Essence Festival 2015 Recap #BringTheLove

Ernest N. Morial Convention Center

Ernest N. Morial Convention Center

Essence Fest is like going to your family reunion and rather than hiring your cousin Boobie to DJ there’s Grammy award winners, legends and rising stars. Touted as one of the largest marketing events with a highly desirable demographic of black women, Essence Fest is something everyone should experience at least once. Inevitably you will let out squeals of excitement as you run into people from your past on Bourbon Street and the performances at the Superdome are equal parts electrifying or intimate depending on if the artist is on the main stage or performing in one of the lounges.

Goapele Verizon Lounge

Goapele Verizon Lounge

Jonathan McReynolds, Verizon Lounge

Jonathan McReynolds, Verizon Lounge

This is my second year attending the festival and I was committed to experiencing the empowerment sessions and other awesome opportunities beyond the music.

The session that touched me the most was an overview of the keys to finding your soulmate with Sarah Jakes Roberts and her husband Toure Roberts. They were funny, insightful and engaging but most importantly they delivered a powerful message about healing as an individual before seeking out your soulmate. At one point I was looking for an usher to pass me a tissue as their transparency raised questions from the attendees and it became clear that though we were not in church, yokes were being broken and people were being saved from repeating relationship mistakes.

Sarah Jakes Roberts and Toure Roberts

Sarah Jakes Roberts and Toure Roberts

 

 

Make plans to attend next years festival now as hotels sell out quickly. Check out the Essence Festival site for updates on next years’ line up.

Wale

Wale

Kelly Rowland

Kelly Rowland

All photos courtesy of Brian Hall, Luxe Glam Media

Beauty Buzz: What Is Strobing?

I swear every week (day?)there’s a new trend in beauty. The current buzz is all about strobing which is essentially highlighting minus the contour. Summers’ humidity combined with warmer temperatures means a lighter touch with your make up. Ditch the heavy foundations, skip the contour and add your highlight and voila! Strobing in full effect. If your skin tends to be a bit oilier, find a good mattifying primer to pair with a powder and top it with your highlighter of choice in order to complete your look.

Here are some of my favorite products to help you achieve the strobing effect:

Budget-friendly

Hands down one of my favorite products is Ruby Kisses bronzer in bronze glow. Whenever I wear this product people will inevitably stop me to ask what im wearing. You can find it in most beauty supply stores for a budget-friendly 4.99.

Ruby Kisses Bronze Glow

Ruby Kisses Bronze Glow

Mid-range

MAC prep and prime highlighter is another great option it comes in a range of shades and was always one of my favorite products when I worked on counter. Prep and prime highlighter retails for $26.00 can be found online at MAC cosmetics.

MAC prep and prime highlighter

MAC prep and prime highlighter

Photo source

Break the bank
Touche éclat by Yves Saint Laurent has an almost cult like following because of its ability to produce natural looking highlights. I expect miracles with the $46.00 price tag. You can purchase touche éclat at Sephora.

Touche éclat

Touche éclat

Photo source

Big Easy Style Lounge 2.0

Design Essentials Coconut and Monoi

Design Essentials Coconut and Monoi

 

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Design Essentials hosted the Big Easy Style Lounge 2.0 during this past weekend’s Essence Festival and Ledisi announced the introduction of a Look Book created in conjunction with the brand. The style lounge continues to be one of the premier day party events for beauty bloggers, naturalistas and celebs alike.

Attendees were treated to massages, mini-makeovers and given an opportunity to try products from the coconut and monoi line (which I love!); an added bonus for me was I won a gorgeous Gregory Sylvia leather bag as part of the door prizes. Trust me, the bag is all kinds of gorgeous and this pic doesn’t really do it any justice.

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Winner! Gregory Sylvia Bag w/ Host Jade of Lipstick and Curls

Normally when I travel to New Orleans, I always opt for some protective styling because the heat does my natural hair no favors. However I decided to rock my Fro this trip and the coconut and manoi product line from Design Essentials was the perfect remedy for my thirsty curls. The curling gel tamed my frizz and gave me great definition.
Check out design essentials to learn more about their full range of products.

 

 

photo credit: Brian Hall, www.luxeglammedia.com

Digital Sorority At Magnolia Makeup

Essence Fest is filled with great music and without question the nightly performances at the Super dome are a highlight for most attendees. However, the icing on the festival cake for me is the networking and brand experiences that take place beyond the music. I had a chance to visit Magnolia Makeup– a brand I was familiar with but had never experienced thanks to the Glamx event hosted by the ladies of Digital Sorority.

