Coming Soon…

Coming Soon…

She was living her life like most women her age. She had a stable corporate job, good acquaintances, and a loving mother who prayed for her constantly. However, the unspoken pain of a rejection in childhood causes her to search for acceptance in all of the wrong places, even at the expense of other women. When her deeds come back to haunt her in the worst way, she must try to find redemption before it’s too late. In this colloquial novella, a young woman takes you through a journey that you won’t soon forget. In fact, you may already know who she is…sierralouise_a5 (1).png

Sassy on a budget GIVEAWAY!

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Isabella Scott Cosmetic Clutch- Color: Faux Leather Cream

When I want to look fab, but I’m on a budget, I always go to TJ Maxx. While there this beauty was sitting on display and I decided to bless one of my readers with it!

We love finding deals on fashion and we know you love to look fabulous without always breaking the bank. The team at Sass and Substance wants to periodically bless our readers with contests and giveaways! So enter for a chance to win! All we need is your name and email address. This giveaway will be open for 24 hours.

Click on or copy and paste the link below to enter:

Link: https://1.shortstack.com/jWV1pB

6 things no one EVER told me about being a newlywed

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When you see pictures of people’s engagements and weddings on Facebook don’t you just get all warm inside? And doesn’t marriage just look so magical when people post their beautiful black and white wedding photos and post “Date Night with the hubby!!!” and  “check-in” to fancy restaurants whenever they are out on a date with their spouse? Yes, I’ve done those things and many of us do! Hopefully you know me by now, so you know that one of my desires for humankind is that we do not base our perceptions of ANYTHING on what people post online of their relationships. Social media is entertaining, yes, and I like to be entertained, but I try my best not to compare or base my perceptions of life off of what people are posting about themselves. I do like to see people happy, but I also know that social media only gives a one-sided picture of everything, so I try to avoid getting caught in the web of Cyber Comparison Complex.

With that being said, I’m a newlywed! I will be for the next year or two (depending on your subjective opinion of how long being a newlywed lasts). So as I was doing some school work and patiently waiting for my love bug to return home, I started thinking about things that no one really told me about being a newlywed and that you’re definitely not going to gather from all of the magical, smiling, engagement, wedding, and date night posts on Facebook. So here goes…

#1: YOU MIGHT GET HOT

It feels great to have a cuddle buddy, but I get hot at night and I realized quickly that we wouldn’t be holding each other all of the time like I see people on tv do. I’m still a very “touchy feely” girl, so I love to cuddle, BUT then I might just get hot. Then we might end up on two different couches. Then we might fall asleep on two different couches until he wakes me up and tells me to go to bed while I look at him with that confused, sleepy face. That’s all. It’s okay, we still love each other immensely and I don’t believe everything I see on tv anymore.

#2: THE BATHROOM AND EXPECTATIONS

Why didn’t anyone tell me that I was going to be the primary bathroom cleaner? He cleaned his own bathroom before we moved in together, but now I clean that joker. This is a work in progress and I’m hoping to build whatever that “bathroom cleaning immunity”  is that my mother seemed to have when I was growing up. Unfortunately, my super wife, Susie homemaker, future mommy instincts didn’t kick in immediately after the wedding like I thought they would. In all seriousness though, you and your new spouse should definitely discuss expectations well before the wedding so that you will know who’s going to do what, etc.

#3: COMMUNICATING YOUR FEELINGS

You will probably dislike him sometimes AND he will probably dislike you too. I never thought that I would say that, but he will probably do something that will get on your last nerve and you will have to learn how to communicate your feelings. We like each other 99.9% of the time! We love each other 100% though!

