Monthly Archives: June 2017

#LearnFromYesterday: Timeless and Underrated Albums of the 1970s


Usually, the term underrated is associated with a body of work that was never acknowledged to its full extent. Experts comment on the importance of that piece including the ironic twist of its influence yet lack of acknowledgement. These pieces of work tend to grow a cult following. Often, this work is praised amongst the who’s who of the industry. Moreover, those who recognize the work add a level of sophistication to their artistic taste. Nevertheless, the masses still ignore the body of work. (more…)

Skin Saviors: 4 Face Products That Keep My Skin Looking Luxurious!

Being a lifestyle and beauty blogger people constantly ask me about my facial skin care regimen, and how do I maintain my dewy glow. I always laugh and say it’s genetics, which is partially true (I mean have you seen my mom?!), but there are 4 products that I couldn’t possibly live without. So today I’ve decided to share them with you all.

#1. Lush Let The Good Times Roll Facial Cleanser, $15

I’m one of those girls that has extremely oily skin, and I’ve tried about every product to try and control the oil production on my skin. About a year ago, I discovered this facial cleanser and I’ve been in love with it ever since! The products two main ingredients are corn maize and popcorn, making it both abosorbent and exfoiliating. The cool thing about this product it contains which will also add moisture to your skin for all of those people out there that have dry/combo skin.

#2. Lush Tea Tree Toner Water, $22

Growing up my mom always taught me the importance of toning your skin. It helps lock in all those properties of your facial cleanser and tightens your pores as well. What I love most about this particular toner is it contains tea tree oil and juniper berry, which helps with balancing the amount of oil production your skin has, and helps clear up and prevent acne from appearing.

#3. Lush Cosmetic Warrior Mask, $9

I am one of those people that feels everyone should have a go-to mask, and this one is mines. I live a very hectic lifestyle which makes my skin super prone to breakouts. This mask not only helps me get rid of acne, it also prevents new ones from coming.

#4. Lush Full of Grace Serum Bar, $16

This is the newest product I’ve added to my must-have collection. From alot of trial and error, i’ve come to the conclusion lotion-based moisturizers are just too heavy for my oily skin. So a few months ago I switched to this serum bar and I’m so glad I did. It works wonders for my skin, it gives me the moisture I need but doesn’t make me too oily.

Well there you have it folks, now you all know the products I refer to as my skin’s saving grace. I use the cleanser, toner water, and serum bar twice a day (morning and night), everyday, and the mask twice per week. I guarantee you after just one use of these prods you’ll be hooked. 

If you have any questions about the products (or any products) don’t hesitate to ask me about them in the comments! 

Xo,

“Age Is Nothing But A Number!”


I can remember when I was twelve years old and about to turn thirteen, I was so excited to become a teenager. I could hardly contain myself. When I finally had my birthday, I thought that I could stay up late, go to parties, and wear what I wanted. WRONG !!! My parents set me straight. I never forgot that birthday and how I thought everything would change.

When I turned eighteen, my parents gave me a little more responsibility. My sister and I were allowed to go to dances, parties and date. Of course I was to scared of boys to even date, but at nineteen I met a guy at my cousin’s wedding and we started dating. We even wound up getting engage, but I broke the engagement. At twenty-one, I got married and the marriage lasted 1 year. At twenty-five I met my future husband, and married at twenty-eight. I remember thinking to myself , wow! I am almost thirty, where did the time go ? When I made thirty, I was fine with it, I didn’t get all depressed like some  women, I was still sexy and did not look my age. I had my second daughter at age thirty-one. I was a stay at home mom and loved it, with my oldest daughter in kindergarten and my youngest in pre-k, I went back to school at age thirty-four. It was a crazy time, going to school, taking care of my husband and two kids. I graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Social Work from Southern University at New Orleans, in nineteen ninety three. I was thirty-seven years old and felt twenty five. 

I have always wanted to go to Las Vegas, and at age 64, my niece called me and informed me that we were going to Las Vegas for her mother’s (really my sis) birthday. We had a ball. I felt like I was twenty-five again.

