Monday, March 2, 2015

Sippin On Sunday: Link Love



Somehow this week (like many others) managed to get away from me and I am late posting the link and libation of the week. But not to worry there was some GOOD stuff out there this week. There were the Oscars and the backlash over Fashion Police comments, the dress that went round the world and divided families everywhere, and I also had my first set of negative comments about something I wrote which is a bit different for me. Being that I generally write in the lifestyle (beauty/home/fashion) categories I don't really get a ton of negative feedback on my posts. I understand if people don't like the outfits I put together because they may not be their personal taste but I don't take that personally. However, in the last few weeks I've written on a more personal nature and therefore opened myself up to others 'insights' about who I am. I have to admit it was weird and it stung a bit to read people saying that I'm insecure or that I am somehow being a coward by writing how I felt and my life experiences. Sure I write about myself and my life here on the blog but this was on a larger scale and was to date one of my most shared and liked posts on Facebook. As someone who has learned not to read the comments of other's posts I found it hard to look away when it was my own words/ intent being questioned. Needless to say it's been a bit of an interesting week but I am grateful for ALL the feedback.

Last Thursday I had one of those nights that I've dreamed about. Well, sort of. I got to meet one of my celeb mama crushes stylist and designer June Ambrose and the esteemed costume designer Johnetta Boone thanks to Macy's and Black History Month for a panel on the Soul Era of Style. We hugged and laughed and she told me she liked my effortless style. I am still processing.

Further proof of that blogger hustle. Harvard business school for the win.

And then this chick just ruins it for everyone. For the record, we're not all this vapid, I promise.

Friends. How many of us have them.

Viola threw this fabulous party that I would just love to be a fly on the wall at. All that #blackgirlmagic in one room. I can't stand it.

Vintage Black Glamour at it's finest. I can't wait to get my hands on this book. I missed ordering it the first go round but I won't make the same mistake twice!

A few of MY latest on For Harriet I'm not all just beauty and style.

Sometimes all it takes is one act for a lifetime of memories/ experiences to come back to mind .

I'm basically kinda sorta instagram quote famous thanks to a piece I wrote celebrating black women.




A friend of mine shared about this journal she got for her daughter and herself and I am just smitten with this idea. I wasn't the best at expressing my feelings verbally as a tween and Sweet Pea is a lot like me in that regard so this might be a great way for us to communicate and her not to feel like she's


This week's libation is honor of the fact that I recently discovered we have a fig tree in our front yard. I've been stumped as to what to do with them and then came across this Sexy Fig + Lemon Cocktail recipe on Pinterest. It's like the Universe is trying to tell me something. I'm listening.






Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Daily Style - That Blogger Hustle



The other day I had an interesting experience, I was out running errands sans kids in workout clothes, big hair in all it's glory and made a trip to the tailor to get some things hemmed. I was pretty excited about the task because it's been on my list for a while and I was finally checking it off and I was looking forward to the upcoming events that required the trip in the first place. After mentioning I worked from home as a writer the seamstress asked what I wrote and I stated that I wrote about beauty + style on MommyNoire and For Harriet as well as ran this blog, she looked at me quizzically and said, but who would pay you to do that? "





Ha. I couldn't help but chuckle at the question. As a blogger /freelance writer it's something I get asked regularly and it's one that I am often un-inclined to answer to strangers. It's hard to explain your written work as art to someone who isn't about that internet life. Or who has no concept of how and why articles are written or that a "regular" person like myself is the voice behind some of these great articles on style. Particularly when I'm not looking super stylish myself.




It's what I do. Yes I am a writer. Yes, I am a blogger. I am a storyteller and this is how I make my living. It's not a typical gig and for that I am both blessed and sometimes cursed, because deadlines don't care about sick kids or unexpected changes to schedule. Being creative everyday is tough, it seems like it's all sunshine in roses but let me tell you writing over 300 words on one type of boot can be a stretch to anyone's fashion vocabulary. And I love it. I wake up each day knowing there are things I want to write about and that I have a platform for my voice. A space to share my ideas and thoughts on life and then, and then, someone is also paying me to discuss style, fashion, beauty and motherhood which I do all anyway. I mean, does it get any better than that?
I am, for all intents and purposes, living my dream. But to do that I have to hustle.



That doesn't mean that I sit around all day and just watch TV and chase after Baby Ninja. No, I actually spend the majority of time pitching work. I like to keep work lined up so that when one project ends there is always one more waiting in the wings. This mama hustles hard in order to keep up with the rest of the world that's working 40 hours at a consistent wage. Hustling in this day and age is no longer what it once was, a somewhat derogatory term about a person's profession, these days, the word is both verb, noun and adjective, and more of a testament to your work ethic. 