#4: THE COMPLEXITY OF COMMUNICATION

Which brings me to my next point… COMMUNICATION is of the utmost importance. Okay, this one probably isn’t new to you, but until you actually have to experience it in marriage, you will not understand the complexity of miscommunication. Trust me when I say that it was so much easier when I could leave my then fiance’s house, go back to my cozy quiet apartment, and not talk to him for a day or two. Oh no, you still have to cook for this guy, look at him in silence while he’s happily watching sports on tv, and then sleep in the SAME BED with him. Which is why it’s so important to learn communication skills early because you never want to hold things in or go to bed mad at each other. I suggest taking a marriage class and premarital counseling BEFORE you get married. Doing this was a tremendous help when we found ourselves disagreeing not too long after tying the knot. We were able to reference some of the things we learned, and get over the little humps of disagreement.

#5: HE’LL FORGET THE RING…AT FIRST

This one is random, but if you’re too sensitive, you have to know this. He’s probably going to forget to put on his ring in the first couple of weeks (because duh, he didn’t have to wear an engagement ring for a year before the marriage), so just know that he’s probably not trying to cheat. He’s just trying to remember…

If you don’t trust that he really forgot, you may need to check your insecurities.

#6: I’M HIS PRINCESS, BUT IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT ME?!

I had to learn that it’s not all about me all the time (most of the time, but not all)…OMG…It’s not all about me. In order for everyone to be happy, you have to make him happy as well. Sure, he will hopefully treat you like his princess for the rest of your life, but after a while, you have to understand that it’s not all about you my friend. He wants to feel special too, and that means doing things for him out of your normal routine, surprising him, cooking something that he really likes. It doesn’t mean cooking food that fits into your own post wedding, post holiday, “ate until I gained 12 lbs and now I have to lose it” diet plan (This didn’t happen to me at all… *wink wink*, ok, yes it did).

Seriously, he’s a man, and if your man is NBA player size like mine, then he probably wants something other than a salad. Really, it doesn’t matter what size he is, he wants some meat and potatoes girlfriend. Yes, I had to learn this. Oh you’ll know he’s still hungry if 30 minutes after dinner he’s in the kitchen trying to make his own food. That only happened once everyone and I learned my lesson. Oh and I can cook, don’t get me wrong, I’m just on a “diet” right now, so I have to stay on track while simultaneously making sure that my husband isn’t hungry. I digress. As a newlywed, you will have to understand that this is a whole new level of love. He will still treat you like his prize, but now you have to do some things too (more than what you were doing before that is). If that means taking the extra time to make two different meals because you’re on a diet, then that’s what you have to do. You better make that man some meatloaf.

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So in conclusion…

I don’t like to call marriage work, because I don’t like work (who does?). I like challenges though, and marriage can definitely present challenges that will help to make you and your spouse better if you are willing to learn how to deal with them.

Being a newlywed has been great, and to be honest, it really does get better every day! My husband has become my best friend and greatest supporter and if you ask him, he will say the same thing about me. All of the lessons that you learn as a newlywed, and throughout the marriage, are there to help build a stronger relationship. We have God in the center and have built the foundation of our relationship on the Word of God, so we have a blueprint to live by. The lessons that I am learning may be different from yours, and my experience as a spouse may also be different, but I pray that you experience the same love and happiness that I am enjoying!

I’m still only a few months in, so this story is still unfolding. I bet I’ll learn something new  about marriage when he walks in the door from work in about 30 minutes. Until then, let me go make my green smoothie meal replacement for dinner and whip up some chicken for the hubby (because we all know he’s going to look at me like I lost my mind if I try to feed him a green smoothie)…

Blessings,

Candace Sierra Louise

Mid-Week Motivation!

It’s the middle of the week! I worked out for an hour, read my daily devotional, and prayed asking God to help me avoid the urge to always take the path of least resistance when trying to accomplish my goals. What are you doing to feed your spirit and fuel your body today?

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Confession: I love her, but I sure don’t like her

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Can I even say that? Have you ever said that before? Is it possible to love as we are supposed to if we don’t like a person?

