#30istheNew30: Dorcia Carrillo

#30isthenew30 is a celebration of women of African descent in their 30s. In the current global cultural climate that prioritizes extreme youth, #30isthenew30 was created to celebrate the wisdom and beauty of getting older, starting with the 30s. The 30s are important years, because so many women attest to an escalation of self-awareness and confidence in their lives, and the understanding of their own beauty in a completely new and amazing way. [Read more on my perspective here.]
If you are a woman of African descent in your 30s interested in being included in this feature, please e-mail me at chioma [dot] onyewuchi [at] hotmail [dot] com, with subject, “Loving my 30s”.


Name: Dorcia Carrillo
Age: 30
Location: Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
What You Do: Attorney | Everything, but I get paid to work in international trade compliance

How did you feel when you turned 30?
Physically, the same. But I was very happy to turn 30 and begin a new stage of my life.
What new habits have you formed in your 30s? What old habits did you leave behind?
I never weight trained before, but now I am into it. When I was younger, being thin was my goal, but now I want to build muscle and stay healthy.
How has the way you think of yourself and how you move through the world changed in your 30s?
I try to be much more mindful of how I affect the world. I think of myself less in terms of a consumer and more as a producer.Though I have the means, I don’t find as much pleasure in buying something new as I do in creating something.
How has your beauty routine or approach to beauty changed in your 30s?
My night time routine changed. I used to scrub my face in the morning and just wipe it with a makeup remover at night. I had a facial for my thirtieth birthday and the esthetician explained the importance of deep cleaning my face at the end of the day, which makes perfect sense.


“I try to be much more mindful of how I affect the world. I think of myself less in terms of a consumer and more as a producer.Though I have the means, I don’t find as much pleasure in buying something new as I do in creating something.”


How has your style evolved?
I feel more confident to forgo trends now, but I am also more open to incorporating different looks into my repertoire. For example, I recently wore African print pants to my corporate job. I think that would have been too daring for the younger me.
How has your approach to self-care changed?
I am eating better now. I make conscious decisions about what I put in my body.
What have you learned about yourself in your 30s that you wish you knew in your 20s?
I have learned that I am self-sufficient and capable of success.
30 is the new 30 because … the other  two decades were just practice.

Love Your Husband Less than He Loves You & Other Bits of Marriage Advice

As a young girl growing into a young woman in Nigeria, I was privy to several conversations about marriage from the female perspective. From family members and friends to strangers, both married and single, these women shared their perspectives on marriage, and what they believed about it. Sharing tips and long-held beliefs, it made some for some very memorable conversations.
Here are a few takeaways.

Make sure your husband loves you more than you love him. How many of you ever heard this advice eagerly and confidently shared? I definitely did, and I actually remember that I thought it made sense when I was a young girl. I mean, of course, everyone knows that women love harder than men, and the only way to make sure that we aren’t taken advantage of is to make sure a man loves us more than we love him. Right?
Actually, this advice is very fundamentally flawed, for the simple reason that levels of love and affection are never measurable. Who’s really to say who loves whom more? Plus, the reality is that, in marriage, the love meter is really never stable. One week, one-half of the unit might put in 70% of the effort, while the other puts in only 30%. The next week, the roles might be completely reversed. It’s a constant dance that continually changes and evolves.
The only things you really have in your marriage are your children. This particular advice is sad, but understandable. It is often shared by women who have been hurt deeply, often even betrayed and physically abused by their husbands. They learned the hard way that marriages can turn sour, be destructive and devastating, and sources of deep pain. And they are right! Domestic violence and total disrespect are downright despicable!
However, to go into marriage, for the sole purpose of having and nurturing children can be problematic. Apart from losing out on the joy that the sweetness (and challenges) of marriage can bring, children reared in environments devoid of love, partnership, and true friendship are certainly not getting the ideal arrangement. No one should ever get married with such low expectations that they expect that their children will be the only solace they have.
All men cheat! This one has been said by women of all cultures everywhere at all times in history. LOL. Of course, it’s not true. Do a lot of men cheat? Absolutely! However, do all men cheat? Absolutely not! Expecting the man you marry to cheat on you, and taking a “boys will be boys” approach to things is definitely not my cup of tea.
What say you? What bits of marriage advice have you heard, that you hear often but just don’t agree with? 

