Is it worth it to DIY?

DIY has become probably the “it” word since last year. It’s the latest movement that has taken our society by storm and especially thanks to Pinterest. I’ve become a big fan of DIY and for me I’ve found the beauty products and the recipes to be my favorites. However, I’m sure that some people wonder whether it is worth it to invest the time and try to do it yourself, and I’ll share the top three reasons why I think everyone should at least consider DIY:
– It IS cost efficient: obviously, that is usually one of the first reasons that most people will think but they usually assume so under the wrong idea. It is cost efficient because you can purchase the ingredients in bulk and thus make quite a few containers, not because you don’t have to pay for the name brand. However, that is also a very big factor in the low cost.
– You are able to customize your product: have you ever found a product that you loved but only wished it came in a different scent? By learning to make the same product, you are able to reproduce it in the particular scent that you are fond of.
– It is the most natural: this is my number one reason for DIY! You know exactly what goes into your product and this helps avoid allergies.

Here are a couple of DIY recipes that I use and hope you will find useful:

Homemade seasoning:
– 3 shoots of scallions
– 3 cloves of garlic
– ¼ of a green pepper
– ¼ of a red pepper
– Small handful of fresh parsley
– 1 tablespoon of yellow mustard
– ¼ cup of olive oil
Mix all of the ingredients in a food processor until smooth and store in a covered container in your refrigerator. This seasoning is very popular in my culture and is also the base for many Haitian dishes. It is very time saving when cooking as you can use it to season any meat and also when cooking rice and beans; for meats, just be sure to thaw the meat ahead of time and once it is ready to cook, simply coat the meat with the mixture and let it marinate for about half an hour. The best advantage of this seasoning is that it does not go bad and thus you can enjoy it until it finishes.

Avocado/Coconut hair mask:
– 1 small avocado hass
– 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
– 2 tablespoons of olive oil
Mix all ingredients in a food processor until it is smooth. Apply generously in hair and cover with a plastic cap for 30 minutes. This is a good mask especially for natural hair as the avocado helps keep the shine in your hair; the coconut oil helps retain moisture and prevent dandruff and the olive oil aids with hair loss and overall scalp health.

I hope you will find these two DIY recipes helpful and maybe it will help start your DIY adventure. Feel free to visit my Pinterest page for some more DIY recipes saved on my DIY Board: https://www.pinterest.com/GlamGirlOTG/diy-ideas/

Enjoy!

Reese

Dressing Appropriately for the Office

Do you stress about planning your outfit for the office? Are you tempted like me to simply create your own uniform so that selecting your work clothes is no longer a daily task of remembering what you wore the past few days and also making sure that whatever it is you choose is appropriate? Here are a few key items that I have found very important over the years that have helped me ensure that my work attire never becomes a human resources issue:
Fit of your clothes – make sure that your clothes fit comfortably. Comfortably means that you did not have to squeeze yourself into them and that the closure (zipper or buttons) can easily complete its function of CLOSING the outfit and it does not stop half way! Your buttoned down shirts should not have any gaps showing after you’ve buttoned your shirt. If your bra and/or skin is visible through the gaps, or you are required to wear a tank top under the shirt, it’s time to go a size up! And if the shirt properly fits but there is too much space in between the buttons, you should invest in some double sided tape strips to use when wearing this shirt if you are truly attached to it.
Length of your clothes – this does not only apply to ladies and it’s not only for the obvious pieces of clothing! Gentlemen, your tie (if you wear one) should always meet with your belt without passing it. The tie should not stop at your navel and it should not reach your zipper either. Pants, for men should cover your socks and those are to be seen only when you sit or cross your legs and a glimpse should appear. Ladies, long pants should reach the top to the middle of the heel of your shoes so that they do not create a hazard as you walk but your shoes are adequately covered. Dresses and skirts are to fall right above your knees at best. If they are up to 4 fingers above your knee, I strongly recommend that you wear a pair of tights (if weather permits) to avoid being a distraction in the office or opt out of the option altogether. While it is ok to opt for a sleeveless top or dress for work, straps are never ok to wear in a professional setting and a sleeveless outfit should have a band that is at least three inches wide and allows you to wear proper undergarments. If the width of the band over your shoulder is less than three inches, I strongly suggest that you wear a cardigan or a jacket over the dress or top and keep it on while roaming around the office and for meetings.
Style of clothing – sometimes, just because all of the previous conditions are met, does not mean that the outfit is work appropriate. The following should NEVER be worn to in an office setting: beach dresses, maxi dresses, tops or bottoms with logos, workout outfits including track suits, yoga pants, and sneakers.
Accessories – while accessories help elevate one’s outfit, they should never be so present that they become the focus of your outfit in a work setting (unless it is simply a nice accessory that is out of the ordinary). You should keep your accessories to a minimum and please leave the matching of your purse, shoes, and accessories for your Saturday night outings.
Hairstyles – some of us consider our hair to be an extension of our outfit and it is understandable to want your hairstyle to match your outfit however, please keep in mind that your hairdo for the wedding you attended on Saturday is most likely not appropriate for the office on Monday if it added a few inches to your height. Be sure to keep your hair groomed and clean and be mindful of your colleagues when using treatments in your hair.
Overall, I’ve come to live to this rule that I was told by a member of HR close to ten years ago “If you would not feel comfortable wearing it to your grandmother’s house, you should not wear it to the office”.
I hope these guidelines will help you the next time you are looking for your next outfit for the office. For some tips on great ideas of outfits for the office, follow me on Pinterest by clicking on the widget on my site or simply going on this link: https://www.pinterest.com/GlamGirlOTG/fashion/
Have fun!
Reese

