CeCe Olisa How to Have a glow up

A Year of Loving Myself 2019

CeCe Olisa How to Have a glow up

Top | Skirt | Shoes | Makeup via theGlamApp


I started blogging (anonymously!) in 2008. At the time, I felt insecure, rejected and unsure of myself. I wrote about those feelings and slowly people around the world began to follow me as I did my best figure things out. If you’ve been here since the beginning, thank you for sticking with me this long. If you’re new here, welcome!

Word on the street is that I’ve had a “glow up”.

I don’t know about that, but I do know I have been working on myself. Like, really working on myself.

The process of my “glow up” has been painful, frustrating and sometimes terrifying. I made a decision five years ago to start doing the spiritual work, mental health work and physical work to become the best version of myself that I could.

I’m committed to helping you build self confidence, so today I’m going to share some of my glow up secrets with you.

This is How to have a Glow Up: 5 Secrets No one Talks About.


I have been in therapy for five years. I go to therapy every single week. Depending on what’s happening in my life, sometimes I go twice a week. I pay for therapy out of pocket and I cut out other expenses so that I can afford it.

When I started therapy, I had NO MONEY but my therapist works on a “sliding scale” so I was able to pay for my sessions based on my income. Lots of therapists do this.

I thought I needed a therapist who was black and a woman. Turns out I didn’t need someone who looked like me, I needed someone who understood me. My therapist looks NOTHING like me, but she’s exactly who I need.

If you’ve been thinking about starting therapy, I encourage you to begin the process of finding a therapist today. Finding a therapist is kind of like dating a bunch of people to see who you vibe with best.

People don’t always talk about therapy, which is a bummer because I found my therapist by asking people I knew if they had a therapist they like. Doing that took courage on my part for “admitting” I wanted therapy and it took courage on my friends part for “admitting” they have a therapist , but it saved me a lot of time and got me right into the hands of the therapist I needed!


As a single girl, supporting myself on my own, it can be really hard to make time for wellness.

Sometimes I’m juggling it all perfectly– cooking for myself, working out regularly and drinking all the water. Sometimes I’m too overwhelmed to do everything and my wellness practice takes a back seat. I know what I should do I just don’t always do it.

In college, I found out that I have something called “factor V Leiden”. This means that I can develop blood clots more easily than the average person. Because of this, my doctor put me on blood thinners for the rest of my life.

During theCURVYcon in 2017,  the prescription for my blood thinners ran out. I knew I needed to fill it, but as co-founder of a growing company, I was so focused on the wellbeing of my business that I didn’t make my own wellbeing a priority.

I didn’t take my meds for the first time in YEARS and I ended up getting really sick.

I was in the hospital for a month and came very close to losing my life. God is faithful and I survived.

I remember laying in the hospital bed feeling so afraid and helpless but I was also really embarrassed. I may have been able to prevent my health crisis if I had simply gone to the pharmacy. I share this with you because I know how easy it can be to only think of “wellness” as fitness and food, but it’s literally about how we take care of ourselves. What’s the point of me hitting the gym at 6am every day if I’m not taking my life-saving medication, ya know?

What people don’t talk about is that health is a practice not a pant size.

I’d like to encourage you to start looking at your health holistically. Fitness and supportive foods are important, but it can’t stop there. We need to rest, drink water, visit the gynecologist, go to the dentist, get our breasts examined, get into therapy and so much more.


CeCe Olisa How to Have a glow up secrets

Top | Skirt | Makeup via theGlamApp

Celebrate, Often

I once dated a man who celebrated all of my wins. I’d mention a random piece of good news and he’d say “let’s celebrate!” and we’d go to a nice dinner just because I had a good day. He wasn’t “the one”, but I loved what he brought to my life so I decided to keep it.

I can be really hard on myself. I have a bad habit of downplaying my accomplishments and simply moving on to the next goal.

The reality is that everything I do takes tremendous effort, planning. I have to reach a bunch of “mini goals” each day so that I can continue serving you in all the ways I want to. Celebrating my wins, big and small keeps me grateful. Five years ago, I was sitting at my corporate job asking God for the life I have now.

I believe that good and better things are always on the way. This is why I have Prosecco chilled in my fridge at all times– I’m always prepared to celebrate!

In 2010, I was an insecure anonymous blogger.

As I enter 2020, my Tedx Talk How to Build Self Confidence is approaching 300,000 views on youtube!

I’m celebrating the new year and the new decade in this look that I put together from Lane Bryant. I put together this plus size new years eve outfit by pairing this stretchy plus size sequin skirt  (I ordered a size 14) with this stretchy plus size sequin turtleneck. Each item can be worn alone, but when I put them together I liked the bold, yet neutral look it created. I finished the look with these nude strappy wide width heels.

I’m so excited to walk into the next decade and I hope you are too!

Okay, let’s keep going with my “glow up secrets”…

CeCe Olisa How to have a glow up

Top | Skirt | Shoes | Makeup via theGlamApp

Follow your Gut

Five years ago I completely blew my life up in the following ways:

I quit my corporate job

I ended toxic relationships

I put my personal finances at risk to become co-founder of theCURVYcon

I thought because I took a huge leap of faith, God would bless me immediately with the desires of my heart… WOMP WOMP that didn’t happen lol. Things actually got WORSE for me after I stepped out of my comfort zone
Money got tight and I had to sleep on the floor so I could put my bedroom on Airbnb to make extra money.

