A Love Letter To My Younger Self

Dear Young Queen,

You are magic.

You do not have to bend to anyone’s expectations of you, period.

You can thrive living fully in your passions and will someday be able to monetize them all.

You are worthy of a great love. A love that surpasses what you can even imagine right now… and that love is coming, I promise.

Your voice matters… now and always.

The girls in your circle that you call your friends, will always be your friends. Trust me, they’re as real as they come. You’re lucky.

The few stragglers and f**k boys that share a moment or two of time and space with you will weed themselves out, eventually.

Always trust your gut and your intuition.

School is important… but don’t trip about perfect grades. Several of the worlds wealthiest won’t even have a college degree in the future.

Dream baby… don’t let anyone make you feel like being a dreamer is a bad idea.

Remain free-spirited.

Don’t choose things just because they feel like a “safe route.”

Life will throw you some lemons… I’m going to let you know that right now.

But you’ll make lemonade… every single time.

You are stronger than you realize.

Your potential is limitless.

I love you.

carissa

Beauty: My Current Self-Care Regimen

Hi beauties! Here is a super quick guide to my beauty and self-care regimen!

Hair: I’ve been consistent with rubbing Jamaican Black Castor Oil my edges because postpartum shedding is real. I massage my scalp weekly. Low manipulation protective styles are a life saver!

Skin: I’ve discovered the importance of using a serum at night. Sdara Skincare Vitamin C Serum in conjunction with their derma roller (used once a week) and my Clarosonic with the brush head formulated for acne prone skin (used daily) is EVERYTHING to my skin. Also, my jade roller depuffs, feels amazing and gives my bone structure a more refined look when used consistently. I wrote a separate blog all about facial rolling that you can read here.

I also use natural beauty products from Origins such as their Checks and Balances cleanser, Ginzing under eye cream, their Charcoal Mask and their Original Skin Resurfacing mask. These are STAPLES.

Body: Lots of dancing and walks in the neighborhood on pretty days. Plus, my daughter is a heavy weight and I burn lots of calories toting her around, seriously. Not to mention going up and down my stairs with her multiple times a day. As far as what I am eating, it’s pretty much a low carb diet. I try to focus on protein and veggies with occasional fruit and grain. Very seldom to I indulge on “white” carbs. I also do not drink sodas with the exception of the occasional diet ginger ale or diet coke. Blueberry Green Tea by Yogi is a great morning cup to help keep your metabolism boosted and is a good coffee alternative.

Inner Glow: Drinking water and staying hydrated, prayerful, grateful and minding my business is truly a winning combo! I also make a point to enjoy me time regularly and I never apologize for it. This may include attending my Monday night Zumba, taking a bubble bath or sitting outside on my patio with a glass of wine. As a new mom, me time is critical. I hope tghis helps! The products listed here are sold in my Amazon store! Get easy access, everything conveniently in one place, secured checkout, and lightning fast shipping when you shop in my store!!! Thank you for reading and I’ll see you soon.

Hair: Updated Wash and Go

Hi beauties. I rarely do wash and gos on my 4b/c natural hair but recently had the opportunity to try the CurlMix Wash + Go System, steps 1-4 which made it SO easy to achieve a pretty wash and go! They have different systems to select from and I chose the lavender scented one for the smell and because the ingredients seemed super moisturizing and compatible with my hair type. I loved this system and I am definitely going to be doing this style more often! After vacation and protective styling, my hair was in need of some TLC. I started on stretched and detangled hair.

Step number 1 – the Pure Aloe Vera Shampoo. I loved how this shampoo smelled and it did a great job clarifying my scalp.

Step number 2 – the Pure Grapeseed Conditioner. This conditioner provided me good slip as I combed my wet hair in the shower.

Step number 3 – the Pure Avocado Moisturizer. This stuff was magic in a bottle. My hair literally felt like it’s thirst was being quenched. lol

Step number 4 – the Pure Flaxseed Gel. The flaxseed gel worked wonderfully, further locking in moisture and giving my natural curl pattern some luscious definition!

