​Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty Lingerie Line Launched at Midnight... and I’m a Fan!

Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty makeup line broke the internet last Fall when she launched 40 unique foundation colors in every shade of skin. And now her new lingerie line looks to be breaking the same barriers.

Rihanna launched her Savage X Fenty lingerie line at midnight on May 11, and it boasts 90 unique pieces for a wide array of tastes, from mild to wild and slim to thick.

I love Rihanna’s thoughts behind the collection, stating that women should be wearing these intimate items to please themselves and boost their confidence. In her exclusive interview with Vogue, she goes on to give us a body positive speech that had me saying, “yaaassss”!

You don’t have to stick to one personality with lingerie; it’s fun to play around. You can be cute and playful one week and a black widow next week. You can take risks with lingerie. I want people to wear Savage X Fenty and think, I’m a bad bitch. I want women to own their beauty. 

The Launch Experience and First Impressions

After about a 20 minute queue right after midnight, I was able to poke around the site. Although a little slow loading, probably due to all the eager shoppers, the site is very easy to navigate, and the categories are pretty self-explanatory.

I was really impressed with how reasonable the prices are; with nothing over $100, I could see choosing this line over Victoria’s Secret. Plus, there is a much wider range of sizing with Savage X.

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It was also interesting to note that there is a preferred member subscription, called Xtra Savage. For $50 a year, members of this special VIP club get early access to new releases, free shipping, and exclusive collections. I am interested to see whether these items are worth having that kind of VIP access.

So here’s the multi-million dollar question: Did I purchase anything?

Why yes, yes I did! But I want to show you in person (well, on video). So stay tuned for a video unboxing as soon as my order arrives.

But until then, I will leave you with a few of the beautiful and diverse pieces from the collection.

A small selection of Rihanna's 90 piece lingerie line. | All Images via  SavageX.com

A small selection of Rihanna's 90 piece lingerie line. | All Images via SavageX.com

Have you checked out Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty lingerie line? What did you think?

 

A Practical Review of 'The Little Book of Hygge'

Have you heard of the Danish word "hygge" before? Yeah, me either.

I was in Barnes and Noble a few weeks ago for something completely unrelated to this book. Isn't that how all the most amazing books are discovered?

Anyway... I stumbled on this book called The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living.  I have been challenging myself to try new things this year, so I figured I would give it a chance.

First of all, I had no idea the word was pronounced "hoo-ga". I spent the entire reading of the book saying "higgy" in my head, even though the phonetic spelling was right on the cover. Please forgive my ignorance. 

Hygge is defined as a feeling of comfort, coziness, togetherness, and well-being. The Amazon.com description of the book gives a great explanation of the feeling of "hygge".

Hygge is the sensation you get when you’re cuddled up on a sofa, in cozy socks under a soft throw, during a storm. It’s that feeling when you’re sharing comfort food and easy conversation with loved ones at a candlelit table. It is the warmth of morning light shining just right on a crisp blue-sky day.
finding my moment of hygge in bed with the book A Wrinkle in Time and hot tea

The Little Book of Hygge is a great, bite-sized look into the concept of hygge. Don’t expect any Doctorate level writing on the subject; the book- as the title suggests- is a ‘little’ glimpse into this Danish feeling of cozy contentment. And that's what makes it perfect to read. The act of reading this book is, in itself, an act of hygge. Normally I read books on my Kindle app for iPad, but this book should really be read in hardcopy, while cuddled in bed with the blankets wrapped around you.

Most of us have experienced this feeling in our lives, and now that I know there is a Danish word for the feeling, I will probably be more conscious of the times when I am in the midst of a hygge moment. 

And THIS is why I love the Christmas/Holiday season! Regardless of religion or belief system, there seems to be this sensation of warmth, coziness, and togetherness at the end of the year. I love seeing people smile more and find reasons to gather together as friends and family. I LOVE IT, and I wish we could embrace that feeling all year long.

