Confession: I spend an unusual amount of time watching family and beauty bloggers on YouTube. It’s like my second Netflix. I look forward to my favorite ladies’ Get Ready With Me and monthly favorites videos. It’s becoming a problem, but
I like what I like.
I by no means think of myself as a beauty expert or a beauty blogger, but I thought it would be cool to do do an unboxing video for you guys. I recently signed up for a Julep Maven box and was gifted a Birchbox subscription and it’s been on my to-do list to record and upload these for awhile and I’ve finally completed one.
For those of you subscription box lovers out there tell me which are your favorites. Are you a Birchbox fan? Ipsy fan? Also, I’d love to hear who your favorite YouTube beauty vloggers are. Leave me a comment or tweet me at @donnicakelsey.
I’m the queen of playlists. For example, when I workout I need music to keep me moving. Otherwise, I’ll just wander from machine to machine in my apartment’s gym, pausing to take the obligatory #blackgirlsworkouttoo picture. When I’m cleaning (especially spring cleaning), I need a great playlist to keep me on task. So I’ve been inspired to share my personal productivity playlist that keeps me motivated throughout the work week. I try to update it at least every other week with some new songs or revamp it completely.
Music & Productivity
Music while working is a great idea, but I’ve read that different types of music affects our productivity in a number of ways.
– When the task is clearly defined and is repetitive in nature, the research seems to suggest that music is definitely useful.
– It may be beneficial to listen to music you are familiar with if you need to intensely focus for a project.
– For some lyrics, can be distracting.
With all that being said, everyone is different. I can’t promise you that you’ll accomplish all of your daily tasks listening to this playlist, but I know it makes me feel like a #girlboss and I get stuff done. Enjoy!
Productivity Playlist #1
Dunes by The Alabama Shakes
Standing On The Sun Remix by Beyoncé (ft. Mr Vegas)
Shut Up and Dance by Walk the Moon
FourFiveSeconds by Rhianna, Kayne West and Paul McCartney
I See Fire (live) by Ed Sheeran
Riptide by Vance Joy
I Really Like You by Carly Rae Jepsen
Everlasting Light by The Black Keys
Trap Queen by Fetty Wap
Homegrown Honey by Darius Rucker
Drip Drop by Empire Cast (feat. Yazz and Serayah McNeill)
Little Red Corvette by Prince
That’s Not My Name by The TIng Tings
Love Me Like You Do by Ellie Goulding
I Don’t Mind by Usher (feat. Juicy J)
What songs are you playing on repeat right now? Tweet me or comment below! I’m always looking for suggestions for my next playlist.
Although, I didn’t get to go to Coachella this year, I got my first music festival of the 2015 season down in the books – Sweetwater 420 Fest in Centennial Olympic Park. The weather wasn’t ideal for a music festival, but I powered through the rain and mud. Well, mostly powered through.
Despite thinking about all of the jokes made about him at the Justin Bieber Comedy Central Roast, seeing Snoop live was worth the price of the three-day wristband. Though he hasn’t had a recent radio smash, Snoop has plenty of hits. And a best of Snoop Dogg concert is better than some of the shows you’ll see “rappers” put on today. Like, I LOVE Trap Queen, but I’m not sure I could sit through a whole Fetty Wap concert.
Sweetwater 420 Fest
Here are a few clips I took during Snoop’s set (my apologies for any of my horrible singing that may be in the background) :
Yes, he started about 25 minutes late, but he put on an amazing show. The rumored 20,000 who braved the rain on Friday night were treated to: “Nuthin’ But a “G” Thang”, “Gin and Juice”, “Drop It Like It’s Hot”, “California Girls”, “I Love Rock and Roll”, a little Notorious B.I.G.- “Hypnotize” and of course a Tupac tribute “Gangsta Party”, as well as some of his other hits.
On Saturday, I walked around for the majority of the day drying off. I ended up in a crazy downpour sans umbrella. The rain washed off my makeup and collected in my combat boots. I wrung what seemed like a half a gallon of water from my shirt before shaking it off and grabbing a Sweetwater Blue to get me back in the festival mood.
No matter if you’re heading up to Bonnaroo or Lollapalooza this summer, or waiting for Midtown Music Festival in Atlanta in September there are certain types of people that you will always see. Over the weekend, I turned the “festival archetypes” into a game. Every time one of my friends spotted one of these “types” we got points.