What is the goal of a vacation?

If you are part of the working force, whether on a part-time basis or full-time, one of your favorite things about working is possibly when you go on vacation! Whether it is for an extended weekend or two weeks, you are focused on that last day before you leave the office for that extended period of time. If you are like me, on your last day, you are so happy that you let nothing deter your mood and your “out of office” message has already been programmed and is set to activate exactly at 5pm☺!

While we all know that we need to take a vacation once in a while and step away from the daily grind of the workplace, I found myself discovering during my vacation last week what it truly means to be on vacation! We have never truly asked ourselves what the real point of a vacation is and I’m sure that if 100 people were surveyed, the answers would differ one from another. However, most people would say that the point of a vacation is to have some time to relax away from their daily activities. While the intention is always to relax, in my past experience and from my conversations with friends I learned a long time ago that we usually return from vacation tired and sometimes more tired than when we left the office. There is a reason why the saying “I need a vacation to get over my vacation” is very common from those of us who are fortunate enough to take vacations. For the first time in my adult life, I can say that I truly experienced what the goal of a vacation is! It has now been 6 days since I’ve been back to my hectic life and I still have that huge smile on my face! You see, I’ve discovered that the goal of a vacation is not to visit 100 places (although that never hurts) but rather it is to recharge, recover, and overall reset your internal odometer! I went back home to Haiti for my vacation and for 7 days I allowed myself to let go and let flow. I did not let last minute changes to the schedule affect me, I did not worry about the time, and overall no matter what I was doing, I made sure to enjoy it to the fullest! From eating my first bowl of mango upon arrival at home to overlooking the whole northern side of Haiti from atop of the Citadelle fortress, I simply enjoyed each moment equally. The goal of a vacation is for you to stop the madness around you and just take in the beauty of your surroundings, enjoy the company you’re in, and appreciate it all.

It was not my first weeklong vacation, it was not the first time I went to Haiti however, this was the first time I actually stopped and truly appreciated being away from the computer, the phone, the meetings and all of the responsibilities. I was so into the moment that I forgot to capture many great events on film because my priority was to enjoy it! So my suggestion to you is this:

  1. TAKE SOME TIME OFF: you need this both physically and mentally! Even if you’re not going out of town, still take the time to decompress.
  2. Leave the work behind: I mean it! No emails, no phone calls, NOTHING! If you work for a company – trust me they can do without you for a week no matter the amount of missed calls you see on your phone! And if you are your own boss – this is the best thing you can do for your business because you will return with a fresh attitude and ready to move mountains!
  3. Take it all in: whether you are sleeping in at home on a staycation or enjoying the beach off of the coast of an exotic island – take it all in! We work so hard that we have made our jobs our lives and this is the main reason why our bodies are failing us more often these days. Take it in, breathe deeper, smile more, and if you’re unafraid like me: dance even when there is no music! Dance to the feeling of satisfaction that you feel inside when you finally take it in!