The Perfect Pre-Valentine’s Day Project: Why I Chose You

We’re right in the thick of Valentine‘s season: full of teddy bears, syrupy-sweet chocolate-covered strawberries, cards, and gifts galore. Oh, let’s not forget the flowers, of course – that’s just not done. ;)
In the midst of all the inevitable buying and “guilting” and endless anticipation, let’s not forget that this day is supposed to be a reminder of real love. Rather than a love that is insanely commercialized and overtly superficial, it should be a reminder of a love that flows deeply, and has roots & an anchor.

The reality is that truly loving someone can be tough, and when that love becomes a commitment to forever via marriage, it can be even tougher. That’s because life is tough: we have ups and downs, tons of never-ending responsibilities, pride and egos, differences in opinion, and just plain fatigue at the end of most days. It’s easy to get dissatisfied and forget why you ended up with this person next to you, in the first place. Why can’t he just be this way? Why can’t she just do that? Sometimes, we just need to take some time to remember ….
Remember those dating & courtship moments when you just knew this was the one for you?
Remember why you singled him out, among all the other options you had?
Remember when you looked at him, and knew that you would never regret saying, “I do” and “I will” – forever – to this person?
Maybe you do. Maybe you don’t. However, there’s no better time to stop and reflect on that.

Take some time this week to think about why you chose this person. Sometimes, our thoughts towards are spouses are so negative and full of resentment that we downplay the remarkable things about them that drew us like a moth to a flame – traits that are still there and have never changed.
If you want to take some time to simply reflect on those things each day this week, or write them down in your journal, it will be the perfect way to get your love right, during this season.
Doing this might even help in your quest for the perfect gift, or maybe you can make this the gift. A heartfelt “Why I Chose” you letter (or 3 or more) is sure to make your spouse’s heart shine, and be a reminder that you remember and that you still care.
Happy Valentine’s Season, Lovers. Here’s to a love that’s real, solid, and rooted. :)


{Image via s2smagazine}

MUST-WATCH: Nicole Ari Parker, Boris Kodjoe, and Mara & Salim Akil Get REALLY Candid about Marriage

For a while now, I’ve been thinking about how to write about loving marriages authentically on Love. ‘n words. I’ve been thinking about how to do away with the fluff, and get down into the substance of what great marriages look like. Great marriages don’t just happen – and, of course, they are never perfect. Like any great thing in life, they require consistent work and nurturing: a life-changing plant that will most certainly wither if it isn’t watered, pruned, and treated as something valuable. Just like our own lives as individuals are amazing, constantly evolving journeys that require attention and care, marriages are just like that. They are full of two individuals making a commitment to become a single unit – a decision that is, unavoidably, sometimes rife with friction, disagreements, and compromise.

I came across this truly INCREDIBLE and very, very transparent video, featuring husband and wife duos, Boris Kodjoe & Nicole Ari Parker, and Salim & Mara Akil. In a 2013 event organized by BET called BET Experience: Couples Revealed, the couples talk extremely honestly about what it takes to make their marriages work, issues they are working on and those they’ve overcome, and the journeys they’ve taken to get to where they are today.

Among other things, Boris & Nicole (who’ve been married since 2005) talked about the need to go to therapy individually before the official start of their relationship, because they were determined not to bring past baggage into a relationship they knew was very very special. They also shared the realities of raising a child with special needs (Their 9-year-old daughter, Sophie, was born with a neural tube defect called spina bifida.) Additionally, they talked about how their backgrounds created baggage in their lives, and how they worked to move past them.


Salim & Mara Akil were just as open and transparent. If you don’t know this very inspiring couple, I guarantee that you know their work. The couple, married since 1999, are the owners of Akil Productions (formerly Happy Camper Productions), and are behind some of the biggest small & big screen hits. Mara is the creator of the defunct Girlfriends, the former CW-turned-BET favorite, The Game, and the BET runaway-hit drama series, Being Mary Jane, starring Gabrielle Union. They are also the writer-director team behind the Whitney Houston-executive produced Sparkle, and Salim was the director of romantic comedy, Jumping the Broom, among other things. As black showrunners in Hollywood, they are paving the way for so many.

