• kay jewelers and neil lane wedding rings
    ODLifestyle

    Kay Jewelers & Neil Lane #LoveIsUnstoppable Contest Win

    I entered the Kay Jewelers’ and Neil Lane “#Love is Unstoppable” contest at the very last minute. The lucky winner would receive a Jet Blue Vacation voucher, and a pair of Kay Jewelers and Neil Lane rings for their wedding picked out for them by Neil Lane himself. I was casually scrolling my Instagram feed when I saw the contest and 5 minutes later I entered. I figured, why not? Actually, I figured I had no way of winning because “little ole’ me” never wins contests like this. After I entered, I immediately put it out of my mind.   Unfortunately, the day we found out that we won the…

  • ODLifestyle,  Uncategorized

    Black-Owned Honeymoon Packing Essentials

     Our honeymoon caught me by surprise. I placed so much of my energy into getting ready for our COVID wedding, that I completely forgot to put thought into what I needed to pack for our honeymoon. I spent the day before we left washing clothes, packing, frustrated, and wondering why I waited until the last minute. Fortunately, since I stress shopped all throughout wedding planning, I already had everything I needed at home! Here are my top three honeymoon packing essentials! “Black With Plants” Tote Bag  Plant Economy is a Detroit based, black-owned business, that makes “plant products for plant people.” Their “Black With Plants” Canvas tote is the perfect size for…

  • ODLifestyle

    The McNeil Wedding Story – Love Never Fails

    When I still lived in Jacksonville, right before my big move to the city, I secretly prayed over my love life. I had an intimate conversation with God about the type of partner I wanted. I asked Him for someone who was: kind, fun, purpose-driven, and a partner in every sense of the word. In that quiet moment I prayed for my husband, our life together, and the legacy that we would create. Afterward, I sobbed and released years of feelings of inadequacy and fear. Immediately, God filled me with a calmness and assurance that soothed my entire body. Even though I felt silly asking Him for a man, I…

  • ODLifestyle

    Three Black Woman-Owned Businesses to Shop with this Juneteenth

     Juneteenth should be a national holiday. This is the day where enslaved Texans learned about their freedom…two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was made effective in 1863. As a native Texan, this holiday has never NOT been part of my life. We host BBQ’s, parades, and parties to celebrate the strength of our ancestors. We honor their sacrifices and create joy in the midst of the horrible atrocities that African Americans have to face daily. To honor Juneteenth, you can learn more about American history by virtually visiting the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Here you can learn more about the struggles that African-Americans have endured for centuries and the importance of…

  • joshua and alyssa mcneil at wedding engagement photoshoot
    ODLifestyle

    The ODMcNeils – Love Never Fails

    Over a year ago, Joshua James proposed to me in front of our family and friends and changed my life. Over a year ago I “said yes” to the man I trusted to help raise my kids with love. I “said yes” to the man who consistently makes my stomach hurt with laughter. I said yes to the man who is walking proof that God exists and that He favors me. Since then, we’ve grown together in incredible and unpredicted ways. We’ve managed job loss, death of family members, mental and physical health issues, and so much more that has tested our faith and relationship in more ways than one.…

  • Creating Magic from Nonsense
    ODLifestyle

    My COVID Story – Creating Magic from Nonsense

    I spent 2019 “preparing for my year of victory.” I was working a job that pushed me to places I didn’t know I could go. I spent silent moments questioning why God gave me such a big vision for ODStorytime only to have it accompanied by crippling depression and anxiety that kept me from going after my dreams with everything I could. Eventually, I finally found some peace as I orchestrated my re-vamp around our wedding. This summer I planned to graduate esthetician school, get married in Paris, switch careers, honeymoon in Italy, and do so in a carefully curated vacation wardrobe of all white with rose-gold accessories. It is…

  • COVID-19 Survival Tips from Nature
    ODLifestyle

    Survival Tips from Nature

    Since lockdown began, I have been binge-watching animal documentaries on BBC America and National Geographic as part of their Earth Day campaign. Learning about the hunting styles of lionesses or watching sea otters devour a sea urchin is entertaining af. It’s also an incredible distraction technique that helps me not mass obsess over COVID-19. Unfortunately, as I’ve become consumed with learning about sea dragons, I’ve been beating myself up about the level of productivity that I haven’t been producing.  Social media is inundated with quotes that say something like “If you don’t find all of Voldermort’s Horcrux’s during this time you don’t lack time you lack discipline.” Or my personal favorites that remind people…

  • Daily Affirmations Blog Post
    ODLifestyle

    Daily Affirmations in the Middle of a Pandemic

    Like most- COVID-19 has tried to take my edges, it’s called me everything but a child of God and even tried to cancel my wedding. My immediate reaction was to freak out, cry, pray, and then start again from step one. Fortunately, I’m finally feeling at peace with the new reality this pandemic has ushered into my life. The best tool that I have used to get back to this place has been sticking with my morning routine. In the morning I get up, do some light stretches, journal, read my bible and start the morning with daily affirmations. These cards remind me who I am, keep me assured that…

  • Healthy Coping Skills
    ODLifestyle

    Healthy Coping Skills I’ve Learned

    The end of last year was hard. I wish I could say that it was this sudden event that caused my world to turn upside down but it wasn’t. It was a series of small actions that lead to me making myself small, not practicing healthy boundary settings, and the worst depressive episode I have ever had. After taking a very long pause on all things not absolutely necessary, getting back on anti-depressants, and finding a therapist I can trust – I have revised what coping skills I use. I learned painful lessons and as I’m starting to come through the other side, I am understanding that it’s the little things…

  • My Esthetician School Journey
    ODLifestyle

    Minding My Business and Trusting God – My Journey to *Finally* Starting Esthetician School

    When I first started blogging is when I truly started learning about skincare. After I fully immersed myself in glam makeup, I learned about how a good esthetician can merge the two worlds. (Mainly because I wanted my makeup to look better. Sorry not sorry.) I became fascinated with the career. The idea of helping people achieve their makeup and skincare goals seemed like the best job in the world. I immediately added it to my to-do list – and left it there for 3 years. I told my family and friends that this is something that I wanted to do and for the past 3 years there was always something…