As we’re embracing a new year, I’m in deep reflection about all the things I’ve left in 2017 and what I’m bringing with me into 2018. I’ve decided that I’m only bringing the things I enjoy most in life with me in 2018 – from career and relationships down to my skincare and makeup regimen.
2017 brought with it a lot of great changes for me. I reached new heights in my career being one of the first influencers to be featured in a national campaign with Dove, Cadence became a three-nager (proununced like teenager), my baby boy Colton was born, and I learned to truly appreciate the simple things in life. The older I get, the more minimalist I become with my beauty routine. I’ve given up the idea that the most expensive, most trendy or most complicated is what will work best. Also now, as a mom of two, my time is super limited. So I’ve perfected my classic beauty look down to a science with these three must-haves:
1. Clean Skin
The way to perfect your beauty look is to start with skin. Makeup looks infinitely better painted on a beautiful canvas. Drink lots of water, never sleep in your makeup overnight and make sure you have a moisturizing cleanser. Dove Beauty Bar (as you all know) is one of my go-to’s. I can use it on face and body, it doesn’t dry out my skin like other soaps do, and it’s the #1 dermatologist recommended bar.
I follow up my cleanser with a good toner, then a moisturizer and sometimes a serum at night.
2. The Perfect Foundation
The age-old question is how to find the best foundation for you. If I’m going to be honest there’s no dream product out there that works for everyone. It takes a bit of trial and error. Make sure you get foundation-matched at your local beauty counter. Have an understanding of your skin type as well. I have dry/combination skin that loves light to medium coverage liquid foundation and tinted moisturizers. Texture and coverage level will really depend on your skin type and preference. Try a few different brands until something works. My current fave is Fenty Beauty’s Pro Filter Soft Matte Longwear Foundation. I also love Lancome’s Teint Idole Ultra Wear.
3. A Classic Red Lip
It’s amazing what some red lipstick will do for your confidence. I think red is just such a quintessential ladylike color to sport. It puts the exclamation point on your beauty look and there are reds that compliment every shade beautifully. The trick is to find a shade that works well with your skin’s undertones. I have yellow/warm undertones, so I opt for reds that have more of an orange base. If you have a cool undertone, you should aim for a red with a blue base. Two of my current faves are Bawse Lady by The Lip Bar and Stunna Lip Paint by Fenty Beauty.
I can’t believe it, but this year marks my 9th year as a blogger. It’s hard to believe I’ve been going at this for almost a decade.
I am so honored to have partnered with Dove over the past year as one of their beauty ambassadors, and I look forward to an amazing 2018. Happy New Year, loves! Feel free to share your classic beauty must-haves in the comments below.
This post is sponsored by Dove. All opinions expressed above are my own and not those of the company.
On this past Saturday January 6th, 2018, I hosted the third annual BrownGirlsLove POWER Day Presented by Toyota. Taking place at NYC’s hidden gem Helen Mills Event Space & Theatre, nearly 200 guests gathered on the first Saturday of 2018 for this dynamic empowerment day complete with networking, business panels, workshops and more.
Y’all. I had the TIME OF MY LIFE. I am so blessed to have cultivated a community of women who believe in the power of collaboration, education and transformation. We kicked 2018 off the right way – with love.
BrownGirlsLove POWER Day is a day conference crafted to cater to millennial women of color looking to turn their dreams into reality. Our panelists provided guests with tips on everything from thriving under 30 to being a mompreneur, developing a successful podcast, branding yourself and even preparing for life after college.
I created BrownGirlsLove because of you. You all sent me emails and DMs asking about my journey as an entrepreneur and often asking questions that I didn’t have the answer to. So I would turn to my sister-friends in the industry. I decided to take the conversation offline and host a LIVE event to answer some of your questions. That was the birth of BrownGirlsLove.
