Break up with breakouts: my go-to skincare routine

I loveeeee makeup and beating my face. I really do. But what I have learned over time is that makeup can alter your skin by clogging your pores, changing its texture and collecting or absorbing oil. I’m not a skincare expert by any means but I can say, after 26 years of being in my own skin, I have finally figured out what works! Now, let me preface this by saying everyone’s skin is different. I think it is important to figure out what your skin needs specifically. I have combination skin, which means my skin is more likely to collect oil, especially in my T-zones. Through trial and error, I have discovered what works best.

taken after freshly washing my face and using the products+ steps in this post

1.) Say it with me, y’all: W A T E R. Please do not underestimate the power of water. I drink at LEAST 48oz. (six 8oz. glasses) of water a day. I try to actually drink more than that. I challenge you to drink a a gallon a day. Clear skin is truly fueled by water.

2.). I stopped drinking dark soda + drinks. I do not drink dark sodas like Coke, Root Beer, Etc. I love them and I actually crave them sometimes. But honestly, every time I give in and have me a little sip sip of Coca Cola, I instantly break out! I am talking big, puss-filled pimples on my face like I am going through puberty. So, when it comes to dark drinks, ISSA NO for me.

3.) I do NOT sleep in my makeup! If you follow me on Instagram @justtlo then you know I loveeee makeup and a beat face! But, I have made it my duty to never sleep in my makeup. Even if I am coming from a long night out with my husband or girls and I beat my face DOWN, I do not sleep in my makeup! When I do, I wake up regretting it and super mad that I tried it. No matter how tired you are, clean your face before bed.

I use The Neutrogena Makeup Remover Wipes:

4.) Cleanse your face properly + exfoliate: My face can be so sensitive sometimes. I have take time to make sure all of my makeup is removed and I use a cleanser that is gentle yet effective. A good cleanser/ exfoliant is The Neutrogena Hydro Boost. If you follow me on Instagram Stories, you know that I post about this all the time! It is my go-to!

5.) More Cleanse + Moisturize: After I have removed my makeup with the makeup remover wipes and followed up with the Hydro Boost, I typically go in with another cleanser that is more gentle, followed by a toner and moisturizer. I personally like Cetaphil as a cleanser. After I wash with my face thoroughly with that, I like to mix my Aveeno Clear Complexion Daily Moisturizer with coconut oil to moisturize my skin.

Cleanse with Cetaphil, Moisturize with Aveeno + coconut oil

Great skin to me is about consistency over time. Be careful putting anything on your face. This includes makeup. I try to do my research on both makeup and skincare products to ensure that I am not damaging my skin longterm. Another good rule of thumb is using products that contain SPF for extra skin protection from the sun.

As always connect with me on Instagram, @justtlo if you have any questions. Feel free to email me: hello@justtlo.com

How I lost 10lbs two weeks before my wedding to fit my dress

Once Atlanta implemented a shelter in place order, I took that as license to eat, eat, eat. lol. I normally am pretty active, but four months in the house turned into taco Tuesday every week and cookies at midnight. I know…awful! I gained 20lbs. and when it was time to fit back into that wedding dress at my second to last fitting, that zipper said, “Oh no, sis. You tried it.” I present to you Exhibit A..

This photo was taken two weeks before the wedding at my second to last fitting.

The lady who did my alterations, Caron Crawford (located in Smyrna, GA) is the sweetest Jamaican lady you will ever meet. But, she kept it all the way real and I knew then, I had to lose that weight and tone up! I present to you Exhibit B. I love those two ladies!

LOOK AT MY FACE! SHOOOOOKETH. That is Ms. Crawford and her cousin, Stephanie.

So, what did I do? No. I didn’t go on one of those starvation diets. Well…. actually I did try the Arden’s Garden 2-day cleanse for the first time and I would NOT recommend it. I was hungry, tired and felt bamboozled. It seems like just acidic water to me.

I drank a gallon of water every day. I would start drinking as soon as I woke up. I would also put a tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar in 8 oz. of water and drink it before breakfast.

My husband made me a meal plan and reduced my portions of food. The large portions of food is where we get caught up. When we overeat, we gain so much weight. Breakfast would be fruit and granola

I ran 2-3 miles a day and tracked my running on The Nike Run App. I incorporated squats, burpies (I hate burpies but they work) and push ups tone up my arms.

The best thing I am going to recommend is THE CLEANER! Yall. I cannot stress enough, The Cleaner 7day cleanse is truly a Godsend. My husband and I have used it at least three times ( during different periods, usually 6months-1 year apart) to get rid of waste pounds. If you eat clean on this cleanse, meaning fruits, veggies, water, protein and good fats like Avocado, YOU WILL SEE RESULTS. Also, let me just warn you, you will be using the restroom frequently, especially if it is your first time ever doing it. That is a great thing though! It is essentially what you want.

With a lot of discipline and prayer, I was able to get into my dress with ease! At my final fitting three days before the wedding, I brought my mom. When I tried it on, we both were crying. It fit perfectly. Take my advice, keep working out and eating clean even when it feels like its not working. Chile, I was even skinny for the honeymoon, which was EQUALLY as important. LOL.