Watch the entire process made simple HERE!

Thanks for reading/ watching!

Try the Curlmix Pure Wash + Go System today and use code NATURALLYGG for 20% off at checkout! Get yours, sis! http://www.curlmix.com

Travel: Playa Del Carmen #GirlsTrip

What do you get when you take 10 accomplished women who have all known each other for well over a decade, have been through the ups and downs of life together, who all want the others to live their best life, and place them in a tropical paradise?

UNFORGETTABLE MOMENTS AND THE GIRLS TRIP OF A LIFETIME! (with more girls trips to come)

This past week I experienced the enormous blessing of being able to travel internationally with my core group of friends… JUST BECAUSE.

This trip stands out to me from all my other travels in many ways. First, I don’t remember the last time I had that much fun for consecutive days in a row.

Second, we were all able to come together to celebrate success! I’d missed a recent girls trip to Vegas because I was pregnant and on bedrest. This trip made up for that x100. All but one of us (who is currently pregnant) were able to make the trip that was planned to simply be a much needed getaway for all of us!

Third, we experienced some very deep and meaningful conversations and walked away all knowing and appreciating each other EVEN more.

We stayed at the Ocean Maya Royale and enjoyed good food and entertainment while there! This resort was great for our girls trip because it is an all-inclusive resort which included multiple dining options (Italian, Asian, Mexican, etc), a breakfast, lunch and dinner buffet, on-demand open bar service from anywhere on the resort, an excellent calendar of events (live shows, pool parties, etc) and has beach access.

The place was quite charming with it’s perfect hues every morning and evening as the sun kissed the palm trees and with it’s random yet friendly wildlife that roamed freely! We utilized a travel agent for our flight and resort bookings and to stay organized with payments and planning.

We independently booked a private yacht which sailed briefly due to choppy water from Riviera Maya!

We partied hard on that boat once we got in calm waters! We also took a swim from the boat to a shallow area near where we anchored our boat. We had a full wait staff who served up food and drinks until our hearts were content and there was absolutely a ton of twerking to our #HotGirlSummer playlist!

Following our yacht party and after a day of rest, the resort concierge made sure we were taken care of when it came to the type of excursion we wanted to experience. We chose a half-day adventuresome option which involved us diving, zip-lining, snorkeling and swimming! Aventuras Mayas was the perfect tour company. Our tour guide Alan was personable and knowledgeable. He guided us through 3 different cenotes: a ‘lagoon’, a ‘tavern’ and an ‘open’ cenote. I enjoyed various elements of all 3! We were also fed an authentic Mexican lunch, buffet style while on the tour! Sooo much fun (and delicious)!!!

As a child, I had a bad snorkeling experience in Hawaii in which I almost drowned. I told myself it just wasn’t an activity that I was interested in after that. It was on my “blocked list” as my friend Jennifer would say. lol However, I am so glad I was open to this experience while on this trip. It was so relaxing floating in that water (my friends and I gliding through the water like a school of fish) and I can now say I love snorkeling! Wow!

Zip-lining and diving into the water was simply EPIC. Fun is an understatement!

The tavern cenote was nearly a spiritual encounter, just experiencing the earth in a way that I never had before. It felt like a sacred place. In fact, the local people of that area would historically use the tavern cenote as their actual place of worship and for healing of the mind, body and soul.

Most of my outfits (my favorites) including swimwear were purchased on Shein, but I also found Amazon and Fashion Nova helpful. I have linked some of my ‘lewks’ to my store for you.

I got all my life dancing, laughing and making new memories with my girlfriends and can’t wait until the next #GirlsTrip!

Click here for footage in my GIRLS TRIP highlight story on IG!

Besos – xxRiss

Beauty: The 411 On Derma-Rollers

This season, I’ve really stepped up my skin-care regimen. I’ve been trying to be more consistent with treatments and applying healthy products formulated to meet my skins specific needs.

I’ve been learning more and more about the benefits of derma-rollers and the different kinds. I have two, a jade roller and a micro-needle roller. Here is what I learned about each of them.

