YCS Review: Kaff & Co. Shampoo and Scalp Treatment

By Erika, Fashion Expert

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Over the last year or so, I have become more obsessed than ever with using the best ingredients to care for my skin, body and hair.  Anyone who has followed along on the YCS Instagram account has, undoubtedly, seen me using my Andrelle’s Natural Skin Care, Kiehl’s, and The Body Shop products, or experimenting with my own concoctions in the InstaStories.  Call it age, or maturity, or whatever, but lately, I’ve been more careful about the products I’m using on my body – making sure there is a measurable benefit and are all-natural when possible.  That’s why I was particularly excited about the opportunity to review shampoo and scalp treatments from Kaff & Co.

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Yay! My products just arrived! Fresh out the Amazon box! (Ignore our unmade bed!)

Kaff & Co. is a Thai-based company that was started after the founder’s husband began to use Kaffir Lime Essential Oil to treat rashes and hair loss associated with a rheumatic condition.  The company believes in “balance and harmony” and applies this concept throughout the entirety of its manufacturing and production process – from selecting the right natural ingredients – including kaffir lime, ginger rhizome, soap nut, Indian gooseberry, and pro-vitamin B5 – to managing the quantities and portions of each ingredient used.  Each ingredient is selected because of their healing properties for the scalp and hair and all products have been lab-tested and verified by dermatologists for use.

Kaff & Co. offers two formulations each for shampoo – dry/normal scalp and oily –  and scalp treatments – dandruff/itchy scalp and thinning/hair loss.  Because I suffer from seborrheic dermatitis (a common skin condition that mainly affects your scalp and can cause scaly patches, red skin and stubborn dandruff), I chose the oily scalp and dandruff/itchy scalp formulations to try.

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So excited to give Kaff & Co. a try!

It seems counter intuitive to a lot of people for me to get a treatment for oily hair because many people think that the scaly patches and other signs of seborrheic dermatitis mean the scalp needs more oil.  But the opposite is actually true as it is caused by an over production of oil (feel free to google seborrheic dermatitis if you want all of the details).  At this point, I’ve had it for years and I’m able to keep it under control by trying manage my stress levels, water intake and diet, and using certain shampoos, conditioners and scalp treatments.  However, other things that exacerbate the disease, like the weather, are beyond my control; therefore, with the seasons changing this was the perfect time for me to give Kaff & Co. a shot!

The Process & The Product

Using both products is simple enough.  I mean, we all shampoo our hair regularly, right?  Simply rinse your hair (I did my first treatment after a particularly grueling boot camp), use a few pumps of shampoo, lather and apply to your scalp.  The key is to massage the shampoo into your hair AND scalp for about 30 seconds.  I tend to do this anyway because of the way I treat my dermatitis, but it’s a helpful reminder for everybody!  Rinse your hair and scalp and proceed as usual.  I did two rounds of washing (I like the squeaky sound of clean hair and because it’s recommended for oily scalps) then skipped the conditioner.  I read somewhere that this worked well even without conditioner and I really wanted to see if that was the case.  Of course, you can use conditioner but, for the best results, it’s recommended that you avoid the scalp area with the conditioner.

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The Ginger Rhizome & Kaffir Lime Shampoo is formulated to help remove excess sebum (the oil that causes seborrheic dermatitis), reduce hair fall, stimulate blood circulation and promote healthy hair growth.  This is all thanks to the ginger rhizome – which can help supress an enzyme linked to hair loss and strengthen hair roots, among other things – and kaffir lime – which helps cleanse your hair and scalp of product residue, environmental pollutants, and sweat.

Next, I used the Kaffir Lime Essential Oil scalp treatment.  This leave-on treatment helps improve scalp conditions and calm an irritated scalp; both of which I desperately needed given the extreme temperature swings in the weather lately.  After towel drying my hair I added drops of the scalp oil directly to my scalp.  I put a few extra drops in my known trouble spots, like my hairline and the back of my head, and then massaged it into my scalp.  After that, I threw on my SLAP (another product review for another day) and went to bed.  I would definitely recommend doing the scalp treatment at night as you’ll want to give it a chance to work its magic and it’s recommended that you avoid sunlight for a few hours after use. Bonus: my scalp got tingly (like, when you use tea tree oil, nothing scary!) after putting on the treatment.  I always feel like something is working when I can feel it.

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Straight out of the InstaStories so you know it’s real!

The Results

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One day after using Kaff & Co. Shampoo and Scalp Treatment

The next morning I brushed out my hair, blow dried a few damp spots (always on low, cool) and then flat ironed it. Much to my surprise, I felt the results almost immediately.  I hadn’t needed any conditioner to soften my hair (I was worried about that since I’d skipped it) and only used a small amount of oil to flat iron my hair.  Even sans conditioner, I could feel how soft my hair was. After just one use, I was really pleased with the product.