For the third annual event, I curated a powerful team of experts and presenters who have mastered the art of building and sustaining a brand. Special guests included Jade Kendle of LipstickNCurls, Gracie J of TheEditorialNail, Nicaila Matthews Okome of Side Hustle Pro Podcast, Rana Campbell of Dreams In Drive Podcast, Dreena Whitfield – founder of WhitPR, Melanie White – founder of Melanie Marie, Kim Roxie – founder of LAMIK Beauty, Mia Ray of Glamaholic Lifestyle, digital marketing strategist Emmelie De La Cruz, On-Air Talent & Journalist Gia Peppers, Charli Penn – Senior Digital Lifestyle and Relationships Editor at ESSENCE, Sheila Coates – Founder of Be Your Own Brand (BYOB), Kimberly Brown of Manifest Yourself, Radio Personality & Host Scottie Beam, Brand Manager Stacie Smith, and Nicole Sanchez – Founder & CEO of Hero Tax and so many more.
The two story venue was filled with black girl brilliance, welcoming guests from all over the country. BrownGirlsLove Power Day was made possible by presenting sponsor Toyota USA, platinum sponsor The Mane Choiceand silver sponsors Capital One and Cantu. Guests enjoyed a host of live activities provided by our sponsors and vendors.
The Mane Choice Beauty Lounge kept attendees refreshed and relaxed throughout the day by providing complimentary hairstyling and massage services using their products. Each guest received full size products from The Mane Choice in their gift bags as well, including the Heavenly Halo Shampoo & Conditioner and the Green Tea & Carrot Hair Mask.
LAMIK Beauty provided guests with professional makeup touch ups. Special thanks to Kim Roxie for providing her amazing team to primp our attendees.
Toyota USA revolutionized the idea of a photobooth by sending in a 2018 Toyota Camry for attendees to take selfies in.
Guests left with two luxe swag bags – one filled with products provided by sponsors like The Mane Choice, Capital One, Cantu, Made Beautiful, and EDEN BodyWorks. Toyota provided their own custom tote bags complete with customized “Brown Girl BOSS” engraved leather portfolios and makeup bags.
I couldn’t have asked for a better day. Women left empowered, inspired and geared up for 2018. And I was reminded of how important this work is that we’re doing. Love & light to everyone who attended and all who tuned in. You can see video from the panel discussions at LoveBrownSugar TV.
I am still on a high from this past weekend’s Shop LoveBrownSugar Holiday Pop Up Shop. As the third annual event of its kind, the 2017 rendition was bigger and better than ever. Hosted at The Mezzanine in downtown NYC, the snow didn’t stop you guys from coming out and supporting minority-owned businesses for the holidays and I am SO honored that I could host this event for another year. Here are a few of the highlights:
Our title sponsors had amazing VIP beauty services for our guests including makeup touch-ups, hair touch-ups and free giveaways.
Here one of their artists does a fierce touch-up for me during the event. Flawless look and their products compliment brown skin so beautifully.
CURLS offered free hair touch-ups in their VIP suite, and also had a bomb gif photobooth that guests were able to use to snap fun videos at the event.
They also gave away free samples of their Blueberry Bliss Leave-In (smells so good and works WONDERS!)
DJ Rubadub was on the 1’s and 2’s and she ROCKED it!
We had an amazing group of editors and digital influencers who came through to support. There are SO many to thank for their support. It feels good knowing people will trek out in the snow to support something you believe in.
Our vendors sell some of the coolest products you could possibly place under the Christmas tree.
They are so incredibly creative, and I feel blessed that they were part of this event offering some of their amazing creations to customers.
From beauty products to crafts to journals and jewelry. There was such a great variety of items at price points for everyone on your list.
Make sure you’re following me on Instagram @LoveBrownSugar because tomorrow at 9pm, I’ll be hosting an IG Live session with a “Holiday Gift Guide” featuring products from these brands.
I know many of you who don’t live in the NYC area wanted to support but couldn’t make it, so this my way of hosting a virtual shop so you can see and support the brands from at home!
There will be giveaways and exclusive deals just for LoveBrownSugar followers from some of these brands, so save the date & time and tune in for some fun!
Very special thanks to This Open Space for allowing this event to take place, by way of their Space Fund business competition. Winning first place in that competition was just the boost I needed to bring this event series back to NYC and support budding creative entrepreneurs display their talents. I’m beyond grateful for the support.
