a conversation for the both of us. So if you agree with me or even want to drop a piece of advice for other readers then please, comment below!

                                 Post Grad Life, NYFW, & Career Confusion 


Woohoo! I finally graduated from college last month (Thank God). While these past four years were awesome, it was definitely time for me to go. Me telling you I was excited is an understatement. I was so ready to start "real" life and get out of the student mentality. Although post grad life has brought me a ton of freedom, the student life has been replaced by adult life and that is a whole other story. 

Everyone who knows me knows that I always have a plan. I am a planner by nature and by sophomore year I already decided exactly where I would be upon graduation. After attending Teen Vogue Fashion University I was so inspired and on fire that I thought I couldn't be stopped. There were days where I spent hours looking up internships and programs that I could take part of. I knew I would be in New York City, working in the fashion industry, and I was so driven to work my way up to my desire profession. Going to NYFW, meeting with editors/executives, and working with top level designers were all apart of my plan. 

Boy was I wrong. 

Here I am, still in Tampa. Not working in the fashion industry. What the heck? 

I can definitely say I was confused. I immediately started doubting what I even wanted to do with my life and didn't understand why the heck I wasn't living my dreams yet. It took me reaching rock bottom to realize, God has me exactly where He wants me. 

The enemy wants me to doubt my abilities. I felt like I should have the perfect career and making a decent salary just because I feel entitled to and it was "planned". Well God has a plan. And that plan is HIS plan. So no I'm not currently in New York City working as a fashion editor for InStyle or Essence. I'm not a top level blogger who is able to give advice on how I'm making 6 figures just with my content. But guess what? I know where I am right now career wise is not my forever. I know that with patience what I am supposed to contribute will be revealed. God is currently birthing my purpose within me and preparing me for what He has in store. 

If any of you are out there are feeling down & confused because you had so many expectations for yourself and you haven't even met half of them, just know you aren't alone. Trust me when I say there are times where everything feels like it sucks. You just want to give up on your present circumstances and you may even question why you went to school in the first place. But just remember there is a light at the end of your tunnel. Stay focused on what God has placed in front of you and work towards goals that were set for you. 

Felt like you are led to start a YouTube channel? Do it. Always feel a pull to create paintings & express yourself through art? Then do it. Want to finally start that creative business that you have been putting on the back burner? You know what I'm going to say by now! Just do it! Although it is easier said then done, the effort of putting your idea to fruition will all be worth it. 

I hope this post gave a little inspiration to those who feel like they aren't sure what to do when things you have had planned for years isn't going your way. Comment below if you relate and if you are feeling these new #FashTalks. 


How to Prepare for Your Engagement Photoshoot


If you're a new reader then you may not be aware so I wanted to announce: I'm getting married! Not only am I blessed and grateful to be marrying this lovely man that God has placed in my life as my soulmate, I am super excited to be planning our union! 

Our wedding is soon approaching & I know I have pretty quiet about it. If you have been a part of a union then you know everything is typically on the hush hush because you want to save it as a surprise until your big day! Although I won't give up too many details I def want to share with you all how the process has been so far, what you should plan for if you are a bride to be (or if you just love weddings), and various fun things like DIYs. 

Today’s focus will be on prepping for your engagement pictures and how I set mine up. We took our pictures pretty late but I wanted to ensure our wedding photographer would take them so it worked out perfectly! 

1. Find your Bomb Photographer 


The key to having banging engagement pictures is definitely choosing the right photographer. I personally recommend having your wedding photographer take your engagement photos for you because not only does it build trust/confidence in their skills, it also allows the three of you to build a connection that is essential for your wedding day. Choosing our photographer for the wedding quickly became a very important task for me because I wanted to make sure that they could properly capture our union. Brandon and I were incredibly happy with how our engagement pictures turned out so now I’m super stoked to see what else is produced by our awesome photographer Ashley from Ashley Canay Videography and Photography

I also recommend choosing a photographer who is great at editing and is stress free. Thankfully, Ashley excels at both so we are good to go! Also, being able to work hand in hand with your photographer is important because regardless of the weather or location change, they will be able to think quick on their feet and ensure your session is still smooth. 

