Navigating a Socially Distanced Holiday Season

The Christmas holidays is extremely stressful for people who are already struggling with isolation due to COVID. With more and more Ontario regions going back on lockdown right before Dec 25, it's going to be a difficult few weeks. Many families will not be gathering traditionally for Christmas dinner for the first time in YEARS. 

Licensed Clinical Psychotherapist Erin Wiley, MA, LPC, LPCC has sent me some tips to help people navigate a pandemic holiday season. I hope this helps anyone who is stressing and needs some advice about the stress of this season .

Last Minute stocking stuffers

  I’m trying to figure out if things are going to fast or too slow right now. Either way it all seems like a blur!! More than half the people I polled on Instagram told me that they have their Christmas gift’s already. Personally, I feel like there will be a lot of gift cards being given. Which is good but we all will miss the personable part of wrapping and filling out Christmas cards. But stocking stuffers always good add on! I always make sure that I have a few stocking stuffers personalized for each person! They don’t even have to be super expensive! 
Some you can even pick up from your local drugstore! 

Here is my beauty edition:  

Gift Guide : Sephora Collection 2020 under $20

This is the 7th annual Sephora gift guide! 
I'm so grateful to be #gifted from Sephora Canada on this one again. 
This year is so cute!!!
There were a few products sent and I chose the best products that could totally work for anyone in your life. There is something for everyone- Young..old and in between!

I’m sharing my top 5 Sephora Collection products that you need to put on your radar either for yourself or for the ones that you love!  **But don't forget about yourself LOL!

Canadian Black Women Owned Business We Need to Support

Small business are hurting now more than ever. Struggling to keep “doors” open online and in real life. This is our time to shop small and highlight companies who need a little boost. I've had the opportunity to play with some products from some Black Canadian women owned businesses for a few weeks now! So many gems out there and I haven't even touched the surface. I know my platform is small but I’m always willing to help! Even if it's just to put a new name out there for awareness!

Today I will be sharing four Black Canadian Women owned businesses 
that you need to put on your radar!  

First up is Unforgivingly Pur
A Beauty and Wellness company is owned sisters Rochelle & Cola Bennett. 
Their goal was to "create a wellness space that will change how people manage stress in their everyday lives, to provide global customers with tools, products, and services that promote a well-balanced life, and to have industry leading products."

On their site you can find quite a bit of high quality products which you can introduce into your daily lives. Such as Natural deodorant, Face/Body scrubs, Hand sanitizers and Body Cremes.

Miss Persona Season 3 is here!

**This post is sponsored by Miss. Persona**

I remember last year when I was flipping through channels and landed on Tree House. Miss Persona was on and the first thing Ava noticed was the cute yellow teddy bear who she screamed “Teddy Bear” every time he popped up on screen! If you’re not aware of Miss Persona... let me give you a quick rundown. Miss Persona and her shy teddy Brandon Bear have fun and solve problems with imaginative play! I mean there is a lot of work that goes into each episode and set. There are 75 new costumes this season! 

Signs That you Might Have Sensitive Skin

Let me tell you that sensitive skin is really common! If you find that you can’t figure out why you keep having skin issues no matter how many products or methods you try, your problem may be that you just have sensitive skin. If you can see a dermatologist or an esthetician- Do that ASAP.

But before you do that look for these signs.

Fire Prevention Month with First Alert

Thank you First Alert for sponsoring this post. October is Fire Prevention Month! Help ensure your home and family are protected by installing smoke & carbon monoxide alarms!

Before this, the last time that I participated in a fire drill, I was in college. That was more than 10 years ago! With October being Fire Prevention Month- this is the time to take fire safety seriously. Especially as a mom to a busy 2-year-old. 

SELF-CARE Reminder for Moms with Toddlers

Moms...Have you ever had a day where you just want to go home slide into bed and pull the covers over your head and maybe IGNORE EVERYONE!!! Well, I have and I'm sure most mamas have gone through some type of moment trying to balance the many hats we have to wear...DAILY. Self-care is so important for moms especially these days when life is changing so drastically and so much is expected from us. 

You must unwind and try new things! 
Plus reconnect with the old! 

These are my top three that I hope will help you!

