Thoughts, Travels, & Pretty Things


Coffee aka The Stressed Out Career Woman’s Crack


* Written while downing a cup at 10:29 p.m. Welp * 

I have a confession to make. I drink way more coffee than what should be humanly allowed. I’m not the cute Starbucks Soy-Vanilla-Bean-Chai-Blah-Blah-Blah sipping with a straw type drinker, though I so wish I was. I take my coffee wrong and strong. No seriously, with each overflowing cup of caffeinated pleasure I sink deeper and deeper into the coffee drinkers’ remorse. Oh, you’ve never heard of such a diagnosis? Well, let me be the first to tell you it’s real and it’s bad. There’s the unshakeable self-consciousness that comes along with knowing you’ll never have those Crest commercial pearly whites. Sigh. That’s why MAC’s Ruby Woo lipstick was invented in the first place. With its vision-tricking properties, the dryer-than-concrete blue-based red is a first date essential. Besides, the man for me must love me for my than my teeth, right? Welp.

coffeeaddict Then comes the jitters. The jitters that seem to instantly take hold of your nervous system, making you a multitasking mess. And then once the high comes down you don’t even know how to productively function without your hit. At the start of every week you promise in vain that this will be the week to make a change. Along with waking up an hour earlier to work out, this is the week you commit to breaking free from the charmingly seductive roasted and liquefied beans’ hold. “I will not be a slave to coffee!” you say while avoiding eye contact with every coffee peddler in close proximity. So here’s the deal, Mr. Right: I will probably never get over my coffee addiction. Not until the day they sell it in small digestible tablets, and this is something I’ve come to terms with. Coffee, I love you.

Royalton White Sanda

The Ultimate Indulgence: Beauty Editor Getaway to the Royalton White Sands in Jamaica

Ended up with a puff and a red lip. #SoBeautifulInJamaica by @candaceamos

I went to Jamaica for the weekend. Not the section in the borough of Queens, but the actual Caribbean island, roughly four and a half hours away from New York by plane and where the people and the weather are almost always pleasant. I was invited along with a group of distinguished writers, bloggers, and beauty experts by Finn Partners and Strength of Nature, a hair care conglomerate that houses 12 unique brands.

Can I be candid with you? I was afraid when I received this invite. Not because I was traveling alone to another country, but because I felt like I no longer belonged in this circle. It’s been a while since I’ve written about black hair care let alone natural hair. I’ve been natural for four years now and I’m beyond the stage where I continuously obsessed over hair styles and hair types (ha!). I was excited to go on the trip, but I wouldn’t even allow myself to believe that I was really going until I arrived at the airport and checked in; no lie. Well, after a six hour delay following what seemed like a never-ending snowstorm, I finally arrived at the Royalton White Sands resort in Trelawny Parish around 9:30 p.m.

The New York crew and I met the writers from Atlanta, Washington D.C, and Chicago, who all arrived promptly, sans weather delays and airplane mechanical problems. With a few greetings and hugs, it didn’t take long for me to get my mind right and realize that this weekend would be about more than just dipping my hands in product. I’d soon be establishing new relationships and celebrating the beauty of women who look just like me.

One big massive selfie with some of the journalists and bloggers on the trip. Regram @browneyereporter #SoBeautifulInJamaica by @candaceamos

On Friday morning we had breakfast, which was followed up by an in-depth presentation featuring celebrity hair stylist Felecia Leatherwood and hair educator Pamela Hogan, who both offered a bevy of styling tips using African Pride, Elasta QP (my fave!) and Soft & Beautiful Botanicals on a spectrum of hair types. Being beauty experts for our own individual outlets allowed us to chance to extract information, skills, and techniques to implement into future stories. Like, did you know that you need more than water to moisturize your hair? There’s misinformation floating around the natural hair community that suggests we only need oil and water for our manes to thrive, but unfortunately that just isn’t the case. And natural ladies, please, don’t be afraid to detangle with combs; so many of us aren’t doing it.

Cruising around Montego Bay. by @candaceamos

After our morning tea wrapped up we took a catamaran cruise around Montego Bay. The DJ was live, the drinks were flowing, and many of us were sprawled about in our cute bathing suits like we were in a music video. And when the DJ played Beyonce’s “7/’11,” you couldn’t tell us nothing!

A group of beauty writers + Beyonce + Rum Punch = This #SoBeautifulInJamaica by @candaceamos

The highlight for me was our visit to the River Bumpkin Farm in Falmouth, Jamaica, along the Martha Brae River. We learned so much information from the names of the trees to why bananas are curved (Thank you, Island Routes!).

