prepping for my trip to Texas this week for my son’s graduation from basic training (he is graduating with honors from the US Air Force - another happy dance) and making samples and prepping for the Health Fair I did in Brooklyn on Saturday . Plus, my daughter’s 16th birthday was Wednesday so there were family festivities for that.
And then yesterday (Sunday was day 14 of this challenge), the fam and I did a benefit ride with Barb's Harley Davidson for the Armed Forces. We had to get up and leave the house by 8 am. After the busy week I had, I was DRAGGING. There was no time for makeup at all, I barely had enough time to wash my face, run through the shower, throw on clothes and jump on my trike to ride in the rain (I'll write more on this in another post but needless to say, it was LIT!).
Whew, it has been crazy busy around here! And on days like last Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, my time constraints were severely outweighed by my to do list. That meant, I had to cut out the little things wherever I could to be as efficient as possible. For me, the first thing to go is usually sleep. But next to that was makeup application. That’s a good 20 minutes that can be used elsewhere.
Normally this would have added more stress to my already hectic week. I mean, I was actually planning to go out into the world without any makeup - what if someone saw me looking a hot mess? Blemishes front and center, creases wrinkling my forehead, smile lines that made me wanna punch someone instead of smile, and don’t let the sun hit me and I have to squint. Chile please! But then, as my feet hit the ground running Thursday morning, and I washed my face for the day and examined my skin to figure out what the least possible makeup that I could get away with without completely embarrassing myself would be, I recognized the miracle I have been praying for had actually taken place! My skin was perfect. PERFECT!
It was glowing. My complexion was creamy and even. It felt silky-smooth and velvety at the same time. The blemishes had faded into almost nonexistence (except that one on my left cheek which was a very big and deep scar) and the bumps under the surface were gone. GONE! Hunty!! AND, the creases on my forehead, around my lips and at my temples were noticeably lighter too. I looked 10 years younger.
Urban Skin Rx is a GAME CHANGER!! FOR REAL!!
If it wasn’t actually happening to me... if I had not documented the journey every single day on my Instagram Stories I would think I was full of crap or exaggerating or just being paid to say nice things. But the proof is on my feed and in my blog posts (read week 1 here) and in the photos and literally written all over my face. I have not been paid for my endorsement. A brunch and free samples was the only compensation they offered and get this, they never even asked me to say anything. I effectively challenged the company publicly by doing this 30 day skin care challenge without even consulting them first.
I didn’t mean to be so blatant. It wasn’t until I wrote this post that I actually thought it through - what if it hadn’t worked? What if the blemishes didn’t clear up? What if the scars from years of acne still freckled my cheeks and chin? What if the hyper-pigmentations and uneven skin tone persisted after the challenge? Clearly, I hadn't considered the backlash if these products failed. I mean, come on! No one wants to write a bad review and seeing how this was the first review I'm doing after relaunching my blog! UGH! I need to start thinking before I speak.
But here's the amazing thing... Urban Skin Rx rose to the challenge! And they are closely following the journey too because almost every single day that I post in my stories and tag them, they are commenting and sending DMs asking questions or offering their support as I go through it. How awesome is that? To me, this means this company not only makes an amazing line of skin care products, but they back up their claims by checking in with their customers and foster real relationships with them too. No wonder why they are exploding on social media! They have definitely got the goods! (PS: if you aren't following their Instagram feed, please do! You can thank me later!)
So... I did run those errands and I have been really busy about my life. This month has been wrought with issues but thankfully, my skin care woes have NOT been part of the drama!
Two weeks. That's all it took! In two weeks I went from a stressed out, aging, discolored, oily (I didn't even realize I was oily until everything was brought into balance and the shine is now a glow instead of a greasy oil slick lol) and overall tired pizza face to glowing, radiant, youthful and creamy skin tone and complexion. Wow.
Thank you, Urban Skin Rx. I am excited to see what weeks three and four bring. And I am confident in saying that after all the doctors and other products I have tried that failed, you cut the mustard! I am yours for life! ❤️
I don't know if you're aware of it or not, but the entire reason the Caheez brand exists is because I got tired of struggling with dry, damaged hair. For so many reasons, my natural hair journey was littered with challenges that seriously made me rethink the whole natural hair lifestyle. Don't get me wrong, I LOVED my hair from the moment I big chopped in 2008. But the road has been rocky filled with twists, turns and 4 additional big chops which really made me wonder what I was doing wrong!
