Hey Guys,

I can’t believe Valentine’s Day is right around the corner! I feel like it really snuck up on me this year. Last year we decided to stay in and I went ahead and made us dinner. This year, however, we are going to try and brave the madness that is eating out on V-day! Given my current unprepared state, I have been in a rush trying to find a dress to wear to dinner with the Hubby.

I love flirty and feminine dresses as I think they suit both me and my body type the best. I’ve decided to share all the dresses I came across in my search with you today. Hopefully this helps, provided you are a last-minute shopper like myself. :)

Let me know in the comments below if you have decided to stay in or go out for Valentine’s Day.

Dress: Old (similar here/here) | Bag: Amazon | Earrings: Sparq Boutique 





Until next time guys, thanks for reading.
xoxo TianShanae
 

Hey Guys,

Today I wanted to share with you this sweatshirt that was gifted to me by my friend Kelly. She has designed a whole line of Galentine’s day apparel that would make the perfect gift for your best gal pal. You can check them out on her Etsy shop. If you decide to pick one up for yourself or a friend, let her know I sent you.

I have also put together a gift guide to provide some more gift ideas for all the women in your lives.

Sweatshirt | Earrings
1. Charlotte Tilbury Darling Easy Eye Palette | 2. Brooklyn Candle Studio Pink Disco Prosecco Candle | 3. Kate Spade New York ever fallen in love iPhone 11 Pro case | 4. Le Creuset Heart Cocotte | 5. Missguided Pink Oversized Love Graphic Sweatshirt | 6. Gucci Quilted Leather Wristlet | 7. MOBOT Grace 27-Ounce Foam Roller Water Bottle | 8. Jo Malone London Red Roses Cologne | 9. Roller Rabbit Hearts Pajamas | 10. Kate Spade Heritage Spade Heart Statement Studs

Until next time guys, thanks for reading.
xoxo TianShanae



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Hey Guys,

In November, I went on a quick weekend cruise to the Bahamas on Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas. My party and I opted to sign up for the Key Program as it boasted several perks. For little more than the cost of high-speed internet (which we would have paid for anyways), the Key gives guests the following:

• Carry-on luggage storage and delivery to their cabins on boarding day
• Boarding day lunch at Chop’s Grille
• VOOM Surf and Stream high-speed internet on one device
• Private hours on the FlowRider, zipline and rock-climbing wall
• Priority disembarkation on select ships, at ports, and on tender service
• VIP seating at shows
• Choice debarkation and an à la carte breakfast in the main dining room on the final day

I was very excited to 1) see how the Key Program would improve my cruising experience and 2) determine whether or not this was something I would be interested in paying for again in the future.


First, let’s start with embarkation perk. Once signed up for the Key Program, we were given an embarkation time of 1pm (keep this in mind for later). We were also encouraged by Royal Caribbean to use their app to check-in, prior to embarkation day. At the Port, the process to board the ship was smooth and easy; it took us no more than 15 minutes, from dropping off our bags, to get onto the ship.

When we got on board our rooms were ready, so there was no need to take advantage of the carry-on luggage storage and delivery perk. We headed straight to our rooms, dropped off our luggage and then immediately went to go grab some lunch. Boarding day lunch, which was supposed to be at Chop’s Grille, was actually served in the Main Dining hall. This is where it started to go downhill. When we got there at 1:15pm (remember the embarkation time mentioned earlier?), we were told that the included lunch ends at 1:30 and the kitchen closes off at 1pm. Based on this there was absolutely no way for them to serve us lunch! I can’t explain how livid I was! I asked the manager and the server if there was anything they could do to resolve the situation and we were told that they could provide the lunch for us the following day. That, unfortunately, was not going to work for us as we had excursions that required us to leave the ship first thing in the morning. So I proceeded to take my complaints to guest services in hopes of getting dinner at Chop’s Grill. After waiting in line for what felt like hours, I came to the realization that I was a little too ambitious. Chop’s Grill was not happening; it was fully booked and there was no way we could eat there. The guest services agent told us he could get us dinner at Jamie’s Italian Restaurant instead and, while I was disappointed that we weren’t going to be eating the steak I had dreamt about, we decided to take him up on his offer given we had no real choice in the matter. Jamie’s Italian it was! We opted for an early dinner because the whole situation took so long to get sorted out that we missed our opportunity to eat lunch.