Y’all see my foot in the air? I was in the middle of the best foot massage I’ve ever received from “Surprise” our @IslandRoutes tour guide during the River Bumpkin tubing excursion. He gave us fresh coconuts and made our straws from a nearby bamboo tree. Then he gathered some flowers and made us all personal bouquets. It was such a wonderful and relaxing experience. #VisitJamaica #LiveFunner by @candaceamos

We were offered an opportunity to go biking, tubing, or kayaking. I was leaning more towards biking (you know, for safety reasons), but I said what the heck, YOLO, let’s go tubing and it was the best decision I made. Christina of LoveBrownSugar, Jessica of The Glamazons Blog, and Lexi of LexiWithTheCurls and I lazied around the river for hours gabbing on about life as we occasionally roughed through the rapids. The girls even got out of their tubes and jumped off a small cliff. (I didn’t because HEIGHT and SPEED).

Then our tour guide who’s nickname was fittingly “Surprise” gave us limestone foot massages that felt like heaven. We had raw coconut juice, sugar cane, oranges, and just so many sweets along the way. If his generosity wasn’t already stretched enough, he made us all personalized floral bouquets. At the end of the excursion we feasted on divine pumpkin soup, jerk chicken, and rice and beans. Ugh, so delish! I can go on and on about how amazing this trip was. I already want to go back.

I enjoyed lazying around the river with these ladies for two hours. I learned @msandrews can dance her butt off, @lovebrownsugar has been to every country around the globe, and @lexiwiththecurls is an excellent rope cliff jumper, and our tour guide is full of surprises! Haha #IslandRoutes #SoBeautifulinJamaica #VisitJamaica by @candaceamos

It just felt good to connect with my sisters in media if only just for a few days. It felt great to be reminded that I’m black woman with kinky hair and my beauty deserves to be acknowledge just the same as anyone else. We were a group of women from different places and backgrounds who united to celebrate our beauty. I had one more late revelation on my plane ride home: Our trip coincided with International’s Women’s Day, and instead of just tweeting about it, I was really living it! How’s that for divine intervention?

Peace out Jamaica! Love ya long time. Yeah mon! #VisitJamaica #SoBeautifulinJamaica by @candaceamos

Choosing Minimalism: Why Scaling Back Is Good

MinimalismA few months ago I watched a video from one of favorite my bloggers. I am just inspired by everything she does —  she could give a tutorial on blowing your nose and I’ll be ready with a pen and pad. This blogger is known for having the most beautiful hair and bringing her audience an array of styling ideas that just seem endless. Her sense of style is artsy — without trying too hard, unique, crisp, and just impeccable; plus, her skin is super-flawless. In a nutshell, she’s basically an internet icon to me. But anyway, she hit me out of the blue with a video discussing “Minimalism.”

I’ve heard the term used before in regards to fashion, which basically relates to clean lines and minimal distractions within clothing. There’s also the minimalism art movement of the post-World War II era, which focused on works with pared down elements of design. What’s different here is her focus on lifestyle, which expands to fashion, beauty, home decor, food — just about everything.  The ultimate goal is to cut back on all the frivolous things in life. Less makeup, less clothes, less clutter —  getting rid of all the junk to make room for space and clarity.

The idea made so much sense. For years I was the girl who had things because it was popular. I’ll admit it; I was a follower. New Jordans came out, I had to have them. MAC was releasing a new limited edition lipstick in a shade I probably already owned? Still purchased it.

I just did stuff because everyone else did it, and every time I followed the pack I never felt fulfilled. I’ve never finished a tube of my so-called “must-have lipsticks.” Not a single one.

Some minimalists are extreme in a sense that they live in a one room shack, eat only what is necessary to not go hungry, and don’t own a car. I’m not trying to go that far with this concept, but I am intrigued enough to rid myself of unnecessary things in order to attain peace of mind and clarity.

SimplicityWe can’t take these things with us when we die. They are going to stay right here on earth. Instead of spending our days frantically chasing the latest hot find, we could be enriching our minds, spending time with family and friends, and improving ourselves sans the assistance of garbage goods.

I realized this even more when I started to look at people’s priorities and analyzed their reasoning for needing things. Yes, I’ve been known to dish out a room full of side-eyes. We don’t need “stuff.” A brand new car when you already have one that runs fine, a 4-bedroom house when it’s just you, a pair of $600 Louboutins when Nine West has shoes in the same color and shape — all fall under the category of unnecessary things to me.

We are a culture obsessed with consumerism, but I’m stepping off the wheel because I refuse to keep up. It becomes a stressful competition.

Minimalism for me is taking a look at my life and adding the things that are needed. Right now I live in a cozy apartment which fits my current lifestyle. Even if life were to suddenly change, say I hit the lottery, I don’t see the value of being sucked into a world that is motivated solely by money.

I want to continue to chase things of value that have longevity and purpose. Here, watch Ambrosia talk about changing her lifestyle.

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