Author: Shakira

Knits & Puffer

Cheers to the freakin’ weekend! Chile, this has been such a long week. Your girl is tired. It’s been six months since I’ve taken new blog photos and I seriously considered canceling tomorrow’s shoot. Nevertheless, I’m gonna push through and just take a bomb nap when I get done. Wednesday was the official start of spring and my sinuses have confirmed this change of season. However, the temperatures are slow to rise so I’ll be in warm clothing until then. Today’s look is all about this knit hat and scarf and cozy puffer vest.

To be quite honest, I never know exactly when to wear a puffer vest. What temperature is too cold? Too hot? I only know I’ve made a mistake when my arms are freezing or my back is sweaty. Apparently the stars were all aligned on the day of this shoot. Not every day is a day for heels and sequins. Especially since my job changed the dress code. I wear more casual clothes than ever before.

Deciding to wear this burgundy vest with jeans kept it chill. Plus, darker denim always looks nice against burgundy. The knit hat adds a pop of bright color while this plaid scarf ties them all together. Picking one color from the scarf, I went with a pink shade. It’s less predictable. Finally, my trusty Chelsea boots match perfectly. Catch me in these streets during the week and you have a 50/50 chance I’ll either be sophisticated or chill. It’s a toss up!

Hat//Boohoo , Scarf//Ross , Top//Uniqlo , Jeans//Forever 21 , Boots//Zara

Blue Suede Shoes

Happy March 1st y’all!! I guess that’s not technically a thing, but a new month begins today. My little sister turns 25 (omg my baby), spring starts in week three, and this is the last month of first quarter. Now is the time to tidy up any goal oriented loose ends from January and February. I’m determined to leave first quarter with no regrets. March is also Women’s History Month. It’s already started with a bang as Solange dropped a new album at midnight. I’m here for all March has to offer! In fashion news ya girl is still trying to figure out what clothes I can actually fit. Gaining weight while I was out on medical leave means I have a closet of pretty things going to waste. I’m torn between losing weight or going shopping. In the meantime I’ll start this month off with a pre surgery look starring these super cute blue suede shoes.

Elvis Presley made the Carl Perkins song a rock and roll hit in the 50s and I’m inclined to agree. Blue shoes in general are hard to find, especially for women. Things have gotten better, but I remember going a whole winter looking for a navy pump. Finding a blue suede shoe , even more difficult. Luckily I found these babies at Buffalo Exchange here in Philly. The resale shop always has a great mixture of used and vintage clothing. These ankle boots stood out to me immediately. I love the pointed toe, it gives a western flare. The low heel means I can wear them all day long comfortably. The cobalt color is what makes them a must have. I can literally wear this shoe all year.

I decided to be captain obvious and pair the boots with a matching sweater. One of my old H&M pieces. I kept the blue theme going with jeans in a lighter wash. Skinny jeans look great with the shape of this boot. I stayed with the theme and added my powder blue coat and carryall. This coat has literally been my spring go to for 4 years now. I think this is the last one but I surely got my money’s worth. Silver metallic accessories seemed most appropriate and added necessary shine.

Let’s make this month a great one loves! What are your plans to end first quarter? Tell me in the comments.

Coat/Sweater/Jeans//H&M , Boots//Lipsy , Bag//Ross

3 Ways to Guard Your Heart on Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day like many holidays, is one that you either love or hate. Whether you are single, taken, or married this season may stir up some not so pleasant feelings. Knowing this, I’ve decided this year to forsake outfit ideas and give you a three ways to guard your heart this Valentine’s Day.

Love on Yourself First

If you read this statement and felt awkward about it, then good. You’re exactly the kind of woman who needs to hear this. Coming from a Christian and a wife this may be am unpopular opinion but you come first! Now don’t get me wrong, God is the head of my life, but I’m automatically second. Think about it, how can I be a great sister, friend, daughter, spouse, mom, boss, etc if I’m always on empty? If you’re running on fumes, quit trying to be super woman and take a weekend getaway. Maybe spend Valentine’s Day at the spa alone for some me time. Then you can come back to those you love refreshed and renewed!

