A Cinderella Moment with Lotus Boutique!!

This past week, I attended Birmingham Fashion Week for the first time…as a blogger!!!  Last year I attended simply as a guest, and the experience was much different than it was this time.  I had so much fun this year; it was super exciting and so amazing!!  In preparation for Fashion Week, I wanted to make sure I planned fun outfits for each night.  Cue: Lotus Boutique!!

Lotus Boutique was amazingly gracious!  I was able to wear three looks from their current in-store collection!  It started out with a visit to the Lotus Boutique at the Summit to pick out some outfits. For those of you who haven’t been to the Lotus store at the Summit in a while, be aware that they are no longer located over by Sephora and Gus Mayer, but rather next to Gap, and in the same suite as the Halcyon Day Salon & Spa!

041714102304171410250417141025aSo, I got started! Selecting only three outfits was by no means an easy task!  There was so much to choose from!  Check out some of the cute things I saw:

0417141028b 0417141032a 0417141031 0417141030c 0417141030a 0417141029d 0417141029b 0417141029 0417141028 0417141027c 0417141026a 0417141026 0417141025b0417141033 0417141034 IMG_20140417_121939I made my choices based on uniqueness if you will.  I wanted pieces that people wouldn’t think to pair with a metallic jacket, or with a peplum top.  I also wanted pieces that spoke to my style, which is fun and feminine.  In the end, I selected a few things:





All of the outfits were so fun to wear and fit so well!!  I am SOOOOO grateful to Lotus Boutique for making this experience such a memorable one!!  I had so much fun styling all three different looks!  Here are the three looks I put together with pieces from the Lotus collection:


BFW – Night 2 (This outfit was also featured on al.com!!)


BFW – Night 1 (LOVED this outfit…this dress is one of my all-time favorites. I’m planning to wear it ALL summer!!)


BFW – Night 4 (Loved, loved, loved this skirt!! Loved that it was a stretchy pencil skirt, so very flattering for curvy-figures!

What do you think??  I could fill my closet with Lotus clothing and accessories!!  Couldn’t you??

Follow me on Instagram to see more outtakes from Birmingham Fashion Week, and my blog, Chic in Academia, for work-appropriate outfit inspirations, as well as tips on how to mix high and low fashion!

Stay Chic! 💋

Neutrogena Face-Off Challenge!!

Disclaimer:  This post is a compensated post in collaboration with Neutrogena® and Latina Bloggers Connect.  However, opinions expressed in this post are my own and have not been modified by the sponsors or any other third parties.

When I learned that I was selected to participate in the Neutrogena® Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes Face-Off Challenge“, I was beyond excited!  I LOVE Neutrogena products!!  True story. However, the towelettes were a product I had not used.  So, imagine my excitement when I received a trial of the towelettes to try, in addition to a cute white face towel for the challenge.

0306142237aSo before I go into the details of the challenge, I first have to share my usual makeup removing, sophisticated, technique.  Haha, not really! 😛

My usual night-time removal routine involves:

  1. Washing my face with Neutrogena Face Wash (which I love, but is not completely effective for 100% makeup removal).
  2. Removing the rest of my make up with face or any Aveeno lotion and a tissue or, usually, a piece of toilet paper!  Waa, please don’t judge me!!! 😦

0306142238-1That’s it.  My usual make-up removing ritual, before these magic wipes came into my life, was pretty depressing.  What’s worse is that I usually STILL had mascara smeared around my eyes because the baby lotion wasn’t effective enough, so my hubby slept next to a raccoon most nights!  Haha!

Sigh!  Anyway, cut to the Neutrogena® Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes Face-Off Challenge”!  This was a complete GAME CHANGER!  I’m talking Oprah ‘Aha’ moment, fat lady singing, ‘Eureka’ moment, all in one!!

For the challenge, I took a picture of myself right before bed, prior to removing my makeup (yes, a selfie…SCARY!!):

0304142052aThen I took a single Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelette and used it all around my face – yes, even around my eyes!  The towelette is soft and smells pretty amazing!  It left my face amazingly clean!  But, yuck, so much remained on the towelette:

0304142114_1Ummm, perhaps I should consider wearing less makeup??!  Hmm, sounds like a good idea in theory.  Good thing I’m not a theorist! 😉

Next, I washed my face with my usual face wash.  No picture for that, sorry! 😛

Okay, the final step was honestly, a bit scary.  I REALLY wanted this challenge to be a success.  Because I had never used the towelettes, I had my doubts about the effectiveness of the product and wondered whether they would really pass the ‘white towel’ test!!

THANK goodness for the makeup removing geniuses who created these towelettes, because after drying my face with the white towel – yes, even around my eyes – there was NO makeup left on my face!!  SUCCESS!!

0304142114a_1Here’s a picture of me, with no makeup on (ACK!!!) and a CLEAN white towel!!  Please excuse the makeup-less selfie, but it was part of the challenge!! EEEK!


