Magnolia Marvel.

The Silos. (All images shown in this post are mine.)

If you’ll follow the link here, you’ll see that visiting Chip and Joanna Gaines’ Magnolia Market at the Silos was a definite destination goal of mine. Well, a million years later, a good friend and I made the nearly 2-hour trek to Waco, TX earlier this week. Needless to say, we had a fantastic time.

As soon as we arrived, we saw the line to head into the Bakery. This was fine. Popularity breeds lines. We came with our patience intact. And quite honestly, after parking (you can park for free if you’re visiting the Silos, but since these areas were packed, we headed a bit further down and found a space), we took our time and explored the area while walking toward the Bakery. The rustic charm around us didn’t disappoint.

Once we got to the main area, we snapped some pics and just took in the people, sights, and asked a few questions of the folks working in the area. Then we got right in line for that bakery. (Naturally.) While waiting, a staff member came by with pencils and menus to complete. You choose the baked goods you want to buy; by the time you get inside, a cashier takes the form and fills your order. Pretty seamless, Chip and Joanna. I’m a lover of organization and ingenuity amid a bit of chaos.

After the bakery, we walked around a bit more and decided against getting into another line for the seed store. Especially because I saw a line for a trolley tour and I wanted all parts of that trolley tour. (Trolleys while traveling: an excellent way to learn about a new place and ride all at the same time. I recommend a trolley wherever you go. My favorite trolley tours have been in San Diego, CA, Newport, RI, and basically wherever I’ve been that has one available.)

We learned interesting tidbits about Waco during the tour, for sure. We also learned that reservations are key if you want a table at Magnolia Table, the Gaines’ restaurant. Note to self for the next time. Thankfully, there was a food truck extravaganza right there by the silos so we definitely made use of those amenities. Delish.

We had a marvelous time.

It’s been rough with my job and not having a ton of vacation time to travel. Nevertheless, after three years here in the Lone Star State, I’m still very much a tourist. Taking advantage of the local color was splendid, and I intend on doing more of that.

What are some of your favorite local travel spots?

In Review…2019 Style

My tried-and-true chicelegant (spell check nearly imploded with this nonexistent word, but whatevs) aesthetic didn’t change much in 2019. Here are some of my favorite looks from this year, with a bit of commentary.

When it comes to jeans and pants, I’m your typical pull-your-pants-up-every-ten-seconds kind of gal, because I tend to pull sizes a bit bigger than I should. (Le sigh.) But this year was a marked improvement. I went for more jeggings and leggings this time around, which resulted in better fits and just looked way nicer.

Dresses and skirts are my favorite things to wear. They just are.

I wasn’t kidding.

The collaged photo in the middle is from our annual worship convention this year and my theme was skirts. (Anyone else theme their outfits for events? I love doing that.) All those skirts came from Ross–all to the shock and awe of my Mom, who thinks I should be shopping at Nordstrom at my age. If I can score chic and lovely clothes for a lesser price, I’ll be staying at Ross. After loving everything I wore this summer, she agrees with me.

The Blonde Ambition Tour.

And finally, these three. The last photo is from last weekend at one of our worship events. I played around with color and combinations here and I was really pleased with the results. Woo hoo…

 

‘Twas a good year for personal style and fashion. My goals are to continue to dress for my body and accentuate better, remain chicelegant, and experiment more. As for the revolving door of hair styles and colors: of course.

What are your personal style staples?

things i currently need #12

You’ll see a definite theme. (See current needs #11 needs here.)

vacances1

Somewhere in the Maldives.

vacances2

Pretty please, Positano.

vacances3

Oh, hi, Oregon.

You get my drift. My last real, bonafide vacation was in February 2016, when my girls and I went to that lovely trip to Paris. (Plenty of photos of that trip; search “Paris” and swoon.) It’s high time to get somewhere and find relaxation. Self care. It’s necessary. I do plenty of it stateside, taking time for myself, but I need to do it in another land/on a beach/in a hot spring/on a gondola. Hoping that early 2020 gives me that opportunity.

Happy Friyay, y’all. Any planned trips?

hair things.

I decided to change up the ‘do again. No surprise there. As I mentioned to a friend who remarked about the merry-go-round of styles we as Black women are happy to explore, hair is one of the few things in this crazy life that I can control. (Although I’ve long believed that my hair, known as She, controls me.) As you know, I visited the lighter side of the hair color spectrum in January. And I’m very happy there. Which is why, two weeks ago, I decided to go bolder, brighter, and much, much blonder.

Popular questions/statements I’ve received since:

Are you having fun yet? 
Do you like it?
Whoa, you’re brave.
Something new for the summer, huh?
Wow, you’re always changing your hair!

My responses:

Um, yes?
I love it.
Sure.
Not just for the summer, no.
Indeed I am.

Here’s to the merry-go-round.

And before I go: leaving you with my favorite song this month. You know how I feel about Emeli Sande (or maybe you didn’t, but the link is yours to see). Here’s her recent single, which I have on repeat. I love it not only for the melody, and her soaring voice, but for the simple message: we’re all extraordinary. Something to keep in mind–for me, for you, for all of us.

where have you been all my life?

She’s gone blonde.

Yes, dear reader, after years and years on the darker side of the color wheel, I decided to make a big Year of 40 change and go blonde. My hair is now a honey blonde hue and I love it something awful. Initially after the coloring, as you can see in some of the pics above, it had more of a reddish-blonde shade as a result of my red color before and the repeated lifts to get all the red out. These days, it’s definitely more honey and closer to the shade I was looking for. And I plan on going lighter! Now that I’ve learned that going blonde won’t make me look like a dancer of some sort of cheesy Vegas revue, the blonde is my oyster.