Salim & Mara talk about the power of communication in their relationship, and the realization that they had to decide what worked for their own marriage, instead of comparing it to others’ or taking in outside expectations. (I thought this was a particularly powerful assertion.)
Boris & Salim also talked candidly about the work they had to do individually, as men who grew up without fathers, that prepared them to take on marriage and fatherhood successfully.

There’s SO much substance in this video, that I know it’ll be a gem, whether you’re single or married.

Sadly, I’ve had so much trouble embedding this video. It just won’t work for some reason. So, I’ve inserted the direct link to the video below. Please watch, enjoy, and come back and leave some comments.
In the spirit of Valentine’s Day and its (often) over-celebration of commercialism and fluff, let’s dig a little deeper and learn how to work on a love that is solid and lasting. <3

Direct Link: 


The Journey to Beautiful Series: Glory Edozien

The Journey to Beautiful Interview Series is a celebration of influential and inspiring African women across the globe. Its aim is to teach every woman to define beauty on her own terms, to live purposefully, to accept what makes her truly unique, and to fall in love with all of who she is.

Glory Edozien

NAME: Glory Edozien
AGE: 33

LOCATION: Lagos, Nigeria 
WHY YOU HAVE TO KNOW HER: Glory Edozien is what you’d call a walking, talking breath of fresh air. In the current climate of the pursuit of superficiality and trivial things, Glory has made it her life’s mission to empower and inspire women. Through her show, The Inspire Series by Glory Edozien, her goal is to “empower women to love, live, pray, and be inspired.” Featuring guests that make you listen, think, and believe, as well as original articles, she’s certainly on course to fulfill her mission.

Glory’s openness in sharing the challenges she faces, while living with severe psoriasis (a skin condition), especially in a country with Nigeria, are just as inspiring as she is.

As if that weren’t enough, she’s also a superhero in her day job. As a Project Coordinator for Enviro Africa, she is part of a team of individuals at the forefront of the fight against climate change – working on environmental sustainability and emissions reductions.

Glory Edozien is the Real Deal!

Glory Edozien


I am Glory. Compassionate, complicated, disorganized and completely in love with love. God chaser, who too often falls short; daddy and mummy’s baby; day dreamer, and dream chaser. I want to know God’s purpose for me and fulfill that purpose. I am a woman constantly on a journey of self-discovery and self-love. Both sad and happy movies make me cry; and I am a complete foodie.


I guess my lips and hips. Sometimes, my eyes and teeth.


My heart. I think it is my strongest feature and my strongest flaw. It is so emotive, quick to anger, quick to love and quick to forgive. It is resilient and, at the same time, tender. It is the driver of all I am.


My weight and skin is a constant battle. I think the reason behind that is my constant need for external validation. Being overweight with dark blemishes on your skin is definitely not the #flawless look you want to see in the mirror, or that you want others to see of you. Some days, I think I have overcome the struggle; on other days, I fail completely. But more recently, I have been redefining what beauty means to me. It hasn’t been easy, but I have had to look inwards to redefine my perception of self and stop waiting for others to tell me who I am. That means if I say I am beautiful, then no one’s opinion on the matter [counts]. It is a constant pull-and-tug between the need for external acceptance and internal validation. But I think the struggle will be worth it.

As regards non-physical traits, I wish I was better organized and not too much of a procrastinator. I wish I was able to be less judgmental of people and focus on the good in them, because, sometimes, it’s all too easy to see people’s flaws instead of yours. What I do now is anytime I am tempted to be judgmental about someone, I remember how imperfect I am.

I also try to keep a to-do list but, sometimes, it gets lost!

Glory Edozien




I am the poster child for the original daddy’s girl. My dad is one of my best friends and quite literally my hero. When I see myself through my father’s eyes I see a girl with big ambitions and dreams who is capable of achieving them. I see a headstrong, intelligent, and passionate person. My father’s belief in me is like a catapult. It makes me feel invincible but also quite humble. It’s like someone somewhere knows you like no one else and they are on the sidelines of your life, shouting your name and praying for you. It makes you super grateful and determined not to let them down.


