Valentine's Day Gift Guide for Him and Her

Valentine's Day is basically here, I know where did the time go right?! I am the ultimate gift giver and very thoughtful when it comes down to it! That's really my hint to whoever wants to buy me a gift to pay very close attention to this list, LOL! If you are anything like me, you are last minute sometimes or most of the time. So thank me now or later for helping you get  some last minute  gifts for your special person. I will try to keep this as PG as possible but lets keep it real, I'm grown and so are you..so there will be some of my favorite little things in my gift guide! 

 

Him

HER

Thank me later ;)

 

xoxo, 

 

o

I DO

I Do...

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So this might be my most personal moment with you all so bare with me! Maybe grab a glass of wine or even a tissue lol 

I DO has a meaning to me that is more than the words, its more of a putting self first. Getting down to the nitty gritty about what I DO like and love, what I DO want, who I DO want in my personal space and how I DO want to be treated. 

The truth of it all is...in order for me to answer my I DO questions I went through some ISH! 

What I Do like and love: 

During undergrad I didn't have that mentor or someone older than me to help me figure it out. I knew I loved the fashion and beauty industry and I loved marketing. Knowing that I loved the two there wasn't a dean or anyone else to tell me how to combine them. Let's face it at 17 you just don't know it all!  I didn't have the dream internship that put me in the hands of Teen Vogue or Glamour...heck or working for Nieman Marcus in corporate. I felt really lost and not accomplished. I changed my major TWICE and I was not feeling it. I found in my final semesters of undergrad that I had a love for representing brands and creative projects. I went into an internship turned job that put me in front of a lot of BIG PEOPLE, I learned a lot and really had a great hands on experience. That single opportunity allowed me to be in the position I am in today and I am forever grateful for both of my bosses for the lessons and really being forced to step away and move forward. They helped me realize " when your time is up" move on. I can stand firm and say I am HAPPY with my job ( no matter how hard my brain hurts at 5 pm) and I am appreciated for my contribution and that is HUGE for me! I finally am able to put my love for beauty, fashion and marketing all in one and I couldn't be more elated. 

What I DO want: 

What I do want is to always be the best version of me, happy, financially stable and to always be unapologetic. 

I felt myself trying to fit in with people not knowing I am really the ISH and I do not have to change how I am to be accepted. 

My happiness has been stripped so many times by people close to me. But what I learned in every situation that nobody can take your happiness if you are happy with yourself. Yes, they can do something that makes you upset but do not allow that to take the total sum of your happiness and DO NOT harp on an issue. Misery loves company and miserable people will try it, chhhiiilleeee will they try it! 

My finances are really important to me, lets face it we all like nice stuff! I have had times when I would look at my account and the number just wasn't right for the work I was doing. ( I know we have all been under paid and over worked) I have had to ask my parents for money and they knew I was working and dealing with the question " What did you spend your money on" which I hate, was the worst! But, when asking someone else for money you have to explain that. Understand the phrase " know your worth" and LIVE BY IT! I can not stress that, if you are good at what you do and someone needs you to do it YOU HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO ASK FOR THE AMOUNT YOU WANT! 

Protect your finances and secure the BAG!

I AIN'T SORRY! At 25 I refuse to say sorry for anything I am not sorry for i.e. BEING LAUREN CATHERINE! I have spent so much time saying sorry for simply being me or feeling how I feel. People sometimes feel you have to march to the beat of their drum and be tailored to fit them, ABSOLUTELY NOT! I will be marching to my beat and tailored to fit myself! If it doesn't work for that person, OH WELL! My parents have done a fantastic job at raising me and I will not altar it for someone who is simply incapable and uncomfortable with themselves. I will not apologize for being myself, after all the total sum of me works for masses MOST importantly it works for ME! 

My Personal Space: 

My personal space is my most intimate space and what I allow or who I allow in my personal space can consume me. 

My personal space is like my home its comforting, loving, warm and honest. What I have learned is its ok to eliminate people or things from that space and its ok to say no you can not come in my home. Now, I am so very sweet I have that honest from my mom, but one thing that she has taught me is, its ok to say no. Everyone and everything are just not welcomed and THAT'S OK! I am huge on having positive energy in my space and I am a advocate of saying no. 

My personal space deserves things and people who are similar to me to be in it.

Protect your space and your peace of mind. 

 

Treatment: 

If I had a penny for every time someone asked me " where does your confidence come from" I would be rich. 