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Since then, I’ve been using the scalp treatment every 2-3 nights and have also used the shampoo as a part of my regular wash cycle.  I have noticed that even as the temperatures have dipped I haven’t had any dermatitis breakouts; I’m always on the look out at this time of year! I don’t normally use a ton of product in my hair and with this, I’ve been using even less.  Just a little Vitamin E oil every few days and some edge control in the morning and I’m good to go!

I am very pleased with this product and would definitely recommend it – especially if you suffer from seborrheic dermatitis like me!

Where to Shop

For US-based customers, you can order Kaff & Co. products via Amazon!   If you happen to be in Thailand, you can purchase the products on their website.  Products range from about $15-$30.

Final Rating

stars

(mostly because it’s just really hard to get 5 stars out of me for anything)

When you grab this product be sure to stop by YCS and let me know what you think!

XOXO,
Erika

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Conversations: Avier W., Shop Avier

By Erika, Fashion Expert

I am so very excited to share my interview with the owner of Shop Avier in today’s blog post.  YCS has always been excited about and committed to showcasing small businesses and Black-owned businesses.  But today’s interview is extra special.  Not only is Avier a friend of mine, a BOSS, and fellow entrepreneur – she is also a Howard Bison just like me!

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MAN Sunglasses x Shop Avier

If you’ve checked the YCS Instagram or Facebook, you’ll see me rocking sunnies from the Shop Avier collection.  What you don’t know, is that Avier provides, on top of fabulous sunglasses, a stellar client experience.  When I first hit Avier up about ordering a pair of sunglasses for myself, I asked her to show me the styles that would fit my face shape.  She shared a number of shades that wee outside of my comfort zone aesthetically.  I wasn’t sure but decided to trust the expert and order a pair.  Boy was she spot on!  She nailed picking out glasses that were flattering for my face, fit in with my personal style aesthetic AND managed to push me outside of my comfort zone.  After that, I was hooked and Shop Avier is my first stop for ordering sunglasses (I’m averaging a new pair every 3-ish weeks).  The thing I appreciated was that Avier holds true to her motto to deliver the “ultimate sunglass experience.” The service is stellar, the shipping is fast, and the prices are reasonable. Seriously, check out the website for yourself: www.shopavier.com.

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Eye Spy Sunglasses x Shop Avier

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Eye Spy Sunglasses x Shop Avier

Without further adieu, here is the YCS interview with Avier Whitfield, owner of Shop Avier!

Q: Can you tell the readers who you are and what your business is?

Howdy y’all (yes, I’m from the great state of Texas, lol); I am Avier Whitfield, owner of Shop Avier, your fashion forward, affordable, Black-owned sunglasses online boutique. The goal  is to create “euphoria” when you shop my store. We will also begin consultations in another month. It is truly, your “ultimate sunglass experience!”

Q: What made you passionate about sunglasses/eyewear and providing your clients with the “Ultimate Sunglasses Experience?” What inspired you to go into business for yourself?

I’ve always had a passion for fashion. ALWAYS. I was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease when I was 17 years old. I knew that my health was in jeopardy. I was always sick. It always took over my life. A few years after graduating from THE HOWARD UNIVERSITY, I got accepted into the Fashion Institute of Technology, but couldn’t graduate because I was in need of a transplant.

After I received my transplant (waiting on the list for 11 years), I could never keep a job. I’ve always worked part time because I would always struggle with my health. I prayed for many years asking God to help me pursue my passion and the desires of my heart. I woke up one morning and checked my past orders for sunglasses and when I tell you, THE AMOUNT OF MONEY I SPENT ON SUNGLASSES WAS UNREAL. I thought, “I should open a sunglass business because I fervor sunglasses and I would still be working in the fashion industry.”

My son, Logan, helped [motivated me to go] into business for myself. I just knew I wouldn’t be alive to leave anything here on earth for him. I suffered a miscarriage this year and I was told that I had a week to live because my organs were failing. My job was on the verge of firing me due to my disability, I would be hospitalized for weeks. God said to me “Avier, the time is NOW! Get up and start your business, don’t worry about resources, a website, business cards, or nothing. I will supply all of your needs.” August 31, 2018, Shop Avier was born.

Q: When and where did you get started in fashion?

My mom loves fashion, so I would say it started with her. Growing up I waited for the mail man to deliver my mom’s Essence, InStyle, and Vogue magazines. I always played dress up. I watched New York Fashion week every September and February. I followed fashion icons such as Karl Lagerfield, June Ambrose, and Racheal Zoe, just to name a few.

