The honeymoon’s officially over, and not every couple made it out of paradise with their engagements intact. However, for the Love Is Blind Season 4 hopefuls that did, episodes 6-8 are about cultivating a love that stands the test of time and reentering the real world as husbands- and wives-to-be. In shared apartments provided by the show, the couples will learn to navigate cohabitation, work routines, finances, family and friend dynamics, and most importantly, putting in the work to eventually make the commitment of a lifetime to someone in a matter of three weeks.
Spoilers are most definitely ahead!
Kwame + Chelsea
Kwame is doing his best to get back into my good graces, and it’s somewhat working. In episode 6, after the real-ass conversation, he and Chelsea had in Mexico, where she urged him to let the Micah ish go, Kwame seems to be walking the talk of the man that said he was where he was supposed to be in regards to his engagement with Chelsea. As he basks in the glory of doing adulting to the highest level, he seems in awe and at ease and even tells Chelsea that walking into their place together makes him feel “at home in it.”
As they are enjoying their first takeout meal in their spot together, the two begin to talk about cleaning duties and how they should go about dividing chores. Chelsea expresses that she prefers going to bed with a clean kitchen, but Kwame is more 80/30 when it comes to clean dishes. Surprisingly, he notes that he would like for Chelsea to flush the toilet after she uses the bathroom every time. Chelsea makes excuses but eventually agrees. Come on, boo. We can’t be pressed about clean dishes 100% of the time and then leave pee in the toilet for our fiancé to flush for us.
Later on in the episode, the two explore each other’s apartments in real life. I loved the backstory of the healing nature of Chelsea’s decorating decisions and how her space was one of self-expression and fulfillment of her being her full self in ways she couldn’t be in a previous relationship.
Chelsea shares with the camera that things got really real for her that day because, during her single days, she was met with a lot of loneliness. She reveals being on FaceTime calls constantly to feel some kind of connection. “Everything’s different now,” she ends tearfully. “I get to come home to Kwame. And that’s a whole new feeling for me. I’ve wanted it for so long.”
In the episode’s cliffhanger, Kwame and Chelsea learn that they both have dads named Charles, but Chelsea is nervous about how her dad Charlie will receive the news of this very unique circumstance of falling in love, getting engaged, and married in a matter of weeks. While doing her best to combat her nerves, Kwame and Chelsea have a semi-passive-aggressive back and forth about who lectures who the most before Kwame waves his white flag to share why he should be on edge more than she should be on edge.
Despite some of his anxiety around the situation, he does his best to try to assuage Chelsea in her stressful moment, but Chelsea ain’t trying to hear none of that.
Courtesy of Netflix
As revealed at the top of episode 7, all the conversation leading up to meeting Chelsea’s dad was for naught because Charlie barely needed an explanation to get with the program. He embraced Kwame and Chelsea’s relationship with him with literal arms wide open! Later in the episode, Chelsea and Kwame head to Portland, where Kwame actually resides (not Seattle like the majority of the other cast members of the season), to visit his apartment and take some things of his to the shared apartment in order to really coexist.
It’s interesting to note that Kwame would have to uproot the life he leads in Portland to make the relationship and could-be marriage work with Chelsea. He tells the camera he has no friends in Seattle. He has things about Portland that are routines for him. Chelsea is dead set on having a life in Seattle. Kwame notes that he sometimes feels he compromises a lot, maybe too much even.
Later in the episode, when Kwame has the phone conversation with his mom about doing the experiment and moving forward with an engagement with Chelsea, the news is not received well. He tells Chelsea that his mom is a big part of his life and that it is tough to hear that she isn’t happy for him. It’s a stark contrast to the unyielding acceptance we felt from Chelsea’s dad.
Kwame seems to take things in stride, giving his super emotionally intelligent recap of the events to Chelsea, but I can’t help but think that it must be hard to always swallow your emotions and filter them in a way where you have to apply so much reason to the things you have every right to feel. He was hurt and disappointed but does his best to smile through everything. I thought that said a lot about who he strives to be in life.
