“I recently co-founded an interior styling business with my good friend, Patrice, called ‘Cup of Tea.’ It is still in the very early stages and we don’t have our website or portfolio up yet. Interior styling has always been my first love. It’s just part-time for now though in addition to my regular full-time job.
She and I are currently working on a project to design a new school for orphans in Zambia, Africa in partnership with the Meant 2 Live Foundation. We’re fundraising the entire design project in hopes to cover all of the costs of designing the school so that means we have to cover everything from paint to furniture and materials. It’s part of their goal as an organization to work towards transforming impoverished communities by providing education, medical access and food programs. The moment I read their mission statement, I knew I wanted to be a part of their movement in any way that I could. I want to create a safe haven which sparks creativity, inspiration and innovation. Every single penny that we raise will go directly to the Meant 2 Live Foundation for the design of the school. I love interior design but work like this is also part of my life’s mission.
Outside of work and mission work, when it comes to my beauty routine, I’m obsessed with skin care. I get regular facials and I swear by my Clarisonic. I use it once a week because over usage can irritate your skin. I love Vitamin C serums and anti-aging creams, specifically Retin A to fade dark spots and prevent wrinkles.
My makeup routine is very, very minimal and my makeup collection is definitely small enough to fit into a clutch. I am more of a skin care girl, so if I make sure my skin is on point, then I just add a dab of NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer under my eyes and put on Benefit They’re Real! Mascara, both of which I’m obsessed with, and of course I also add a pop of color to my lips, if I’m heading out. YSL Vernis ? L?vres Glossy Stains are my favorite.
I usually wash my hair every three days and if it is straight, which I have been rocking lately, I use Drybar Detox Dry Shampoo on my roots in between washes. I’m a WEN girl. The WEN Sweet Almond Mint Cleansing Conditioner is sulfate free and really tackles my frizz issues well. It is the one consistent product in my line up.
I try to avoid using heat on my hair as much as I can, and when I do blow dry and flat iron I always use a heat protecting spray first, but I have also started to wet set my hair. While it’s still wet, I part it and section it, slick my roots into several sections and secure with hair ties and then twist and pin the sections and then go to sleep on it. When it dries, it is straight at the roots and then wavy throughout.
I alternate between using olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil as a pre-shampoo treatment and as my deep conditioner so I soak my hair in the oil and leave in for about 20 minutes and then shampoo it out. I probably do this once a week. I’ve heard that avocado oil is the most effective as a pre-shampoo treatment and it really penetrates the hair follicle, but I am having trouble finding large bottles of it. The little bottles I have are too small to soak my entire hair with, so I just add a dab to my shampoo. I also take hair and skin vitamins and drink tons of water but I think that frequent maintenance is key. Show your hair some frequent love and attention and it will show you love back.
I think that the idea that curls and careers clash is so false and mostly something that we make a bigger deal about in our minds and is not such an issue in reality. Now for an interview, I do have to say that looking polished is essential but that does not mean you have to wear a wig or do anything drastic, it just means for the very first initial meet and greets with potential employers, they should see you, not your hair. Pin it back or keep it sleek and away from your face, and let your work ethic be the front runner. But after that, during an average work day, there is no reason not to embrace your natural hair and let it do its thing.
I love basic, basic, clothing back drops like little black dresses but my accessories are where I invest. My dress is the American Apparel Cotton Spandex Jersey Too-Short Tube Dress. I haven’t worn it much because it’s pretty tight and I actually prefer to be more covered up, but I do love a basic backdrop. I love all black or simple silhouettes with pops of color on my shoes and added texture with my accessories. Having thicker legs can be difficult to dress, so I like it to keep it as simple as possible. I wish I was more of a thrift shopper. I notice people get some really great and affordable pieces from thrift shops, but it takes a lot of patience and surprisingly, I hate to shop. I usually walk in a store I know has great things and pick up the first thing I love and get right out, not necessarily the most efficient method, but helps me only end up with pieces that I love. J. Crew makes great statement necklaces which have my attention right now. I bought my Chanel chain necklace at the Chanel boutique on Robertson in Los Angeles while I was there on vacation with a girlfriend. I wanted a ‘fun’ piece I could wear forever.
I think women can have everything they want in life as long as one very important factor is present and that’s God. Without that foundation and constant prayer and direction, most small tasks fail, let alone massive life choices. I truly believe that keeping God at the center of every relationship, friendship, career, business, and other things in your life, allows it to flourish and be blessed.
My faith completely manifested my career. I turned down many opportunities that contradicted my faith and personal relationship with God and it became a process of elimination. The more opportunities that I turned down because I knew they were not what God wanted for me, the more I was led to positions and opportunities that were right for me and much more fulfilling. I am so so grateful that God is now my priority, and my life reflects it. My life is by no means perfect, but I am stable and happy and most of all at peace.
I know it sounds cliche, but the fact that I’m God’s child makes me a beautiful woman. One of my favorite physical features about myself are my eyes. They are a little big and weird and they don’t fully close when I sleep which is a little creepy, I know, but they make me who I am. I talk with my eyes, they kind of react to things before I have a chance to. They are the shape of my ancestors and that’s pretty awesome to me. A non-physical feature that I love is my sense of humor. If I couldn’t laugh at myself I’d be in a lot of trouble.
When I was a little girl, I cared very little about beauty. I was being a tomboy in the creeks in my neighborhood. But when I was a teen…If I could go back in time, I would tell her to embrace your weird features, dress for yourself not the trends, lay off the foundation – my face never matched my neck, tragic – and become comfortable in your own skin. Easier said than done, and it’s taken me years to truly be comfortable with myself. Now, I’m kind of obsessed with inner self, and I let the outside follow its lead, not the other way around.
The woman I am today is the woman I imagined myself to be. I imagined graduating college and living in New York City and having a super cute apartment and making my own way, which I am so grateful to say, is what I am doing. In five years I see myself with five years worth of more blessings.
I am a woman who loves God. I am someone who chases peace. I am someone who, while being extremely grateful and appreciative for the life I have created for myself thus far, wants more. I aspire to live a life filled with passion and one that fulfills God’s purpose for me. I am someone who dreams of traveling the world and helping anyone, in any way I can, while leaving living spaces more beautiful than I found them. I am a hopeless romantic. I love being surrounded by beauty, both conventional and unconventional. I am someone who uses any pain and sadness I?ve experienced as strength and motivation. I am someone whose faith has proven that it is all I need.” – Kimberly
Photography by Shanita Sims.