How I got the wedding of my dreams for 18K.

Having the wedding of your dreams does not mean breaking the bank. Let me explain.

In my last post I shared some quick takeaways from my wedding and how I managed to get married despite having to postpone due to COVID-19. I seriously cannot believe a pandemic almost hijacked my dream! BUT GOD!

My husband and I during our first dance, June 20, 2020

There were two tips on my last post specifically related to money. Go check it out. I wanted to elaborate on how my husband and I had our dream wedding for $18,000. We originally wanted to stay at $15,000 but we came into a little extra coin right in the nick of time!

So, how did we do it? First things first: Amazon.com! Listen. Our original wedding day was April 4th. When Covid-19 started picking up, it was 30 days before the wedding. I am so grateful that by that time, I already had boxes stacked up. Being ordered into quarantine actually worked to our benefit as I continued to online shop for things that we needed.

Here are a few essential wedding items that I purchased on Amazon.com

The Garter. I loved this garter and it was only $16.00! I have Amazon Prime so it came in one day. I literally ordered it 4 days before the wedding!

The Garter and it came with two. One to toss and one to keep.

Greg and I purchased everything for the decor ourselves and provided to our team (mainly our moms + the florist) to assemble for us. Our table runners, and head table decor were all from Amazon. They have so many variations of Mr.&Mrs. signs that will look beautiful on a head table. $16.99.

The head table where my husband I sat

This one is going to shock you. I received so many compliments and questions about where my veil was from. and yep, you guessed it: Amazon! It was only $40! The bridal shop where I purchased my dress was trying to sell me a veil for $300! I am so glad I did not take the bait. Special thanks to one of my favorite brides, Gladys Olivia King who gave me the scoop on the veils!

Now with the other expenses and services, I highly suggest networking across and joining forces with entrepreneurs that you may know personally, follow on social media or that come recommended by someone you trust. My husband and I both reached out to people we knew from college and church to piece together everything we needed. Their work was impeccable and within our desired budget. Oh! how could I forget. Our wedding photographer, who took all of the photos featured in this blog actually reached out to me on Instagram and agreed to shoot our entire wedding for FREE.99 in exchanged for social media posts! (definitely a deal!) Lavishly Lux Studio owned by Misha Wynn of Dallas, TX. She flew in from Dallas to shoot for us! Talk about a blessing. It goes to show that utilizing your resources and social networks pays off.

Our videographer, Giles Williams of GWCreatives based in Atlanta, Georgia is one of my good friends from college. His work is exceptional and his price point aligned with our ideal budget. $1,000.

Our wedding cake was made by Nicole Young who is a long time friend of our family. She has her own baking & craft company. $450.

Our florist, Chansi Coleman was highly recommended by my mentor who uses her company to supply flowers for many of his events. She is also a teacher at my former high school. $1,800.

I hope this was helpful. I know how it is when you’re planning a wedding. It is overwhelming and you want to ask whoever you can about what they did or may know. Follow me on Instagram @justtlo where I have tagged the social media pages of all those who made #ShermanandWife possible! If you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me on this post or by email: hello@justtlo.com. I am happy to help!

I got married during a pandemic and here is what I learned

After having to postpone our wedding due to Covid-19 (like who would’ve ever thought a worldwide pandemic would take place) we finally got married Saturday, June 20, 2020 and it was everything.

As I reflect on the events leading up to the wedding, here are a few things I pocketed for other brides who may find themselves overwhelmed by variations of unforeseen circumstances or stressors.

I got married during a pandemic and it further emphasized the importance of having peace within your own circle despite what is going on in the world.

  • You are marrying your best friend. Do not let anything or anyone make you lose sight of that. Whether you marry that man under a tree at the park, the courthouse or the wedding of your dreams, he is still yours. Let that be the silver lining and inspiration to keep going.
  • Use the resources around you and your network of people. We hired a lot of people that we knew personally or as family friends who have blossoming businesses. In addition to wanting to support black businesses, we wanted to support those whose businesses are expanding. We used friends from college, friends from church, former teachers etc. who are entrepreneurs. Looking for wedding vendors can be as easy as recognizing someone’s talent or gift and enlisting their services. Do not stress yourself out overthinking it.
  • Go with your gut. When planning a wedding, so many people want to offer you their advice. Although they mean well and some of what they say may be helpful, always go with your gut. When we rescheduled our wedding from April 4th to June 20th, there were people who had concerns or doubted if it would work out. After praying together, my husband I decided that we would trust God for what He promised and it was the best decision we could have made.
  • Stick to your budget. It is very east to get off track with your wedding budget. Try your best to stick to the budget and do not over spend. I let my husband handle the spreadsheet for it because I know that budgeting is not my ministry.
  • Surround yourself with people who love and support you. This is honestly important whether you are getting married or not but its especially important during major life transitions. I got married during a pandemic and it further emphasized the importance of having peace within your own circle despite what is going on in the world.

So, no matter what, this is YOUR day. Getting married to Greg was the happiest day of my life outside of giving birth to my daughter. Despite the ups and downs that come with navigating a pandemic, it was a day filled with love. Ultimately, it showed me that when life presents you with the most sour situation, choose joy anyway.