2015…The Year Everything Changed

worst year ever

Let’s talk about how I haven’t been able to write on this blog for nearly a year. I’ve been feeling stuck.  Every week I would try to write but would be unable to formulate a working sentence.   Some weeks I wouldn’t log on at all. And for a second, I thought perhaps my run with blogging had come to an end.  Maybe I’d arrived to the finish line.

But then I thought to myself, this couldn’t be the end because I think about it every day. Literally.

So I wrote drafts and then stopped.  Wrote drafts that got deleted because I was careless and forgot to save them (which really drove me crazy). Wrote more drafts then stopped.  None of the sentences came together. I couldn’t complete a single article.  I sought friends for help and asked them for topic ideas.  I got lots of great ideas, too! I cried to them about not being able to write and for a second I would feel a breakthrough but of course it didn’t last long.

IMG_3126Let’s rewind to Summer 2015.  I was living the life!  There I was living in the apartment of my dreams, dating a man whom I absolutely adored, content with the job I had.. and my social life was booming per usual.. then, bam – it all changed.  In June, my mom suffered a massive stroke.

My mom’s stroke caused my comfortable world to suddenly become… well, uncomfortable. My life was changing and I did not want it to.  It was the weekend Milton and I had planned to go to Hampton to visit my parents.  We would take off work and travel down 95 South to take my parents to dinner.  My relationship with Milton was rather new and I really wanted him to get the chance to bond with my parents.  But it didn’t happen that way.

I got a call from my dad Thursday night that my mom had a stroke.  We didn’t know how serious it was. Friday morning came and we heard my mother wasn’t doing well at all.  She had been transferred to intensive care.

So I gave Milton the option of splitting up.  I would go to Hampton to be with my family and perhaps he could enjoy a free weekend to himself. I waited to see what he would do.  I figured he’d take the easy way out with door #2 and make plans to hang out with his boys.  I began mentally preparing myself for the lonely 3-hour drive to Hampton alone.

To my surprise, Milton did not back out.  An hour later, he showed up to my apartment, carried my bags to his truck and drove me to Virginia.

I was floored.  I knew that I already loved Milton but my love for him grew deeper that day.


The next few weeks and months were followed by a series of emotional trips back and forth to Hampton. Twice doctors told my family that we needed to prepare for my mother’s departure.  Can you imagine someone telling you to get ready for your mother to die? Like, what?

I mean, come on, I’m only 33.  I needed my mother for a heck of a lot more time.  I needed to hear her opinion on things.  I needed her to see me grab my Master’s degree.  I needed her to teach me how to cook more of her special dishes. I needed her to walk down the aisle when I got married. I needed her by my side if I decided to have a child. I needed her for so much more – all the millions of reasons a girl needs her mother.

Life became hard and not fun.  My mother was unresponsive for weeks.  I was annoyed. Annoyed that I couldn’t live my life how I wanted. Annoyed that my Friday nights were spent traveling to Virginia and not out on date night. Annoyed that my emotions were everywhere and I couldn’t control it.

Fast forward to now. My parents have come back to Maryland so we all could better care for my mom.  In August, I moved back home.  The transition has been difficult. Gone are the days when I would come home from work only to be greeted by Jackson (my cat).  Gone are the days when I would cook odd meals without receiving weird stares from family members. Long gone are the days when I would come home, throw off my work clothes, lay on the couch and listen to the busy yet soothing sounds of rush hour traffic on Rhode Island Avenue.

Those days were replaced with caring for a mother who could no longer do anything for herself.  That, itself, was a shock and it made me feel depressed.  I was mad that I was inconvenienced with my mother’s constant need of care and also bitter about having to live at home. I missed my sanctuary. But then I felt bad because here I was annoyed yet my mother was the one who was really suffering! The most difficult thing was my mom not being able to speak which still really frustrates her.

In the midst of all the complaining I have done (and I’ve done a lot of complaining), I realized that there is plenty to be thankful for. My mom is now walking! She is doing things on her own, which include feeding and dressing herself. She brushes her own teeth.  She has come a long way.  And I believe God that she will talk again.

Every week I walk in her room and tell her she’s going to talk again. For months I would tell my mom that she needed to pull it together because I needed her present for the beautiful things in my future. It sounds selfish but I don’t care.


