For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over.

F. Scott Fitzgerald

DIY Asian-Style Cabinet

Create your own Asian-style furniture for a fraction of the cost of the real thing! Use this super easy tutorial to help you make your own custom furniture pieces.

I have an eclectic personality, so of course, my taste in furniture is the same. I live in a one bedroom, open loft space so I have to be creative with storage options. I needed a stylish entertainment/random stuff storage cabinet. I saw an Asian-style cabinet similar to this one on charish.com:

I fell in love and knew that I had to have it in my space. There was one big problem though — it was way too expensive. So I went on a wild goose chase looking for something in my price range of $300 or less. Unfortunately, all I could find were these beautiful pieces ranging from $3000-10,000:

So what’s a DIYer to do when she can’t find what she needs for purchase — she makes it herself of course!

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Here’s what I used to make my own Asian-style credenza:

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  • An old credenza or sideboard. I found this one on Craigslist for $50.
  • Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in the color Emperor’s Silk
  • Annie Sloan Clear and Dark Chalk Paint Wax

  • Various natural bristle paint brushes
  • Paint and wax stirring tools, I used an old butter knife
  • Sandpaper
  • Drill
  • Hammer
  • Asian Cabinet Hardware
  • Needle Nose pliers
  • Disposable shop towels

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Tutorial: DIY Asian-Style Credenza

Step 1

Remove old hardware and sand down rough spots

Step 2

Clean away dust, dirt and grease

Step 3

Paint one coat of paint, allow time to dry. Paint a second coat of paint and allow to fully dry for 24 hours or more.

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Step 4

Apply clear wax in sections and immediately wipe down after each section. The clear wax seals the paint.

Step 5

Apply dark wax in sections and immediately wipe down after each section. The dark wax gives the bright, red color an antiqued look.

Step 6

Apply final coat of clear wax in sections and wipe down each section afterwards like previously. The final coat of clear wax seals in the dark wax.

Step 7

Install hardware per manufacturer’s instructions and you’re done!

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Step 8

Enjoy the finished project!

The entire project cost me under $150! That’s only a fraction of what I would have paid if I bought it from some bourgie furniture store.

How do you think I did? Tell me about it in the comments section. Thanks for reading!

#FlyAF | Art After Dark

What up y’all? It’s been a while since I’ve posted. I’ve been luxuriating on a much needed summer break from technology. It is my hope that I can cure my addiction to checking my phone every five damn minutes! It’s been hard to stay away and eye-opening to say the least. I can’t wait to share my experiences with you!

Onward I press towards the pursuit of more real, meaningful life experiences. My first stop was at an event held at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts and Culture in Charlotte, NC.

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When I heard the name, “Art After Dark”, it made me think of Ms. Nola Darling, the lead character in the Netflix series, “She’s Gotta Have It”. I guess it’s because her character is an artist and she held an art exhibition on the episode I watched. I knew I wanted my look to be dark, moody, sensual and artistic just like that episode left me feeling.

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DeWanda Wise as Nola Darling in the Netflix series “She’s Gotta Have It”

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I thought that this dress was going to be as hot as hell because it has long sleeves; but, I was wrong! The fabric is a light, sheer material that’s versatile enough to wear as a beach coverup or as an artsy after five event outfit like I’ve done here. The dress is very sheer so I opted to wear a black shaping short and a sexy black plunge style bra underneath. It worked out perfectly!

The quote above my head by Elizabeth Catlett read, “I wanted to show the history and strength of all kinds of black women. Working women, country women, urban women, great women in history of the United States.” How fitting? I felt honored to experience Catlett’s artistic prowess on this night.

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Galactic nails, purple lipstick and silver jewelry all accentuate the entire look. Details do matter!

Check out the deets below to learn how to create the look for yourself.

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  1. Collusion Mesh Tie Dye Dress
  2. Saint Laurent Medium Loulou Matelasse Leather Shoulder Bag
  3. Maybelline Vivid Matte Liquid Lipstick in Vibrant Violet, no longer available
  4. Carolyn Pollack Ornate 3-Row Ring
  5. Silver hoops, personal stash
  6. Essie LuxEffects Nail Polish – Set in Stones
  7. Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Monochrome High Top
  8. Lucky Brand Flower Cuff Bracelet
  9. Turkish Coin Collar Necklace

As always, thanks for checking me out. You don’t want to miss a thing so don’t forget follow the blog for post alerts!

