January 8, 2011

Begin Again: Love ’11 Style

by Donya B

Better Relationships

Relationships.  What is it about the holidays that really make us focus in on relationships?  At Thanksgiving, you recognized what you have or came through and were thankful for it.  At Hanukkah, you cherished the compassion God had for His children and shared that with your families.  At Christmas, you recognized the gift God gave in His son and shared that feeling of giving and love with everyone.  At Kwanzaa, you took time to embrace the love you have for yourself, your family and your community.  At New Years, you looked back over the year and examined the good and the bad, then resolved to change your future.  We really do a lot of assessing in a month!

But then what? Did all of your assessing and examining and contemplating make a difference in your relationships?  Did it make a difference that will last more than the “holiday season”?  What is it you will do differently with your loved ones in this new year that you didn’t do last year?  Here’s a short list to help you get an idea of things you can do to nurture and grow all of your relationships.  Feel free to comment back with more!

  1. Listen.  You have two ears and one mouth… Need I finish the thought?
  2. Communicate.  Once you’ve listened, convey to others how you feel, what you think, what you want and what you can do.  Not selfishly, but constructively.
  3. Act.  Words are important, but we all know actions speak much louder.  Do the things you know are important to someone else to show them that you do care and you were listening.
  4. Follow Through.  Nothing is more disappointing than words with no action.  Don’t say it if you don’t intend to do it.  We all fall short sometimes, but choosing to fall before you even try is inexcusable.  And if for some reason you can’t follow through, see #2!  Communicate that!
  5. Believe.  Having faith can move mountains.  And I don’t just mean that spiritually. Believing in others motivates them to do miraculous things.
  6. Invest.  Some of you may have heard this analogy before.  A chicken and a pig look at breakfast two different ways.  A chicken participates, but a pig invests.  Be the pig.
  7. Love.  Why did I list this last? Because doing #1 – #6 shows others #7.  It’s easy to say you love someone, but if you’re not listening, communicating, acting, following through, believing and investing, then are you really loving?  Showing someone you love them requires you to consciously do all of the above regularly, not just when you want something or the calendar tells you to.

Consider these things in all of your relationships – lovers, spouses, parents, children, religion, family, friends, co-workers, strangers passing on the street.  YOURSELF.  See how much of a difference you can make in someone else’s life this year by showing them the love they need.  Start with You and spiral outward.  Touch as many lives as you can and watch the love grow!

It is here that I bid you adieu.  In case you don’t hear from me in the following weeks (though I’ll do my best to pop in at my appointed time), don’t take it personal.  My little prince, my Bug, my son Mylan Jamaal Vaughn is due to show his face in the coming weeks so I may be a tad bit occupied.  Doesn’t mean I don’t love you! Just means I have to focus somewhere else for a moment…  Happy New Year and God Bless!

Two,

Ms. De

About Donya:

Donya Vaughn is a So Cal native, collegiate of San Diego State University and graduate of the University of Life, mastering in “Wow, That Was Harder Than It Needed To Be”. Known to her close friends as “The Walking Encyclopedia”, Donya prides herself in being helpful, knowledgeable and ready to serve. She uses these traits along with unwavering optimism and Christian good spirit regularly as owner and consultant of As You Like… Wedding & Event Services.

December 31, 2010

Elegance Makeup’s Hot Holiday Series Pt. 2: 6 Steps to the Perfect Smokey Eye

by Elegance Makeup: Looks By Uhuru

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Nothing’s sexier and more sophisticated than the classic Smoky Eye Look this New Year! With a touch of practice, you too can master the Smoky Eye technique! Simply follow these 6 easy steps and before you know it, you too will be rocking your very own gorgeous Smoky Eye Look!

Things to Remember: Creating the Smokey Eye does not have to be created using the traditional black or charcoal colors.  You can use any deep hue color combination to achieve the look.  Just remember your Smokey basics:

· Highlight (lightest all over shade)

· Medium (medium color shade)

· Contour (darker defining shade)

Or simply, light | medium | dark!

