Book Review: Becoming by Michelle Obama

Happy last day of Motivational March! My advice for today: read Michelle Obama’s book, Becoming.

When I started reading Becoming I went into it knowing it was going to be a great read, but I didn’t know how inspirational and informative it would truly be. It’s a book full of honest high and low life moment for Michelle and Barack Obama and their two girls. Becoming shares so much of Michelle Obama’s personal life from bigger details like marriage, having kids, becoming the first African-American FLOTUS, down to learning to play the piano and her first kiss. It’s a romance, inspirational, and educational novel all in one.

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In the first section of her book titled Becoming Me, she focuses mainly on herself as Michelle Robinson.
She discusses growing up living on the second floor of a small apartment in Chicago and how close-knit her and her family are. Her grandfather, nicknamed Southside, brought music and excitement to her otherwise simple, quiet life. Her mom Marian Robinson is a hardworking, professional woman who is a big influence and role model to Mrs. Obama.

She talks about attending Princeton just as her older brother Craig attended before her. She was in Princeton not only as a woman, but also as a minority which was rare in the 1980’s. We learn about graduating from Princeton, getting her first “big girl” job, and even her first encounter with Barack at her law firm and how their bond started to grow.

The chapter titled, Becoming More, takes us deeper into the Obama’s budding relationship. We see her struggle to balance finding her passion in life and possibly considering leaving her lawyer job for something less tense and more exciting. She talks about how Barack always seemed to have it all together while she felt inadequate at times for not having every aspect of her life in perfect order. Barack was way more go with the flow than she was.

Another go with the flow person she encountered was her roommate and close friend Suzanne, who sadly lost her life to cancer at just 27. Suzanne put traveling, partying, and enjoying life to the fullest as a top priority. Suzanne’s zest for life is something that helped Mrs. Obama realize she need to have more fun and cherish the happy and spontaneous times.

Mrs. Obama also shares with us details of her super cute marriage proposal and the Obama wedding in 1992. It’s such a sweet love story.
I love how she shares intimate details with us about her love, it’s relatable and honest.

In this chapter she also dives head first into political and overall career details. She tells the encouraging story of how she started running a non-profit titled, Public Allies, where the mission was to fight for an equal and higher salary in the workplace. While running her non-profit, this was also around the time where Barack started to run for office and where the couple had fertility issues and a miscarriage. These were aspects of her life that she didn’t need to share, but shared it because she knew that her story would help others facing similar challenges.

Luckily she was able to get pregnant and give birth to Malia and Natasha, nicknamed Sasha, a few years later. As if she didn’t already have a lot on her plate, she was now balancing work, motherhood, and being a new wife. To me, Mrs. Obama was proving that life was all about balancing and how to keep the scale from tipping to heavily on one side or the other. She was balancing being humble yet confident, a boss yet a mom, a wife yet an individual. She was also
balancing Barack Obama running for president and her strong feelings against him running at same time, but still trying to be supportive.

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I don’t follow politcals as well as I should so I don’t know or understand a lot of political terms, but Mrs. Obama was able to easily put the poltical world into laymans term throughout the book so that it was simple to comprehend. There’s a lot that goes on in the political world that we as citizens don’t know about and wouldn’t know about unless someone like Mrs. Obama shared those details. She dealt with hurtful political backlash about herself and about Barack Obama as well. She had to learn how to properly campaign and give speeches and rally people in neighborhoods to go out and vote which is not easy to learn.

In the final chapter of the book titled, Becoming More, we see Barack Obama become the 44th president of the United States and the first black family to serve in the White House. She details how the family has to move to D.C., enroll the girls in good schools, and redesign some areas of the White House to make it feel more at home such as adding a MLK bust and starting a garden. She even chooses to share with us small details like the codenames Secret Service gave everyone in the family. She shares the story of the lovely bond between her and the Bidens n their kids. These are life moments that we don’t fully get to see from the outside, but she felt that sharing it was impactful.

She shows that life in the White House was difficult and intense at times, but she knew the work that her and Barack Obama was doing was important and effective. During her time as FLOTUS she set up three initiatives like Let’s Move! to get kids eating healthier and being more active, Let Girls Learn which mentored young girls and let them know that they could be anyone or anything they wanted to be and also Joining Forces which provided better support for troops and their families as far as rehabilitation and obtaining jobs.

She tells us honestly about her dislike of the division politics causes in the country and the fact that she didn’t really understand military life until she started campaigning and became FLOTUS. She also tells about the heartbreak, but also relief that that comes with leaving the White House after 8 long years.

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I believe that her goal with all of the stories she tells throughout Becoming is to inspire children and adults alike, no matter the race, gender, or even political beliefs and to me she succeeded in doing that.

If I shared every detail I loved about the book I could probably write my own book on it so I shared what I could without giving away too much. I hope this review made you want to run out and by the book, I promise that it’s worth it. Have a lovely day!