I mean, I know comparison is the death of a healthy self esteem, and let me tell you, on paper, that sounds great and all but in reality, I was STRUGGLING for real! My hair was growing. But retaining the length was an entirely different story.
project... it's immeasurable! But the fact that wool and cotton and all things yarn work as a wick to pull moisture away... well, wearing knit/crochet hats was a no go for me until... Enter Satin Lined Everything!
As you can guess, this journey has led me down several roads. One of which was Big Chop Central! As I stated above, I have cut off all my hair no less than five times in the last 10 years. Of
to dry, crunchy, ramen noodle like curls that looked split and ridiculous (see pic above). UGH!
Of course the satin lined hats and cowls I started making in 2013 helped tremendously. But they didn't completely fix the issue. They were merely tools that helped solve the dry problem I was fighting from one side of the equation. No longer did the accessories I wore to keep warm strip my hair of healthy moisture and in the spring, there was no reason to big chop anymore! Let the saints say, 'hallelujah!'
But the journey did not end there. Nope, that was really just one step to me growing out my beloved curls. After much research, many tears, prayers to the heavens and general feelings of dismay, it finally started to come together. The reason my hair was not thriving is because I was coming at it all wrong. I was following what popular bloggers and vloggers said to do to no avail. And that's because 80% of natural hair on women of color is on the low side of the porosity scale whereas I was on the high side.
Now you may be thinking to yourself, what the heck is porosity and how does it apply to me and why is it so darn important? Well, I'm going to break it all down in this series on hair typing and hair health because like so many of us natural chicks out here in these streets, I was completely clueless. No one ever talked about porosity (or at least I had never heard them talk about it before). All I was aware of was the curl patterns and how voluminous a person's hair was and how to deal with my hair based on those factors. Yes, those characteristics do contribute to the healthy hair journey but NONE of them is as important as porosity. Period. End of story. Pack it up and go home... but not before I break it all down for you.
See, porosity is the number one issue I address in my hair care systems and once this series is complete, you will understand why. Porosity is the reason so many naturals are thriving in their journey, with tresses flowing and glowing and growing AND the reason so many of us struggle with dry, brittle or straw like hair too.
What is porosity? I'm glad you asked!
Now before we go all out on the porosity spectrum discussion, I want to touch on a few other things... namely, Hair Density, Hair Elasticity, Curl Pattern and Hair Elasticity (not in that order). It is very important to understand those factors because they set up the reason that porosity is so important. So please join me next week when we embark on this study and break it all the way down.
Got questions? Comments? Struggles or testimonies you wish to share? Please leave me a comment. Also remember, your journey can possibly help someone else in their journey so please don't be shy. We are all here to learn and win and there will be no shade or dragging... just love and flourishing together! ❤️
Performers usually know instinctively how to find their light. It's simple. Don't stand in dark spaces on stage. Sounds easy enough, right? Of course it does. So why do we struggle to find our light in life? I don't think this answer is quite so easily found as looking for a follow spot. I mean, no one is holding a spotlight on us when we are walking down the street (at least I hope not - we can save that drama for Reality TV stars). In real life, we have to go out and find that light for ourselves, but conceptually, the same rules apply.
What is finding your light? Well, for the sake of this blog series, your "light" is your "truth". It means, figuring out your "reason for being" and then living your life in a way that reveals your truth through every thought, word and action. Walking in your purpose means doing and becoming what you were born to do and be. It is why you are here on this planet and it is inherent to you alone. Your "why" is your destiny (if you believe in such things). It is the most important work you will ever do on this planet and the most rewarding thing you will ever do too.
Finding your "light" is the key to living your best life. Have you ever seen someone with an inner glow? I mean, they just have this shine that radiates from inside and brightens your day? Chances are, that person found their light and is walking in it every day. As a result, their life is infused with joy, and peace and all these amazing things, despite any challenges they may be facing. They seem to have this secret that empowers them to be a truly wonderful person. They are healthy and balanced and people gravitate toward them. Yup, these are all outward characteristics of a person who has found their light and walks in it regularly. I want that. Don't you?