Q: What does fashion mean to you?

Hmmm. It’s an expression. It’s however I feel when I wake up. It’s pairing a pair of sweats with some YSL or Jimmy Chu pumps, a fedora and a blazer. Fashion is impressionable. Fashion is a good dark lip, a pair of Vans, some Shop Avier frames and my dudes overly large t-shirt.

Q: What accessory and eyewear trends can we expect to see?

Oh my GOODNESSSSSS. My “Gant” line (which means “glove” in French) will be here in November. I’m extremely excited. These gloves are so fierce you’re going to want to wear them to bed, honey. I also have the “Baroque” and more men styles coming soon. Im also a bag whore, so in 2019 Shop Avier will provide some amazing styles of bags. Im super geeked!

Q: How do you pick your inventory?

SIMPLE. IF I DON’T LIKE IT I DON’T BUY IT. IF I WONT WEAR IT, I DON’T BUY IT!

Q: If someone is looking to start their own business, what advice would you give them?

Pray. Pray. Pray. Listen to God. Sorry, don’t mean to get all “religious” but that’s what works/is working for me and my business. Be confident in your product. Don’t share your ideas with no one BUT GOD.

Q: How would you describe your personal style?

Fly! I love to get fly. Bold. I like to have something on me that stands out. Whether it’s my sunglasses, my lipstick, my shoes, or my bag. I love abstract things.

Q: What is your one must-have item for each season – summer, winter, spring, and fall?

SUNGLASSES! I never leave the house without sunglasses. I have about 75 pair just in my car.

Q: What is the best advice, from a style standpoint, that you can give me and other women? And, from an entrepreneurial standpoint?

DO YOU! BE YOU! No one can do or be YOU better than YOU! If it makes you feel confident, happy and bold. DO IT!

Q: Where can my readers find you and Shop Avier?

In Vogue Magazines and NYFW. Just joking but soon I’ll be there. 😊 My website is www.shopavier.com I’m also on Instagram (@shopavier).

Q: What questions do you wish I asked you and what’s the answer?

Nothing!

Q: Anything else you want the YCS family to know about you and Shop Avier?

I’m running a HUGE sale right now. All of my sunglasses are 20 bucks or less. You can’t beat that with a stick!

Remember to visit www.shopavier.com and support this growing and super stylish business!

XOXO,
Erika

P.S. All outfit details are on my 21 Squared profile, unless otherwise listed.

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Love/Hate Sunglasses x Shop Avier // Headwrap: D’Iyanu

BTS: Celebrating Life at Lane Bryant – Bowie Town Center

By Erika, Fashion Expert

Many of our readers may not know that YCS originally started out as an event planning company (along with fashion styling) with a focus on curating fashion-focused events like fashion shows, themed brunches, etc.  Though I got out of the event planning and production business, my love for events has never waned.  That’s why, I was so excited to partner with Lane Bryant – Bowie Town Center to produce an event celebrating life during Breast Cancer Awareness month!

Like so many people, breast cancer has affected my family and so many around me.  My mother and great aunt are both survivors and my aunt is currently battling her second bout with the disease.  She’s totally winning the fight, by the way. I have spent many years fundraising and donating to fight the disease and this event is the perfect marriage between my love of fashion AND my desire to eradicate breast cancer.

When I tell you we have so many awesome things planned for our guests on October 20 – that is NOT an exaggeration.  I thought it would be incredibly fun for me to give you guys some of the inside scoop on the big day and let you meet some of our awesome partners who will be participating. We have an incredible day scheduled complete with the latest curvy fashion, a private shopping event, photographer, make-up artist, and event a masseuse to pamper guests ALL DAY LONG!

Private Shopping + Personal Styling

Untitled design (4)From 9-10 am, we are hosting a private shopping event exclusively for breast cancer survivors and women who are courageously fighting the disease.  Guests will be treated to breakfast sponsored by my friends at 21 Squared and will receive exclusive, private access to the store and the latest F/W styles ahead of regular shopping hours.

At 10am, the general public is invited to shop our store.  We are offering personal styling appointments and bra fittings throughout the day.  It’s the perfect chance for our guests to be pampered and have a stylist help them pull together looks that are both fashion forward and figure flattering.  Of course, I’ll be doing some personal styling and shopping appointments – so hopefully you’ll come in and get to shop with me!

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Of course, I’ll also be hanging out at the selfie station and on social media duty ALL day! Our awesome friends at 21 Squared have sent us some fun goodies for our selfie station where guests can take pictures in the latest curvy fashions and share with all of their social media followers.