I say all of this to say if you really want something in life don’t let anything deter you, not even your age. There shouldn’t be any fuss about getting older, because actually it is a blessing. If you don’t get older, you’re not here anymore. It is a fact of life, and in this life you have seasons. I am now in my what’s called the elderly season. Even though I turned 65 this past December, I don’t feel my age. Age has never held me back from anything, and it never will. I do things I didn’t do when I was younger. I have a smart phone, and I never thought I’d give up my flip phone; I learned how to text, I even purchased a tablet and learned how to use it. I exercise and do a lot of fun things with my grandkids. I am even thinking about taking swimming lessons. 

Remember, age is nothing but a number. So go for it, you don’t want any regrets. Embrace life, don’t be depressed or sad because you are not twenty-one anymore. Each day is a blessing, and you should thank God for every birthday that you have.

Well signing off until next time, 

Bottoms Up!!!!!!!!!!!!

Duality.

Duality: du·al·i·ty
/d(y)o͞oˈalədē/

definition: an instance of opposition or contrast between two concepts or two aspects of something; a dualism.

Have you ever wondered what makes Beyoncé soooooooooo damn appealing? Or for my generation, what made you addicted to Janet Jackson? One word: duality. I’m sure you’re like what the hell is duality? Think Beyoncé/Sasha Fierce for starters. Duality delves into the harsh contrast between two topics within the same idea. I also referenced Janet because she is a master of this inner music which makes it so infections. The next logical question is how in the hell does this apply to me? I’m glad you asked lol.

Duality can help greatly enhance your life. I once saw something that said “never be predictable” and immediately applied this to the idea of being boring. Where is the excitement in something that is always the same? Change is the result of progress in life and in order to progress you have to live, not simply exist. This in no way constitutes inconsistency, but simply use this as a base question: “What did I try yesterday, that if I could try again today I would do differently”? think back to the images of the angel and the devil on your shoulder (this is not a religious delve in any way lol). 
I know that for me personally, I LOVE hair so my duality plays a lot with hair. Either its gonna be between a tame wave/bone straight look or big curly look. Tame vs. Wild. That’s my duality. It allows me to be conservative but liberal at my leisure but only if I’m willing to do the work to make it happen which reinstalls my views on working for what you want. 

So what to do now? Let’s say you work a job where you in a uniform or limited to visual expression. In your free time, don’t limit yourself. Play with color, big sexy hair (my favorite), be eclectic in your music taste. Allow yourself to be different and love every minute of it because that contrast in action can allow you to view the world differently and ultimately push yourself to new heights. 

Stay creative, Stay inspired, Stay awesome,

The Loc’d and Curly Hair Affair: The Recap!


*Brittany Eve (right) with her team Brittany Harrell, Fernando Cruz, and Gaynelle “Pat” Albert.

A few Sundays ago I had the pleasure of attending an amazing event entitled “The Loc’d and Curly Hair Affair!” An event dedicated to highlighting the beauty that exists within the Black, natural hair community. 

Earlier this month, I interviewed the event’s creator Brittany Eve, she expressed she wanted to create a space that fused the natural hair community together, all while making sure those with locs were adequately represented. Well, Brittany was flawlessly able to bring her vision to life. Every type of natural hairstyle was showcased at the event from locs to box braids to kinky coils. 


*Once Easton girls, now grown women. Myself and fellow Easton alumnae Brittany Eve, Antionette Green, Honorelle Henry, Treasurelynn Johnson and Brittany Harrell. 

The event began with a live how-to tie a headwrap tutorial. Every naturalista(o) knows headwraps are a staple for us. Not only do they protect on hair and add flare to our outfits but they also help us honor our ancestors. Next, was a tutorial on how-to properly install a wig. A segment I was happy to see included in the event. Often there is a stigma attached to wearing weaves or wigs in the natural hair community, but when done correctly can be a very healthy protective hairstyle. It was good to affirm those who choose to wear that particular protective style. It made a statement that being natural doesn’t have to look a particular way. 