STEP 1Eye Prep

Apply an eye shadow base to your entire eyelid (creates a fade & crease resistant base)

STEP 2Shadow Application

Apply the highlighting/lightest color all over your eye & just under the arch of your brows for base & highlighting (use an eye shadow brush)

Apply the medium shade shadow to the entire lid, from inner lash line to outer crease of your eye (use an eye shadow brush)

LIGHTLY apply the contour/darkest shade to the eye crease, just below the brow bone, extend into upper lash line & along lower lash line (use an angle brush/angle defining brush)

In soft circular motions, use a blending brush to blend colors to crease a uniform color flow (blending contour shade into highlighting color below brow arch & along outer crease & along lash line)

STEP 3Liner

Apply a thin layer of eyeliner along upper & lower lash lines, stay close to your lash line. Smudge along lash lines for extra drama (use smudging brush).

STEP 4Clean Up

With a fluffy brush, brush away any fallen shadow below the eye and clean up any smeared areas with a q-tip lightly dipped in makeup remover. Touch up & continue.

STEP 5Going Diva

Want more Diva? For a more dramatic look, add more shadow and 2-3 coats of mascara! For dazzling Diva status, add falsies to give your Smokey Eye an edge!

STEP 6Lips & Cheeks

For a classic look, try the Nude look on the lips. Lightly line your lips with a natural color and add a sheer color in peach, caramel, or barely there pink.

For a more dramatic look, line your lips with a darker lip liner and fill in with a deep color hue.

Don’t forget to add a hint of a naturally complimenting cheek color.

Voila!  Now you’ve got the look!

Check out our Elegance Makeup Smokey Eye Tutorial online at:

www.enchanted-elegance.com/videos–tutorials.html

About the Author:

For over 14 years, Chicago native Uhuru Freeman has been a face of many artistic and creative ventures such as dancer, singer, competitive beauty model & more.  Uhuru is the founder of Elegance Makeup where she’s made it her mission to not only enhance ones beauty from the inside out, but to encourage and teach beauty from within. Visit Elegance Makeup at www.enchanted-elegance.com for more information or to book your very own elegant experience.

December 28, 2010

You Are Not The Father!

by Vonda Howard

Hey Vonda,

I am writing to you with a dilemma.  I have been with my now husband for 3 years and am very much in love.  There is just one huge cloud hanging over my head.  Three years ago when I met him, I was also still dating an on and off boyfriend.  Right at the beginning of our relationship, I got pregnant.  He didn’t hesitate to step up and it only made me fall for him harder.  The only thing he didn’t know was that I had still been sleeping with my ex and there was a very good chance that my daughter could be his.  I didn’t want to alert him when there was no need, so after my daughter was born I had a DNA test done without his knowing.  Vonda, my heart fell to a million pieces when it came back that he was not the father!  I could not bring myself to break his heart.  He had already fallen in love with her.  I did, however tell the other guy and he agreed to not say anything and let my, now husband, continue to believe she was his. He comes around often because I told my husband that he was my cousin. They have actually become good friends.

It is getting harder and harder to keep this a secret.  Her biological father is getting antsy because he wants to have a bigger role in her life and hates that she calls my husband “dada”.  What should I do, Vonda?  Should I tell him that the daughter he adores really isn’t his?  How do I even utter the words?

Dear He Is Not The Father,

All I can say is, are you serious?  I’m not sure what you want me to say here. I’m going to blunt.  You have essentially made a fool of this man.  It is obvious that he is a decent man if he didn’t ask any questions and TRUSTED YOU when you told him you were pregnant early in the relationship.  Most guys would have screamed paternity test.  (Which obviously is what he should have done!)  There is no way that you will be able to justify with me your lying to this man and letting him believe that the guy you are passing off as your cousin is actually an ex-boyfriend whom is the true father of the daughter he thinks is his.  WHAT??  I don’t have to spend a lot of time on telling you what to do, actually, I think YOU KNOW what it is you HAVE TO do.  You will have to tell this man the truth.  He deserves it.  Now, what he decides to do once you drop this bomb on him, you will just have to deal with.  It would have been much better if you had told him from the start that there was a chance this little girl wasn’t his and prevented the impending heartbreak you about to give. Also, what kind of man allows another man to “play daddy” with his child?  Either you want to be totally in your child’s life or you don’t.

