Say “NO” To Thanksgiving Shopping- Small Business Saturday

As a blogger during these past few weeks leading up to Thanksgiving my inbox has been flooded with “guide to Black Friday” shopping emails. I have ignored every single one. Although Thanksgiving is not a true holiday in the most literal since of the word- meaning it is not a “holy day” tied to a system of belief it is a day that most people spend with family, or friends who have become our family as “friends giving” has become a popular new tradition for the day.

I have adamantly ignored every piece of email touting Black Friday discounts because the sales and overall consumerism has reached an all time level of disrespect. Not only have retailers attempted to woo consumers with the promise of deep discounts to help them meet their own annual revenue goals, many of them have suggested that you wolf down your holiday meal, rush from the one time a year when family is forced to eat at a table together and begin your Thanksgiving shopping before you can properly sleep off your zyptrophan -induced post, Turkey Day “itis”.

The day that has traditionally been dedicated to moving from the dining room table to gathering as a family in front of the television to watch football, catch up on each other’s lives or just simply down a second (or third) plate of food has been turned into a microwave holiday where you are encouraged to Shop! Buy! Spend! All with the promise of deep discounts.

Well I’m not here for any of it… I plan to spend the day luxuriating in the moments and quality time generated by love, laughter, good food and in my house- plenty of wine. Instead of rushing out to Walmart, Target or “insert retailer of choice here” I will be enjoying time with the people who share my DNA, a collective history and a lifetime of memories. I will dedicate myself to creating new memories and if nothing else I will relish in the fact that my dining room table will be used for something other than the collection of mail that always manages to pile up there.

Suffice it to say that I enjoy both gifting and receiving and most of my shopping will be done on small business Saturday- with local retailers who are either from my hometown of Baltimore or located in MD. Here are a few places to check out for small business Saturday- support minority businesses that offer unique gifting options and items that you won’t see everywhere.

Fly Nerd
Hands down this is one of my favorite local artisans- I fancy myself a bit of a sneaker head and the best companion for a fly shoe is a fly tee- Fly Nerd offers uniquely designed tees created by Andrea Tomlin who managed to marry her love of fashion with graphic design with these awesome t-shirts

Fly Nerd

Fly Nerd

Truth outfitters
Alex Bank$ is the creator behind the brand which was born during his high school years when fitting in is such a struggle for just about everyone- Bank$ Tag line for the line is striving to “fit in while standing out” and the collection is equal parts art and fashionable.

Truth Outfitters

Truth Outfitters


K. Staton Boutique

If you’re a curvy girl in the DMV K.Staton Boutique is a must shopping destination for you. Jade Greer the dynamic owner of the boutique has a carefully curated selection of high end, high quality options for the curvy fashionista.

K. Staton

K. Staton

Why Solange Knowles Broke The Internet

photo by:  Rog Walker

photo by: Rog Walker

photo source

November 16th ( the eve of my own wedding anniversary) served as the day Solange broke the Internet. The reason for her heavily hashtagged, heavily regrammed notable internet breakage was because she got hitched to her long time partner Alan Fergueson.

Solange has long since established herself as a fashion icon- from her enviable, full ‘fro, to her bold fashion choices and omnipresent brightly-hued lip- Solange is the fashion “it” girl in the Knowles clan. Her style is undeniable but the reason so many fashionistas love “Solo” is because she walks in her personal truth with a unique authenticity that is so fundamentally her and we love it. She didn’t have to bare it all to get the attention of all of social media and the fact that Vogue magazine was granted exclusive rights to the photos from her nuptials just further solidifies Solange as a bonafide fashionista. She is proof positive that you can don a cape, a gorgeous Humberto Leon gown, rock a fierce ‘fro and be your own fashion super she-roe with style, elegance and grace- and break the Internet whilst doing it.

HelloBeautiful Launches First Beauty App

HelloBeautiful has rapidly established itself as an online destination for all things celebrity, style and beauty and now the brand has partnered with iconic beauty and revered super-model Iman (who serves as a sponsor) to launch a new mobile app with a focus on beauty how too’s. The app which is available in both the Google Play and Apple IOS stores will feature video content curated by LoveBrownSugars Cristina Brown as well as www.doobop.com founder Jodie Patterson. Content will also be generated by users who can join the conversation by sharing their own beauty tips and engaging fellow users via social media.