The stroke has done something for my family, too. My siblings and I have a bond that I cannot explain.  We were already close but we have grown closer.  There’s something about a sibling that differs from a friend.  They really know you.  They know where you have come from and they understand you in ways that others cannot.



my sisters. 2014.



My dad is my hero.  Late nights and early mornings he’s spent caring for my mother. Traveling up and down the highways for countless doctor’s appointments.  Completely involved in every aspect of my mother’s recovery.  The days where I knew he was tired and drained – he never lost hope for her healing and never complained.



pre-stroke. 2015.


A few nights ago, I got home around 9:30 PM. I glanced in my parent’s room and saw them sitting together working on improving my mother’s speech. They were reading words together.  My father asked her a series of questions and she answered with yes or no.  Those moments that I’m able to witness with just the two of them are so special.


Although, I’m back living in the same room I grew up in, I’m back a different woman.  I’m stronger.  I’m thankful to God for being a healer, a comforter.  I’m thankful for the time I have with my mom – moments that I took for granted before. I’m grateful for those times when it’s just us. When I’m doing her hair. Or when I offer help because I see her struggling trying to do ordinary tasks – the look in her eyes is priceless. She can’t say thank you so instead she embraces me with a hug so deep, it feels like our hearts are touching.


my favorite pic of my mom and I. 2014.


So I choose to be thankful for where I am. I choose to make the best of my time at home. It’s not where I want to be but it’s where I need to be. Because when I do go back out there, I’m going to be fully prepared for everything that lies ahead.


my parents and sister kristin at her graduation. 5/4/16






DC Nights at Home



As a kid, I remember saying to my father, “Daddy, I’m going to live in DC when I grow up.” And he would say, “It’s expensive to live in the city. I doubt you will be able to do it.” Even though I knew dad meant well, I replied, “I’m going to do it.”

And I did.

Living in the city a little over a year has been everything I’ve ever imagined, plus more. The days are noisy and the nights are just the same. People are walking the streets. Cars breezing by. The ambulance are ringing up and down the avenue. Liquor stores are bustling on every corner. Students and the working class are waiting for the Metro bus. Residents are walking their dogs. Police zipping in and out of traffic. Neighbors arguing into the wee hours of morning. The faint noise of the Red Line subway car gliding by. Restaurants galore. It’s Rhode Island Avenue and it’s my home.

A fifteen minute drive to work. Walking distance to the subway. Just a dash from 295 and 50. Minutes from Downtown. Friends and family close.  Plenty of things to do on date night.

I was without a car for three months and was still able to get around the city without hassle.  The city is convenient.  The city moves fast.

I’ve always been fascinated by the busyness of the DC. If I could live here the rest of my life, I would.  You ever get this feeling that you know things are only temporary? Like, pretty soon, the fantasy will come to an end? Well, that’s how I’ve felt the entire time I’ve lived here.  And I don’t know how long I will be here, but I will enjoy this ride while it lasts.

I have my cool cousin, Christina Sturdivant, to thank for birthing a portion of my obsession with city living.  She introduced me to DC’s swanky restaurant scene where we have an unspoken rule of no chain restaurant indulgence.  It has become so much fun to try new places!

While growing up, a part of me did feel it may be impossible to live in the city as a single woman.  I mean, there I was age thirty and had yet to leave the suburban nest. I was in grad school and working a job that I did not enjoy that was also unrelated to Social Work. Then, Hyattsville happened–with a roommate (hey, Patricia!)–and I enjoyed every minute of it. It was close to The Nation’s Capital!

But it wasn’t DC.  I still wanted DC.

Almost two years later, Patricia was heading to grad school and I had accepted a position making a bit more money in a field I wanted to be in.  But I was also left scrambling for a new place to live. Maybe I should try DC? No, I don’t make enough money to live there. Well, let me just try. So I searched and searched for weeks.  Joined every apartment hunting network possible.  Circled ads in the paper.  Visited apartments I couldn’t afford.  And then it happened. I stumbled upon an affordable one bedroom apartment on the Northeast side of Rhode Island Avenue. What a dream come true!

This has been the best time of my life.

