Sisters

With the week this country has been having, it felt really great to get out of the house and be in a room full of Black women. Yesterday, I attended Project Beauty Expo at Agora Gallery in Chelsea and it was AMAZING. I saw women who look like me doing groundbreaking things in the industries of beauty, fashion, and media. I gained insight about how to further progress as both a writer and content creator from women who are at the top of their fields, who prioritize staying in their lanes and staying true to their visions. Most importantly, I made connections with women who genuinely inspire me. Being surrounded by Black women was just the tonic I needed to lay to rest the burdens of Charlottesville and white supremacy, if only for a little while. There's something about being in a room in which the people present understand your fears and qualms and know how to placate those anxieties without saying a word. Thank you, sisters, known and unknown. Thank you, Project Beauty Expo, your presence came at just the right time. 

“Sisters are more than the sum of their relative disadvantages: they are active agents who craft meaning out of their circumstances and do so in complicated and diverse ways.” -Melissa Harris-Perry

Feeling Fallish

How was it just 68º in August?! It's crazy to think that in just a few weeks, the season of autumn will be rearing her cold-hearted, yet beautiful, head. I don't think I'm quite ready to let summer go but I bought a bunch of stuff during Zara's semi-annual-heaven sent sale that will placate the pain of seeing warmth withdraw. My turtleneck is one of those purchases. When I tell you that I bought THE MOST, I mean it. I recently saw it in my chiffonier, I forgot that I had purchased it. Shopaholics Anonymous anyone?! Nonetheless, I am very pleased with my decision and purchase. It's very sleek and vibrant. Its color is piercing, despite it being an earth tone. However, despite all the niceties, it is still a turtleneck and rarely if ever are those sexy on their own. Turtlenecks are a closet item that needs punching up. To funk it up and elevate my turtleneck to a place of fun and allure, I threw on my favorite split-leg trousers and my toothsome booties via Zara (yet another purchase). It's great for the office, translates well for dinner, and/or is amazing for a chance meeting with your contemptuous ex or even the bitch who continues to hate. Give her another reason.  This outfit may be my Fall '17 moment but if the weather persists the way it is...I'll be wearing this get up tomorrow. 

Channel Orange

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Orange might just be my power color. Stay with me guys, I promise I'm not Bo's mom via Blackish but she has some valid points about color psychology. I feel invincible and always so chic no matter what hue or gradient of orange I don. It intimidates those I intended to keep away and attracts those who were meant to be. Orange, a demanding color associated with courage, extroversion, and risk-taking, I can 100% declare that this color is 66% me. I flip-flop between being an extrovert depending on the crowd I'm with so I doubt that characteristic applies to me. I would, however, claim the term risk taker because hellllooooo I'm wearing long ass pearl earrings with sneakers and bright pants that would qualify as high water under any other circumstance if not for their shape. If wearing this getup in public isn't courage, I don't know what is...

 

Manifestations

"Well, aren't you dressed up"? I hear this sentence every. single. day as I walk into work to punch in for my shift. If unfamiliar with the commenter, I acknowledge their words with a simper. If acquainted, I answer their remarks with the simple phrase, "I'm dressing for the job I want not the job I have". They look at me partially taken aback that my ambitions extend beyond my current job and partially caught off guard that I'm actively planning for the future...and openly talking about it, not just by word but also in deed. A part of me is astounded as well at my straightforwardness and the audacity of my growing ambition. 

I dress up for work because it makes me feel good and helps me overcome the overwhelming bout of depression that washes over me every day I punch in. Dressing up helps me brainstorm post ideas, see what works, how people react to my sartorial musings, and keeps me sane and in tune with myself. The brief stint I spent wear my shift clothes into work had me depressed and unmotivated to do anything but punch in, punch out, and go to sleep. Now, I have a reason to get up and work tirelessly to make my dreams come true. People critique others dressing up as succumbing to vanity and self-centeredness but little do they know, I'm manifesting my best life one outfit at a time. 

The Brunch Crunch

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Picture it. Brooklyn. 2017. Sunday morning. You awaken from your sleep and feel a hunger pang so intense you think that something may be physiologically wrong with you. You drag yourself to the kitchen and see nothing there minus a jar of almond butter (no bread) and 2 black bananas (don't judge me, okay?). Luckily, your partner in crime is over your feigned attempts to cook and suggests the two of you go and grab food. Prayer answered: yes but what to wear?