Untitled design (5)We are also incredibly excited to have professional photographer, A.E. Moore, Sr. join our event! That’s right ladies – you can shoot with our very own photographer and live the GLAM life – even if just for a day! Not only will he be capturing all of the fun at our event (your social timelines are about to be FLOODED); he’ll also be shooting our guests modeling the latest LB fashion.  A.E. has more than 20 years of photography experience and works to showcase the true essence of each event he photographs.  I am positive he will capture hope, joy, excitement and fun at our event!

Make-Up + Makeovers + Pampering

Untitled design (2)We have to make sure you’re camera ready! The incredibly talented Shari Tiandra will be giving mini makeovers to help unsure you are ready for the Fall season from head to toe! Shari Tiandra is a seasoned make-up artist and entertainment industry veteran – she is the REAL DEAL! Shari Tiandra’s goal is to bring beauty into the lives she enters.  Trust me, she’s going to bring beauty to everyone who meets her this Saturday! Like me Shari’s mother is a breast cancer survivor, so this event is near and dear to her heart.

Untitled design (3)And, as if food, make-up, and photography wasn’t already enough for our guests, we are also going to pamper the ladies who come to shop with us! All day long, we are offering our guests chair massages. Thomas Fluellyn has been a massage therapist since 2001 – so I’d definitely say we are going to be in good hands.  He retired from the Army in 2007 after serving 21 years.  I’d like to go on record and thank Thomas for his service – in the Army AND as a massage therapist.  I’m pretty sure you’ll find me in that chair a time or two as we move through the day!

Social Media

I’ll be sharing the fun via the YCS Instagram and Facebook pages – so make sure you’re following along! You can also follow Lane Bryant – Bowie Town Center on Instagram to see even more pictures from the day! You might even see a familiar face or two!  We

also, obviously, want you to follow the social media accounts of our sponsors and vendors, so take the next two minutes to click the links below and follow along.

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21 Squared:  Instagram  Facebook
Shari Tiandra:   Instagram  Facebook
Lane Bryant – Bowie Town Center:  Instagram
Your Chic is Showing: Instagram  Facebook

All week long, follow me as I show you guys how we prep for this event.  My car is currently filled with goodies from 21 Squared. And you know the shenanigans are SURE to go down as we set-up on Friday night for a fun filled Saturday! My InstaStories is where it’s all going to go down!

Register

Guys, we are anticipating a huge turnout for this event.  As of last night (Tuesday) we had nearly 100 guests – YES, 100!!!! – confirmed for this event.  That isn’t to say there’s not room for more. There is! We just need you to register!  Plus, if you want to book a personal styling appointment, registering and selecting your time is the best way to do so! To register just visit YCSandLBBowieTC.eventbrite.com.  Yep, registering is really that simple.

I’m so excited about this event and can’t wait to see you all there!  Let me know if you’re coming!

Stay Chic,
Erika

21 Squared: The Curvy Fashion App

By Erika, Fashion Expert

Ever seen a woman wearing something you loved and wished you could buy it right then and there? Ever wanted to purchase something you see without having to sort through all the merchandise in a store or search through pages of items online? Ever wanted to get an idea how something would look on your body before you took the plunge to purchase it? Ever been in a style rut and just been looking for some style inspiration as a curvy girl?

Let me introduce you to the app for you – 21 Squared: The Curvy Fashion App

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I have been using this app for a while and I have to tell you guys – I LOVE it! 21 Squared is an incredibly easy app that lets you find outfits, read real reviews on clothing, and shop with ease.  Honestly, it’s as simple as that!

There are three main components to the app: outfit inspiration and matchmaking, shopping, and reviews.

Outfit Inspo and Matchmaking

21 Squared users can explore fashion and outfits from other users in the community.  You can sort outfits based on factors like people who match your body type or items that are available for purchase right now.  That’s right, if you’re  5’6” and a size 20, you can pull up looks from users who have a similar body type as you.  The more data points you put in (measurements, weight, etc.) the more precise your results will get. How nice is it to see how that J.Crew top will look on you before you buy it!?

Shopping

21 Squared allows its users to shop the outfits posted by users directly from the app.  That’s right, with the simple tap of a finger you can be linked directly to the jacket, top, jeans or shoes that you love! There are over 5 million products available through the app.  Additionally, there is a “SALE” tab that features the hottest items and latest sales from dozens of retailers.  Shopping from multiple retailers from one place has never been so easy. Some of 21 Squared’s retail partners include some of my favorite brands and stores like Lane Bryant, Eloquii, Nordstrom, and Mod Cloth – just to name a few!