Wearing your Natural Hair in the Workplace: Why is there a Debate?

Happy Monday lovelies; I hope your workweek is off to a great start!

Today’s blog topic is something that’s been on my mind for a while so I decided to share my stance on it.

Over the past few years there’s been debates and articles about whether natural hair is professional enough to wear at work and the answer is “YES!”, but some people disagree.

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Just last year a black, female journalist and television reporter got fired for fighting back against her company because her boss considered her hair “unprofessional” for the news station’s viewers. This year, she is still fighting that battle against the company’s discrimation towards her.

Now that is just one situation, but I know that it’s not the only one out there. Natural hair is professional hair. Nobody should have to hide the hair that grows from their head to appear professional to someone else.

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I have thick, type 4 hair and I’ve been natural for a little over 5 years. Luckily, I’ve been in the retail business for majority of that time so the company policies are heavily focused on freedom of expression and style.

I wear my fro majority of the time, but when my fro isn’t out I usually have my hair in braids, twists, or under a headwrap. I’m happy that some companies see natural hair as professional and is welcomed in the workplace, we just have to continue to work towards it becoming a norm everywhere.

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My advice: wear your natural hair to work and don’t be ashamed to do so. Style it how you like and be proud of your unique look. If someone doesn’t understand it or considers it unnattractive or unprofessional, speak up about it, defend yourself and your hair. You have the right to wear your beautiful natural hair just like women of other races wear theirs as well. Stay strong sis!

And for Day 18 of Motivational March: Be proud of your differences, it’s what makes you unique. ❣

I hope this post inspired you today. Leave a comment below if it did and share with me your natural hair in the workplace experience.

5 Quotes That Will Uplift Your Day

Hope you are having a wonderful Wednesday so far! For day six of Motivational March my tip is: Find a few quotes that speak to you in your current situation.

No matter what life is throwing at you right now, understand that you will make it. Stay strong, focused, and motivated!

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Below are 5 quotes that will uplift your day!

1) “Your bounce back is always going to be greater than your setback.” – Jeannie Mai, Stylist, TV personality & Host

My tip: You may feel knocked down by whatever challenges you are facing right now, but just know that once you get back on your feet, you will be stronger than ever.

2) “I don’t know what my path is yet, I’m just walking on it.” – Olivia Newton-John, Singer-Songwriter

My tip: You may be confused about what path is the correct one to take in life and that is ok. Just take life a day at a time and remember that baby steps are still steps!

3) “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” – C.S. Lewis, Writer

My tip: Don’t focus so much on the past. You can remember it and grow from it, but realize that you have a whole future in front of you that you can make amazing.

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4) “A ship is always safe at shore, but that’s not what it’s built for.” – Albert Einstein, Theoretical Physicist

My tip: Go for it! It’s easy to play it safe, but that’s not what’s best. Get out of your comfort zone, embrace the changes, and you will soon realize your new space is way better than your safe space.

5) “Surround yourself with only people  who are going to lift you higher.” – Oprah Winfrey, Media Executive, TV Host & Producer, Philanthropist

My tip: I see this quote as a reminder to have positive and uplifting people around you. You want to grow with like-minded and supportive people. Negative energy has no place around you.

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Have a great day and remember, you got this!

Coral Buttons: An Origin Story

Happy first day of March everyone! I realized that some of you may be new to reading my blog so why not share the story of how Coral Buttons came to be.

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My blog, Coral Buttons, originated in one of my Communication Arts classes at Hood College. I went to college initially thinking that I wanted to major in English, but after a few Comm Arts classes, I fell in love with communications. I enjoyed the fact that communications encompassed so many platforms such as photography, digital media, social media, newspaper and magazine writing, and journalism.

One of the assignments for my class was to create a blog and post weekly or more often if I chose to. I’ve loved writing since I was younger and it came easy for me so blogging for a class seemed like fun work. Before I dove into writing posts, I had to actually create the blog. We used WordPress as our blog site, which I clearly still use to this day.

Our first step after setting up a WordPress profile and choosing our blog layout, was to pick a topic. Growing up, I watched wedding and fashion shows sometimes more than cartoons…don’t judege me! So even from a young age I knew that fashion and styling was an interest of mine so I decided to choose fashion as my overall blog theme.

The next step was picking a name. I struggled with this for a while and googled blog titles non-stop for a few days until I stumbled upon a great blog title template. The template said choose one of your favorite colors and something related to your blog and that can be your blog title. One of my favorite colors is Coral and buttons relate to fashion so put the two together and Coral Buttons was formed.

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My professor loved the title and so did I. Once I gave my blog a name, in a weird way, I felt that I gave birth to a blog baby. I created this website from scratch and now it was mine to do as I wished with it.