How can we be free when we are prisoners to social media, in a world without privacy? How can we be free when our every movement is tracked and every conversation is recorded and can easily be held against us? How exactly are we free if we are tethered to our cell phones?

– Tom Green

12 Tips For Plus Size Hikers

Have you ever considered hiking and thought that you were too big to do it? Well great news, hiking does not discriminate! In fact, you probably hike more often than you think. You see the word hike means a “long walk”. I’m sure you’ve taken a long walk a few times or more in your life. Besides, I’ve found that being plus size hasn’t stopped me from doing anything nearly as much as fear — it’s mind over matter.

Hiking in Baldwin Hills Overlook in Los Angeles, CA

Types Of Hikes I Enjoy

Forest Hikes

I fell in love with hiking in the forest because it’s therapeutic. No literally — hanging out in a forest is a therapy called Shinrin-yoku. Shinrin-yoku means “taking in the forest atmosphere” or “forest bathing”. It was developed in Japan in the 1980s and has become a popular source of healthcare in Japanese medicine. Yes it is a more holistic approach, but it has been scientifically proven to reduce stress, blood pressure and improve moods amongst many other benefits.

Hiking in Catawba Falls, NC

Beach Hikes

I love walking barefoot on the beach sand. It provides so many benefits including “grounding” or physically connecting with Earth. Plus the sand provides a cushion when walking. Lastly, there’s almost nothing more peaceful than losing yourself in the ambiance of the beach while listening to the the sound of crashing waves in the background.

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Hiking on Tybee Island in Savannah, GA

City Hikes

Oh! Hold up, wait a minute — let us not forget a good ol’ city hike. I love to strap on some sneaks and hike around a cool city. Soaking up the culture of the locals and checking out the architecture is one of my favorite things to do! I probably walk an average of 10 miles on a city walk, so I think it’s safe to say that qualifies as a hike.

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On a city hike in Montpellier, France

That’s just a few types of hikes. There are so many more to explore, but don’t overwhelm yourself. One trail at a time!

So without further ado, here are 12 tips for plus size hikers:

Hiking Tips

How To Prepare

  1. Talk to your doctor first to make sure that hiking is right for you.
  2. Hiking requires endurance, strength and flexibility. Walking for at least 30 minutes per day and trying exercises like modified mountain climbers, sprawls and burpees will help get you there.

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Modified burpee via Giphy

3. If you’ll be hiking in the wilderness, research hiking trails and national parks near you. Alltrails.com or the app of the same name is a great place to start your research.

Hiking in Bays Mountain in Kingsport, TN. I found it by checking alltrails.com.

What To Wear

4. This has to be my biggest tip. Find a good comfortable shoe with good traction. Shoes made specifically for hiking would be ideal; but, are not mandatory. Recently I wore these Nike Air Max 270 Bowfin sneakers while hiking and they worked out well:

Via Nike.com

5. My go-to hiking outfit is always moisture-wicking clothing. No matter the temperature my basic uniform is leggings and a long or short sleeve fitted t-shirt. I like hiking clothes that fit close to the body (not tight) because I find that mobility is better. Of course if it’s cold out I’ll wear thicker socks, outerwear, a hat and gloves. This is one of those times where common sense comes into play. Dress appropriately for the weather.

Diagram of how moisture wicking fabrics work via hackersparadise.com

6. I tend suffer from bouts of Runner’s Knee. In this case, I wrap my knee for stability while hiking. If you have a tendency to have issues with a certain body part I would suggest wrapping it before hiking if you can.

What To Pack

7. I usually carry a small backpack with the following essentials:

  • Large bottle of water
  • Snacks such as, trail mix, granola and/or energy bars
  • Cell phone with a portable charger
  • A map of the area, if available
  • Sun protection, sunglasses and sunscreen
  • Small first-aid kit
  • Walking Stick, grab one from outdoors or purchase one from a sporting goods store

On The Day Of The Hike

8. Arrive early. I usually like to arrive as soon as the sun rises. The early bird gets the worm!

9. Don’t go off trail. I went off trail once, but thank goodness I ran into some hikers who knew the area. If they weren’t there things could have been worse!

10. Pace yourself! You’ll see plenty of hikers whiz past you. That’s ok — stay the course. The feeling I get when I’ve completed a hike is the best reward ever!