​​*New Orleans Hairstylist Edwin Merritt with model.

​​Lastly, the event was brought to a close with an incredible discussion panel with the ladies of the “Baby Bangz Hair Salon.” By far my most favorite part of the evening. Along with a Q&A about natural hair care tips, the ladies emphasized the importance of self-love and unity. Two things that I feel can never be expressed enough within the black community.


*The fabulous hairstylists of the Baby Bangz Hair Salon with panel hostess Brittany Harrell. 


*Hats and necklaces from Shop Ellusions, owner Reiona Star (top picture), Chokers and paintings by B. Sam (bottom picture).

The Loc’d and Curly Hair Affair was a marvelously produced event. It was well thought-out and executed to perfection. I left the event feeling empowered and proud to belong to such a powerful and influential community. I want to thank Brittany and her team for creating an event that was filled with so much black talent, black beauty, and overall black excellence. I’ll be anxiously awaiting the next Loc’d and Curly Hair Affair event! 


*Raffle winners Shantel Bradley and daughter Amari. 


*DJ Legatron Prime was on the 1s & 2s.

*Artist and Designer, B. Sam.

*Owners of “Major Joose All Natural Juice Beverages,” Major and Joose.

*Andrea D. Easter, owner of Bijoux de Delone and assistant.

To learn more about Brittany Eve and The Loc’d and Curly Hair Affair visit: www.facebook.com/MRWLLC and be sure to follow the event’s instagram page @locdandcurlyhairaffair! 

Xo, 

Marriage ≠ Happiness


Photo | BingImages

It was a slow and rainy Wednesday at work so my co-worker and I began talking about our romantic relationships to pass the time. I explained to her I considered myself single(ish) and she shared the same sentiment as well, a sentiment several millennials like myself can relate to. We continued our conversation about relationships and marriage, and before she left she said these words “I’m just trying to make money, catch me a husband, so I can get my happiness.” I pondered on those words for a while, and all I could think to myself was money and marriage aren’t the keys to happiness and why do we even still believe in that age-old ideal?

Marriage has always been seen as a high priority goal on the list for people wanting to achieve the american dream. Even in 2017 a lot of millennials still see marriage as this fairytale-like fallacy, and feel in order to have happiness then they have to be married. Fortunately for me I grew-up in a family that has always expressed the reality of marriage. I was taught it takes a lot of hard work and dedication, and the only way for it to truly work is if both partners feel complete within themselves. So I’ve never aligned marriage with my happiness, nor have I ever felt the pressure to find a husband to complete me. Truthfully, it wasn’t until recently that I even felt marriage was something I could see myself partaking in (but we’ll save that topic for another day).

Even though I think the institution of marriage is highly flawed, I still believe in the sanctity of it. Marriage is sacred, and should be seen as something to solidify an immense and unbreakable bond between two individuals. Traditionally speaking, marriage has never been about true love or happiness. It has always been handled like a business deal, using women as collateral. Women would provide domestic duties in exchange for financial security. However, those days are (almost) behind us, and women make enough to sustain their own cost of living. We can now officially marry one another for all of the right reasons yet we still are not. 

Mostly because people truly don’t care about having a happy and successful marriage, they just don’t want to be alone. They have this notion that if they’re unhappy and single then being attached must equate to happiness. They fail to realize you can be with someone and still not be happy with them. All you end up doing is temporarily occupying that incomplete space in yourself with another person but not actually fixing that emptiness you feel. Marriage is not this cure-all to loneliness and people have to  stop treating it like it is.  So how do we change this flawed idea of marriage? 

Well for starters, people have to become more honest with themselves, and begin asking themselves very uncomfortable questions. For instance, when’s the last time you took a moment to reflect on what truly makes you happy? Not what society tells you will make you happy, or what would make your parents happy, but just you. We don’t ask ourselves that question nearly enough, and then we begin to depend on others to tell us what will make us happy. However their happiness is not ours and vice versus. Once you find your happy you become more comfortable with who you are, and you stop looking for happiness within someone else. 