“The HelloBeautiful woman is all about mobile!” said Leigh Davenport, Editorial Director, Women and Lifestyle, Interactive One. “Every day over 70% of our users are finding us on their smartphones and the SoBeautiful App is the perfect way to indulge their insatiable appetite for beauty, hair and style trends. The SoBeautiful App also allows our readers to participate in a community where their beauty is celebrated shamelessly! The more selfies the better!”

SoBeautiful app

SoBeautiful app

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Seriously, Vote

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November 4th is the date for the midterm elections and one of my earliest childhood memories is going to the polls to vote with my grandfather; I did not realize the poignancy of these trips to the neighborhood school where we would enter a small booth and a silver lever would close the curtains behind us, providing my grandfather with privacy as needed to exercise his rights. Going to vote with my grandfather was so significant because he was (and still is) the smartest man I know and with only a third grade education he migrated to Baltimore from Spartanburg, South Carolina secured a job at Bethlehem Steele and served as the patriarch and sole supporter to his family. In spite of his limited “formal” education, he would read the morning paper from cover to cover and always encouraged me to do the same. He had a half dozen friends who would frequently gather on the porch and I would saddle up next to him listening to talks of the Iran Contra-scandal and other world issues and though I had limited knowledge of what they were talking about I sensed that it was important and I loved the way these men who were also from the south would converse with such passion, laughter and comeaderie… These men and especially my grandfather remain my measure for intellect, passion and provision and it is due to their sacrifice- to leaving whatever prompted them to migrate from the South that I proudly will cast my vote tomorrow.

If you remain confused about the candidates visit www.411vote.org in order to learn more about where they stand on the issues impacting your state; the worse thing you could do on tomorrow is nothing at all, so please exercise your right to vote.

(End of) Summer Reading: Gone Girl

Photo courtesy of amazon.com

Photo courtesy of amazon.com

I will admit I have a somewhat obsessive personality… To clarify what I mean is quite simply when I like something, I mean REALLY like something I tend to immerse myself into whatever that thing is. This summer, like most I spent a fair amount of time reading-between days spent at the beach lazily basking in the sun, to summer evenings refusing to allow another nanosecond of reality television to seep into my psyche, I read and I read a lot. This brings me to my latest literary obsession- Gillian Flynn; I had heard quite a bit about the book Gone Girl, Flynn’s 2012 New York Times Best seller and being the nerd that I am I insisted on reading the book before the film adaptation is released in October. I quickly became hooked on Flynn’s writing and found myself researching her other body of work. I’ve always had an affinity for crime and suspense and Flynn’s does the most amazing job of foreshadowing you can’t help but want to see how the story ends. Gone Girl had me hooked from the very beginning- this story about a dazzling Manhattan couple who’s relationship has gone a little stale with the loss of their jobs and the need to move to some Podunk town in Missouri. The story opens with the couple- Nick and Amy Dunne preparing to celebrate their 5 year wedding anniversary and the wife goes missing… I won’t say anymore as I don’t want to give too much of the story away but read the book! The Gone Girl movie will hit theaters on October 3rd.

Here’s a peek at the trailer

Style Item Of The Week- Nice Laundry

Nice Laundry

Nice Laundry


Hands down one of my favorite trends of late is colorful socks for men. Sunday morning church service is overflowing with the more stylish and daring gents of the congregation wearing what has affectionately been referred to as “socks of glory” or “the sock ministry”.

Now that fall is officially in full swing the dip in temperature provides the perfect opportunity to enhance your sock wardrobe. Admitedly I initially wanted my husband to review the socks that the folks from Nice Laundry sent over, but the colors appealed to me I kept a few pairs for myself. Not only are they stylish, they’re comfortable and offer the perfect exclamation point to any ensemble.

If you’re looking to add to or even lunch your own sock drawer Nice Laundry offers a recycling program to their US customers where a percentage of the recycled socks are repurposed.

Want more details? Visit www.nicelaundry.com

AJ Crimson Debuts Dual Skin Cream Foundation During New York Fashion Week

AJ Crimson dishes on his new line w/ press

AJ Crimson dishes on his new line w/ press


AJ Crimson served as the makeup sponsor to several shows this season and I was able to get a sneak peek of his new dual foundation which debuted during fashion week.
Dual Skin Cream Foundation

Dual Skin Cream Foundation

The foundation is buildable and offers sheer to full coverage. Crimson indicted that he created the colors for the dual foundation from dark to light so there is definitely something in the wide range of hues for brown girls. I had a chance to catch up with the makeup guru backstage at Harbison where I swatched his new banana cream which is perfect for creating highlight and contour. The biggest plus of the banana cream is that it goes on wet versus the powdery finish of other brands that can sometimes leave you looking ghostly.