Courtesy of Netflix
In episode 8, Kwame is making major life adjustments, from moving to Seattle for Chelsea to taking care of her dog, Rocky. When they have a conversation about having a family after bathing Rocky, I appreciate the seriousness of such a topic. It seems like it’s been broached before because Chelsea leads with reminding Kwame that he said three years into being married would be a good time to start a family. The pressure is on, and you can tell as Kwame seems uneasy while Chelsea is speaking her piece about always seeing herself as a mom.
He emphasizes wanting to have time to “enjoy each other.” He notes that Rocky infringes upon their ability to be flexible as it is, even if he sees himself and his future wife traveling the world together. Kids would add another difficult layer to that desire. When she notices that it seems Kwame is grieving a past version of his life, Chelsea asks a fair and important question, “Do you want to settle down?” Thank you, someone who remembers the point of this show.
Kwame tells her that he is compromising a lot. There goes that word again. I have a feeling that is more so what it is about than having kids versus not having kids. He ends the conversation by explaining that he just wants his feelings to be considered. “Considered,” Chelsea replies.
Courtesy of Netflix
As he opens up to Tiffany at Chelsea’s birthday party later in the episode, his issues with compromise and the potential of being too compromising are something that comes up again. In another inappropriate sidebar conversation with Micah, Kwame asks her if she feels she’s made the right choice. As usual, with their conversations, it feels like they are applying feelers to the situation to see if there’s smoke where there’s fire. I have my eye on these two.
He tells the camera that he will always have feelings for Micah, and he likes that their connection is “seamless,” and there’s no pressure to it. I rolled my eyes because he's not engaged to her and there are no ties, and that’s why there’s no pressure. You’re having to make these life-changing decisions about your partner in a matter of weeks. Of course, you’ll feel some pressure with Chelsea that you won’t feel with another woman not directly involved in that relationship.
The fantasy of what could be doesn’t always tell the story of what is and blatant acts of disrespect like this after the conversation he had with Chelsea about letting it go makes me feel for his fiancée. She deserves better than that.
Brett + Tiffany
The hygiene Olympics continue as Tiffany and Brett come onto the scene heading into their nighttime routine. They are sharing the bathroom while Brett brushes his teeth, shirtless, might I add (there was no need, but I felt like context would be a great addition here). Tiffany reveals to the camera that cleanliness might be an issue for them because she likes things clean, emphasis, and Brett is the type to exit the shower and leave water everywhere, which she says is a big pet peeve of hers. When she brought it up to him, he dismissed it as just being water. I mean, it does dry.
When they exit the bathroom, Tiffany tells Brett that a TV in the bedroom would be great to have. Brett disagrees and lets her know that the only thing that should have her attention in the bedroom is sleep or him. She takes that as an invitation and coquettishly replies, “My attention is on you now,” before joining him in bed. “I’m really happy here. And I really mean that,” he expresses to her as she smiles.
Later in the episode, Tiffany introduces Brett to her chosen family of friends for food and drinks. And they started with some tough questions right out the gate, feeling him out for their friend. It was also cool to learn about Tiffany being an easy sleeper from her friends because it provided some context about that infamous night sis fell asleep on Brett in the Pods. Apparently, sir passed their “tests” with flying colors.
Feeling the love from her friends and how much they wanted to see that love epitomized in her partner and how much Brett seemed to exemplify that made for a very endearing scene.
Courtesy of Netflix
In episode 7, Brett takes Tiffany to check out his apartment because if they make it to the altar, it’s where they will be living. It is there that Brett gets coined the nickname “Bougie Brett” by Tiffany, who, despite going on about how clean she is, seemed super impressed with the look and feel of Brett’s uber-neat apartment.
