Thursday, March 26, 2015

On My Radar: Spring Staple or Splurge?

While I'm trying to keep my shopping to a minimum this year, there are a few things on my radar this month. I like to keep certain items on the back burner so that I can determine if I REALLY want them or am just impulse shopping to fill a void or something. I've gotten really good at letting things ago but with warm weather looming, a conference around the corner as well as a trip back to the ATL for my brother's graduation has me looking around for inspiration and styling ideas. I don't have any plans to specifically go out shopping for these events and plan on shopping mostly shopping my closet but sometimes you just gotta "treat 'yo self". 

A few weeks ago I discovered I.missed out on a sick jumpsuit from.H&M's conscious collection thanks to my spending freeze last fall and now I've found at least 3 others that make my heart go pitter-pat. Really I've been smitten with the look since spying it on my style muse June Ambrose a few years back and I guess it low key stuck in my head as I am REALLY seriously considering taking the plunge. 


1/ 2 / 3
And can we talk about how cute the shorts version is? I mean! I haven't met a romper or jumpsuit I don't like as of yet and these have me mentally clearing out closet space to make room.


 The other thing I'm eyeing is the updated "tuxedo" vest. I keep seeing various ways to style this piece and I am just about ready to dip my toes into the pond of this one. My friend Andrea posted how she wore it just the other day and that sparked my interest yet again. Then I saw it again in the latest issue of People Style Watch on Olivia Palermo and was reminded how a piece like this can seem trendy at first but then turns into quite the wardrobe workhorse.

I think it looks just as good paired back to simple pieces like a printed sleeveless shift for a casually polished look as per Olivia and can totally see myself rocking this look on a date night or even to a (gasp!) work meeting or while at the conference, as it does when styled with jeans and your favorite tank like Andrea's done.  Yep, I think this might have to find it's way into my wardrobe for this season.

What do you think are these spring styles a staple worth investing in or a trendy splurge that I can pass on? What's on YOUR radar this season?

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Macy's Prom Fun!

"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."

Now that we've officially entered into the oft dreaded teenage years finding ways in which we can connect as mother and daughter and individuals is very important to our relationship. 
One of the many ways we do that is through my work as a blogger and beauty and style writer. It's always nice to be able to take Sweet Pea along with me to fun events and we're REALLY looking forward to what's coming up with Macy's this weekend.

Macy's is hosting a special prom event at their stores around the country to help teens everywhere look their very best on their biggest night! I remember my prom days and the anticipation of finding a dress with wistful nostalgia and if the next few years go as fast as the previous thirteen, it will be time to find a dress for Sweet Pea before I can even blink! 

Two years ago we went to the Macy's prom event at South Coast hosted by Mr. Kate and we had so much fun watching the fashion show and learning what the latest trends were and then later trying dresses on our own so we're both really looking forward to going again this coming Saturday. As a mom of a young teen and a style writer I make it a point to find out what "the kids are into these days" as often as I can and getting my teen to tag along to get her opinion on what's hot and kind of pick her brain about what she would wear if given the opportunity. This of course is the perfect segue-way into talking about boys and friendships and the like without being MOM about it so I love it.

If you're local, come on down to South Coast Plaza and join us for a live performance by pop sensations Sweet Suspense and see the latest prom dress collection in a runway fashion show! After the show, come meet the band in the mstylelab department for a meet and greet and shopping party. The first 150 customers to arrive to the fashion show will get VIP access to meet the girls and snap a photo with them! Plus, if you're really inspired, you can receive 20% off prom dresses today only!
The show starts at 2pm and we highly suggest you get there early to get a good seat and be one of the first 150 customers! It's going to be a rocking good time full of inspiration and excitement over the dresses, shoes and accessories oh my!  Follow along on Instagram  (@fromcarpools2cocktails) to see more behind the scenes fun of the fashion show and concert!!