So of course, when I went back to pick up my items I had to wear this shirt. It seemed only right to rep my industry and let her know my hustle is just as real as hers. My blogging boo Mimi Cutelips, whom I met last summer at Blogging While Brown, posted a photo of a tee she got from Blogalicious / Tees In The Trap and as soon as I saw it I was a smitten kitten and knew I needed to make it mine. Because blogging. And hustlin'. Because life. And Tees In The Trap. 
Also, it's stupid soft and y'all know how much I love my graphic tees. Paired with my tried and true torn skinnies and leopard skimmers it's the perfect uniform for this busy mama. Between chasing Baby Ninja and runnin Sweet Pea around. With the summer like temps we've been having during the day but cooler mornings and evenings this makes it easy to throw on a sweater or jacket of some kind. I can switch up my shoes add a swipe of lipstick and I'm ready for the next event! 
Also- can I just say how much I am LOVING my hair? I mean. I really have no plans to switch things up anytime soon as it's just too easy to get up and go each day. I mean, my only concern in the mornings are my eyebrows and which shoes to wear. It doesn't get much better than this.

What's your go to look for everyday? 

Monday, February 16, 2015

Maverick Monday: Macy's "The Style of Soul Era" with June Ambrose

"I am a member of the Everywhere Society and Everywhere has provided me with compensation for this post. However, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own."





If you've been reading this blog for some time you know that I have a massive girl crush on celebrity stylist and rock mom June Ambrose. Not only are we born in the same month (days apart to be accurate) and have a deep love for style but I truly admire her work ethic and am impressed with how she manages her busy career and role as mother. Not to mention that  her shoes are to die for and with all her videos and flipagrams, she is absolutely one of my favorite people to follow on Instagram.
So when I found out that Macy's would be honoring Black History month by hosting events all over the country with June and costume designer Johnetta Boone that celebrate the Soul Era in fashion and design, I jumped at the chance to attend. These ladies are icons in the fashion world having worked with everyone from Beyonce, Jay-Z and Will Smith and have been featured in magazines all over the world as well as VH1 and HBO. And now both of them are going to be at a Macy's near you!

Do you die? Because, I totally did! I've been wanting to meet June for a long while and it seems that 2015 is finally my time!
I'm excited to be attending the Soul Era event on February 26 in Los Angeles and I may or may have not danced around my office upon receiving confirmation because I could NOT contain my excitement!  There's no purchase necessary to attend and it's guaranteed to be a great evening. If you don't live in L.A. there are still a few more stops on the tour!
  • Macy’s State Street (Chicago) – February 19, 5:30 pm
  • Macy’s Union Square (San Francisco) – February 25, 6:00 pm

So go here: http://bit.ly/MacysBHM2015  for more information on how to get tickets to the event closest to you. And if you're in L.A. come on out and say 'hey girl hey' to me! I'd love to see you, talk fashion and take an 'usie'!


As a child of the 70's I'm slightly obsessed with fashion from that era and love looking at old photos of my parents and their friends as well as iconic magazine spreads and random archives from that decade of over the top fashion and accessories. The 60's and 70's are my favorite era of fashion and I'm looking forward to the panel discussion and fashion show. I'm semi in search of a fabulous jumpsuit from that era and hope to be inspired even further by the evening.




Oh and did I mention there's a chance to win a makeover by June Ambrose? Yeah. GET ON THAT!
Visit Macys.com/celebrate between February 1, 2015 and February 28, 2015 to enter for a chance to win. 
 Prizes include:
  • A trip for two to New York City, the style capital of the world.
  • A Macy’s shopping spree
  • A makeover by celebrity stylist, June Ambrose
*Sweepstakes starts on February 1st, 2015 at 12:01am EST and ends February 28, 2015 at 11:59pm EST. Must be 18 or older. Void in Puerto Rico, Alaska, and Hawaii

Ladies, grab your girlfriends and make a night of it to celebrate this fabulous era in fashion history and mingle with some other ladies of inspiration!


So will I see you in the Soul Era in Los Angeles? If not, will you be hitting up the remaining cities?

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Bigger the Hair the Harder They Stare

I've touched upon my issues with my hair in the last week and how much I want to change how I see myself and take care of my hair. So in an effort to give my hair a break from heat and any other damage, last week I had a protective style installed by way of crochet braids. What are crochet braids you ask? Also known as interlocking braids, they are basically the best thing that's ever happened to my head. Just kidding. But not really.


