Monday, July 30, 2018

6 Black-Owned Banks for My Friends & Family

Hello, Wonderfuls! This is my first official Trill2Sense post! YAY!!! In these posts, I will be featuring lists of my favorite Black-Owned products and businesses.

Before I suggest products and things you should purchase with your hard-earned money, I feel I should first address where we keep our money. Black-Owned Banks are the pillars of Black communities. Yet, there are now less than 30 Black-Owned Banks left in our country. Meanwhile, your favorite "big bank" probably has up to 30 locations in one metropolitan city. While I know celebrities made an initial plea a few years ago, I am pleading with you again. We can’t let our institutions fade away.

Some Black-Owned Banks are doing better than others, expanding, and gaining national recognition. I am so glad to see Black communities and businesses flourish. However, the Black-Owned Bank in your city may be struggling. You may say “Well, I want my money in a bank that’s doing well and not struggling.” My answer: The Black-Owned Bank is struggling because the people it set out to serve won’t bank with them. If your local Black-Owned Bank is struggling but it is still open, confirm that it is FDIC insured and protected, and then go open an account. Make sure you intend to use that account monthly. Start that savings account for that trip you want or all those Black-Owned products you want to buy.

Therefore, I’m not listing the top Black-Owned Banks. I am listing the Black-Owned Banks that are near my family and friends. I am starting at home and urging my loved ones in Philadelphia, DC, The Gulf Coast, and North Carolina to BANK BLACK.

1. United Bank of Philadelphia – Philadelphia, PA

2. The Harbor Bank Baltimore, Maryland

3. City National Bank – Newark, New Jersey

4. Commonwealth National Bank – Mobile, Alabama

5. Industrial Bank – Washington D.C. (P.S. Marketing on AMAZING! Now I want an account!!)

6. M & F Bank – Durham, North Carolina

Once you open up your account at your local Black-Owned Bank, come back, comment below, and tell me all about it! I love us for real LOL… SMOOCHES XOXO

This post is brought to you by, dreamy, lux jewelry for the Pretty x Inspiring. SHOP TODAY!

African American buying power is at $1.1 trillion, yet only 2 cents of every dollar an African American spends comes back to the Black community. Once I learned this, I started Trill2Sense as a way for me to keep track of all the Black-Owned businesses I wanted to support.

You can find more Trill2Sense posts HERE.

Be sure to follow @Trill2Sense on Instagram.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

This is an Alaïa!

Hello, Beautiful People! Yes, the title of this post is a Clueless reference. I have a very good reason for dwelling in nostalgia. The dress I'm wearing below reminds me so much of the dress that made Cher rethink a bullet. While my dress is not an Alaïa, it is very cute and it gives me 90s Beverly Hills Vibes. So check out how I styled my little red dress below:

Little Red Dress - Hampton Nites, Thrifted
Distressed Jean Jacket - Lee Jeans, Thrifted
Fiery Fringe Earrings -
Midnight Marble Bracelet -
Silver & Gold Cobblestone Ring -
Stained Glass Bar Necklace -
Blue Suede Shoes - Potion-131 from Qupid

Face Prep and Products by Jane Iredale (Thanks, Influenster!):
PurePressed® Base Mineral Foundation
BeautyPrep™ Face Cleanser
BeautyPrep™ Face Toner (THE BOMB)
BeautyPrep Face Moisturizer (The BOMB Again)
Pommist Hydration Spray (Setting Spray; The BOMBEST)

Lips - Attitude from Nude Matte Lipstick pack from Five Below
Eyeshadow - L.A. Colors 6 Color Metallic Eyeshadow BEP415 Eye Candy & E.L.F. Single Eyeshadow in Purple Passion

Any products you think I missed are probably listed HERE.