Being 80 and having regrets of not living my life my way. Dying and realizing I didn’t do any of the things God wanted me to. My parents dying before I get married and have a child; that might really kill me.


My parents are the greatest gems in my life: the best ornaments and the perfect symbols of unconditional love.
My extended family: my cousins are like my sisters and best friends. They are my most trusted confidants and are ALWAYS there for me. Spending time with them gives me immeasurable joy.
The Inspire Series: I look at it and I am in awe that little ole Glory Edozien could step out and accomplish a dream. It makes me feel like I can live any dream I have.


I’d say my quest to find myself and knowing who I am is my greatest accomplishment. Recently, I learnt through one of the guests on my show how to redefine success. It isn’t about how many people notice what you are doing or how much money you make: it is setting out to do something and achieving it your way. This means your sense of validation comes from within. It isn’t about the external pomp and pageantry. This for me is such a great life lesson. Understanding what makes me happy and being able to pursue that relentlessly is the best accomplishment anyone can have.

Glory Edozien




Ok, I will be honest here. I feel beautiful mostly when I have make up on and [am] dressed up. I also feel beautiful when I feel confident about myself and what I am saying. Recently, I have been trying to wear less make up and to concentrate on the non physical aspects of how I look and feel…but Rome was not built in a day.

Generally though, I feel beautiful when I smile. Especially when that smile is completely genuine.


A woman is beautiful when she knows who she is and doesn’t need anyone to validate her. I believe a true sense of beauty comes from within. Beauty is about innate qualities like compassion, kindness, strength and passion. It is when these internal qualities shine through that a woman’s beauty is truly visible.


For me, 80% of beauty, if not more, is internal. That also means beauty can be personal and individual. I am constantly on a journey of self-discovery. Understanding who I am and what makes me happy and fulfilled. This helps me become confident, less judgmental, compassionate and accepting of others. It makes me set limits, boundaries and goals that are personal to me and evaluated by me alone. The more I can improve who I am inside and the better my internal qualities, the more beautiful my external.


I love Oprah’s authenticity, Lydia Sobogun’s spiritual maturity, my mother’s determination, Beyonce’s drive for perfection, Elaine Shobanjo’s kindness, Uche Pedro’s ability to bring out the best in the people who work for and with her…..the list is endless.

Glory Edozien 2



Watch Glory featured as the subject of her best friend (previous The Journey to Beautiful feature) Wana Uddobang‘s amazing documentary, Sensitive Skin, on living with severe psoriasis in Nigeria. 


Also, watch some of Glory’s amazing The Inspire Series webisodes. You’ll truly be inspired:





Stay updated with everything Glory & The Inspire Series. Follow her here:


Facebook: The Inspire Series by Glory Edozien

Instagram: inspiredbyglory

Twitter: @inspiredbyglory

Website: www.inspiredbyglory.com 


Help Your Daughters Unveil Their Beauty



I read something very interesting this week: girls are SEVEN times more likely to love their natural hair, if people around them do. That includes the entire “village” around the child, of course, but that mostly means us as moms.

I always knew this was the case, but it was interesting to see just how truly high the probability really is. It was also quite heartwarming and somewhat scary at the same time. These little people are truly looking up to us, and paying attention to our specific hangups, insecurities, likes, and dislikes. When we hate our own hair or body or skin, we are immediately setting them up to pick their own features apart – even if we spend all day telling them how “perfect” and “beautiful” they are. Odds are, our children likely look like us in some way, and they rely on us to learn how to feel about themselves.

So, when you’re tempted to look in the mirror and pick apart your nose, our your body, or complexion, please remember how important it is to pass on confidence to your little ones. The easiest and best way to do this is to make it a habit to speak of ourselves with love, and to truly cultivate confidence and self-love. What we really feel and who we are are part of our essence, even when we don’t say a single word.