Jade Roller Benefits

  • Use after washing face in the morning to really wake your face up and get your day started, at night before bed to relax, or both!
  • Reduces inflammation and puffiness of the skin, including reducing the appearance of under eye circles (especially if your roller is cold).
  • Stimulates the lymphatic system and blood circulation.
  • Easy and relaxing way to pamper yourself on a daily basis. For those into crystals, the jade stone is also known for purity, gentleness and love. People use jade stone to invite harmonious, balanced and protective energy.
  • This roller feels amazing. Get you a jade roller, sis! Click here to get yours in two business days!

Micro-needling Benefits

  • This tool can be used once or twice weekly as a very effective skin rejuvenation treatment and should be cleaned in an alcohol solution before and after each use.
  • Effectively reduces acne.
  • Brightens complexion, reduces scars from acne, sun spots and aging.
  • Tightens pores, helps reduce the appearance of fine lines, and allows for skincare products to penetrate more deeply.
  • Reduces the signs of aging by increasing collagen production. Fine lines are noticeably reduced with consistent use.
  • Balances moisture levels naturally. It is especially ideal for oily skin.

I’ve added a Vitamin C serum to my night time regimen and I love how effective it’s been with the help of my derma-roller. My skin is noticeably more even and brighter, especially after it’s postpartum freak out. I had terrible acne and severe dryness before the regimen I am on now. I am gratefully privy to this information about derma-rollers and happy to share it with you!

I have partnered with Sdara Skincare to #giveaway one Derma-roller + Vitamin C Serum, my absolute skincare addictions since I got my hands on them. Winner will be announced next week. Enter Here To Win! or click the image below.

Thanks for reading! xo -Riss

carissa

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Events: 10 Cool Things To Do in Houston This Summer

1. The Fomo Factory. This immersive art pop up, designed to feel like a journey through childhood has come to Houston this summer in the Galleria and features 17 IG worthy rooms to play in! (*Unfortunately, the Fomo Factory has closed since this blog was published due to unforeseen circumstances. Sorry if you missed out.)

2. Museums After Dark. This is a super fun date night idea! Houston’s Museum of Natural Science and the Buffalo Soldiers Museum both offer happy hours in the evenings on certain days.

3. Brunch at The Dunlavy. It’s a well known fact that Houstonians love brunch! The Dunlavy offers public dining daily from 7am – 2pm and is available to reserve for private events in the evenings. This place will give you all the “Easy like Sunday Morning” feels with specialty menu items including delicious mimosas. The ambiance is simply gorgeous (just my style) with a view overlooking Lost Lake and the Buffalo Bayou. This place is for foodies like me.

4. Host a Pedal Party. If you’re up for some adventure try hosting a pedal party on a nice evening this summer or fall. I’ve hosted one with my professional networking group and it was so much fun! It’s a self powered bar that can sit up to 16 people as your collectively bike through midtown and downtown Houston.

5. Rooftop Movie Cinema Club. Super themed and super fun. I love, love, love a good movie night! How fun that I can watch great movies on a Houston rooftop? I love the $5 bottomless popcorn, well crafted drinks, gourmet hotdogs and colorful installations!

6. Staycation at the Marriott Marquis. When I was working downtown I watched this hotel be built brick by brick from my building. Amazing! The Texas shaped pool and excellent service make this conveniently located Houston gem a no-brainer for a nice staycation.

8. Miller Outdoor Theater. Of course their is always a good show at Herman Park that the people of Houston can enjoy! Being “on the hill” at Miller always make me feel so care-free and happy! Check out their list of upcoming shows, great for the entire family!

7. Present Company. Truthfully, this is just another bar. BUT it is one that is beyond photogenic, with the best bar food in town, great drinks, excellent service and good vibes! Not to mention there is an open rooftop that allows a peek into the city skyline. Views are always a plus in my book!

9. Candytopia. We are just a super cool city to have such a dope art scene! Another fun immersive art pop up has come to Houston featuring non other than Queen B herself. All of the art installations are made from candy! Come taste and see!