The truth is, I had to work had to become her and I when say work hard..  I MEAN JUST THAT! 

Growing up I have always heard you are so pretty a million times and I knew I was. My mom always made sure I knew how beautiful from the inside out ( thank you mommy). But once I got in grade school I didn't feel so pretty. I was bullied, called names, boys trying to fight me, girls being mean and saying mean things. I probably went home crying every single day. It did damage to my self-esteem, I felt like my mom was not being honest because kids at school were just down right mean! In high school I didn't have those issues lol! I was the cutie pie walking the halls and I knew it lol! 

That all changed when I got in college, I was still with my high school sweet heart who had every female and he was a flirt. But the damage hit me the night he physically abused me because I asked him about a girl calling his phone. I could not believe him of all people did what he did to me I was so hurt. I felt like woahhhhh what the hell! Am I not good enough, not pretty enough? I was hurt and kept saying to myself what in the whole hell is going on, I felt lost. It was like my most trusted person put his hands on me over a female! I had bruises from my shoulder to my waist, a knot on my head and a sprained wrist. OVER A FEMALE! TUH! 

After that saga ended, I took some time and I started dating again. 

This relationship was one for the books. Probably the relationship I am most thankful for because I learned a lot. 

I was, in my opinion pissed on and told it was raining. 

That relationship broke me to the core, so bad to the point my mom did not think I could bounce back from it. Here yet again a person I trusted hurt me. I did a lot of crying, cursing and yelling and in some way I felt like it was normal for things like this to happen. I was just happy he was not kicking my butt! I argued with someone for 2- 3 years, I felt like I was not enough and I was publicly embarrassed. 

It took for my aunt and uncle to come to my mothers house only for me to open the door at 2 pm on a hot summer day looking like who shot John and why. I was hysterical and all I could do was cry and I cried every day after that. This person abused my heart which is my personal space.

I had to pick myself up and work hard to be who I am today. I had shit to finish and that was my degree! 

My confidence comes from being hurt and broken to the core. It took a lot of prayer, my mom and the women in my family and most importantly ME to get to this point. 

I know how I DO want to be treated because of those situations. 

I share this with you all to say, no matter the situation it will work its self out. Most importantly it will be okay. 

My I DO's are my vows to me.

Until I have to write vows to someone else, those are the I Do's I will not break. 

Write your I Do's and live by them every single day from here on out! 

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Love, 

 

Lo

 

 

Half Full vs Half Empty

" Your glass is half full not half empty."

There's a saying that I am sure we have all heard before " Your glass is half full not half empty." My mother is the culprit of telling me that over and over especially when I need a reality check. You see, sometimes I get a little besides myself and I don't realize my accomplishments or my blessings. I can complain when I feel things are not on the right track and I almost don't realize just who I am and my capabilities. I'm comfortable with admitting I too can get discouraged and a little too impatient. But, I have one of the best support systems to help me remember that every step of the way.

I don't want to hear anything about my shoes! My ankle was hurting lol! y'all know its still messed up and I'm not supposed to be in heels! 

I don't want to hear anything about my shoes! My ankle was hurting lol! y'all know its still messed up and I'm not supposed to be in heels! 

This past Saturday I had a half full room of those who love me and they gave me the reminder that my glass is half full not half empty. To always remember my accomplishments, talent, heart, blessings and worth. My cousin Tracy highlighted my year in a nutshell she spoke on my blog turning 1, Sip and Shop Chicago, my big girl move and more. My mother followed with some words that moved the entire room... " I do not need anyone to reprogram you because I have done a good job at raising you" " Keep people away from you that will try and tear you down and stop you from being progressive. You have to level up and make people understand where you stand and if you have to put people in the visitor section for then put them there." 

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As I welcome 25 I look forward to all the challenges, accomplishments and unforgettable moments. 

~ Lo

Every Girl has Her Gang

A couple of weeks ago I hosted one of many dinner parties in my new home. I came up with the title Every Girl has Her Gang on the count of they are my support system. They listen to my crazy stories, inspire me, push me and are some of my biggest cheerleaders. So what better way to show them my appreciation by having dinner under the stars. 

I've learned through my growing process that you have some people that are simply irreplaceable and those who bring true value to your life. Someone once told me " as you get older your circle gets smaller and you'll find all the things you have in common". With learning that all of those things are true I can easily say my gang is gang ( yes I quote rap lyrics) and that I wouldn't trade them for anything. 