Of course, it’s even worse when we point out (what we consider to be) our own children’s flaws. :( :( Children are typically in love with themselves and their images, until someone else shatters that peace. I’ve seen how my toddler interacts with his image in the mirror: excited to see himself, pointing, laughing, and kissing. When we speak negatively about their features, we completely distort that image.

The same thing applies when we present features that are completely different from theirs as superior. I know the number of times I’ve heard people talk about just how long another child’s hair is in comparison to their child’s, or how “light-skinned” another child is when their own child isn’t. Of course, these statements are always made with such high praise that there is no doubt that these features are preferred over their child’s.

This is why I have to vowed to be vigilant about not just what say to my children, or around them, but am vigilant about what others within my environment say to and around my child. I’ll be sure not to be rude or disrespectful, but I will be extremely firm in pointing out that I do not want any of my child’s features talked about in any way that teaches him that he is less than perfect. The world out there is just waiting to tell every child all the things they need to change about themselves; their home should be the place to build them up and be their safe spot.

How are you committing to helping your children see themselves as beautiful everyday?




{Image Credit: ELLE.com; Photographer: Nagi Sakai}

Stop Saying “Nice” Things to Your Spouse

Anyone who’s been married for any length of time can attest to the fact that marriage isn’t always easy; in fact, some days, it is downright difficult. You have long days that leave you exhausted and your nerves frayed, so that it becomes so easy to get irritated at the slightest things. You hear one thing when your spouse actually meant something else, and that misunderstanding leads to quarrels and arguments.

We’ve all been told that we need to be nicer and say “nice” things to our spouse, but is that really what we need?

Of course, we should be nice to our spouses! We committed ourselves to loving them unconditionally and living with them for the rest of our natural  lives. However, sometimes, we say “nice” things to our spouses just to say them.

Has your husband ever gotten a new haircut, and you’ve called it a “nice haircut”? How annoyed were you when you put on a dress that you thought made you look sexy and irresistible only to be told, “nice dress”? Sometimes, using the word, “nice”, just isn’t enough!

What if we committed to being more expressive and present with our words and compliments? Committed to saying, “Your haircut is wonderful”, instead of just “nice haircut”? Committed to saying, “You look incredible in that dress”, instead of just “nice dress”? See what I mean?

Saying “nice” things is okay, but using more descriptive and heartfelt words are probably better. Plus, they’ll force us to be much more present in our observations of our spouse.

INSPIRATION: Michelle Williams

When you join one of the most successful “girl” groups of all time during a period of chaos, crisis, and extreme scrutiny, you just have to have a thick skin. Singer/songwriter/actress/co-host Michelle Williams joined uber-successful group, Destiny’s Child, in 2000 – effectively replacing original team members, LeToya Luckett and LaTavia Roberson. In addition to founding members, Beyoncé Knowles and Kelly Rowland, the group would now include Michelle & Farrah Franklin. By the year’s end, Farrah Franklin was gone, and Michelle Williams was officially a true member of Destiny’s Child.

From holding her own among her new sisters, Michelle has gone on to have a truly stellar solo career: from being the first former DC member to release a solo album (garnering multiple award nominations and wins on her musical journey) to being the only former DC member to act on Broadway in multiple roles, including AidaThe Color Purple, Chicago (she was the first African-American to be cast in London’s production of Chicago), and Fela!

To me, Michelle Williams is truly inspirational for so many reasons, but what most stands out to me is her confidence. Constantly compared to her former DC members (in often despicable ways, I might add), she is clearly a woman who knows exactly who she is & what her purpose is, and who doesn’t let anyone else tell her who she is.


Love your body, in spite of criticism: Most people think it’s incredibly rude to criticize or make fun of people who are overweight or obese. However, it seems to be open season on women who are skinny. Michelle Williams has been called way too skinny by so many on the internet, but she seems to love her body in spite of the criticism. Contrary to what people’s views seem to be, Michelle has stated several times that she actually eats very heartily, but just happens to have an incredibly high metabolism. Anorexia and the media industry’s celebration of the too-skinny body are well-documented and extremely problematic; however, it doesn’t make it right to criticize women who are just naturally skinny, no matter what they do.