In my 32 years of living, I’ve come to learn that anything is possible.  You can have what you want, you just have to prepare, exercise patience, never stop working for it, and when the opportunity comes (because it will), maximize on it! Dream big. No matter what others may say, go for what you want!


A Girl From the Suburbs Living in the City



Train Dirty, Look Clean



It’s still early enough in 2015 that everybody’s obsessed with getting fit–from trips to the gym to training dirty and eating clean. Keep it up because summer will be here before we know it!

As a budding workout queen, I’ve found that gyms are great places to meet people, as they’re crawling with men and women of all shapes, sizes, and nationalities.  So it may be a good idea to add some class to your cardio.

Lately, I have taken to wearing some of my favorite bold lip colors as motivation to get to the gym and dance even harder during Zumba. Don’t think it works? Even research shows that the clothing we wear can boost our confidence and can thrust us into success.

So, here are some major Don’ts to keep you flyy at the gym:

  • Refrain from exercising in clothing that are five sizes too big.  The frumpy, sloppy look won’t do you any justice.
  • Save your boyfriend’s or husband’s or any man’s oversized clothing from being worn at the gym (unless you two wear the same size).
  • Stay away from too small clothing.  You never want to look like you squeezed into your gym outfit and can’t breathe.  Besides, you’ll need the room to be able to exercise comfortably.
  • Hold out on t-shirts that are hole-y, have yellowed armpits or remnants of  last night’s dinner.
  • Don’t exercise in articles of clothing that you usually wear to wash the car or clean the house.
  • Lay low on crazy, unusual color combinations.  You don’t want to look like a clown.
  • Throw out those smelly, muddy sneakers that are leaning to the side!

And now for some Do’s:

  • Leggings and form-fitting pants are a great look; also try out galaxy leggings!
  • Find flattering, fitted tops and that are in several different colors.  Slimming tops are meant to work with a woman’s curves.
  • Aim for sneakers that are clean, comfy and colorful.
  • Wear clothes that fit you well and are comfortable to move around in.
  • Spandex rules the world!
  • And remember, take lots of pride in what you wear to the gym just like you would for a girl’s night out or even a date. The goal is to look well-put together even while you sweat!

Check out these stores for affordable, trendy workout gear:

  • Lululemon
  • Old Navy
  • Under Armour
  • H&M

What’s your favorite gym look?  Do you have a go-to workout ‘fit?  Let me know!


Fashionably yours,

Candace T.

A New Start


Happy New Year!

It’s been a really long time since I’ve written anything.  The last six months have brought on one big, huge transition.  I started one job, left that job, started a new job, took a break from grad school, moved into a new apartment, started dating a really great guy, adopted a pet (who eventually fell out of my 3rd floor window over the summer but is still alive and well!).. all within a six month period.  Talk about stress!

And then.. it happened.  I lost all of my work on the blog.  Three years worth of inconsistent writing gone down the drain.  And it’s my own fault.  After days of denial, hours of tears and painful feelings of defeat, I slowly picked myself up and made some calls.

There are times when we don’t have the strength to pull it together and that’s when we call on others for help.  Talking to my good friend, Lenee, I got a shoulder to cry on and a kick in the butt and I needed both.

Starting this blog over, from scratch, has been really tough for me to wrap my brain around but it may be just what I’ve needed.  Consistency is key.

I hope you join me on my journey as I share with you my life and my love for making others look and feel good.  I’ve missed it so much.

What you can look forward to in the next few months:

  • Trend alerts
  • What’s hot for Spring 2015
  • General fashion tips and style advice
  • Outfit features

…and more!


Fashionably yours,

Candace T.

7 Things I Learned Working Fashion Week


I did it.  I worked fashion week.  What a dream come true!

I purchased a ticket, hopped on a bus labeled NYC as its destination, caught the train to 55 West 17th Street, walked right into heaven at Manufacture New York building and introduced myself as Candace Woods.  I did, however, manage to get lost while traveling a few blocks.

Now that I have finally come down from my high, I can write about the seven things I learned during this unforgettable experience.

