fashion, Lifestyle, photography

How To Choose A Wedding Gown

Make a list of bridal shops that you want to visit.  Find shops that carry dresses within your budget, you don’t want to spend your mortgage on a dress. Next, make an appointment to visit each store. Although the assistance are friendly and knowledgeable they can  become annoying and pushy.  Purchasing a wedding gown can be overwhelming.  It’s ok to receive recommendations that suit your personal style. At the end of the day, its your wedding and you have a budget you desire to stay within .

Choose a gown as soon as possible.  This is a very important step because most wedding gowns have to be altered for a customizable fit. Often times it may take longer depending upon the season of your wedding day. the earlier you make this decision the better, to a lot for any mishaps on sizing or you may change your mind about some details regarding the gown during the second fitting.

Choose the location and time of the wedding.  Some people say you should do this first, but I think it should be done right after the gown has been chosen, to make things more surreal. Not only this reason, but the style of the gown can sometimes determine the venue location. If your gown is very elegant, a beautiful elegant venue will take precedence over a less appealing venue.  You’re going all out on this wedding and everything including the venue will coincide.  The best venue to choose is one stop shop sort to speak. They’ll provide you with an officiant, baker, wedding planner, decorator, caterer and even plan your stay at a hotel if needed. As a bride your only duty is to show up  looking stunning!

Bridal Gown
Photo: Daralynn


fashion, Lifestyle

Target’s Clothes: What Do You Think of The Quality

What do you think of the quality of the clothing from Target? I haven’t really shopped for clothes from Target, because I rarely see anything that catches my eye. Besides I think the quality is a cut above Walmart.  They sell some of the same brands such as Xhilaration and Mossimo.

When I shop at Target it’s for  wash cloths, dish towels, small kitchen appliances , cleaning supplies and food.   Quality, comfort and style  means more to me than price. Ironically Target’s clothes aren’t cheap.  In terms of style Target’s clothes  are trendy, but will last for a year and the quality will climate depending upon how often you wear the item. The most I’ve ever purchased from Target  are graphic T-shirts for a special day, such as July 4th,  Christmas or a cute quote. My experience with the t-shirts they deteriorate within a month, from holes, rips , and losing shape. I know it when I buy them.  They’re great for going to cookouts, concerts and  yard work.

I decided to try this mesh  shirt by Xhilaration from Target. I thought it was stylish, but I don’t think it will have much life.

Photo: Daralynn

I’d be surprised if it last til next summer. I hand washed it in cold water to preserve the color and prevent fading on the embroidery . To prevent stretching I placed it on a drying rack. Never put cheap clothing in the dryer .  Placing the shirt on a hanger  while it’s wet would leave hanger prints that are difficult to remove. It’s just a cute top Screen Shot 2018-07-14 at 11.48.32 AM.png made in china.  The retail price is $19.99  and shouldn’t have been more than  $9.99.

It was fun trying on this top from Target. However I think for the price and subpar quality, I’ll continue shopping at places like Ann Taylor.


how to, Lifestyle

How to Make Your Eyes Look Amazing Without Makeup.

Do you like looking your best without too much effort? I’m sure I got a yes from you. Who wouldn’t want to look effortlessly amazing. A full face of makeup is fine, but there is something about looking natural. If you could only choose one beauty product other than cleaners and moisturizers; (We can never omit these) what would it be?  Leave a comment and tell me what you would choose.

The most effortless way to look amazing without any makeup is with eyelashes. There are four types of false lashes:

Strip lash: The most conventional  form of falsies.

Individual:  Applied next to your natural lashes to create uniqueness

Extension:  The most expensive method ; but last the longest

Magnetic:  They lay on top of your lashes with a magnet attached

This is pretty much what I look like without lashes. I’m very happy here, but I may not appear to be. untitled-0073-1.jpg

Now take a look at the Ardell # 810 strip lash. I love them because of the long and short hairs, which seems to give me life.untitled-0117-1

I don’t have on any makeup, only lashes.  My eyelids are  naturally dark. untitled-0183-1

I’ve tried Wispies,Double Up, and natural by Ardell as well.