Alright, leave some product suggestions below. Did you love this look? SMOOCHES XOXO

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Dating 101

Writing about dating and actually dating (from what I can remember) strangely gives me the same feelings: excited, scared, anxious, jittery, nervous, curious, and insane for having so many conflicting emotions. Dating is a tricky subject for me because I haven't been on a real one since before 2011. When I say a "real one," I mean an outing to a public place where both parties have acknowledged a mutual interest in one another and they both agree that this is, in fact, a date. You can read through those lines as much or as little as you want. Thanks to an article I just read on, I've realized that I am not alone.

Prior to now, I haven't ever felt completely ready to date, even if I had a desire to date. I have truly been working on myself since December 2011. Looking back at how much I've grown, how much I accomplished, and how busy I've been, there's no wonder why I wasn't attracting anything of substance. And per the usual, the guys I liked never liked me back. I just don't think my availability was visible to the right men. Plus, I wasn't exactly focused on being available.

With my 28th birthday approaching, I truly feel ready to date and I am open to the possibility of a relationship. But there is one major dilemma: HOW DO I DATE IN 2018?

Mind you, I don't believe I've ever dated successfully or long enough to have old strategies to pull from and fine tune. I don't have any clue what to do. What do I say? Where do we go? What do I wear? And clearly, what is an acceptable age range I'm comfortable with? Because while I would love to get to know someone my age, it feels like I am only approached by men significantly younger or older than me. I am too old to be with someone still in college and I am too young for someone who has a child 5 years my junior. And don't forget the psychos, creeps, stalkers, weirdos, sex-obsessed, don't know how to keep their hands to themselves fools. Like, is dating even safe?

As the questions flow in, I begin to wonder if I even really want to date. These aren't easy questions to answer and my concerns are valid. Yet the more I think about dating and the risks I am willing to take to experience the love I'm seeing all up and down my timeline, I realize that once again hope is outweighing fear.

I'm so hopeful about dating in 2018 that my mind and heart are open. I know I will date available, non-creepy, normal, yet amazing men my age who verbalize an interest that is mutual and use the word "date" :) But I want to do this right and I need your help.

Remember Pretty x Inspiring is a conversation. I will give my tips and insight to your feedback in the upcoming video. In the meantime, I want to hear from you! In the comments below, tell me about your dating experiences. Give me your tips and strategies. Let me know what red flags I should look for. Let me know what I shouldn't and should do. Girls and Guys are welcome to chime in. This is Dating 101 and I am your attentive student. Hopefully, this conversation can not only help me but help other people who are trying to re-enter the dating scene.

I respect opinions but be respectful in your delivery in the comments section. SMOOCHES XOXO


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For more Pretty x Inspiring Sessions, CLICK HERE.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Sexy Sexy

Hello, Lovelies! This OOTD was quite simple. I just wanted something sexy but minimal. Let me give you the run down as quickly as I can:

Black Sheer Top - Thrifted from my Granny's closet
Black Corset-ish Full Body Shaper - Maidenform
Black & White Floral Print Pants - Mossimo for Target (I got these pants in high school over 10 years ago)
Silver Shoes - Bennie-01 from Charlotte Russe
Earrings, Ring, Necklace & Bracelet - The Havana Collection at

Primer -L'Oreal ParisMagic Perfecting Base (THE BEST DRUGSTORE PRIMER FOR ME)
Eyeshadow, Blush, Contour - Almar Sales Co., Palettes from Five Below (I am a makeup novice on a budget; So yes, the inexpensive stuff is good for now)
Lips - Covergirl Queen Collection Stay Luscious, shade Q740 Monarch
Lip Liner - Wet n' Wild ColorIcon Kohl Eyeliner, shade 603A Simma Brown Now
Lashes - Covergirl Queen Collection False Lash Drama, shade Very Black
Foundation - Covergirl Queen Collection Natural Hue Liquid Makeup, shade Q710 Classic Bronze
Powder - Clinique Stay-Matte Sheer Pressed Powder Oil-Free, shade 05 Stay Spice (D)
Highlighter - Milani Eyeshadow, shade #11 Beach Sand
Brow - NYC Kohl Brow/Eyeliner Pencil, 925 Sable
Concealer - E.L.F., shade Light
Setting Spray - E.L.F., Matte Magic Mist & Set