Dinner at Jamie’s Italian blew my mind! The food was so good that I felt bad for being disappointed initially.


To start, we had the Cured Meat Plank for the table which included Fennel salami, pistachio mortadella, prosciutto & schiacciata piccante, served on a plank loaded with mozzarella, pecorino & chilli jam, a beautiful selection of pickles, olives & rainbow slaw.


I then ordered the Black Truffle Arancini - Crispy black truffle and mozzarella risotto balls with truffled béchamel for dipping

(no picture, sorry; I ate too quickly)

……and for my main course I had the Chianti-Braised Short Rib, which was tender and melt-in-your-mouth delicious.


Tiramisu (the classic Italian dessert with chocolate shavings & orange zest) for dessert.


Before trying Jamie’s, I would have never considered paying for specialty dining. Now, however, I just might because nothing I had to eat for the rest of the cruise tasted as good as dinner on the first night.

The following day we got to experience priority departure as we were placed at the front of the line for our excursion in Nassau. This is where I started to notice the flaws with this program. There is no one assigned to the people using the Key Program nor were there any signs telling you where to go. You literally have to walk up to the tour directors and let them know that you are part of the Key Program, which can tend to be a bit of a bother.


We also had the opportunity to watch the ice-skating show on board and, sure enough, we had reserved seating. The seating was located in the suite section of the theatre. I loved this perk! We arrived 5mins before our show, without having to worry if there would be seating available.


The only perk we didn’t get to take advantage of was the private hours on the FlowRider, zipline and rock-climbing wall. This was because the private hours were 1) at weird times and 2) not available to us due to the fact that we were not on the ship for most of the day. Maybe we could have utilized the hours if we had a ship day on this particular cruise.

Our à la carte breakfast in the main dining room, on the final day, was a very nice way to end the trip. I had the Royal VIP Steak and Eggs – Petit Filet, Fried Egg, Confit Idaho Potatoes, Roasted Cherry Vine Tomatoes and Sautéed Wild Mushrooms.

(no picture, sorry; I ate too quickly…..again)

What more could I have asked for? I felt like a real VIP on this program.

Dress

Throughout our cruise we got other little goodies; examples included a fruit plate and chocolate on our return to our room after a long day of excursions.


Overall, I think the program is great and well worth the money if you are able to utilize most (if not all) of the included perks. If you can, you should definitely consider splurging on this Royal Caribbean benefit. It’s one of the better and more economical ones.


Until next time guys, thanks for reading.

















Hey Guys,

In January 2018, I created my first vision board and by July of that year I had achieved the biggest goal on that board. That vision was owning a brand-new home. To this day I am not completely sure how that happened, but it did. I have created a vision board every year since then. This year, I have decided to share my vision board with you in case you are in need of some inspiration. Most importantly though, I wanted to walk you through the process that I use to create my vision board year after year.



SELECT FORMAT

The first thing to consider, when putting together an annual vision board, is whether or not you are going to create a physical or electronic format. For the physical format, as an example, you can use magazine cutouts and/or printed images displayed on a backing in a picture frame or on a corkboard bulletin board. Electronic formats include a collage generated with tools such as Canva, Picmonkey, or Photoshop. I’ve always gone the electronic route, as I like to see my vision board right before I unlock my phone. This ensures that I see my board every single day and without failure. I highly recommend this approach but if you do decide to go the physical route, you should definitely place the board where you will see it every day.


CATEGORIZE GOALS

My vision board tends to be a snapshot of the goals I have set in place for myself. Before I put together any images, I sit with my notebook and plan out what I want my year to look like. To make this task a bit easier, I usually start with the creation categories (e.g., Finance, Travel, Home, etc.) and write those down. I typically have three to four bulleted items under each category.


ANALYZE COSTS

The other part that I think is very important is the cost of each item on your list. A lot of times, I feel like the common perception is: Yes Tian! Create a vision board and the things you want will magically fall out of the sky! While this, in some way, happened to me, I don’t think it is enough to solely rely on this method. Yes, the science behind vision boards state that the more you see something, the more your subconscious will work for you to achieve it; but, I do think it will be a lot easier if you have the groundwork of a plan laid out.