I’m on the hunt  to review some higher end brands, but the Ardell # 810 are my favorite in terms of look. I don’t like how flexible they are. They are difficult to keep a nice shape due to the flexibility of the lash. Yet, I love how lightweight they are. The lightweight prevents them from feeling heavy and perhaps poking under my eyelids.  The lash barely feel as if I have them on.   The invisiband  and knot free technology is awesome. I hate to see the clear band and knot, because they are noticeable.  They mimic a cheap looking lash and do not give off a natural flattering look.

Clean those bad girls:

While you’re busy looking amazing, make sure you clean your lashes with rubbing alcohol. Sit them in a bowl of alcohol for 15 minutes. Then use a clean mascara wand  and brush off the dust and lint. Lastly use a tweezer to pull off the old glue. You can use the lash several times depending upon the quality of the lash. You can re-use some 10 – 25 times.

Remember you are beautiful with or without false lashes!

I shared my thoughts on my youtube channel regarding the Ardell lash and a bonus.




fashion, Lifestyle, photography

Nail Your Wedding Day Manicure With Sally Hansen.


Sally Hansen is the leader in nail innovation and they’ve  decided to mix color and care. Their newest line is called Color Therapy . They offer beautiful beige that will be flattering to many brides, chai on life is the name of the color.  It doesn’t scream” I have on nail polish,” but the camera  will love your nails.  This natural color will not distract from your embellished wedding gown.  It’s easy to apply this polish with the amazing flat brush that doesn’t leave streaks.  It builds up to opacity and it’s extremely pigmented. What I love the most is it looks great on any skin tone. Don’t let anyone tell you different!

Photo: Daralynn

Color Therapy has argan oil , açaí and evening primrose oil to aid in dry, weak nails. As you know my nails went through a rough patch from a SNS manicure

If you are getting your nails done the day of your wedding, pick up a bottle of big kwik dry top coatYes! I spelled Kwik  ( According to Sally) correctly. 

Photo: Daralynn

Note: The best thing about Sally Hansen’s gel topcoat is it can be used with any nail polish. It doesn’t have to be a Sally’s brand nor does it have to be a gel polish. This little black bottle is my best friend. It can prevent your nail polish from cracking up to 7 days. Get a bottle of this after a manicure and brush it on top. You will not have to worry about your beautiful nails on your special day.

Photo: Daralynn
Photo: Daralynn

These three will not disappoint you on your special day.

If your still feeling classic vibes, go with a french manicure.

health, Lifestyle

The Pros & Cons of SNS Nails

You may be here because you’ve never heard of SNS nails. Most recognize this type of manicure as nail dipping. This means when you get a manicure there is no ” nail polish” smell. What won me over  is the fact I didn’t have to wait for them to dry.

I have naturally beautiful nails. I don’t know why they grow so long because I don’t do anything special to them. I belived because I didn’t have them manipulated by nails techs for many years helped them to grow.  Somethings are better left alone. My nails are my pride and glory. I’ve always  personally kept my natural nails well groomed. During the coming of the computer age, I started looking up tips on how to make them look like I went to a nail salon. I learned to polish like a pro.  Whenever I’d go to Ulta I’d always  rummage through the nail polish isle before I leave.  I use to like all the odd shades: yellow , green, blue and so forth. Now I like neutrals and pink shades. It is one of the fun things about being girl. I get to enjoy all of the wonderful shades and I can change as much as I like. untitled-0065-1.jpgI’ve thrown many bottles away because they don’t go over the nail as well once it gets down to the last bit  of the lacquer . Although I know the little trick ( pour remover in it) to stretch it and get the remaining polish from the bottom . I opt to throw it away.

At some point I grew tired of manicuring my own nails. Therefore, I chose to visit a nail salon as a treat to relax and let someone else do the work. I didn’t know that this would come with a price more than the cost of the service.

One thing that stood out in my head the most is no one washed their hands in between clients. I usually wash my hands upon arrival, but it doesn’t help much if the tech hasn’t washed his / her hands. Then I opt for my hand sanitizer to add as a barrier to the nail tech dirty hands. I’m not sure if this works, but I didn’t want to seem rude by asking if they’d wash their hands as well.

