Sunday, May 26, 2013

Haul!: Sephora, Macy's, Kohl's and Elder-Beerman

Hey scholars!  In a couple of weeks I will be starting my internship to fulfill a requirement for my degree. The director of my program told me the dress code was casual and that I could only wear jeans and tennis shoes on days I will be moving boxes and other stuff. Well since I am a graduate student I do not wear tennis shoes a lot, however; this internship gave me a great excuse to do some shopping. First stop was the Sephora counter at JC Penney for two reasons: one, my best friend is getting married in a couple of months and she wanted some advice on some cosmetics and two, I needed some facial products and some foundation. They were out of the foundation I wanted but I did find some other products.


I went with a few products from Boscia- I bought the Detoxifying Black Cleanser, Facial Polish and the Balancing Facial Toner. From the NARS line I went with the tinted moisturizer in Martinique (Medium/Dark 3) and from Smashbox I bought the CC Cream in dark. I also bought a shadow brush from the Sephora Collection.


To satisfy my handbag addiction I bought two bags because Macy's was having a fantastic sale on handbags.

The white bag is Steve Madden and the black one is Betsy Johnson.


Elder-Beerman always have pretty good sales and deals. Yesterday I found some really cute pieces that were reasonably priced.

I really like this multi-colored cardigan. It is light weight and is very comfortable.

I picked out this dress because it is a cute spring/summer dress and the material is lightweight and cool.

This salmon/pink colored top is sheer, lacy and very comfortable. I could not pass this up! I have a few camisoles that will look great underneath this top.


I love Kohl's because the clothes fit great and the sales are great.

This white top is very cute, so I got it.

These white shorts are short and cute. I will not be wearing these during my internship unless it's 100 degrees outside!

I loved these shorts at first sight! (They are red by the way!)

I like this top because of the colors and because it something I can wear with pants, shorts and the right skirt.

I love skorts! These three are really comfortable and I can wear them during my internship.

I do not often wear white jeans but these capris are cute and functional on the days I need to wear jeans.

Lastly, this dress is really comfortable and can be worn in the office no matter the weather or what I am doing.

Friday, May 24, 2013

What's in my Candy Bag?

Hey Scholars! I am obsessed with handbags, satchels are my favorite. Right now one of my favorite handbags is the Furla Candy Bag. I am the proud owner of the Candy Bag in Dragon Fruit (the name of the color). This satchel is so spacious. I tend to pack a lot of stuff in my handbags but I am more conscientious when it comes to packing this one because the material is PVC.

So what do I pack inside this beauty?

I carry around a pen and some paper because I never know when I may need them for whatever purposes.

On my key ring are the keys to my apartment, mailbox and car along with an alarm. Also, is a lucky penny I got from the Paul Laurence Dunbar House in Dayton, Ohio. I have pepper spray my mother bought for me and half of a colorful butterfly also from my mom; I drop my keys a lot and it broke. The other half is on a shelf in my bedroom.

Small Bag/Clutch
I keep my female toiletries in this bag. I keep it with me at all times because I never know who will need some protection.

Hand Sanitizer
I am a germ-o-phobe. Enough said.

Homemade Organic Lip Balm
I have the recipe for my lip balm here

Sephora Mirror
I keep this to make sure my makeup is in check and to make sure I do not have anything in between my teeth. 

Carol's Daughter Eau de Toilette
My favorite scent is Almond Cookie. 

Tide Stick
Just in case I have a hole in my lip and need to clean up a food/beverage stain.

I mixed a couple of different lotions to make this mixture. I can not remember which ones I mixed but it smells wonderful. 

In this cute wallet are a bunch of cards from bank, credit, insurance, library, organizations and rewards cards. (Sephora anyone?) 

People often ask me why I keep my passport with me. My answer: I never know when I may need to get away, as far and as quickly as possible. 

Nook Color
I like being able to have so many books in hands at any given time.

Apple Ipod
For the times I need to tune the world out...