Alright, let me know what you think in the comments below. What should I wear next?! SMOOCHES XOXO

Monday, July 16, 2018

The Crippling Fear of Entrepreneurship

After years of trying to manage my passions and dreams as hobbies or my "side hustles," I've finally made the leap to being self-employed. While I've tried in the past and contemplated the option many times over, fear would always swell up in my chest. What if I fail? What would I do for money? What will people think of me? What would my hardworking family members think of my decision? My doubt in myself, the minimal manifestation of my dreams thus far, and the lack of know-how always kept me in a cycle of doing things that would keep me bound and keep me from pursuing my dreams with my whole heart.

My mother was an entrepreneur. She was a master hairstylist with skill oozing out of her fingers, through the scissors, and into the perfect haircut. However, my mother struggled as a self-employed entrepreneur. I know encountering failure over and over again damaged her spirits and made her doubt herself and her ability. My mom would take breaks from hairstyling to work jobs. While she would work hard and even like her jobs at times, she was often unhappy. In between every job, and sometimes even during a tenure, she would always find her way back to hair. Her face would just light up when she had a willing client. She was her happiest when styling hair. However, she just couldn't make the business side work for her. She would say she needed help. She would say she needed more money. She would say she needed more information or to be more knowledgeable about technology. She would say she doesn't really understand how the industry had changed. While my mom would tell me every reason why it just wouldn't work, I knew the real and underlying reason was fear.

Fear is crippling. Once fear has power, it encompasses your whole life and seeps into every area. Fear will make you question things you know you know to be true. Fear will stop you from even trying. Fear is more than a state of being. Fear is a force that takes up space in your life and makes room for itself as you feed it your doubts and insecurities. Why do we get so comfortable with fear's presence in our lives that we let it stop us from pursuing the unknown, which could actually be better?

What I loved most about my mother as an entrepreneur is that she never gave up, she had identified her passion (often the hardest and longest part of the journey), and she honed her craft. I am glad I learned that from her. But now, as an entrepreneur myself, I've realized I can not inherit her fear.

I have been racking my brain on ways in which I can honor my mother's legacy. I've finally decided that if nothing else, I will not give fear a place in my life and I will succeed as an entrepreneur. No matter how long it takes. No matter how many times I have to try. I will not let my failures hinder me. Those experiences will be the fuel for my growth. I will learn what I need to learn. I will do what I need to do. I will get up early. I will stay up late. I will make myself uncomfortable. I won't worry about people's opinions about my life and decisions. I will pour all of the good ideas I have for everyone else into my own business. I will make my mom proud of herself for raising a driven, fearless, entrepreneurial woman.

This post isn't to encourage you to go quit your job so you can go live your dreams. It has taken me over five years to even get up the nerve to consider the option of self-employment. I now know that all of my work experience leading up to this moment has adequately prepared me for success. While some days I wish I could trade that time because it often felt wasted, it all will work out for the good of my businesses in the long run. Furthermore, there is nothing wrong with working for someone else. If you are respected, treated fairly, compensated appropriately, and HAPPY, don't let this wave of "travel & work abroad" hype make you feel like you should want more than to be a valued employee. If you do desire to be an entrepreneur, pray and search your spirit and soul. You have to come to peace with all the good and all the bad that comes with being self-employed (which I will discuss in future BrandBuilder posts).

So, whether you want to be a self-employed entrepreneur, you want to go to another country, you want to move, or you want to shave all of your hair off, think about the pros and cons of your decisions all you want for as long as you need to. But don't let fear be the determining factor that stops you from pursuing your heart's desires. SMOOCHES XOXO


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