I am going to be very direct when I say that you deserve for him to leave you.  Yep, I said it.  The fact that you would not only lie to him for three years, but that you would actually allow him to become friends with the man you cheated on him with and fathered the child he thinks is his is just plain low-down!  You claim that you “love” this man, but these are not the actions of a woman that truly knows what love is.  Bottom line…tell the man the truth and deal with the consequences.

Good luck,

Vonda

About the Author: Vonda Howard is the author of the new hot book series, The D-Cup Divas™, a graphic designer of her own graphic design firm, Cupcake Creative Studio, mom to two, wife to her one and only and a domestic goddess (not really…LOL). She does not profess to be an expert, but just that one opinionated girlfriend you go to for the straight nitty-gritty. So just relax and enjoy. ;o) Do you have a question? Send it to this address:heyvonda@thedcupdivas.com and you may get featured!


December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas from The Voluptua Project

by M Stagg | The Voluptua Project™

Christmas Bells

Greetings TVP Fam!

I just wanted to take some time wish everyone a joyous and safe Christmas. Enjoy your time with family and friends and take time to remember those less fortunate that may not be able to experience a decent Christmas.

Please enjoy one of my favorite Christmas songs: This Christmas by Donny Hathaway!

December 24, 2010

Elegance Makeup’s Hot Holiday Series Pt. 1: 5 Great Stocking Stuffers for Under $30

by Elegance Makeup: Looks By Uhuru

Seasons Greetings to all & to all a happy shopping adventure! Still need to find those great last minute stocking stuffers that are both budget worthy & unique? Well you’re in luck! This season, try stuffing a few stocking with 5 great gift ideas for that glamorous makeup lover…all for under $30!!!

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e.l.f. Essentials Large Get the Look Sets

$7 | Dramatic Eyes | Purple Perfection | Basic Brown

With the e.l.f. Essentials Look Sets, you can be your own makeup artist! Each one of the collectors Look Kits has an on hand resource instructional guide and products to create a complete professional look in no time. Comes in 3 Look Set collection colors & styles!

Includes:

– Mascara

– Eyeliner Pencil

– Eye Shadow Brush

– Natural False Lashes with glue

– Pencil Sharpener

– 2 Eye Shadow Applicators

– 3 Eye Shadow Pots
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BH Cosmetics 120 Color Palette

$29.95 | 1st & 2nd Edition

Check out the review online at: www.enchanted-elegance.com/videos–tutorials.html

BH Cosmetics offers a 1st & 2nd Edition 120 Eye Shadow Palette that are an absolute makeup lovers must-have! Each palette consists of highly-pigmented colors that are made to last morning to night. The 1st Edition consists of six mix-and-match colors, true onyx and ruby shades, cheerful emeralds and lavenders. The 2nd Edition consists of classic emerald, sapphire shades and brilliant rubies and golds. Each palette edition comes in a 9” x 6” portable black hard case with two tier layers.

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Steelo Cosmetics Lip Stick

$12 | 12 Shades

Check out the review online at: www.enchanted-elegance.com/videos–tutorials.html

Featured in Sophisticate’s Black Hair Magazine, the Steelo Cosmetics lipstick collection are moisture & vitamin enriched, come in 12 long lasting shades and glide on with a sparkling pearl finish. Great stocking stuffers for anyone!

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Revlon Fantasy Lengths False Eyelashes

$3 – $5 | Flirty | Defining | Intensifying

Revlon’s line of Fantasy Length False Eyelashes are a great way to instantly transform any natural look to fantastic! They are self adhesive, so there’s no messy glue required and they stay where you want them to.

Includes:

– 1 pair of eyelashes

– 2 extra adhesive strips

– 1 applicator

– Bonus eye defining brush

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Sephora Collection: Color Wand For Lips

$10 | Nymph | Siren | Muse


Sephora’s Color Wand for Lips Collection contains 6 mini lip glosses in a delicious mango scent, that are joined together in an uniformed wand. Simply twist & apply. Each lip gloss has its own small jar and brush applicator. The Color Wand’s slender size is perfect for easy carrying, purses & offers a great selection of color options. Mix and match glosses to create unique shades.