How To Create the Perfect Web Design To Sell Your Beauty or Skincare Products

You don’t have to be a fashion designer to know that the beauty and cosmetics industry is incredibly competitive, with brands like MAC, L’oreal, Lancome, and others vying for the attention of the masses.

Nonetheless, there is still great potential in the market for new businesses to gain a footing. An essential step in becoming one of those successes is creating an attractive, functional, and easy-to-use website to help you sell beauty products. 

3 Easy Ways to Sneak More Water in Your Life

Literally everybody needs it to live and it's an essential part of our daily lives. If you aren’t drinking enough water, the signs will show up in your body real quick! It can cause a laundry list of issues. List me list a few: bad breath, constipation, frequent illness, fatigue, and poor skin. NONE of what we want or need during this time... well anytime to be honest. But I understand, sometimes it's really easy to forget to drink water everyday! 

If that’s your case, you can try out these three tips to help you get more water in your diet. 

Three Vegan Skincare Brands You Need to Try- Now in Canada

I have something to say- we are two weeks away from  Fall! Depressing- I know! The best thing you can do is to try your best to enjoy this time right now. I’m gonna try to sneak in a few more beach dates, the parks and maybe even dinner on the patio (if we’re all feeling confident enough to go). The time to shift your skincare/body care/cosmetics products!

Let's continue Vegan week with a few that I've put into rotation!

New from Arbonne Canada

For the next few days- I will be profiling vegan products on the blog. 
Let's get started with one of my favourite brands: Arbonne!

 I love their holistic approach to well-being, beauty and overall health. 

How I Do My Acrylic Nails At Home

I just love any excuse to work with my hands and get fully engrossed in little projects for myself that let me be creative and artistic. One of the things I like doing are my own acrylic nails at home! I get full creative freedom to make any design I want and it’s a great way to express myself. Plus, my bank account is so very thankful for all the money I save by not taking monthly trips to the nail salon. Keep in mind though, it takes practice to create flawless designs and know the perfect liquid-to-powder ratio- but you WILL get there in time. Just have fun with it and keep going. Next thing you know your friends will be asking for a seat at the nail salon in your living room!

If you want to get into this hobby and do your own acrylic nails at home, then follow these steps!

Post Grad Depression? How to Get Out of a Rut!

Graduation is often thought of as a wonderful moment in your life. You finally achieved your goal and earned your degree after studying for so many years! You should be happy right? Sadly, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes, post-grad depression hits with full force and knocks down recent grads who are trying to find their footing in life. They feel lost with no sense of direction because they don’t know what the next step in their life is going to be. They’re having a hard time landing their first entry level position and find themselves back home with mom and dad, feeling like a failure. I went through this after my graduation for about a year. I was unemployed, really depressed, and highly anxious about my future because I had no idea what I was going to do with my life. 

If you find yourself relating to me at all, I want you to keep on reading to find ways you can overcome post-grad depression. 

How to Choose the Best Nude Lipstick for Dark Skin

Nowadays, the beauty industry has come a long way with its inclusivity. It’s gotten easier to find complexion products that fit a range of skin types, and dark skin tones are finally getting the attention it deserves. Finding nude lipstick for my dark skin tone used to be a STRUGGLE. The colours were always way too light and I would end up looking so dry and ashy. I’m talking powdered doughnut looking lips y’ ma’am, not cute at all. If you know what I’m talking about, then you have a wider variety of rich colour options available now that will compliment your complexion and make your lips look gorgeous. Follow this ONE tip for choosing the best nude lipstick for your beautiful skin tone!

Know your Undertone...that’s it!

Four Reason Why you Need to Add Sunscreen to your Daily Routine

Growing up, the LAST thing on my mind when the sun would shine on my skin was sunscreen. I never felt the need to use it because I believed my dark skin was resilient to sunburn and it simply wasn’t a priority. This couldn’t be farther from the truth and it left my skin vulnerable to the sun’s harmful rays for so many years. If you’re anything like I was, you should seriously consider using sunscreen and making it a habit to wear on a daily basis, no matter what your skin tone is. 

When it comes to health, my motto is better safe than sorry and I definitely don’t want my black cracking from the sun! 