My Version of Hygge

The Little Book of Hygge review Steph Thorne

I’m currently writing this while sitting on the couch with my son. We have the space heater set to low, a large throw blanket covering our legs, and a bowl of popcorn between us. I'm drinking hot tea with milk and sugar out of my favorite mug. And Netflix is playing Secret Life of Pets (again). It’s our traditional Friday night movie night, and in true mother-son fashion, we will probably be asleep in about 20 minutes.

I look forward to this time all week. I get to spend some time with my son, and I get to unwind from a long work week. I'm warm and cozy, and I feel the most refreshing sense of contentment. It is proof that happiness is not difficult or expensive to achieve; it can be found in the simplest moments with the people we love.

How do you find moments of cozy contentment in your life?
 

 

An Inspirational Roundup of Some Amazing Self-Care Bloggers

I recently started following the hashtag #selfcareblogger on Instagram (LOVE this feature!), and I have discovered some amazing bloggers who love to talk, write, and teach about self-care. Plus, it's Women's HERstory Month, and I love seeing other women's success.

Check out some of my favorites, and consider giving them a follow. You won't be disappointed by the inspirational photos. And if you haven't already, please consider following me as well! 

Follow me on IG @pinupgirlsbeauty

Born to Conquer

My first IG self-care blogger is Sabrina Martinez from @brntoconquer. Her mission is to "inspire you to push the reset button, and live fearlessly outside the box". She blogs and posts about skincare, natural hair care, makeup, and journaling. You can find some of her latest writing at Born to Conquer.


Pine Tree Häus

I recently started following Sarah at @pinetreehaus after reading The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living (which I plan to review next week). Sarah is a freelance blogger, massage therapist and holistic health practitioner who is "driven by the belief that healing and wholeness is possible for anyone with discipline, inspiration, and a tribal community to cheer you on."

I love Sarah's practical approach to abundant living through her writing. And I am especially interested in trying some of her recommended oils for hormonal imbalance. You can find her writing at Pine Tree Häus


Morning Coffee with Dee

Deanna at @morningcoffeewithdee is a blogger and social worker who  has created a community "for those who have a desire to live passionately, embrace creativity, experience true happiness, and grow authentically." 

I love that she provides free resources in her blog to help advance your self-care routine and improve your life. You can find her blog at Morning Coffee with Dee.


Lifestyle by Stephanie

I love Stephanie from @lifestylebystephanie, not just because we share a first name, but also because we have a similar love for organization and planning. Plus, her 30 Day Money Saving Challenge is a great resource for anyone just starting out on their financial self-care journey.

Stephanie's mission is "to inspire others to take action & achieve their goals by providing the steps on how they can live their dream lives." You can find her writing at Lifestyle by Stephanie.


Who have you been following lately that inspires you to make your self-care a priority?

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3 Easy Tasks Women Can Do Every Morning to Increase Our Productivity

I admit that I am NOT a morning person. I used to grumble and complain every time I had to drag myself out of my warm comfortable covers to get ready for the day. And you know what? When I grumbled in the morning, I found myself continuing to groan and complain for the rest of the day too.

I had to retrain my mind towards positive thinking in the morning, despite my 5:30am daily alarm.

And even if you don't have a set time to wake in the morning, it is still a great idea to set a routine. Studies have shown that people with a steady morning routine are more productive during the day, and they ultimately have more success in their life.

Are you ready to start your day with focus? Add these three things to your morning routine to increase your success throughout the day.

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1. LISTEN TO POSITIVE OR MOTIVATIONAL MUSIC AND MESSAGES.

I have a playlist titled "morning motivation" and I have my alarm set to play this playlist every morning at 5:00am. This serves two purposes: first, I like to sleep in as long as possible, so I know which song I can sleep through, and which song means it is time to get out of bed. And second, I am not jarred awake by a horrible alarm; I wake peacefully, starting my whole day on the right foot.

If you are more of a spoken word person, consider downloading motivational audio books or podcasts (like enRICHed life radio!) to get your mind focused in the right direction.

2. WRITE DOWN 3 THINGS YOU NEED TO ACCOMPLISH DURING THE DAY.

I have a planner with three colored sections that I use to write these priorities down. I know that no matter what happens during the day, I MUST get these items completed. I have found that when I check these items off my to-do list, I feel more confident to complete even more tasks, and I sleep better knowing my day was productive.