Person in a Colorado Rockies or Denver Nuggets jersey: Now they won’t wear them because they are necessarily supporters of the team, but because they are supporters of legalization.
White dreads: Like the fantastic J (Issa Rae) once said in Awkward Black Girl: “Guys come and go, but great friends are like nice-looking white dreads… hard to come by”.
Multiple Bob Marley or One Love t-shirts: If I had a $1 for every Marley related t-shirt I spotted this weekend, I’d have more than enough for the new Samsung Galaxy. I’m not quite sure why Tuff Gong is the go to in festival wear, but it is.
The avid music festival goer: This person will be wearing a vintage festival shirt (Bonnaroo 2009) and may even have a collection of wristbands from past festivals on their arm. They want you to know that this isn’t their first rodeo.
The painted up girl: No pictures here, folks. But there’s gonna be a few people, guys and girls, who decide to go sans clothes and choose paint. I worried about the girls who painted up this weekend, but maybe the used waterproof paint. (rolls eyes).
This was all in good fun because let’s be honest if I would have had the free time, I would have totally made a flower crown to wear. Overall, I had a great weekend with my friends and made some great festival memories.
Do any of you have any plans to travel to music festivals? Tell me your plans and who you’re most excited to see. Leave a comment or tweet me @donnicakelsey.
After writing my last post, I realized that this whole spring cleaning my life thing was going to be quite an undertaking. But last weekend I got started and I am so happy with my progress. As I said, a beautiful, clean living space is inspiring and it eliminates stress. So I went to work cleaning and organizing my apartment. I started my getting rid of all the piles of mail I had thrown everywhere. I bought some cute binders and file folders from Target and saved my important papers (medical bills, tax info, etc.). Hello counter space. Next up: my bathroom.
True Life: I’m a product junkie. So there are usually bottles EVERYWHERE and make-up dust sprinkled here and there. Don’t judge me by what you’re about to see. I know… good lawd have mercy.
The first thing I did was get rid of some of the products I don’t use. I’ve been transitioning to my natural hair for about a year and honestly those products that worked wonders for my relaxed hair needed to be removed a long time ago. Bye-bye.
Next came cleaning: along with my natural hair, I’ve decided I want to use more natural products. Green clean, if you will. If for no other reason, my cute puppy licks everything (sometimes for hours on end). I would rather him ingest things that won’t seriously harm his tummy like the chemicals found in some of your everyday cleaners. After a bit of research, I discovered that vinegar is a great natural cleanser. I’m not a fan of the smell of vinegar, but learned that adding essential oils can solve that problem.
Essential Oils 101
Lavender – My mother is obsessed with lavender and now I get it. Lavender is known for its aromatic properties and ability to calm and relax the body and mind. It can also be used to relieve skin irritation and soothes cuts and burns.
Lemon – Lemon can be used to clean and disinfect surfaces and packs a double punch as an incredibly uplifting and energizing scent for body and mind.
Tea Tree – Anything that needs disinfecting or cleaning can benefit from tea tree oil. I also love it because it’s great for my hair. It not only moisturizes the hair and scalp, but promotes hair growth. I love a good two-for-one.
There are lots of other great essential oils that you may prefer (I would suggest looking into: orange and peppermint.) However, for my kitchen and bathroom, I choose lemon and tea tree oil. And for my general all-purpose cleaner, I went with lavender.
You can download or save this cute little printable for reference.
Organizing: Even after the purge, I realized I had a lot of stuff on my counter. I decided that if displayed differently all of my products wouldn’t look as cluttered. I got an affordable acrylic case to hold some of my makeup and made a jewelry/ odds and end stand out of a few cheap melamine plates and candlesticks from the Dollar Tree (DIY tutorial coming soon). So here are my results:
Vast improvement, right? I’m taking this easy to make solution from room to room and loving the results (and the purge). I’m tackling the kitchen and my closets next. Wish me luck! Below you can find the oils and some of the other products I mentioned to start your own spring cleaning.
Do you have any natural cleaning tips/tricks? I’d love to hear them. If you end up making any of the cleaning solutions let me know.
The first day of spring was March 20. This season change is synonymous with spring cleaning. However, spring cleaning isn’t just for your closets. I read somewhere that spring is the perfect time to recreate ourselves and blossom into the potential we envision for our lives. That’s pretty powerful. I know most people make their resolutions for the year in January, but I have decided that this spring I’m going to clean myself up – renew my mind and soul.