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The app also makes it incredibly easy for users to link followers to their clothing items as well.  If you have your tags you can scan the bar code directly into the app! You can also use a web browser and post a direct link for any items featured.  It’s insanely simple and very intuitive and user-friendly. Below, I’ll walk though through exactly how you can upload your looks. 

Reviews

The reviews are one of my favorite features from this app.  How many times have you shopped without any clue if a dress runs true-to-size or if you need to size up or size down? Ever wanted to know if the material of your shirt is super cheap or super luxe? The review on the 21 Squared App allows users to share exactly that type of information.  Does an item run large or small? Have a ton of stretch or none at all? Users can share these tips with shoppers so that you know what you’re getting into before you buy it!

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Usability

Using the 21 Squared app is incredibly easy too. If you can use Instagram then you can use the 21 Squared app. I’ve taken a few screenshots just to show you how simple the process really is.

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21 Squared is available for both Apple and Android products.  All you have to do is visit your respective App store and download the app for free! 

Be sure to follow me on the app at @erikamcdaniel (yep, that’s my maiden name) and let me know in the comments or via social media that you’re on the app.

I can’t WAIT to hear your thoughts!

Stay Chic,
Erika

#OOTD365: The First 100(ish) Days

By Erika, Fashion Expert

It’s been about two months since I’ve posted on the blog.  If you follow YCS on Instagram, you have a little bit of insight into everything that has been going on.  If you don’t, have no fear, I’m going to be doing a 3-part blog series about the last 3 months and remaining “Chic Under Pressure” (I wrote it, so now I HAVE to finish it!).  I thought, however, as I get back to my regularly scheduled blogging program, that I’d do a recap of my #OOTD365 challenge so far.  We’ll talk about some of my favorite looks and why they are my favorite and I’ll also share, the top 3 lessons I’ve learned so far.

Top 10 Favorite Looks

Over the past 142 days, I’ve had a lot of looks, some I’ve loved and others, not so much.  Here’s a countdown of my favorite 10 looks so far.

#10 • February 21, 2018

I wear this look ALL the time.  It’s so easy to look polished and pulled together in a monochromatic look.  And navy is just a little bit unexpected when it comes to wearing one color from head to toe. Fashion tip: If you wear a nude colored shoe it will elongate your entire silhouette by drawing the eye out.  Pointy toes also have the same effect.

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Blouse: Lane Bryant • Skirt: Eloquii • Necklace: Aldo • Shoes: BCBG

#9 • January 13, 2018

This poncho/sweater is just so comfy cozy! I snuggled up in this almost daily after work.  It’s easy and chic for those cold winter months!

Jan 13

Poncho + Necklace: Avenue • T-Shirt: Joe Fresh • Jeans: Dressbarn • Shoes: Melrose and Market

#8 • May 12, 2018

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this Sophie Theallet for Lane Bryant jumper.  It’s PJs but it’s also a CHIC AS EVER jumper that can be worn out. Honestly, very few things make you feel sexy while super comfortable.  This one is a winner!

May 12

Jumper: Sophie Theallet for Lane Bryant • Bag: Calvin Klein • Shoes: Kelly & Katie

#7 • February 26, 2018

This look is proof that you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to look good.  This super cute lace dress is from Target.  Yep, that Target!  Bet you’d never know if I didn’t tell you.

Feb 26

Dress: Who What Wear for Target • Shoes: Jimmy Choo

#6 • May 20, 2018

Spring FINALLY sprung and I got a chance to break out one of my FAVORITE maxi dresses! The next time someone tells you that plus size women should stay away from prints, kindly point them in the direction as this dope look.  Please and thank you.

May 21

Dress: Mynt 1792 • Sunglasses: Eloquii

#5 • April 7, 2018

Island vibes? Yes please.  These elegant, high-waist pants are sure to be in heavy rotation this summer.  They are lightweight, breathable, and oh-so-classy! Even a t-shirt looks high-end when paired with them.

April 7

hirt: Sixteen Fourteen by YCS • Pants: Standards and Practices • Shoes: J. Crew

#4 • February 16, 2018

Wakanda Forever.  That is all.

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Wrap: D’Iyanu • Turtleneck: Dressbarn • Skirt: Eloquii • Shoes: Manolo Blahnik

#3 • May 2, 2018

When one of my besties pulled this dress off the rack we KNEW it had me ALL OVER IT! I love everything about it – the unique print, the vintage neckline and sleeves and the tie-neck, my personal signature.  This one is a winner every time I wear it!

May 2

Dress + Sunglasses: Eloquii • Shoes: Old Navy

#2 • April 3, 2018

Whoever said plus size girls shouldn’t wear two pieces got it so, so wrong!! I love all of the body confidence that I see up and town my timeline and IG.  How fun was it to be a part of it and inspire women who look like me to own their curves and wear what they want!