LG Optimus Elite- call me!!! 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Summer Reads Part Two: The E-Books

     Hey Scholars! In part one I discussed my summer reading list in terms of physical books. This list is about the e-books also on my summer reading list. I have bought so many it is hard to keep up with what is on my Barnes and Noble Nook Color. There are some that I have bought a little while ago that I want to read very badly, so this summer presents the perfect time to do so. I was a little reluctant at first when it came to e-readers because of my love affair with physical books. When I did come around my choice was the Nook Color because at the time it was one of the first e-readers that had back lighting enabling me to read in the dark. I am happy that I eventually came around because I love my Nook. It is convenient and since I travel somewhat frequently, I do not have to decide which of my hundreds of books to pack. In addition, I do not have to worry about the extra weight of books in my luggage.

 So here is my list of e-books on my partial summer reading list:

Beverly Jenkins
Destiny's Embrace
HarperCollins Publisher

"Gentleman Seeks Housekeeper.Must be willing to travel.

Desperate for another life away from Philadelphia, headstrong and beautiful Mariah Cooper answers an advertisement for a housekeeper at the other end of the continent. Waiting in California is the most breathtaking—and arrogant—man she has ever met . . . and he'd like nothing better than for Mariah to go back home!

Logan Yates has run Destiny, the family ranch,since he was a boy. He doesn't need this Eastern miss his stepmother hired, though his home's chaotic state suggests otherwise. Still, he's secretly pleased that Mariah gives as good as she gets—and he must fight the urge to take her in his arms and kiss her whenever she proudly stands her ground. But when he's in danger of losing her, Logan will have to choose between pride . . . and his heart's true desire."

Tiana Laveen
When Saint Goes Marching In
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

"WARNING – This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable.

It is six years later and Saint and Xenia have two beautiful sons and are enjoying their lives in sunny California. Having started a new leg of his career, Saint takes on innovative responsibilities, relishing the excitement of his job—from wealthy Rainbeau men hiring him for sexual assistance with their wives, to planning to snare a prolific, insane, and hate-filled killer on the loose. Still doing conferences, Saint is distracted by recent harassment and tortures that target Rainbeau men and their spouses in a small town in Missouri. Asked by the White Knights of the Round Table to assist in the troubling case, Saint uses his mental agility and psychic abilities to help capture the man responsible and bring him to justice. Just when he thinks the drama is over, another predicament arises in the form of Saint’s sultry ex-girlfriend who has an axe to grind. She is a blast from his past but she won’t disappear without wreaking havoc. As their lives unfold, revenge is served to Saint in a manner that is of nightmarish proportions, demolishing his personal life irreparably. Saint is forced into a new life that becomes an emotional roller coaster as he chases a serial killer while simultaneously trying to regain the love and trust of his soulmate. Will Saint be able to outsmart a sociopath? Will Xenia and Saint survive this true test of their union? March with Saint and come find out."

Tiana Laveen
Saved and SAINTified
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

"WARNING – This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable.

Please note: This is the third book of a series. Though it can be read as a stand-alone novel, it is highly suggested that all potential readers first purchase, "The Naughty Sins of a Saint" and "When Saint Goes Marching In."

Book Description:

Peace comes at a price…

Committed to his fight for interracial peace for Rainbeaus and black Goddesses across the globe, Dr. Saint Aknaten is a proud husband and father. However, the arrival of a third child—a beautiful daughter—poses a threat to Saint’s blissful life and could very well bring the destruction of everything he holds dear.

An evil, powerful force threatens the balance…

Saint’s entire world is shaken by one man who stands between him and his future destiny. Soon, this modern day hero finds that blood truly is thicker than water. Armed with courage, love from his Queen and princes, his sharp instincts and an arsenal of psychic abilities, he is thrust headlong into treacherous enemy territory in the heart of his native heritage—Egypt, the cradle of civilization, a place of secrets and mystery where his survival is far from guaranteed.

