So a few weeks ago I did a post about my #FABFit challenge in which I made a promise to myself to do my best to eat healthier and cleaner, cut down on my calorie intake and start to work out. It wasn’t a “diet” or a “cleanse” or anything dramatic. Just me and some friends dedicating ourselves to doing better and making small changes in our lifestyles that would eventually lead to big results over time.
Well I’m proud to say that since starting my challenge to a healthier me, I’ve not only lost over 12 pounds but I’ve also gained a tremendous sense of awareness about how change REALLY takes place. It’s not about a crash diet or a crazy 6-week workout regimen, or even one particular “miracle” product. It’s about making healthier choices and decisions each day, no matter how small.
This is exactly why I was so excited to partner up with Crystal Light’s #TinyWin campaign. Cutting down on excessive calories is just one small piece of the puzzle towards being healthier. Crystal Light obviously helps with making the switch from high-calorie beverages by providing low or no-calorie options that are still delicious and make it easier for you to make the transition. Whether it’s mixing up a mocktail with one of their powdered mixes instead of a high-calorie cocktail or simply choosing to walk up the stairs instead of taking the elevator at work in the morning, celebrating just one tiny win a day leads you to ultimately embracing a healthier you. So here are some of the GOOD habits I’ve picked up after my recent fitness challenge:
1. Drinking WAY more water.
One of the most important ways to live a healthier lifestyle is to drink more H20. As a building block of life, it’s the best way to hydrate yourself. I’ve never really had a problem with drinking water straight up without any flavoring or extra anything added to the mix. But I know so many people who need great taste in order to get their extra liters of water in for the day. Do what you need to! I’d suggest trying out Crystal Light’s Liquid on-the-go packs. They’re great for flavoring your water when you’re out and about and don’t have much time.
2. Exercising at LEAST twice a week.
So I started both Zumba and Kickboxing classes and I LOVE them. I’ve posted on my Instagram page before about my new love for my group exercise classes. I’ve found that working out in a group is best for me because I’m motivated around other people. It makes exercising easier for me.
3. Eating more GREEN.
Can I be real with y’all for a sec? I really don’t like vegetables. Yeah I said it. Eating more vegetables has been my biggest challenge and the only way I’ve been able to get more green into my life is with creative recipes and juicing. I’ve developed an affinity for green juices in the morning (and when I get a sweet tooth!) and I’ve also tried quite a few new salad and grilled veggie recipes that are now my staples. It’s not as difficult as you think. Once you being to experiment and find what works for you, the rest falls right into place.
So, what are some of YOU doing to keep yourself healthy despite the “lazy summer” draws of BBQ & beer every weekend. Share your #tinywin with the class and let’s motivate each other!
This post was sponsored by Crystal Light. Opinions expressed herein are my own and not those of the company.
Last Friday, I was honored to have the opportunity to attend the “On The Run” tour featuring Beyonce and Jay-Z here in the NY/NJ area with the lovely team at Carol’s Daughter. If you know me, you already know how HYPED I get about a Beyonce concert. Last year I saw the Mrs. Carter tour THREE times. Yes, I’m a crazed Bey fan and I’m totally not ashamed.
Anyway, I was picked up at my house around 6PM and we headed over to the Meadowlands as the concert was held at the MET Life Stadium.Of course I was a complete goofball and took selfies in the backseat. Don’t judge.
I had actually never been to the Met Life Stadium. It’s pretty amazing and was a great location for the concert.
For my concert look, I decided to opt for a sexy but tasteful red dress that I snagged on ASOS.com over a year ago. I haven’t been able to fit into it in forever! Thanks to my FABFit regimen I’m fitting into some of my old clothes again post-BabyBrownSugar. I also opted for some leopard print wedges. I love how leopard looks with red outfits, and these ASOS wedges are super comfortable – perfect for dancing!
Carol’s Daughter had a really dope suite facing the left side of the stage. The stadium is massive – this is only half of it.
I also ran into two editors who were very influential in my career when I used to work for magazines. Shanel Odum, who’s currently the EIC of VIBE Vixen (she was editor-in-chief at Honey Magazine) and Deena Campbell, who’s currently the Hair & Beauty Editor at Essence.com (she was my coworker at UPTOWN Magazine). Love these two!
Once the concert got started I got to work twirling and twerking to Beyonce’s hits. Obvi, I know all the choreography. And I got equally turned up to Jay-Z’s set.