April 3

Bathing Suit: Gabi Fresh for Swimsuits for All • Sunglasses: Armani

#1 • March 31, 2018

Is it any surprise to you that my favorite thing I have worn thus far has been my wedding dress? I LOVED my wedding dress and didn’t want to take it off.  I seriously contemplated sleeping in it!  I felt so beautiful and elegant and regal AF. I’m currently looking for 100 more reasons to wear it again and again!

March 31

Dress: David’s Bridal • Veil: Truly by Zac Posen • Earrings: J. Crew • Shoes: Badgley Mischka • Photo: Terri Baskin Photography

Top 3 Lessons Learned

One of my favorite things to share with you all each week are the lessons I have learned. Even though we aren’t quite half way through the year, I have LEARNED a lot.  I’ve tried really hard to keep many of the lessons close to my heart.  Here are top 3 that I’ve learned so far:

#3 • Do more of what makes you happy. By nature, I’m a people pleaser. It is exhausting. And you end up giving away much of yourself who people who do not deserve or appreciate it. For my 35th birthday, I promised myself that I would spend more time doing what makes me happy, being around those who make me happy, and focusing on pleasing God and myself. Life is WAY too short to be bending over backwards to please people who don’t matter and giving so much of yourself away that there is nothing left. Yes, I’m getting married this year, but be clear, this is the year of “me.”

#2 • Your tribe matters. I feel like I said this before but boy, oh boy, has my tribe showed up for me. I’m actually going to do a YCS Bride Guide post all about choosing your Bride Tribe and why they are so important to your mental health and emotional stability during the wedding planning process. My tribe (including my Bride Tribe and Goal Diggers family) has truly lifted me up and held me down over the last few weeks. And honestly, NONE of it had to do with the wedding. These women have prayed for me, with me, over me, spoken life to me and my fiancé, hyped me up, encouraged me, supported me, and pushed me when I thought I couldn’t go on. Who you surround yourself with matters. Who you let speak into your life matters. Who you allow to sow into you matters. Don’t feel bad about being selfish about your space and he energy you allow around you. It could truly be the difference between life and death!

#1 • Don’t let people try to force you into relationship with someone just because THEY’RE in relationship with that person. I am not obligated to be in relationship with people just because of their relationship to me.  What does that mean? Well, so often we feel (or other people make us feel) like we have to be in relationship – not romantic – with someone just because they are our family member/future family member/friend of a friend/etc. But it is my job to fiercely protect my space, my energy, my bubble, my mind, and my heart and this week I was reminded of that.  Regardless of other people’s opinions or how they think I should feel – I am in charge of how I feel. And I don’t have to allow people who suck the life, energy, or positivity out of me to be around me.

What’s Next?

Well, I’ll continue on this #OOTD365 journey.  Because the weather has FINALLY broken, you can expect LOTS more color in my daily wardrobe. And, I already told you about the “Chic Under Pressure” series I’ve been working on.  I’ve also got some new reviews coming up for you.  Some new tutorials.  And, I’m getting SERIOUS about fashion education – so except fashion mini-classes, workbooks, and courses to be a THING in the second half of 2018.  I’m also going to let the hubby dress me for a week this summer (that’s gonna be CRAZY) and should definitely expect to see some posts about the kids.

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XOXO, Erika

All photos taken by me or my husband unless otherwise credited. 

YCS Bride Guide: Engraved Watches – The Perfect Wedding Gift

Bride Guide Logo

By Erika, Fashion Expert

I can’t believe that our wedding is less than two weeks away! So crazy to think that it is almost here!  The last few weeks before a wedding are a flurry of activity.  There is a lot of time spent pulling together final details, adding special touches, and managing forgotten tasks (hey, it happens!).  What you will NOT want to do in the final weeks leading up to the wedding is scramble for wedding gifts.  For brides and grooms who are looking for meaningful gifts for their future spouse, parents, or even their bridal party, consider a beautiful, unique wooden watch from JORD Watches.

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About JORD Watches

JORD watches have been hand crafted from 100% natural wood.  The company focuses on creating timepieces that are modeled after a modern lifestyle. They value sustainability (hello, wood!!!!), efficiency, and experiential living.

JORD offers stylish options for both men and women on their website.

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3 Reasons to Gift a JORD Watch

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DESIGN: Raw Material, Refined Design

I have the FRANKIE Series watch in Zebrawood & Champagne and love it for so many reasons.  The hand-crafted wooden timepieces from JORD are incredibly modern in their lines, shapes, and design.  I originally imagined that a wooden timepiece would be clunky.  Not JORD watches.  They are sleek, sophisticated, and classic.