No one messes with Saint’s family…

To add insult to injury, Saint discovers a Judas amongst his ilk—a bane that must be exposed, stopped and destroyed. Will Saint be able to save his world from crashing and meanwhile, keep the Rainbeau Knights of the Round Table intact from internal hemorrhaging? Finally, can Saint use the lessons learned from his past to save his family? One thing is certain in this case—revenge is a dish best served steaming hot.

Get your plane tickets and passport and strap on your seatbelt. This ride may get bumpy…"

Shiree McCarver
The Search
Shiree McCarver

"The flyer reads…

Missing: September 1870 – Chinese Mail Order Bride, Mei Ling. Last seen boarding a train to San Francisco, California…
Hasn’t been seen since.

Rain Deerfield, free-born woman, half-breed tracker for the missing minority class and bounty hunter for the United States Militia is on a search that hits close to home. Her childhood friend, Mei Ling, is among the hundreds of missing in the San Francisco territory. Could it be a coincidence or was all the missing somehow connected?

After advertising and paying for a mail order bride, handsome Dr. Wen Da Yang’s potential “wife,” Mei Ling, never arrives to his home, Alcatraz, “Island of the Pelicans.” Feeling he was duped of a bridal trousseau and train fare, Wen gives up on the idea of a wife and instead searches for the perfect domestic.
Miss Rain Deerfield embarks on the old abandoned military fortress and none too soon in Wen’s opinion. With the arrival of his new housekeeper, his serene world as he has known it is turned completely upside down with intrigue as one unexplained ghostly encounter after another occurs.

Is Dr. Yang’s island home truly inhabited by ghosts or is there something more sinister going on?"

Mallory Monroe
The Sins of the Father- Book Six in The President's Girlfriend Series
Austin Brook Publishing

"Dutch Harber, the President of the United States, returns from a trip abroad concerned with his daughter’s erratic behavior. She not only seeks to link him sexually to her mother, but to destroy Gina, his African-American wife, in the process. She teams up with Gina’s half-brother, an ex-con who has his own agenda, to bring down the First Couple.

But the situation takes a drastic turn when an encounter from Dutch’s past comes back to haunt him, and when those Washington schemes and plots collide in a dangerous intersection of passion and greed that leaves the very heart of Dutch and Gina in the balance.

In the sixth installment of the President’s Girlfriend/Dutch and Gina series, the interracial couple discovers that the enemy from within can sometimes be far more deadly, and devastating, than any from without."

Mallory Monroe
What He Did For Love- Book 7 in The President's Girlfriend Series
Austin Brook Publishing

"Dutch Harber resigned his presidency praying for a simple life. He gave until it nearly cost him everything, and he had no further interest in giving any more. He returned to his beautiful estate in New Jersey with the goal of returning to his Fortune 500 company and re-launching his private life. He had high hopes of finally giving the love of his life, his African beauty Gina, the life she deserved.

But just when he thought he had put their traumatized romance back together again, not only the world around him, but those near and dear to him, begin to fall apart. Allegations of affairs and betrayal, of unrequited love and miscalculations uproot from Washington and follow him to Jersey. And then, after a terrorist attack leaves the country in panic and confusion, Washington comes calling too. They all need Dutch. They all refuse to allow Dutch Harber the peace and quiet he had been dreaming of.

In the latest installment of the President’s Girlfriend series (Book Seven), Dutch and Gina find themselves caught in a swirl of drama and national crisis that they thought were behind them. And when Gina refuse to endure it again, Dutch has to put his foot down. But not without a heavy cost."

Mallory Monroe
Mob Boss 6: The Heart of Reno Gabrini- Book 6 in the Mob Boss Series
Austin Brook Publishing

"Reno Gabrini believes his number one job is to protect his family. His beautiful wife, Trina, and their two sons are the very reason he gets out of bed every morning. But when he returns home from a business trip to find his wife partnering with people he barely knows, a gold digging female attempting to worm her way into the family, and a lovesick son with a dead body in his trunk, he knows his job has gotten that much harder. He takes charge, believing there’s more going on than meets the eye, but his family insists he’s overreacting and is being, as usual, overly protective of them. Until the lid blows off of their idyllic life and plunges all of them into a world of passion and obsession where Reno begins to believe that all of their unsolicited drama may be disguising another mob war.