What do you think of my selections? If you have any other suggestions I’d love to read about them in the comments section. Be sure to read part two which talks about the six steps to achieve the perfect smokey eye – you don’t want to miss it!

About the Author:

For over 14 years, Chicago native Uhuru Freeman has been a face of many artistic and creative ventures such as dancer, singer, competitive beauty model & more.  Uhuru is the founder of Elegance Makeup where she’s made it her mission to not only enhance ones beauty from the inside out, but to encourage and teach beauty from within. Visit Elegance Makeup at www.enchanted-elegance.com for more information or to book your very own elegant experience.

December 20, 2010

3 Ways to Give Yourself–And Your Curves–The Gift of Lovingkindness

by M Stagg | The Voluptua Project™

Metta

During this, the season of giving, sometimes we neglect the person that needs our care and love the most: ourselves. We spend so many hours shopping, wrapping and preparing for Christmas that we forget to take some time for ourselves to relax and regroup. Here are several ways to offer yourself some much needed attention and stave feelings of Bah-Humbug!

During this, the season of giving, sometimes we neglect the person that needs our care and love the most: ourselves. We spend so many hours shopping, wrapping and preparing for Christmas that we forget to take some time for ourselves to relax and regroup. Here are several ways to offer yourself some much needed attention and stave feelings of Bah-Humbug!

 

 

Don’t Neglect the Small Things

During the hectic holidays, we tend to forget about the small things that make life more enjoyable and meaningful such as playing with our children, quality time with your significant other (while wearing your favorite curve flattering ensemble), connecting with extended family or simply preparing a home cooked meal. These are the things that define the memorable moments of our lives; not how much money you saved purchasing little (or big) Johnny’s X Box 360. Cherish the little things; don’t sweat the things that aren’t so important. You’ll find that your are much happier at the end of the day.

During this, the season of giving, sometimes we neglect the person that needs our care and love the most: ourselves. We spend so many hours shopping, wrapping and preparing for Christmas that we forget to take some time for ourselves to relax and regroup. Here are several ways to offer yourself some much needed attention and stave feelings of Bah-Humbug! 

 

Don’t Neglect the Small Things

During the hectic holidays, we tend to forget about the small things that make life more enjoyable and meaningful such as playing with our children, quality time with your significant other (while wearing your favorite curve flattering ensemble), connecting with extended family or simply preparing a home cooked meal. These are the things that define the memorable moments of our lives; not how much money you saved purchasing little (or big) Johnny’s X Box 360. Cherish the little things; don’t sweat the things that aren’t so important. You’ll find that your are much happier at the end of the day.

 

Tell Yourself “I Love You”

This one is very important because it’s very seldom done. Looking in the mirror each day and professing our love for ourselves is a great esteem booster. I’m not talking about egotistical love. I’m talking about the type of love that makes you get up at five AM to work out or  to say no to that piece of cheesecake – well, maybe not cheesecake! 🙂 The point is Loving yourself, and the body you have, is a must and shouldn’t be neglected during the holidays.

During this, the season of giving, sometimes we neglect the person that needs our care and love the most: ourselves. We spend so many hours shopping, wrapping and preparing for Christmas that we forget to take some time for ourselves to relax and regroup. Here are several ways to offer yourself some much needed attention and stave feelings of Bah-Humbug! 

 

Don’t Neglect the Small Things

During the hectic holidays, we tend to forget about the small things that make life more enjoyable and meaningful such as playing with our children, quality time with your significant other (while wearing your favorite curve flattering ensemble), connecting with extended family or simply preparing a home cooked meal. These are the things that define the memorable moments of our lives; not how much money you saved purchasing little (or big) Johnny’s X Box 360. Cherish the little things; don’t sweat the things that aren’t so important. You’ll find that your are much happier at the end of the day.