Basically she cornrowed my hair into about 8 braids mixing a few together so that I would have the option to wear it flipped to either side or parted in the middle. I had originally planned on using Marley hair as I loved the look in the tutorials I watched and was interested in the ability to do a twist out as well as wear it free. But I also loved this look on Mattieologie and when I really thought about it, I was doing this so I could spend less time thinking/dealing with my hair, so it might be in my best interest to go with hair that was a little less maintenance. But of course, that decision didn't come until after I'd already bought Marley hair. Because that's how I roll. After searching three stores the morning of my appointment I finally found the FreeTress Braid hair in Water Wave that I hoped would give me the curls I so longed for. 





Nikea is a wicked braider, so she had my entire head cornrowed in no time and was ready to start the process of crocheting the hair through the braids. Using a tool that looks like a crochet hook she threaded the hair through the braid and looped it together in an interlocking fashion. Before I knew it she had the whole back half of my head done and I was getting anxious to see the finished results and kept twisting my head this way and that to see how things were progressing. Since my hair isn't jet black I used a 4 (medium dark brown) + TP4/30 mix since I wanted a hint of color for depth around my face because hey, why not? It wasn't my hair I'd be doing damage to.


We only used 2 and a quarter packs and to be honest we probably could have added more to go even bigger but I'm  really happy with the results. It's big enough to stand out but not so big that it looks fake. And it looks like ME. Which is what's really important. I love that in 2015 no one really bats an eyelash (too much) when I leave the house with my hair one way and show up hours later looking like a completely different woman. Such a refreshing change from how protective styles used to be viewed. 




Unfortunately it was a Wednesday evening and I was whooped by the time we were finished and all I wanted was to eat some chips + salsa for dinner and catch up on work. But of course I had to snap a quick bathroom selfie once it was totally done. And then another when I got home. To be honest, when I took the photos in the bathroom I was really trying to get used to it. I was super paranoid that it was just TOO BIG and TOO DIFFERENT from my usual look and that everyone was looking at me. And while they may have been looking at me (I wasn't in the most ethnically diverse neighborhood) I simply decided it's because my hair was SO fabulous they couldn't help but stare. Yes, it seems the quip my girlfriend text me the day before "the bigger the hair, the harder they stare" seemed to be coming true. 


I spent the majority of the rest of the evening staring at myself in the mirror trying to wrap my head around the reflection I saw looking back at me and figuring out how to best style my new coif.  I've taken no less than 20 selfies in the last few days in an effort to really gauge how my new hair really looked (with my many faces) and to just sort of get used to myself as a girl with "big hair". I've had hair envy since college when my freshman roommate used to wear her hair 'out' and it was my first time being friends with someone who wore their hair like that and I was so intrigued and mystified by it. I secretly wanted that same type of hair (and the looks that came with it) for myself although I told myself that I was happy with my freshly permed highlighted locks. Finally I get to see for myself what it's like to be the girl with 'big hair'.


The next night, Thursday, I had plans to attend a party in honor of John Legend for Grammy week, hosted by L.A. Confidential magazine at the swanky Beverly Hills Hotel and I was stupid excited to take my new hair out on the town! When I picked up my plus one for the evening, my sister-in-love, the first thing she said was "I like your hair! It's so big!" Totally put me at ease as for some reason I was getting anxiety about my new look. Every time I do something drastic to my hair, even if I'm excited about it, I still have major anxiety and enjoy receiving confirmation that my 'do is indeed 'on fleek'. 





As the week has progressed, I've realized that while I do love the look, I'm still getting used to it. But I'm happy to report that everyone else absolutely loves it as well. When I walked in the door the first night D said "Ooooooh." and Baby Ninja said, " I yike your haircut mommy". Sweet Pea digs it as well. I'm having fun with playing around with the different ways I can wear it and fluffing it up at every opportunity.  I keep catching my husband looking at me and he was happy to tell me how much he's enjoying my new look. Poor guy, he never knows who's going to walk in the door whenever I go to the salon! I'm so happy with this look and I have to thank Nikea of New Image Salon in Long Beach for hooking me up with the fresh locks! 

What do you think of my new do? Have you ever heard of crochet braids? Would you try it? 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

It's just HAIR , right?