How I Learned To Be Truly Confident In My Looks and Feel Beautiful

I was a really awkward kid! I was so uncomfortable in my own skin, with my looks and even my personality. My confidence was low, but when I entered college, I knew I didn’t want to feel that way about myself anymore. I wanted to be able to randomly see my reflection in a store window and feel like I looked beautiful. I wanted to wake up in the morning, look in the mirror and believe that I was pretty. So that’s exactly what I did! 

If you want to feel more confident in your natural beauty, try this advice and it may help you on your important journey to self love. 

How to Determine your Hair Porosity

When it comes to natural hair, there are so many new terms and technicalities to learn about! One of the things that confused me at the start of my hair growth journey was hair porosity. To save you from confusion, I’m going to make this concept easy for you! Moisture is everything for healthy hair and knowing your hair porosity can help you determine the exact type of care your tresses need.

Hair porosity is a measurement to determine your hair’s ability to absorb and hold in moisture.

There are three types of Hair Porosity: 
Low, Medium and High. 

To determine your porosity, use the float test below!

Fun Activities to Improve Your Toddler's Development

Teaching babies/toddlers' new things can have some rough patches in the beginning, but with keeping a consistent routine it will show you their growth. You should keep routine learning short, as their attention span isn’t that huge, it can be challenging to keep their focus on the activities you try. One minute we're playing with flash cards... next minute she's asking me for an apple LOL! All I can do is try to keep up with her!

Here’s three learning activities that you can start with your toddler in a fun creative way that will grab their attention.

Five Places You Should Take Your Toddler This Summer

This is going to be a different summer (ignore the fact that it's almost done) ... I'm low-key stressing with COVID around but overall we have to still get out. I know that a lot of us are wondering what to do with your toddler this summer. Ava just turned two and is super active. 
There is no daycare and honestly we're trying our best to keep her busy.

I did a lot of research and found 5 places you can take your child where you both will enjoy yourselves. 

Four Tips To Keep Your Goals On Track For the REST of the year

One thing I realized going into the New Year, was the fact that I truly sucked at sticking to my goals. I would write them down, but I wouldn’t act upon them or manifest that reality. This is why I also felt a sense of content knowing that 2020 would be a great transition into truly transforming my life and reaching new heights. A big thing that a lot of us can sometimes struggle with is figuring out ways to translate what we may say, write or display on paper, into concrete and actionable steps. Whether it’s fear of not getting ahead or going through imposter syndrome and believing that we are not deserving of greatness, it can truly impact the progression of our life events. 

Here are four tips you can use to keep your goals on track for 2020.

Self-Care Reminder for Work from Home Moms!

I feel like we blazed through July and I’m so interested in seeing how August goes. For me, July is madness! I had two major birthdays which required me to do some planning. 
It also marks that we're half way through summer and we're still dealing with COVID.. *sigh*

I am honestly so grateful for all the encouragement and comments that I’ve been getting from my
Here are three of my favourites!

Chemical vs Physical Skincare Exfoliants

Whenever you research skin care routines and remedies, exfoliating is almost always a part of the conversation. People live by and praise the exfoliating trend to no end...and they have good reason to! 

There are SO many benefits to making it a part of your skin care regime from removing dead skin, unclogging pores, evening skin tone, preventing acne, boosting circulation, reducing wrinkles, and so many more! 

 Now did you know there are different types of exfoliants? 
Do your skin a favour and know the difference between chemical and physical exfoliants so you know what will actually benefit you. Trust don’t want to end up with irritated skin or scars because you picked up the wrong type! 

How to be confident in your new haircut or style

Hair is so personal and it is who we are. I know we're bored as hell and want to do crazy things... like cut or perm your hair. What? ONLY ME? I got tips from a stylist named Lisa (former My Spiced Life contributor) a while back and now would be the perfect time to share it- since we are now entering stage 3 of COVID.

Are you ready to be confident?

Five tips you must incorporate or consider when starting your blog

I’ve had so many people come to me telling me that they would love to become a blogger but they don’t know where to start. I’m always flattered that people think that I have the clear path but honestly I don’t... 

As a Canadian lifestyle blogger, I wish I could say I have made over five figures and can show you how to do it. Who knows maybe this is the year I do it or maybe it’s not... Either way if you’re thinking about starting a blog you have to have the basics mapped out and I can totally help you with that. 

Read about becoming a blogger below.