Space, though, quickly becomes an issue as the couple tries to figure out where will things like Tiffany’s clothes fit or even a workspace for her to work. Brett reminds her that he is willing to upgrade to a bigger apartment in the same building if she likes the apartment. “I can see myself living here,” she says to Brett eventually.
As the episode continues, Tiffany is cooking a meal for the pair, and they embark on a conversation about their approach to finances and what their lifestyle will be like after their lives have effectively merged. It was refreshing to hear these types of conversations had between a couple on this show, as I don’t think it’s shown amongst the other couples if they are having these types of convos.
Tiffany references Brett’s expensive taste as something she doesn’t necessarily want to infringe upon, but she does want the bills to be taken care of without having to monitor how much he is spending and on what. Brett adds to that by saying that he is comfortable with doing a 75-25 split or a 60-40 split on some bills. I’m like, okay here. Love to see it. Brett and Tiffany are a beautiful example of what emotional maturity looks like and being on your grown man/grown woman ish. I think this show could definitely use a lot more of that. Cast more Bretts and Tiffanys, please!
Courtesy of Netflix
Nothing of real consequence happens between the couple in episode 8, just Brett and Tiffany being adorable and expressing gratitude about having found each other to be able to do life together. That’s the thing about being a pretty solid couple on the show. There’s no need to do extensive recaps on this couple because conflict doesn’t tend to occur unhealthily.
And that's also why they are my Unproblematic Faves.
Marshall + Jackie
Marshall is a grower, not a shower, it seems, because I felt his love for Jackie beaming through the screen as he talked about the joy he found in developing a routine. I was a little lukewarm on him, but I think when he is expressing his pleasure in doing things for Jackie, his inner light is glowing, and he seems that much brighter overall. He recounts the good things about doing life with her, like waking up to her, making her breakfast before sending her to work, doing his things, and then waiting for her to get home.
While they are on the couch together talking about telling their respective families about their engagement, Marshall shares that his family is "over the moon" happy for him. However, Jackie shared that she told her mom and dad and that their response was, "This is not Jackie." She says it with a laugh and reiterates that they were so shocked and she had to tell them that she was "dead-ass." She ends the story by saying that she still doesn't think they believe her, but they will just have to come to terms with her being engaged in their own time.
Jackie notes that she has to be "up to par" when it's time to meet Marshall's folks but says that she wants to hold off on him meeting her family for as long as possible. When Marshall asks if Jackie thinks her family wants to meet him, she answers, "I would hope so," and then details how her mom and dad are.
Later in the episode, we see Marshall doing his aforementioned favorite thing, cooking breakfast for Jackie. She greets him warmly and learns he is making pancakes with a strawberry raspberry compote. Jackie is so impressed by the initiative and the effort and says excitedly, "Wow, I feel like I'm in a restaurant!" and thanks him with a kiss. "I'm so blessed," she says to him. "You are," he responds.
Jackie reveals to the camera that she has never been loved like this or experienced anything like this before. And that explains a lot of the self-sabotage vibes I got from the previous episodes. She's never been treated like this before, so she might be combatting feelings of unworthiness and doing that thing where we fuck up things that we know are good for us because somehow we've convinced ourselves we don't deserve it. Self-sabotage is a mf.
I see glimpses of the self-sabotage threaten to reemerge in episode 7, where Jackie seems very anxious about something. It is revealed that the couple is talking about meeting his family plus her family's lack of support and that Jackie is stressed out because "it is a lot." Jackie wants Marshall to give her some space to get herself together, and Marshall agrees to take a walk to give her some time. He tells the camera that Jackie has a tendency to ruminate and stay in moods for a long time but that he is able to give her the space she needs to sort through her own feelings. "I can do that for her," he explains.
Jackie eventually opens up to Marshall about her emotions and feeling like she has to make a hefty decision at the end of this experiment that will not only impact her but her relationship with her family since they are not in full support of her and Marshall. She doesn't want to hurt her family, but she also doesn't want to hurt herself in the process. Her anxiety is getting the better of her and as a result, she doesn't feel like she is at her best to meet his family.
