Sephora Inside JCPenney Must-Have Valentine’s Day Fragrances

I’ve never been a big Valentine’s Day girl –not a big chocolate fan, I hate roses, and I prefer to be showered in love every day of the year versus one day of the year. But one thing I do love is to be pampered and thought of, immensely. If you know me, you know I’m a bit of a fragrance snob, and I love falling in love with new scents.

Cute story, my grandmother always told me that a woman should never buy her own perfume; instead it should be given to her by someone who loves her and wants to be close enough to smell her aura. I really hold that philosophy to heart, and ever since I learned that life lesson, I’ve never purchased another bottle of perfume for myself again. I either purchase for others, or wait for someone to purchase for me. This year Valentine’s Day came early …

Sephora inside JCPenney has won me over with their elaborate selections of designer fragrances. It’s the perfect spin on Valentine’s Day gifts. This year I ditched the expensive chocolates, flowers, and teddy bears and grabbed a few fragrances that were a little more practical and function for my busy lifestyle.

The best part –YSL’s Black Opium, Versace Bright Crystal, and Philosophy’s Amazing Grace Ballet Rose are all perfect for transitioning into spring weather, and they come in rollerballs (which is perfect for travel!)

Not only are these babies a MUCH better gift option, you won’t find yourself wandering the aisles on picked-over cliché gifts; instead you can have a little ease knowing your last-minute shopping experience at Sephora inside JCPenney will be a breeze.

And if you’re still reading … I have a huge surprise: Y OU have a chance to win a $100 Sephora inside JCPenney Giftcard! I’m hosting a giveaway in collaboration with Sephora inside JCPenney on my Instagram page … so follow me HERE

Now you, too, can discover how practical finding essential skin and beauty products can be at your own local Sephora inside JCPenney!

To enter the giveaway simply: FOLLOW my Instagram page, tag 3 friends, and comment under the giveaway post sharing your favorite fragrance that Sephora inside JCPenney carries! Winner will be announced February 9, 2018.

*This blog post is in collaboration with Sephora inside JCPenney, all thoughts and opinions are my own. #SephoraInJCP

The Best Day of Our Life [VIDEO]

It’s crazy to think that a month ago I took the biggest leap of my life and married HD (ahh!) For the past year we’ve been planning our wedding, and sharing every single moment with you all; because you’re like our family. The month before the wedding, it felt like everything ran together and somehow I got lost in the mix of the holidays, final planning details, and life in general.

When Barry and Jasmine of Howell Designs and I had our initial consultation, little did I know that they would sweep me off of my feet. The truth is, the day goes by in the blink of an eye. You spend MONTHS planning a 10-hour affair, and it goes by like a flash, and then it’s over. You wake up the next morning feeling like everything was a blur because so much is happening around you! *a good blur might I add*

But Barry and Jas’ stopped time for us; and we get to re-live every single moment from our big day. Jas told me when we started planning the details that they were real life magicians, and they make things come together effortlessly. She definitely wasn’t lying!

I’ve literally cried at least 5 times from watching this video… and I look forward to watching it over, and over, for the rest of our lives. You may not have been there, but this wedding recap video will make you feel like you had the best seat in the house. P.s. there’s a special surprise at the end of the video so … KEEP WATCHING!

Thank you Barry and Jas, you two came in the door as our videography/cinematography vendors and have etched a permanent mark in HD and I’s life as friends. For those of you asking, Howell Designs offers affordable multimedia packages for any special occasion, including weddings, celebrations, and professional. They are based in Atlanta, but are willing to travel. Jasmine is also from Alabama (roll tide), so she frequently works on projects in that great state, too! Tell them I sent you and I’m sure they will give you a special rate!

Last-Minute Holiday Gifts with Sephora inside JCPenney

Christmas is just two days away, people! With all of my wedding planning going on, I’ve completely lost focus and have fallen behind on Christmas shopping. The other day I was in JCPenney grabbing a few last-minute things and wandered right into Sephora inside JCPenney … talk about convenient. While stocking up on some of my favorite beauty items, I noticed they had super affordable last minute gifts that came in handy for some of the beauty lovers on my shopping list!