I hope you will all get to experience this Zen feeling that I’ve been on for the past week, it is truly priceless because even though my vacation has ended, it has truly changed my mindset and now anytime I feel some stress coming, I reflect back to that feeling and tell myself that this stressor is not worth me losing this feeling!

Take care,

Reese

P.S: The featured image in this article is of the Citadelle Laferrière in Milot, Haiti. For more information on this fortress, visit the following site: http://www.citadellelaferriere.com

Keeping Your Spirit Up!

Have you ever had one of those days when you just have plenty on your to-do list but yet only want to stay on the couch or in bed and not do anything at all!? Of course you have! We all do and it is normal because we are human! The important thing is how you deal with that feeling! Do you let it wear you down for days or do you fight it and win?
I have had to face these days many times before and as recently as last week. What did I do? I acknowledged it! The first step to getting over your funk is to admit that you are in an actual funk! We are all human and some days are going to be better than others. Once you acknowledge that you are not feeling like your usual self, you can then make a conscientious decision to uplift your spirit. There are many ways that you can lift your spirits but one of the most effective ways for me has always been through talking it out with someone. Admitting to your condition to someone you trust helps you dissect the cause of your funk. Those who are close to you not only have the capability to help you get to the bottom of your problems but they usually are the best remedy! For me, this is usually how I process being in a funk:
1 – Acknowledge my state of mind and then usually try to determine what has caused me to be in the funk.
2 – Reach out to a trusted person in my life that I feel will best help me remedy the issue. Some people in my life help me navigate through life goals, some help me through relationships, others through spiritual tough time.
Discussing the cause of my state usually helps me not only process it but also find a solution to help me get back on track. The conversation does not need to last an hour, it simply needs to be uplifting! We all need to surround ourselves with people who will uplift you in good and in bad times. A glam girl may always be on the go, but she will definitely need to have a solid foundation that helps her stay on track.
Finally, take some time to reflect! Whether you are religious or simply spiritual and believe in positivity, taking some to time to process your feelings is very important. It helps you deal with whatever was starting to fester and move on. It is important for you to always have a well balanced mind in order to conquer your dreams, so be sure to take the time to yourself on a regular basis and it will help lower the amount of days where you find yourself in a funk.
Do you ever feel like you’re in a funk? Please share some of the ways you have turned the situation around in the comments below.

Bisous,
Reese

International Women’s Day

Hello Glam Girls!

Happy International Women’s Day! Whether it is an 8 year old girl who is starting to find interest in fashion or a 90 year old grandmother who now enjoys spending time with her grandchildren, we all share the common bond of being a woman and knowing how to overcome the hardships that come on our paths in life. Today I wanted to share my thoughts on what being a woman has always meant to me.

As women, we face the biggest challenges in our society and continually have to surmount them while being caretakers. We are daughters, friends, coworkers, mothers, wives and the list goes on… As women, we are usually our toughest critics as if society did not already set the bar to a surreal level! We are expected to be the exemplary role model but are the most neglected members of society and yet we still hold our heads high doing it all. We are never too tired to help a friend in need, help with homework, cook a warm meal, or finish a project that was assigned at the last minute. You name it, we handle it.

We multitask by nature! And we are climbing the steps in our society and becoming judges, doctors, fashion designers, governors, teachers, world leaders, and CEO’s while balancing these titles with our personal responsibilities and are still expected to excel at both. However as we climb in the ladders of the professional world, the criticism becomes louder and unfortunately many times it comes from other women. We must learn how to uplift each other better and recognize each other’s achievements without any source of envy and criticism. If we don’t do so, how do we expect the men who are still held back in the archaic age to ever view us as equals?