Great news, Jackie does decide to meet his family that day despite the emotional tailspin she was in. Marshall's sister and brother-in-law come through with his niece. And the vibe completely shifts from tears to all smiles. "I need to know everything from the beginning," his sister announces as they eat together. Marshall lets his sister know how much of an impact Jackie has made on him as a creative, as a man, and as a person, and breaks down how they bonded.
Marshall's brother-in-law notes that he feels a positive shift in his aura. Jackie speaks her piece about her connection with Marshall and how he's taught her to be more grown. "Marriage is biblical. That's serious. I need to make sure I'm the best version of me before I say yeah," Jackie admits to Marshall's family. I love that Jackie said that because it emphasized her values around the commitment of marriage.
Courtesy of Netflix
I still don't see it for these two. The pieces are there, but there's something missing. They kind of remind me of another couple on the show that I don't talk much about, Paul and Micah, in these recaps. Like they're trying to get pieces to fit, but somehow, it doesn't feel organic. I don't doubt that love is there, but I do doubt this couple and that couple's staying power, especially in terms of having very real sources of conflict but being reluctant to adequately talk through the issues before they build up to be more.
Jackie is downplaying the importance of her family's support or lack thereof and can also just overall feel like a walking red flag. Micah is downplaying the fact that she wants to be able to go back and forth to her place in Arizona, and Paul isn't having any of it. Whereas I feel like Marshall has enough flexibility for a relationship with Jackie to go the distance, I do wonder if it is indeed what Jackie needs. Despite constantly reassuring the viewers and herself, how does she really feel?
In episode 8, the relationship between Marshall and Jackie officially begins to unravel. I didn't think that my concerns about them would be validated, but one argument proved to be a turning point in their relationship and would eventually lead to a point of no return. Marshall tells the camera that the relationship is looking pretty "bleak" with Jackie and that during a conversation they had while the cameras weren't rolling, Jackie told Marshall he needed to "boss up." Now, I know that's one of Jackie's favorite phrases, so I could see her saying that.
Marshall didn't take that phrase very well and heard in her choice of words that he was not "man enough." I don't know if that's what she meant, but that's what he received from her communication, which is perhaps what matters. He apparently left her to stop himself from going off and the conversation from getting too heated. When he enters the house after being gone for 2-3 days (the timeframe isn't clear), Jackie is visibly upset as she is packing.
Marshall passively aggressively questions if she's packing her stuff and why. "I'm not about to play these games with you," she says dismissively as she brushes past him. She reveals that she is upset because she wanted to be able to talk to him in his heated moment, but instead, he leaves. His leaving was a problem for her. She clarified to him that she never said he wasn't man enough for her; she requested that he be more aggressive. "We don't have sex," she says before adding, "Do something."
Courtesy of Netflix
Marshall counters, "It's always what you feel and how you think." Resentment. I knew it was hard having a savior complex, but he was the one who decided to take on that role. You can't be mad at the precedent you set in a dynamic. The argument that follows is so unproductive. I was shook when Marshall did a clap during the back and forth and said he was "testing" her. It's unfortunate that a miscommunication uncovered all of this with threats for both parties to leave the relationship.
Eventually, Marshall speaks his piece about putting in all the work to be the initiator of their physical intimacy, which contradicts Jackie's complaints about him not being aggressive sexually. "You have done nothing to make me feel seduced or special or anything," he tells her. "Make me feel like something, Jackie."
Jackie, of course, then asks something to the effect of why are you with me if I do nothing for you. And Marshall drops the mic when he answers very coldly, might I add, "Because I see you as a project, and I saw potential." PROJECT?!?! PROJECT?!?! I don't like Jackie like that, but I felt for her in that moment because to hear that from someone who, in the same breath, claims to love you has got to be heartbreaking.
