The Weight You Really Need To Lose in 2014

Losing weight is a common new year resolution. Can I suggest another one to add? Losing the “self-hate”.

There is a lot of that going on for girls and women of all ages. Every day women say “I hate my thighs,” or “I’m a pig”, or “I’ll be happy if I was a size 2.” The truth is that happiness isn’t found on the scale or in a particular dress size. It is found within, by accepting and loving YOU.

By the way moms- your daughters can hear you when you are self-hating, so set a good example for your little ones.

For all of the different types of haters out there, the most dangerous hater of all is ourselves. So stop the hate! You are seriously an awesome, fabulous, gorgeous person! Trust me, you are. If you need to be reminded of this, let me know. I’ll be happy to do it. So rock on with your bad self! Strut your stuff and be the bad mamma jamma you are destined to be. Peace out.

XOXO,

roqberry

Best of Birchbox 2013

I can’t believe we’re already at the end of the year. But you know what- I also can’t believe that it’s been 10 months since I got my first Birchbox. I started with the March 2013 box and while there have been some misses, I have really enjoyed discovering new brands and products that I never would have found without Birchbox. 

So as I look back on the year I wanted to also take a trip down memory lane and recall my favorite Birchbox samples of 2013. 

Whish Shave Crave Shaving Cream in Blueberry

They say you never forget your first love. I think this also applies to the first samples you get from Birchbox. I got a sample of this luscious shave cream in my first box and have been in love ever since. My mom was sweet enough to get me a bottle for Christmas. Or was it Santa? Who cares. My legs are smooth and delicious. Okay, maybe that’s a little too much information…

Vasanti BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator

I also got this sample in my first Birchbox in March and loved it. I currently use Kiehl’s Epidermal Re-Texturizing Microdermabrasion product, which I also love. But if Kiehl’s ever discontinues its scrub, I know Vasanti is there to save the day- and my skin.

Youngblood Anti-Shine Mattifier

There is a definitely a fine line between dewy skin and an oily mess. This mattifier product from Youngblood helped my skin stay on the right side of that line. I was really skeptical of this product at first, but it really works!

Caudalie Divine Oil

This dry oil is ah-mazing! It leaves your skin super soft without leaving an oily residue. It smells great too and even multitasks as a cuticle oil and nourishing hair oil.

CoTZ Face Natural Skin Tone SPF 40

This stellar cream is one of the best sun protection face creams I’ve tried. It offers great protection while leaving a matte finish- no icky white casts here! As a black girl, I really appreciated that I could use it without it altering my actual skin tone. Plus it is great for layering under foundation. 

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Cargo Lip Gloss

This lip gloss was immediately added to my cosmetic bag as soon as it arrived in my May box. The shade I received, Route 66, was great on its own or layered over my favorite lipsticks. I think this gloss started my 2013 addiction to lip sticks and lip glosses!

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Juliette Has A Gun Not A Perfume

This seductive perfume is both elegant and spicy at the same time. Not sure how they did it, but it totally works!

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Benta Berry G-1 Moisturizing Face Cream

I love this cream because it is moisturizing and also regulates oil levels so it was a great summer sample to receive. I will definitely add this to my skin care routine when the weather warms up again.

ChapStick Hydration Lock

I have used ChapStick since high school so getting this in my Birchbox was a bit puzzling at first. I mean, it’s not something I expected to receive in the box. But I fell in love with this more than I expected. I think I will need to kick my old ChapStick to the curb!

Folle de Joie eau de parfum

Folle de Joie, which translates to “ecstatic” or “crazy with joy”, is a fitting name for this playful yet sexy scent. Joie is a California brand of clothing and accessories and this fragrance perfectly captures the laid back vibe of the west coast along with the sophistication of the City of Light. 

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theBalm cosmetics Stainiac

Stainiac is a lip and cheek stain, but I have used it solely for lips. I like how it provides a great, light stain that is not sticky or drying. It is also a buildable color so you can add more or even layer it with a lightly colored lip gloss, like the Cargo lip gloss or another brand. 

Number 4 Non-Aerosol Hairspray

I normally do not wear hairspray but was very pleased to get this in my December box. This spray offers a great flexible hold- so you get staying power without the crunch (ew!) that other hairsprays deliver. This formula is also earth-friendly, vegan, and free of parabens, sulfates, and gluten. It also has humidity resistance technology, which is great for us Southern girls!

So that’s my recap of my favorite Birchbox samples from 2013. I can’t wait to see what Birchbox discoveries will come in the new year!

XOXO,

roqberry

Coming Out of the Closet This Christmas (But Not the Closet You’re Thinking About)

All the hubbub over the Duck Dynasty debate has raised the issue of homosexuality again in the cultural conversation. This has raised debates on both sides. Are you pro-gay? Anti-gay? Are you Christian? Are you this or that? And many people remain silent on the issue or they raise a full-on assault on either side or they only raise their voices among those they know share their same viewpoints.

I was watching this great TedxTalks video featuring Ash Beckham and she raises a good point: We all have closets that we need to come out of. Often we are too scared to open these doors and leave. This holiday season can be stressful for many people because they are afraid of “those questions” and whether or not they should reveal the true answers and come out of their own closets. Are any of your closet answers on this list?