10. Magical Unicorn Dessert Bar. Need I say more?? Yummy desserts to that take a summer treat or cheat meal to the next level! So fun and the menu is lit. Be sure you come with a sweet tooth!

Have you already been to any of the places listed above or would like to go? Do you have any places you’d add to this list? Leave a comment below about a place or experience you’ve discovered and would like to share!

Till next time! -xo Riss

carissa

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Events: Powered by Nature, Proven By Science | Origins Event Recap

This past Friday, my sister and I had the great pleasure of hosting an intimate pampering session for a little over 10 of our close friends at the Origins store in the Galleria.

We have both been big fans of the brand for years because of the integrity of their products! I love that they use naturally sourced ingredients that are proven effective. They stand true to their tagline, “Powered by nature, proven by science.

Origins pulled out all the stops for us during our family and friends event.

We were treated to complimentary facials, massages, make-overs and light bites.

We got to share some of our favorite products with our girls who enjoyed 20% off all purchases AND a free gift with purchase! Several of the girls were trying new products for the first time and fell in love.

We had such a great time with our girls and the Origins crew!

We will be opening up our guest list and doing another pampering event soon! We’ll also be doing an EPIC Origins giveaway!

Here are some of their most popular products. You can come and try them all for free at our next event so get your list ready! Favorite Beauty Products

Subscribe to this blog and turn on post notifications on Instagram to make sure you don’t miss a beat. See you soon!

xo -Riss

carissa

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Beauty: 3 DIY Beauty Recipes To Try This Summer

So I have been doing some leg work and have found 3 DIY beauty recipes that are to die for. They all contain simple, natural ingredients, are so easy and so much fun to make at home!

I love trying DIY recipes at home because it makes me feel like a bit of a alchemist and I can be assured that my products are safe and natural! Plus I can multi-purpose ALL of these ingredients and its sooo inexpensive!

You should take some time and pamper yourself with one of these this summer and let me know how it worked out for you! They also make great gifts! All ingredients can be found at your local grocery store or my favorite, HEB!

Minty Fresh (and poppin’) Lip Gloss

Ingredients:

  • petroleum jelly
  • lipstick for color (optional)
  • mint extract or flavor
  • almond oil
  • lip gloss container (available at craft stores)

Instructions:

1.   Place about 1 Tablespoon petroleum jelly in a microwave safe bowl. Add a tiny dab of your favorite lipstick for color if desired. Microwave 30 seconds then stir carefully until everything is melted. 2. Drop in 2 ‑ 3 drops of almond oil and 3 ‑ 5 drops of mint. Don’t add too much! Carefully pour into a lip gloss container.

Charissmatic Citrus & Coconut Scrub

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup H‑E‑B Organics Coconut Oil
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest

Instructions:

1.    Combine all ingredients and place in an airtight glass container. Allow 30 minutes for ingredients to bind well. To use: Using a spoonful or desired amount, massage in a circular motion for 30 seconds. Rinse and pat dry. Use on face, body or hands.

Oh So Satisfying Foot Soak

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. fine sea salt
  • 1 c. Epsom salt
  • 2 Tbsp. loose peppermint tea
  • 3 Tbsp. orange extract
  • 4 Tbsp. peppermint extract
  • 1 Tbsp. baking soda
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • Jar with lid

Instructions:

1.    Place ingredients into a food processor and blend about a minute until ingredients are powdered then pour into the jar and seal. To use: Pour a tablespoon of the soak into a bowl of water and ease those tootsies into relaxation!

Source: HEB

xo -Riss

carissa

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Events: #CCStyleSummit + My Top 5 Takeaways

This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend Create and Cultivate‘s Style Summit in partnership with Simon Malls at the Houston Galleria.

As a new mama, being able to attend industry events that are tailor made for entrepreneurial women feels like a super productive mini getaway and I always feel so empowered having connected with other like-minded women. At the event, I saw some familiar faces and made acquaintances with a ton of new ones! I also invited my sister to come with!

I engaged with several beautiful brand activations, (Origins and Rolex were my favorite) and even began the process of securing future collaborations with a major brand that I’m so excited about!