5 Grocery shopping tips to consider to save you money!

As a new mom, I can definitely attest to the fact that we’re always finding new ways of saving money. I remember when Ava was on formula- it was so expensive. I did major research to cut cut dramatically. Whether that be through discounts, couponing, buying in bulk, we always have to find a way to make things more affordable. Especially the way how this economy is set up (**ahum COVID-19). 

In this short guide, I will be listing 5 shopping items for parents that will save you some money!

5 Quick and Easy Ways to Become Environmentally Friendly

In the beginning of this self isolation. I felt like we were throwing out so many bags of garbage. A family member suggested that we get paper cups and plates (so we didn’t have to do any excessive  of washing to save money). Loved the concept of the idea but in the end there was so much waste. 

I hated it! 
And I really wanted to try to find a way that we can try to reduce the garbage that we threw out every three days and also see in what areas can we try to be more sustainable.

So I consulted my girl"google" on ways that I could try to reduce.

Five different skin care masks that you need to try right now

I try to do a face mask for myself at least twice a week for great self-care. It’s important to pamper yourself and when I do my masks I feel like I’m giving myself mini spa treatments at home. They range in price too so if you don’t want to break the bank or are feeling like you want to splurge some coins, there are so many great masks out there that you can try. They rejuvenate your skin and give you a great sense of luxury and relaxation, so I highly suggest you give them a try!

I’m listing five different types of masks I’m obsessed with that you can pick up right now and start pampering yourself today.

3 Black Children's Books by Black Authors

It’s sooo important to find books for your little ones that inspire them and show that their skin colour is represented and celebrated. It gives a sense of pride and hope in them to know that people that look like them have achieved great things. I want Ava Rose to grow up knowing that she is special and has the potential to accomplish whatever she sets her mind to, just like the black people she’s seen and read about. 

If you want to inspire pride in your children and make them feel like they’re represented, I suggest you grab these three books during your next bedtime story session!

Fast meal ideas for Mamas on the GO

Girl... I'm tired of cooking! Do you wish you could have a personal chef to have all meals prepared all you have to do is sit down or grab it to go? Well, if you’re like the majority of tired mamas on the go we all wish we could have someone cater to us! NOT the other way around. Since I'm working from home with Ava, everything has gotten super tricky. Time passes by SO quickly. Before I know it, it's noon and lunch isn't close to being ready! I love super easy meals to be able to balance life. 

These are my favourite quick fixes... that Ava loves too!

Three Teas that you Should Add to your Pantry

I really LOVE tea! There are so many benefits and it’s such a easy beverage to make. You can drink it anytime of day and in any weather. May I add... for any ailment?? Maybe that's the Jamaican in me LOL. Tea is a great natural medicine. If I’m ever dealing with an annoying stomach ache or uncomfortable bloating, I drink tea to alleviate my pain.

Don't believe me?
Is it the middle of summer?  Make iced tea to cool you off.
Did you wake up to snow outside your window and the idea of leaving your toasty bed seems impossible? Get up and make yourself a comforting hot tea to get you ready to tackle your day.

Here are three of my favourites!

Four pieces of clothing that you need to add to your wardrobe this Summer

Summer is here! I’m super excited because it's Ava's birth month! Can you believe that she's going to be 2?!? It's almost 24 months since I gave birth to her. Getting back to my old self was a journey. I'm still not there yet.. HELLO extra 15 pounds.. but that doesn't mean that I can't try to look cute.

I’ve been on the internet hunt, looking for affordable clothing to rock in this Canadian HEAT and was able to snag some cute finds! I also realized that a lot of these fashion items can be used as Fall outfits, later on in the year! 

With that being said, here are four pieces of clothing that you need to add to your wardrobe!

Covid Summer Baby Bag Checklist

Lately, we have been taking Ava out on little excursions (obviously while social distancing). So far, we went to the zoo, a big park and to the splash pads. We're just trying to slowly add some normalcy to our life. 

One thing I've noticed is that I have add to add a few "extras" to diaper bag. 
I thought that it would be a perfect time to share them as I know some parents are now starting to ease up and go out.

Here is what's in our baby bag.

Tips on What to Do After an Eyebrow Disaster

I know I am not the only one in quarantine who has botched their eyebrows. My first attempt was flawless. I was super careful and I had the time to do it. The second time... The baby was crying and I attempted to get the stray hairs out of with a mini scissors?!?! 
I know! 
I took a really massive chunk out but thank GOD for brow pencils!