In the sixth installment of the Mob Boss series, Reno Gabrini comes face to face with his greatest fears and is forced to put it all on the line in ways that nearly costs him everything."

Francis Ray
All That I Need
St. Martin's Press

"In bestselling author Francis Ray’s latest Grayson Friends novel, two lost souls come together to discover what matters most of all…


Lance Saxton is a self-made man who enjoys every moment of his success. Running an auction house allows him to manage his own time and travel the world on a moment’s notice—so why rush to settle down? The question answers itself…until he crosses paths with a beautiful, spirited travel writer who makes him second-guess his sense of independence—and leaves him wanting more.


What’s love got to do with it? Fallon Marshall is at the peak of her career as a journalist. Any story she wants she can get. So when she hears about an auction being held at a fabled old estate in Santa Fe, New Mexico, off she goes…only to meet a man who makes her question her priorities. Maybe it’s time for Fallon to stop running away in search of adventure…and just fall into Lance’s arms?"

Trisha R. Thomas
Un-Nappily in Love- Book 6 in the Nappily Series
St. Martin's Press

"Venus is ecstatic about her husband’s new career as a movie star thanks to a role in a searing romantic drama with co-star Sirena Lassiter. Jake and Sirena’s relationship, Venus quickly learns, goes back further than Jake wants to admit. Venus isn’t happy when the new “it” team’s hectic promotion schedule takes them to exotic locations while Venus must stay behind with a business to run and a daughter to raise. However, it’s not long before Venus senses danger. When she receives advice from her one time arch enemy, Trevelle Doval the queen of late night evangelical TV, Venus, in her trademark style, decides to save her marriage by any means necessary. But when the paparazzi get involved, all hell breaks loose. Will Venus be able to keep her man or has she lost Jake forever?"

Trisha R. Thomas
Nappily in Love
Face Press

"Venus and Jake are the stars of their own reality show. The home becomes a battle ground for the stardom Jake craves and the normalcy Venus needs to raise their children. Not to mention all the weird people coming out of the woodwork including someone from the couple's past, Sirena Lassiter, who is determined to redeem her career and take what's duly hers in the process. Luckily, Venus has a guardian angel, or so it seems until strange things start happening making Venus question the very real forces of good versus evil.
In true Venus fashion, there's no stopping her from finding out the real secret of the mysterious stranger whose landed on her doorstep."

***Disclaimer: All of the book summaries are courtesy of Barnes and Noble. Also, all the images except the Nook Color are from Google images.***

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Summer Reads Part One: The Physical Books

     Hey Scholars!  My name is Rebekkah and I am an avid reader (everyone say: Hi Rebekkah!). Seriously, I love to read. This stems from my parents buying tons of books for my brother and me. As a child I enjoyed reading because of all the places I could go and the people I met in the many stories I read. As an adult I still love reading. I read books from many different authors across many genres. Even though my days are hectic between being a full-time graduate student and working part-time (sometimes full-time) it is hard to squeeze in reading for pleasure. Currently, I am taking a six week summer course and then I start my internship. This summer my evenings belong to me, meaning that when I come home I am not bogged down with research, writing papers or studying for exams. Basically,  I will be able to read whatever I want, whenever I feel like it.
     When books that I want to read come out, I usually shelve them until I can get to them. I have been buying a lot of books some of which (okay most of them) have been on my To Be Read (TBR) list. I have a ton of books on this list; some are physical copies of books and others are on my Nook Color. The books that will be mentioned in this post are all physical copies of books. I know that e-readers are really huge right now and I will even admit convenient, however, I prefer books with pages. I enjoy the entire reading process; reading the flaps or back of books to see what the story is about, turning the pages, and memorizing which chapter and/or page number I left off on (I do not use bookmarks- I have them; I just do not use them).
     Okay so here are a few of the books on my physical book reading list this summer:

Eric Jerome Dickey
Accidental Affair
Dutton Publishing

"James Thicke is a man whose mysterious past runs as deep as his violent streak. He's channeled the intensity of his soul into twin passions-success as a screenwriter, and marriage to movie actress Regina Baptiste. In the midst of filming his latest script, starring Regina and leading man Johnny Bergs, James receives a video of his wife caught in the most compromising of situations.