And then he repeats the "project" talk a couple more times as if he can't see how hurtful being on the receiving end of a statement like that is. He brings it back eventually by saying it was the emotions talking and that he doesn't see her as a "project"; he sees her as having "limitless potential." It's too late, my g. For me, at least, because Jackie ends up embracing him tearfully after that back peddle. Do I think some things get said in heated situations that aren't always indicative of reality? Absolutely. But I also think sometimes truths come out when the filter and facade come down.
Courtesy of Netflix
With Marshall, I always wondered why he felt like he had to "save" Jackie. It turns out I got that wrong. Seeing her as a project might point to the fact that he wants to "fix" her. Jackie isn't perfect. None of us are. But it's interesting how he went from a nice guy lover boy to a puppeteer who thinks he can direct how someone is by his involvement in their lives. If someone grows from being in a relationship with you, beautiful, but it's not up to you to dictate how that comes to be. More importantly, you shouldn't look at your partner from a lens of, "If this change this, then..."
And even though I don't think he maliciously went into their romance with that at the forefront of his mind, some of what was exposed in that argument spoke volumes for how he views them. I don't care what reconciliation goes down between this couple. I stand firmly in my belief that they don't need to be together. Not right now. They both have work to do. Marshall needs to figure out why he sees partners as projects and the unhealthy cycle of that, and Jackie needs to be more ready to say "I do" ideally to a partner that she likes a little more versus tolerating them because they're "a good man."
Just in case things weren't messy enough, in true LIB fashion, an obligatory get-together happens later in episode 8 for Chelsea's birthday with couples as well as a few contestants who didn't make it out of the Pods, like Josh. Marshall arrives at Chelsea's birthday alone and says he doesn't know where he and Jackie stand.
Courtesy of Netflix
He later confides with Brett that Jackie wants him to be aggressive in the bedroom, which looks like slapping her around, and that's not him. My eyes were just widening in his conversation with Brett because that's not what I got from their argument, but perhaps they had a sidebar that was too hot for TV, and that's what sis meant by "boss up" and being "aggressive." Interesting.
He also relays to Brett that Jackie tells him she "fucks with him tough" but has never said she loves him. Wow. Just wow. It's two weeks away from the wedding, and this is the type of BS this couple is navigating. Despite what they have been going through, Jackie does show up to Chelsea's birthday party. And the messiness continues.
Josh is there. If you can remember from previous episodes, Josh was one of Jackie's connections that she had Marshall tell to step. She finally gets to put a face behind the name and voice. And Josh seems dead set on making it known how he felt about Jackie, that he was in love with her, etc. Just to warn y'all, Josh also gives cringe, but somehow I see somewhat of a vibe when he is standing next to Jackie and getting her to smile with his antics.
Surely enough, Josh steps to Marshall in a drunken and passive-aggressive manner to talk to him about loving the same woman, Jackie. He refers to himself as "Mr. Steal Yo Girl," and Marshall replies half-jokingly, "If you of all people can steal her from me, you can have her." It's honestly hard to read the conversation, and even Marshall seems confused after Josh leaves him alone.
Courtesy of Netflix
Josh's liquid courage leads him to a sidebar one-on-one conversation with Jackie. Josh then takes sabotage to new heights in this series by throwing Marshall under the bus to Jackie, first calling him "NBA Cryboy" and then revealing that Marshall cried with everyone he spoke to. The Micah-Kwame poolside conversation crawled so this one between Josh and Jackie could walk. Jackie seems to really be invested in what he was saying, which is interesting because I didn't think she'd fall for it, but it seems like she might be.
She even mentions not talking about emotions with him in the Pods, which suggests to me that that might have been a reason she chose Marshall over him. Marshall wore his heart on his sleeves, while it seems Jackie might not have been sure if Josh was serious or not despite the way they vibed. "We had a connection, but you never was, like, super deep with me, super open," she explains. Daaaaaamn. All this playing in people's faces this season, I tell you.