 

Tell Yourself “I Love You”

This one is very important because it’s very seldom done. Looking in the mirror each day and professing our love for ourselves is a great esteem booster. I’m not talking about egotistical love. I’m talking about the type of love that makes you get up at five AM to work out or  to say no to that piece of cheesecake – well, maybe not cheesecake! 🙂 The point is Loving yourself, and the body you have, is a must and shouldn’t be neglected during the holidays.

 

Take a Self Care Sabbatical

After a day or two of shopping you will need some time to unwind from all the pushing, being trampled over and other less than pleasant experiences of holiday shopping. Why not take some time to unplug from world by visiting your favorite spa? Perhaps you’ve been meaning to finishing that juicy novel; why not fix yourself a nice cup of [insert your favorite holiday beverage here] and enjoy reading it to its awesome conclusion. You don’t have to do it alone either. Grab a few of your voluptuous friends, leave the little ones with hubby or a trusted neighbor and then pamper and party the day (or days!) away!

During this, the season of giving, sometimes we neglect the person that needs our care and love the most: ourselves. We spend so many hours shopping, wrapping and preparing for Christmas that we forget to take some time for ourselves to relax and regroup. Here are several ways to offer yourself some much needed attention and stave feelings of Bah-Humbug! 

 

Don’t Neglect the Small Things

During the hectic holidays, we tend to forget about the small things that make life more enjoyable and meaningful such as playing with our children, quality time with your significant other (while wearing your favorite curve flattering ensemble), connecting with extended family or simply preparing a home cooked meal. These are the things that define the memorable moments of our lives; not how much money you saved purchasing little (or big) Johnny’s X Box 360. Cherish the little things; don’t sweat the things that aren’t so important. You’ll find that your are much happier at the end of the day.

 

Tell Yourself “I Love You”

This one is very important because it’s very seldom done. Looking in the mirror each day and professing our love for ourselves is a great esteem booster. I’m not talking about egotistical love. I’m talking about the type of love that makes you get up at five AM to work out or  to say no to that piece of cheesecake – well, maybe not cheesecake! 🙂 The point is Loving yourself, and the body you have, is a must and shouldn’t be neglected during the holidays.

 

Take a Self Care Sabbatical

After a day or two of shopping you will need some time to unwind from all the pushing, being trampled over and other less than pleasant experiences of holiday shopping. Why not take some time to unplug from world by visiting your favorite spa? Perhaps you’ve been meaning to finishing that juicy novel; why not fix yourself a nice cup of [insert your favorite holiday beverage here] and enjoy reading it to its awesome conclusion. You don’t have to do it alone either. Grab a few of your voluptuous friends, leave the little ones with hubby or a trusted neighbor and then pamper and party the day (or days!) away!

 

The Point

While ‘tis the season of giving, don’t get so caught up in pleasing others that you forget about your own joy. After all, a happier you means a happier everyone around you! If you can think of other ways to show lovingkindness to yourself please share them in the comments below.

During this, the season of giving, sometimes we neglect the person that needs our care and love the most: ourselves. We spend so many hours shopping, wrapping and preparing for Christmas that we forget to take some time for ourselves to relax and regroup. Here are several ways to offer yourself some much needed attention and stave feelings of Bah-Humbug! 

 

Don’t Neglect the Small Things

During the hectic holidays, we tend to forget about the small things that make life more enjoyable and meaningful such as playing with our children, quality time with your significant other (while wearing your favorite curve flattering ensemble), connecting with extended family or simply preparing a home cooked meal. These are the things that define the memorable moments of our lives; not how much money you saved purchasing little (or big) Johnny’s X Box 360. Cherish the little things; don’t sweat the things that aren’t so important. You’ll find that your are much happier at the end of the day.

 

Tell Yourself “I Love You”

This one is very important because it’s very seldom done. Looking in the mirror each day and professing our love for ourselves is a great esteem booster. I’m not talking about egotistical love. I’m talking about the type of love that makes you get up at five AM to work out or  to say no to that piece of cheesecake – well, maybe not cheesecake! 🙂 The point is Loving yourself, and the body you have, is a must and shouldn’t be neglected during the holidays.