That is where the brunch crunch (noun. Definition: dressing for brunch in a lazy, unmotivated, or speedy manner) factors in. I don't believe brunch outfits need to be real outfits with silhouette and structure deliberated. In my simplistic belief, the wearer only needs to be two things: comfortable and ready in five minutes. For example, my denim bra. The amazing garment that catcallers and friends alike love was donned to avoid and/or hide queso spills. My striped forest green trousers were sported on account of the elastic waist band, perfect for inhaling copious amounts of food. The result of this week's brunch crunch? An outfit that I wasn't ashamed to put on Instagram. They don't all turn out this lovely and carefree but when they do...it's nice. 

B*itches Brew

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My face as of late has REALLY been acting up. Stress, diet, and extreme heat is a vile trifecta that has come together and conspired against me.  Luckily, I've been combatting these afflictions one tea mask at a time. I present to you: B*itch's Brew. It's a concoction of acne fighting herbs, extracts, and clays that become the best mask to beat the summer heat once combined.

The tea tree oil (when diluted) gives the mask an amazing cooling sensation and is a great substitute for benzoyl peroxide, an antibacterial ingredient found in many an acne medication. The next big component is the Indian Healing Clay which is comprised of calcium bentonite clay which is amazing for detoxifying the skin and any surface that it touches. That is DEFINITELY a plus when combatting acne and breakouts. The last, and maybe the most important, ingredient in my Bitch's Brew is the brew itself. Steeped white willow bark and lavender is a both a calming agent (lavender) and an acne fighting gentle exfoliant due to the salicylic acid. Now that is a kickass combo right there!

Ingredients: Lavender, Tea Tree Oil, White Willow Bark, Water, Aztec Indian Healing Cay

1TBSP White Willow Bark and Lavender (each), 2 Cups Water, 2 TBSP Clay

Bring water to a boil and pour two cups of water into a measuring cup. Let steep for 15-20 minutes. [I personally let my brew steep for 12hrs. because I want my infusion to be EXTRA strong]. Measure out clay into a bowl and pour brew based on the amount of thickness desired. Mix until smooth and apply to face. Leave on for 15-20 minutes OR until the mask is so tight that you are in physical pain -JUST kidding. Leave the mask on for 15-20 minutes. Wash off and go to bed.

No But For Real Though...

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Okay, this is my blog. I pay the monthly fee to be so graciously hosted on this site and I need to get some tings off my chest. Last week, I was so anxious because birthdays aren't a huge deal to me physically but I look at them as an opportunity for renewal and change. I even write out resolutions for my birthday rather than New Years because I know I'm not changing a damn thing in the dead of winter. Nonetheless, I felt a lot of pressure this past week because I want so badly to manifest my dreams into reality but I'm playing it safe and expecting the Universe to do the leg work. 

I want to be able to dictate my own schedule, projects, and life. I want to be able to see consistent work - and I don't mean that tokenism shit publications try to pull. I want to make time for the ones I love - this has been a MAJOR area of lacking but I'm getting better. However, if I don't actively work towards those things in the midst of being at a job I hate, how will these things I aspire to reveal themselves?

"Ask for what you want, then be prepared to get it." -Maya Angelou

Minnie: Live From SoHo?

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If clothing stores around the world burned down tomorrow, I don't think I'd care. Skirts are eh, shirts are such a labor of love, and bras are...don't even get me started. However, if jumpsuits disappeared from the face of the earth, I may just have a psychological break. Jumpsuits are the cornerstone of my wardrobe. They are the hot sauce in my bag, the ice cream to my cone, and/or the diet needed to cure my adult acne (more on this in a later post).

Jumpsuits are both practical and flattering (in most cases). They can act as an entire outfit or play as pants underneath a beautifully structured sweater. In addition, most work well sans bra - an added bonus and offer my world a glimpse of side boob- a date night trifecta! I love jumpsuits because I can throw one on and be on the door in under 20 minutes, beating both the heat and my disdain for getting dressed in one shot!

Originally, I threw on this jumpsuit with a lightweight black sweater but NYC is humid and sticky so I removed it in a post office as I paid my rent (classy). I ran the rest of my errands shirtless and braless, two things noticed immediately by my boyfriend when I met him in SoHo. Once I strong-armed him into taking these photos I noticed that my look fortuitously became inspired by Minnie Ripperton's iconic album cover...afro, color scheme and all.

Jumpsuit Thrifted / Shoes Zara

Glimmerous

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I have precisely one week until I leave for a mini birthday vacation. One week. That being said, I refuse to heat stroke as I tarry in anticipation for Monday. That makes this metallic tank top I spotted across a crowded Zara last year perfect for staying cool and looking cooler. For days when my main objective for going outside is to find the nearest air-conditioned hideaway, this top is my only choice. I liken this tank, full of luster and life, to air-conditioning in a top. Coupled with a loose trouser and a simple sandal, this "glimmerous" (glamorous meets glimmer) tank is perfect for the rare occurrence I decide to leave the confines of my 60º house and oh, I don't know, venture to get groceries or meet friends for margaritas down the street.