Oh, before I begin, HAPPY NEW YEAR! I’m truly glad to be back in Sass and Substance world, and now that I’m newly married (and loving it!), finished with the wedding planning journey, and have a small break from academics, I can finally talk to you again! Ok, let’s go…

We’re all human and if I’m one thing, I’m definitely real. I try to be tactful or keep my mouth closed to prevent myself from saying something that may not be received well (I’ve got a piece on being classy coming soon), so sometimes when I’m quiet it’s not because I don’t have anything to say, it’s because you might not want to hear what I have to say… eeek.

So with that being said, I’ve had some situations where I’ve wrestled within myself because I know that I have to display the love of Jesus Christ to those around me, but I don’t really like them. Hmmm…

I used to know this lady named Lena (names changed of course), who I honestly considered my friend. We did all the girlfriend things that girls do, but then one day Lena decided that she wanted to dibble dabble in some “other stuff” and became friends with Jessica. Basically, Lena and I grew apart and she started treating me like we were never best friends. Ok, yes, that hurt a bit, but I got over it, and moved on with my life. Even as an adult, it feels good to have girlfriends, even if it’s only one or two good ones, so when those relationships fail, it can hurt. Anyway, later on, Lena became sick, and guess who had to make a decision? I didn’t really like Lena anymore, especially the person she had become, but I knew that she was in need, so I decided to help her. And guess what? We didn’t become friends again after I helped her. I didn’t like her, but the way my heart was set up, I had to give to a person in need, no matter how I felt.

That was just an example, because there are others that I have encountered that are just not my cup of tea (and if you know me, you know I love tea…green tea, spearmint tea, rooibos tea, ginger tea, yummm)… But I digress…

I have heard people say “I love him/her, but I sure don’t like him/her” and as funny as it may sound, I began to wonder if that can really be true. Can you really, truly say that you love someone but in the same breath say that you don’t like them? Doesn’t “like” come before “love”? Then I thought some more and I realized that maybe there’s different levels of love, and maybe just maybe, I CAN have the love of Christ in my heart for a person even though their personality or their aura  isn’t really my cup of tea. Romantic love is something different, and I do think that “like” has to come before “love”, but for a person you’re not romantically interested in, I may not have to like you to help you when you’re in need. I just have to understand that my love for humankind supersedes my dislike for the person.

I know this may sound harsh to some people, and honestly, I thought about not writing it because people might think that I’m promoting being “fake” (people love that word “fake” I tell ya), but the reason that I write is to get people to start thinking. I’m not telling you that we should all smile in others’ faces and then talk about them behind their back. I AM saying that it’s okay to keep a smile on your face in the presence of those you’re not fond of.  Just because a person doesn’t like you doesn’t mean that they can’t help you if you need help or smile in your presence. It just means that you won’t be BFFs! In my opinion, it shows a level of maturity when a person can give someone a ride, knowing that they aren’t the best of friends. Or a person can see that you might be a few dollars short to buy your food at the lunch counter and even though they’re not very fond of you, they still give you the money to buy your food. You’re witnessing a good heart that supersedes dislike when something like that happens.

As much as I want to like everyone that I come into contact with, I just don’t. And I’m sure that everyone that comes into contact with me doesn’t like me either, for some reason or another. I can usually find some good in everyone, but can I say that I like everyone that I know? Eh…

For leaders, and people with influence, this is something that I believe must be mastered. Being able to help people, even pray for people, that they don’t necessarily mesh with. Hats off to all of you…

So can I dislike a person, but still love them? I think I can. Can YOU dislike a person and still love them? Does this even make sense? Let me know…

Love and blessings,
Candace Sierra-Louise

A part of me died, so I don’t do THIS anymore…

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Hey no judgement, but do you still go to the club? If so, how old are you? Okay, I do realize that starting the question off with “hey, no judgement”  and “how old are you?” implies that you probably are being judged, but I assure you that I’m not judging. It’s a genuine question that came from a recent conversation that I had. I won’t go into the conversation, but I will say that I began to think about what made me stop going to the club at a certain age. I realized that there was one glaring thing that kept me in that ol’ club. If you know me personally, and you never thought I was the “clubbin’” type, well… I implore you to read on for the bigger picture of all this.