There is nothing more frustrating than thinking you have to choose between your dreams and your family. The pressures of being a career woman and a mother can be incredibly tough to handle. So much so that people still seem to think that a woman’s life stops after kids. Not true! We’re here to put those alternative facts to rest. Next month at BrownGirlsLove Power Day 2018 Presented by Toyota, we have a powerful panel of entrepreneurs who will speak on our “Confessions of a Mompreneur” panel on how to have it all. Check out tips exclusively from our panelists on how they’re slaying both roles.
1. Learn From Your Mistakes (Melanie White)
“A lot of new entrepreneurs give up easily after their first failure. I always tell people to “learn from your mistakes.” Failures are inevitable, especially when you take a big risk to achieve ambitious goals. Recognize this before you begin. You will learn from your failures and they will only make you better. There is very little learning in success. Embrace failure and move on. Failure is not falling down, but refusing to get up. Many entrepreneurs point to mistakes as being their best teacher. When you learn from your mistakes, you move closer to success – even though you initially failed.”
2. Patience is a Virtue (Kim Roxie)
“Work/life balance takes time to discover. Just be patient with yourself and the journey to get there.”
-Kim Roxie | LAMIK Beauty
3. Maintain a Solid Support System
“One thing that has contributed to my success as a mompreneur is my support system. Having a support system allows me to do more than most working moms that I know.”
-Dreena Whitfield | WhitPR
Want more tips like these? Join us for the “Confessions of a Mompreneur” Panel on Saturday, January 6, 2018 at BrownGirlsLove POWER Day!
Once upon a time, much like wisdom, success came with age. You put years and years of hard work and ambition into a career path and eventually you’d be handsomely rewarded. With the digital age came the breaking down of barriers to entry so that now, with the click of a button, the entire world is your stage. Financial success is so much more accessible and the new generation has so much more confidence. Millennials continue to defy the odds, putting the “20-something” woes to shame and validating the term “age ain’t nothing but a number.” Whether you are in school or getting your first taste of adulting as a post-graduate, success is yours to experience NOW. We pulled together a group of young movers and shakers who are panelists at BrownGirlsLove POWER Day Presented by Toyota, to share a few key tips for thriving under 30!
Check them out below:
1. Define Yourself (Gracie J – Founder of The Editorial Nail)
“The words I live by are ‘don’t live down to people’s expectations of you.’ I’ve been told so many times I couldn’t do something for a myriad of reasons. One being – you’re not there yet! ‘Well, how would you know that, if you’re not as big of a fan of me as I am?’ Do not allow people to underestimate you or make you feel that you cannot be great right here and now!”
2. Discover Your Niche (Jade Kendle, LipstickNCurls)
“Discover your niche and water it like a plant! No one wakes up one day with an empire. Empires are built brick by brick, seed by seed. When you find your passion, your niche, water it and allow it to grow organically with love and consistency!” – Jade Kendle
3. Emulate Where You Want to Be
“If you want to create a luxe and high end product, market it that way! Be creative with your resources and find ways to elevate your content without spending a ton of money. It’s possible!” – Jade Kendle
4. Stop Giving Up Halfway (Emmelie De La Cruz)
“Stop giving up and starting over every few weeks or months. You’re discouraged. You’re tired. You’re annoyed. You’re sad. You’re lazy. You’re frantic. So what? Be that for an allotted amount of time and move on. When you dwell in those emotions and let them become your identity, you let them dictate how you live your life.” – Emmelie De La Cruz
There are NO limits to the heights you can reach and the goals you can attain – not even your age! Want more tips like these? Join us for the “Thriving Under 30” panel discussion on Saturday, January 6, 2018 at BrownGirlsLove POWER Day in NYC! This post and BrownGirlsLove POWER Day is presented by Toyota. #LetsGoPlaces in 2018. Click below to purchase your ticket:
Happy holiday season y’all! It’s officially time for egg nog, sparkly dresses, high heels and bold after-work makeup now that the season is in full swing. I love an excuse to get dressed up, so holiday time is one of my favorite times of the year. The gift that keeps on giving this year is the new IMAN Cosmetics “Proud Mary” inspired collection featuring their new IMAN Luxury Highlighter and Luxury Matte Lipstick shades. You guys know I’m a huge fan of Taraji P. Henson, and her latest movie releasing in theaters early January is all about a bold, unapologetic character who lives life on her own terms and is willing to take risks.