2. Plan a Creative Vision for Your Shoot 


So you have your photographer and scheduled your shoot. The next step would be to start getting your creative juices flowing and plan out exactly what story you want your pictures to portray. I believe that your engagement photos set the tone for your wedding so it’s best to have your shoot reflect that style. So let’s say you absolutely love all things vintage and can’t imagine your engagement pictures looking any other way. I would first recommend letting your photographer know so the two of you could collaborate to find the perfect location. 

Pinterest will be your best friend throughout your wedding planning process so be sure to use it as a tool to help select your props, choose your poses, and get tons of inspiration. Brandon and I both wanted our pictures to showcase our love and not really have a "staged" look. Most of our photos are either candid or us embracing other which is exactly what I pictured! 

3. Choose Your Looks Together


To coordinate or not to coordinate? That is the question! 

After deciding which creative direction you two would like to go, it's time to choose your outfits. Taking our pictures a little late allowed us to be able to coordinate our looks based on our wedding colors. I knew I really wanted to do this because I plan on incorporating these photos in our wedding venue and our website. It was pretty easy to choose our outfits because we knew semi-formal was the way to go and represents us pretty well. If you are choosing the outfit for your Fiance' as well be sure to take into account his style. The wedding planning process is for the both of you guys so having him uncomfortable is a no no! 

Ladies I would also recommend bringing a pair of flats along with you to the photoshoot if you plan on wearing heels. You may be walking a little bit to find your desired spot and you don't want your ankles to give out on you! 

4. Take your Pictures & Have Fun! 


Please, please, please remember to have fun! Being super stressed out, whether it's prior or during your photoshoot, will definitely show in your pictures. Brandon and I were laughing basically the whole time so luckily it was a breeze! You'll be looking back on these photos God willingly for years to come so make sure you are able to see your love radiate throughout your pictures. 

As I stated earlier, I will be using these photos for both our wedding venue and website. We already created our Save the Date cards, but if you're wondering how else you could use them then that is also a perfect route to go! As I stated earlier in the post, I'll be creating more content focused on my wedding planning process so be sure to stay tuned!


Fall Fashion Ready


Hey Fashloves,

Fall fashion is finally almost upon us! From the warm autumn hues to the incorporation of outerwear, Fall has always been my favorite season for both the weather and its fashion trends. Although the sunshine in Florida doesn't seem to have any plans on exiting any time soon, I couldn't resist bringing in a piece of Fall into my look by sporting one of my fave light-weight duster coats.


This simple look is perfect for a day out with the girls or a late lunch with your significant other. Looking to take a minimal look up a notch? Try adding outerwear such as a duster coat or a long line vest. They are perfect ways to add a sophisticated touch to your outfits while also adding dimension. I personally can't wait to add more outerwear to my collection, especially those made of heavier fabrics for winter traveling purposes. 

Are any of you all excited for Fall as much as I am? Let me know your thoughts! 

Summer Time Ready: Beauty Must Haves


Hey Fashloves,


If you’ve been checking out the last few posts then you know we are celebrating all things summer this month on the blog. From protecting your hair during these warm months to trend updates, I made it a goal to make sure we are all Summer Time Ready this season. One part of the summer time that I personally can never pass up is definitely beauty so I’m excited to bring this next post to you!

I was able to get insight from Therlandia, bomb beauty blogger and creator of the Look ExquiZite brand on which products we can't pass up this season. Take a look below to be caught up on the ‘IT’ products of this month that you need to get your hands on for your summer beauty kit written by her!

                                                            ***


1. For an Affordable, Yet Effective Contour 


Black Radiance True Complexion Contour Palette

I was really impressed by this contour palette by Black Radiance and its effectiveness. I found it at Walmart for under $8!  Having all the powders I need to set my contour in one palette is very convenient.  Black Radiance did a great job with the shades. Aside from the two matte colors used to angle the face, it also comes with a shimmery bronzer to highlight the cheekbones.

         2.  For The Ultimate Summer Glow 


Hikari Shimmery Bronzer

This beautiful golden bronzer is PERFECT for the highlight rave right now. Everyone from makeup gurus, to the average consumer, is obsessed with getting that perfect glow. The gold and orange undertones really make things pop! Besides the sparkle, this mini bronzer palette has two other colors: brown and a golden pink to counter and add blush.

