Lessons I Wish I Knew Before I Entered My 30’s

Good Morning! 2019 has been a year of self-reflection and making moves based on what makes me happy instead of what I feel is expected of me. I realized that in my 30’s, there is no more room for playing around. I have to get on my grind with no more excuses or apologies. Even though I have no regrets on any past decisions I’ve made, there are things I wish I knew before I entered my 30’s. Read on to see what my Top 3 life lessons are!

Your Journey Is Yours And No One Else’s
Ever since I could remember, I wanted to be part of the entertainment industry. I always assumed I was going to be behind the scenes doing A&R because I was shyer in my younger years and just wanted to work on artist development and help the artist reach his/her full potential. Around 2009, I started blogging on the Blogger platform and sharing my personal experiences as well as my poetry and someone suggested that I turn my blog into a website that goes into further detail about love, sex and relationships. I liked the idea and launched my website (then known as The Angielala Experience) in 2010. It was through the site that I realized that I enjoyed being in front of the camera especially when I was part of discussion panels and hosting events at my college. I  found my true calling and decided that I was going to become the Internet Oprah. I felt that I was on my way when I landed interviews with celebs such as Trey Songz, Chilli and Naturi Naughton as well as working for brands like Kodak while in college but by the time I hit 30, it felt like my career was at a standstill. I wasn’t fulfilled in my personal life or my professional life and it seemed like everyone had it together but me. By the time 2017 came around, I was at my lowest point.  I lost my father 3 years prior and my grandmother in October 2017 so that along with the fact that I felt stuck at my job made me feel like there was nothing to look forward to. After much thought along with the encouragement from my friends, I decided to go to therapy which was one of the best decisions I’ve made. Therapy made me realize that I don’t have to have it together right away and that as long as I was making the steps necessary to bring about change. Most importantly, I’ve learned that comparison is the thief of joy and that by focusing on what others are doing, I lose sight of my overall goals and treat the journey as a race when its a marathon. I am not where I want to be but I am much further than where I was when I was at my lowest point and that’s because I have tunnel vision and am only in competition with myself.

The One You Are Meant To Be With Will Come Along When The Time Is Right

I was never the type of woman who liked to date. When I like someone, I tend to get attached and want to settle down and be in a relationship. I am picky so if I fall for someone, its because I see something in them that makes them stand out. Unfortunately, the bad has outweighed the good especially in my last situationship and instead of letting go and moving on, I stuck around and tried to make things work because I didn’t want to be alone. As I stated previously, I don’t have any regrets but staying in that situation held me back from being the best version of myself. How can I promote confidence when I am in a situation that has me doubting myself and what I deserve? When you know better you do better so instead of trying to convince him or change his mind about us, I finally let him go and decided to use that energy to get my life together. It feels so refreshing to not worry about someone who in all honestly didn’t put that much energy and time into worrying about me. I know now that I can only focus on what I can control and that’s the decisions I make and how I see myself and once I realized that, things started to fall into place. I know that the right man will come along when I am ready to see him and receive him but until then, my physical, mental and emotional well-being are my priority and though I am single, I am not lonely because I am using this time to fall in love with myself!

 

You Have To To Make Self-Care A Priority

When I was in my 20’s I was thin and could eat just about anything without worrying about gaining weight but as soon as 30 hit, I noticed the pounds coming on and by the time I was 32 in 2018 , I had gained a good 15-20 pounds and while I love the extra weight in my boobs and thighs, the stomach pudge has got to go! I haven’t been as consistent with diet and exercise as I should have but I will get it together! Most importantly, I had to take time out to pamper myself like giving myself a mani/pedi and meditating to ease any anxiety and stress. Going to the spa helps as well and I’ve been a few times in the past few years and plan on making more trips. I also want to do yoga but I’m not trying to spend money so I’m considering doing it from home for now. Although these activities are nothing major, they make me feel better about myself and when I feel good about myself, I can conquer the world!

 

What are some life lessons you wished you knew before entering your 30’s? Let me know in the comments section below. New post coming on Friday so stay tuned for that! Until then, always remember to love and live luxuriously!

 

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Confidence Is Series Episode 1: Andrea Leilani

Good Morning! When I was thinking about what I wanted “Amore Luxe” to become after changing the name and rebranding back in 2014, I thought about all of the things that I struggled with growing up and how those issues affected me into adulthood. Self-confidence is something that I always had an issue with especially when if felt like everyone else had it all together. Social media only added to my insecurities especially when so many of us only show the good side of our lives and leaving the pain, frustration and doubt out. I wanted to create a “safe space” where women could talk freely about what was going on in their lives without judgment and I would be transparent about my journey and process to becoming the best version of myself. It took some time to figure out exactly how I wanted to implement all of the ideas in my head (5 long years to be exact) but I finally got it together! One of the ideas was what I call “Confidence Is…” Series where I interview women who have overcome various adversities both seen and unseen to become the strong, powerful ladies we see today. These women would share their stories and what they had to go through in order to get to a place where they were happy with who they are regardless of the opinions of others. I had 3 women in mind that I wanted to start this series off with and I am so happy that I was able to get one of them for the first episode which was released on YouTube in June. Andrea Leilani is an amazing woman who struggled with her identity and confidence but once she decided to be true to herself and who she was, she was able to find happiness and radiate positivity and light to others.