Just Say No

How often have you accepted a date, girls trip, or even brunch with Mom knowing you’d much rather spend the day curles up with a book and some tea? For some reason we feel it’s rude to turn down offers, eapecially from those we like or love. To confess that we’re saving up for a big purchase and extra spending isn’t in the budget, or that we don’t want to attend brunch with Aunties just to be grilled about why we’re still single is rare. This year do yourself a favor and speak up. Don’t accept a date with a guy you’re not even attracted to just because it’s free food. Don’t agree to that couples getaway if you’d rather it’s just you and hubby. It’s not rudeness, it’s maturity.

Stop Internet Stalking

Now this is a hard one whether you’re boo’d up or boo-less. We all have a tendency to scroll through social media during this holiday and take notice of our peers. We silently size each other up. Who has the most romantic boyfriend or husband? Who had the best Valentine’s slay? Who debuted their new beau? Which group of gals arw living their best lives on vacation? It seems totally harmless, right? Wrong. Eventually all this will do is make you discontent. You will begin to despise your season. Someone in a relationship will appear happier, you’ll envy another wife whose husband has deeper pockets, or you’ll break your budget for the gram. It’s not worth it girl, trust me.

Proverbs 4:23 tells us, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” This scripture is the basis of this post. Just a little friendly reminder for all of us to be content in whatever season we find ourselves. After all, tomorrow isn’t promised to anyone, so enjoy your today!!

Dress//Boohoo , Boots//Go Jane , Wrap//Burlington

Rust Flares

You guys is it just me or was January that WORK?! I legit feel like I went thru an entire quarter in one month. As if I went back to work after surgery, blinked, and was transported to February. This month has been quite busy. Very productive, but busy nonetheless. Having completed my first month back at work I’ve really had to give myself extra time to get places. I haven’t been as diligent with my stretching and working out. As a result, I’m quite stiff and this cold weather we’ve had in Philly hasn’t helped. The low temps have my abdomen incredibly sore. The weight gain plus scar tissue combo means I’m unable to fit most of my clothes. Thankfully, stretch pants exist! Especially cute ones like these rust flares.

In full transparency, I have been wearing the same four sweatsuits to work since returning on Christmas eve. Having abdominal surgery will make you reevaluate all of your clothes. Somehow I have amassed a collection of pants and skirts that all seem irritating. My underwear is too low rise, my high waist pants squeeze too tight, my jeans don’t zip, & I’ve gained 12 pounds in post-op. Now before you roll your eyes and say “Girl, bye”, going from a size 4 to 8ish is a trip. I need to go shopping. On the bright side there are items in my closet that now fit.

I purchased these flares back in August. Worried that they’d be too tight I ordered a medium. They arrived and were actually loose in the waist and longer than expected. I still love the fit. High waisted and trim throughout with ribbing and a slight bell flare at the hem. The material is thin so you need to wear tights in fall/winter months. But these are super comfy and don’t leave me sore. I even nabbed a mustard yellow pair. Speaking of mustard, this soft turtleneck is the perfect companion to the rust colored pants.

I kept my accessories neutral with caramel aka brown girl nude pumps and purse. I also added my go to fall scarf of the same color. However, I didn’t play it safe with my outerwear. It’s cold enough for my wool coat of many colors. This is still my favorite thrifted purchase ever. I’ll be wearing this baby until Jesus returns. Good pieces are durable and fashion longevity is a plus.

I hope you are warm and cozy wherever you are. Talk to me! Let me know in the comments what items in your closet are there for good.

Coat//Vintage , Top//Uniqlo , Pants//Boohoo , Shoes//Donald J. Pliner, Purse//Ross

What am I influencing?