I've never really been one to be defined by my hair yet so many of my memories about self love/worth surround my hair.
Once upon a time I had long thick hair and it was fabulous. Then I was the unfortunate recepient of a bad perm that caused the majority of my hair to fall out. That was then 'fixed' by a "curl" or "wave nouveau" that was all the rage and my hair began to spiral downward from there. By the time the 'curl' grew out I had already had braids a couple of times and wasn't a fan of sitting for hours on end while I laid there and let someone pull my hair to it's capacity. After the curl and the braids I ended up on that creamy crack ( a perm) curling and damaging my hair all along the way. At some point I wanted a change and begged my mother to purposely cut it all off my junior year in high school.

senior year - short hair don't care

10th grade - right before I cut it all off

It was one of the best decisions I ever made. Short hair changed things somehow and I liked the way my hair framed my face, that I had a little less to "deal" with and that it took the focus off my 'hair issues' for a while. I kept my hair short off and on for the next few years until I was pregnant with Sweet Pea. It grew pretty well thanks to prenatal vitamins and the whole growing a human thing. But then in a postpartum fit I got crazy with some at home hair color on a whim and fried it to no end. I was still rocking a perm at this, point so in order to save my hair, it had to be cut ...again...




In the meantime in between time I still took all kinds of "hair growth vitamins" with little to no luck. It didn't help that I continued to dye my hair on a whim ( I went from blonde to red in the span of 3 months) and use the curling iron liberally.

1st full weave! 

I finally took the plunge and let my hair stylist put a weave in while growing out my perm and  was happy to see a change in health during the time off. But still, I didn't have any super significant increase in length. And then I got pregnant with the Baby Ninja and it was all good. I mean, I had great growth, it was super healthy as I had no real time to 'do it' and it even looked like it was getting thicker. In short, it was awesome. And I threw another weave in to avoid doing it, because summer + new baby, and it grew a bit more and I was happy with that. No postpartum hair loss here!

postpartum luxe locks 



 And then I started to get bored, it was too dark, too blah too whatever..... I wanted change. So I colored it again.


Here's the thing. Even though I knew how to do my hair, I never really learned how to take care of my hair. Not properly anyway. I picked up things here and there and college was was definitely a learning curve as far as how to maintain my hair without the regular salon appointment that I had grown accustomed to. And there were definitely some questionable moments on my part.
So after this last fiasco I've made a personal mission of mine to get a better handle on my tresses. I want to really learn how to take care of my hair in it's natural curly state as well as to keep it looking nice when it's pressed without doing too much damage with heating products.
I've tried out two of the most popular hair vitamins on the market and had good results so I'm excited to keep it up and see how far that gets me. But I know it's not just about the vitamins, it's about the products I use and styles I lean towards as well.




Yes, I know it's just hair. and for the most part, that's always been my philosophy to an extent. As much as I thought I wasn't, I've let my hair define how I see myself. When my hair isn't right, nothing really is. Not my clothes, my makeup, I just feel 'off'. This past Christmas was the straw that broke the camels back for me. I knew my hair wasn't up to snuff but seeing it in photos and realizing that day that NOTHING I did could hide my thinning edges was not only sad but embarrassing.

I promised myself from that day forward I would treat my hair with more respect, and the same way I take care of my body by working out and eating right, I have to take care of my hair.
I could wax on endlessly about my hair, black hair and our history with our hair that makes it such a PROCESS and BIG DEAL but I've gone on long enough. The point is, I know I'm not my hair but I can't help but wonder how this next step in my journey will change how I see myself yet again.

Do you have any hair struggles you've been dealing with?



Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Capsule Wardrobe - Killer Concept or Complete Closet Crap?

    

    When I first sort of discovered 'fashion blogging' I was still pregnant with Baby Ninja and looking forward to re-working my personal style as a young(ish) mom and fashion forward individual. I  remember stumbling across, Kendi Everyday and her 30 x 30 Remix Challenge (take 30 items in your closet, make 30 outfits)  on a late night Pinterest binge. That's actually how I first discovered Andrea at For The Love Of. But back then, she was Four Flights Of Fancy, anyhow, I liked how Andrea took on the challenge and made it work in her everyday mom life. As a working mom with one on the way, I could totally appreciate that.  Getting dressed had begun to seem like a chore and I knew with a newborn I needed to streamline as much as possible. I  also knew I wasn't going to have much to work with being between sizes and her posts gave me great ideas for stretching my postpartum wardrobe. Although I never actually tackled my own 30 x 30 remix I enjoyed seeing how the ladies worked their wardrobe and finding out all the behind the scenes scoop.
      Living in Georgia for years and having to pack clothes away for each season thanks to small closet space got me in the right head space to not miss certain articles for awhile but I still shopped my heart out for what I thought was "lacking". The concept of capsule dressing is quite appealing in theory as I like the idea of knowing what I’m working with clothes wise for any given season.  Sometimes having so many options can be paralyzing.