Polish will last 5 – 7 days
A safer polish without formaldehyde 

After all of the things I’ve tried at home I decided to try SNS nail manicure. This is somewhat of an expensive nail service. I’ve received this type of service  for 4 months to date. The price for the service averages about $40.00. I usually pay around $46.00 that would include the tip.

Pros of SNS Nail Manicure:

1. No smells from nail polish

2. Last longer than a gel manicure

3. SNS will last 4 weeks

4. It will not chip or fade

5. You do not have to use a UV light

6. They are dry as soon as the service is complete ( No wait to dry)

7. There are many dip powders  ( colors) to choose from 

8. You don’t have to use a drill to get it done

9. Claim to be less toxic 

10. They are soaked off with acetone 

Cons of SNS Nail Manicure:

  1. SNS thins the nail bed
  2. Nails become sensitive to slightest touch
  3. Nails split and crack
  4. Your nails are dipped in a powder behind other people
  5. Some nail techs remove SNS with a drill  ( Not necessary)
  6. It’s a pricey nail service
  7. It grows out quickly 
  8. The SNS lifts at the cuticle of the nail and snags on things  ( clothes)
  9. Cracks and splits the nail base
  10. The lifting can hurt
  11. Can get an infection from dipping
  12. Can cause cancer 
  13. Makes natural nails look hideous and unhealthy.

I removed the SNS with acetone. It took about 20 minutes and it easily came off without any drills.  Before SNS my nails were hard, long , healthy and beautiful. I had to cut them down because they were severely damaged. My cuticles look horrible and my nails are split in a place were I can’t trim them. This is my nail bed. I stopped using SNS, because I noticed how sensitive my nail beds have gotten. They hurt to the slightest touch. This probably came from the drilling. It was minimal but it still caused an issue. I was told a drill isn’t needed at all. It depends on the nail techs patience. The nails techs  always  seem to be in a hurry to get as many clients as possible. Perhaps they work on commission.

The deep lines are actually split and will lift

I will have to nurse them back to health. My nails are an extension of my skin. Since I use nail polish so much I am seriously thinking about throwing out my old and starting over with polishes that are free from formaldehyde, toluene and dibutyl. These are three of the main toxins used to make nail polish.


The tools I used to try to make them look better, while they grow back to health:

  1. Crystal nail file
  2. Nail clipper
  3. Buffer
  4. Base coat
  5. 5. Top coat
  6. Clear glitter nail polish

The clear glitter polish helped camouflage the imperfections.

  1. untitled-0055-1.jpg

This will have to do for now

I can’t do too much manipulating. They are sensitive. My nails are so soft and they bend up against anything.  I regret doing  this to my nails.  When I see the results of getting my nails done at the salon it is enticing and addictive.


Take precautions if you insist on going to a nail salon. Perhaps buy your own SNS to use  exclusively.  Insist on bringing your own tools. This will curtail the germs, and bacteria that could make you sick for the rest of your life.

food, Lifestyle, photography

Wedding Cakes Versus Cupcakes

I’m bringing up this topic , because it’s wedding season. This sounds politically correct, but I’ll let you in on a secret. My real reason is I’m a photographer and I shoot many stock images that I love sharing. Therefore, why not use it to express an old debate.  Should you have cupcakes at your wedding as opposed to a wedding cake?

Many Brides decide to use cupcakes because it’s cost effective. They are easy because you don’t need a plate or a fork. They can also be made in deferent sizes; Traditional, mini and large size. They can be made in different shapes as well.

Photo by: Angelita Espara


Many individuals look forward  ( Besides the wedding gown) to seeing the large wedding cake waiting to be eaten. I must admit the wedding cake beats the cupcake in the pretty and elegant category any day.