Monday was the Martin Luther King Jr. day of service here in the United States and many of us were off from work. I would love to say I took to the streets to volunteer at a local shelter but I didn’t. I was actually sleep til noon and eating leftovers with my husband. We’ve both been fighting this annoying sinus/cold thing that has held it’s grip for two weeks. Thankfully, meds have finally brought us down to a level yellow situation. While wrapped in balnkets and catching up on shows we stumbled across the Netflix documentary “Fyre: The greatest party that never happened”. Ninety minutes later and I was fascinated with Billy McFarland. I was also asking myself, “What am I influencing?”

McFarland is a wealthy millennial currently serving a six year sentence in federal prison for defrauding investors out of 27 million dollars. His most notable business venture was a credit card rewards company targeted to socialites called Magnesus. The signature black card was a credit card for hipsters with exclusive membership deals and rewards. Stars like Rick Ross and Ja Rule added to it’s initial credibility. However, it turned out to be nothing more than a sham. Billy was adept at not just selling products, but atmosphere.

Billy eventually meets up with rapper Ja Rule to discuss a joint venture for an app called Fyre allowing users to book recording artists directly. Some time later Billy begins working on a side project to create a larger than life music festival of Woodstock proportions for the same wealthy crowd who bought into his Magnesus membership. It would be called Fyre Festival. Billy employed the help of a top social media management team and several celebrity influencers like Kendall Jenner to spread the word about this weekend festival in the Bahamas. The promotional videos and IG posts are a hit. Everyine who’s anyone wants tickets to this litty event. All because a few models on yachts made it look glamorous.

The promo didn’t just sell the festival, it sold a lifestyle. It’s this phenomenon, the ability to monetize your life, that has characterized my generation (aka millennials) as a whole. Over time what was once only used on a desktop during a lunch break or weekend afternoon has become apart of daily living. Our phones are now extensions of our person. Verbal and visual expressions of our lives and personalities. Or at least, the version we wish were reality. After watching the Netflix doc, we immediately watched the Hulu version, which gave a little more back story on Billy along with an interview. Both documentaries left me questioning my own motives.

I started SPS in 2014 after blogging for LookUp internet radio station a few years earlier. I wanted my own little cirner of internet to share the three things I loved most: music, my faith, and my style. It was a hobby that I now plan to turn into a business. However, I am motivated more than ever after watching the documentary to make sure my intentions aren’t vain. What’s the end game? Is it to have thousands of followers for the sake of validating my self esteem? To get free merchandise in order to brag about my wardrobe? To overshare my home and relationships in order to seem “transparent”?

As a Christian first and blogger fifth, the moment I make SPS all about my ego and not my purpose I’ve failed. My primary purpose in this earth is to bring glory to God. Fortunately, He allows us to use all of our gifts to do so. So I’ll use my wit, my humor, my singing voice, and my sense of style to bring others joy. Share the gospel with them. To lifts their spirits. To raise their confidence. But if it’s all in the name of likes and retweets than it’s meaningless.

I want to hear from you. Let me know in the comments if you’ve seen either documentary and how you feel about them.

Dress//Boohoo , Blanket Scarf//Uniqlo , Boots//Go Jane

5 Ways to Guarantee an Epic New Year

After the Christmas trees are gone, the lights are taken down, and you’ve used all your gift cards it hits you. Two thousand eighteen is OVER. Congratulations dear, you’ve lived to see another year! This is the first Monday of many and it’s time to hit the ground running. We’re one week into the new year. By now you’ve been inundated with vision board party invites, email challenges, and downloads. You most likely have one of two reactions: excitement and motivation or annoyance and overwhelm. Whichever shoe fits, let me help by showing you 5 ways to guarantee an epic new year.

Get Honest

Before you go guns blazing into the new year full of adrenaline it’s best to pause and gain some clarity. Take a moment and ask yourself “How do I really feel about last year?” Self assessment and introspection is a must for growth. What were my accomplishments? What were my mistakes? How can I improve based on the lessons I’ve learned? It’s important to identify what was good, bad, and ugly about last year so you can make any necessary changes.