You can view my interview with Andrea Leilani by clicking below and be sure to like/comment/share. Working on getting the 2nd episode together as we speak so be on the lookout for that. If someone you know would has an interesting/unique story on how they were able to become the best version of themselves, email me at angelacherai@gmail.com so I can share their story! Hope everyone has an amazing week and until next time, always remember to love and live luxuriously!

 

Spotlight on Black Businesses: Day 1

I’M BAAAAACCCK!!!Yes AmoreLuxe.com is back in action and instead of making an announcement regarding when I would post, I decided to just do it! I always wanted this site to be about encouraging and uplifting others but I wanted to do something different for my first post since taking an hiatus. While I was talking to my friend Amber (who helped me out tremendously with the project that I’ve been working on!) I decided that I wanted to do a photoshoot to highlight people in my life who have inspired not only me but others who watch and are motivated to get out there and be the best version of themselves by doing what they love. And you know I had to self-promote as well lol but in all seriousness, these individuals have made a great impact on my life and are part of the reason why I was excited to get back into blogging and I will thank each one of them in the posts that I will be doing over the next 3 days! First up is the group of 3 whose merchandise I’m actually wearing so if you like the t-shirts, hit them up! Read on to find out more about what lies beyond their apparel!

Regina Pearl (@hairgirlreginapearl)

There is so much I could say about my girl Regina who is one of my closest friends. She is the definition of a hustler and someone who never ceases to amaze me. Her work ethic is ridiculous not to mention, she is so talented at her craft which if you haven’t figured it out by now is hair styling. I would consider her an artist because her cut and color skills are true masterpieces. Speaking of cuts, she’s the only one I will let cut my natural hair and I’m reluctant when she does it even though I know its the right thing to do! If you are in the NYC/NJ area and are in need of a stylist who can cut, color, press, twist, loc, relax etc. check out her salon Hair Girl Regina Pearl on 124 West 24th Street in NYC. You can also find out more info on this talented woman (including how to make an appointment because she books up super fast) by checking out her IG page @hairgirlreginapearl. Regina, thank you for always encouraging me to be my very best and making me feel like a million bucks every time I leave your salon. You’re so in demand not only because of your talent but because of your heart!  Love you girl!

 

Nafeesah (@buildherupllc)

I met Nafeesah last summer at my girl Tiffany’s pop up shop and was inspired by her story and her message. Buildherupllc is about uplifting women and making them feel that they are more than enough. She is so full of light and positivity and I am so happy that we’ve met because I feel that we are on a similar path when it comes to empowering women. I definitely agree with the mantra on my shirt that says “Real Queens Fix Each Other’s Crowns” and this queen is only just beginning and I cannot wait to see what else is in store for her. Visit her IG page @buildherupllc to purchase her apparel as well as receiving daily inspiration that we all need in our lives. Nafeesah, thank you for being so genuine and sweet and make sure that you create that shirt that we discussed because I am definitely buying that one as well! You truly shine from the inside out and I want you to continue to teach and inspire because the sky is the limit! All Love:)

 

Jae (@mr_international_bmore)

Jae whether he knows it or not was part of the inspiration behind this t-shirt promo project! I purchased the shirt that you see me wearing above and he doubted that I would actually wear it so I said to myself, “I’ll show him!” lol…Jae is the jack of all trades and is so well versed in a variety of subjects and trades but his clothing line, Modern Hippie Apparel is true to the essence of who he is. He is the epitome of cool, chill and relaxed but at the same time, always aware of what’s going on around him and makes sure to educate whether people want to know or not! I am very proud of him and everything that he’s doing so make sure you check him out at @mr_international_bmore to find out more about Modern Hippie Apparel and how to purchase…Jae, I just wanted to say I told you that I was gonna wear it lol but I am so proud of you and admire your hustle and determination and I look forward to seeing what lies ahead for you. Love ya!

Make sure you stay tuned for tomorrow’s post where I will be highlighting 3 more businesses! Thanks to everyone who has supported me during my hiatus because the words of encouragement and motivation meant more to me than you will ever know! Until tomorrow always make sure to love and live Luxuriously!

#WisdomWednesday: My Smile Direct Club Experience (so far!)