They did such a great job of merging both acts seamlessly. And they closed the concert hand in hand with a heart-melting reel of the two of them with their daughter Blue Ivy.
It was SO adorable and perfect. If the On The Run tour is coming to a city near you, you MUST go. Grab your besties and go. Seriously. The best part of the night (yes, EVEN better than seeing Beyonce perform live) was getting to hang out with Carol’s Daughter creator Lisa Price. It was really a complete full circle moment for me even being invited to the concert with her brand team.
Back when I was a freshman at PENN and first getting my feet wet as a writer, I wrote for a small publication on my college campus called Little Black Book. It was geared toward women of color on campus. And my first MAJOR interview was with Lisa as an up & coming entrepreneur. I was fascinated by her and by her business.
Carol’s Daughter has grown leaps and bounds since then. That was almost 9 years ago! I just feel so blessed to have been able to share this experience. What inspired me most is that these women that I look up to are mothers as well. The theme of the night really was that with hard work and dedication, you can do anything. When in doubt, think of women like Beyonce and Lisa Price.
Have you seen Queen Bey live in concert? Planning to? Soundoff below!
So a few weeks ago I shared with you all that I’ve been tapped by Capital One to share some of my travel experiences as well as my dream destinations with you all in a series about the new Capital One Venture Rewards Card. I’m especially excited about this series because I’ve always recapped my past travel experiences for you guys but I’ve never shared what destinations are on my bucket list. In the first post, I revealed that Thailand is my ultimate dream destination, for a number of reasons. From the food that I ADORE to the beautiful landscape, the shopping and of course the excursions, I adore everything about Thailand and can’t wait to set my feet on Thai grounds one day. Until then, a girl can dream. So here’s a list of the things that are part of my dream travel itinerary when I finally make it to Thailand:
If you know me, you know I love to eat. I LOVE good food. I’m a fat kid at heart and I’m not ashamed. Thai food happens to be one of my favorite types of cuisine, so first on my list of to-do’s is hitting up the Floating Market in Bangkok to get some authentic Thai cuisine. There will be plenty of time to sample the food at the restaurants. But when I go away, I like to try food from the most authentic sources whether it’s a mom & pop shop down the road or a street vendor in the local neighborhood. So the Floating Market is my first stop in Bangkok. Girl’s gotta eat.
Call me corny but my intrigue for Thailand grew even deeper after reading NY Times Bestseller “Eat, Pray, Love” about a woman’s international journey to finding herself with her last stop being in Thailand. Temples were such an integral part of her trip – for meditation, self-discovery and so much more. I couldn’t go to Thailand without exploring the luxurious and regal Temple of the Emerald Buddha inside the Royal Grand Palace in Bangkok.
And finally, I couldn’t leave Thailand without fulfilling my America’s Next Top Model dream of posing atop a Thai elephant and taking a flawless picture. It must be done! Let’s hope I have enough courage to actually get up there when the time comes.
After Bangkok, I’d be headed to Phuket to experience the pristine beaches, epic private boat rides, marine wildlife and relaxation of the secluded islands in the area. Phuket has some of the most beautiful beaches on the planet. So this is where you’d find me for the rest of the trip.
My dream accommodations would be the Anantara Phuket Villas. Each villa has it’s own private plunge pool (get your life!), there’s an exclusive spa on-site, a cooking school, a myriad of private restaurants and more! This is one of the top-rated hotels in Phuket. With a rewards card like the Capital One Venture Card, you could easily book a stay here on your favorite travel website and use your rewards to wipe the slate clean. You could even charge your transportation to and from the airport to the card and use rewards towards your statement. I mean…Anantara here I come? I can just feel the cool water in between my toes.
For years, I’ve been hearing that Thailand has the BEST massage therapists in the east and that their spa services are so reasonably priced. Obviously one of the things on my itinerary when I get to Thailand is to book an outstanding masseuse for a back massage on site.
I also love sampling local and exotic fruits. So that’s another thing I’ll be snatching up from the local markets – authentic fruits and delectables native to Thailand.
There’s SO much more I’d love to do in Thailand. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Obviously if I go I’d need to stay for at least a full 7 days to experience all I want. Rewards cards like the Capital One Venture Rewards Cardmake my Thailand excursion dreams a little closer to reality. You can literally use the rewards to redeem travel rewards anywhere and under ANY carrier. No restrictions and blackouts. It’s the TRUTH. Thanks to Capital One this dream destination might not be a “dream” for much longer. For now, Thailand is all over my vision board and I’m speaking it into existence that I’ll be there within another year or so.