My FRANKIE Series watch is the definition of luxe with it’s ultra slim case, streamlined shape and uncomplicated face. Though it is minimalist in design, it always makes a statement.  Whenever I wear my watch people compliment me and ask where they can get their own.  As you browse the JORD collection on their website, it is clear that luxury, fashion and style are all seriously considered when designing these wooden men’s and women’s watches.

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CUSTOMIZATION: Make the Gift Your Own by Engraving Your Watch

Beyond the watches being beautiful, you can also customize your JORD watch’s faceplate by engraving the recipient’s initials, or a sweet message or inside joke. This is why it makes the perfect gift for brides, grooms, parents or the wedding party.  Not only are styles sophisticated and timeless, but you can really step out and make the gift your own by customizing the message to be engraved, as well as the font and size of your message.

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One sweet idea, especially for a bride-to-be, is to engrave the watch with her new name or initials. I am incredibly delighted to take my new husband’s name (and make my maiden name my middle name), so I was all too excited to engrave my watch with my new name along with my wedding date.

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SERVICE: A Pleasant Customer Service Experience

Nothing is worse than getting a gift for someone, having to make a change to the gift, and having an unpleasant customer service experience. I am happy to say that you will not have that problem with JORD.  JORD has a very reasonable warranty, repair, exchange and return policy. Beyond that, their customer service team is prompt, accommodating and very professional and helpful.  I had a slight snafu with my watch and the team fixed it within a matter of hours.  Not days, hours.  If I was going to give you a company to compare the service to, think along the lines of Nordstrom and Tiffany & Co.  Yes, they are that good.

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A Gift For You

Because JORD (and I) loves you so much, they are offering one lucky reader a $100 gift code to use on the JORD website!  All you have to do is fill out this form by April 1, 2018 for your chance to win!

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Plus, everyone who enters to win the $100 gift will automatically get a code for 10% off their watch order after April 1, 2018.  The contest ends April 1, 2018 at 11:59pm – so you definitely want to enter now!  And remember, your gift code and 10% discount is valid through April 15, 2018.

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What could be better?  I get wedding gifts.  You get wedding gifts.  We all get wedding gifts!

Don’t wait any longer! Check out the men’s and women’s watch collections from JORD and be sure to enter the giveaway today.

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XOXO,
Erika

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Wooden Wrist Watch

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

OOTD365 March 5 – 11, 2018

By Erika, Fashion Expert

I don’t know about you guys but I’m over here waiting for spring to, well, spring! The tease that we had a few weeks ago whet my appetite for warmer days and now, with each new snow, I’m longing for sunny weather and higher temperatures.

I’m also eagerly counting down to the big day! It’s crazy that we are only three weeks away! Less than that, actually. The beginning seems so long ago. I can hardly believe we are almost to the wedding. Counting down to the wedding also means counting down to the honeymoon!! One way or another I’m going to get my warmer temps.

Before this week’s recap, I want to prep you guys for a few things ahead of the wedding. First, I will be taking a brief hiatus from posting my #OOTD365 looks from April 2-9 while I’m away on my honeymoon. I’ll snap photos and share a recap, but I make no promises to post the looks daily. I want to focus on honeymooning. Second, there will be a TON of post-wedding Bride Guide content. A lot of the stuff I want to share needs to wait until after the wedding as to not ruin some surprises and special moments. So be on the look out for that. Lastly, if you want a sneak peek at life leading up to the wedding, as well as some behind the scenes action on the day of, then follow YCS on Instagram and be sure to watch our IG story. That’s where you’ll get some insight and sneak peeks that others won’t see.

And now, for what I’ve learned this week:

  • Self care is crucial. Intellectually, I know this. I often preach it. But I don’t always follow it. This past week I had a much needed massage and facial and a few really good nights sleep. I needed those. I hadn’t realized how much my schedule and life had taken a toll on me and my body. Also, I must have been a raging lunatic because not one, but two, of my dear friends gave me gift certificates to the spa for my birthday!! Ladies (and gents) take care of yourself!!
  • Do not stop learning and growing. I’ve got a whole post on this coming up (and something really special for my DMV readers). You are never too old or too smart to learn and grow and change. Be open to improving. It’s good for you.
  • Do more of what makes you happy. By nature, I’m a people pleaser. It is exhausting. And you end up giving away much of yourself who people who do not deserve or appreciate it. For my 35th birthday, I promised myself that I would spend more time doing what makes me happy, being around those who make me happy, and focusing on pleasing God and myself. Life is WAY too short to be bending over backwards to please people who don’t matter and giving so much of yourself away that there is nothing left. Yes, I’m getting married this year, but be clear, this is the year of “me.”