And if you're not local check out the Macy's site for more fashion fun in a city near you! 
Join Macy’s for a Prom Shopping Party!
  • Macy's Millenia (Orlando, FL) - Mar 14 - 2pm
  • Macy's Woodfield (Schaumburg, IL) - Mar 21 - 2pm
  • Macy's Northpoint (Atlanta, GA) - Mar 21 - 2pm
  • Macy's South Coast Plaza (Los Angeles, CA) - Mar 28 - 2pm
  • Macy's Valley Fair ( San Jose, CA) - Mar 28 - 2pm
  • Macy's King of Prussia (Philadelphia, PA) - Mar 28 - 2pm
  • Macy's South Hills Village (Pittsburgh, PA) - Mar 28 - 2pm
  • Macy's Lakeside (New Orleans, LA) - April 11- 2pm
  • Macy's Staten Island (New York, NY) - April 11 - 2pm
There will be special appearances in different locations!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

More Than My Hair - 5 things I Discovered Wearing Crochet Braids

Last month I wrote about my desire to really learn how to take care of my hair and a few of the options I have available to help protect my hair, while I work towards growing it longer and maintaining overall health. While I was busy researching vitamin supplements and hair products the rest of the natural hair world had already discovered crochet braids. After doing some late night blog browsing and IG stalking, I too, had hopped on the train and was full steam ahead. I immediately text my hairstylist (and good friend) to inquire and see if she knew about them and how to install because THIS was going to be my next hairstyle! Lucky for me she's used to these random late night hair texts and let me know her sister knew how to do exactly what I wanted. Talk about goose bumps!
I quickly sent a few texts to those in my inner circle regarding my hair 'spiration and they loved it. Except my husband who was all "that's different." Umm, what does that mean? I took it as he was unsure since it's something new but since it's my hair, rock on sister! Seems right, right? Right.

So I while I was super excited about my next hair adventure, I was also super anxious. I've never really done a style like this or had BIG hair before although I love it and have always envied those who have it naturally. And let's talk texture. Usually when I get a weave it's with Indian hair that can be worn both straight and wavy/wet. But let's be honest. We all know, that that's not my hair and weave upkeep is tedious and quality hair is PRICEY. And the way my hair budget is set up.....well let's just say that the cost of crochet braids had my CFO husband like "yes. do that."
I researched all the different types of hair people were using (Marley, Kanekelon, Water Wave etc.) and then had to go about locating a beauty supply close to home that had what I was looking for and finally decided on the Marley hair because I wanted to be able to do bantu knots and twist-outs.
And then I quickly changed my mind to the Water Wave as I realized I was doing this for ease of care and knew the Marley hair would be slight work.

The night before I do anything major to my hair I have both major excitement and major anxiety. As much as I love to switch things up, a new hair style always takes some getting used to both from myself and the reactions of those who know me with limp stick straight hair. For the first time in forever, I wondered how people would react to me when they saw I now had "all this hair". Having a silky weave is one thing, people know it's longer (and perhaps a slightly different texture?) but this was more along the lines of my own natural hair texture, a texture not many generally see as I've spent the last few years pressing my hair straight. Would I be judged differently by those I was meeting for the first time? Re-assessed by those I already knew? Would I look silly and people laugh? I had  so many questions and ALL THE FEELS.  Once it was installed I had a hard time staying out of the mirror as I couldn't quite wrap my head around why this huge difference looked and felt so good.
Now that I've had the braids in for the last month I've learned a few things about myself, hair and the general public in the process.

1) If I wasn't on birth control I'd totally end up pregnant. There is legit sex appeal that comes with big carefree curls hair. Something about the wildness of it all, or the fact that 'sweating it out' wasn't an issue. I don't know if I just feel more free and less inhibited or if it really is the hair that's inspiring it but let's just say things are pretty hot and heavy around here. Hump day has taken on a whole new meaning and I'm not mad about it. For some reason the crazy curls have me feeling more like 'sexy sassy minx' rather than a frigid frazzled mama. I'll take it. My husband is thrilled.

2) It's WORK - I knew from my best friend that 'doing' her hair took a lot I just didn't realize the simple daily maintenance that comes from having your curls popping. Even though it's low maintenance for me to not have to constantly fight against the natural texture of my hair by using the flat iron everyday, I still have to wrap it nightly and untangle each morning. It's a process.