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Now I as we all know the saying, " What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" that rule applies to my parties LOL! Just know it was a grand time with good food, drinks and people. 

A special thank you to Anthony for some of the best food I've had. I can't wait to have you cook for me again. If you are looking for someone to add some spice to your dinner Anthony is the one to call, you can check him out here.

~Lo

Authentic Self!

Over the past couple of weeks, I got to know someone you all may know ( espically in the City of Chicago). I sat down with her at an event and we chatted over cocktails about our passions, business ventures and plenty more. During the discussion she asked me would I collaborate with her on an upcoming opportunity, something so organic that I knew the culture would enjoy. 

Fast forward to the day before the event, we sat down and had lunch and talked about a number of topics. Listening to her it gave me more insight to who she is and what's important to her. One that stuck out to me the most is her sense of urgency to help women!  

She birthed the idea of the  Bougie Flea Market, an opportunity to resale gently used items in your closet and earn a little extra cash. Also, giving small businesses in Chicago a chance to have a pop up also. The most important part of this event was who she did it for, Hustle Mommies NFP organization in Chicago. Hustle Mommies was created to be a safe haven for women who have been hit by their circumstances and to uplift one another in urban communities. The Bougie Flea Market donated gently used items for these women, wether they were setting out for a job interview or needed something extra in their closet.

If you all know me, you know how much I love to help and uplift one another. Learning someone outside of social media or what you may hear is always rewarding. Talking to Brooke, I learned her authentic self on what she loved to do, what she went to school for, her family and how hard it is in her industry. Brooke thank you for including me in on this event, I can't wait for us to do it again in September.

 

~LoCat

Gray Area...

There's this in between stage that we all tend to get into, I simply call it the "gray area" and here's why. Its not an area where you can be sure that everything is going right and nothing is written out in black and white with instructions on how to navigate your way through. It's the area of uncertainties, emotions and  you tend to ask yourself "what in the heck am I doing". See the gray area is one that we all want to avoid but find ourselves in, right? I have found myself in the " gray area" a lot this year with relationships. And no I'm not just talking about the ones between two lovers. 

Gray areas and relationships is almost the worst area to be in. Its uncomfortable, emotional and all the way confusing. You try to really reason with yourself on what you're doing or should you move on.  Sometimes you have to really have to ask yourself " what value does this person bring" or " is it worth it". Some situations you try to figure out are you doing it for the person or yourself. When the truth is, you can't save everyone and someone is always going to get hurt. Which ALWAYS sucks. 

My open letter to those in the gray area.  

 

Hey you,  

I get it! It's not easy being in a place where your emotions take over your thoughts and you have a million and one questions that you won't get the answer to. Think of it this way you might be better off NOT KNOWING. Sit back and take some deep breaths, allow your feelings to be what they are and pray about it. And I mean really pray! I have had to let go of some of my best relationships for my own sanity and feelings. It's never easy but it'll be OKAY. No matter if it was a friend or lover, whatever they did that put your relationship in the gray area forgive them. Don't forgive them for their sake but do it for you. Once you forgive it makes it that much easier to keep pushing. And don't you dare be the person to go talking bad about them either. Allow everyone to maintain their dignity and to work out their hurt! I know it's easier said then done but trust me it can be done. 

To the person who didn't allow me to maintain my dignity, I forgive and love you dearly.  Many blessings to you. 

 

~LoCat

 

Reveal a Fresh New Look for Spring!

HAPPY SPRING YALL!!!!!! I'm so excited Spring is here, for more than one reason. I love a new haul of products for face and body and the frills and thrills of the bright colors. Right now I am on a roll with buying all my spring must haves for my beauty regimen. 

Spring is when I get the most most inspiration to change up my style and save some money; and what better place to do that than at Family Dollar. Let's be real who doesn't want to save on your favorite beauty and fashion products?!? 

The great thing about Family Dollar other than saving, when I need a little help searching for the best products they help me create my look for spring by providing their Look Fabulous for Less quiz. It's super simple and easy to do. I answered a few short questions about my ideal look and they suggested my head- to- toe styling based on my choices! I'm " Budding Romantic," and I loved the dress they suggested that shows off my legs and my collar bone, TRESemmé hair products and Caress body wash they suggested. And especially loved getting all my spring fashion finds in ONE PLACE! Take the QUIZ now for your fabulous new spring look as well as some personal care items that will help refresh and give your look that UMPH you're looking for! 