And now for what I wore:

XOXO, Erika

#OOTD365 February 19 – March 4, 2018

By Erika, Fashion Expert

I know it’s been a couple of weeks since my last recap post. When I tell you that a TON has been going on these last two weeks – phew!!! That would be an understatement. There are a LOT of really exciting things happening, much of which I will share on the blog in the near future. But, unfortunately, at the moment, mums the word 🤐.

People always tell you things get really crazy right before your wedding and then a couple weeks before you hit coast mode. Well, we are in the midst of “really crazy” and I’m looking forward to hitting “coast mode” in the next couple of weeks. Once the wedding is over, I have a TON of content to share with you. But it’s a little hard to do without giving away details of the big day.

Personally, things have been a tad bit wild too! Life is happening a little more than I’d like but, you know, that’s the nature of life. I am working on taking a break, having a breather, and prioritizing when things get crazy. I often put so much pressure on myself to be all things to all people and that is physically impossible! So I had to take a step back and be OK with it!!

With all of that said, I’m back with two weeks worth of outfits to recap (minus one day because I just COMPLETELY FORGOT to snap a pic) and three things I’ve learned:

  • Your tribe matters. I feel like I said this before but boy, oh boy, has my tribe showed up for me. I’m actually going to do a YCS Bride Guide post all about choosing your Bride Tribe and why they are so important to your mental health and emotional stability during the wedding planning process. My tribe (including my Bride Tribe and Goal Diggers family) has truly lifted me up and held me down over the last few weeks. And honestly, NONE of it had to do with the wedding. These women have prayed for me, with me, over me, spoken life to me and my fiancé, hyped me up, encouraged me, supported me, and pushed me when I thought I couldn’t go on. Who you surround yourself with matters. Who you let speak into your life matters. Who you allow to sow into you matters. Don’t feel bad about being selfish about your space and he energy you allow around you. It could truly be the difference between life and death!
  • Remember to look out for winks from God. Sometimes we can get so focused on different things and the turmoil around us that we miss when God sends winks our way. The other day, a lady in front of me decided to buy my coffee at Dunkin Donuts and I almost burst into tears. It cost her hardly anything ($1.49) but it was a tiny little wink from God that reminded me there is good in the world and that He’s there. God is constantly sending us nudges and reminders – we have to remember to look for them.
  • Have an attitude of gratitude. It can change your perspective on everything.

So that was a little long 🤷🏽‍♀️. And now, for the looks!

XOXO, Erika

#OOTD365 Weekly Recap: February 12 – February 18, 2018

By Erika, Fashion Expert

I’m a day late with this week’s Recap post! My sincerest apologies for that.  Truthfully, I took a trip to Wakanda (again!!) on Sunday night and by the time we got home the only thing I was going to do was crawl into bed!

Last week was loads of fun and really special for a lot of reasons.  In one week I celebrated Valentine’s Day (which, quite honestly, could be my least favorite holiday), made my way to Wakanda twice, and had a lovely, lovely Bridal Shower hosted by my mother.  It was a great week indeed!  Here’s what I learned from it:

  • The people who love you support you and the rest of the people don’t matter.
  • I am not obligated to be in relationship with people just because of their relationship to me.  What does that mean? Well, so often we feel (or other people make us feel) like we have to be in relationship – not romantic – with someone just because they are our family member/future family member/friend of a friend/etc. But it is my job to fiercely protect my space, my energy, my bubble, my mind, and my heart and this week I was reminded of that.  Regardless of other people’s opinions or how they think I should feel – I am in charge of how I feel. And I don’t have to allow people who suck the life, energy, or positivity out of me to be around me.
  • Sometimes, you hit a fashion stride.  That feels good.  And this week, I hit a little stride!

And now, for what I wore . . .

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XOXO, Erika

#OOTD365 Weekly Recap: February 5 – February 11, 2018

By Erika, Fashion Expert

I feel like all I have said for the last several weeks is “it’s been a week.”

Well, if you can believe it, it has probably never been more true than this week. I can’t get into details, so I’m going to jump straight to what the one thing learned this week. It’s something I already knew but was reminded of so clearly this week that it needs to be said.

So what did I learn this week?

My tribe matters. We’ve all heard this, we all know this, we all say this all the time. But truly, my tribe (and your tribe) matters. The people that you choose to surround yourself with are so important. This week, my tribe rose up and surrounded me with love and prayers and it was a reminder of how much the women in my tribe mean to me. And how, if I didn’t have the tribe I had, this week would have been even more difficult than it already was. Simply put, your tribe matters. . . .

And now, for last week’s looks:

XOXO, Erika