Triece, my sister, is a huge fan of fragrance and she never buys it for herself. This means that she waits ‘til Christmas and expects for someone to gift her a new perfume every year. Sephora inside JCPenney happen to have the new Dior “Miss Dior The New Eau de Parfum” … and I can’t wait to surprise her with it. The scent is so fresh and airy, perfect for every day wear! 

Next on my list was MYSELF. Haha, yes, it’s okay to gift yourself for Christmas. Call me selfish but, with my wedding being a few days away, my skin needed an emergency treatment. Which is why I scooped First Aid Beauty’s Mask Diaries. This gift set includes the hydrator Ultra Repair Cream, a redness reducing Ultra Repair Instant Oatmeal Mask, brightening Facial Radiance Intensive Peel, and the 5-in-1 Bouncy Mask. Realistically … this gift could have easily gone to someone else but, I couldn’t resist treating myself this holiday season!

If you’re anything like me, then you understand I’m probably an over achiever. This means anytime I holiday shop I like to buy a gift that anyone can use. Ole Henriksen’s Glow Away With Me is one of those perfect “extra” gifts that anyone can be gifted and can use. So, it’s perfect for that house guest who pops up when you were least expecting company. The cleaning cloths really come in handy for the beauty maven on the go. Plus it’s rich moisturizer is compact and cute making rich skin possible even on the go! So, honey this is a must on your last-minute shopping list, and it’s only $12!


This post was written in collaboration with Sephora inside JCPenney. #SephoraInJCP #SoWorthIt

A Sit-down With Curvy Bridal Shop Owner, Mesita Partridge

If you don’t already know, my wedding dress is coming from Ivory Bridal, a curvy bridal boutique based in Atlanta right in the middle of historical Grant Park. Together we’ve been designing the perfect dress for my curves. When I first met Mesita, owner of Ivory Bridal, I can honestly say it was a pleasant surprise. Since then, I find myself texting her almost every day like we are old friends.

I think I mentioned this before but, I wasn’t expecting to be greeted by a young, black woman when I first paid Ivory Bridal a visit. A young, black woman, who looked like me and was clearly a girl-boss. I was inspired, immediately! The thought that this young, savvy, woman of color owned her own thriving business(es) stopped me in my tracks and I had to learn more about who she was.

Mesita’s story is like no other, from working in the event planning business, quitting her 9-to-5 to fully focus on opening her boutique and being an entrepreneur. To finding love and the perfect dress and wanting other women with curves to do the same … I think you’d be inspired, too. Check out her story …

Triena: How in the world did you end up in this wedding business?

Mesita: I’ve always been in the hospitality industry.  I did corporate and social events for different venues … and weddings were always my favorite thing! In college, a group of my girlfriends and I all modeled, and together we wanted to host prom fashion shows at the local high schools. It never happened, but the concept always stuck with me. Then after my own wedding, and my horrible experience of trying to find the perfect dress (I wanted something form-fitting, and nothing would go over my hips.) I knew I wanted to open a shop for brides with curves like me. I always wanted to carry larger sample sizes so that no bride ever felt what I felt in the dressing room that day I tried on dresses. Here we are today, Ivory turns 5 on January 3rd!

T: What kind of bride were you?

M: I won’t call myself a bridezilla … but because I was already in the wedding industry, I definitely knew what I wanted and I also knew how to negotiate and get the things that I wanted. So, I didn’t take no for an answer. Some would take that as a bridezilla moment but I like to think that it was just me being assertive in the situation. (Laughs)


T: What’s the hardest part about finding the perfect dress?

M: For me personally, it was a long process to get to the perfect dress. I fell in love with my first dress, a beaded gown and my mom didn’t like it. She wanted me to be a princess. I purchased the ball gown that my mom fell in love with but I regretted it. I ended up going shopping by myself, and fell in love with “the dress” and made that decision completely on my own. In total, I bought 3 dresses … and loved one.