3) People will touch it. I don't think they can help it. I've caught so many people in the act of wanting to reach out and grab it that it's startling. I'm talking about total strangers too. Touching someone's hair isn't something I even think of so it's still a bit weird to me but I guess I get the appeal. Especially if you've never seen anyone with hair like this or are unfamiliar with black hair. It is fascinating and those bouncy curls are sort of begging to be played with.

4) I really feel black. This may sound odd, but with straight hair you can sort of 'blend in' with society and not really have your ethnicity on your sleeve so to speak. While I've been rocking the natural look it's out there, front and center. And it kind of makes things easier. There is no veil of hiding behind accepted societal standards to "blend" in.  My hair doesn't allow me to slip into a room unnoticed. I am unapologetic-ally black in all facets and I kind of like how that feels.

5) I have really loved this hair. It has truly been one of the best trends I have tried, hair wise. I feel more like ME. Like this was the hair I am supposed to be rocking in my everyday life. That doesn't mean I'm opposed to a sleek topknot or ponytail every now and then but I just this. It may be that all the compliments are going to my head. I've not had one person say, to my face, that they are not a fan. Every.single. person. I know has said how much they love it, and how well it suits me and unless everyone is bullshitting me, I'm inclined to agree.

Now that I've taken my hair down, it took approximately 1 day for me to quickly regret doing so. Waking up in the morning and having to "do" my hair = no bueno after weeks of simply having to arrange my curls to start my day. I loved the ease of care and how quickly it sped up my getting ready process. I'll be honest and say that I don't even want to look in the mirror right now because I miss the curls so much and I'm already looking at my calendar and plotting on the next hair appointment. Because the curls are for sure, for this girl.

Have you ever tried a new hairstyle that changed how you saw yourself?

Monday, March 9, 2015

Bringing Visions To Life: Soul Era Re-Cap

So, last week. It was kind of a banner week around here. I knocked one of my vision board/ bucket list items off of my list for 2015 and I cannot stop smiling. A few weeks ago I wrote about how Macy's was hosting panels all over the country on the Soul Era of Style in honor of Black History Month. As soon as I saw that June Ambrose was one of the panelist I jumped at the chance to attend and promote the event. A long time fan of her style, persona, tv show, shoe line and #rockmom life, it was like a dream come true. Even if there was no guarantee I was going to meet her, I HAD to go.
She is my spirit animal. At a time when I was searching desperately for some kind of visual representation of my style (or who I want to be when I grow up) I discovered June's show and was smitten. Her energy was contagious and I could feel her passion through the screen. When I finally joined Instagram she was one of the first people I followed and I've enjoyed watching her grow her career. She's truly been an inspiration. When I discovered she'd written a book I was overjoyed to add it to my collection and searched high and low for the hardcover with no luck. I settled on the paperback and felt her spirit leap out of the book with each turn of the page.

Normally, I would have spent a good little while fretting over what to wear for such a momentous occasion but as I had recently purchased a dress from ASOS I knew I had that covered. Shoes were my only concern and that was really just about narrowing them down.

As I the tour kicked off and I began to see other friends social shares of their experiences the hope that I would get more than a photo from the crowd began to grow and I started to work out what I might say in the event I got the chance to speak to her. I asked around and there were rumors of a post event reception and photo op so I was geeked at the possibility. It seems a bit silly to some I guess, a grown woman getting SO excited over meeting another woman but y'all, she's like....EVERYTHING. For real. She seems like she has it all. I know she's worked hard to get where she is and I admire that. It was so refreshing to discover another brown girl who loves fashion and is making her mark on the world.

The night of the event I knew I would have to leave at least 2 hours early thanks to downtown L.A. traffic and I'm glad I did as it was just as congested as I'd expected and of course they were doing construction on the street I was travelling down. But I made it with a little time to spare and wasted no time in snagging a seat directly in front of the stage. I was determined to make June notice me. I'd also brought my copy of Effortless Style in hopes of getting it signed to commemorate the evening.