  • We’re getting a divorce.
  • I’m having a baby.
  • We lost the baby.
  • I lost my job.
  • I’m leaving you.
  • I’m gay.
  • I’m bisexual.
  • I’m getting married…to someone you don’t approve of.
  • I’m moving out.
  • I’m not over him.
  • I’m not over her.
  • I married the wrong person.
  • I’m scared.
  • I’m sad.
  • I’m genuinely happy.
  • I have cancer.
  • I don’t want kids.
  • I’m a Christian.
  • I’m a Catholic.
  • I’m a Muslim.
  • I’m an atheist.
  • I am depressed and need help.
  • I hate dogs.
  • I hate cats.
  • I’m a virgin.
  • I’m not a virgin.
  • I don’t know the names of everyone I’ve had sex with.
  • I watch porn.
  • I am in love with you.
  • I am not in love with you.
  • I’m glad you’re in my life.
  • I honestly can not stand you.
  • Yes, I’m dating a white person.
  • Yes, I’m dating a black person.
  • Yes, I’m dating no one and I’m okay with that.
  • To be honest- I seriously don’t know what the #%@ I want to do with my life.

This list could go on and on but I think we all have parts of our lives that we keep hidden from others in fear of judgement, bullying, losing friends or even losing ourselves in the process.

For myself, my closet is probably this (deep breath): I am a Christian who has gay friends and I don’t have a problem with gay marriage. I am single and mostly happy with that. In truth I do not like kids for the most part and do not wish to have any of my own. There is probably more to my closet but I can’t think of anything else.

So anyway, just a brief ramble about closets. Whatever closet you may be in, if you choose to come out, best wishes to you.

XOXO,

roqberry

Birchbox Review: December 2013

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I love how Birchbox changed up the design of its December box. Apparently this is an annual thing. The font is so whimsical- love it! 

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December is definitely a time for celebrating and this month’s Birchbox has items that will make the upcoming weeks even more celebratory. Okay, celebrate good times and let me share what I got this month. 

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Wild Honey Apothecary Buttermilk Sandalwood Honey Mud– 0.35 oz (full size 2 oz $20)

Camille Beckman Glycerine Hand Therapy– 0.25 oz (full size 6 oz $14)

I love getting lotion samples and this one, while small, is a perfect size for carrying in an evening clutch during the holidays. The honey mud is a bit perplexing for me as I have oily skin and neither the description on Birchbox nor the description on Wild Honey’s website indicate whether it is good for all skin types. So I will need to proceed with caution on this one. But it is a very thick mask (as one can expect from a product made with organic, locally sourced honey) and smells really good.

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Number 4 Non-Aerosol Hair Spray– 1 oz/30 ml (full size 200 ml $30)

I normally do not wear hair spray but I do look forward to trying this. This spray delivers a flexible hold, is vegan and free of gluten, sulfates and parabens.

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Jouer Moisturizing Lip Gloss in Pink Glace– .08 oz (full size 0.17 oz $20)

I’ve been on a lip product kick lately. Seriously- I usually carry no less than 6 lip products in my cosmetic bag (don’t judge me!). So I love getting lippy samples. This is a new brand to me and the color is a light shimmery pink that will be great alone or layered over another color. Hmmm… maybe even theBalm’s Stainiac that I got in November!

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Chuao Chocolatier Chocolate Bar in Popcorn Pop– 0.39 oz (full size 2.8 oz $6)

I was so not prepared to eat this. The packaging states it offers a “surprising POP in milk chocolate” and they were not kidding! I was surprised when the chocolate literally started popping in my mouth. If you just chomp it down it’s not a problem, but if you let it linger in your mouth just brace yourself!

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This is an extra sample that wasn’t listed on the card. To encourage people to download and use its new mobile app, Birchbox included this digimate that you can use to clean your screen and stick on the back of your phone. They are offering a 20% discount when you shop from its mobile app, so definitely worth a try!

All in all I am pleased with my box. Although I must admit I loved the November box even more. But this box is a great way to wrap up the year. And stay tuned! I am working on a Best of Birchbox 2013 post recapping my favorite samples from the year. 

XOXO,

roqberry

Battle of the Holiday Bulge

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The biggest danger of working in an office during the holidays has to be leftover party food attacks. You know these- when someone has a party over the weekend then decides to bring in the leftovers. Next thing you know, cookies are being chomped, peanut brittle is used as diet assault devices and chocolate causes even the strongest to surrender to its will. Everyone goes down in defeat in a barrage of chex mix.

Sigh. I sense a super hard Zumba workout in my future tonight. I’ll regain my honor tomorrow.

XOXO,

roqberry

Enter the 12 Days of Etsy Giveaway

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We’re closing in on Christmas which means prepare for a snowstorm of “12 Days Of” giveaways. Etsy is joining the giveaway fun with their own daily giveaway of Etsy gift cards! Winners from days 1 and 2 each won $250 gift cards. That will buy you a lot of awesome quirkiness!

Click here to enter on their Facebook page. Good luck!

XOXO,

roqberry

Happy Yumsday!

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One thing I love about working in an office during the holiday season is all the yummy goodies that magically appear. Just like Santa in the night, edible treats show up in the conference room, kitchen, that always empty cubicle- basically wherever. It seems like I can pick up the faintest mumble of “There’s food in the conference room.” Even from 3 floors away.

Earlier today a coworker brought in a Cranberry Bliss Bar package from Starbucks. I was immediately mad at her and in love with her at the same time. So after very little debate we opened the package and several of us indulged in the holiday goodness.

I must say I’m surprised by our restraint. There is only 1 piece left. Doesn’t it look lonely? Like it’s wondering, “Hey, where did all of my friends go?” In our bellies, that’s where.
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I know Wednesday is typically called “Humpday” but can I start a new rumor that this day also be dubbed “Yumsday”? A day for honoring all the delicious goodness that surrounds us throughout the week. And there is much goodness all around!

Shhh! You hear that? Sounds like the Accounting department just got doughnuts. If you’ll excuse me.

Happy Yumsday!

XOXO,

roqberry