Top Zara / Pant TopShop 

Easy Breezy

 

Ok. So it's summer time. The living is easy and Zara's semi-annual sale persuaded me to buy this sweater. I bought it after picturing it on this here blog and envisioning it out on the town. I mean, the price tag alone could've persuaded me ($19.99!) but I'm becoming a person whose wardrobe needs to be cohesive thus, I indulged myself in a little self-soothing deliberation. When my package arrived, I was having a full blown episode of buyer's remorse. C'mon who needs FOUR sweaters mid-summer?! Nonetheless, to my pleasant surprise, this ribbed, ecru, backless knit is actually the perfect summer sweater. The pullover isn't too heavy or too bulky, it shows ample skin, and summons many a catcall. Paired with my high slit, green khakis this look isn't too shabby either. It's breezy in all the right places and on a scale of 'Nun' to 'Naked', it's perfectly centered.

Sweater Zara / Bag Thrifted

Blackity, Black, Black

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Summer in NYC, as of late, has been more colorful. Hashtag Confused. Color is MY thing and all these happy New Yorkers (infamous for wearing black on ANY occasion) frolicking around, happy and bright, have me quite befuddled. That being said, I flipped the script. I decided to create an airy and easy, yet dark, look after finding my coveted black booties and a great, playful top. It's amazing the way black can make me feel so free. This new color scheme may be a summer constant. Who knows? Stay tuned.

Pants Urban Outfitters / Booties + Shirt Zara

Totes

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I pretty much wear a tote bag with EVERYTHING. They're roomy and fit all my miscellaneous, hoarder-like things. It doesn't  matter if I'm wearing a ball gown, a pair of jeans, sneakers or heels- a tote bag can always be found by my side. As you guys can see, I paired my beat up ol' tote with a dress I thrifted from Beacon's Closet (my mothership) and my new booties that the Lordt sent directly to me through Zara! The result of coupling a tote with a look a little higher on the "dressy" spectrum is a super chill outfit that keeps your friends from asking "Who are you dressed up for?"

Dress Beacon's Closet / Shoes Zara / Tote Thrifted

Décolletage

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Summer was definitely created because God (or whatever higher power you believe in) loves clavicles. Why else would the French give the area between your neck and bust the alluring name décolletage? The name alone is a signifier that the area is to be admired and highly regarded. That being said, I am going to indulge my maker and flaunt this clavicle hither and fro. Shirts like this one make it easy. I found it serendipitously while thrifting (spending money I should be saving). But what's $10.95 to a summer full of sartorial happiness? I coupled my serendipitous find with trousers (a new style I'm wholly obsessed with) from TopShop and Birkies for a relaxed, easygoing look perfect for summa, summa, summatiiiime! 

Shoes Birkenstocks / Bag Urban Outfitters / Trousers TopShop / Shirt Thirfted

B*tch, I'm Taking Calls

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This is what it looks like when I talk to my mom. We tend to have mid morning conversations about business and content. By business, I really mean my mom spending 15-45 minutes convincing me to get out of my own way. Whether I like it or not she's basically my momager. She's great and I wish everyone could experience her knack for always being right about my life choices. This outfit, however, was picked by me and isn't necessary to have a momager but it is comfy and great to run important errands in. You know leisure wear outside the typical realm of leggings and Birkenstocks (a set of coordinates I'm guilty of donning on more than one occasion). I love a great Nike legging as much as the next girl but c'mon, I'm turning 25 in just over 2 weeks and I think it's about time my leisure wardrobe finally exit puberty...momager or not.

Sweater Cheap Monday / Shoes + Pants + Bag Zara

The Studio Museum of Harlem

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If you read my previous post, you know that I went to the Studio Museum of Harlem this past weekend for some inspiration and relaxation. I love Studio Museum for a multitude of reasons. First, it's dedicated to Black art. Second, it's run by the fabulous Thelma Golden (she gives me serious #LifeGoals). Third, but not last, one of its fundamental practices is nurturing young artists of color. It's amazing what this small museum has managed to do with their space. It's incredible and is a constant reminder that there are no limitations on what I can do.

The photos above are from a few of their summer exhibitions (Regarding the Figure, Jamel Shabazz Crossing 125th Street, and Rico Gaston Icons). I loved the range of mediums and how all of my favorite artists were in the same room. Lorna Simpson, Lorraine O'Grady, Carrie Mae Weems, Lynette Yiadom Boakye, Barkley Hendricks, etc. I was even introduced to a few new artist I would like to keep my eyes on, Lev. T Mills, for example.