Man, there is so much to unpack here. So instead of writing one LOOOOOONG dissertation, I will be breaking this up into a series of weekly installments because I don't want to rush through it and miss important points. So please stay tuned! This is going to be so good! 💞
J. Rashid Williams (photographed above) is a Jersey guy who plays drums on a pretty big stage. I met him when he was working for my high school friend, singer and writer extraordinaire Eric Roberson (Maybe you're heard of him? If not, you can thank me later!) Rashid currently tours with John Legend and Jill Scott (among others), is sponsored by Mapex Drums, Zildjan Symbols, Vic Firth (and more), has been featured countless times in Modern Drummer, other entertainment publications and is kind of a low-key big deal. Check him out and give him a follow on social media @jrashidwilliams pretty much err-where. 😉
All photos are owned by Carla Helené or used with permission.
I was lucky enough to be introduced to Urban Skin Rx at a brunch they sponsored, hosted by Toya from NaturallyShesDope. About 20 bloggers, influencers and girl bosses met up at the Barcelona Wine Bar in Philly on May 5th to network and learn about the benefits of using this brand and my oh my, were we in for a treat! (Side note: The Barcelona Wine Bar is super good! The food was delicious, the drinks were spectacular and the service was amazing. If you get a chance to go, don't walk, RUN!) After an informative teaching session, we were blessed with goodie bags of trial sizes and a few full sized products from Urban Skin Rx that addressed our personal skin issues.
me with. I suppose fine lines are better than the alternative but... it's whatever.
At the beginning of the week I took some pics of what I was working with. View them right below:
I have been using the Even Tone Cleansing Bar and pH Balancing Toner morning and night, the Super C Brightening Serum and DermShield SPF30 Moisturizer in the mornings and the Clear Complexion Acne Serum and HydraBalance Instant Moisturizer at night. I've also been taking the Even Tone Supplement Vitamins in the morning (they recommend 2 a day but due to dietary restrictions, I am only taking one a day). All of these products are pictured below with their prices and links to them in the Urban Skin Rx online store.
Now for the break down:
How To Use: you wet the exfoliating sponge, lather the bar inside the jar, then gently rub the soapy sponge on your face. You can leave the lather on for a few minutes to give it a chance to really get into your pores and work it's magic.
Does It Deliver? YES!
My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5/5
The Scoop: This stuff is AMAZING. It made light work of removing ALL my makeup in one rinse. My skin felt fresh and clean and a little firmer after the very first use. It even took off my waterproof mascara and eyeliner without any effort at all. One thing to watch is that it doesn't get in your eyes when you are swiping across them. It stings a bit, but what soap doesn't burn if it gets into your eyes. I rinsed it away with warm water and the stinging went away without any lasting affect. In my opinion, this is a small price to pay for not having to scrub and scrub to get that stubborn make up off. I'll take 2 please!
refreshed and clean and ready for the next step. I love the cool feeling it leaves behind. It surprised me to see anything on the cotton after applying this because I thought the cleansing bar was really thorough. I think I will be incorporating this toner into my everyday arsenal forever. A+
My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5 /5
The Scoop: This product is absolutely wonderful! It brought on the glow up like nothing I've used before. Seriously though! It left my skin feeling amazing and looking so hydrated and healthy! I believe this serum will leave an accumulative effect because Vitamin C serums usually do. I can't wait to see how my skin looks after 30 days of using this consistently. I'm using it morning and night and it is worth every single penny of the price. This serum is definitely going to be a staple in my arsenal. A+
neck. Can be used morning and night.
Does It Deliver? YES!
My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5/5
The Scoop: Ok, I know you're probably thinking, yea right, three for three? This has to be a fluff piece! But I'm being completely honest here. I love it! For real! I think I've found my new go-to face cream, y'all! This whip is super silky and extremely hydrating. It doesn't clog my pores and it feels heavenly as it slides across the skin. Can I get a "whoop, whoop!!"
The Scoop: So far, I like it. I only use this at night because I don't want to over do it with the strong serums on my slightly sensitive skin. This stuff has 5% Benzoyl Peroxide and the most I've used on my skin before was 2% in a prescription, if memory serves correctly. I will revisit my rating at the end of week two and hopefully then, I will have some results to report.