Good Morning! For #wisdomwednesday, I wanted to discuss my journey towards achieving a more beautiful smile. I have aligners in my mouth that are provided by Smile Direct Club and although I’ve noticed a big difference since I started wearing them in March and my friends/family have seen the change as well. I haven’t really discussed details about the journey and what I hope to accomplish so I figured why not do it in a post so I can share my experience with all of my readers! Hopefully you will learn about the SDC process and a bit more about me as well (as if I don’t share enough already lol)

I was about 7 in this picture and this is one of the few pics I have from back then that shows my teeth lol

For the past couple of years, I wanted to improve my smile. I wore traditional aka metal braces as a teen and although they helped tremendously with my smile, I still wasn’t satisfied with the overall appearance of my teeth. My 2 front teeth overlapped the 2 next to them and as a result, made my overbite more pronounced and didn’t give the illusion of straight teeth. My smile wasn’t a major issue anymore but I still had an idea of what I wanted my smile to look like so I started researching different options for improving my smile that would achieve the results I wanted without breaking the bank. I didn’t want to do traditional braces again so I decided to go with invisible aligners because well they are invisible lol and I didn’t want to go through the wire tightness and discomfort that occurs with metal braces.

Although I was a good candidate for Invisalign according to my dentist, the cost would range from $3000-$5000 and that just wasn’t in my budget. Around the same time, I kept seeing ads for Smile Direct Club which provides aligners similar to Invisalign but the cost was much cheaper because there are no monthly orthodontist visits and the aligners are shipped all at once so you don’t have to deal with a dentist as a middle man to continue treatment. I paid a down payment of $250 before my treatment began and I am on a payment plan and pay about $75 a month which will come to about $2100 total when I’ve made all of my payments. That is a price I can definitely work with!  Before treatment can begin, you must have your teeth impressions done and you can do this by taking impressions (putting the gooey clay like substance in your mouth to get a physical impression of your teeth) and mailing them in or you can go to a Smile Shop in person so they can do a 3D scan of your teeth. I chose the second option since there are multiple Smile Shops in the city and I made an appointment with one which was as simple as clicking the link and choosing the time. The process itself takes minutes and within weeks, I received my scans via email and I created a before and after treatment visual as shown in the picture below. I was satisfied with the after shot  because it eliminated the overlap as well as gave the appearance of straighter teeth so I decided to go ahead with treatment. I didn’t know what to expect when starting but I was excited and anxious to start my treatment right away.

The top picture is what my teeth looked like after braces but before SDC treatment and the after are what my teeth will look like when I’m done with treatment *fingers crossed*

Everyone’s plan is different based on their specific issues and the SDC dentist put me on a 9 month plan.  I started treatment on March 21st and should be done by the beginning of December as long as my teeth move according to the scheduled plan. If not, SDC offers refinements at no additional cost but I hope it doesn’t come to that point. Today makes 18 weeks into my treatment and so far, I have no complaints. Every 2 weeks, I swap out my aligners for a new set and besides the initial tightness that occurs when putting in a new tray, I haven’t had any issues as far as pain. The tightness goes away within a day or two and I sometimes forget that they are in my mouth. At the beginning of my treatment, I had a major lisp but it has decreased significantly so I am happy about that! The only drawback is that the aligners have to be taken out anytime you want to eat or drink anything with the exception of water and brush and floss before putting them back in. Some people lose weight because they don’t want to have to take them out to eat and brush/floss them afterwards after snacking so they only eat the major meals. Some people actually gain weight because they snack constantly and will put up with the constant brushing and flossing. Unfortunately, I have been snacking A LOT so while I’ve put on a few pounds, my teeth have gotten whiter as a result of the constant brushing/flossing so it hasn’t been completely terrible! Also, I would rather brush my teeth 24/7 than to deal with metal braces as an adult. I know there are many adults that have metal braces and more power to you but since I’ve been through that experience as a teen, I don’t wanna relive those years with braces at 32 years old. I already look younger than my age as it is and having metal braces would bring my whole appearance back to 2000 so I’m good on that!

The before pic was taken at the end of last year and the after was taken a few weeks back 90 days into treatment.

I have 140 days remaining in my treatment plan and am satisfied with the process and results so far. I know there are negative reviews about SDC online mainly because there are no dentists visits and if a person has a major bite or crowding issue, aligners aren’t the best way to go but I can only share my thoughts and opinions based on my personal experience with SDC. I can honestly say that I’ve had a 99% positive experience with SDC. I took off 1% because the constant brushing/flossing is annoying lol but other than that, it’s been amazing!  If you are interested in receiving an impression kit or scheduling a free scan at a Smile Shop, use my referral link. Once your aligners ship, I’ll get a gift card and you will be on your way towards a beautiful smile. It’s a win-win for everyone 😛 Here’s the link: https://mbsy.co/lwDBb

If you’ve worn braces or aligners, let me know you experience by posting in the comments below and if you have any questions about SDC, I’ll be more than happy to answer them. I plan on talking about my health and fitness journey on Friday so be on the lookout for that. Until then, always remember to love and live luxuriously!