• ODLifestyle

    Three Black Woman-Owned Businesses to Shop with this Juneteenth

    Share this...FacebookTwitterLinkedinPinterestemail 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…

  • joshua and alyssa mcneil at wedding engagement photoshoot

    The ODMcNeils – Love Never Fails

    Share this...FacebookTwitterLinkedinPinterestemailOver 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…

  • Creating Magic from Nonsense

    My COVID Story – Creating Magic from Nonsense

    Share this...FacebookTwitterLinkedinPinterestemailI 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…

  • COVID-19 Survival Tips from Nature

    Survival Tips from Nature

    Share this...FacebookTwitterLinkedinPinterestemailSince 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…

  • Daily Affirmations Blog Post

    Daily Affirmations in the Middle of a Pandemic

    Share this...FacebookTwitterLinkedinPinterestemailLike 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…

  • Healthy Coping Skills

    Healthy Coping Skills I’ve Learned

    Share this...FacebookTwitterLinkedinPinterestemailThe 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…

  • My Esthetician School Journey

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

    Share this...FacebookTwitterLinkedinPinterestemailWhen 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…

  • 5 Things That Have Changed Since My Engagement

    Five Things That Have Changed Since My Engagement

    Share this...FacebookTwitterLinkedinPinterestemailA little over three months ago, Josh and I officially announced to the world that we were going to do this thing called life together. It was such an exhilarating time in our relationship. We spent the next month looking at each other with crazy love eyes, ignoring responsibilities, and eating way too much cake. Since then, in preparation for our marriage, a lot of things have changed. I’ve been overcome with the idea that it’s not just me anymore. In order to properly transition into this new chapter, I needed to change. Lifestyle Choices After a hard look at my lifestyle choices, I’ve made a bunch of changes…

  • Alyssa's engagement ring

    Alyssa and Joshua #TheODMcNeils

    Share this...FacebookTwitterLinkedinPinterestemailBefore I moved out of D.C., my Little turned to me and said: “you’re going to move to New Jersey, fall in love, get married and never move back.” I chuckled, slightly entertained the idea, and pushed it out of my mind. It clearly went from her mouth to God’s ears because a few weeks later I met Joshua. As I got to know him I found him to be soft natured and shy when we were around big groups. Yet, when we were alone he was full of light and it was easy to make him laugh. His easygoing spirit was enough for me to deem him my…

  • blog graphic for get up 10 post

    Mistake Queen

    Share this...FacebookTwitterLinkedinPinterestemailGuess who’s #backtoblogging for the 800th time? ODStorytime is! I was forced to take a break from everything for a few reasons. I moved. My health started acting a plum fool. I started a new job. My world was turned upside down by a series of small events that added up to be a big freaking moment in my life. I wanted to blog my way through it. I truly did. I just couldn’t. Whenever I had a free moment, I would plan to create content. However, when the time came all I could do was sit on the couch and pray that soon the stress of it all would…