Are You Wearing the Wrong Bra Size? I Was!

This post is sponsored by Wacoal. As always, all of the opinions, ideas, and images are my own.

6 years, y’all! It had been 6 years since my last proper bra fitting. How did I let that happen? When the bands on my favorite bras started clinging too tightly, I knew it was time to visit the Wacoal Outlet at Taubman Prestige Outlets. I headed there in search of some well-needed relief.

Of course, I wanted to hear that there was a better-fitting bra out there for me. But, I also shuddered at the possibility of that news because good quality bras are expensive, and I would need a few. I’m excited to share I found a better fit, and just as important, bestselling basics at full price and fashion colors at outlet prices make it affordable to rebuild your bra collection.

The Wacoal Bra Fitting Experience at Taubman Prestige Outlets

When I walked into the Wacoal Outlet, I was greeted by Rhonda who whisked me away to a fitting room when I mentioned I needed a fitting. By the way, bra fittings are always complimentary at the Wacoal Outlet Store.

Wacoal Bra Fitting

I got comfortable in my fitting room before getting undressed (on the top). Once undressed, Rhonda came back into my room with measuring tape in hand to quickly work her magic (the whole fitting took about 15 minutes). What happened next shocked me. Rhonda informed me that I was a size I had never been told before. Gasp. No wonder my band has been pinching my back all year. In fact, women are encouraged to get fit at least every 6 months since weight gain or loss of 5 pounds or more, or pregnancy, can alter your bra size.

Rhonda then started bringing bras into my fitting room. Lots of bras. All kinds of bras.

She brought classic t-shirt bras with the molded cups. These have long been my go-to style because of how smooth and seamless they are under clothing.

She also brought in light and airy lace bras, including a style (the pink one below) that Oprah swears by. I tried on every single bra that my fitter suggested.

4 Fit Points

As I tried on each bra, I watched my fitter do her thing, carefully checking all 4 fit points to ensure a proper fit. She checked the band, the straps, the center gore, and the cup. Every bra in my new size was a hit according to the fit points. I could tell immediately because of how comfortable and supportive they felt.

I usually favor molded bras, but in this fitting, I quickly realized that I had been missing out on something. The sheer lace bras were my favorites because of how they fit and felt on my body. That was a huge surprise for me.

Once I chose my favorite styles, I wanted to explore all the color options, so we reviewed the available options online as well as any coordinating pieces. I decided on the smooth t-shirt and lacy underwire bra from the Embrace Lace Collection (shown above in grey, also available in tons of other colors).

Trust me. If you’re overdue for a bra fitting, the Wacoal Outlet is a must stop. You get a free fitting with a Wacoal fit expert. Furthermore, when you fall in love with a bra, fashion colors are up to 30% less than regular retail prices, and there are weekly special promotions for even more savings. Win-win!

If you are in the St. Louis area, I highly recommend visiting our Wacoal Outlet Store located at Taubman Prestige Outlets. Mention this blog post and receive an additional 25% off select styles!!! This offer is only valid on in-store purchases at the Wacoal Outlet Store.

The One All-Powerful Product Behind my Spring Glow

This post is sponsored by Bolden.

The winter can be so harsh on my skin, y’all. This past winter, though, your girl found herself a secret weapon of skin protection. I’ve been using a Bolden Shea Oil for about 3 months, from head to toe. And, the result? I just welcomed spring with healthy, glowing skin.

Bolden, a skincare brand built by black women, hit the market with a major goal—to provide natural beauty products that address the particular skincare needs of women of color.

Bolden Shea Oil contains 100% shea oil derived from ethically-sourced shea nuts. I was especially excited to try an oil because despite the well-known benefits of using shea, I avoided 100% shea butter products because they’re a chore to apply and usually too heavy for my fine hair.

The Bolden Shea Oil, then, delivers the moisturizing, skin repairing, and protective benefits of shea, but in a more user-friendly formula. Let me tell you, my skin loves the liquid gold in this Bolden product. The oil absorbs quickly into my skin and never feels greasy. And, the smell? Ooh la la! I’ve been using the Bolden Sweet Vanilla Shea Oil, which has 3 ingredients—shea oil, vitamin E, and an essential fragrance oil. The subtle fragrance is sweet and warm.