Spring Cleaning To-Do List
To declutter is to de-stress. I know that this post is supposed to be about spring cleaning life, but traditional spring cleaning is important as well. A beautiful, clean living space is inspiring and it eliminates stress. I’ve looked up some natural DIY cleaning products that I’m making and I’m going to thoroughly clean my apartment, top to bottom. I’ve decided to feng shui my living space by my rearranging my living room and changing up the color scheme. I’ve also planned out a gallery wall with inspiring pictures. I want the space I live in to energize me and stimulate my creativity. I also plan to go through all of my clothes and give away everything that doesn’t fit.
Getting rid of clothes. Here’s what I think: clothes are unfortunately tied to self-esteem. There’s nothing wrong with holding on to a pair of jeans you want to fit in again, but realistically you have to ask yourself why you’re holding on to items that you can’t wear. For example, I have a few bodycon dresses I used to wear out to Five Points back in undergrad. When I put them on now there are dimples in places that were not visible previously. Why am I holding on to them? I am not as small as I was four years ago. Also, I’m pretty sure I’m almost to the point where bodycon dresses are not an acceptable outfit to go out in. I’m declaring to myself right now as I type, that I’m ok with not ever being 110 pounds again. I don’t need to be! My weight does not correlate with happiness or self-confidence. My only concern should be is becoming healthier.
Being a healthier me. No, I’m not going on a diet. Would I like to lose a few pounds? Sure. I went from dancing every day for a minimum of three hours a day in high school, to being a very active college and graduate student – taking dance classes and walking to classes on humongous campuses in famously hot weather. I could eat whatever I wanted and I would dance/walk it off. Now I sit at a desk for 60+ hours a week and my choice to go to Wendy’s and McDonald’s for lunch just sits in my thighs. So I’ve decided to make healthier decisions when it comes to food. Will I still eat a few slices of Dominoes’ pizza… absolutely. However, if you’ve been following me on Instagram (do it, you know you want to), you’ve seen I’ve ventured into the world of meal prepping. I’m picking some delicious yet healthy options to eat during the week. Meal prepping helps me avoid those lunch time trips to Burger King. I’ve also vowed to experiment with foods I’ve never tasted, try new recipes, and to drink more water. Did you know eating healthy foods can actually improve our happiness.
Being a happier me. I’m by no means, unhappy. I think sometimes I just let myself get overwhelmed with work or this vision I had of my career. In my head, I thought I would go get my master’s degree and immediately start working at a PR firm where I would travel across the country dazzling clients with amazing strategic plans. FYI: My other dream was to be a script writer for a soap opera. Hence, my lofty post-graduation dream. Reality: I’m a slightly underpaid media relations specialist, who spends her day chained to a desk, looking out of the window across the hall. I am doing some amazing work on important health issues and there are days that are so fulfilling. Then someone posts a picture on Instagram of their weekly jet set to our nation’s capital and subsequent flight to LA with the hashtag #worklife. Commence the eye-rollling. As Ace mentioned in her last post (Food for Thought), we attended a lunch and learn with some inspiring speakers. One of my main takeaways: Do not to judge yourself on the accomplishments of others. I needed to hear that. Why am I looking at someone else’s career journey as a path for my own? I may not be where I thought I would be, but I’m in a great place. I’m a 25-year- old with a master’s degree. I had multiple job offers out of both undergrad and graduate school. My current employer is giving me opportunities to grow and take on additional responsibilities. Very soon, I’ll be taking classes for a new certificate in social media and my company is paying for my tuition. Outside of work, I have so much to be happy about and thankful for: I have an amazing, supportive family, weirdly awesome friends, a roof over my head, a full pantry, a super cute puppy, and good health. That’s a good life.
Dust off my talents. One of my friends tagged me in this picture last week and it could not have come at a better time. This is sooo true. I may not always be a ballerina, but I’ll always be a dancer. I’m going to be honest with myself. My schedule is crazy and it’s just not possible for me to take three dance classes a week to get me back to the point where I used to be. Not unless one of you fabulous readers have discovered a way to add a few hours in the day. However, I am going to make time to immerse myself in dance. I will try to take a few classes regularly and I am going to start seeing some of the productions of the amazing dance companies here in Atlanta. Dance has always made me feel better. No matter what kind of horrible day I had, some good choreography could erase it all. It’s time to freshen up my tap shoes and use some syncopated beats to put a smile on my face.
