Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Skincare Fanatic

Hi my name is Courtney Hawkins and I am a skincare fanatic...

You hear and see me talk about it all the time on social media, so I wanted to share  some of my favorite products currently. I took advantage of the Sephora sale and stocked up on oldies and found new goodies. I like to alternate between different products and different brands because I don't want my skin to get used to to a specific product. Our skin can build up a tolerance to what we use on a regular basis so I like to switch everything up!  Cleansers, moisturizers, oils, night creams, serums, sunscreens, and masks.

I don't think you can have enough cleansers on hand. I mean, currently I have four in my possession. I have one in the shower, one in the medicine cabinet, one in my travel bag, and one on reserve. Here is what I have on hand now. My all-time favorite is the Liquid Facial soap from CLINIQUE, however the additional three are quite magnificent too!
Making sure your skin stays hydrated is the key to keeping your skin healthy. Not only does your skin need to be clean, but HYDRATED! I make an effort to drink at least 60 ounces of water a day and I also use heavy moisturizers and oils. I naturally have oily skin so I was hesitant to use any type of moisturizer or oil at all, but after time I realized they were helping. My skin is more even toned and I could feel a difference!When ever I touch my face my skin is SUPER SOFT. I also use a moisturizer with SPF. Yes, you read it correctly...S.P.F.  You can never have too much protection from the sun. Here are my current favs.

I feel the same way about night creams that I do for moisturizers and oils. You need to HYDRATE. I've also discovered that using a night cream with retinol works wonders. Originally I was dubious when the girl at Sephora mentioned using a night cream with retinol. But I took her word for it and it has been great. I am always down for improving the firmness and elasticity in my skin!
Serums were another product I was skeptical of in the beginning. I honestly thought to myself what's the point? I keep my skin clean and I moisturize. What good is a serum going to do for me? Come to find out that serums are amazing. The products I have listed are designed to help minimize pores, fine lines, and wrinkles. The Honeymoon Glow from Farmacy Beauty is definitely my fav. My best practice is to use serums on the weekends when I'm not wearing a lot of makeup. It's definitely important to make sure you give your skin a break from makeup and a good serum is a great reason.
I have been using this sunscreen for a little less than a year and I love it. I've always assumed that has a black woman it's not necessary for me to use sunscreen. Well that's not true. The sun doesn't care what color your skin is. Skin cancer can affect us all. So protect yourself!
A while back I was obsessed with masks and peels. I have quite the Arsenal of these products. However, I've learned to use these products wisely. There was a moment in time where I was using one a day trying to get my skin to its optimal condition. Well I was wrong!! It's best to use a mask or peel two or three times a week. Don't want to overuse these products...I ended up breaking out!! Now that I've got my mask and peel up obsession under control here's a list of my favorites.
Your skin is the largest organ you have. Why not make sure you're doing the best you can to keep it healthy. Try some of these products and see what you like. You may end up finding a new favorite. 
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Sunday, September 9, 2018 CuraƧao

Solo Trip to Curacao

Every year for my birthday I take a trip. I usually wrangle up one or two friends and we go somewhere for 4 to 5 days. This year was different. I traveled by myself. I don't usually travel by myself for vacation however, with my previous job I did a lot of solo work travel so I wasn't too worried about spending the time alone.

Here's the thing you need to keep in mind when you decide to travel alone. You need to know there will be moments when you feel a lonely because you are in a beautiful place by yourself. There will also be moments when you meet some amazing people and you hear great stories about other people's travels throughout the world. Both of those happened to me and I couldn't be happier about it. 

I don't have a particular reason why I chose to go to Curacao but I'm glad I did. It was an interesting island. Part of the appeal was the history of the island. Curacao used to be a colony of Holland and was a slave depot. So for me this was something I thought was very interested in seeing. I'm fascinated by countries that were known for slavery or were known as checkpoints for slave traders. The dynamics of the country was also very interesting. Curacao is no longer a colony of Holland however there is still a layer of racism that exists. Racism is something to be expected no matter where you go, but it was interesting to see how blatant it was in this country. There's a clear divide between the Dutch people and the natives on the island. There's also a clear divide between classes  of natives who have money and the natives who don't.
Dress: Forever 21+//Handbag: Gucci//Sunglasses: Le Specs//Earrings: Banana Republic 

When I first arrived on the island it was 3pm EST. So I knew I wouldn't have too much time to explore. I found a taxi and went straight to the hotel. I unpacked and  relaxed then went down to the restaurant for dinner. I was pretty tired so I knew it was going to be an early night. I wanted to have a good night's rest so I could get up and explore the island the next day.

My first full day on the island was my birthday. I got up, got dressed, and went down to the restaurant for breakfast. The hotel staff knew it was my birthday so they came over with cheese cake and brownies and sing me Happy Birthday. It was very sweet! A little awkward because it was early in the morning and few people were in the restaurant,  but it was the thought that counts! After breakfast I took the shuttle into Willemstad and explored the town. I met two girls while on the shuttle who were also from the US. They were very friendly and we developed a fast friendship. The three of us walked around town took pictures of the beautiful buildings, looked in shops, and explored the culture of the city. We also stopped into a local restaurant for some traditional island food. It was delicious. I ordered the okra soup. Now,  if you know okra you know it's very slimy however the way that the soup was cooked with fish, the delicious broth, and a side of polenta made me very happy! While we walked around we stopped at some local vendors and I picked some local artwork. After exploring town we headed back to the hotel and I spent the rest of the day at the beach. That night I had a simple dinner at the restaurant and stayed up talking with the two girls.
On my way second full day on the island I spent the day at the beach. The hotel is located right on the ocean so being at the beach was a non-negotiable. Although the hotel beach is wonderful we decided to walk down to the next hotel location and hang out at Moomba Beach. It was beautiful. It was quiet and few people were there. We played in the water laid on the beach had lunch. That night we went back into town because there was a firework show we wanted to see. It was nothing over the top but, to see the locals on the island in their element and be so excited about their country was wonderful. I also picked up a great pair of earrings while we were out. I'm not quite sure what they were celebrating but it was fun being there.

On my last two days of the trip I just took it easy. I got up, had breakfast, went to the beach, and had dinner. There was a jazz festival going on while I was there so I did end up going to the Festival on night three of my trip. I decided what the heck?! Why not? I might as well make the best of my time while I'm here! I saw Patti LaBelle and Damian Marley before I headed back to the hotel. But there were so many more people to see. Sting, Shaggy, KC and the Sunshine Band, and Christina Aguilera. I actually wanted to see Christina Aguilera but she was on day two of the festival and I didn't want to spend another $200 on the ticket. However $200 for seven shows is actually very good!

Blue Swimsuit: Forever21+(Old) //Floral Dress: Forever 21+ (Old)//Black Swimsuit: Similar HERE and  HERE (Old)

Aruba, Curacao, and Bonaire, also known as the ABC islands, are known for the casinos. I didn't have much money to gamble and I'm not really a gambler but I thought while I'm here I might as well spend the rest of my local currency at the casino. So my last night I went to the Renaissance Hotel and played the slots. I didn't went anything but it was something to do. 

All in all Curacao is a beautiful island. There's a lot of culture and a lot of history there on the island. The people are friendly and the food is amazing. If you're ever looking for a place to go that is relaxing I definitely recommend Curacao.
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