They rolled out all the stops for this one with a fabulous open bar and a panel of influencers that had a wealth of knowledge, wisdom and REALNESS to share! Here are my 5 biggest takeaways from the awesome panel discussion (in which I’m paraphrasing):

  1. Know your worth as a creative. Send your rates sheet, sis. Too often creatives only get paid marginally for their work or in exchange for gifts. It’s time we raise the bar as a collective. Of course there are many factors that go into compensation and everything is negotiable but closed mouths don’t get fed. Believe in the value of your work.
  2. Be smart about what brands you align YOUR brand with. Many of us are our own personal brand. We must be protective to a certain extent of the brands that we are building/ growing. Everything isn’t for everybody. Be sure your partnerships make sense for your brand.
  3. Quality over quantity! Having true influence or impact is not about your number of followers or post likes. What is that engagement looking like? Are your followers genuinely following you because they like your content? If you called them to action, would they move? Companies are wising up to these inflated numbers that are really just colored bubbles for many. Building a real community for your brand with consistency and quality content is the key to long term success.
  4. Remember why you started. Entrepreneurship looks cute on social media which is why many jump in without careful consideration. The truth is, the days can be very long as the grind is continuous. People tend to underestimate the level of commitment and consistency being successful in this business requires. You can look all cute on the gram but at home you’re looking crazy… plugging away like a mad woman. lol! This will also help you maintain brand integrity. At the end of the day, you have to remember why you chose this! You have to remind yourself of that feeling you got when you knew you had to take that leap of faith and pursue your dream!
  5. Relationships are key. Like REAL face to face interaction with humans. lol I’ve always been a very social person but since becoming a mom, my schedule is so busy. It does take an extra effort and planning to come out to industry events. Connecting on the gram is fine in the interim but there is nothing like that face-to-face energy when connecting with someone. The connection is a lot more real and the impression is longer lasting.

I feel tremendously blessed to be able to design the life I love and I hope to continue to make an impact by inspiring women of all ages to live their best life, unapologetically. I thank God for the vision, the freedom, the grind… the journey.

I had so much fun attending this event and definitely plan on attending more Create and Cultivate events in the future! Did you attend? Do you plan on attended a Create & Cultivate event in the future? Leave me a comment below!

xo -Riss

carissa

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Travel: Tahiti – Our 5 Year “Honeymoon”

The first week of May is always one of my most highly anticipated times of the year. This time last year, I was just returning from Cabo San Lucas with my husband Kenneth and unbeknownst to us at the time, was soon to be expecting our rainbow baby!

This year, our annual “honeymoon” was in full effect as we ventured to one of my bucket list destinations, the French Polynesian island of Tahiti.

Preparation for our trip was very organized and well planned. I started packing a week in advance. I’d made packing lists for myself, my child, and even my dog. lol We were to drop “the kids” off at my parents house on the opposite side of town the day before take off and everything seemed to be going smooth. My outfits were POPPIN! I’d packed some sponsored product to enjoy and share with you while I was on my trip. I was so proud of my packing job. I’d managed to remain stress free and even get enough sleep before our red-eye flight traveling from Houston to Denver, Denver to San Francisco then finally, San Fran to Tahiti.

Our original flight to San Fran was canceled leaving our only option to San Fran a flight that had later been delayed 5 hours! Both flights effected by mechanical issues with Southwest Airlines planes (call out)! We frantically had to book a flight from Denver to San Fran on United to be sure we made it for our international flight. Only one flight was going to Tahiti that day! We had to be on it. Our bags did not make it on that flight. They’d be flown to San Fran on that super delayed Southwest flight and the rightful hand off to United was never able to happen. We tried to have Southwest ship our bags via UPS or FedEx but they messed that up as well. I could go into so much more detail, but long story short… we spent nearly a week in the French Polynesia with no bags.

Fending for ourselves without our belongs almost 5,000 miles from home was an adventure in and of itself. We’d gotten by with the clothes we’d worn to the airport and a couple of sarongs that I was fortunate enough to get my hands on that next day. Shoutout to Mari (from California)… my new friend and United Airline stewardess who learned of our situation and give me her brand new black sarong that I later used as a skirt, a waist belt AND a head wrap! Yass!! You can really multi-purpose those things to no end.