3. PICK A MOTIVATIONAL QUOTE AND REPEAT IT TO YOURSELF.

This is my favorite part of the morning. I usually pick a quote the night before, write it in my planner, and take a look at it when I wake. Then I repeat it to myself as I shower, dress, put on makeup, and eat breakfast. I say it out loud, I say it in my head, I shout it, I whisper it; I say it so many times that it feels like water flowing out of my mouth and into my thoughts.

All this may seem funny or weird at first, but as your brain gets trained to accept the positive, you will find your days are more productive and you will be on your way to having the success you have been seeking.

What do you add to your morning routine to make sure you have a productive day?

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My Thoughts on 'Black Panther'-- From a Non-Comic Fan [No Spoilers]

I left the theater yesterday afternoon reeling in the cinematic genius that is Black Panther. And I'm sure you're wondering by the title of this post why I even went to see a comic book superhero movie in the first place.

You're right-- I haven't seen Captain America Civil War (or even the Captain America before that). I have only seen bits and pieces of the other Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) movies, either on TV or in the cardio theater of my gym. And I definitely haven't read any of the original comics. I am more of a Harry Potter/Hunger Games/A Wrinkle in Time kinda girl.

So, what brought me to the theater for this one? (Other than an excuse to finally wear this skirt...)

Caught in the middle of reading reviews as soon as I walked out the theater. I was HYPED!

Caught in the middle of reading reviews as soon as I walked out the theater. I was HYPED!

I can't lie-- I'm rooting for everybody black.

Of course that's a bit of a simplistic answer. The truth is I wanted to see this movie do well in the box office. I was stunned and thrilled to see this amazing cast list-- bringing seasoned vets like Angela Bassett (Queen Ramonda) and Forest Whitaker (Zuri) together with the amazing young talent of Chadwick Boseman (T’Challa), Michael B. Jordan (Eric Killmonger), Daniel Kaluuya (W’Kabi), Lupita Nyong’o (Nakia), Winston Duke (M’Baka), Danai Gurira (Okoye), and Letitia Wright (Shuri).

And I had no idea how empowered I would feel to see such strong women take on the roles of fierce warriors, badass spies, and technological geniuses! The honor and respect for women in Wakanda is definitely a lesson many people need to take from this film.

I knew that if there is any chance of seeing more movies with this many powerful women and people of color cast in them, Black Panther would have to do well in ticket sales.

Black Panther  Cast | Image via  Marvel Studios

Black Panther Cast | Image via Marvel Studios

Since I paid my hard-earned money to see Peter Rabbit and Fifty Shades Freed, I sure as heck was going to show the box office gods that I want to see more black people as kings, queens, princesses, warriors, protectors, and superheroes. I hope the success of this movie paves a way for more films and TV shows to cast people of color as main characters. Plus, this gives my son (and myself) more options for Halloween costumes, right?

So what did I think of the movie?

This movie was EPIC! The cinematography was brilliant, the music was DOPE, and the acting was so believable. And I didn’t have any problems keeping up with the plot, despite having not seen any of the other MCU movies in full.

I definitely need another viewing of it to catch some of the deep themes I may have missed in this first showing. But what I know is that this movie did a great job of keeping true to the action and fantasy we would expect from a superhero movie, while also subtlety throwing in some commentary of gender and race relations felt in the United States and around the world. 

I was proud to stand in line at the theater this weekend among other happy and excited movie-goers as we struck up conversations about the reasons we were there to see Black Panther. And I got a quick and dirty MCU lesson to give me some context of these characters with the rest of the Marvel universe. Thank you, kind comic book junkie in front of me!

In a few weeks, after most people who are interested in the movie have a chance to see it, I plan to go live on FB to talk about all the details and spoilers. I don't want to ruin it for you right now-- you need to see it for yourself! I will let you know when that's happening, and I hope you join me in the conversation.

Until then, #WakandaForever!

