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A Letter to My Pre-College Self

I was inspired by Earnest, a company providing a better way for students & grads to refinance student loans to share a letter to myself. This came in such a great time considering I just completed my fourth year of college last week. With everything hitting so close to home, I hope this advice and their blog can be a helpful guide to those who may need it.


Dear Selena,

I know that you are embarking on your journey to college and adulthood which is a crucial time in your life. You’ll be transitioning from home, meeting new friends, and most importantly stepping out of your comfort zone. College provides a lot of opportunities for improvement and you should take advantage of each available opportunity. Nothing can prevent you from exceeding except yourself; friends, family, and whomever else shouldn’t determine your future for you. During these times your peers will explore their talents and will delve into things that can be beneficial to their future careers. If you are unsure of what you want to do then you should also explore; whether it’s photography, activism, blogging, becoming a YouTuber or creating/selling art (t-shirts, paintings, etc.) then you should give it a try!

Then there are so many other things you must consider when attending college like managing your finances, maintaining your friendships (and sanity), staying organized and how you’ll be paying for your education.
In some cases, the student doesn’t have to keep a close eye on their finances or financial aid because everything is paid for by their parents – which is amazing – but if that isn’t your case you’ll have more work to do. Let’s talk FAFSA and scholarships… FAFSA known as but not commonly referred to as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid is one of the biggest pains in the behind at the end of the school year. To complete your FAFSA you must have your tax forms, student/parent pins, and other critical information to successfully file for your Student Aid; if you aren’t organized it will take way longer to finish this task. Also, you should do your FAFSA as soon as it opens because there is no reason to burden yourself if you don’t have to, and this is coming from someone who still procrastinates each year. I will say that I’ve learned from my mistakes enough to know better but doing better is what matters. And I haven’t even discussed what you’ll have to do to pay those loans off after graduating… I’ll just take this one step at a time. Also, you should apply for as many scholarships as possible they don’t have to specifically cater to yourself but if you do well enough you could qualify for it. Getting scholarships will prevent you from needed and having to pay as much money back to Sallie Mae. My senior year of high school I participated in a scholarship pageant with a sorority where the money I raised went to my first year of college which really helped because I didn’t have to worry about where I’d be getting that money from if something happened with my financial aid. One more thing, don’t be lax with your financial aid office at your university! When you call and don’t get an answer, send an email; if you don’t get a response then go to their office. Make sure your ducks are in a neat orderly row before you get on campus.

Since I already mentioned financial aid I thought I’d mention finances next. Get your coins and save them. Clip coupons, utilize sales, and learn about specials at the places you love (ex: movies, bowling alleys). I am one of those people who enjoy having a good time and I don’t mind spending money but there are times to be wise about your spending habits. Most schools hold events for students to attend for free or at a discounted price so if you’re interested GO. You should also know other ways to make money if you aren’t employed: you can sell clothing on Poshmark or places like Plato’s Closet, you can do hair (if you’re good), or you can even charge to do makeup for special events. That will build your portfolio, give you experience and you’ll be able have extra spending money. The things I mentioned don’t even touch the wide scope of ‘hustles’ you can have. Another thing that will help you build on a budget is Dollar Tree, one of my favorite stores. You can find cute decorations for your dorm, cleaning supplies, snacks, books, and so many other great things. Dollar Tree is a Godsend and you will soon find a reason to go there everyday.
Now there’s maintaining friendships, your sanity and staying organized. To stay organized you don’t have to break the bank like some may think. You can get your folders, planners, sticky notes, and everything in-between at Dollar Tree. YouTube and Facebook groups have planning communities where they spend a lot of money on fancy planners and stickers but this isn’t a requirement to keep yourself organized throughout the school year. You can also use apps on your phones to input important upcoming events. It’s so simple but these two things will definitely drain you or at least they drained me – maintaining my sanity and friendships.

To better manage my well-being I had to to take breaks AKA me time to relax, do a DIY spa day and clear my head of whatever was bothering me. I also used a super cute journal I got from TJMaxx as a prayer diary, in it I’d write down my goals, what I’d pray for/prayers, and things I want to work on. I found a lot of cute ideas for this on pinterest but I ended up going with my own format. This really helped because I was able to see everything written out and I felt less overwhelmed. As far as friendships I can only say a few things:

  • Do what makes you happy. If you want to do something and your friends don’t then you should step out of your comfort zone and do it anyways. You can make new friends along the way who will like to do similar things
  • Take time for yourself and your well being
  • Branch out to meet new people. Having a clique or intimate group of friends is cool until something goes wrong..