So when IMAN Cosmetics agreed to sponsor our Shop LoveBrownSugar holiday pop-up shop this season, I was ECSTATIC. Not only do I love the products, but their partnership with “Proud Mary” is right on time for what we’re trying to promote. Fierce, bold and unapologetic beauty.
To highlight the collection, I partnered up with my girl Sisi Nike to pull together a beauty look that is equally as bold, but still beautiful enough to rock to your favorite holiday soiree. Here’s what she used to get this look:
The Luxury Contour Trio is a great option if you really don’t have the time to work with 3 different foundation shades for bronzer, highlight and contour. It basically has everything you need in one convenient compact that you can take on the go.
Step 2: Set
She set my foundation with a combination of IMAN Cosmetics powders and highlighters. First, she used the Second to None Semi Loose Powder in Clay Medium to set the look. She used the Second To None Luminous Foundation Pressed Powder in Clay 5 to give me that overall glow. She highlighted my cheekbones using the NEW IMAN Cosmetics Luxury Highlighter in Glamour Girl. And finally she gave my cheeks a little color with the Sable Blushing Powder.
To finalize the look, she used their Luxury Moisturizing Lipstick in Flirtatious. This is such a bold and beautiful hot pink and it looks great on different skin tones.
To celebrate the holiday season and their partnership with the “Proud Mary” film, IMAN Cosmetics is giving away their full collection of products from the Proud Mary collaboration. Yep, you read correctly. YOU can win all the products mentioned for FREE. Here’s how to enter:
Leave a comment below with why you’d like to win the collection
So you guys know I am a huge supporter of black-owned businesses, especially during the holiday season. I started the Shop LoveBrownSugar holiday pop-up series with the intention of supporting these businesses over the past few years. And every year since the tragic events in Ferguson in 2014, I’ve created an annual Black Friday list with some of my favorite minority-owned businesses to support. For 2017, I’ve brought back a few of my steady favorites and I’ve also added a few new brands I’ve discovered over the last year. This is in no way an exhaustive list! There are SO many amazing minority-owned brands to support out there. But on my little slice of the internet, I like to promote the ones I personally love each year. Here they are:
A new lifestyle brand catering to no-fuss curlies who want effective and easy to use products to complete their natural hair regimen. The founder is Julian Addo – curator of the groundbreaking BellaKinks brand out of Dallas, TX. On top of their beautiful imagery, I love the use of ingredients like baobab oil and peppermint.
One of my tried & true beauty staples since it launched last holiday season, the beauty by Africa Miranda elixir is awesome as a primer, a light oil moisturizer as well as a makeup remover. I love a good 3-in-1 product and a little goes a long way.
There are no shortage of t-shirt and sweatshirt brands with a message, but what I really love about Black on Black BK is how unapologetic the statements are. I also have a thing for black and white so I love that the designs stick to these colors. They’ve got really cute sweats, tees and tote bags and items come in kids sizes up to adults.
Headwraps make a really awesome holiday gift. They’re so beautiful and they’re the perfect “bad hair day” fix for your favorite friend. What I love about Cee Cee’s closet is that they not only make amazing wraps but part of the proceeds from each wrap goes back to support artisans who are handcrafting the products in Nigeria.
The pinnacle of all subscription boxes for naturals, CurlBox is the first and best in the market. The boxes never cease to amaze me. They partner with the best brands on the market and always deliver a premium experience. Also, founder Myleik Teele is the ultimate girl boss. I’m obsessed with her MyTaughtYou podcast.
One of my all-time favorite beauty brands, EDEN BodyWorks has a plethora of great options for hair, body and skincare. Their products are available at most major retailers. I’m partial to the EDEN Kids line for my daughter and their new Citrus Fusion line for myself.
Teaching young girls to love and accept their hair in various shapes and forms is so important to building confidence in them. The founder of Happy Hair, Mechal Roe, picked up on that by creating a line of children’s books, dolls and prints that support curl confidence. Great gift for the littles in your life.