The final step in Coral Buttons origin story was to write. As I mentioned above, I already had a love for writing before the class began. All I had to do was write 200-500 word posts and include some pictures and videos and bam, I was blogging. The more posts I wrote, the more I realized that blogging was not just homework for me but also a hobby that I enjoyed. I got to write about things that interested me and offer advice to people who were reading it and gave people a glimpse into my style, my ideas, and events happening in my life.

After the class ended I didn’t want to stop blogging because i fell in love with it. Going on six years later, Coral Buttons is stronger and better than ever. Hope you enjoyed learning about my blog history!

 

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Also, its Day 1 of Motivational March so throughout the month I will be sharing motivational tips and advice to help inspire you. Tip of the day:

Remember that everyone has an origin story. Oprah didn’t start off as  one of the best TV hosts ever. Serena Williams didn’t start off as the #1 tennis player in the world. Barack Obama didnt start off as the first African American president.
Each one started off in a different space compared to where they are now, so whether you are at the start or middle of your journey or you’re completed lost on your journey, just know you have more to your story. 👏🏽

Have a great weekend!

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Removing Marley Twists

Happy Monday! Start your week off with a smile and stay positive. You can make it!

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Today I wanted to share my Marley Twist takedown process. What you need: scissors, your braids/twists, and an hour or less!

It’s a super easy process, check it out below:

1) Cut your twists about halfway down making sure to not cut too high in order to avoid cutting your real hair

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2) Take out twists by pulling two strands apart which in turn untwists them. They unravel naturally!

3) You then are back to your natural hair!

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Stay tuned, I will soon be posting a braid/twist install process with more pictures and maybe even a video. 🙂

Have a great week!

If it makes you happy, wear it!

Hope you enjoyed your Valentine’s Day, whether single or in a relationship! I actually love Valentine’s Day. A lot of people think I love the holiday because I’ve been in a relationship for a few years now, but I’ve actually loved it since I was younger.

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As a young girl I watched wedding shows sometimes more than cartoons…I know, weird right. I was the student who wanted to give Valentine’s candy and cards to all of my classmates growing up. I just always loved the idea of love.

I know some people believe that Valentine’s Day is just a superficial and commercialized holiday, but I see it as a special day to go all out for your signifcant other in a different way than the other 364 days of the year.

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And if you are single, practicing self-love and taking yourself on a date that makes you feel beautiful, confident, and happy is also a perfect way to spend Valentine’s Day.

Yesterday, Shawn and I actually had a very lowkey Valentine’s Day. It was a rainy LA day so we decided to stay in and catch up on all of our tv shows, which was fun and relaxing.

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I only left my apartment to take the pictures you see in this post and then went back to the comfort of my bed, blankets, and snacks.

A few days ago I was trying so hard to figure out what to wear on Valentine’s Day just in case we went out somewhere. I was thinking about buying a pink skirt or a cute red dress to wear, but I honestly wasn’t feeling pink or red this year for the holiday.

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I felt like every year I aimed for something pink, red, or white in my outfit to match the usual theme of the holiday, so I switched it up this time for a less bright and less girly look and I loved it.

Don’t get so tied up on themes or what other people are wearing, wear what makes you happy. For my non-traditional Valentine’s Day outfit, I decided to wear navy and black!

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I wore a navy blazer from H&M and paired it with a black Topshop bralette, black FashionNova jeans, and black dress shoes from Nordstrom Rack. I felt like this outfit was sexy enough for the lovey dovey holiday while still being simple and stylish.

As I mentioned earlier, it was a rainy day, so I was excited to add my umbrella to my outfit. My umbrella has pink and white polka dots on it, which added a nice pop of color to my Valentine’s Day look.

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If dresses make you happy, wear them. If crop tops make you happy, wear them. If you don’t feel comfortable in shorts and they make you unhappy, don’t wear them.

Anybody can wear anything that makes them feel confident and happy. All bodies are good bodies!

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Have a lovely weekend!! 🙂

Find Fun Walls

Hey hey! Hope your week is going well. Today I will be showcasing an outfit and giving a tip I learned that can help take your pictures to the next level.

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My tip: find fun walls that make your outfit and picture stand out.

Walls come in all shapes and sizes. There’s the traditional stone and brick walls, but there are also walls that are colorful and highly decorated. I love finding walls that compliment my outfit.

 

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LA has a lot of cool street art throughout the city so it’s easy to find a patterned wall to use as a background. I actually found this wall on the side of a parking garage near Melrose. I chose this wall because the red and black pattern on it was bright and looked edgy.

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I wore a striped button up shirt from FashionNova that I knotted in the front and black Topshop pants. To finish off my look, I wore teal, velvet heels.

I like versatile outfits and pieces that I can rewear multiple ways. If I throw on some flats with this outfit it works for a casual, everyday look. If I button up my shirt and throw on a blazer, it’s a professional look.

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What pieces do you have in your closet that you love to rewear? Where are some good picture locations in your city? Let me know in the comments below and enjoy the rest of your week!