         3.  For a Lip Color That Can Withstand The Heat 


ColourPop Ultra Matte Liquid Lipsticks

These ColourPop lippies give nothing but life and at such an inexpensive cost! Can you believe that each one only costs $6?  Don't let the cheap price fool you, these pigmented lipsticks are good quality products; some of the best lip makeup I've ever used. The company's color selection seems limitless and there are plenty of vibrant colors for the summer (every season really). My current favorite are "OUJI" & "MARS". I always pair them with a lip pencil ("Kae" lip pencil by ColourPop).


Summer 2016 Eye Shadow Palette Favorite

Modern Renaissance Palette by Anastasia Beverly Hills 



Links à la Mode, July 21



So grateful that Fashilluminous has been selected for Links à la Mode once again! Be sure to check out the lovely bloggers who also got chosen this week and enjoy the posts!

Links à la Mode, July 21
SPONSOR: Shopbop DL1961, Marc Jacobs Clothing, STATE Bags, PAMPELONE, Petersyn, Rendor and Steel, Pool Party Accessories, Denim Culottes, Hobo Bags, Men's New Era

5 Things blogging has taught me


Hey Fashloves,

This month marks the second year that Fashilluminous has officially been live to the public. I’ve probably stated this a million times but every time I think about it I find it crazy how Fashilluminous initially started out as a way for me to simply track my journey as I pursued a career in the fashion industry but has grown into so much more. I wanted to basically keep it to myself and use it as a personal diary if you will. To be completely honest, I also lacked a bit of self-confidence when it came to blogging which contributed to me keeping quiet about it. I thought since I didn’t have a certain ‘look’, there was no point of putting myself out there to the public. It was as if I was setting myself up for failure.

Thankfully because of the push from my Fiancé and close friends I was able to put these negative thoughts to the side and publish my content for the world to see. It was weird. It was different. It made me a bit uncomfortable. But there is honestly a beauty in becoming comfortable being uncomfortable which I learned throughout these 2 years my blog has been live.

I’m sure if you are currently a blogger, you probably can relate to at least one or two points that I’ve learned throughout my journey. I hope this can serve as bit of an inspiration for those who are starting out blogging or even those who have blogged for years.

I learned to be more patient 

After officially deciding to put Fashilluminous out there, I started to create a few goals for myself that I wanted to reach within its first year. I knew I had to build my social media, network with other bloggers, get thousands of views, etc. But when some of these goals weren’t met immediately I started to doubt my work and subsequently thought it wasn’t up to par. One great piece of advice I could give to any aspiring or new bloggers is not to rush your process. There is a beauty in building your blog from the ground up and watching it flourish on its own time. Even if you find your posts having only 10 views or your social media posts lacking some engagement rest assured that with more time and hard work, growth will follow.

I learned to be confident in my work

One thing I take super seriously is the content I create. Over these last two years I learned what worked and what didn't work for my blog. I figured out how to structure the content I knew I wanted to put out and work to have it mirror my brand image. When you first start blogging you may be told "the more content the better" but I believe this advice shouldn't be the case if your posts aren't well thought out or at least cohesive. I'm not saying this to say my posts are perfect but what I have learned is to not necessarily strive for perfection but be confident in the best work you put out.

I learned that I love being creative

Having a blog has definitely allowed my creativity to flourish! From planning out looks to structuring branded content, I've learned how to take a small project from an idea and make it a reality. For those who think blogging can't be that serious, trust me it is! It definitely takes a good amount of time and effort to be a content creator who is satisfied with what they bring to the table. Since having my blog, I have also been able to provide tons of advice for those who are interested in starting a project of their own whether its a new creative business idea or their own YouTube channel. In short, you can say I love spread creativity in the minds of others. 

I learned that blogging takes hard work 

Ever find the tasks that you feel like should be so simple actually the hardest? (think choosing an outfit or even getting out of bed!). One of the hardest tasks that I believe should be the easiest in the blogging world has to be remaining consistent. I usually have tons of fun and fresh content ideas that I can't wait to put out to the public but another part of my life pushes back the production. There have even been times where I would plan out an entire look, piece together the post in my head, take the photos, and in the end be discontent with every single picture. Instead of being in a rut and completely giving up I accept that there will be off days and to put my best foot forward. 