Hours later, the clip of the on-set infidelity has hit the Internet and gone viral in the blogosphere and across all channels of social media. James responds to the affront by savagely attacking Johnny Bergs, and the spectacle has both the paparazzi and the police amassing at the married couple's estate. James goes on the run, but only as far as the city of Downey, California. As James tries to protect Regina from Hollywood's underbelly, lust, blackmail, and revenge become his constant companions. Does an accidental affair spell permanent danger?"

I have actually started reading this a while ago but due to my busy and ever changing schedules, I made it about half way through and put it down.

Marlon James
The Book of Night Women: A Novel
Riverhead Books (a member of Penguin Group)

"The Book of Night Women is the profoundly moving and authentic tale of Lilith, born into slavery on a Jamaican sugar plantation at the turn of the eighteenth century. From her birth, the women on the plantation recognize the ancient, dark power she possesses—something that they all come to both revere and fear as they plot a revolt against their owners. As Lilith grows into her own woman, with her own aspirations, and as her passion for their plantation manager develops into a feeling deeper than she could have imagined, she threatens to become the weak link in the women’s plans.

Deeply affecting and beautifully written, The Book of Night Women instantly joins the ranks of the classic literature of slavery."

The author sent me this copy of her book. Thanks Ms. Bernice!

Bernice L. McFadden
Gathering of Waters: A Novel
Akashic Books

"Gathering of Waters is a deeply engrossing tale narrated by the town of Money, Mississippi—a site both significant and infamous in our collective story as a nation. Money is personified in this haunting story, which chronicles its troubled history following the arrival of the Hilson and Bryant families.

Tass Hilson and Emmett Till were young and in love when Emmett was brutally murdered in 1955. Anxious to escape the town, Tass marries Maximillian May and relocates to Detroit.
Forty years later, after the death of her husband, Tass returns to Money and fantasy takes flesh when Emmett Till’s spirit is finally released from the dank, dark waters of the Tallahatchie River. The two lovers are reunited, bringing the story to an enchanting and profound conclusion.

Gathering of Waters mines the truth about Money, Mississippi, as well as the town’s families, and threads their history over decades. The bare-bones realism—both disturbing and riveting—combined with a magical realm in which ghosts have the final say, is reminiscent of Toni Morrison’s Beloved."

Toni Morrison is my all-time favorite writer.

Toni Morrison
A Mercy: A Novel

"A powerful tragedy distilled into a jewel of a masterpiece by the Nobel Prize–winning author of Beloved and, almost like a prelude to that story, set two centuries earlier.

In the 1680s the slave trade was still in its infancy. In the Americas, virulent religious and class divisions, prejudice and oppression were rife, providing the fertile soil in which slavery and race hatred were planted and took root.

Jacob is an Anglo-Dutch trader and adventurer, with a small holding in the harsh north. Despite his distaste for dealing in “flesh,” he takes a small slave girl in part payment for a bad debt from a plantation owner in Catholic Maryland. This is Florens, “with the hands of a slave and the feet of a Portuguese lady.” Florens looks for love, first from Lina, an older servant woman at her new master’s house, but later from a handsome blacksmith, an African, never enslaved.

There are other voices: Lina, whose tribe was decimated by smallpox; their mistress, Rebekka, herself a victim of religious intolerance back in England; Sorrow, a strange girl who’s spent her early years at sea; and finally the devastating voice of Florens’ mother. These are all men and women inventing themselves in the wilderness.

A Mercy reveals what lies beneath the surface of slavery. But at its heart it is the ambivalent, disturbing story of a mother who casts off her daughter in order to save her, and of a daughter who may never exorcise that abandonment.