Bolden Shea Oil

My favorite thing about the all-natural Bolden Shea Oil is that it is safe and effective to use all over the body. I’ve used it in my hair, as a lip balm, as a cuticle oil, and so much more.

This stuff is so good even Nevis (my pup) wants to get in on it. And, hmm…Nevis might benefit from it too.

The Bolden Shea Oil is available in 3 formulations—Unscented, Butter Mint, and my favorite Sweet Vanilla. At under $25, the oil is a steal too. Since the product spreads so effortlessly, it can be used sparingly.

How I Improved my Skincare Habits in 2017

This post is in partnership with Skincare by Alana.

At the start of the year, I made a commitment to make all kinds of improvements in my life. I wanted to take further steps towards improving my overall health through cleaner eating and regular exercise. And, since the skin is the largest organ, I wanted to improve my skincare habits as well.

Drinking more water? Check! Eating more high-water-content foods? Check! Stepping up my skincare routine? Working on it! I have troubled skin, and I’ve always been under the care of skincare professionals due to chronic problems like eczema and contact dermatitis. These two problems have been steering the care of my skin (and sometimes my life) for too long. Often my skincare goal was simply to find products that didn’t irritate my seriously sensitive skin. This year, I wanted more for my skin.

I’m fortunate to have e-met Alana Mitchell of Skincare by Alana, an online retailer and resource dedicated to improving the quality, appearance, and overall health of the skin. Alana, a licensed esthetician, offers over 300 top beauty products, including her own line, Alana Mitchell Skincare.

I was thrilled to learn that Skincare by Alana is an authorized retailer of Image Skincare products, a line I had been introduced to but had difficulty actually purchasing. You see, Image Skincare products are only sold by estheticians and sell out quickly due to popularity. Finding a trusted online retailer, then, is the best convenience ever.

In addition to my sensitive skin, my major concern is hyperpigmentation due to an unfortunate bout with adult chickenpox. That encounter left me scarred. And, as a brown gal, I’ve been terrified to try products and procedures that promise to address skin discoloration around my scars. Many of the proposed solutions potentially make the problem worse. Image Skincare’s Iluma collection came highly recommended for dark skin though. So, I tried it, and to my surprise, I saw improvements within days.

Here are the products that I’m currently using (all available at Skincare by Alana):

Image Skincare Iluma Intense Lightening Cleanser (daily)

Image Skincare Iluma Exfoliating Powder (2-3 times/week)

Image Skincare Iluma Brightening Creme (daily when not using serum)

Image Skincare Iluma Brightening Serum (daily)

Image Skincare Prevention + (daily)

I’ve been sampling the line since December, and I’ve been using this routine exclusively for a few weeks. The serum is currently my go-to moisturizer. This product contains 2% hydroquinone, so I’ll be using it for 3 months and then switching to the brightening creme. I’ve had my scars for several years, and hence kept my expectations low. But, here I am bare faced, y’all. The scars on my forehead are actually less visible. The scars along my jaw line are the worst, but have shown some small improvements already. I’ll spare you from seeing those. Ha.

The newest and most surprising addition to my routine is surely sunscreen. I’ve been told many times that I needed sunscreen to prevent the further darkening of my scars. But, I’ve always been terribly allergic to sunscreen, or so I thought. I’ve learned that I’m allergic to chemical sunblock (found in a lot of the popular products sold in-stores). Physical sunscreen, however, with no added fragrances and no other common irritants, doesn’t irritate my skin. So, the the Image Skincare Prevention +, a physical sunscreen, has become the final step in my daily skincare routine.

Skincare habits

I’ll plan to give an update in 3 months when I break from using the serum. I might even be able to show you the sides of my face then.

Overall, I’m really excited to be using a line that relies on botanical ingredients to address my biggest skin concerns. I’m even more thrilled to find Skincare by Alana,  a trusted and reliable online retailer of the products.