AND it smells fresh too. BONUS: IT WORKED WELL UNDER MY MAKEUP!!!! I will say that it is slightly heavier than most moisturizers which had me worried it might be clogging my pores but Ihave had not any new breakouts so I'm going to say my fears were unfounded. I'm sold. This will be a summer staple for me whenever I go to the beach. I don't need to use it everyday as I wear foundations that already have SPF in them so using this when I'm wearing makeup is probably overkill. For days when I am not wearing makeup, this is a definite must, but as I've mentioned above, I'm fighting acne and unless I'm being really lazy, I usually have at least foundation on to even out the appearance of blemishes. I know some people have complained that this sunblock made their skin turn ashy gray but that has not been my experience. I did read a comment Urban Skin Rx left on an Instagram post saying they were reformulating this to address that issue so I'll keep a look out for that as well. But for me, for now, I'm happy with this SPF moisturizer as is.
Does It Deliver? Too soon to tell but I am cautiously optimistic.
My Rating: Too soon to tell but again, I am optimistic this stuff works. I will explain below.
The Scoop: So, I think this stuff works and here is why... I used it on day one before bed as directed (on my face and neck). When I woke up the next morning, my skin did have a soft, supple feel and the lines between my eyebrows didn't appear as deep as they normally do. Additionally, when I wrinkled my brows, the lines were there but they didn't stay creased like they normally do. The skin smoothed out much faster. The down side is that my neck was very itchy and red. I couldn't help but to scratch, which of course, lead to irritation. Fair enough. the minute I washed my face and neck, the irritation was completely gone and left nothing behind to remind me of the pesky redness and itch. As it was the only product I put on my neck, I am pretty sure this was the product responsible. Okie dokie.
On day 2, I applied this serum to my face only (avoiding eyes and neck) and when I woke up, the same results were happening on my brows AND the crows feet that are trying to creep in at my temples BUT my neck (which did not have the product on it) did not have any itch or irritation. So I know this stuff is doing something, and I think it's actually doing exactly what it's supposed to do.
I plan to continue using this serum but only at night and only on my face, not my neck. I will be keeping a close eye on it because I don't want to risk damage to my skin. I think with sparing use (only at night or every other day) I will be fine. In my opinion, this will not affect my rating, because the product seems to be doing what it claims to do. I will adjust my application for my personal needs (as everyone SHOULD do when using anything on or in their bodies).
after a week of use!
My Rating: Too soon to tell. I will revisit at the end of the month.
The Scoop: Ok, I have some dietary issues that I do NOT want to upset and any changes like vitamins or supplements have to be closely monitored by my doctor. I am so not trying to have a flair up - no one wants that, trust me. SO, I have been taking one of these a day to be careful and so far, they are gentle on my stomach and I am not experiencing any adverse affects. This is a huge plus because any change to my normal diet (adding vitamins or things known to agitate my condition) can often have an IMMEDIATE affect. This supplement is obviously gentle and like I said above, I feel like I have more energy. That's gotta be the Vitamin C and probably also the detoxing affects too. I'm stoked!
I will continue to take this vitamin supplement for the rest of the month as long as I don't have any side effects and give thoughts on it at the end of the challenge. WHEW THAT WAS A LOT!
Thanks so much for reading and following the challenge. I can't wait to see what next week brings!
Blessings, love bugs! 💋
Spring time is my favorite time of year... right after summer (I'm totally a summer baby) and autumn (earth toned fashion and colorful falling leaves just leave me breathless). And with the budding flowers and green leaves comes the promise of a fruitful season of sun, laughter and a whole lot of sexiness! [Enter these gorgeous new head wraps from Caheez by Carla Helené]
Each wrap fabric is curated with love and the inside is lined with silky satin to protect those beautiful tresses you treasure so much. This is season two for our head wraps and once again, these crowns reign supreme!