Today I will be sharing three tips on how to cope with a bad brow situation.

Three reasons why Natural Deodorant is good for you

Natural deodorant is slowly becoming the new norm in underarm care, mostly because of the fact that it’s safe! A lot of our deodorants contain high amounts of aluminum and other toxic ingredients that have been known to not only clog our skin but sometimes have bad after effects.

Before you read this post- 
Check out my How to detox your armpits for Natural Deodorant post.

How to Buy Your Next Pair of Walking Shoes

Let’s talk about shoes! And no, I don’t mean those 6 Inch heels you bought years ago that are collecting dust in your closet! Oh.. No- It is just me *sigh* I’m talking about comfortable, everyday shoes. They are an essential part of any wardrobe and they should most definitely be front and centre in yours! I used to be a flats/sandals girl but my husband totally changed that.

We’re on what- week 365 of quarantine here! I have done through every emotion there is.
I like to go on walks with my husband and daughter before dinner. I usually complain about going but end up loving it in the end. Last week, I left the house in my slides. Cute but definitely not for long distance. Wearing the wrong shoe can really put a damper on what you're doing! Like when Ava doesn’t want to get into her stroller and I’m literally running down the street to get her in. Our feet are such an important part of our bodies and we need to make sure we are really taking care of them.

So the next time you go shoe shopping remember to keep these tips in mind so that your next pair is comfy!

Deep Conditioning for Natural Hair

I will admit. This is the first time I've been extremely interested in Deep Conditioners. I have a post about my natural hair coming up soon but let's say- it's been a REAL journey. Deep Conditioners are among the hottest thing right now. I truly didn't seem the gem in them until I did major research.

Deep Conditioning for Natural Hair

How to detox your armpits for "Natural Deodorant"

If you are starting to feel more health conscious as you get older, you will love the idea of natural deodorant. There are many harmful chemicals that exist in traditional deodorants. I started my natural deodorant journey 5 years ago. It's been an interesting one. You sometimes have to hunt for one that will work for you. ANDDD when they do- sometimes a few months later they won't. Why? Did you know to improve your overall body odour and hygiene- you have to DETOX your armpits first?!?!?

Here are 5 ways to detox your armpits using natural deodorant.

Summer Skin Care

Let’s talk skin! Summer skin is my favourite because it’s always hydrated with very little effort. Don’t judge me! With a busy toddler- I have skipped a few steps in my skincare regimen time to time. BUT! I’m happy for products that don’t fail me.

Let me start this off by saying. It’s NOT easy to achieve a good skin care combo that works for EVERYONE. This works for me right now as of July 2, 2020. I’ve met with a few dermatologist who classified me with normal skin. But I’d say I have normal skin with an oily T-zone. If you totally identify with what I’m saying.

Check out a few of my current favourites.

Best Way to Dry your 4C TWA Natural Hair

If you’re anything like me, you recently went natural and are rocking your cute lil’ TWA, or “Teeny Weeny Afro”. My hair type is 4C and for me that means it’s DRY and shrinks like nobody's business! I always have to make sure it's moisturized and I try to keep it as stretched as possible. This can be tough because my hair has a mind of its own, but overtime I’ve found ways to keep it in that state without too much effort. I’m a self proclaimed “lazy natural” and I just don’t have the energy or care to be worried about my hair all the time. I make it a point to keep my 4c hair in a moisturized, stretched state with the least amount of effort possible!

For this to happen, one of the most important days is wash day because of the drying process. 

When I dry my hair I keep these four steps in mind: Conditioning Comb Out, Damp Drying, Damp Moisturizing, and Stretch Styling.

Three Home Crafting DIYs to do During the Time that you’re Home

With quarantine being the new normal in so many of our lives, a lot of us are finding that we have way more time on our hands than we’re used to. If you find yourself bored in your house- wishing you had something interesting to do, consider using the extra time to create a better atmosphere for yourself and revamping your space! 

This is the perfect time to get in touch with your environment and create an ambiance that fuels your creativity and gives you a newfound appreciation for your home.

I’ve come up with three easy home crafting DIYs that you can do during your time at home. You’ll be able to get your imagination to work and create beautiful pieces for your place in no time!