Why I’m Adding Spa Days to My Beauty Routine

On Wednesday, I woke up feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. And, my skin? It was radiant, y’all! What happened? I had a spa night at the Aveda Salon & Spa at The Chase Park Plaza the night before. That experience was so transformative that I’m adding spa days to my beauty and skincare routine.

Chase Park Plaza Preston

Earlier this week, a few of my blogger friends and I were treated to a spa night at the Aveda Salon & Spa. I had been looking forward to the event―Martinis & Masks―for weeks because every event I’ve attended at The Chase Park Plaza was memorable. This one topped them all. I arrived early at the spa to mingle and enjoy the specialty martinis courtesy of The Preston.

My next stop was my favorite, and it was filled with surprises. I went into a treatment room to receive the Perfecting Plant Peel facial. As a brown girl, I’m terrified by the term “peel” because I already have hyper-pigmentation as well as severely sensitive skin. This particular procedure also promised results comparable to that of a 30% glycolic peel. So, I expected some stinging or burning. What I got instead, though, was a calming, soothing, and very relaxing facial (and upper body massage).

Thirty minutes later, I emerged with glowing skin and a new, calm energy. Aroma therapy is a huge part of the Aveda experience, and I could feel my entire energy shift during the facial. I was a relaxed and chill Psyche by the time I got to the foot soak and hand massage. Can you tell?

Before heading back out into the real world, I opted for some finishing makeup. A gal needs her brows filled to move around in the world, right? How did I not know that Aveda has an entire line of makeup though? At first glance, there don’t seem to be sufficient brown girl colors, but I had a successful foundation match (coffee/12).

Now that I’ve been reminded of the transformative and transporting power of a spa experience, I’m pretty sure that I’ll become a regular at the Aveda Salon & Spa. A spa experience like this one will certainly support my 2017 goal of doing everything I can to improve my overall health this year.

Disclosure: All services were provided free of charge by the Chase Park Plaza during the blogger event. As always, all of the opinions and ideas are my own.

My Most Important Fitness Goal in 2017

This post is sponsored by Gordmans.

I’ve been busy identifying and writing down my business and lifestyle goals for this new year. When I got to the fitness component of my goal planning, I decided to maintain the same goal I’ve had for the past few years―embrace physical challenges that take me outside of my comfort zone.

Tank ($11.99, orig. $52) | Sports bra ($12.99, orig. $58) | Leggings ($16.99, Orig. $50)

Sneakers ($51.96, orig. $75)

When I started resistance training a few years ago, something I never imagined enjoying, I learned so much about my body’s strength. As I got stronger, I felt more and more empowered to do anything. So, since it’s the start of 2017, I’ve been busy exploring new workouts to mix up my routine.

I’ve already joined an Athletic Training class at my gym. I’m planning to try my gym’s new Synergy and No Hold Barre classes as well. With a packed week of classes, I’ve been shopping for a few new pieces of activewear to meet the demands of the workouts. I’ve found some of my favorite name brand workout gear at Gordmans at affordable prices before, so Gordmans was a first stop.

As usual, Gordmans came through for me. I always wear black at the gym, so I rely on stylish details to add a little flair to my workout style. And, the pattern on these HEAD leggings at Gordmans had me at first sight. The 90 Degree black tank was an immediate favorite as well because of the fashionable and functional mesh panel at the back. I also found a chic 90 Degree sports bra with cutouts at the back. By the way, the total retail cost for all three items would be $160. At Gordmans, though, the total was only $41.97!

Of course, no workout look is complete without the perfect pair of sneakers. And, I knew that the Puma Carson Illusion running shoe were the ones the moment I put them on and experienced the SoftFoam cushion insole. Every step feels like I’m walking on clouds. The overall modern look of the shoe with the breathable mesh upper was an added bonus.

Location: St. Louis Riverfront

I’ll be visiting Gordmans again on January 14th for a special in-store event at all Gordmans stores. Women’s fleece jackets will be $6.99 that day. If you stop by your local store, be sure to register to win an iTouch watch while there too.