I hope this letter will be helpful to you on your journey to college and I wish you the best of luck!

name-3

 

 

Living Single on Valentine’s Day: A Playlist

Social media can give you the impression that being single on Valentine’s day is the end of the world but it isn’t. And this is coming from someone that has never had a Valentine outside of elementary school and every person has one. Liking and retweeting memes may seem fun until you internalize these things and that is where it all goes wrong..

In the case that you are single (like myself), aren’t going anywhere special or you just like good music this is for you!

 

So show up, show out and get your life to this playlist. Don’t forget that V-day treats go on sale the day after, enjoy!

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My December/January Favorites

As you can tell from the title these were my favorite things for the months of December and January. I really enjoyed eating, using and listening to these items mentioned below soooo, let’s get into the goodness!

Goldfish Chocolate Mint + Pretzels Mix

 Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen and Grow Leave-in Conditioner | Shea Moisture | $7

Black Opium | Yves Saint Laurent | 0.33 oz/ 10 m | $27

Twisted Peppermint Lotion | Bath and Body Works

Captured Heart Stud Earrings | Pandora | $65

Whitening Face Mask | Mario Badescu | $24

Focus by H.E.R

Fake Love x Sneakin’ Cover by Normani Kordei

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My Beauty Inspiration for 2017

Picture it: The year is 2017 and this is the most flawless beat you’ve ever seen. The skin is dewy, glowing, and the golden highlights look amazing. The lips are coated in a nude/brown lip gloss, that has you wondering which brand it came from. It’s simply A LOOK! A look that I am currently obsessed with. I’ve purchased radiant glow primers, consistently drank a lot of water and I have practiced this look a few times because I am prepared to glow like the goddess I truly am in the year of 2017.

I got the inspiration for this look from these lovely ladies posted below. The source for each picture can be found here along with more makeup inspiration for 2017. If you’re interested in following me on Pinterest you can find me at XOXOSelenaN!

I just want to know if we’re slaying for 2017 or NAH?

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My Favorite Things from 2016

Throughout the year of 2016 these things have been a blessing to my life. Without them I wouldn’t be able to continue life in an orderly fashion. Because they are obviously so amazing and they have stood the test of time they deserved to be praised and shared with the world (or whoever is reading this). 

                               The honorees

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TRESemme Naturals Shampoo | Hands down this is my favorite shampoo. It has been here through thick and thin, transitioning to natural, and so forth. Unfortunately it couldn’t make it to the end of time because it has been discontinued *weeps*

Burberry Brit Perfume

Black Radiance Perfect Color Foundation | After sharing my Bomb Products from Black Radiance post on twitter I was informed that I hadn’t tried one of their best products, the perfect color foundation. So obviously I had to go purchase it a few days later with the intention that I would write a first impression/review for my blog. Well that never happened but what did happen was magical. I wore this foundation for about a week straight just to test it out then that week turned into each time I did wear makeup and now I’m almost finished with my first bottle.

This foundation is so bomb but sadly it doesn’t have a wide color range, which is a shame because so many women of color would love this if they could wear it!

Avon Ideal Flawless Translucent Powder

Rogue Love by Rihanna | I get complimented every single time I wear this perfume because it smells so absolutely amaaazzzing.

Amazon Fire Stick | Stop paying for Netflix, get hip and get yourself a fire stick. You can “unlock” it and watch as many things as your heart desires!

The Krazy Coupon Lady | App and website | KCL gives you everything you need when couponing! They tell you how much each item is worth, which coupons and rebates to use, when to use these coupons in-store/online AND what your total should be if you use their resources. They provide weekly store round ups and they also do posts highlighting the best deals in each store. These things make couponing so much easier for myself and others. Check out their website here or download the app!

Music | Because I love the original and remixed versions by Kaytranda of Be Your Girl by Teedra Moses and If by Janet Jackson I had to post them both!

 

 

Let me know some of your favorite things from 2016 by leaving a comment below or mention me on twitter at @XOSelenaNicole!

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A Thoughtful and Fashionable Christmas Gift Guide Under $30

It’s almost the most wonderful time of the year also known as Christmas. One of my favorite things about the holiday season is coming up with cute and creative gift ideas for my friends and family, and their friends and family. Last year I created a cute and affordable Christmas gift guide under $25 which seemed to be quite popular, so I decided to curate another gift guide for the 2016 holiday season. This years list also features items from all Black-owned companies so I raised the price point by five dollars cause why not, right?