As always, my daughter and I had a blast shooting these wraps. We were pumping Bruno Mars from my iPhone and dancing between each snap of the camera (she loves her some Bruno and I am always down for a hot beat). Yup, Smithville Historical Park was lit up with some BGM for a quick minute on a Monday afternoon! lol
There's so much brewing behind the scenes over here in my corner of the world. I'm very excited because I have some things in the works that will knock your socks off! I can't wait to get some stuff up off the ground so I can share them with you. But until then, please send your prayers for the right doors to open, the right connections to be made and the perfect timing to come to fruition. And as always, rock your crown of curls in a satin lined head wrap! Oh and don't forget to save 15% on all wraps and hair care this week with promo code CAHEEZMOMSROCK too! 💋
What can I say? Yesterday was LIT!
I was honored and extremely lucky to score an invite to the Urban Skin RX Influencer Brunch yesterday, hosted by Toya of NaturallyShesDope (if you're wondering, Toya really is a super DOPE chick and so were all the beauties in attendance!) You guys, I had a blast!
We met at the Barcelona Wine Bar for a late brunch. The food was amazing, the drinks were refreshing, the service was outstanding and the company was highly entertaining. We laughed the entire time, sharing our hearts, passion and skin concerns while networking and learning about solutions that Urban Skin RX has developed to handle our various skin situations. Catalina, the company representative was professional, but also a hoot (and beautiful)! She gave us pointers and so much information about how this line can help us to address and fix every issue we suffered from individually and collectively. Personally, I'm dealing with long standing acne that is embedded deep under my skin and fine lines that are trying to wreck my entire denial of being a 40 something year old woman (lol). Y'all, I have hope!
Now, I realize that I don't talk about my skin woes often. I'm really trying to be about more than just outer appearances and it is easier to hide behind my hair (well, it was until I started cutting it off every couple of years, but that's a story for another day). Truth be told, this struggle has been all too real for me for YEARS. While I was lucky to have clear skin through my adolescence and teen years, hunty, when I hit 28, all that changed. The constant battle between hiding the rough skin and bumps, covering up blemishes and fading hyper-pigmentations with expensive spa treatments or caking on pounds of makeup and hiding behind concealers, cover up and more powder on top of that... Let's just say I have truly learned to find my self worth between my ears and behind my rib cage instead of what I was wearing or how I was looking all the time. But what doesn't kill us makes us stronger, right? Character building... yea, mmm-kay. Anyway...
What is Urban Skin RX?
It is a natural skin care brand that caters to melinated skin tones and the dermatological issues we deal with on a daily bases. YASSSS!! We need more companies like this! Check out their website here. If you're having a skin issue, they probably have a solution. I took their skin quiz and it clearly laid out a plan for me to follow. [happy dance!] I can't wait to get started!
They say that in your 40's you inherit the skin you took care of in your 20's. Jesus take the wheel! So I am starting a 30 day challenge today, using this line I've now heard so much about and have fallen in love with. My goals are to try and heal some of the damage done over the years, reduce or possibly reverse early signs of aging as well as clear up this pesky little adult acne problem I've been dealing with for too long. You can follow my 30 Days to Healthy Skin journey on my Instagram page @carlahelene. I'll be posting pics of products I'm using and progress photos throughout the month of May on my Instagram feed and writing weekly about it here on the blog.
What are some ways you take care of your skin these days? Share in the comments below! 💋
I am a cheeky curly girl, entrepreneur and self love advocate who encourages women to embrace their truth, love themselves and make margaritas out of life’s lemons (Is there a recipe for this? I’m not sure I but I am confident that we can figure it out together).
Check out my Instagram page at @CarlaHelene. For business inquires, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some of you may have seen the post last night on one of my social media feeds, saying our son was leaving. It's true. He is 19 and last night, he enlisted in the Air Force. We are very proud of him, and we know without a doubt, that he is on this true path.
While we know this in our heads and our hearts, it doesn't change the fact that he is leaving and we are going to miss him terribly. Things will never be the same again. Our baby is all grown up. This is THE moment... HIS moment. And I have been so honored to be his mother.
You may have noticed a few more changes recently on the site. We are fully enjoying this winter season and it shows! Today brought us another photo shoot with one of our favs... Monica!
From the beginning of the shoot until the sun began to set, Monica brought the warmth in these frigid temps! Check out some of the pics below.
such a time as this! This is our season and we are in heaven, snuggled up with fun knits, cool designs and charmeuse protection from the elements, drying fibers and more!