Decluttering 101: Tips for New Moms

As a first time mom, I accumulated a lot of stuff. A lot of gifts - mixed in with a few purchases. Now that Ava Rose is almost two. We decided to get rid of half of the stuff and keep the best ones for baby #2 *Whenever we are ready for that* 

When it comes to decluttering your space, there is honestly no right or wrong way to go about it. Everyone has their own routine that works for them but for someone like me who is extremely sentimental... it takes forever for me to start. Best outlook to have - It all comes down to simplicity and minimizing unnecessary things in your space!

Meet Aminata: Spiced Beauty Contributor

Meet Aminata!
She's a recent College graduate who will be writing on the blog for the next 3 months!

Three Protective Hairstyles For Natural Hair To Do At Home

Bantu knots, box braids, weaves, cornrows, you name it, we’re constantly rocking these looks with style and grace! My personal favourite are box braids because they are so convenient. You can get them installed and not have to worry about doing your hair for some weeks! What a relief eh? Especially with the weather we have in Canada, black protective hair care is a must! Plus, it can be an affordable way of protecting your hair. If you’re a naturalista like myself, then you are probably quite familiar with the hairstyles mentioned. I mean, it’s basically a part of our DNA! I thought I would list three black hair care styles that you can try this year to keep your curls healthy and growing smoothly!

3 Hair Oils That Work For Natural Hair

Editor note: There will be a few more posts coming out about Natural hair coming up shortly. Shoot me an email or comment below if there is anything that you want me to cover!

When it comes to our natural hair, we have to be very careful when it comes to choosing the right products. We have to ensure that we are protecting our royal manes every day. I like to add hair pomade and oils to my hair in order to maintain its moisture and promote the hair growth process. My personal favourites are avocado butter, which contains avocado, shea butter and coconut oil. It smells really great and works well too! Usually when I apply the product 2 days back to back, I’m able to keep my hair moisturized until the end of the week. 

All of this depends on the type of natural hair you have of course!

Four simple ways to fall asleep quick!

During this time the hardest thing for me has been sleep. Yes... I do have a one-year-old who sleeps extremely well! But currently the main questions in my mind is... When will this Quarantine be over? Will I be spending my birthday in quarantine? When will my husband have to go back to work? I could go on and on but we don't have the time. I know I’m not the only one who has all these questions. If you really sit down and think about it- it will keep you up all night.

Bored? Five things to do while in quarantine!

It's May! 
We want to go out, play, eat, travel ... see family. Should I keep on going? 
Don't laugh at me but I miss walking the aisles of Winners/Home Sense. 
Man.. we're going stir crazy. I get it! We ALL want this virus gone. 

Are you looking for things to do while in quarantine?
Here are some ideas!

Homemade Skin Care Remedies in your Fridge: Fruits and Vegetables

I know that during this quarantine we have all been guilty of buying to much of something. Mine was bananas and thank God for banana bread! Just incase you have some extra fruit in your fridge- check this out!

Ever wondered about other skin care remedy options that are not only cost effective but can be found just about anywhere? What if I told you that your next skin care remedy is in the comfort of your own home? I am going to be giving you the tea on skin care options in your fridge that will whip your skin back to shape for the low low!

Here are 5 natural skin care remedies 
you can find in your fridge:

21 Mommy bloggers share their toddler routines and activities

It’s crazy how things change so quickly. I am grateful to stay home and have my family safe... But I’m not gonna lie- I can tell how bored she is. There’s not much I can do to change the boredom especially with me working but I decided to give her her own space in our living room.

Most of the stuff we already had! The only thing that I purchased was a table set from IKEA which was extremely affordable at $30 CAN. My husband purchased the toy box plus she made me that lovely art in the background for Mother’s Day. I thought it would be a perfect addition to her space. I love that she has a place that she can go when she feels like she wants to sit down and eat or quietly play.

TIPS: How To Make Your Nails Grow Stronger

The secret to perfect looking nails all comes down to establishing a consistent grooming routine. For mine, I always make sure that mine includes daily washing, moisturizing and proper maintenance. When it comes to keeping your nails strong, there are many things that can be done to maintain its strength, appearance and health.

It is also important to make sure they aren’t cutting your cuticles off, which stunts nail growth.

Here are helpful tips to keep your nails strong!