No one faces more criticism than the independent woman who works hard and does not rely on someone else to sustain her life. We get labeled as bitchy, bossy, difficult etc. However, as an independent woman who has heard it all and know many ladies who are living similar lives I can say that we are simply a mystery to those who have chosen a different path from us and to the opposite sex! We are a mystery because we have managed to fit into our day all of the responsibilities and still have time to look fabulous doing so! We are not bitchy or bossy, we simply know what we want and our time is precious so we do not waste it. We are not difficult, we just know our value and will not settle. Ladies, do not ever feel like you should apologize for knowing what you want in life! It is not about being nasty, and it is not about emasculating the men in our lives, being a woman is being able to build your life and follow your dreams while being able to uplift those present in it. In the end, we have dreams and goals in life just like a man, we just achieve them in stilettos!

Check out this amazing article that Cosmopolitan posted earlier last week: http://www.cosmopolitan.com/sex-love/news/a37070/things-you-should-know-about-dating-a-woman-who-has-her-sht-together/

Keep reaching for your dreams ladies!

Reese

How to Plan an Amazing Trip on a Budget

March is here and soon this frigid weather (for some☺) will be nothing but a memory and bikini season will be upon us! Every year around this time, I plan a trip to get away from the all the daily stressors and usually plan it with my usual suspects: my sister and cousins! So far my get away trips have taken me to South Beach and Puerto Rico. Each time, I have so much fun that upon my return, I need a few days just to recover from the trip. I know that some believe that in order to have a great vacation, you must go with the flow; however, I believe that in order for a glam girl to enjoy her vacation to the maximum without breaking the bank or having obstacles, a certain amount of planning is required! Before you start planning that trip, here is my first advice to you: be sure that you are able to afford a trip financially and know your limit! Once you have determined these two factors, the fun part will commence. As a glam girl, I am always about having the best experience (whether it is shopping or adventure) at the best price. And to do so, you must know how to shop around! An amazing vacation does not have to include an airfare or a road trip, you simply need to plan some amazing activities that will help you reach your goal for your trip. So here are my tips to have the trip of a lifetime:
Have a budget! – When we took our trip to Puerto Rico last year, our budget was to spend a maximum of $500 per person including EVERYTHING: airfare, rental, lodging, and food.
Shop early! – Sometime you may be lucky and find a great ticket at the last minute however, it generally is not the case, especially if you want to travel during peak vacation times such as Spring Break or summer months.
Shop around! – We all have a favorite airline or hotel, however, sometimes they may not have the best deal on their sites. I always like to start shopping for my tickets on a renowned third party site such as CheapTickets, Expedia, Kayak or Priceline. Once you have an idea of the price tickets are going for, you always double check on your favorite airline’s website to see if they may have a better deal.
Third party lodging – I only suggest this option for a group vacation as one can never be too careful. However, I have used AirBnB for each of my trips and have had excellent experiences with my hosts. The key to using a third party site is to ensure that the information provided is verified by the company. From the host to the pictures posted on the site, you want to make sure that the company, where the lodging is advertised, has a strict verification process. If you are not comfortable with a third party lodging, my suggestion is then to use a third party site for a combo special. Be sure to check out my article on using third party services for more tips here: http://wp.me/p5DKT0-1N
Stock the kitchen! – Yes, it is fun to enjoy having great meals out when vacationing, however, you risk of running a hefty bill if you are having all meals at restaurants! Upon arrival, find the nearest grocery store and buy the essentials and just enough for your stay: bread, milk, cereal, juice, wine, etc. Just be sure to have something quick that you can eat prior to heading out on the town. I always suggest having breakfast items and condiments to make a quick sandwich. This reduces the amount spent eating out and you’re still able to have a fabulous lunch or dinner out.
Research the best activities in the area and plan ahead – For Puerto Rico, I looked for all of the events happening in the Condado (neighborhood where we stayed) area during the weekend that we would be in town and planned our time accordingly. Furthermore, to avoid spending our whole time driving, we dedicated each day to a different area and made sure that everything was nearby.
Whether you are planning on an exploration of your local town or the discovery of a new land with your closest pals, you must always do it in style and smart. You simply need to do your research and I guarantee you that it will be a vacation of a lifetime!