Now hear me clearly when I say there is nothing wrong with wanting to be married. Marriage can be a beautiful thing when done correctly. Just stop looking for marriage to fulfill this empty void in your life. It won’t, and you will end up feeling even more alone being married than you were while you were single. You have to remember you are the sole source of your own happiness. Once you realize and believe that I guarantee you everything else in your life will just fall into place (yes, even marriage).

Well until next time kids, 

5 Artists You Should Know!


Happy Monday Loves! It’s that time of the month again when I introduce you to your new favorite artists that you’ve never heard of yet. The 5 artists I’ve decided to feature this month breathe some new life into the R&B genre. Whether you’re just vibin’ in your car, laid up with your beau, or taking a relaxing candle-lit bath, these artists’ music will create the perfect soundtrack. Check them out below.


#1. Gallant

Originally from Washington, DC, Gallant is a singer/songwriter. Gallant’s music is the perfect fusion of throwback 90s and early 2000s r&b mixed with a futuristic modern sound. Fun fact: I named his debut album Ology as my favorite album of 2016.

♫ Miyazaki x Gallant


#2. Tiffany Gouché

Tiffany Gouché is a singer, songwriter, and producer that hails from Inglewood, CA. Gouché’s music is what many would call baby-making music. It’s sultry, sensual, and creates a seductive vibe.

♫ Red Rum Melody x Tiffany Gouché


#3. Sampha

Sampha is a British singer, songwriter, and producer from South London. You’ve probably heard his euphoric sound before as he has been featured on several artists’ songs from Drake to SBTRKT. Sampha’s sound is unparalleled and transcendent, and you can tell it’s a track of his by only hearing one note.

♫ Under x Sampha 


#4. Sabrina Claudio

Sabrina Claudio is a Latina singer that hails from Miami. Claudio’s sound is ethereal. What I love most about her music is how relatable it is, it tells the perfect story of an millennial woman like myself.

♫ Unravel Me x Sabrina Claudio


#5. Daniel Caesar

Originally from Toronto, Daniel Caesar is a singer/songwriter. Caesar’s sensuous sound is very reminiscent of old-school soulful r&b music, and it makes you want to find a beautiful soul and lose yourself in them.

♫ Get You x Daniel Caesar ft. Kali Uchis

It will only be a matter of time before these 5 are mainstream, don’t forget who told you about them first! Who are some of your favorite under-the-radar artists?! I would love to hear about them in the comments!

Xo,

Interview: Meet Candice Grace, Owner of GAGG Shoes

I met Candice Grace a little over a year ago at a press party hosted by Fashion Week Lake Charles. She was dressed to KILL, and being the bonafide fashionista that I am, I had to who this fellow fabulous girl was. I complimented her on her gorgeous shoes that had me, well…gagging. She expressed to me she had a recently launched an online shoe boutique called GAGG Shoes. What I didn’t know at that time, was when Candice said recently she truly meant recent. GAGG Shoes had only been up and running for one week, but you would have never known it. Not only was GAGG Shoes featured in FWLC, but she also had a vendor booth where FWLC attendees could purchase her items as well. If there’s one thing I love more than a fashionista, is fashionista that is also an amazing business woman. I recently had the pleasure of catching up with Candice and we talked shoes and so much more, read my interview with her below!

DM: GAGG Shoes has been in existence a little over a year now and is doing extremely well, how does it feel to watch your business flourish in such a short amount of time?

CD: I haven’t reached my pinnacle, [but] it feels amazing to get the business started from an idea on a vision board to the accomplishments I have made today. In business, we expect instant results. We want to just press a button and be instantly successful in business, but unfortunately, this is simply not the case. So keeping this in mind, GAGG is making great strides.

DM: Yes, it is! What gave you the idea to start GAGG Shoes? 