Once Marshall becomes privy to this conversation (if he ever does), I'm sure it won't be good.
New episodes of Love Is Blind are now streaming on Netflix.
Featured image courtesy of Netflix
This post is in partnership with Ulta Beauty.
Gone are the days where we prioritize “the grind” over our own wellbeing. #Teamnosleep is canceled. Millennial women are prioritizing themselves and their rest above all else, and we love to see it. We’re seeing proof of this powerful shift everywhere we look, but especially in the #softlife hashtag that’s been trending all over social media. The soft life movement is all about pursuing the path of least resistance, choosing ease over struggle, and relaxing in your vulnerability.
xoNecole and Ulta Beauty have identified six beauty influencers who are fully embracing the “soft life.” They’re rejecting the notion that their worth is measured by their professional output, how many followers they have, or how hard they’re hustling. Each of these creative powerhouses has learned to make self-care a non-negotiable in their lives while walking into the fullness of their most authentic selves. There will always be a demand for more content amidst the ever-changing algorithms, but as influencers like Tiffany Renee, Caitlyn Davis, and Alanna Doherty know all too well, you can’t properly show up for others until you fully show up for yourself first.
Read all about how these six beauty influencers are approaching the soft life on their own terms.
Hometown: Atlanta, GA
As a full-time content creator and founder of the college clothing label HBCU Yearbook, Caitlyn Davis is no stranger to hard work. She started gaining followers while attending undergrad at FAMU, filming natural hair tutorials for YouTube in her dorm room. From there, she steadily picked up ambassador gigs for popular online fashion and beauty brands. “[They were] paying us around $300 a month,” she remembers. “I thought I was doing something with my money. I was like, ‘What? I'm getting paid to do something that I love?’ It became a snowball effect.”
After linking up with a cousin who had just become a makeup artist, Caitlyn fell in love with the idea of creating beauty content. “Beauty just elevates your personality,” she tells xoNecole. “And because it does that, you just feel better about yourself. And when you do that and show other people and they start learning and getting better at makeup and beauty, their personality and confidence starts to elevate as well.”
Caitlyn admits that maintaining a healthy work-life balance doesn’t come easy for her. She’s a self-proclaimed workaholic who takes pride in her business. “[I’ve learned] the soft life is working hard for what you want but knowing we're deserving of the best life has to offer, including rest.” When life gets overwhelming, she turns to the great outdoors. “I go on hikes,” she says. “There’s something about being in nature, being grounded, hearing birds, the trees moving, and water [flowing] that immediately de-stresses me."
Hometown: Knoxville, TN
Tiffany Renee grew up on a farm in Tennessee, where her first introduction to the world of beauty and fashion came via Tyra Banks. The smizing supermodel’s competition series “America’s Next Top Model” drew this southern girl in. “Beauty wasn't really a thing [in the environment I grew up in],” she says. “So I've got to give it to Tyra. A lot of my posing and wearing my makeup a certain way had a lot to do with Tyra and how she coached those models. As I got older and started experimenting more with makeup, I just grew to love it more and more.” Tiffany says she sharpened her makeup skills by learning one thing at a time, starting with winged eyeliner. Next brows, and then lashes. Along the way, she made it a point to develop the techniques that worked for her face rather than copying and pasting from YouTube tutorials.
After moving to Atlanta in 2012, Tiffany began to rack up followers on Instagram with her beauty, hair, and fashion content. She even created an online community called “Curl Gang,” which celebrates the beauty and versatility of natural hair. With all she’s accomplished, Tiffany says she’s most proud of shedding her tough exterior and learning to be vulnerable. “My life has been pretty tough, so that made me a tough woman,” she tells xoNecole. “In my relationships, I've always had this tough persona on the outside, but really, I'm internally very much a soft person.