Photo by: Daralynn
Photo by: Daralynn

A decision to have a wedding cake or cupcakes is a matter of personal choice. However, I feel the most elegant weddings will choose the wedding cake. It makes for better images and it’s traditional. However, occasionally guest have opt to have both. The wedding cake  is use for images and the cake cutting ; while the cupcakes are used for easy portions. It’s convenient for guest to grab a cupcake without a knife, fork or plate. Cupcakes are known for bringing on a good conversation with the different flavors to choose from. The only mess could possibly those who opt to leave the cupcake liner on the table or throw them on the floor.  I know you’re thinking who’d do that, but you’d be surprised.


health, Lifestyle

Meatless Monday

Let me start by saying 30 years ago I was very young when  I decided on my own to give up red meat and never looked back. My decision was prompt by red meat being one of the leading causes of  cancer , hypertension and high cholesterol. Ok, I’m being nice. Although this discovery is true, I quit because I’ve always heard that people of color are predisposed simply because they are people of color. That didn’t set well with me. Therefore, I decided to challenge this.  I’m not a Physician but I strongly believe  you are mainly what you eat. There may be some findings on it being inherit but you are what you eat.  Take for instance Morgan Spurlock , from the documentary Super Size Me, 2004. He ate McDonalds exclusively for 30 days. As a result he gained weight, increased his cholesterol ,experienced sexual dysfunction , mood swings and fat accumulated  in his liver.  This is one example of why I feel most of your health problems can stem from what you decide to eat.

My diet of meats consist of salmon, chicken and turkey with chicken being my least favorite.  Often times my meals do not consist of any meat. I find it harder  in the summer to eat less meat because I love chicken and fish on the grill . Yet, I can do it as long as my meals are prepared ahead of time. The best time to cook is when you’re most energetic and not hungry. For me, I am most energetic in the morning. Along with making breakfast I start cooking my lunch. This will prevent grabbing quick unhealthy food to nourish my  appetite.

If you are thinking about giving up meat, it’s best to start out small. Don’t go cold turkey and quit eating  meat. Eat less meat in a day with smaller portions and fill up on veggies. Then start meatless Mondays. This is a global movement to consume less meat and eat more of a plant based diet. Dr. Kritsti Funk recommends a plant based diet to help reduce the risk of breast cancer.  I’m sure the fear of the ” Big C” resonates with everyone. We all have known someone are have experienced  the ” Big C” in some form of our life.  The thought of a doctor having to tell me this is scary. Yet prevention by trying to reduce the chances is imperative. Many years ago I started having meatless Mondays. Let me tell you, when I say you become creative. I think of all types of dishes to make. It funny how most is such a large part of most peoples meals until the side items aren’t as important. Trying take that meat from the table and watch how much you feel better. I’ll admit, its weird in the beginning. You feel as if something is missing or you just ate a snack instead of a meal. To think too hard on it. Prepare your meals as usual, but exclude the meat on Mondays. If you find it too difficult to eliminate meat for the day; try   eliminating meat on Monday by skipping it on one of your meals. Anything you do to reduce your meat intake will be a good start on better health.

Here’s a great dish I’d love to share with you for meatless Mondays. It’s black beans and rice.  No, it’s not your Mama’s black beans and rice. The black beans has proteins in them. It’s funny how meat eaters ask, ” How will I get my proteins?” There are plenty foods with proteins. You have to do your research and create yummy meals that are more plant based.

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped finely
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 34cup uncooked white rice, ( Brown is healthier)
  • 1 12cups vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 12teaspoon cayenne pepper


I had to cheat and chop my onion and red bell pepper in this chopper, to prevent tears.








My Trip To California

I’m going to try not to be long-winded but it’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve visited.  It’s not my first time traveling to California , but I must admit it’s the first time I enjoyed myself. The weather had a lot to do with this being a much better experience. The first time it rained the entire time. It’s so funny but until I actually visited I thought It Never Rained In  Southern California. Yeah I know it’s the title of the song by: Tony, Tone , Toni

California is one of those places I don’t think I’d ever want to live in, but I always look forward to visiting. Sometimes I find myself thinking about how blessed I am to simply travel. It’s one of those things that I could take for granted until I remember they’re will always be someone who will never get the chance to travel. I’m truly grateful to God.