What about you? What’s on your dream getaway itinerary? Exploring the pyramids in Egypt? Feeding penguins in the Galapagos? Share them with the class below!
This post is sponsored by Capital One. All opinions expressed herein are my own and not those of the company.
This past weekend I announced that one of our main #NOLACrawlstops during Essence Fest would be the Eden Bodyworks “Celebrate My Beauty” event. In addition to running a really cool giveaway featuring the Coconut Shea Collection HERE, the girls and I made a special appearance at their New Orleans event at the W Hotel which was chock full of exciting beauty stations and activities.
As the event was about celebrating our beauty, each corner of the room had activities that focus on beauty from the inside out. There were makeup demos being done by makeup artists on-site.
The suite featured fun manicures and hand massages, as well as back massage stations.
And for beauty on the inside, there were green smoothies being mixed up with all fresh and natural ingredients.
So delicious and a really nice touch considering Eden Bodyworks products are made from all-natural ingredients as well.
All of the Eden Bodyworks collections were on display and actually free for the taking, including their Peppermint Tea Tree collection, the Jojoba Monoi collection and the Coconut Shea collection.
Every guest walked home with free products to try out at home.
Of course the girls and I took pics in the fun Eden Bodyworks photobooth.
It was such a fun & exciting event and a great way to kick off their “Celebrate My Beauty” nationwide tour.
Atlanta-based beauties, if you’re free on Thursday, July 10th from 6pm – 8pm you should definitely check out the Eden Bodyworks “Celebrate My Beauty” event in Atlanta at the W Hotel!
So this past weekend, I filled you guys in on all the exciting things Ford had in store at the 2014 Essence Festival. As the title sponsor of our #NOLACrawl and our Style Suite event, we spent the good part of our Essence Fest weekend experiencing all the brand had to offer whether it was at the Convention Center, the Mainstage or elsewhere. I had an incredible time as a guest of Ford this weekend. Check out all I got into:
This past weekend in New Orleans, Essence Fest had it’s fair share of exciting highlights. The biggest highlight of them all, of course, was the #NOLACrawl Style Suite I co-hosted with fellow bloggers Jessica of Glamazons Blog, Lexi of LexiWithTheCurls and Sekou Writes of SimplyRides.com.
Presented by Ford and sponsored by Beautiful Textures, the Style Suite was an exciting daytime suite complete with complimentary cocktails, light bites, mini manicures courtesy OPI, product giveaways by Beautiful Textures and Indique Hair, an interactive photobooth, a live DJ set and more! VIP gift bags also included products from OPI, Curls, U by Kotex, and Red Bull.
First let me say that planning this exclusive Style Suite was no easy feat. Myself and the co-hosts of #NOLACrawl wanted the event to be a full-on celebration, we wanted it to be completely FREE for all of our invited guests, intimate and TONS of fun.
Mission accomplished. Everyone who attended had a great time celebrating our second annual #NOLACrawl in style.
We had a celebrity guest appearance by stylish correspondent and entrepreneur Angela Simmons who looked amazing.
Hair & Beauty Editor Deena Campbell from Essence.com stopped in to say hello!
A great time it was. I can’t wait for next year’s Essence Fest and NOLACrawl. New Orleans is a beautiful city and the festival is one of the best places to meet new faces and interact with people from all walks of life.
Thank you to EVERYONE who supported the brand this year and who followed along on our #NOLACrawl. You guys are the best. ‘Til next year!
After a long and exhausting trip from NYC to New Orleans, I’m finally here and I’m so excited about heading to the EDEN Bodyworks #CelebrateMyBeauty event today! I mentioned it in my post yesterday and today is the day it takes place. If you’re in New Orleans this weekend for Essence Fest you should DEFINITELY plan to stop by between 3pm and 5pm.
I’m a huge fan of EDEN Bodyworks. I swear by their Peppermint & Tea Tree Hair Milk (see here). I just recently received some of their newest products from the Coconut Shea collection and I love them! In preparation for my hair look this weekend, I deep conditioned my hair with the Coconut Shea Hair Masque.