Anyway, I digress. I’m writing this because I want to normalize a life that people might call lame and simply share MY journey. Or even touch on subjects that people might not talk about but certainly think about.

Let’s start with a typical night, going out with the “crew”. I would spend AT LEAST an hour trying to figure out what to wear, and usually it would be one of the tightest, shortest dresses that I could find, paired with some 5” heels, and a good amount of makeup. I was good to go. The goal? To see how many guys would offer to buy us drinks, or ask for my number. And I was never the girl that scowled at a guy when he hit on me in the club. I was definitely the overly nice one that would talk even if I wasn’t interested. So, that glaring thing that kept me going to the club?

VALIDATION

I was seeking validation from people, mainly men, to tell me that I was beautiful. And the only way to get them to think that I was beautiful was to wear a short dress that barely hid my panties (I wasn’t blessed with an ample bosom, so I played up my best assets, but letting your boobs hang out is equivalent to your butt cheeks hanging out), and basically present myself as interested even if I wasn’t. Listen, I’m not writing this to shun club-goers, but I have started to become fascinated with people that are over a certain age that continue to live that life EVERY weekend. Some of you might be thinking, “Oh you’re engaged and all settled down now, so that’s why you don’t go to the club.” Nope, you’re wrong. I stopped before I got engaged. I stopped before I met my fiance. I stopped needing validation from people. I stopped wanting validation from men’s comments and women’s envious stares.

That stuff didn’t stimulate me anymore, and thus the club died in my soul.

Seriously, I have to be honest with myself. If I was going purely to dance with my girls and have a good time listening to music, then why the short dresses, belly baring tops, and the plethora of makeup?

Nowadays, I want to speak life into other women, I don’t want envy or jealousy to be anywhere in my presence. I want to respect my body and watch how I carry myself, so that in turn, I will be respected by others. And guess what? I STILL love to go out and have a good time. You might not see me in the club until 2am, but you might just see me out dancing with a good group of people, or maybe just my fiance. You might just see me throwing dinner parties for my girls, or having game nights. And I’m just fine with that. Actually, I’m more than fine with that. I love it. At one point in my life, I thought that people might think I was lame. Silly me, because people thinking that I’m lame is the last thing on my mind now. There was a point in my life when I literally got tired of caring so much about what other people thought of me. Not that I don’t care at all, but the constant need for validation and attention can be exhausting. People will usually let you down at some point anyway, so it’s better not to rely on them to make you feel good about yourself.

“Even with family and friends all around you, you can find yourself alone and dismayed. Because with their best intentions, they’re only human…” – Fred Hammond “I Will Trust”

So I just briefly talked about my personal journey, which honestly was much bigger than the club, but the club became a microcosm of the inner workings of my mind.

If you’re like me and “don’t do clubs”, when did you stop? What made you stop going? What other pastimes do you have that make your life fulfilling? And if you still go to the club, you hopefully didn’t take offense but rather, you saw the bigger picture. I had a bigger issue than just the club. I was seeking something from certain people that, at that time in my life, I only thought I could find at the club. And remember this is MY journey. Your life may be different. Life became so good when I began seeking validation from myself and my Father, and now I will proudly tell you if you ask… I don’t do clubs…

Love always,

Candace Sierra-Louise

A part of me died, so I don’t do this anymore…

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Hey no judgement, but do you still go to the club? If so, how old are you? Okay, I do realize that starting the question off with “hey, no judgement”  and “how old are you?” implies that you probably are being judged, but I assure you that I’m not judging. It’s a genuine question that came from a recent conversation that I had. I won’t go into the conversation, but I will say that I began to think about what made me stop going to the club at a certain age. I realized that there was one glaring thing that kept me in that ol’ club. If you know me personally, and you never thought I was the “clubbin’” type, well… I implore you to read on for the bigger picture of all this.