This is why it is important to know what the things you want to achieve may cost in the short or long term. Once I am aware of all associated costs, I can start putting things in order based on the things I can most likely achieve on my own without receiving a miracle. For example, most people may think it’s difficult or even out-of-reach to pay for a dream vacation, but the truth is this: If you find out the cost of the absolute best version of that vacation, then you have some semblance of a starting point. From there, you can see how much you will need to save monthly, weekly or daily to make it a possibility. On the alternative, you may end up saying, ‘no, this won’t work’ and extract what you like about the original plan and decide on what you are willing to compromise on. Examples could include flying out a different city, picking a cheaper hotel, selecting fewer or different excursions, etc. Once you have completed your analysis, you can either move forward with the item on your 2020 board or re-categorize the item on a longer termed vision board. The idea here is to never lose sight of any goals, no matter the timeframe you associate with them. This principle, in my opinion, works for achieving most goals that have a monetary value attached to them.


BE TRUE TO YOURSELF

The last, but most important tip, is don’t lie to yourself no matter what. This is the one that was the hardest to learn for me. Let’s start with my personal favorite: “I am going to the gym every other day this year.” I used to do this to myself every year and then end up disappointed and depressed when I quit three weeks later. The point is, I really dislike the gym and, maybe (just maybe), I would have served myself better if I had spent my time looking for other forms of physical activity instead. Point being: Acknowledge your roadblocks and find a suitable work-around that works for you.


ASSEMBLE

Finally, with all of that out of the way, we can get back to the vision board. Take the top item from each category and pick the best images that represents those things and place them on your vision board. For image selection, I tend to use google to source my images and try to find ones that are as close to the representation of the goal as possible. For example, if I wanted to put a vacation to Fiji on my board, I would try to find an image of the exact hotel I’d like to stay at; not necessarily an image of the island of Fiji.

Once you have all of the images saved, go to your vision board tool of choice and start to lay them out in whichever way feels best to you. I go with aesthetics and don’t prioritize any goals. This is where you put your own spin on things and make it your own. Make sure to setup your board for easy manipulation at a later date. Trust me! You will want to make minor tweaks here and there as the year progresses.

Voila! You are done. Now, every time you look at that vision board your mind will continue to build upon the base plans you already have. Furthermore, you will have established a baseline for new goals for years to come!

Until next time guys, thanks for reading.

1. Pearl Bag | 2. Dior Lip Sugar Scrub | 3. Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra Wear Foundation - 520 Sue W | 4. Kate Spade New York Spade Stud Earrings | 5. Google Home Mini - Chalk | 6. MARC JACOBS Daisy Love Perfume | 7. FENTY BEAUTY by Rihanna - Mattemoiselle Plush Matte Lipstick - Flamingo Acid | 8. Get Rich, Lucky Bitch!: Release Your Money Blocks and Live a First-Class Life by Denise Duffield-Thomas | 9. Summer Fridays - Jet Lag Mask | 10. Hermes Clic H White Metal Bracelets
Hey Guys,

Today I am sharing my favorite products of 2019. All of these products were on repeat all of last year. Without further adieu, let’s get started.

I have carried this bag to death! Especially during the spring and summer months. It just seems to complement most of my outfits well.


Of all the lip scrubs I have tried, this is truly my fave. I love it so much, I actually wear it as my regular ‘go-to’ lip-gloss.


This foundation is not new to the market by any means but I decided to give it a try in 2019 and I love it! It’s has been my main go to foundation all of last year.


I picked these up in February of last year and they have been my everyday earrings since


What would getting ready for the day without google be like? When I am getting ready I am constantly asking google the time, temperature and everything in between.


A beautiful sweet floral scent. It just smells so good!


Hands down favorite lip color of the year! For all my dark skin ladies, try it and thank me later. You won’t be disappointed.
ps. Did I mention you don’t need a lipliner?…….


I love this book, it’s an excellent motivational tool based on the "Law of Attraction” that focuses on money. I would recommend to anyone who is looking to make a financial change in their life.


This ultra-hydrating facial mask helps to moisturize dry, dull skin. This is one of my favorite masks to apply at night.


I bought this bracelet in 2017 but I rediscovered my love for it last year. I was never seen without it. 

Until next time guys, thanks for reading.


Hey Guys,

We are not only starting a new year, but a new decade; it’s almost unbelievable. I wanted to start off this blogging year by looking back at 2019, as it was definitely a hard one for me. 2019 took me on the roller coaster ride of a lifetime. I am not sure how I survived but I did, and I get to keep on fighting for my dreams. This is something I take so seriously as a lot of us don’t get that option.