Check out some of the cool shots we got!
All that was missing was jingling bells!
In the hustle and bustle of life, it's easy to forget how amazing you are. So here are some ways to pamper yourself because you really do deserve to be treated like a diva. And who is better suited to love you than yourself?
1. Get a manicure - whether you do it yourself or go get it done, a manicure is a treat that is very sweet on the hands and light on the pocket.
2. Go to the movies. Who says you need a date? Treat yourself to some alone time and entertainment. You deserve it.
3. Sleep in a few minutes or go to bed a little bit early. That extra rest really can be refreshing. You owe it to yourself.
4. Eat out somewhere new. It doesn't have to be that new expensive Ethiopian restaurant in town unless you want it to be but treating your taste buds to something new not only makes you feel special but it opens your mind to new ideas and concepts too. Win/Win!
5. Listen to some new music. Music that is different from your normal listening patterns opens your mind to new possibilities and can be relaxing or energizing (depending on the style you choose).
6. Go dancing. Grab the girls or a date and treat yourselves to a night at a dance studio. They often offer introductory classes that don't cost too much (or are possibly free) plus you'll be giving yourself a fun workout while meeting new people too. Check out Groupon.com if you're looking for a studio. There's usually something listed there with di$count$!!
7. Get a haircut. You don't have to make a drastic change like I did last month, but a little pampering is good for the soul and healthy for your tresses too! So get a trim, lose the dead ends and bring your hair back to life in one fell swoop!
8. Go for a walk. While you're enjoying the view, take your camera or use your phone camera to capture the sights. It doesn't have to be anything spectacular either. Even clicking a pic of the neighbor's flowerbed can bring a pop of color to an otherwise drab photo album. Plus, it's fall! Celebrate with some changing leaves shots.
9. Take a drive. Get in your car and drive for a few hours. You don't have to have a specific destination in mind, just go where ever the road takes you. Roll down the windows, open the roof, turn up the music and cruise.
10. Have a wine party. Invite the girls over and pop the cork on a new blend you've wanted to try. Savor the flavors and company. And if you want to be fancy, pick up some expensive cheese and jams to really raise those pinkies.
11. Take a bubble bath. Make it a long, hot one too. Relax those tired muscles and enjoy some smooth jazz and candles while you're at it.
12. Eat something sweet (or salty) and refuse to feel guilty about breaking the diet. Everyone deserves to indulge now and then.
13. Read a book, magazine or blog. Escape from life a few minutes each day by enjoying the fantasy of a good story with great characters.
14. Take a trip. Save a little each week so you can splurge on a quickie getaway. Stay overnight and experience life at a different pace for a change.
15. Unplug from the Internet for a couple of days or a weekend. Turn off your cell, tablet, laptop, etc. Don't answer your email or texts/calls during this time. The world can afford to lose you for a day or two but you can't afford to never take a break. Your mind will thank you for it.
16. Get a massage or facial. Find a local spa offering discounts through Groupon (this is so my fav way to find new places). Then indulge in some self-love with a rub down or deep cleansing treatment.
17. Call an old friend or family member you've lost touch with. Rekindle your friendship. Walk down memory lane together. Remind yourself why they were in your life long ago. Oftentimes revisiting a memory will clarify future goals and dreams.
18. Sing in the shower loudly. Don't worry if the neighbors hear you either. It's your time. Stop thinking about how you're going to run that meeting next Friday or where you're going on date night. Just pick a song and let her rip.
19. Plan a picnic. What other activity is better to celebrate the changing weather?
20. Take a yoga class. Stretching and strengthening your muscles while clearing your mind is a wonderful way to feel refreshed and rejuvenated.
21. Cook your favorite meal. Then savor every bite. You don't even have to share it with anyone... unless you want to.
22. Visit an art gallery or museum. Spend an afternoon just sitting (or standing) in silence, and let the colors and patterns speak to you.
I am a cheeky curly girl, entrepreneur and self love advocate who encourages women to embrace their truth, love themselves and make margaritas out of life’s lemons (Is there a recipe for this? I’m not sure I but I know we can figure it out together).
Carla Helené is social