CG: I started GAGG for a couple of reasons. I LOVE shoes. I’ve always wanted to have my own shoe store. [I remember] my mom and I wrote a rough draft for a business plan [back] when I was in high school. I spent $50,000 on my LSU education only to end up working as a beverage server in the casino, I make at least 5 times more money serving drinks than what a news reporter would make starting out. In short, bills were heavy and I couldn’t afford to follow my dreams as a TV personality, so I settled for the big bucks of cocktail waitressing. I loved the money, but hated the company. I mashed the gas on starting up GAGG by first conducting research. GAGG became my way out. After working at the casino I realized I never wanted to work for anyone again. I want to be my own boss and make my own rules. Also, being from Dallas, TX, I noticed that fashion in Lake Charles was scarce. 

DM:  One thing I love about GAGG Shoes is how moderately priced the shoes are, how important was it to have a company that provides affordable fashion? 

CG: I grew up kind of poor. I am the product of a single parent home of four. Even though I am the only child of my mother to attend a major university and graduate. I didn’t have any support in college. I worked part-time and took 18 hours so I could finish quickly. I couldn’t afford to shop and be cute. Luckily for me being busy with school and work I never had to hang out and party like a real college kid anyway; But the point I am making is that it is important to make my products affordable because I know the struggle. Not only that,  I have to be price competitive with online retailers such as Amazon and Fashion Nova who both carry some of the exact same products we carry. People are more likely to purchase from these two retailers because they have a bigger and more reputable brand.

DM: Very true. Let’s talk a little about your journey as an entrepreneur, and a small-business owner. I’m sure it can quite challenging at times, what has your experience been? 

CG: It has been a challenging game of trial and error. There is a lot of work that goes into growing your business and some key traits that cannot be left behind, like endurance, passion, persistence, drive, motivation, commitment, patience… the list goes on. All of these things are so important because without them, you’ll quit, give up, get frustrated and walk away. There will be times when you put a ton of time, energy, passion, and pure hard work into growing your business, and nothing will happen, not right away anyway. That’s because growing your business doesn’t happen overnight.

DM: You’re a very fashionable girl, how would you say your style is reflected in your company?

CG: My style is the epitome of my company. While I am not the designer of the products I sell, I hand-picked each style. Every product we carry is something I would wear. In other words, I literally wouldn’t sell you something I wouldn’t wear myself. [Even] my favorite color pink [is incorporated] in my logo. 

DM: I love that. I’m always more willing to shop with a company if I can see the owner’s personal touches throughout the brand. So what’s next for the GAGG Shoes Brand?
CG: This fall I plan to add accessories and handbags to the collection! [Longterm] the goal is have a storefront. If God says the same GAGG will have a storefront in the [near] future.

 

To learn more about Candice Grace and her shoetique GAGG Shoes visit: www.shopgagg.com!

Xo,

Diabetes?! No! Not Me! 


Photo| blackpressusa.com

When my mom was first diagnosed with diabetes, she shared with me that she cried like a baby. Eventually, she accepted her fate and learned to live with it.

I now know how she felt.  I had no symptoms and was surprised when I was diagnosed with diabetes as well. I didn’t fit the stereotype. I wasn’t overweight, nor did I overeat. I will admit however, I was a lover of sweets, pasta, breads and coca-cola.

After my diagnosis, it was clear my eating habits had to change. I became a healthier person. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I could give up cokes, bread, dessert, pasta and everything I loved; But I did. My diet began to consist of brown rice, whole grain cereals, wheat bread,  and sugar free cakes, pies, and cookies. I also learned to embrace diet drinks as well (they are not that bad, as a matter of fact they taste pretty good).

I was proud of myself, but I have to admit sometimes I missed some of my previous foods. I would get this overwhelming urge for potato chips or upside down cakes. So I consulted with my doctor and she informed me I could have a cheat day once a month. So I would take a little piece of birthday cake, or a couple strands of pasta every now and then. I remember being shocked after my follow-up appointment, when the doctor was still pleased with my progress and even commended me on it. It made me know having diabetes wasn’t about giving up what I loved, but having it in moderation.