The afternoon was filled with make-overs and of course some good old fashion kee kee.

I fell in love with the highly pigmented shadows which offer full coverage eliminating the need to use a shadow as a base.

Check out the lovely ladies of Digital Sorority and visit Magnolia Makeup in order to shop their full range of products.

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Kela Walker and Ty Alexander of Digital Sorority

Ty of Gorgeous In Grey

Ty of Gorgeous In Grey

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Me with the ladies of Digital Sorority l-r- Kela Walker, Christen Rochon, Ty Alexander

photo credit: Brian Hall, Luxe Glam Media

The Pursuit of Inches

Hair weave I spent the early years of my career as a social worker. I did everything from working at an alternative school to doing family reunification therapy for children who were formerly wards of the state. Though I no longer practice social work my passion has always been for youth and more specifically young women. I am fortunate enough to have the opportunity to interact with young women in a multitude of arenas and one of the trends that I find so disturbing is the need to feel pretty or even beautiful based on having weaved hair. Now let me pause in this moment and acknowledge that black women have a long history of issues over “good” or “bad” hair, so I will not use this forum to beat that horse- what I’m talking about now has more to do with the accessibility of weaving hair and the pervasive need for “inches”- which refers to the length of said weaving hair. I was recently talking to a beautiful young woman, around 15 years old who did not feel pretty because she was wearing her natural hair. She went on to say that she had been asking her mother for more hair as she currently only had 24 inches and wanted 28. I reminded myself to fix my face during this conversation because I remember a time when black women though not ashamed of wearing weaves spent a lot of money to ensure that their hair looked as natural as possible- now the focus is on installations and the longer the hair the better. This way down to the nether regions hair has jokingly been referred to as stripper hair as longer lengths are de rigueur for those who drop down and get their eagle on.

I find myself completely at a loss for this affinity for stripper-like hair and the endless pursuit of “inches”. The pervasive issue of the pursuit of some young black woman seeking to be more mainstream in their appearance, while their white counterparts are doing everything they can to look like US. The Brazilian butt lift is an ode to the oft revered black woman’s bottom and lip injections? Well that clearly is deference to our succulent lips.

There is a responsibility for leaders, mentors and key influencers to let young girls know that they are more than enough, and the pursuit of inches has nothing to do with the beauty that is within.

The Make Up Show Launches Beauty Week

The Make a Up Show

The Make a Up Show


This year marks the 10 year anniversary of the Make Up Show and in honor of a decade worth of beauty, glam and education the premier beauty event welcomes the launch of the first Beauty Week.

The week kicks off on April 29th through May 5th and includes hands on workshops and seminars a career fair, a gala and a champagne- fueled beauty tour led by James Vincent. The Make Up Show sponsors include MAKE UP FOR EVER, TEMPTU PRO, Crown Brush, NARS, Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics, Alcone, INGLOT, Smashbox, MAKE UP FOR EVER Academy, Pinnacle Cosmetics, Bdellium Tools, Glamcor, The Powder Group, and On Makeup Magazine.

Here’s an overview of some of the events for the week:

DAY 1 – Wednesday, April 29th – Hands-on workshops

• Artisanal Beauty with Multidimensional Makeup with Danessa Myricks
• Character Creation Through Makeup Design and Application with Joe Dulude II

DAY 2 – Thursday, April 30th – Signature Style Seminars

• Unconventional Beauty with Danessa Myricks
• Beyond Bridal with Esterique Aidan
• Modern Glamour with Bethany Townes
• Unforgettable Editorial with Orlando Santiago
• New York Groove with James Vincent
• Secrets of My Success: A panel of The Makeup Show Artists – This is complimentary and only open to those taking at least 3 other seminars. Stay late for this session and join some of your favorite artists to share personal stories over a glass of wine.

DAY 3 – Friday, May 1st—The Makeup Show Gala Dinner & After-Party – Join The Makeup Show for their 2nd annual ball to celebrate The Makeup Show’s 10 Year Anniversary with a touch of glamour, gorgeous makeup, the spirit of giving, and an opportunity to gather with the makeup community.

DAY 4 – Saturday, May 2nd—Hands-on workshops – Saturday is a day for full day hands-on workshops before The Makeup Show.