Anyway, you get the picture…the towelettes work!!  I’m officially a fan!  Thankfully, I also have a whole box for participating in the challenge! 😀

PhotoGrid_1393989225092Anyhow, challenge completed and deemed a complete success!  I leave you with some information provided by Neutrogena about these makeup removing soft cloths, and hope that you enjoyed this review!

If you care to share, comment below with your makeup removing routine, or simply what you thought of this post!  Look forward to hearing from you!

Stay chic!! 💋

Some key info from Neutrogena about the Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes!

  • Neutrogena® Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes remove 99.3% of all traces of dirt, oil, and makeup to reveal clean, fresh skin.
  • Neutrogena is recommended by dermatologists two times more than any other brand.
  • Safe for contact lens wearers.
  • Neutrogena provides superior cleansing and make-up removal products.
  • Gentle enough to use around the delicate eye area.

The ABCs of RSV

Disclaimer:  This post is a compensated post in collaboration with MedImmune and Latina Bloggers Connect.  However, opinions expressed in this post are my own and have not been modified by the sponsors or any other third parties.

As promised, today I am writing about a very important public health issue: Respiratory Syncytial Virus, better known or more commonly known as RSV.  As a mother of a soon-to-be 9-month old, I take every opportunity to learn about things that might affect my little one; RSV is no exception!

Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is a common, seasonal virus contracted by nearly 100% of babies by their 2nd birthday. Although RSV is extremely common, many parents are unaware of the dangers that RSV presents to their children.

As a health disparities researcher, I am very interested in disparities across different racial ethnic groups.  The data indicate that although infants of all races/ethnicities are at risk for RSV, African-American and Latino babies are at increased risk of developing severe RSV disease.

Why?  Well, among Latinos in the US specifically, half a million babies are born premature each year, with the preterm birth rate increasing 6% over the last decade. Currently 1 in 8 Latino babies is born premature, and it is possible that high prematurity rates are a reason for increased risk of RSV within Latino communities. In addition, 1 in 3 Latina mothers avoids or postpones proper treatment for their child because of healthcare costs, lack of access to care, or lack of time off from work.  Similar factors hold true in African American communities.

All parents—especially those with babies at increased risk for contracting RSV (e.g. preemie babies) —must understand key facts about RSV to protect their children. Learning the ABCs of RSV is a simple way to keep your family healthy during RSV season.

A is for Awareness:

RSV is a common seasonal virus, contracted by nearly all children by the age of 2, and typically causes mild to moderate cold-like symptoms in healthy, full-term babies. Preterm infants, however, are born with under-developed lungs and immature immune systems that put them at heightened risk for developing severe RSV disease, often requiring hospitalization.

  • RSV occurs in epidemics each year, typically from November through March, though it can vary by geography and year-to-year.
  • RSV disease is the leading cause of hospitalization for babies during their first year of life in the United States, with approximately 125,000 hospitalizations and up to 400 infant deaths each year.
  • RSV disease is responsible for 1 of every 13 pediatrician visits and 1 of every 38 trips to the ER, in children under the age of 5.
  • Despite being so common, many parents aren’t aware of RSV; in fact, one-third of mothers (and two-thirds of Latino mothers) have never heard of the virus.

B is for Babies:

  • Premature babies—defined as those born before 37 weeks gestation—are most at risk for developing severe RSV disease because they have under-developed lungs and fewer antibodies to fight the virus than babies born full term.
  • The virus often leads to a mild respiratory infection, but in some babies, such as preemies, it can develop into something much more serious due to their underdeveloped lungs and immature immune systems.  Poor little defenseless little ones!! 😦

C is for Contagious:

RSV is very contagious and can be spread easily through touching, sneezing and coughing. Additionally, the virus can live on the skin and surfaces for hours. Learn the symptoms of severe RSV disease and contact your child’s pediatrician immediately if your child exhibits one or more of the following:

  • Persistent coughing or wheezing
  • Bluish color around the mouth or fingernails
  • Rapid, difficult, or gasping breaths
  • Fever [especially if it is over 100.4°F (rectal) in infants under 3 months of age]


There is no treatment for RSV disease once it’s contracted, so prevention is critical. A pediatrician is the best way for mothers to get answers to their child’s health issues.  In addition to talking to their children’s doctor, parents can help protect their children from contracting RSV by:

  • Washing their hands and ask others to do the same
  • Keeping toys, clothes, blanket and sheets clean
  • Avoiding crowds and other young children during RSV season
  • Never letting anyone smoke around your baby (that includes you!  Don’t smoke around your baby, whether that be your human or fur-baby!!  I digress, but you get what I’m trying to say. J)
  • Steering clear of people who are sick or who have recently been sick

Speak to your child’s pediatrician to determine if your baby is at high risk for RSV disease, and if so, what additional steps may be recommended. For more information about RSV and prevention, visit www.RSVprotection.com.

Thanks for reading, becoming informed, and for helping to prevent RSV in our precious baby population!  Here is a printable info sheet to place on your fridge, in your baby book, or to simply have on hand should you ever have questions about RSV.

Stay chic and informed, fab friends!! 💋

RSV Infographic - ENGLISH