Get Organized

Now that you’ve established what did/didn’t work well, you can begin setting goals for the year. These goals should be “S.M.A.R.T.” meaning: specific, measured, achievable, relevant, and time bound. For example, one of my goals is to improve my kidney health. Specifically, lower sodium intake. I can measure this by not cooking with salt unless absolutely necessary. If it is, I can use Himalayan sea salt. It’s achievable because I’ve done it before in 2014 after surgery. It’s relevant because I still have stones in my left kidney. I see my urologist this month and will schedule a follow up in June, making this time bound.

Get Physical

This could either be obvious to you or out of place but hear me, you can’t achieve any of your goals if your unhealthy. Playing off of my goal in the previous step, an annual physical is a must. One of the most neglected areas of our lives is the area of health. Get a complete physical. Start the year with counseling or therapy sessions. Then adjust your goals if necessary to include what’s needed to be your healthiest self. Be good to your mind and body.

Get Offline

I know, you’re thinking, “Really Shakira?” but hear me out… Yes as a blogger I spend time online daily. We all do. I even hope that you’ll continue to stop by my neck of the internet and read these blog posts. However, we all need time away from the electronics. A Facebook comment and an Instagram like are great. Sharing viral videos and creating content is awesome. But making out with my husband and spending time with my friends is better. It’s okay to unplug. Your followers will survive.

Get to Work

Finally, the last step in this process is the most crucial. You can assess, plan, get the lab results, and power down all you want. None of this matters if you then fail to do the necessary work to accomplish said plans. Last year I had about three goals that failed to achieve. Why? Because I didn’t do the work. Even with having unexpected surgery and being on medical leave, I could’ve achieved those goals. If I’d had a time table in place with realistic steps they would’ve been accomplished prior to surgery. I encourage you to do the work this year. That’s the only thing standing in the way of your success.

I hope you’ve found this to be helpful. Leave me a message in the comments and tell me what your goals are for the year. Let’s hold each other accountable. I promise if you do these 5 steps, your year will be AWESOME!!

Coat//Thrifted , Scarf//H&M , Top//Uniqlo , Shoes//Donald J. Pliner

Maroon + Fleece

This is my favorite time of the year! Christmas Villiage is packed with visitors. Department stores are open around the clock. Little children are posing for pictures on Santa’s lap. Last year we waited til the week before Christmas to put up the tree. This time it’s been up since Thanksgiving. Princess Jasmine’s presents are ready to be wrapped and Donnie Hathaway’s “This Christmas” is on repeat. I’m truly happy for my little family. This year was challenging but God is good. Now that it’s down right cold I can pull out the latest addition to my wrap collection. This striped fleece is the perfect cover for my maroon dress.

A simple fit and flare dress is so versatile. It can be worn to work, church, on a date, or a party. The trick is to let your accessories do all the work. Since I purchased three of the same dress in different colors, I’ll be paring them with different wraps. This fleece wrap was a $20 steal from TJ Maxx. The deep colors transition from fall to winter easily. Not to mention it’s ridiculously soft. I literally felt like I was wearing a snuggie.

Maroon is such a distinct color. Imagine my surprise when I discovered I had boots to match. The faux suede otk boots from early this year are perfection with the dress. They give a very sleek, monochromatic touch to the outfit. Metallic jewelry adds a nice pop against the deep color. My only regret is that I brought the wrong eyewear to this photoshoot. These are clearly summer shades. Since I hadn’t worn any eye makeup for the shoot I was stuck with the pair. What can I say, stuff happens. Hope you all enjoy your holiday weekend, Merry Christmas!

Dress//BooHoo , Wrap//TJ Maxx , Boots//Go Jane , Jewelry//H&M

Pink Velour

My wardrobe has seen a steady influx of items in various shades of pink over the last five years. Never cared for the color as a teen or young adult yet here I am, mid thirties and suddenly hooked. Whenever asked I’d proudly proclaim blue as my favorite color. Ask me now and I’m not even sure I still have one. Especially when I seem to be drawn to pieces like this pink velour cardigan and matching sneakers.