Safe Travels!
Reese

Using Third Party Services

We live in the age of third party sites who offer deals and services for less. While they offer a great way to save, there is also some risk that come with dealing with some of these sites. Certainly, the risks vary from low to high depending on what deal you are looking for. I want to share with you some of my tips on how to get the best experience when using a third party service.
Shop around and compare – Whether you faithfully use Groupon, LivingSocial, or TravelZoo to name a few, you must always be aware of the competition. Some deals are sometimes offered through more than one of these sites and a lot of times, the prices vary. My suggestion: do not be faithful to just one of these sites! Sign up for all of those that appeal to your needs most and compare them. Hey, the sign up is free, and if you are worried about your email inbox being flooded with daily emails, have one email address dedicated for your deals emails! The best part about this? These sites always have days of the week (or time of the month) where they will have an extra discount off of any deal purchased during a specific time frame!
Always do your research – No matter what deal you are looking to purchase, always research the product, the company, or the individual with whom you will be doing business with. Be aware of the fine print included in the deal such as “valid only on these days”, expiration dates, company or individual’s reviews. And lastly, trust your instinct! If you don’t feel comfortable with a company or with an individual, do NOT go into business with them! This is especially true if you are spending a high amount of money on the deal.
One of my favorite third party sites is AirBnB! However, if you follow the news, you have probably heard of some stories that may make you weary of using their services. This is probably one of the areas where research is crucial! Do not ever book a place without the following:
Having verified basic information for the host/owner of the place – name, phone number, and email contact. Prior to booking, you should be at least able to see whether or not the host is a verified user, a picture of them and a link to contact them. Once the place is booked, you will definitely be provided with a private email address and a telephone number from AirBnB.
Seeing verified pictures of the place – AirBnB sends employees that will take pictures of the place that is listed and is very good with taking all important rooms (bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom) along with a street view or neighborhood picture.
Having the complete address of the place – This will be helpful for you to then search it on google map. Don’t feel like you are being paranoid! I’d rather be viewed as “paranoid” than be viewed on a billboard with the words “have you seen me” above my picture! Be sure that your rental is located and ensure that it is safe and also near major hotels or major tourist attractions which means that there will be higher police and/or security presence. You should even be able to pull a neighborhood report on crime in the area.
Reading every single review of the owner – most AirBnB users are very good at leaving a review for their hosts and the company usually will send you reminders after your stay as it also helps them rate their hosts. These are very important! I normally would not suggest staying in any place that do not have at least 5 reviews with a paragraph or so detailing their stay.
Overall, as I mentioned before, always go with your instinct when in doubt. Also, I would not suggest to use this site for a stay if you will be alone in the apartment or home. In that case, bite the bullet and spend a little more for a hotel and look through third party sites such as Expedia or CheapTickets first so you can find better pricing. Lastly, always share your travel information with a friend or family member with whom you are in regular contact. You can never be too careful. However, once you have done your homework and it all checks out, be sure to enjoy your deal to the fullest!

Feel free to share some of your tips in the comment below!

Have fun saving!
Reese

Common kitchen items, quick remedies

Living a healthy lifestyle has become a very big rave! And if you live in South Florida like I do, the amount of juice bars that you see will make your head spin! While these places offer very healthy options, they can quickly run you a pretty penny. So to help you reduce your spending, I’m sharing how a few common items from your kitchen that can be used to help you maintain a healthy lifestyle:

– Ginger – known for its distinctive spicy taste and strong aroma, ginger is commonly used in many desserts and in many Asian cultures, it is a staple in savory dishes. However, most people do not realize that ginger is also a very good natural remedy for fighting a cold, a sore throat, menstrual cramps, nausea, certain inflammations (colon) amongst other issues. And to make it easy on us, ginger tastes great! There is nothing better to me than a medication that is 1) not a pill, 2) affordable, and 3) has a great taste! The best thing about ginger is that even when used as a remedy you can ingest in various ways. Those who are brave may simply cut a piece and chew it, others may infuse it into a tea or if you grew up with creative grandmothers as I did, you might have eaten a ginger brittle to fight off a bad cold! For more information on the great benefits of ginger, please visit http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-961-ginger.aspx?activeingredientid=961&activeingredientname=ginger