Instead of your typical Barbie or American Girl dolls, support a doll maker that caters their designs to little brown girls of all complexions. Harper Iman dolls are custom made and you can request the hair, skin complexion and clothing of your choice for your favorite little one.
Self-care is so important to your wellbeing and health. When it’s time to wind down at the end of a long week, I spring for heritage1933 items like the Ms Know It All whipped butter or their Exhale bath salts.
LAMIK, an acronym for Love And Makeup In Kindness, is a Houston-based beauty brand with makeup for women of all shades. With an emphasis on catering to women of color, LAMIK has lippies, shadows and more with excellent color payoff crafted by founder Kim Roxie.
You guys hear me rave about this brand all the time because I genuinely LOVE their lipstick. Bawse Lady – their matte red – is arguably one of the best red matte liquid lippies in my beauty arsenal. I’m a lifelong fan.
A home-based candle company with candles handpoured in Brooklyn, LIT Brooklyn exploded onto the scene less than 2 years ago and is slowly becoming a true household name. From the luxe gold packaging to the intoxicating scents, LIT should be on everyone’s holiday list.
I first fell in love with this brand years ago when their founder Michelle sent me one of her signature sweatshirts. They have since expanded to offer a plethora of products with her signature “Africa” silhouette design and ankara fabrics – from pillows to swimsuits and home decor.
With a brand like The Mane Choice, you really can’t go wrong. They are popping out new innovations everyday, they are backed by a team of the dopest brown girls on the planet and they create products that solve problems. I swear by their Soft As Can Be 3-in-1 conditioner. Also now exclusive to Target – their Halo Hydration collection. Get you some – available at all major retailers and online.
There are very few indie clothing lines that I get excited about anytime they come out with something new. Rue 107 is one of the select brands on my list of favorites that continues to innovate and provide dope designs for women of all shapes and sizes. Their items run in both straight and plus sizes, they cater to curves, and everything they make is super cute and super functional. This black dress above is a go-to staple that I own and love.
Offering everything from stationary to shower curtains and now luggage – Pardon My Fro is an amazing design house that makes products featuring powerful women of color. Everyone should have a piece of PMF in their home.
Shopping for bae can be difficult. Make life a little easier and get him grooming product he’ll love. This brand of products for beard and for overall mens’ grooming smells yummy and will make him feel special.
Ever since I tried these products out back in 2015, they have been on my go-to list of beauty staples. From their facial masks to the body oils and cleansing toners, SDOTBEAUTY has a little bit of everything for the best in all-natural skincare.
If you’re looking for true STUNNA shades, like the type that make people stop you on the street and ask you where you got them, look no further than TNEMNRODA. The brand is literally “adornment” spelled backwards and that’s what their shades are – adornment for your face.
I first discovered Undra Celeste last year at the Harlem’s Fashion Row pop-up shop. Crafted by a young designer with vision and creativity, I love how understated yet luxe her pieces are. If you’re looking for a little touch of holiday luxe this season, definitely check out her designs.
Guys! Today we are officially two months away from BrownGirlsLove POWER Day! For those of you who have been following me for a while now, you know that Power Day is an event I decided to produce starting back in 2016 based on my desire to empower, educate and inspire women like you at the beginning of the year.
Not only is it an opportunity for me to meet, greet and love on all of you in person but it’s also a chance for me to introduce you all to women who inspire me personally and who will motivate you to get out of your chair and DO something. I’m so proud to announce that our 2018 Power Day event is being presented by Toyota USA!
The first weeks of every year are truly critical. They set the tone for your entire year, and that’s the critical time when you set intentions and make an action plan for all you want to accomplish. It’s for this exact reason that I made sure Power Day takes place during the first weekend of the year. It’s an opportunity to explore all your hopes and dreams and hear from women just like you who have made their own dreams come true.
Toyota, who was our Presenting Sponsor for 2017, is back with bigger and better plans to blow your mind at Power Day. I won’t reveal any of their surprises, but know that if you’re in attendance with us this January – you’re in for a special treat. You may recall their #LetsGoPlaces360 photobooth last year, which was SO much fun. They are such an amazing brand for committing to the empowerment and inspiration of young black women. I’m so proud to have them as a partner for this event.