These sneakers were ten bucks at Kmart. No seriously, I promise. Just as winter was transitioning into spring early this year I snagged these babies. Never got around to buying the burgundy pair regretfully. The comfort level is amazing and they fit perfectly. So perfect that I’ve been wearing them everywhere… with anything.

On a trip to Marshall’s for aromatherapy oils I bought this velour cardigan. I didn’t have my sneakers to confirm it matched but I took a chance. The chenille knit is super soft and cozy. It’s just the right length and width for me; everything you want in a cardigan. Over denim, tights, dresses, etc.

I kept it simple with skinny jeans and a turtleneck for this look. I’m plotting my next as we speak. Let me know in the comments below how you’d rock these items!

Cardigan//Marshall’s , Top//Uniqlo , Jeans//Forever 21 , Sneakers//Kmart

Leopard Midi Skirt

Have you ever gone shopping and come across one item you can’t leave in the store? Perhaps a piece of clothing, some jewelry, or a pair of shoes that must come home with you immediately? On a trip to Zara a while back I found a leopard midi skirt I couldn’t leave without. Although I admire them from afar, animal prints are not plentiful in my closet. Many of the pieces I’d owned for years have long since been consigned. Luckily leopard remains a wardrobe staple and I intend to capitalize on the current trend.

Beside the lovely print it was the pleats that caught my attention in Zara that day. If scientists ever confirm the existence of a gene for personal style, I’m sure that I inherited a love of pleats from my mother. A light nylon material ensures the perfect drape across the hips. The midi length brings an air of sophistication to the overall look. A white button down was chosen on top out of habit. After realizing they were all in the hamper I grabbed the next best thing, a denim shirt.

There seems to be nothing I can’t pair with a denim shirt. The heavier material is great for the season. It’s the fall and winter version of a white oxford. Since I’d worn my quilted red purse before as a crossbody bag several times, I opted for the fanny pack here. On a trip to New York back in April I found this in Aldo Times Square. I’d seen it in white online the day before and was determined to buy one. When I saw red it was a wrap.

Having a pop of color dead center in the outfit I chose my go to black stilettos with the red heel. As for the red lipstick, it was the only one in my purse lol. The hardest decision for the entire look was whether I should wear these statement earrings. Are they too gaudy? Overpowering my face? Too busy against the leopard? The earnings won and I love the finished product. Besides. I can be just as gaudy as I like!

Top//H&M , Skirt//Zara , Purse//Aldo , Shoes//Donald J. Pliner

Burgundy Lace

I don’t feel like blogging at all. That’s my truth right now loves. Two weeks post-op from major surgery, pain killers and fluffy pillows have now become my beat friends. Honestly, the last thing on my mind is fashion. It’s hard to post pretty pictures when you can’t even use the bathroom by yourself. A break from the outside world was mandatory. Fortunately your girl planned ahead so we don’t miss a fashionable beat. I shot all of my looks for the rest of 2018 long before fall officially arrived. Every outfit is already scheduled, starting with this beautiful burgundy lace dress.

You may remember seeing this dress in Green a while back. As you know, anything I like I purchase several. It makes life easier since I know the fit is perfect. The small details are what caught my eye. Comparing the black with green overlay to this burgundy and rose pink, this one is my first pick. Against the light background the dark floral design stands out. You can truly see the intricacy of the lace.

Every dart, every seam is placed just so. Even with my petite height, they manage to line up right where they should. Being able to belt any dress is always a plus for me so that addes extra points. Just as before I chose to pair this dress with satin mules. Finding shoes in the exact same shade of rose meant they had to be purchased asap. Some things are a no brainer.

I kept the simple with a fringe earring and my favorite watch. This watch was my first Valentine’s gift from my husband when we were dating. Before then I hardly ever noticed rose gold jewelry. Seeing it on my skin made me fall in love. So much so that our wedding rings are rose gold. Even hubby likes the look of the meatal on his complexion. So here you have it folks… a simple slay.

Dress//New York & Co , Shoes//K&G , Earrings//H&M , Watch//Jacote

Join the eList