Our second day in Tahiti was actually a national holiday… so all the local stores were closed. We utilized the hotels essentials and extremely overpriced hotel gift shop in the mean time before finally on our second full day there, going to the local store to get everything else we needed. You better believe Southwest reimbursed us for EVERYTHING.

We definitely enjoyed ourselves regardless!!! Though I was so excited about my ‘LEWKS’, I was more excited to be in such a beautiful place with the love of my life, doing what I love the MOST! That is adventuring, seeing new places, experiencing new things and new cultures. In a way, not having our bags made the trip more memorable and was a valuable lesson in how little we truly need.

The hotel was nothing short of exquisite. We stayed at the Intercontinental Tahiti with our first couple of nights in a standard room and their deluxe bungalow for our actual anniversary and for the remainder of our vacation. The experience of living in a bungalow in the ocean was a dream come true. Sleeping there felt like I was in another time or dimension. So very magical!

Early on, the trip was off to an adventurous start. Navigating our way with nothing and ‘living off the land’ lol! The the adventure just kept coming… and in the most incredible ways.

I rode a jet ski for the first time. It was nuts! Felt like a roller-coaster in the Pacific Ocean and I was smitten with the dolphins that greeted us so warmly.

We swam with “friendly” sting rays and nearby sharks during our Lagoon Tour at Mo’orea.

We also bonded with locals and attended a local barbecue. Have you ever tasted grilled marlin? OMG so good!

We met other married couples from one married for 1 day to another married for 50 years! Most importantly, we spent some priceless quality time together.

We ate ate and drank like royalty, enjoyed a world class spa, couples massage and facials. The entertainment was off the chain! The views were simply BREATH-TAKING!

This was definitely a very memorable vacation and well worth it trip! I’m in love with the island of Tahiti which helped me to realize I don’t need a bunch of stuff to have the TIME OF MY LIFE!!!

We are so grateful to celebrate each other and 5 years of marriage and we are looking forward to celebrating for years to come!! God is sooo good! All the time!!! More detailed view (and fun videos) in my IG Tahiti Highlight stories: Watch Here!

5 Quick Tips You Should Know Should You Ever Travel to Tahiti

  1. It’s very remote. Especially if you stay on one of the smaller surrounding islands of the French Polynesia like Mo’orea (which is gorgeous and you can also do a day tour here arriving by ferry). There aren’t a ton of people here. You will be in a very remote and overwhelmingly beautiful natural landscape.
  2. Monetary goods are expensive in the French Polynesia… on and off your resort. With our bags being left behind, we quickly learned that prices for even the most basic necessities are 3-4 times what you’d pay in the states. On top of that, the conversion looks flat out crazy. lol For example, $30 USD for a plain cotton t-shirt translates to $3,202 Francs. The conversion rate is approximately .0094 USD to 1 Franc.
  3. These Polynesians speak a sort of Polynesian French. Many are bi/tri-lingual but it’s best to brush up on a few of the most commonly spoken phrases such as “hello!”/ “la ora na!”, “thank you!”/ “mauruuru!” and “where is the restroom?” which is simply “toilette?”
  4. As far as food, the local favorite is a fresh fish marinated in lime juice and coconut milk with fresh veggies served over rice and is served everywhere! It is called poisson cru. I’d describe it as a Tahitian Ceviche. It’s wonderful. What we’d consider a traditional breakfast is popular there as well. A good plate of bacon, eggs and potatoes isn’t hard to come by. French classics such a chocolate croissant with espresso are also easy to come by.
  5. You really don’t need a lot. Make sure to have your basic necessities in a carry on bag, but other than that plan to wear very little (it’s perfectly warm here). Men and women live by the sarong. One sarong will yield 10 different looks.

What places are on your travel bucket list? Leave me a comment below. Thanks for reading! See you next time!

xo -Riss

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carissa

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