I learned how to find my voice

Growing up I can honestly say I've always found myself in the background. I've never been outspoken and would typically been seen as quiet or shy if you didn't get to know me. This is an ongoing struggle that I have been dealing with but thanks to Fashilluminous I feel as if I found my way to release. Through my blog I've been able to have public speaking engagements and even contribute content to other creators who find that they enjoy my posts. While this is just the beginning of my journey, I'm so grateful for the growth that I have experience thus far.


I hope you all enjoyed this post and can apply a bit of it to your lives! If you are a blogger, let me know what you think blogging has taught you so far and what you would like to accomplish in the future. Until next time fashloves!




Trend Report: Off the Shoulder Top



Hey Fashloves,

Every season us trend loving babes are always on the hunt to find ways to incorporate the seasons must have pieces into our wardrobe. Whenever I think of the Summer time I always think of a nice pair of shorts, trendy loose fitting tops, and cute sunglasses (hence my look for today). The off the shoulder top has taken this season by storm and can pretty much be found in every retail store as well as every bloggers closet.

Although I identify more with being a minimalist, this season I have been more and more attracted to eye catching prints. I literally can't get enough of them!


Fash Tip: During the Summer time I believe a warm & healthy glow is a must. Whenever I know I'll be showing my collar bone, I always remember to apply highlighter to them so they can shine. I've been loving Anatasia Beverly Hill's Glow Kit in Sun Dipped this season (it is definitely a must have!)

Top: HM // Shorts: Platos Closet // Shoes: HM // Shades: Agaci

Off the shoulder tops have definitely received the #SummerTimeReady stamp of approval this month. Let me know your thoughts on this current must have trend and if you have incorporated it into your wardrobe this season!


Summertime Ready: Protective Styles 101


Hey Fashloves,

Within the natural hair community, protective styles are seen as a curly girls best friend and especially important during the summer time. These styles not only allows your hair to be safely tucked away but requires very little maintenance which is perfect for our tresses. From long braids to kinky twists, protective styles are essential due to the promotion of healthy hair growth (if taken care of properly of course). Personally, this was my first time getting braids and boy do I love them! I was also able to chat with Protective Style hair stylist and guru Lynda Jay to get the inside scoop on these styles and the importance of them during a natural hair journey.

1. Benefits of Protective Styles

While there are tons of benefits of protective styles, Lynda states that in her eyes the top three are length retention, protection, and a much needed break from dealing with our hair.  Being that I am currently 5 months post I can definitely say I agree with her 100%. The low manipulation prevents damage that can occur from various factors such as heat from styling, combing every day, and even natural toxins. When sporting protective styles such as braids, the new hair growth is also being stretched which promotes more length and a bit less shrinkage (we all know that shrinkage is REAL!)

2. Protective Styles for Transitioning Ladies 

"Yes, I do believe that it is vital for a woman who is transitioning to engage in a protective style at least once annually." Lynda states. Most ladies who are currently in the transitioning process from relaxed to natural typically has a hair regimen or schedule that they follow closely when maintaining their hair. I knew when I decided to make the big switch that protective styles would be crucial in my process. On my personal calendar I scheduled out exactly when I would get my style installed and exactly how long I would leave it in (Organization is the key, even when it comes to hair). Lynda also states that these styles aren't only essential for women who are transitioning, but for every woman with relaxed or natural hair in general.


Thinking protective styles are only weaves? Think again! Lynda gave me the 411 and reminded me that although weave is the most popular, one can protective style with her real hair. Any sort of braiding or twisting is beneficial just as well as weaving. 

3. Recommendations for Protective style newbies

When it came down to choosing which style I wanted I had a hard time because literally all of the styles gave me life. Need help choosing as well? Lynda recommends a hair style that doesn't cause too much tension to the scalp. Wigs, twists, or crochet styles do a good job at achieving this. Styles such as braids and faux dread locs are great options as well but beginning protective stylers will feel more tension, weight, and pain with these styles. Her advice to beginners would be to allow yourself at least two hair styles to get yourself familiar with having the additional hair on your head.