I tell my brides all the time, you have to know what YOU want. I strongly dislike when brides come in with an entourage. We ask people to bring four people or less. When you have more than three or four people with you, the focus goes away from the Bride and everyone talks about what ‘they like’. Well, darling, you aren’t going down the aisle. It’s difficult when you rely on too many people, because you lose sight of what you want and depend on their word for what they want for you.

The bride should always be treated like she’s on a pedestal … always!

T: What mistake do you find most brides make in their dress shopping process?

M: The biggest mistake a bride can make is always, listening to other people instead of listening to herself. You’ll have a bride who loves a dress, and we know she loves it before she comes out of the fitting room because it’s written all over her face; but when she comes out, people will pick it apart and say what they don’t like … and then she hates it. It’s so sad to watch the moment go from extremely high and positive, to low and negative.

T: Lace, Bling, or Plain? … And why?

M: I say … I love lace! My wedding dress was lace and I was glad that I went with it. It’s classic, elegant, and timeless. I still love beaded gowns, but I will always go for lace with a pop of bling!

The thing is, every bride is different, and that’s why I love Ivory Bridal because we have it all for every bride in every size.

T: How can a bride find her dream dress in her budget?

M: So, if she’s looking for a deal here at Ivory, I typically do a sample sale twice a year … once in July and once in December. That’s the perfect opportunity to get a gorgeous gown at up-to 75 percent off the original cost. Then, we also always have “Last Chance” gowns, so you can always find a deal around here!

T: The dress is only a fraction of the look … what are other essentials to make your dress really POP?

M: We actually have this convo a lot here in Ivory, and I think the veil completes the look. You have some brides who are surprisingly not interested in a veil; but, I think they absolutely complete your look. I, particularly, love a cathedral veil. It’s just something beautiful about walking down the aisle with the veil flowing behind you. It’s so pretty!

Shoes are important, too! I love when the bride comes for their final fitting and they bring their shoes. This is highly recommended by the way to ensure your dress is long enough. Shoes are a great way to show your personality. Lots of my brides do colorful shoes, or shoes with bling for a fun spin.

Undergarments are just as important. We sell a long-line plunge bra here at Ivory, and we are sure it’s the perfect bra for nearly every wedding dress we have in stock. It gives you a great lift, and synchs In your waist. 

T: Let’s talk shape! Lots of ladies feel like because they are plus size the shape of their dress is limited. Share your insight on silhouettes and how it caters to each body type.  

M: I don’t believe that if you’re a certain shape you have to wear a certain silhouette. It really just depends on the dress. So, I encourage my brides to always try it on. We have a beautiful trumpet gown with ruching that looks incredible on everyone. Even if you have a little tummy, the ruching in the corset synchs your waist and camouflages whatever your concerns may be.

You must trust your wedding dress stylist, and try on different things. You’d be surprised by what works!

T: If you could be a bride again, what would you do differently?

M: I would probably have a little more fun with my dress! When I got married I didn’t own Ivory Bridal yet, so I want something different this time around. My husband and I are approaching our 10-year anniversary and plan to do a vow renewal. I might play on the trend of having a second look, or being able to take something off of the dress to make it look different.

I also wouldn’t stress about the small stuff because … everything comes together in the end.

T: What’s next for Ivory Bridal and Mrs. Mesita?

M: We have expanded into wedding planning via Events by Mesita. I’m also creating my own line of wedding gowns just for curvy brides and … we are considering expanding to another state! So there’s a lot in store for Ivory Bridal, and we’re so excited to keep all of our supporters updated!

Told you ladies Mesita is girl-boss goals. You can find her in Atlanta, at Ivory Bridal. Plus Size Brides, if you are in need of the perfect gown, stop by Ivory Bridal and tell them Triena sent you! 465 Boulevard SE #102A, Atlanta, GA 30312

*Images c/o Made You Look Photo

A Southern Belle Bridal Shower

This weekend I went home to Alabama for my bridal shower and I was absolutely blown away. I’m typically the planner in my circle of loved ones so to have my sister (with the help of my mom) plan me a shower had me super excited and anxious at the same time.

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