I’m going to be rocking both my natural hair and extensions this weekend so to protect my hair from the heat and humidity, I always deep condition so my hair is smooth and stays frizz free for longer. The masque did the trick and my curls felt really moist after using it. I also love that the brand is filled with all natural goodness.
For those of you who aren’t in town for the #CelebrateMyBeauty event this weekend, I’m giving away a collection of EDEN Bodyworks Coconut Shea products just for YOU!
Rules for Entry:
1. Leave a comment below telling me how you “celebrate your beauty”!
Happy Independence Day folks! Here in New Orleans, the day is just getting started and the girls and I are gearing up for our first day of activities for #NOLACrawl. The first stop today is the Convention Center for a fun test drive of Ford models at their booth.
This weekend, Ford has a ton of fun activities planned throughout the Essence Music Festival. On top of being the presenting sponsor for our #NOLACrawl Style Suite taking place at the Royal Sonesta Hotel on this Saturday (RSVP HERE), here’s a list of everything I’m looking forward to with Ford this weekend:
Celebrity Sightings with SIRIUS at the Ford Booth
Sirius will be broadcasting live from the Ford booth at the Convention Center this entire weekend. Stop in to spot some of your fave celebs from Ledisi (2PM on Friday) to Tamar Braxton (3PM on Saturday) and Elle Varner (3:40PM on Saturday).
Go PINK with Ford & Susan G. Komen for Breast Cancer Awareness
Ford is celebrating 20 years of support for breast cancer awareness with their “Warriors in Pink” initiative which has raised over $15 million dollars towards breast cancer awareness to date. On Friday’ the Ford booth at the convention center will go “pink” to support the cause. For each of the first 250 guests to test drive a Ford model, the Warriors in Pink will donate $20 towards the Young Survivor’s Coalition. Such a great cause!
#NOLACrawl Essence Concert Ticket Giveaway
If all of the above doesn’t get you hype about test driving a car at the Ford booth, I’m sure this will do the trick. The girls and I have teamed up for #NOLACrawl to award one of you here in New Orleans with FREE tickets to Essence Fest on Friday night. It’s really simple – just head to the Ford booth sometime on Friday between 11AM and 3PM and snap a pic test-driving a Ford model using the hashtags #FordUp and #NOLACrawl.
One winner will be announced at 4PM and will be given a set of tickets for the concerts. Don’t miss out!
Also, we’ll be at the Ford booth today (Friday) from 11AM to 12PM so make sure to stop by and say “hey”!
My First Essence Fest w/Sevyn Streeter
Last February I had the honor of attending the Essence Black Women in Music event and I met Sevyn for the first time on the red carpet. I thought she was so sweet and stylish. I posted about it HERE. Well Sevyn has teamed up with Ford and Essence.com to document her very first trip to Essence Festival. Everyone remembers their first Essence Festival. Follow along with Sevyn’s adventures with Ford at Essence.com HERE.
Ford Mustang 2015 Giveaway
On Sunday at the Essence Festival Mainstage, Ford will be giving away the keys to a brand spankin’ new 2015 Ford Mustang! Four lucky winners will have the opportunity to walk away with the iconic luxury car, which is actually celebrating it’s 50th year as a Ford model. Stop by the Ford booth at the Cinvention Center for more information!
There are so many things to do this weekend at Essence Fest. Make sure to stop by the Ford booth and follow all the fun using the #FordUp hashtag. Tell ‘email LoveBrownSugar sent you!
This post was sponsored by Ford Motor Company. Opinions expressed herein are my own and not those of the company.
I am SO excited to announce that the girls and I are back at it again for yet another #NOLACrawl. This is our second time taking New Orleans by storm for the Essence Music Festival and I can’t wait to cut up! If you’re planning on being in New Orleans this weekend, join myself, Jessica Andrews of Glamazons Blog and Lexi Felder of LexiWithTheCurls for a fun weekend of event-hopping, concerts, scavenger hunts and more! I hope that you join us! And if you’re not going to be in New Orleans, just follow along with our adventures on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest using the hashtag #NOLACrawl. Check out all we’re planning to get into this weekend:
Friday, July 4th – 11:00 AM
FORD Test Driving & Ticket Giveaway
We’re spending a good portion of our weekend with Ford – test driving the sexy new Ford Mustang, partying at the Superdome in the Ford Superlounge and much MORE! We want you guys to join in on the fun with us if you’re in New Orleans. Head to the Convention Center on Friday between 11:00AM and 3PM and take a picture test driving the Ford Mustang. Once you do, post a picture to Instagram and use the hashtags #FordUp and #NOLACrawl to be entered to win FREE tickets to the Essence Music Festival concerts on Friday night! Winner will be announced at 4PM EST and will have to meet us in the French Quarter to pick up their tickets. We’ll be at the Convention Center from 11:00am – 12:00pm doing our own test drives so make sure you stop by and say “hey girl hey!”