Nostalgia, Ultra

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This weekend I ventured uptown to my old neighborhood, Harlem U.S.A. I haven't been back since I moved to Brooklyn due to PTSD but I must admit, it did feel great being back in the mecca of Black culture. I went to go see a new exhibition at my favorite museum and being back in the 'hood gave me immense flashbacks and nostalgia. I guess it didn't hurt that my outfit was a bit of a throwback. I bought this jumpsuit at Beacon's Closet when I first moved to NYC and it's been an essential staple in my summer wardrobe ever since. Its 1970's silhouette makes me feel funky and chill while its easy, breezy nature allows it to withstand the brutal humidity this city loves to offer its residents and that's perfectly alright with me. :)

Jumpsuit / Thrifted (Beacon's Closet) 

Clinton Hill Library

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Another day, another errand, and another day of heat hanging over the city like thick smog. Being one that feels guilty for wasting a precious day off, I hopped up, got some work done and headed out the door to renew a book at the library. The heat was oppressive. There was barely any shade but the weather wasn't enough to keep me away from my favorite library. I love the Clinton Hill Library, not because of its selection per sé but because of its location. The walk there from the subway is amazing; brownstones and long trees line the streets and you can feel the neighborhood's history speaking to you through the sandstone. It's wondrous. I wore this TopShop skirt that the wind swept around with gentle ease. I paired my skirt with a simple white cropped tank and my new favorite platforms creating a look was somewhat reminiscent of Amelie's "Why Don't We Fall in Love".

My Soul Looks Back x Jessica B.  Harris  / Brooklyn Public Library (Free 😊) + Skirt / TopShop $68 + Tank / Zara $5.99 + Sandals / Zara $59.99

My Bkr

Sponsored by BKR

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My morning routine doesn't consist of much. I wake up, pee, and make breakfast while blasting music to the dismay of my roommates (I'm assuming). My routine, like me, is simple but one thing was missing- water. Yes, I eat healthier but ever since a hoodrat at my job stole my favorite orange CamelBak water bottle, I've been feeling both ashy and dehydrated. My skin was been feeling the drought. Luckily, a day later my friends over at BKR reached out (divine intervention?!) and sent me a couple water bottles to test. I was a little weary because I'm not great with things composed of glass, I carry my water in my bag, and I didn't want to be weighed down. Nonetheless, I've been hooked since they've arrived. They are so chic and I love the variation in sizing. Pictured above is their 1000mL bottle that I keep by my bed to stay hydrated morning and night. It's a beautiful lavender color with my initial (very rare) in yellow. It's amazing, I can feel the difference, and my cucumber/lemon water has never tasted better since receiving #MyBKR.

Boo "Y" 1L water botttle / MyBKR.com $50

Trickery

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It's been extremely hot here in NYC so I finally went ahead and purchased my annual summer sandal. This platform sandal was perfect because I've been stanning for all things high and chunky. It's a great addition to my wardrobe and pacifies my addiction to crazy silhouettes while remaining comfortable and functional. The only problem with the purchase of these sandals is that at the time of purchase my feet looked like those of a newly released convict (#ToesBreakingRocks). No sweat though. On my way to the nail shop, I simply threw on these comfy and vibrant red socks. This drew attention to the stacked wedge while hiding the unsightly horror that lay underneath...I call that deception at it's finest. 

Bag + Shoes + Dress / Zara $59.90 - Socks / Urban Outfitters $4.99

Finding Mr. Goodbar

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You take a shower, you semi-air dry, then you're left with the decision to either spend copious amounts of time lathering up or going the go- ashy style. I admit, I'm not one to enjoy the post-bath lather; I feel like there are better ways I could spend my time. Deduct Black Girl Magic points, I don't care. This is not to say that I don't oil up with the finest coconut oil Trader Joe's has to offer as much as it is to say that I'm just not very consistent. That was until I tried Abena Boamah's exfoliating bar from her niche (and affordable) new indie beauty line Hanahana Beauty. It's eeeeeverything! It's composed of all the goodies you'd expect to find (Shea butter, cocoa butter, brown sugar) and few that make me raise an eyebrow (clove, tea tree oil, and aduki beans). The mere presence of tea tree oil and Shea butter shows me that it will tone my skin while simultaneously locking in moisture. The brown sugar acts as an exfoliant that will slough away any dead skin cells that are unable to absorb moisture thus, getting me out the shower and out the door faster than you can say "Hanahana Beauty" 3 times! 

Hanahana Beauty Exfoliating Bar / $12