The first thing I noticed whenever I’m in California is the palm trees. They are so beautiful . Especially when they are lined along a street. They don’t grow in Atlanta. Therefore I have a real appreciation for their beauty. In fact I was siting next to one on a patio of a restaurant .  IMG_9102.jpgI knew I wouldn’t get the chance to see everything I wanted to see in a week, because the traffic is horrendous.  By law motor cycles are allowed to dodge in and out of cars. That frighten  me to death. I feared I would hit someone  on a bike. The cars were always bumper to bumper. With this in mind I decided to pick a place where I would hang out the most.

There is so much happening on Hollywood Blvd. I decided to stay there for several hours. With this in mind I didn’t have to worry about moving my car and finding  some place to park constantly. Nearly every place I parked I had to pay. Which brought me to another thought . While paying for parking wasn’t an issue for me, but I instantly thought about people that live in California who are struggling . I can’t imagine. Yet there are so many people that move to California with big dreams an no money.

I’ve always wanted to see the Walk of Fame.  It’s the worlds most famous sidewalk; where celebrities are honored for their achievements. I’d always see this famous spot on Youtube or  ( I don’t have cable by choice) movies . It’s one of the main places on my must see list when I arrived in California.I felt like a big kid when I saw the side walks. There were stars everywhere! I wanted to see Mary J. Blige , Usher and Michael Jackson’s stars above all. I wish I had left my purse at home and carried a small cross body bag. There were people walking in very direction. I didn’t have anyplace to sit my bag down for a photo without either getting it stepped on or grabbed . I awkwardly held it. IMG_9120.JPG


I fell in love with Thai food. This was my absolute favorite. I ate here two days in a row. Also this was a mix drink that my hubby had. I loved the way it looked. It was from a different restaurant .

Michael Jackson look a like on Hollywood Blvd. I hung out there until dark. IMG_9141.JPG

Fish Dish: A good spot to eat . The brown rice was so yummy. fishdish.jpg

I went for a walk exploring some back streets  on Winona Ave. in Burbank. Sometimes it’s nice to get out of the car and see things in slow motion.  I  discovered a place that rented props for movies and videos.  Prop Heaven houses over 90,000 sq. ft. of props and there were additional props outdoors around the sides and rear of the building. There were stop signs, bus stops, park benches, trash can and traffic lights to name a few things.  It’s  mind-boggling on what it takes to make movies. There are so many moving parts that has to take place to create a good movie.trafficlight.JPGpropheaven.JPG


I had a lot of fun in California. I shot tons of videos and photos . There were so many places I enjoyed seeing and some places I never knew existed, but not very popular. I wanted to go to Beverly Hills, but the traffic was terrible. Also I wanted to see the Hollywood landmark sign, but I didn’t because of the discrepancy about how to get there.  I heard it was at Lake Hollywood Park, but was told to park on Canyon Lake Drive. I don’t know. Next visit will be the Hollywood sign and Beverly Hills. I just want to see it! I don’t care if it’s not a big deal. The experiences of traveling is priceless . Life happens we get older and things happen. I want to see it!!

Places I went:






What bothered me the most was the homelessness.




how to, Lifestyle, photography

Flawless Makeup on Your Wedding Day

It’s the time of the year again. It’s wedding season! This is one of my favorite times of the year. If I could marry every year around this time; for the pampering I would.  I remember how I felt and the necessary steps it took  to make my special day the best day ever! There isn’t anything more lovely than a beautiful bride.

To set the tone for your wedding day it starts with prepping the skin. If you haven’t been diligent in a skin care routine it’s never too late. However for the best results on your wedding day, make sure you get a nice facial to help with your skins texture. This will ensure a good base for your makeup. Next you want to make absolutely sure to moisturize. Lastly, you want to prime before your foundation. Hopefully on your special day you aren’t doing this yourself.  Sit back and allow the experts to do what they do. If you don’t hire and esthetician, remember to never  start applying makeup on skin that hasn’t been  cleaned moisturized and primed.  It’s like painting a wall without smoothing out  the flaws.