And let’s chat about that for a moment. Upon seeing my hair, my sister said the following: “Why haven’t you done this your whole life?!” Other friends also asked why I had never experimented with a lighter color before. You know me: hair experimentation has never been an issue for me. But sporting dark hair as a woman of color was most definitely a safe choice. I couldn’t imagine my brown skin against an even lighter color. (Even bright red was far more safer in my mind than anything lighter.) Now I’ve been reminded that my brown skin is beautiful against any backdrop. We hold ourselves back, even in tiny, seemingly insignificant ways, don’t we? But none of that anymore. Embrace change, embrace newness, embrace the blonde. Because…

tracee

Fabu Fashion Sunday: Saturday Bloom

Hey, y’all.

So a good friend of mine threw a beautiful get-together yesterday with a lovely theme: Bloom Where You Are Planted. It was a company of women sharing their favorite quotes or scriptures, dressed or accessorized in a floral theme, ready to swap $3 gifts, and overall gathering together to encourage, uplift, and upbuild. So moving and beautiful. I decided to wear something casually floral and went with a floral blouse, duster, jeans, and booties. Below.

Deets: Duster and blouse from my boyfriend Ross (the store, not um, an actual person); jeggings from Walmart (don’t sleep; I like paying $9-$12 for pants and I’m not ashamed to admit it); booties from Old Navy.

Can I say that I loved my ‘fit? For me, it was the right mix of fun and feminine; chic and casual. I was quite happy with it.

So makeup: I’ve been really focusing on my eyes lately. Eyeliner has become my bestie, basically. I like playing with the natural shape and clearly I like a dark, smoky look.

Eyes: Revlon Liner; Clapback lipstick by Fenty Beauty used as a shadow

Foundation: Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra Longwear Foundation (loving this new find); I believe my Lupita is one of their brand ambassadors

Cheeks: Black Radiance blush; Mariah Carey highlighter

Lippie: Smashbox Matte Lipstick, shade: Girl Gang

That’s the lewk. It was a lovely event and a beautiful day.

Oh: here is the quote I chose for the event.

Enough said.

How was your Saturday?

Blogtober #29: The Fall Lippie.

As promised, I debuted my new fall lippie at the office today. And pic’ed it. See below.

Shall we break down why Smoked Purple is a winner for me?

1. It’s matte, but it goes on so smooth for me. Sure, a bit of balm helps before applying but I find it really easy to slide on.

2. The color. That smoky, dark, moody look is parfait for fall/winter.

3. Even with eating and drinking throughout the day, it pretty much stayed intact.

Winner winner, chicken dinner.

Your turn: any new makeup hauls/finds/fall lewks in your world? Let me know, pretty please?

Blogtober #28: Fall Mall Haul

Guess who went to the mall today…

Yes, I did a tiny bit of Sunday shopping.

(1) Cat eye sunnies from New York & Company

(2) New lipstick and lip liner from MAC: Smoked Purple and Nightmoth, respectively. (The saleslady was slick; she heard me saying that I had no intention of purchasing makeup and then sweetly asked me to try on the lippie above to see if what I “thought” about it. Hook–line–sinker. That smoked purple. Y’all? A beauty. Pics coming tomorrow.

Happy Sunday.

Blogtober #22: Ashy Knuckles and & Other Autumnal Indignities.

Look.

That lovely, crisp, autumnal breeze in the atmosphere? It’s wonderful. And also very, very dangerous.

This morning, as I trudged into work and settled myself at my desk, I noticed something as I was typing away on my keyboard. Something that took my breath away.

My knuckles were ashy. Like gray. The abject horror of it all. ashy1

Here’s the thing: I don’t play when it comes to lotion. Your Square Peg is a connoisseur of moisturized skin. I don’t leave my house without the epidermis gleaming from whatever silky lotion or oil I’ve decided to apply. Especially when it comes to these hands, which is the first thing folks see, other than the face. So the discovery of these ashy knuckles–and the skin between my fingers, my goodness–was like, whaaaaattttttttt?

Oh, Autumn.

And that’s the thing: the cool breeze comes bearing dubious gifts. Dry skin, dry limbs, the whole ashy shebang. whenever we’re outside and subject to the elements. (Even that beautiful, heated atmosphere in the home can be a little intense for the skin.) How can we counter it? A few things I plan on doing more of, although apparently at least one of them didn’t work this morning:

  1. Lotion it up. I have lotion on my desk at work, in my handbag, wherever I go. Take the time to apply some on your hands, face, wherever you’re susceptible to starting a brush fire with your skin. Yikes.
  2. Extra facial moisture. So this morning was a struggle, which may explain why some things fell by the wayside. But as I was driving in and applying makeup on my face (be ye not judgmental; I’ve actually gotten better at not doing this, dear reader), I noticed some dry spots on my face. So yeah, I plan on upping my skin care game for real during this time of year.
  3. Brush your lips. I don’t know where I read this, but one way to counter the peeling of skin on the lips (something that happens to me a lot), is to gently brush them with a toothbrush. Exfoliating for the win. I also just read that a bit of Vaseline or lip balm on the lips first and then brushing is even better. Don’t brush hard, y’all. Do this one at your own risk. I’m not a doctor or an esthetician, but I play one on TV. (I just googled and there are plenty of lip scrubs out there. Research!)

And remember: all skin is capable of ashiness. All. Skin. Just a friendly reminder.

Happy Monday, y’all. Upwards and onwards and skinwards.