For the naturalista:

Hair Wraps from the Wrap Life | Zadie $25, Pembe in Blue $26, and Lena in plum $26

hair-wraps

Wooden Earrings from Reflections by Zana | Naturally Dope $13 & Afro Silhouette $14 

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For the Accessory kween:

Brass Custom Name Choker from BeadsbyAree | $30

Bold Handmade Earrings from Vinti Couture | Koko $15, Swati $15, Black Girl Magic $11, & Blacklivesmatter $13

Moja Choker from Candid Art | $29

Clutches from Double Clutched | $29 | Purple and Gold Shimmer Fold Over & African Print Fold Over

For the beat face beauty:

Lip products from the Lip Bar | Signature Cocktail lipstick in the shade Cocoa Cooler $12 and Liquid Matte lipstick in the shade Bawse Lady $13

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Nail Polish from Ginger + Liz | $12 | Kicking and Screaming, Icing On The Cake, & You Talking To Me?

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Juvias Place Masquerade Mini Palette | $30

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For the smell good & skin care obsessed:

Body Polishes, Body Butters & all that good stuff from Foxie Cosmetics | $15-$30 | These products sell out quick so I’d recommend you subscribe to the emailing list to stay updated!

Candles from Southern Elegance

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I hope that this Christmas gift guide is helpful! Have a Merry Christmas!

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Friday’s Finds at Dollar Tree

I love Dollar Tree because I can usually find nice name brand things and those everyday essentials like cotton balls and q-tips. On today’s trip to Dollar Tree I found three cool things that I would like to share: I got two nail polishes and I even got a cute little lipstick/makeup brush holder in the shape of a flower.

The goods

OPI – Comet in the Sky

After checking out I googled this shade to find out that it was from the Gwen Stefani Holiday collection from 2014 which is cool depending on how you view it.

Kylie – Trend Matters by Sinful Colors in the shade Krushed Velvet

Based of what I saw alone, I’d say it’s lit! So you should head on over to your local Dollar Tree and see what goods you can find!

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Fall 2016 Wishlist

I tend to make a mental wishlist whenever I’m shopping in-store or online but I decided to share my current wishlist because we all love fall clothing, right? On my fall wishlist there’s a little bit of everything from trendy pieces like bomber jackets to preppy a-line skirts and cute dresses for my schools homecoming. Hopefully I can acquire the money so I can actually have these items in my closet. Come on, we’re about to speak this into existence!

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The hottest items out (from L-R) //

Forever 21+ Collared Striped Shirt Dress – Sold Out in most sizes 😦

Forever 21+ Caged Mini Dress – $22.90

Boohoo+ Julia Cross Neck Strap Top – $26

Stylus A-Line Skirt – $44

Boohoo+ Elin Boutique Embellished Maxi Dress – $80

a.n.a Fashion Jeggings – $30

Forever 21+ Bomber Jacket – $30

Boohoo+ Amie Floral Satin Shirt Dress – $40

Forever 21+ Moto Jacket – $39.90

Pearl Choker – I’ll find one somewhere

Mac x Selena – I NEED IT!

Hopefully you’ll find an item on my wishlist that you can’t live without and you’ll decide to order two of each. One for you and me. Can you say #twinning? I’m kidding, kind of.

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BeadsbyAree Review + Haul

BeadsbyAree is another brand that I discovered after reading Quirky, Brown Love’s 49 Black Owned Fashion Companies list. Immediately after browsing their website I stalked followed their Instagram page where I began to plot on a few items. Knowing that I was heading back to school and that my 21st birthday was soon approaching I had a “treat yo self” moment and ordered the brass word choker in Queen. It was also my lucky day because they were running a promotion for a free customized brass choker so you know I had to get my name.

What I got:

Custom name choker – $30

Queen choker – $28

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Soooo it’s safe to say that I am in love with these chokers because they look so cute with almost any outfit! I would definitely recommend that everyone check out BBA and make a purchase or two or three. Just be aware that you may not receive an email when your package is on the way as stated on your order confirmation email. I never received one but I was so happy to see my order that I didn’t initially notice. If you choose to make an order let me know what you got and if you liked it so i’ll have a reason to spend more money LOL.

Check out BeadsbyAree website here and their Instagram here

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