Are you planning to see the new Black Panther movie? If you have already traveled to Wakanda, what did you think of it?

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I bought a Groupon for the Bethesda Salt Cave- Here's How it Went

Last weekend I had tickets to attend a formal charity ball at the Hyatt Regency Bethesda, and I decided to make it a whole self-care getaway, so booked a room at the hotel for the night. And as I was searching other attractions in the area, I found the Bethesda Salt Cave. Google maps said it was literally a one minute walk from the hotel. Score!

To my surprise, they happened to have a current Groupon promotion going on. I chose a 45 minute salt cave session, which is normally $45, but with Groupon, it was only $28. Plus Groupon had an additional 20% off code, so I actually only paid $22.40!

Posing in front of the salt lamps for sale in the lobby.

Posing in front of the salt lamps for sale in the lobby.

I read both some skeptical news articles and some awesome reviews about the benefits of breathing salt, most of which included clearing up nasal passages and reducing asthma. I didn't really have any of those issues; I just wanted to try something relaxing. And a little positive energy never hurt anyone, right?

I bought the Groupon on a Wednesday, and called the Bethesda Salt Cave the next day to schedule my appointment. After ten minutes on the phone with a pleasant lady named Ann, I was booked for that Sunday at noon. 

I received my confirmation email that Saturday, with a reminder to arrive 15 minutes early, wear clean socks, and park my car at the metered parking garage on Montgomery Ave. Since the location was so close to the hotel, I decided to keep my car parked where it was and walk instead.

himalayan salt lamps for sale at the Bethesda Salt Cave

So what did I think?

I enjoyed every minute of the experience. From the check in process with Ann (the same pleasant lady who booked my appointment), to the energized, cozy feeling of the cave, I was pleasantly surprised at how relaxed I was through the entire session.

I especially liked the zero gravity chairs, though it took me a few tries to figure out how to work it. Once it was locked in position, I felt like I was floating.

When the session starts, the staff turns on the air to move the salt throughout the room. And even though the salt was everywhere, I never got a salty taste in my mouth, like I sometimes do at the beach. 

Here are my tips for the best experience: 

  • The temperature in the room is kept at 68 degrees, so if you tend to be cold, dress warmly.  
  • Leave any valuables in your car, or ask the helpful staff to lock them up for you behind the counter. There is a coat rack at the entrance, and you can leave your shoes in the waiting area.  
  • If you love dogs, you will be greeted by Flex, the friendly golden retriever mascot for the spa. He is a great dog, and I had a lot of fun petting him. But if you have pet allergies, be aware that he will be your greeter at the front door. 
This is Flex, the sweetest golden lab and the Salt Cave mascot! Image via  The Bethesda Salt Cave Instagram

This is Flex, the sweetest golden lab and the Salt Cave mascot! Image via The Bethesda Salt Cave Instagram

Have you ever thought about trying a salt cave? Would you give this one a try if you had the Groupon?


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What is National Wear Red Day, and Why Do We Observe It?

Today is the first Friday in February- National Wear Red Day, and my entire office is decked in red dresses, shirts, and ties. But why do we observe this day, other than to kick off the Valentine's Day season?

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February is National Heart Month

In addition to February being the month of lovers, this month is also special because the American Heart Association brings awareness to heart disease and stroke all month long. Since 2004, the first Friday of February is noted as National Wear Red Day as a way to kickoff the Heart Month awareness campaign.

The Go Red for Women campaign indicates that heart disease and stroke kill one in three women in the United States. 

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women - killing more than all forms of cancer combined. For more than a decade, the red dress has been the symbol of  women joining together to end heart disease. When you wear the red dress, you are raising your voice to save the lives of women.

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Why am I so personally involved?

When I was a young girl, my grandfather was rushed to the hospital, and we found out later he had a heart attack. He had to have a quadruple by-pass surgery, and the recovery forced him into retirement after 49 years of working at his job.

Since then, I have heard story after story of my family members and friends being affected by heart disease and stroke. At the end of my own pregnancy I had a few complications due to high blood pressure and my family medical history of heart disease. So I no longer take the signs and symptoms lightly when I hear about them.