So, follow me on this journey as I recap the year.

January was a wonderful month. My sister got married and I gained a bother-in-law in the process. They had been together for a decade prior, so I felt blessed to take part in and witness their beautiful nuptials. We started the year with love and I don’t think it could have been better.
In February Kelly and I hosted our Galantine’s event which turned out pretty great, if I may so
myself.



In March things took a turn for the worst. I had two deaths in my family, one of them being my cousin. She was only 28 years old and like a sister to me. I just saw her at my sister’s wedding; how on earth could this have happened?!........If I said I understood any aspect of death I would be lying. This left me shattered and, to this day, I am still trying to put myself back together. I pray for her Mother, Father and Sister because if I feel like this, I don’t think I can comprehend their pain.

I love you Sharane, RIP

It’s funny how life works. In April not only did I do a little traveling (read about it here and here), but my husband’s brother got married and I gained another sister :)



I started out the month of May with a little fun. I headed down to Miami to celebrate a friend of mine’s birthday. We had a great time and ate lots of food (check out my adventures here).


However, before I could even get home, the universe decided I was having a little too much fun. I left Miami and headed straight to the hospital where I was admitted for about a week. I have mentioned on here before that I have Sickle Cell Disease, which is hard enough to deal with day-to-day but being hospitalized for it is exceptionally terrifying. I have to deal with a lot of doctors and health care professionals that don’t know much about the disease (maybe because it is dubbed a “black person’s disease”) and, while being in bone-crushing pain, I have to try to educate provided they are not too smug to hear what I am saying.

This time was particularly interesting. I had security dispatched to my room; Why? I am not sure, but I am going to assume it was because I was screaming out in pain and, instead of helping, I guess they wanted me removed from the area. My husband and mother were both livid as no one was attending to me even though we told the nurses exactly what to do to get the pain under control and make me more comfortable. I guess it was just easier to ignore me. What’s funny is, both of the security personnel that arrived were African-American. They decided they were just going to stand at the door and watch instead of removing us because they were familiar with how Sickle Cell Patients are treated (I think that speaks volumes). Let‘s just say I was traumatized by my emergency room visit.

Towards the end of May I got a much-needed weekend getaway. We visited family in Palm Beach, which helped me to take me mind off any health-related stress.


June was a slow month; I got some rest, which my body was extremely happy about. The only thing I got up to was decorating my friend’s son’s first birthday party. How do you think I did?



July and August, were also laid-back months. I mostly stayed home and worked on opening my online store called Sparq Boutique. The name came from my cousin’s Graphic Design website that was in development when she passed away. I plan to make her proud!


September was a dream month! Jason was awarded a Silver Achievement Medal for outstanding work by NASA, and then we went on our dream vacation to St.Lucia! (travel guide coming to the blog soon)




October to December just seemed to flow into each other.

I celebrated another year on this earth. Yaay me!


We went on a Royal Caribbean Cruise! (I will be reviewing their Key program in an upcoming post)



Jason and I Celebrated our Nine Year anniversary! I swear time flies. I can’t believe it will be ten years this year.



Took a quick trip to Miami for the Thanksgiving weekend.
The Christmas season came and went in the blink of an eye, but it is truly the most wonderful time of the year. All the stresses of the year seem to melt away with the lights and glitter.

Most Liked Instagram Photos of 2019


Looking back at 2019, I felt like it was all about dodging landmines while trying to plant a rose garden. There were several other low points of the year that I don’t wish to address in any details. All in all, I can only take all the experiences and learn from the good or bad. My hope for 2020 is that I can overcome the fears that I feel have kept me paralyzed in my life. I am wishing all my readers a blessed 2020!

Until next time guys, thanks for reading
xoxo TianShanae

Hey Guys,

I can’t believe 2019 is almost over! I love the buzz of New Years Eve with all the embellished dresses, fancy cocktails and the thought of all the possible new opportunities the new year will bring. I mean, what’s not to love? With that said, here are some of the best embellished dresses I have come across.



Dress: Asos (similar here\here) | Bag: (similar here\here) | Shoes: Stuart Weitzman (similar here\here)
How will you be ringing in the New Year? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time, thanks for reading.
xoxo TianShanae
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