 

Take a Self Care Sabbatical

After a day or two of shopping you will need some time to unwind from all the pushing, being trampled over and other less than pleasant experiences of holiday shopping. Why not take some time to unplug from world by visiting your favorite spa? Perhaps you’ve been meaning to finishing that juicy novel; why not fix yourself a nice cup of [insert your favorite holiday beverage here] and enjoy reading it to its awesome conclusion. You don’t have to do it alone either. Grab a few of your voluptuous friends, leave the little ones with hubby or a trusted neighbor and then pamper and party the day (or days!) away!

 

The Point

While ‘tis the season of giving, don’t get so caught up in pleasing others that you forget about your own joy. After all, a happier you means a happier everyone around you! If you can think of other ways to show lovingkindness to yourself please share them in the comments below.

 

Happy Holidays!

 

December 19, 2010

The Voluptua Project Featured on Be in Style’s Best of the Web

by M Stagg | The Voluptua Project™
Stylish Eyewear

Image via Be in Style Blog

Greetings TVP Fam!

A few days ago, I received word that our blog had been featured on the site Be in Style; you can read the post at their site here. Although Be in Style doesn’t focus specifically on the plus size lifestyle you can still find a wealth of information and tips (such as their piece on trendy eyewear) on their site so be sure to pay them a visit and you too can Be in Style. 🙂

Special thanks to Krista and all the members of the Be in Style team for honoring us with the mention. We really appreciate it!

December 18, 2010

Come, they told me: The Lesson of the Little Drummer Boy

by Donya B

Litttle Drummer BoyIt’s Christmas.  Well, almost.  If you’ve had your radio on in the last 2 weeks, you’ve heard my absolute favorite Christmas song, “Little Drummer Boy”.  It’s the sheer humility and adoration the boy expresses that gets me every time.  A lot of people are put off by the repetition of “Pah-rum-pah-pum-pum”, but listen past that…

“Baby Jesus, I am a poor boy too. I have no gift to bring that’s fit to give our King, but shall I play for you on my drum?  Mary nodded, the ox and lamb kept time.  Then He smiled at me, me and my drum.”

That to me is the ultimate show of love and giving that we should all have in this Christmas season.  Christmas has become so much about buying this and that, spending this much and that much, going broke fulfilling lists a mile long, that everyone has lost sight of what’s truly important.  Love.

Why do people not like gold diggers (think “Santa Baby”)?  Because they’re all about stuff.  They think your stuff is a symbol of your love (or for that matter, don’t care about your love at all, just your stuff).  Parents fall on the opposite end of that; they want to buy their children any and every thing they ask for, as if it validates them as parents.  Then there’s family…  So- and-So spent so little on you last year, so that’s what you’ll spend on them this year.  And you go broke trying to match the opulence of your brother’s present to your mom.  Will that make her love you more than if you offered your time?

Here’s a thought for this year, why not give according to your heart?  Why not look at giving like the Little Drummer Boy did?  He didn’t have anything to give.  Nothing tangible to place at the Christ Child’s feet.  Nothing that someone would look at and say, “I saw that at Macy’s… in the clearance section…”.  No shiny wrapping paper, no triple decimal gift card.  All he had was the one thing he knew better than anything else – playing his drum.  And that he gave.  His gift was so pleasing that Mary nodded along.  His gift was so real that even the lowliest of animals felt the love and joined in with him.  His gift was so significant that the Lord Most High gave His approval.  To anyone else, a little ragtorn child beating on a drum is more of a nuisance than anything else in the world.  But to Jesus, it was the most amazing gift.

That is what we should all strive for when giving this season.  Please someone’s heart, not their hands.  Strengthen your relationships with love, not stuff.  Give from your heart something that will warm someone else’s.  It’s a lot easier than you think.

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and God Bless You All!

Two,

Ms. De

About Donya:

Donya Vaughn is a So Cal native, collegiate of San Diego State University and graduate of the University of Life, mastering in “Wow, That Was Harder Than It Needed To Be”. Known to her close friends as “The Walking Encyclopedia”, Donya prides herself in being helpful, knowledgeable and ready to serve. She uses these traits along with unwavering optimism and Christian good spirit regularly as owner and consultant of As You Like… Wedding & Event Services.

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