I lost more friends.

I dated (and dumped) more men– but I’ll save those stories for another day.

I’ve learned that even when things are falling apart, they’re coming together. I’m happy with my new apartment, I’m happy to be single, I’m happy that one day I’ll be a wife & mom, but that day is not today and everything is fine.

Do you have some changes you’re thinking about making? Do you have things (or people) you may need to let go of? Are you nervous?

I understand.

Letting go of things that don’t serve me is always really difficult. Who wants to sign up to do something painful?? Not me!

There was a tiny voice inside of me telling me what I needed to do. I didn’t find the confidence to “blow my life up” right away. It took therapy, prayer and knowing that I deserved more.

I don’t hear many people saying this, so I’m going to tell you:

Sometimes, letting go of what we have is the only way for us to get what we really want.

If you have big decisions ahead of you, I encourage you to set yourself up for success. You need a support system. Therapy, a strong spiritual practice and radical self care gave me the confidence to do what I needed to do. If you don’t have those things in place, now is your time to begin.

Ask yourself THIS question

Last year I was dating a man who had an impressive job and treated me well. He was great and we should have been a great couple but we didn’t have the passion I need.

I had been in passionless relationships with impressive men before and let them drag on for WAY too long. This time, when I realized we didn’t have “that fire” I kindly and lovingly ended our relationship. He was cool about it and didn’t even put up a fight (which low-key proves my point that we didn’t have passion haha).

Anyway, I was so proud of myself for not wasting time in a relationship that wasn’t going anywhere. I was pleased with myself for not asking him to be someone he wasn’t. I was excited that I was (finally) dating with my own needs in mind.

There is one question that keeps me honest with myself in everything I do from career to dating to where I go for brunch on Sundays.

The question is this:

“What do you want?”

You’re probably thinking “duh, CeCe!” but take a minute and really think about it. When you think about what you want in different areas of your life… what’s on that list?

What I’m about to share with you applies to everything in our lives, but I’m going to stick with dating as the example here, because I know you guys love to talk about love.

A few years ago if you asked what I was looking for in a man, “passion” was no where on the list. My list was short and sweet. I wanted someone who was “tall, smart and Christian”.

I thought what I wanted was so humble and honorable because I wasn’t asking for much, just the simple things. But my short and simple list was actually problematic because it was a little too vague. I have dated my share of impressive “tall, smart and christian” men and… well… I’m still out here in these single streets, sooooo… clearly my list needed some tweaking.

“What do you want?”

You might say “I want a job where I can make six figures!” 

Or you could say “I want a job where I feel fulfilled and make an income that support the lifestyle I want to live”

“What do you want?”

You might say “I want to have a baby!”

or you could say “I want to build a family that feels safe, supportive and full of love”

“What do you want?”

You might say “I want to lose weight”

or you could say “I want to wake up feeling energized and strong. I want to get dressed in the morning with confidence. I want to walk up the subway steps without feeling winded”

Do you see how important it is to get crystal clear on what you want?

When we are foggy on what we want it can be easy to get into situations that don’t match up with who we are. This has happened to me and it hurts so badly. I don’t want that for you, so I’d like you to start asking yourself “what do I want?” as much as possible.

If a guy never touches you, but physical touch is your primary love language– let him go because he’s not what you want.

If a girl makes you feel insecure, but you want someone in your life who encourages your confidence– let her go because she’s not what you want.

What YOU want is the best “north star” you can give yourself and the more specific you can be, the better.

CeCe Olisa How to Have a glow up

Top | Skirt | Makeup via theGlamApp

Something I want this year is to make impact and income with my work.

I’m excited for the work that we will do together in the new year. Don’t quit your daydream, dolls!

6 thoughts on “A Year of Loving Myself 2019”

  1. Sitting here under the dryer!!!reading your glow up I didn’t know what to expect!!! I’ve followed you and I love your fashion sense and your entire being self. I embraced wanting sister locs!!! Thanks for the push chica! Thank you for the clarity and the special way you have of nudging us to get rid of fear and find clarity on our prayers and desires. Can I be me for a second…Your glow up is gonna fuck up some things today and in the new year. Forgive my language God ..but it will be life changing and saving for a lot of us. I made your coin sound go off just a smidge but the overflowing rain will soon come.

  2. Simply, thank you for this blog!! I was asking myself the questions you posed while I read along, lol. Everything you said was ultra real and easy to digest. Your words were needed today✨

  3. “glowing up” is such a prevalent thing in millennial and gen z culture but so much of the time I see it being portrayed as face maks and getting your nails done. and although those things have their place i don’t feel like they’re the main things we should be focusing on when we really want to care for our selves. I’ve always wanted to see a person talk about realistically caring for yourself. because nail polish won’t fix the deeply rooted problems we face. that was just a long-winded way of expressing how much this post is needed, and why I’m so grateful for it.

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