There are different types of foundations:

  • Liquid
  • Matte
  • Powder
  • Waterproof
  • Foundation Primer

makeup.jpgPhoto: Daralynn

There are so many types of foundations and brands on the market. The first thing is to make sure you aren’t allergic to the product by  doing a patch test on a small area of the skin ( A trial run) months before the wedding. Next, you want to match the foundation by applying it to the chest area. Before you make a final decision on your wedding day foundation, be sure to know the season you’ll be getting married. This will determine if your complexion will be lighter or darker during the season. Most brides are darker in the spring and summer. You’d want to make sure you have the correct foundation to support the change in your skin tone.

If you are using a makeup artist ( Which I encourage) make sure his/ her brushes are clean from leftover makeup. Dirty brushes can  ruin the true color of your foundation. Not to mention dirty brushes can spread bacteria to the skin, that would certainly cause a problem on your wedding day. Be sure your makeup artist is spreading the foundation  evenly across your face and neck. The best results are normally done with the fingers or a beauty blender.

Makeup Do’s

  • Stick to classic looks; you want your photos timeless.
  • Use translucent powder to control shine on the forehead and nose ( For you oily brides)
  • Falsies are optional but waterproof mascara is not
  • Conceal the dark circles and breakouts
  • Use a peachy nude or a dark nude lipstick

You want to look stunning on your special day.  Keep it classy and timeless, stick with nude and natural shades; make sure your foundation is right for you.  Lastly enjoy yourself. It’s your wedding day!!



fashion, how to, Lifestyle

Designer Purses: Love it or List it?

We are in the month of April. The month that I usually have this little talk with myself on all of the things that have collected dust in my closet since the last April. How many times did I wear it or use it?  Is it worth keeping at this point? Since I’m not a hoarder my closet gets purged twice a year. Spring and fall; are the times my closet gets turned upside down.

Usually I take the things I no longer want to the Goodwill and donate them. I’m sure I’ll do that with something, but I want to try something a little different this time. My eyes went straight to my purses. I love clutches and genuine designer purses. This lead me to creating an online closet with Poshmark. It’s an awesome place to find a new home for things you no longer love or want to keep. is not a dumping ground for junk. Take those things to your nearest garbage.

I didn’t know what the heck I was doing, but I knew how to list items . As a start I decided to take only a few bags and give it a try. Soon as I started my Posmark account , I received 300 followers. Wow! I’m not sure why, but I really appreciated it. Some followers have shared my bags with others.  Currently I don’t have an opinion about Poshmark, because I’m still learning  about the experience. I’ve had Poshers invite me to Posh parties on a  specific day and time. Does anyone know what that’s all about?

This use to be my favorite bag. It is loud, bold and beautiful! I’m ready to part with her and make another ladies life bright. She’s so pretty and she looks great with monochrome type of clothing. That pop of color just does it!IMG_4119.jpg

Here is my chocolate brown Coach bag I’ve used with my fall wardrobes. It’s really dark, but the patent material kept her in the girlie zone for sure. IMG_4112.jpg

The signature Coach canvas leather is pretty popular. The hardware on this beauty is amazingly sturdy. I call this my bottomless pit bag. Your car can get lost it in. IMG_4120.JPG

Lastly, my least favorite bag out of the 4 is this crossbody. I bought it on a whim at the Coach store. One 4th of July I was attending a light show and I didn’t want to carry a big bag. Impulse buying is so bad. This is why it’s my least favorite . Yet it’s a nice bag and has more room then  some of it’s predecessors. She’ll be sure to make someone happy that hates to carry a bag around . Throw it across your body and go!IMG_4107.jpg

Cleaning out your closet is an essential to organization. Especially when your things are not getting used as often as they use too or haven’t been used at all. I chose these bags because I’ve had them the longer than my other bags . They haven’t been out with me in a year or more.  Besides I have a new love that has moved in. Louis Vuitton will take over my closet soon and she’s going to need all of the room she can get.

If you are interested in any of these beautiful pieces please check out my Poshmark @itismylife .  All of my designer  bags are from the retailer.