Be sure to take the QUIZ and tell me your results in the comment section for a chance to win a $10 gift card to Family Dollar! 

Although all opinions are my own, this post is Sponsored by Mirum Shopper.

Lo & Jabari + Family Dollar Plan Your Look

With the New Year only a couple of weeks in, it’s always good to celebrate with new stuff! One of my favorite things to do is shop for new beauty products. My skin gets dry and since I colored my hair, that’s dry too! I would always shop for products that have essential oils and all that other goodness for my skin and now I’m searching for my hair!

Now it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t look at all  products, and look at their reviews. What I found most interesting about Suave is, although it’s a product that can be purchased in your local drug stores the quality is awesome. And not to mention its trusted by professionals!

I saw the quiz for Family Dollar just to see the recommendations, with a couple of clicks they gave me just what I was looking for. I know it might sound like I’m supposed to say it, but seriously they narrowed it down so specifically  and I saw exactly what I was looking for!

As a kid my mother would always use Suave to shampoo my hair. My favorite part about their product was the great scent, my all-time favorite was cucumber melon and strawberry. Now I get to share the same traditions with my nephew. The memories from the Sunday shampoos with mom and smell of my hair is brought back because Suave has revamped and stayed true to their original brand.

Most importantly they are so affordable, who doesn’t love good quality with a great price and products the entire family can use! That’s why I am proud to partner with Family Dollar for their Plan Your Look For Less Program!

Be sure to take the FIND THE SUAVE THAT’S RIGHT FOR YOU QUIZ to see what products are recommended for you….and my favorite part is if you spend $6 you save $2 annndddd be sure to sign up for Family Dollar Smart Coupons! I know I did, they save my life when I need something quick! 

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Although all opinions are my own, this post was sponsored by Mirum Shopper. Thank you for supporting brands that help IAMLOCAT happen! #WINTERLOOKFORLESS #FAMILYDOLLAR #SUAVE

~LoCat

Diamonds are Forever

Now now now! I know I just made a couple people have a slight heart attack! Don't worry I'm not engaged! But I will say my number one spot for all my jewelry is Martin & Martin Jelwers!  

 

From their one of a kind custom creations to the luxurious jewelry lines. Do your self a favor and visit my favorite candy store! 

Happy Holidays ;)

~LoCat

Martin & Martin Jelwers   9825 S. Cicero   Oak Lawn, IL 60453

Martin & Martin Jelwers  

9825 S. Cicero  

Oak Lawn, IL 60453

Legs x Fur

I know I know I have been so quiet on here! But I promise its for a great reason, I've been planning for next year something sooooooo serious, and I cannot wait to share all the things that'll be happening within the next couple of months. But enough talk about that, lets get into how fur is taking over yet again another season. 

Each year I see people getting in to the fur trend for the pre-winter and winter months, and there is no doubt that each season brings a little extra something that captures our attention. Growing up I have always seen the women in my family draped in fur during the winter months, and now that I think about it my mom has at least 7 of them.... I may need to pay her closet a visit again lol... 

Although its freezing here in Chicago theres always room to give some good leg action! Designer Terri Stevens designed a beautiful...wait on it! SHEARLING MINK SKIRT! I gagged at least 5 times when I saw it! From the mink to the buttons, to the split for good leg action. Its absolutely amazing and WARM! Her line FUNKIN BEAUTIFUL is one to keep you eyes on, I really can't wait for her website to launch! 

Terri, thanks for giving me Carrie Bradshaw mixed with Clair Sulmers feels! 

~LoCat

Throwback Thursday...90's Style

Earrings BCBG Bralett TOPSHOP Top AKIRA Jeans ONE TEASPOON Booties AKIRA    

Earrings BCBG

Bralett TOPSHOP

Top AKIRA

Jeans ONE TEASPOON

Booties AKIRA  

 

Cotton Candy, Sweet and Gold, Let Me See That Tootsie Roll!!!!!!!! I know I am not the only one who lovessssss a good themed party! Last week we had one of those good ol girls nights and I know I usually don't share! I like to keep that part of my life a little private ( selfish I know) but I couldn't resist this one...especially since the 90's fashion is making a come back! And not to mention I looked like a mix between Toni Braxton and Halle Berry LOL! 

~ LoCat