  • Comfort is cool but you must be stylish while on the clock
  • You must network and know how to properly introduce yourself
  • Have business cards ready and actually hand them out
  • Bring a cute change of clothes in case you go to a party later
  • Always be prepared for a turn of events
  • Learn as much as you can from the designers and fashion veterans.  Follow them around without being weird
  • Bring snacks! You will work up an appetite

It was just an amazing experience that I hope I can re-live in September.  Let’s keep our fingers crossed. :)


Fashionably yours,


Five Tips for Meeting Your Significant Other’s Family During Holidays


The holidays are here and Christmas is less than a week away! You two have been going steady for a while, and the time has come to meet your honey’s family.  Take these tips, put your best foot forward, and watch the magic happen!

1) Don’t try too hard.  Engage in conversation, laugh at jokes, ask a few questions to show your interest in the family, but do not try to become the center of attention.  You are the new person.  Everyone is already aware you’re there so allow yourself to blend in and mesh with the family.

2. Dress accordingly. Gentlemen: now is not the time to sag your pants or wear your tightest pair of skinny jeans.  Leave your favorite hoodie, jersey (you really should only wear this during a sporting event, anyway), or latest pair of Jordan’s at home.  It’s not good if the family feels the need to run for cover or hide their valuables when they see you coming. Hold off on donning your favorite 3-piece suit, too.  It’s not cool to be mistaken for a pastor or reverend if you’re not one.  Your best bet will be layers: a nice fitted cardigan wrapped around a crisp woven shirt. A tie always adds a nice touch.  Add a pair of jeans and nice shoes are you’re on your way to greatness!

Ladies: Class is the name of the game.  Length and fit is vital.  Too short skirts, too tight tops/pants, and too high heels are not a good idea.  Also be mindful to avoid excessively low-cut tops. You’re not there to compete with the turkey – let that be the only breasts and thighs people are focused on.  Shoot for a flattering dress which will exude confidence and class.

3) Be Honest.  People are going to make a big deal about you being there and will likely ask questions about your relationship with your significant other.  They may even mention marriage.  Don’t over-sell the relationship as if the wedding is next week and don’t under-sell it as if you have no clue where you two are headed.  This is your first time meeting the family so try not to think too hard about the answers.  Utilize general statements such as, “We have such a good time together!” or “Things are going quite nicely right now!” Add that with a genuine smile.  Spare any negative details of the relationship.

4) Go with the gender flow.  Gentlemen: If the guys are in a separate room watching the game, a movie, or there’s some catchy conversation taking place – leave your lady with the family and go join the men. Excessive trash talking, bragging, cockiness in sports knowledge, or competitively challenging men in the family to an athletic activity could possibly end with a hospital visit.  Macho men are sexy but keep it in moderation.  Take it easy.

Ladies: Hang around the other women.  Even if you prefer to bond with the men to watch sports, or their conversation is just better than what the ladies are offering – stay put.  If the genders split, you roll with the ladies.  You do not want to appear uninterested.  The goal is to show that you can hold your own while your honey is not by your side.

5) Offer to help clean up.  More than likely the family will decline if you offer a hand with the dishes. (lucky you!)  Gentlemen, take initiative and take out the trash.  Ladies, smile sweetly and help clear the table.  Don’t act like you’re on vacation or as if you’re too good to lift a finger to help.

Bonus: if you’re feeling lucky, bring a small gift for your beau’s mother or matriarch of the family.  This always wins points.

Above all: have fun and be natural.  Let your charm speak for itself and everything will fall right into place. Happy Holidays!


Fashionably yours,

Candace T.

Five Reasons You Should Get a Pedicure Year-Round


Autumn is under way!  The leaves are a golden yellow and burnt orange as they fall off the branches.  Beautiful.  Loads of people are filling the streets donning faux leather bombers, thick scarves, oversize sweaters, and loads of layers.  It’s also the month we start to wear all kinds of boots.  Tall ones, short ones, booties, you name it. Some say it’s the most wonderful weather of the year.

Since our feet are always stuffed in our boots, does this mean we get a pass to snooze on the pedi? Heavens no!

Here are five reasons why you should continue to get your feet done in the cold months.

1) Pretty feet are in style all throughout the year.