So here’s what you can expect in 2018:
Really Dope Panelists – You know I’m always looking for the brightest and baddest brown girls to bring you expertise, empowerment and inspiration at Power Day. The panelists this year are a combination of women from our very own BGL community as well as heavy-hitters in the digital space who have claimed a real stake in their industries of choice.
Amazing Sponsors & Vendors – I can’t reveal all the secrets but expect to have a TON of fun during our breaks and during lunch hour at Power Day because the sponsors and vendors are going to give you so much to do. From photobooths to live demo’s and can’t-resist products, you won’t want to miss it.
Swag Bags on 100! Our sponsors are not playing this year. Everyone will get a FREE BrownGirlsLove tote bag filled with swag from our sponsors. Trust, you won’t have to buy any beauty products for at least a few months.
The Best Networking, Ever. Issa Rae did an interview earlier this year where she talked about the importance of networking “across” and not up. Basically, the people you should be trying to get to know are the people on the same level as you who are just working hard, trying to make it. Why? Because they make the best partners to GROW with. I loved that advice and it’s so true. Those are exactly the types of connections you’ll make at Power Day 2018.
Want more? Check out this recap video of Power Day 2017 with highlights from the day’s festivities:
I want YOU to attend Power Day. There is so much you would enjoy and so much MORE you would learn just by being in the building. Click below and use the promotional code “LOVE” to buy your ticket with $50 OFF before they sell out!
So even though I can’t profess to being a makeup junkie (I’m more of a skincare aficionado), I do enjoy trying out new lines that make sense for my beauty arsenal. If you’re anything like me, the “no makeup” makeup look is a go-to. I love enhancing my natural beauty so I’m always looking for products that give me the ultimate glow-up and enhance my best and most beautiful features.
Though I’m typically a red lipstick kinda girl, every once in a while I opt for a neutral lip. For brown girls like myself, finding the perfect nude lip has always been the ultimate STRUGGLE. Most mass-produced brands have nudes that are perfect for lighter skin tones, but for a deeper shade like mine it’s hard to find the perfect color that matches your lip color. Also, I suffer from hyper pigmentation on my lips so they can be really blotchy making it even harder to find a color that fits.
Enter Mented Cosmetics. Created specifically with multicultural girls in mind, this line of lipstick has a dynamic range of nudes to fit every brown skin tone from caramel to dark chocolate. I tried out the Capsule Collection ($89 for 5 shades) and LOVE IT. Here are my thoughts:
Wearing Mented Cosmetics Lipstick in “Dark Night”
If you’re a brown girl, they have a shade for you. They’ve obviously done a lot of testing and taken their time when formulating these colors because the nude range is spot-on. Their Mented #5 matched my lip color to a TEE. It was mind-blowing.
Wearing Mented Cosmetics Lipstick in “Pretty in Pink”
The texture is creamy, not sticky or oily. It was a dream to wear all day. The reason I typically opt for matte lip shades is because I hate that sticky/oily feeling you can sometimes get when wearing cream lipstick. I also hate that the color doesn’t stay. Their formula has a nice consistency that makes you forget you’re wearing the color.
Wearing Mented Cosmetics Lipstick in “Nude-La-La”
VEGAN. Duh. Love that these shades are made in the USA, the company is black-owned, all their lipsticks are vegan, paraben-free, non-toxic, and cruelty free. No ickies.
Wearing Mented Cosmetics Lipstick in (my perfect nude!) “Mented #5”
Overall thoughts on the collection? Perfect for us multicultural girls, worth the investment and I’m looking forward to trying their other products. They apparently have a range of lip glosses, nail polishes and more. Big congrats to these two young women (Harvard grads, by the way!) revolutionizing the beauty industry with this line of products.
First off, I want to preface this conversation by saying that this post is NOT paid or sponsored or endorsed by Dove. These are my personal thoughts and opinions, and although I am an ambassador for the brand, I was in no way obligated to post this opinion piece. I’m writing this because I pride myself on being open and honest with all of you about everything from my current lipstick to my bouts of depression. My ride-or-dies know this already, but in case there’s anyone new on here – this is my 100% real and authentic point of view. Whether you agree with it or not, I respect you. I hope you return the sentiment.