“For me, taking on the soft life was doing the work to break that mold, and accept that it's okay to be vulnerable,” she continues. “It's okay to be expressive. It's okay to love people. It's not just about the tasks of my life, but more so about my well-being. I’m actively deciding not to hold onto things that make me [have to] be tough.”
Hometown: Napa, California
They say if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life. Kinya Claiborne is living proof. This lifestyle influencer has a professional resume that would make any recruiter salivate. She’s worked in print, television, and radio, and has even overseen public relations for billion-dollar projects. But like all creatives at heart, there came a point in her career where she felt a calling elsewhere. “My job wasn't sexy,” she admits. “I still loved my job and I loved working in corporate America, but there was a void. There were other things that I also loved that my job wasn't fulfilling.”
Inspired by the DailyCandy newsletters she used to read in college, Kinya launched her own lifestyle magazine called Style & Society which covers fashion, beauty, health, wellness, entertainment, travel - all the things Kinya loves. What started as a creative outlet turned into a booming business. Her readers wanted to know more about her, which led her to posting photos of herself inside her stories. “I started Style & Society back in 2013. The term influencer didn't exist back then. Brands started contacting me and wanting me to do product placements and campaigns. That's how my social media following started growing. Then eventually, the term influencer came about, and at that point, I had already been doing it.”
As you can tell from her Instagram, Kinya is always well put together. Her early beauty memories include getting her hair done at the salon with her mom and wearing different lipstick colors to school. Kinya says she’s always been a girly girl. but she’s as resilient as they come. The Northern Californian survived the Route 91 festival shooting in 2017. She also lost her brother to suicide. From her perspective, being soft isn’t just about pampering yourself, but showing up for those around you. “You can't just look at someone and know how they're feeling,” she says. “It’s so important to check in, because even a phone call, text message, or just saying hello to a stranger could really change their path.”
Hometown: Jacksonville, Florida
For Taylor Winbush, presentation is everything. Embracing that belief has gotten her far. “My mom would always say ‘dress how you want to be treated,’” she says. “She would always dress up to go to the grocery store, making sure her hair was always done, and she was fresh-faced. She taught me that when you look better, you feel better.”
As a dancer and theater performer, Taylor got to hone in on her makeup skills early. “I remember even from a young age, when I used to take ballet classes, they would make you do your makeup way in the back of the mirror to make sure you'd be able to see it [far from the stage].” After moving to Atlanta in 2019 to pursue a career in acting and commercial modeling, Taylor discovered she could book more gigs if she added “content creator” to her resume. As a beauty lover, it came naturally to her, and it’s paid off tenfold.
At the start of the year, Taylor stepped out on faith and decided to work for herself full-time. She acknowledges that it’s a risk, but nothing a little discipline can’t manage. “As long as I'm doing my part, then I truly and firmly believe that God will handle the rest.”
Aside from constantly developing her self-discipline, Taylor says she’s embracing the soft life by taking care of her physical and spiritual temple. “I'm a super giving person, so I would give a lot of my time to friends and family, making sure everyone else is taken care of before me,” she says. “There's a saying that if you help someone build their sandcastle first, then what will you have left to build? I’m learning you have to take care of yourself first in order for you to help someone else.”
Hometown: Jacksonville, FL
Fashion and beauty haven’t always been a welcoming world for curvy women, but that hasn’t stopped influencer Thamarr Guerrier from accepting her rightful seat at the table. This bubbly and effervescent content creator started her lifestyle blog, Musings of a Curvy Lady, back in 2012 on her lunch break working as a nurse. “I started [my blog] as a way to promote personal style and beauty in this body of mine,” Thamarr shared on her site. “Visibility matters and you’re going to see me. I’m going to take up all the space and bring my own chair to the table.”