I don’t want ya’ll to think that I now say with a smile “I have diabetes,” that is just not the case.  However, I am happy that I was able to reconcile with my condition and a stop feeling sorry for myself. Now when I go to the grocery store,  I stock up on whole grain crackers, cereals, croutons and a wide variety of whole grain and sugar free items. I’m still in awe that there is so much food that caters to diabetics, which wasn’t the case when my mother was diagnosed 15 years ago.

Truthfully, I will never be happy about my diagnoses, but who would? I’m just glad to know being diagnosed with diabetes is not the plague it used to be.  Progress has been made in an effort to meet the needs of diabetics by having a wide variety of delicious and nutritious foods available. From time to time, I still wonder “why me?” but I’ve accepted my fate just like my mother did all those years ago.

Remember no matter what life throws at you, you can accept it and move on. Well, I’ll be signing off now, my sugar-free vanilla ice cream is melting.

Until next time,

Bottoms Up!!!!!!!

Dance Fever!


*Me in my younger days.

The first time a man touched me was my first experience at a club. He was security with the duty of patting down patrons, checking for weapons. After all, it was Mardi Gras. With a scrawny physique but big hands, the bouncer patted underneath my arms, my hips, my thighs, and my legs. Lastly, the bouncer sprung up to eye level. “Oh yeah, this one is good.” Though I was creeped out by his statement, I brushed off my offensiveness eagerly anticipating the unknown.

As I began to move from the creepy bouncer, he nudged me back into place. “Baby, give me that identification.” the creepy bouncer ordered. Suddenly, I froze. I was seventeen years old; granted, it was my eighteenth year, but my birthdate was in August. It was mid-February.”Similac!” the once creepy now annoying bouncer shouted while checking my identification card. I felt my heart pounding; However, I focused on the music that blared from upstairs.

Finally. I entered.

The room was lit with black lights. There was a sea of beautiful black people. Some were not
ideally beautiful but their glowing spirits stripped my preferences. The sea of people was
smiling, dancing, singing, and countless activities that I associated with liberation.
“Here!” my cousin Meka said.” Sip this.” I took a gulp of her drink. “GODAMN! Slow down.” Meka said handing me the cup of Amaretto and Pineapple Juice.

Subsequently, with a half-a-cup of alcohol in me, liquid courage introduced itself. First, my hips made a figure-eight to the rhythms of hip hop classics. Second, I mouthed lyrics while my hands did impromptu choreography. Eventually, I began to wink at attractive people.

Moments later, a gold chain eclipsed my view. The jewelry belonged to a guy wearing an all-white ensemble. He asked,” Are you ok?” I raised my eyebrows.” Baby, you’re drunk.” He stated. With a cheerful expression and robust voice,” I’m Herbert. You can call me H.B.” “So,is this your first time here ,Herbert? I informed him about how my cousin dragged me to the club and that I was a senior at Riverdale High School. “Can we dance? “ I assumed he would leave. However, he led me to a corner. I faced the crowd with his arm around my shoulder and the other resting on my hip. We danced by rocking from left to right. “Cuz we’re ordinary people, we don’t know which way to go. “His voice was lovely like most voices are when whispered. He gripped me tighter. “H. B., let’s go!” Meka said holding an empty cup-within-a cup. I nodded. He removed his shield from my body. Bringing his arm back to his side and raising the other to sip from his watered drink. Before I was filled with embarrassment, he gave me a hug. “Jesus” I exasperated. He pulled out his wallet and handed me a business card.

On the ride home, I studied that crème business card with black lettering. It read: Calvin Johnson, Winn-Dixie Produce Manager. There wasn’t a contact number. Over the next three months, I became empowered. I would stride through the halls of Riverdale with my chest out and shoulders back. When teachers would address me, I made it a priority to sustain eye contact. Granted, unoriginal, daily insults about my sexual orientation were slung at me. However, the slurs didn’t stick anymore. I knew the truth. High school was a fraction of the real world, and there was a Calvin out there for me.