– Lemon/ Lime – with its antiviral and immune boosting qualities, growing up limes (in my case) were a constant in my mother’s kitchen! It can be used a quick high dose of vitamin C to help boost your immune system during cold/flu season whether it is in a juice or just a wedge squeezed and mixed with some honey to help calm a cough, lime (or lemon) is one of the best remedies to have around! It can also be beneficial with an occasional upset stomach. For a quick list of various remedies that you can create with lemons (or limes), check out Natural News’ article on 100 remedies: http://www.naturalnews.com/036663_home_remedies_lemons_health.html

– Mint – Not only does it smell delicious, but mint can also do wonders for your health! From nausea to indigestion, a sprig of mint in some water can help your body feel much better. Rich with antioxidants, mint can be of relief with the most common allergies and with common colds especially as a decongestant. One of my personal favorite uses for mint is as a skin refresher. Whether it is to calm a headache or to cool down a fever or simply as a scalp relief, mint is a very inexpensive and quick remedy. Want to find out some more benefits of mint? You can visit the Medical News Today’s article http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/275944.php

While there are great benefits to these every day ingredients, please remember to pay close attention to your body for any abnormal reactions and to consult your physician if you have any concerns. I have been incorporating natural remedies in my regimen when I am sick and have found that they have helped me recover with less side effects and at times much quicker. Just be sure to do your research.

I wish you great health!

Staple pieces your career wardrobe

Whether you have a walking closet that rivals the celebrities or you are right out of college and are on a budget, there are staple items that the career glam girl’s wardrobe needs. From a job interview to an office presentation, these items are necessary for the glam girl to make her mark on the world.
1) Black pumps – these are to be a good pair of leather black pumps with a comfortable heel and no platform. These shoes are your formal wear shoes whether you are heading to job interview or to a formal work event, you can’t go wrong with these.
2) Pencil skirt – this skirt of a modest length (just above the knee), made out of quality material is a go to skirt just like the pumps for any formal event. To make it easy to pair, keep the color of this skirt dark and neutral such as grey, black, or navy.
3) White blouse – another quick go to item for any formal event, be sure to get a good quality so that the fabric does not deteriorate.
4) Cardigan – a quality cardigan of a solid color that can easily be thrown over camisoles and create a professional look.
5) Camisoles – these affordable items paired with different bottoms and with a cardigan or blazer over create a very polished and professional look.
6) Blazer – last minute meeting? No problem, you thrown on a neutral colored blazer over your top or dress and you instantly create a more business appropriate outfit. Be sure to get a well tailored blazer with an open collar.
I hope that these items will help you create a flexible wardrobe that is both glam and professional.

Stocking up on beauty items

There is nothing worst then getting ready to do your hair, nails, or makeup and realizing that you have run out of one of your favorite products! To avoid this issue, I usually do the following to help me avoid being in a predicament where I have to make an emergency run to the nearest drugstore in order to finish a beauty regimen in progress:

  1. Always be sure to replace your products when you have about 2 uses left in the container. That ensures that you will not have to put the bottle upside down half an hour before using the product and pray that you will amass enough product to use.
  2. Take advantage of the sales!!! Places such as drug stores, will usually run a special on beauty products every month. BOGO (buy one, get one) specials are my favorite!!!! And stores like Walgreens will provide you with a rain check for a sale item if they are out of it during the sale. Always be sure to ask for a manager if they are out of your favorite product that is on sale! Be sure to check the expiration date of the rain check and all rules that may apply. Another great way of getting a good discount is with coupons! Target RedCard holders usually receive store coupons for products that you usually purchase, so after you have completed your payment, make sure that your cashier hands you the coupons that print out!
  3. Have an emergency backup product! An emergency backup product usually for me is a less expensive similar product to the brand that I am faithful to. While it may not give you the same results as your trusted brand, if you are in a bind in the middle of the night getting your hair ready for the week, you will be able to rock a decent hairstyle the next morning until you have a chance to swing by the store and replace the empty containers.

I hope these tips will help you avoid another crisis and will help you better prepare your supply of beauty products.

Happy stocking!