Anyway, I digress. I’m writing this because I want to normalize a life that people might call lame and simply share MY journey. Or even touch on subjects that people might not talk about but certainly think about.

Let’s start with a typical night, going out with the “crew”. I would spend AT LEAST an hour trying to figure out what to wear, and usually it would be one of the tightest, shortest dresses that I could find, paired with some 5” heels, and a good amount of makeup. I was good to go. The goal? To see how many guys would offer to buy us drinks, or ask for my number. And I was never the girl that scowled at a guy when he hit on me in the club. I was definitely the overly nice one that would talk even if I wasn’t interested. So, that glaring thing that kept me going to the club?

VALIDATION

I was seeking validation from people, mainly men, to tell me that I was beautiful. And the only way to get them to think that I was beautiful was to wear a short dress that barely hid my panties (I wasn’t blessed with an ample bosom, so I played up my best assets, but letting your boobs hang out is equivalent to your butt cheeks hanging out), and basically present myself as interested even if I wasn’t. Listen, I’m not writing this to shun club-goers, but I have started to become fascinated with people that are over a certain age that continue to live that life EVERY weekend. Some of you might be thinking, “Oh you’re engaged and all settled down now, so that’s why you don’t go to the club.” Nope, you’re wrong. I stopped before I got engaged. I stopped before I met my fiance. I stopped needing validation from people. I stopped wanting validation from men’s comments and women’s envious stares.

That stuff didn’t stimulate me anymore, and thus the club died in my soul.

Seriously, I have to be honest with myself. If I was going purely to dance with my girls and have a good time listening to music, then why the short dresses, belly baring tops, and the plethora of makeup?

Nowadays, I want to speak life into other women, I don’t want envy or jealousy to be anywhere in my presence. I want to respect my body and watch how I carry myself, so that in turn, I will be respected by others. And guess what? I STILL love to go out and have a good time. You might not see me in the club until 2am, but you might just see me out dancing with a good group of people, or maybe just my fiance. You might just see me throwing dinner parties for my girls, or having game nights. And I’m just fine with that. Actually, I’m more than fine with that. I love it. At one point in my life, I thought that people might think I was lame. Silly me, because people thinking that I’m lame is the last thing on my mind now. There was a point in my life when I literally got tired of caring so much about what other people thought of me. Not that I don’t care at all, but the constant need for validation and attention can be exhausting. People will usually let you down at some point anyway, so it’s better not to rely on them to make you feel good about yourself.

“Even with family and friends all around you, you will find yourself alone and dismayed. Because with their best intentions, they’re only human…” – Fred Hammond “I Will Trust”

So I just briefly talked about my personal journey, which honestly was much bigger than the club, but the club became a microcosm of the inner workings of my mind.

If you’re like me and “don’t do clubs”, when did you stop? What made you stop going? What other pastimes do you have that make your life fulfilling? And if you still go to the club, you hopefully didn’t take offense but rather, you saw the bigger picture. I had a bigger issue than just the club. I was seeking something from certain people that, at that time in my life, I only thought I could find at the club. And remember this is MY journey. Your life may be different. Life became so good when I began seeking validation from myself and my Father, and now I will proudly tell you if you ask… I don’t do clubs…

Love always,

Candace Sierra-Louise

Independence Day Weekend


River Island skater dress
riverisland.com

Topshop blue vest
topshop.com

3 4 sleeve top
$13 – peacocks.co.uk

Rodarte high-waisted pants
modaoperandi.com

Frame Denim skinny jeans
matchesfashion.com

Blue Vanilla skater skirt
$31 – newlook.com

MICHAEL Michael Kors platform shoes
$205 – selfridges.com

Carvela Kurt Geiger red pumps
$92 – kurtgeiger.com

Lauren ralph lauren shoes
lordandtaylor.com

Wedges shoes
unique-vintage.com

ALDO tote bag
aldoshoes.com

Major New York and Company Sale! What I bought…