Straighten my finances. If only I could tell 18-year-old Donni to step away from the credit card application. On top of credit cards and student loans, I’m vowing to get rid of lifestyle clutter. Every month, I sit down and make a budget. I actually stick to it, but I have some items I can trim down. I’m talking to you Starbucks. Y’all I actually budget $30 a month for Starbucks. That’s $360 a year for coffee. That’s money I could add to my savings or invest. Moving forward, I will assess some areas that I can cut down and come up with a plan to be debt free.
Clean-up my relationships. I think this one is pretty much complete. However, I added it because in general I think it can’t hurt to be reminded of the importance of ridding ourselves of any toxic relationships in our lives. Clean house on those “friends” that bring you down. I have had let go of a few people that I thought I would be friends with until I was old and gray because of the negativity they brought into my life. I’ve also had to learn to let go of old relationships. It didn’t work for a reason. Y’all the annual happy birthday text or Instagram like isn’t worth the drama.
As I work on my to-do list, I’ll share my progress and any tips I think might be beneficial for others. Also, I’d love to hear some of the ways you want to spring clean your life.
Is everyone in your office/class talking about March Madness? The upsets? The odds? Are you lost?
Last week for the kickoff of March Madness, I starting drafting a post where I would talk about my bracket picks and give you a cheat guide to the tournament. Then Thursday happened and my entire bracket was ruined by some major upsets. Way to bust my bracket UAB and GA State! And C’mon Kansas! Now that the Sweet Sixteen is beginning tomorrow, I thought I’d try another post. I’m not an expert by any means, and you may know that in terms of college sports, I rank football number one. However, I try to keep up with NCAA basketball and for those of you who need to fake your way through the tournament – I got your your back with this guide.
But first let’s start at the beginning…
So How Does March Madness Work?
Games are played round-by-round over a three week period where one champion emerges.
After the “first-four” which is a bit much to explain for this basic overview, the 64-team bracket is established. Each winner advances into the next round.
After Round 2 – 32 teams remain
After Round 3 – 16 teams remain ( This is called the Sweet 16)
After Round 4 – 8 Teams remain (aka the Elite Eight)
After Round 5 – 4 Teams remain (Hello Final Four) ; Fun fact 2008 was the only year all the #1 seeds made it to the final four)
After Round 5 – Yup, you guessed it two teams remain and some is the national champion and gets to cut down the net.
Why is it called March Madness?
That’s just the way it is. No, that’s not true, but I had to do some research on this one. Apparently, “March Madness” traces back to Illinois’ statewide high-school basketball tournament, which began in 1908. In 1939, an official with the Illinois High School Association, Henry V. Porter, penned an article called “March Madness” for the organization’s in-house magazine. “A little March madness may complement and contribute to sanity and help keep society on an even keel,” he wrote. Three years later, he followed up with a poem, “Basketball Ides of March,” which read in part: “A sharp-shooting mite is king tonight/ The Madness of March is running.” The phrase was confined to Illinois high-school ball until 1982, when CBS broadcaster Brent Musburger used it during his network’s NCAA tournament coverage. Read more here.
What is a seed?
So you keep hearing about those #1 seeds, eh? Nope, they have nothing to do with gardens. Seeds refer to the placement of a team in one of four regions (East, Midwest, South, and West). Each region has between 16 and 18 teams, which are assigned a seed number of 1 through 18, with the best team in the region awarded the No. 1 seed. Usually, the highest seeds (Nos. 1 through 8) have more success than the lower seeds (Nos. 9 through 16) in the tournament, but there are some Cinderellas.
Cinderella? Like the movie?
No, I’m not talking about Disney’s new Cinderella movie. A “Cinderella” is a team that unexpectedly achieves success in the tournament. Just like Cinderella’s chariot turns back into a pumpkin at midnight, most of the Cinderella teams turn back before reaching the Final Four. But there have been some Cinderella teams in the Final Four (VCU, George Mason, Butler and Wichita State). However, this year doesn’t really have a Cinderella. The lowest-seeded team in the Sweet 16 is No. 11 UCLA and SPOILER ALERT- this school has the most national titles in history. Actually, there are 10 programs still playing that have won national titles. Seven of them have won multiple national titles. Write these down for trivia night.
So I think that’s the basics. Now that we’re caught up you can read my breakdown of the Sweet 16 by clicking more below.