Our host Sheila Coates was serving seventies style sass in knee high boots and a luxe purple wide brimmed hat. June bopped out in a pink suit, graphic tee and headband with puff balls on top. Johnetta was all boho chic personified in loose pants with a tapered ankle and patterned kimono style dress with classic black wedges. It was like my fashion heaven. I had a hard time containing myself as I was itching to speak with both women in person.

Throughout the panel they had models coming out to showcase updated takes on classic soul era styles and it was fun to see how things are kind of coming full circle. I loved what both Johnetta and June had to say about fashion and it's evolution and about black women's place in it, both in the past and the present. They are both so passionate about what they do and you can tell that they enjoy each other's company as well as respect the others work. And while they are both stylists' they are on somewhat opposite ends of the styling spectrum but yet have similar views on where fashion is going.  All throughout the conversation I found myself nodding along to what they were saying about putting in the work in whatever it is you love to do and how important it is to treat your "freelance" as a business because it is. Not that I didn't know that, but it's nice to be reminded that just because you hustle doesn't mean that you shouldn't treat it the same you would a 9-5.

After chatting about the future of fashion Sheila wrapped things up and a line was quickly formed for the meet & greet photo session. I can't even front, my palms were sweating like crazy while I waited but I made sure I was prepared with a pen and my phone at the ready when my turn came.

It all happened so fast but then it was also like it was happening in slow motion. I don't know how else to describe it. It was kind of surreal. Johnetta greeted me first and I introduced myself and let her know that she re-tweeted me earlier in the week and that had just made my day. I then turned to June and produced my book for her to sign and she squealed and said 'oh you're so cute. You were so fun during the panel.' You guys. She NOTICED ME! I didn't have time to process as I went on to blurt out how I write the blog, at For Harriet and MommyNoire and I was so inspired by the two of them. They were both so gracious and sweet, thanking me for coming and encouraging my writing. After June finished signing my book we took a few photos and I hugged them both (awkwardly I might add) and June turned to me and said, "I love your effortless style." I.was.floored. Y'all, don't even know. I grabbed my phone from the event staff and scanned the photos and all but one turned out cute. It was epic. I was so hyped up I wasn't ready to go home so I hopped in the photo booth and took a few more awkward photos to calm myself down. I quickly cropped, filtered, captioned and posted my photos to IG and Twitter before hopping in the car for the long ride home.

It should be noted that just as the panel was starting I text one of my BFF's in NYC (a fellow June lover) that she was 5 feet from and she sent back a slew of questions replete with exclamation points. She was the first to like my IG photo even though it was midnight back east. That's friendship. They stay up to see what the photo looks like. My drive home was pretty much a breeze as I replayed the events of the evening and mentally wrote captions for future photos. Once I got home and finished uploading my posts I put my phone down long enough to eat something and when I picked it up again I saw Johnetta had re-tweeted me again and June had liked my photo. JUNE LIKED MY PHOTO! I LIVE!!! (subsequently that is also the first text my BFF saw Friday morning.)

That meant EVERYTHING to me. It's cheesy but it was one of my dreams come true and it was on my vision board for this year. I put into the universe that I wanted / needed to meet June Ambrose and it just so happens that I presented with the opportunity to do so. Thank You, Universe! I mean!
So yeah, I was pretty much on cloud nine for the rest of the evening.

And then I woke up. And Johnetta had commented on my photo. And June replied to AND re-tweeted me. I wanted to pass out from lightheaded giddiness and my husband was cracking up as I was tripping over my words while excitedly relaying all that had transpired in the last few hours. My cup had filled up and was running over.

I've met my share of famous folk over the last 15 years and it's beyond thrilling when a person you admire from afar is actually as cool as you want them to be when you meet them in real life. To meet Johnetta and June after having a conversation about fashion and women and life and pursuing your dreams while surrounded by other women of color, the #blackgirlmagic was tangible and I was basking in it. I am so thankful for the opportunity to get to do what I love, writing, the way I want to and generally about what I want to and I love these types of events that are gentle reminders I am exactly where I am, when I am supposed to be. And that's all I can ask for.

Who's on your bucket list to meet?

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.


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