How Can You Support?

  • It's easy: wear red today! Show your support, and help spread awareness for the cause. Hashtag your outfit on social media #RockYourRed and #GoRedWearRed
  • You can also visit the Go Red for Women website to learn more or make a donation to research and education.
  • If you shop at Macy's, consider picking up a Go Red for Women button, and you will receive 25% off your purchases, from now to Monday, February 5.
  • AND! If you are in the DC Metro Area, consider attending this awesome Rock Your Red Affair to benefit the Go Red for Women Campaign while also having a great time at 1942DC Bar and Lounge.
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How are you planning to #RockYourRed this month?

 

My Top 3 Self-Care Sunday Tips for a Productive Week Ahead

I used to have a standard self-care Sunday routine that I would adhere to faithfully. But life can get busy, and weeks went by before I got back on track.

I feel less stressed when I follow a consistent routine of preparing for the work week on Sunday nights. I can focus on individual tasks without having to worry about missing important events.

We all need that time right before a new work week begins to connect with ourselves and prepare for greatness.

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My Self-Care Sunday Routine

I break my self care Sunday routine into three categories: relaxation, organization, and planning. Most people think self care is all about laying out on the beach with a steamy romance novel and tuning out the world. And that can certainly be one part of a person's self care strategy. But I also include tasks that may sound like a lot of work, but they are necessary to my peace of mind and sanity during the week.

Relaxation

Relaxation seems to be people's first thought when I mention self-care, and it ranks pretty high on the list. Relaxation self care includes, meditating, journaling, listening to music, reading a book for pleasure, taking a walk, or laying in the sun to enjoy the breeze. Each of these tasks helps relax your mind and reduce your stress. It's necessary to find the best relaxation technique for yourself, and practice it regularly.

On Sundays, I love giving myself a face mask. I have oily skin, so I use LimeLight by Alcone's clay mask called Masque of Zen. This helps regulate my skin, clear out my pores, and keep my skin balanced.

I also have a coconut candle in my room for meditation and journaling time. And I started to associate this scent with a sense of calm. So now whenever I smell the scent of coconut, I instantly start to fell less stressed.

Organization

I found some great challenges to help me organize my house and increase my productivity through Tonya Dalton, the creator of inkWELL Press planners. I started organizing my closet by work outfits so it's easier to grab my outfit and get dressed with no fuss.

I also arrange my fridge to make lunch packing quick and easy. On Sunday, I wrap a few sandwiches, pieces of fruit (he LOVES grapes) and some other easy to handle item. I place them on the lower shelves of the fridge, and my son can grab them and pack his own lunchbox. This gives him some responsibility, while freeing up my time in the morning to get ready.

Planning

I plan my upcoming week in my Erin Condren Hardbound planner, and I transfer the weekly to-do's and events onto the inkWELL Press Weekly Kickstart posted on the fridge. This keeps me up-to-date in two places to make sure the entire family is in the loop for the week.

I am still working on meal planning for dinner, so stay tuned for tips and tricks as I delve into that next week!

And that's it! I have gotten back into the swing of self care Sunday because my sanity required it.

What do you do to get ready for the work week?

 

I Challenge You NOT to Set a Weight Loss Resolution This Year!

Yes, you heard me correctly! I am challenging you NOT to set a weight loss goal this new year. At least not in the traditional sense. 

I know this time of year is inundated with New Year weight loss ideas and programs. It can be overwhelming to see the gym promotions and healthy food ads everywhere you turn.

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But this year I am challenging myself to focus on something other than the numbers on the scale. I have three questions I will ask myself everyday. They are not difficult questions, but they will cause me to evaluate my actions and retrain my brain towards wellness.

1. Is this meal going to make my body work better?

We have all read enough nutrition information to know that lean meats, healthy fats, green leafy veggies, whole grains, and water are the basis of a healthy, well-balanced diet. We know these are the foods that will keep our body in top performance. So I am not going to count every calorie or weigh each portion of food.