11. Make sure you read all park signs and warnings. You want to make sure you’re adhering to all of the rules and keeping yourself safe from wildlife.

12. Finally, don’t take this thing too seriously. Take friends, have lots of fun and take pictures to save the memories!

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Hiking with my sister in Crowders Mountain, NC

Hiking with my family in Abalone Cove Preserve in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA

Are you an avid hiker? Comment below with tips or questions if you’re just getting started.

Don’t forget to click the “Follow” button so you won’t miss any future posts.

DIY Lip Print Jeans

In 2016, the red lip print trend was crazy! It was partly fueled by artist Donald Robertson’s signature lip print collections released the prior year.

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2015 Brian Atwood x Donald Robertson Collaboration via shoerazzi.com

Fast forward to 2019 and I’m bored with the trend. Then one day I was scrolling through my IG feed and saw this:

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I fell in love with the look, so of course I had to create a plus size version of the jeans!

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Here’s what you need to make your own Lip Print Jeans:

  • Old pair of jeans
  • Fabric paint and/or markers ( I used Leather Studio brand paint in red and a black Sharpie marker)
  • Paper plate
  • Stencil
  • Paint brushes
  • Stencil sponges

Tutorial

  1. Find an old pair of jeans. I found this pair on the clearance rack at Old Navy for $2.47!
  2. Find a lip stencil or create one like I did. To create my stencil I put a piece of paper over the image below, traced it and cut it out. Simple!

You don’t have to create your own stencil or use a lip stencil. You can find lots of cool stencils on Amazon.com or at your local craft store.

3. Lay the jeans out on a flat surface

4. Squeeze your paint onto a paper plate and dab a stencil sponge into the paint until it is fully coated then lightly dab any excess paint onto the paper plate.

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5. Position the stencil on the jeans in a manner that you desire. Lightly dab the paint over the stencil until fully colored in on the jeans. Repeat those steps all over the jeans and as needed to refill your sponge.

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6. Allow the painted jeans to dry on a flat surface.

7. Once the paint dries use a Sharpie to draw a lip line and create an opening for a pouty lip look.

And voila, here’s the finished look!

Do you like? Comment below with your thoughts. Also, don’t forget to click the “Follow” button so you won’t miss out!

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#FlyAF | The Power Suit

Power dressing is a fashion style that made its emergence in the mid-70’s. Power dressing enabled women to use fashion to establish authority in male dominated corporate and political environments. This style of dressing gave birth to the iconic 1980’s power suit.

Via HungerTv.com

The power suit was classically styled with sharp, rigid cuts and bulky shoulder pads. While boxy suits with shoulder pads have not always stood the test of time, the power suit remains the quintessence of success and confidence.

Via Tumblr.com

Via Vogue.com

The most recent take on the power suit brings bright, bold colors and patterns, non-traditional cuts and a wide range of fabrics. I’m here for it all!

Via Instagram.com

Via Vogue.com

Via Vogue.com

Via Instagram.com

Via Instagram.com

Oh of course I had to try my hand at this trend. Rocking a suit with sneakers screams business ‘cazjh’ so I decided to try that. Check out how I rocked the ‘Power Suit’ below.

Lady Sings The Blues

I found this Vince Camuto turquoise banger at my local Community Thrift on sale for half off. I walked out of that store paying $4.50 for the entire suit! After a trip to the local $2.49 dry cleaners, I styled it with silver platform Chucks, a fun print tee from Forever 21, silver jewelry and big curly hair. You can find a similar look here.

Lady In Red

This little red number caught my eye because of the front V-slits in the pant legs and ties at the wrist of the blazer. I’m a big ole sucker for details! Add my beloved Comme Des Garcons x PLAY Chuck Taylor sneaks, a graphic tee, a good ole faithful head wrap, black sunnies, gold jewelry and the look is complete. Get the look here while supplies last.

The Electric Lady (My Baby Sister!)


Finally, I styled my little sister for her recent talent show. She wanted something unique and comfy that complemented her tomboyish style. We found this rainbow pinstriped suit, added a colorful graphic print tee and –you guessed it– a pair of Chuck Taylor sneaks and a dramatic low afro puff. Get the look here.
So how do you feel about power suits? Do you already wear them freely or are you inspired to rock one after reading this blog post? Tell me all about it in the comments below.
As always, thanks for reading. See y’all soon!