DAY 5 & 6 – Sunday, May 3rd and Monday, May 4th The Makeup Show NYC – Sunday and Monday The Makeup Show NYC opens doors for full days of beauty, inspiration, and opportunity.

DAY 6 – Monday, May 4th—The Makeup Show Career Fair – Following the conclusion of the show, is The Makeup Show Career Fair which is limited to ticket holders of The Makeup Show NYC attending on Monday, May 4. Limited to 100 attendees

DAY 7 – Tuesday, May 5th—Beauty Tour NYC – Join celebrity makeup artist James Vincent through a champagne fueled ride around Manhattan and make stops along the way at all of this favorite makeup haunts. End the tour with legendary Dany Sanz at MAKE UP FOR EVER’s pro studio.

This is definitely a can’t miss event for MUA’s and beauty girls! For more details please visit http://www.themakeupshow.com/nyc/

Book Your Runway Curls Glamover!

Runway Curls

Runway Curls

The Natural Hair Expo is taking place in Birmingham on March 28th and Runway Curls, the 100% textured, Ethiopian, virgin hair line is offering an opportunity for a complete Glam Over during the show. The Glam Over is a natural hair make over and includes hair, installation, styling, makeup and products. Spaces are extremely limited and this incredible package valued at $1,000 is a steal for only $325!

The package includes:

1 Ticket to the 4th Annual Natural Hair & Health Expo
2 Bundles Runway Curls Ethiopian Textured Extensions
Professional Installation and Styling
Design Essentials Natural Maintenance Kit
Professional Make-up
& Glam Photo

You can book your Runway Curls Glamover by visiting Runway Curls

NYFW Backstage Beauty With Inglot for Degen

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The runways for the winter 2015 collections ran the gamut in terms of beauty- from clean beauty looks featuring strong brows to incredibly abstract. Mahasin Phillips created non-traditional beauty for Degen which incorporated abstract designs and ombre lips.

To recreate the ombre lip:

  • Inglot lip defence was used to moisturize the lips
  • Next, Inglot Matte lipstick No. 402 was applied to the entire lip followed by Inglot lipstick No. 175 applied to one side; brush 12s was used to achieve the ombre effect

Please visit Inglot for more details on the collection

MyLifeMyInspiration- Behind the Scenes With Tracy Reese

As this frigid New York Fashion Week draws to a close, smartwater and Mode Media paired to provide a rare glimpse into the creative process of one of my favorite designers -Tracy Reese. The CFDA designer talks about the inspiration for her A/W 2015 collection- “The biggest impact to my personal style is probably my mom” and how important it is for creatives to inspire themselves.

The full series of MyLifeMyInspiration can be seen here And features Milly and Veronica Beard as they share the inspirations for their collections.

Eleventh Hour Christmas Gifts

As the wee hours of Christmas Eve close in on you, your window to Christmas shop in the “big box” stores has sadly come to a close. If you are a holiday procrastinator the drug store may be your only option for purchasing gifts. Sure there’s always gift cards which manage to brighten up a recipients face but I tend to think that gift cards are the lazy approach to the holidays.

Here are some great budget friendly items that you can find in your local drug store- and added plus? Many drug stores are open until midnight and several will be open on Christmas Day.

Nivea
First off, did you know that Nivea has been around since 1911? Clearly such longevity in the beauty industry means that they must be doing something right and for just $1 it’s the perfect stocking stuffer item. Nivea is ideal for smoothing out rough edges. Apply Nivea post bath or shower at night generously to your feet and then put on your favorite socks and your feet will feel like you just got a pedicure in the morning. Nivea also serves as a great alternative to cuticle oil. Use it around your nail bed to keep hang nails at bay between manicures.

Nivea Creme

Nivea Creme

Cantu Curling Cream
If your last minute holiday shopped list includes a naturalista, Cantu curling cream works universally to not only enhance curls, but it also does a great job of minimizing frizz.

Cantu Curling Creme

Cantu Curling Creme

Rocher Chocolates

I will readily admit it- I have a sweet tooth. I discovered Rocher one year when my parents gave me a box for Christmas and I’ve been hooked ever since.

ELF products

For the beauty girl in your life ELF- eyes, lips, face is an awesome option. From deluxe brushes to a wide range of products for well, your eyes, lips and face offers a beautiful stocking stuffer for the beauty-obsessed.

ELF, starting at $2.99

ELF, starting at $2.99

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