Acts of mercy may have unforeseen consequences."

Toni Morrison
Home: A Novel

"America’s most celebrated novelist, Nobel Prize-winner Toni Morrison extends her profound take on our history with this twentieth-century tale of redemption: a taut and tortured story about one man’s desperate search for himself in a world disfigured by war.

Frank Money is an angry, self-loathing veteran of the Korean War who, after traumatic experiences on the front lines, finds himself back in racist America with more than just physical scars. His home may seem alien to him, but he is shocked out of his crippling apathy by the need to rescue his medically abused younger sister and take her back to the small Georgia town they come from and that he’s hated all his life. As Frank revisits his memories from childhood and the war that have left him questioning his sense of self, he discovers a profound courage he had thought he could never possess again.
A deeply moving novel about an apparently defeated man finding his manhood—and his home."

Dolen Perkins- Valdez
Wench: A Novel
Amistad (an imprint of HarperCollins Publishing)

"wench \'wench\ n. from Middle English “wenchel,” 1 a: a girl, maid, young woman; a female child.

Situated in Ohio, a free territory before the Civil War, Tawawa House is an idyllic retreat for Southern white men who vacation there every summer with their enslaved black mistresses. It’s their open secret. Lizzie, Reenie, and Sweet are regulars at the resort, building strong friendships over the years. But when Mawu, as fearless as she is assured, comes along and starts talking of running away, things change. To run is to leave everything behind, and for some it also means escaping from the emotional and psychological bonds that bind them to their masters. When a fire on the resort sets off a string of tragedies, the women of Tawawa House soon learn that triumph and dehumanization are inseparable and that love exists even in the most inhuman, brutal of circumstances— all while they bear witness to the end of an era.

An engaging, page-turning, and wholly original novel, Wench explores, with an unflinching eye, the moral complexities of slavery."

***Disclaimer: All of the summaries are from the publisher's website.*** 

Enjoy your summer reading!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

DIY Natural Face Scrub and Moisturizer

Hey scholars! My skin looks like it is on the mend. It does look substantially clear than it has been in the last several weeks. Although my skin is no longer breaking out, I have notice that there are a lot of blackheads. So once every two weeks I exfoliate and moisturize with a dark brown sugar and Sweet Almond Oil scrub. The two of these ingredients together are dynamic! Both of these ingredients are packed with benefits for skin.

Dark Brown Sugar:
It is raw and natural therefore it does not contain chemical preservatives. Included in dark brown sugar is B vitamins that come from the molasses that gives the dark brown sugar its coloring and moist texture. B Vitamins are powerful antioxidants that prevent as well as repair damage to skin as a result from the sun and other environmental factors. Not only does dark brown sugar function as a moisturizer it also works as an exfoliator to remove dead skin cells that clog pores and trap oil and acne causing bacteria.

Sweet Almond Oil:
This oil is non-greasy, does not clog pores and is easily absorbed. It is used to reduce the effects of Ultraviolet B rays. The greatest benefits of this oil are the fatty acids. These fatty acids help skin cells retain moisture so that skin does not become dry and saggy. They dissolve fatty deposits in clogged pores to keep skin from becoming oily which leads to acne flare-ups. The emollient properties of this oil improves complexion and evens skin tone. When applied directly to skin, Sweet Almond Oil reduces eye puffiness, minimizes dark circles and gives skin a healthy glow.

The Ingredients:
1 Tablespoon Dark Brown Sugar
1 Tablespoon Sweet Almond Oil

Mix dark brown sugar and Sweet Almond Oil together in a small bowl until all the sugar is mixed in with the oil.

Final Directions:
Allow the mixture to sit for about 5-10 minutes then rinse with warm water. Your skin will look brighter and feel moisturized. I let my skin dry for a few minutes and then follow up with an oil free moisturizer. I like to use Simple's Replenishing Rich Moisturizer.


Black Smoothie

Hey scholars, I have been incorporating activated charcoal into my daily life (almost). From making black lemonade to brushing with it to ...