Friday, July 4th – 3:00 PM
EDEN Bodyworks #CelebrateMyBeauty Event
We are so excited to sip cocktails and chat about all things beauty with EDEN Bodyworks on Friday afternoon. Their “Celebrate My Beauty” event, hosted by Francheska Medina of Hey Fran Hey and Jasmine Lawrence (founder of EDEN Bodyworks) is all about their commitment to beauty from the inside out. The event will feature live hair demos using their newly launched Coconut Shea collection, product sampling, mini manicures, makeovers, and so much more! We plan on stopping by and so should you!
Make sure to use the hashtag #CelebrateMyBeauty to see everything about the event in real time!
Saturday, July 5th – 12:00PM
Come one, come all! We are SO stoked to announce that the bloggers of #NOLACrawl are hosting our first ever Style Suite. Taking place at the Royal Sonesta Hotel (300 Bourbon St, New Orleans, LA) – we will be partying it up in style and going further with FORD. Mini manicures featuring the Ford x OPI collection will be taking place, light bites and cocktails will be served, and there will be major giveaways by our beauty sponsor Beautiful Textures! Did I also mention that the first 150 guests get an exclusive VIP gift bag? Our lovely gift bags are being sponsored by CURLS, U by Kotex and OPI (so dope!) See below for deets:
So you guys know I’m the queen of the summer festival. Last summer I was everywhere from Coachella to Governor’s Ball to Made in America and Essence Fest. I LOVE a good summer music festival. What I don’t love about outdoor summer festivals, though, is the inherent toll it takes on the skin. Whether it’s the sweat that comes along with being outdoors for hours at a time (Coachella), the dirt being kicked in your face when crazy fans dance around you (Governor’s Ball), or the hours spent traipsing around looking cute in your favorite makeup (Essence Festival) you will undoubtedly come home and need to UNWIND.
To keep your skin in shape throughout an exciting festival weekend, Noxzema has a few great skincare products you should have in your arsenal. They were nice enough to send over a few of their products for me to try. Can you believe they’re actually 100 years old this year? I grew up playing around with my mom’s Noxzema Cleansing Cream in her beauty cabinet (in secret, of course). Such an iconic beauty brand and they’re still going strong with great products for skin and that classic Noxzema tingle. Here are some of my top tips for proper skincare during summer festivities:
1. Use a Deep-Cleaning Cleanser
This is something you should do before and after a long hard day of head-bopping and mosh pits. Noxzema’s Bacteria Fighting Cleanser is GREAT for this. It’s an antibacterial cleanser that helps purify and deep cleans. This should help with clearing out your pores from all that not-so-fun dirt & grime.
I try to exfoliate my skin at least 1-2 times per week. This is especially important after surviving an intense weekend of fun. Your skin will need the refreshment, trust. Noxzema’s Anti-Blemish Daily Scrub helps to buff away impurities and also has Salicylic Acid which helps fight blemishes. After a festival is when you need this most because that dirt can set into your skin and cause blemishes days later.
3. Cleanse on the Go
I SWEAR by cleansing cloths. I always keep a few in travel size packs (or plastic baggies) inside my purse during festivals just for midday touch-ups. They’re also great if you’re too pooped after you get home to do a full face wash. I know you’ve been there. Noxzema’s Oil Control Cleansing Cloths are perfect. They’re also great for travel if you’re headed to a festival out of town.
NOXZEMA FESTIVAL SURVIVAL GUIDE
For those of you gearing up for a fun summer festival this season, here’s a quick sheet with tips for unwinding after the festivities. I promise after a long day you won’t be on #turndownforwhat status and this sheet will come in handy:
Shop The Products:
You guys have any other skincare tips for festival recovery? This is what I do to get my skin together, what about you?
This post was sponsored by Noxzema. All opinions expressed herein are my own and not those of the company.