Don’t let them box you in: From the get-go, Michelle has absolutely refused to be put in a box. Though she started her solo career in the gospel musical space, she hasn’t been afraid to return to “secular” music, showing off her musical talents in the R&B, Dance, Pop, and Soul genres – amid some criticism from people who believe that artists who “go gospel” should stay there. She has maintained her determination to create music that she is inspired by, and has only created music that is wholesome and fun.

Just do it: Before Michelle joined Destiny’s Child in 2000, she had sung backup for R&B singer, Monica, and was in singing groups in church. Needless to say, even though she had the chops, she had absolutely never experienced what it was like to be thrust onto the world stage the way she was with DC. She could easily have cowered in fear and been too afraid to take the opportunity she had been given because she “wasn’t ready”, or she could have chosen to stay in someone else’s shadow. She didn’t! Instead, she rose to the occasion and took her place. She knew that the only way to do it was … well, to do it. What a lesson to all of us.

Explore all your gifts: As a seasoned singer, Michelle could have chosen to simply “stay in her lane”, and stay a singer. Instead, she has spread her wings brilliantly – putting on critically acclaimed performances on the Broadway stage, and bringing her effervescent presence to life in stage plays.


Be totally confident in who God made you: There are few things in life we as humans love to do as much as we like to compare. We declare who the “prettiest” sister is, who the “best” singer is, and who is the “smartest” person we know. For women, comparison is turned up to a million! Now, imagine having the whole world compare you constantly to 2 women you are in a group with. With the era of social media and easy access, cyber-bullying is easier than ever – and many celebrities are bearing the brunt of it. I have seen lots and lots of internet memes making fun of Michelle, and comparing her to very inferior products (particularly in comparison to her former DC members). It’s enough to get anybody down, but Michelle has risen above it. She continues to stay confident in who she is & her gifts and talents. What’s more, she’s continually elevating her career, and growing her bank account. When you know who you are, you’re not interested in what silly, misguided people have to say.

Depression isn’t a death sentence:  Michelle has been open about her past struggles with depression. In an interview with The Huffington Post, Michelle stated that she had to make a choice to “get out of bed and do whatever [she] needed to do to be happy.” Crediting exercise, therapy, and positive thinking with lifting her out of depression, she encourages anyone suffering from depression to seek help from professionals – particularly those in the Christian and faith-based communities. “We’re taught, ‘Just go to church and pray about it. The Lord is going to heal you.’ Well, in the meantime, I believe God-gifted people, physicians, doctors, therapists – that’s your healing. Take advantage of it. Go see a professional so that they can assess you. It’s OK if you’re going through something. Depression is not OK, but it is OK to go get help,” she said.



The Takeaway? Know who you are! Know who God made you, and let that be the final authority on your life. What others say about you just doesn’t count.



{Images 2-5 by photographer, Derek Blanks}

See John Legend & Chrissy Teigen’s New York Home

Singer/songwriter extraordinaire, John Legend and Chrissy Teigen, his wife & model/soon-to-be talk show co-host (of an upcoming Tyra Banks-produced panel show for ABC), invited Architectural Digest to take a tour of their one-bedroom loft apartment in Manhattan, New York. The couple had previously granted Architectural Digest access to their (now-sold) L.A. house in the Hollywood Hills.

Chrissy Teigen and John Legend

The couple reportedly wanted a home that would be “warm, cozy, and full of character”, with a “dark, moody atmosphere.” Rather than seeking a giant view of, say, the Empire State Building, the couple opted for completely different kind of view: a brick wall. It seems privacy and the feeling of blocking out the rest of the world is a priority for them. And why wouldn’t it be? With schedules that go on and on, and globally recognizable faces that make you impossible to miss in a crowd, who wouldn’t want the perfect kick-back spot? I know I do – and I’m not even famous. :)

Here are the rooms in their lovely home.


Dining Area

Living Room



Master Bedroom


In an ideal world (if money were no object, that is), what would you prioritize in choosing a home for your family? I would definitely go for a place that evokes tranquility & culture, feels bright and airy, is sophisticated yet functional, and has an extremely cozy atmosphere.

What would you go for?


{All images via Architectural Digest}


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 556 other followers