The other exciting update from Crimson is that his foundation will be offered in a pro-palette which is a perfect addition to makeup artists kits.

The look backstage for Harbison was clean, natural lines with a pop of color on the lid. The goal essentially was to enhance the natural beauty versus an overly dramatic look.
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To learn more about the collection visit AJ Crimson

Photo credit: Sherrie Wood www.luxeglammedia.com

NYFW-Backstage with Design Essentials At Harlem Fashion Row

Halo braids

Halo braids

Design Essentials served as the official hair sponsor for Harlem Fashion Row. Keith Campbell returned as Lead stylist for the show and he created looks from highly textured, voluminous pompadours to halo braids and textured Afros.

Though each designer had individual styles that served as the hair inspiration for their respective collections Design Essentials provided products from both their natural line and the professional salon range.

The pompadour created for Byron Lars was a huge favorite both backstage and among the fashionistas attending the show.

Harlem Fashion Row- Byron Lars

Harlem Fashion Row- Byron Lars

Get the look
After hair was teased, to create volume, and spritzed with Hydrience replenishing mist to both moisturize and add sheen Design essentials maximum hold edge control was used to keep flyways at bay.

Textured Afro

Textured Afro

The highly textured looks were created using Design Essentials natural line specifically the curl forming custard was used to “funk up” the fros that were seen on the runway.

For more product information please visit: www.designessentials.com

 

Photo credit: Sherrie Wood www.luxeglammedia.com

 

NYFW-Backstage At Victor dE Souza with Mizani

Backstage at Victor dE Souza

Backstage at Victor dE Souza


Master Mizani Stylist Ceaser Ramirez was tapped to create looks for the Victor dE Souza Spring 2015 Collection and the textured hair was very reminiscent of 80s disco chic. The arctic- icy blonde tresses were the perfect exclamation to accentuate the beautifully cut satins and silks in the collection.

“I wanted to design a dimensional style in this icy, arctic shade for a dramatic look,” says Ramirez. “Using MIZANI products to create the bold, textured style was a perfect match, as the brand has always been a leader in the professional textured market. I loved having the opportunity to work with Victor because he brings drama and his pieces are incredibly theatrical, so it really inspires my creativity.”

Ramirez used the following Mizani products in order to create what he describes as an “A-line bob”:

First the entire head was coated with
Mizani Iron Curl Heat Styling cream and the hair was braided all over in a figure 8 pattern; once the pins were secure, the hair was sealed with the humidity resistant mist and touched briefly with a flat iron.

Figure 8 braid

Figure 8 braid

Finally the hair was taken down and teased to create textured voluminous bob.

For more product details please visit:www.mizani.com
Follow them on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram: @mizaniusa

Playing In Paint-Shea Moisture Cosmetics

Shea Moisture Cosmetics

In case you didn’t know the highly regarded brand Shea Moisture popular among naturalistas recently added cosmetics to their product offerings; the line offers a full range of options from pigment-rich shadows to color correcting cc creams and I’m definitely a fan. Like most makeup artists I frequently spend time crafting looks for clients and rarely afford myself the opportunity to “beat” my own face. When I was approached with the opportunity to try the cosmetics for a brand that I already use to tame my natural tresses I jumped at the chance,

Eyes
I decided to create a basic eye look by using Claudia shadow to define my brows. The shadows (like most) are a wet dry formula so I sculpted my brows by wetting an angled brush and filling in any sparse areas with the Claudia shadow,
After priming my eyes with Milani shadow I used the Claudia shadow in my crease and completed the look with the Cassandra shadow and added liner and lashes.

Face
I primed my skin and added the Shea moisture CC cream in medium. The formula boasts SPF in addition to being incredibly buildable; I applied the cream with a stippling brush and because the formula is so build able, concealer was not needed.

Lips
I cannot say enough about the lipstick offerings from this range; with lip stain products that are basically foolproof for those that shy away from color to lip glosses that go from nude to bold there is something for everyone.

Here’s a sneak peek at the products used:

Products clock wise: Nicola lip stain, lip gloss in Brillo Labial, medium CC cream, Claudia and Cassandra shadow, Milani shadow primer, L'oreal gel liner, MAC reed shadow

Products clock wise: Nicola lip stain, lip gloss in Brillo Labial, medium CC cream, Claudia and Cassandra shadow, Milani shadow primer, L’oreal gel liner, MAC reed shadow

Finished look wearing Caroline nude lip gloss
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Second look wearing Brillo Labial

Second look wearing Brillo Labial

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