4. Taking care of your protective style

Moisturizing is key when it comes to healthy hair growth period. I used to think a little hair grease would do the trick but I was totally wrong. It is important to take the time out at least every other day to properly nourish the scalp with essential products. I have been using the LOC method thus far with my protective style and have seen positive results. This technique moisturizes and seals all in one which is perfect!



I was lucky enough to have Lynda install my braids this past month and can definitely say I love her work. If you are in the Tampa Bay area and in search for an awesome hair (and make up) stylist then look no further because Lynda is your girl. Be sure to let me know your thoughts on these styles and show me your #SummerTimeReady protective hair style that you are rocking this season!



Discovering Style: Minimalist or Maximalist



Hey Fashloves,

When it comes to personal style, we all have our preferences as to which looks are our favorites and line up with any style rules we live by. From runway presentations to street style, we are flooded with new trends every season which makes it a bit difficult to stay true to our style mantras. I personally believe one way to alleviate this fashion frenzy is to first figure out what your true personal style is and secondly determine which look you identify with the most. After figuring these out, both shopping and styling yourself should be a breeze. 

Discovering personal style isn't something that happens over night. In fact, it may take years before one can truly become comfortable with their looks and attire. It was during my time in college that I was actually able to hone in on my style preferences and become content with the outfits I produce. I determined that instead of wearing the super bold looks that I became accustomed to prior to college, I grew to prefer and love a more simplistic and chic style. 

This leads into the segment of minimalism and maximalism. While they are both seen as lifestyle preferences for many, within the fashion world these trends are dominating the scene. I believe the knowledge of these two lifestyles essential when it comes to figuring out your look.

Minimalist


When describing a minimalist, the first thing that should come to mind is the concept of less is more. A minimalist can be found in timeless silhouettes, muted color palettes, and chic/simple looks. Most minimalists don't believe in having tons of pieces, instead they prefer to mix and match within their wardrobe creating new looks based on what they have. Since figuring out my personal style I've found myself admiring the minimalist trend and definitely relating to it. My birthday look both this year and last year are perfect examples of how I styled minimalist looks. 

Maximalist


When it comes to maximalism, always think bold and striking prints that instantly stand out. The maximalist isn't afraid of mixing prints, colors, or embellishments and thrives on the mantra more is more. This trend has been featured on numerous runways and becoming more common throughout street style looks as well. 

Now having the knowledge of these two styles of life, it's time to determine which trend you fall under more. Are you a simplistic minimalist or a daring maximalist? Take this quiz to figure out!

Let me know your results!


Girl Chat: Natural Hair



Hey Fashloves,

As you all may know, I am currently on the road to healthy hair. I decided I would transition to fully natural tresses and although I am still in the beginning phases (3 months post) I am super excited for this journey! I had the opportunity to speak to the lovely Amandia Reese Craig, founder of Glensford Beauty Academy and the Change your Life with Beauty radio show, and my girl Amanda Mbuya about various topics about natural hair/ our feelings towards it. 

Be sure to check out the video below to hear our thoughts (part 2 coming soon) and be sure to let us know how you feel! 

Healthy Hair Journey: Cantu 30 Day Challenge


Hey Fashloves,

I'm super excited to tell you guys about this awesome challenge that I will be embarking on for a month! If you've read my natural hair journey post (click here to read it) then you know I am all about taking great care of my hair and transitioning from getting relaxers. Since I've been maintaining my own hair lately, I'm always on the hunt for awesome healthy products that can make my transitioning process as smooth as possible while strengthening my new natural hair growth.



From April 15th to May 15th I will be embarking on a challenge to healthy hair by solely using Cantu products! This challenge is presented by Change Your Life with Beauty and Glensford Beauty Academy in collaboration with Cantu (of course!). Throughout the month I'll be providing product reviews, hair inspiration chats, and much more.

But guess what? I want you all to join this journey with me! Join this challenge by either only using Cantu Beauty products or introducing their items into your regimen and document your progress as well. In the meantime go ahead and visit Cantubeauty.com to find out more information about this fabulous hair care line as well as Changeyourlifewithbeauty.com to get tons of inspiration ranging from style to relationships.




Links a La Mode: April 7th