Instead, my plan is to evaluate the food on my plate and choose those foods I know will be in line with my wellness goals. I want to have clearer skin, so I will avoid sugary drinks and greasy foods. I want to work out longer and harder, so I will avoid processed carbs and heavy food that will weigh me down. 

2. Have I gotten enough activity to keep my body moving?

For my job, sit down a lot during the day. It can be difficult to be away from my desk, so I rarely get 10,000 steps a day unless I exercise at some point during the day. So, my goal for the new year is to incorporate light to moderate exercise into my morning routine. I'm not jumping back into heavy weightlifting for awhile; I just want to ease my body gently back into movement, so that I don't get discouraged by fatigue or soreness.

3. Am I getting enough sleep?

This question will probably be the hardest to answer truthfully. I know for a fact, I do not get enough sleep, and it shows when I am tired throughout the day. I am sure the change in my eating habits and exercise routine will help, but at the end of the day, I need to remind myself to get in the bed and SLEEP.

To help me with that, I am establishing an evening routine that gets me to bed by at least 11pm every evening, no matter what I have going on during the day. Every time I think about staying up later than that, I remind myself how tough the next day will be without the proper sleep.

And that's it! 

Hopefully, these questions will steer me in the direction of better health overall; weight loss will simply be a by-product of better health.

So this is my challenge to you this new year: let's throw away the scale! Instead, focus with me on answering these questions everyday. Will you accept the challenge?

 

5 Black Friday Tips to Conquer the Biggest Shopping Day

My family and friends will tell you, I LOVE this time of year. And "gift giving" is my number one love language. I remember being a little girl and making gift lists for my friends, family, and teachers early in the holiday season. I was prepped and ready for the Thanksgiving Day paper to be delivered, so I can pull out the store circulars with all the Black Friday ads. And as soon as Thanksgiving dinner was over, I will have the papers spread out, strategizing for Black Friday shopping.

Now, with the advantage of internet and smartphones, I don't have to worry about the physical circular papers on Thanksgiving Day. But despite the new technology (and in some cases, BECAUSE of it), I have compiled my best Black Friday Tips to get you ready for THE BIG DAY.

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My Favorite Black Friday Tips

Here are my top five favorite Black Friday tips for conquering the big day and staying on track with your Christmas budget!

Research Before You Shop

Many retailers have started releasing their Black Friday deals online long before Thanksgiving Day. This gives us plenty of time to comparison shop before we make a decision on where the best deals will be found. And don't forget that it's not all about the lowest price, but also about the most convenient deals. If you end up missing Thanksgiving dinner because you have to be in line all night at Wal-Mart, then maybe the saving isn't worth it.

Consider Shopping Online

Many retailers are embracing the online market this season. They understand that the hustle and bustle of their brick and mortar stores is becoming too stressful for most shoppers, and they are matching most in-store deals online.

Plus, when you shop online, you can use Ebates to get cash back. If you haven't tried it yet, it's super easy! Sign up for free, then choose the retailer you plan to shop with, and click the link through the Ebates site. You will be credited with the designated percentage within a few days. Plus, I have an exclusive link to get you a bonus $10 on your first shopping trip through Ebates!

Don't Sleep on the Sales the Weekend Before

The weekend before Thanksgiving has become a great opportunity for stores to preview their sales prior to THE BIG DAY. Sometimes you may even find a better deal that has not been advertised as heavily. Check the sales papers on the Sunday before Thanksgiving to compare to the leaked Black Friday ads, just to make sure you're getting the best deals.

Also, check out the prices on Wednesday to see if they have loaded the deals a day early!

Have Your Shopping List Game Plan Ready

The stores are trying to get you caught up in the frenzy, right? Stay focused on the goal by writing out the deals you want and keeping the list with you while you shop. To make it easy, I made a quick printable to keep all your store lists in one place.

And the most important tip: Have Fun!

Don't let this time of year stress you out. What is the point of the holidays if we get so caught up in the deals and miss the fun! Keep the end goal in mind and enjoy yourself through every step of the shopping promise. Happy Thanksgiving!

How are you planning to tackle Black Friday?