      But let me back up a minute. Not sure what a capsule wardrobe is really? Whoorl, does a great job of breaking it down here. After reading an article on Caroline (aka UnFancy) I was intrigued by this latest capsule concept. Basically, you pare down your clothes to a set number of pieces (37 as per Caroline) , wear only those items for 3 months (also known as a season to those outside of So Cal) and don't shop for those 3 months until it's time to start planning for the next capsule. Keep in mind those 37 pieces don't necessarily include underwear, jewelry, workout gear, jammies and accessories. (The "rules" vary depending on where you look.) Ideally, at the end of the 3 months you're only buying items you may NEED for the next season and then creating yet another capsule using the previous seasons pieces mixed in with anything new you may have purchased for the current season. Make sense? The idea is that at the end of the year you only have a collection of things that you truly love and will wear often and less 'fluff' to distract you.  
       
        
image via Project 333
      While I'm impressed she can shoot all the outfits in one day, my only issue with UnFancy is that you don't really see how she wears her capsule throughout the season in real life situations. I mean, I want to know if by week 4 you're tired of wearing the same boots or yellow cardigan over and over. Or worse, you stain a key item? And what happens if something unexpected comes up that requires a fancier option than the 37 pieces? Am I just supposed to automatically work in an LBD for reasons such as this? I have questions.



image via Whoorl 
     
     

      I’m a busy WAHM and taking forever to get dressed isn’t really a luxury I have anymore so limiting my closet to X number of pieces per season seems like it would work wonders at saving me time and headache. But what about when I want to spice things up? And shopping for each season just ahead of the next? Is that too extreme? I’m thinking  I might attempt to tackle a 30 day Capsule challenge , sort of a remix + capsule combined and we’ll see how it goes.  I know one of my biggest issues is going to be shoes. The #westcoastwinterstruggle is real and you never really know from day to day what footwear will be the most appropriate so dressing "seasonally" is a bit trickier out here and I've been known to rock everything from Uggs to Birks on the same day.
      I do think it will be fun to see what I actually wear on a consistent basis and I'm feeling the need to pare down as it is so this will be a great reason to do a good closet purge. 

     I'm thinking I'll start my challenge in February as that will give me time to look at my calendar, plan what type of things I'll need to pick as well as clear out some of the closet clutter. 


     So I'm interested in finding out what you think! How do you feel about the concept of a capsule wardrobe? Does it make things super simple or you think you'd feel constricted by the number of items you can choose?

     
        




Friday, January 16, 2015

Weekend Links: New Year New Me

It's been awhile since we last did but there is just SO much good stuff out there on the internet it begs to be shared with everyone! And if you don't follow me on Facebook , Instagram or Twitter (and really why are you not?) then you're definitely missing out on some of these gems.

So let's recap shall we? I got back to blogging this week by jumping straight in with a wardrobe workhorse post about the shift dress. In this case it's a printed version but they are my jam. Everyone needs one.
I was on MommyNoire talking about how to keep rocking your holiday wear well into the new year. I see no reason to not wear sequins during the day. Do you?  Also note to self, I need sparkly oxfords.



-        Let’s Get Drinks-  This piece in The New Yorker nails the exchange between women who want to hang out but don't want to commit to hang out all while highlighting the crazy in the world. Brilliant. 
-        Churn downfor what - I love the internet at times like this. While it sucks to be the couple who are now a classic meme, these made me HOLLER. Twitter has no chill. Enjoy. 
-        If you're not reading Awesomely Luvvie you need to get on it. She has NO behavior and I love it. I don't know how she finds these photos but these #strugglefeets are everything that is wrong in the world. The comments when she posted it though! I almost peed my pants laughing so hard! 

-       I wrote a little about my  Word of theYear on For Harriet and would love you to check it out. I'm still new over there so I'd love to see some familiar faces (so to speak) and I'd like to know more about how you set goals for the new year!



Our weekend was pretty fun, we had a date night with several of our friends (which never happens) and we took full advantage staying out late and enjoying each other's company in celebration of all the December/ January birthdays of our friends. Good times were had and we spent the rest of the weekend watching football, cleaning and hanging out at home.

How was your weekend?

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