2) Feet can become dry and cracked more during the cooler seasons.  If callouses are left untreated…those scary things could potentially bleed! *gasp!*

3) The warm water/foot scrub/massage helps with circulation throughout your legs and feet.

4) Your mate appreciates it when you take care of your body, even the parts that are not always visible.

5) During fall/winter you really only need a pedi once, maybe twice a month.  It’s money saved!

Bonus: It’s just another excuse to pamper yourself. :)

Mark my words: it is never okay to forsake the pedi even if your feet are trapped in boots half the year.  Take care of your feet and they will take care of you.


Fashionably yours,


Who Wore It Better?


It looks like the both of us were headed to Bey’s concert in July.  Her’s in NC, mine in DC.  That entire night I kept telling my girls, “I know I’m gonna see someone with this top on.” As my homegirl is scrolling through her Instagram timeline, what do we see? This.  So who wore this ASOS Peplum Top in Multi Sequin better? You decide. xoxo.

Fashionably yours,

Candace T.

Intangibles That Make a Man Irresistible


A good friend of mine asked me a to write about some intangibles that make a man irresistible.  Check out the list and tell me what you think!

He’s God-fearing. He recognizes the need to have GOD in his life.

He’s a true gentleman. This has nothing to do with whether he pays for dinner. It has to do with chivalry.   He opens doors (car doors, too), pumps the gas even if it’s not his car, he’s polite and respectful. He physically protects you and guards your heart.

He’s observant.  He pays attention to detail and wants to learns everything there is to know about you.

He handles his business/has a hustle.  His mind is occupied with the empire he’s building.  He’s diligent and hardworking.

He makes me laugh. Because what girl doesn’t love to throw her back head howling in laughter? It is the absolute best.  Not only does laughing make you feel good, it burns calories too! Win-win!

He motivates and inspires.  One pep talk with him and you feel like you can run ten marathons in your highest pair of heels. Yep, with him cheering you on, all things are possible.

He is not creeped out when she cries. There’s the guy who softens up when you cry and there is also the guy who runs the opposite direction.  This guy sticks around to help see you through the tough times.

He tells you the truth without tearing you down. You ask his opinion because you know he’s both wise and logical. You value what he has to say.  And he says it with such poise and authority that you have no choice but to respect it.  But one thing’s for sure: he never condescends.

He’s attractive. Need I go any further?  He gets extra points if he’s just plain great looking.

He speaks and writes well. Because it’s 2013 and it’s important to be able to articulate.  Besides with auto-correct and spell-check, there are no excuses.

He’s aware of current events…and can discuss them. He never brags about how much he knows but when asked his opinion, he can go toe-to-toe from the specifics of the debt ceiling deadline to the turmoil in Libya.

He teaches me new things. Because everyone likes to be upgraded.  Smart, intelligent men are priceless and they also inspire us to be better people, too.

He keeps his word. That’s what real men do.  You want to be able to trust that he will deliver what he says.  You also want to be able to rest in knowing he’s capable of making wise decisions that will propel you both forward.

Any feedback? Let me know your thoughts! Sound off! xoxo

Fashionably yours,

Candace T

5 Reasons You Should Look Good for NYE


For several weeks, I’ve been ranting to my friends and family the importance of dressing well for New Year’s Eve.  Some of them think I’m being over-the-top, while others happen to agree.  This year I’ve managed to not only find myself something to wear early (surprisingly), but I’ve also been able to help others put together NYE ‘fits (yes!). It’s been a lot of fun.

Make no mistake, there’s no need to go overboard with shopping – going into debt, spending money you should be saving, or even over-thinking it.  You can easily mix and match pieces together in your own closet to create a fresh, fun and creative look.  My challenge to you is to put forth effort into having a fashionably grand experience at your event.  And even if you’re staying home, put on your flyest pair of PJs and have yourself a good ole’ time! Remember, class and elegance is key.

Here’s are five reasons why I believe we all (men and women) should look good for NYE:

1) It’s just plain fun to dress up.

2) You end the year on a good note and you start the new one off right. Who can argue with that!?

3) You never know who you will meet and the connections you can make both professionally and socially.

4) You’re more likely to enjoy the event.

And finally,

5) When you look good, you feel good.

Happy Dressing and Happy New Year!


Candace T.