Thamarr’s beauty memories stem all the way back to childhood. “I was obsessed with watching my mother do her hair and makeup in the mirror,” she says. “I played dress-up in her clothes and would sneak and put on her mascara. I just couldn’t wait to be old enough to wear lipstick.”
If you peep her IG feed, you’ll notice Thamarr documents her globetrotting in head-turning looks that will make you want to book a one-way ticket to your nearest island. But it’s actually not her extravagant travel experiences that bring her the most peace. It’s the little things, like sipping a glass of wine during her skincare routine as Kacey Musgraves plays in the background. “After a shower, I always feel a little better, especially after a crummy day,” she tells xoNecole. “It’s also my favorite place to shed a tear or two. After my literal and sometimes emotional cleanse, I feel renewed. I talk positively to myself as I pamper myself with my favorite products. Taking the time and being purposeful as I go.”
Thamarr’s interpretation of “the soft life” is to live and love in a way that makes her inner being the happiest. “If it brings me peace, it’s the soft life for me.”
Hometown: Bridgetown, Barbados
It’s hard not to feel a spark of joy when you browse through Alanna Doherty’s IG page. It’s chock-full of Alanna dressed to the nines in bright psychedelic patterns. Her lush ‘fro bounces back and forth in all its glory as Alanna jams to her favorite tunes. Alanna is happiness personified, but her initial introduction to beauty was quite the opposite. “I started loving makeup and beauty products because I felt they were necessary in order to cover up my insecurities,” she tells xoNecole. “I’m finally starting to truly fall in love with them this year. I no longer need a full face of makeup to make me feel good. I’m perfectly happy going without any at all now, but love that I have the option to play with makeup. It’s more of a creative process now and I LOVE that!”
Alanna’s bold and colorful aesthetic is brave and inspiring. And when it comes to the soft life, she’s honest enough to admit that she’s figuring it out along the way. “For years I’ve been putting my own self-care behind work and I’m now starting to realize its importance in my life,” she says. “I’ve still got a long way to go but ‘the soft life’ to me would be creating the space to focus on myself and taking the time to enjoy it. I see long walks along the beach, spas, more hot yoga, and relaxing on the balcony.”
Featured image courtesy of Tiffany Renee
While there’s no perfect timeline for new mothers to get back to their workout routine after giving birth, tennis star Naomi Osaka is hitting the ground running (literally) with her post-baby fitness routine.
After giving birth to her daughter Shai with rapper boyfriend Cordae, Osaka, 25, took to Instagram to give her 2.7 million Instagram followers a peek into her training sessions just seven weeks postpartum.
In the carousel post, Osaka is seen taking in the sun and showing off her new mom glow, flashing a joyful grin and peace signs in the middle of a track field. To follow, the decorated athlete shared a video of herself pushing a fitness sled down the street with her workout partner on top, who jokingly asked, "Why are you going so slow?" To which she replied by attributing her steadier pace to enjoying a bit of Jamaican food.
The four-time Grand Slam champ took things up a notch in the next clip, showing her and a running partner engaging in a friendly race up a paved hill, with supportive cheers in the background saying, "Go, go, Naomi!"
When the tennis champ first announced her pregnancy on January 11, Osaka shared her sonogram and a heartfelt note reflecting on how she’s found “fun” in the most challenging moments of her life prior to becoming a mom.
"The past few years have been interesting to say the least, but I find that it's the most challenging times in life that may be the most fun,” she shared in the Instagram post. “These few months away from the sport has really given me a new love and appreciation for the game I've dedicated my life to."
She continued, "I realize that life is so short and I don't take any moments for granted, every day is a new blessing and adventure. I know that I have so much to look forward to in the future, one thing I'm looking forward to is for my kid to watch one of my matches and tell someone, 'that's my mom,' haha."
Whether it’s on the court or in her personal life, it’s clear that Osaka is no stranger to putting in the work to not only become the best tennis player in history, but the best mother she can be to her new daughter.
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Featured image by Taylor Hill/Getty Images