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LBS Beauty: 4 Easy Natural Hairstyles For Labor Day Weekend

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Summer is slowly winding down and although I hate to see it go, a small part of me (and I mean a VERY small part) is low-key excited about fall weather, chunky knit sweaters, nude nails and humidity free hair! With Labor day approaching and the humidity in NYC on full force I have been brainstorming a few Labor Day Weekend easy natural hairstyles for you ladies. These simple styles are guaranteed to keep you cute and cool at the same time:

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LBS Chic: ASOS Salon

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I was first alerted to the ASOS Salon collection a few months ago. ASOS Salon is a collection of beautifully-crtafted and original occasion dresses from ASOS. Many of the pieces give an heir of vintage with everything from sequin embellishment to floral print.

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I received this ASOS Salon for Curve Fit & Flare dress (now on sale for $100!) from the brand and immediately fell in love. What I love about the Salon collection is that they actually offer dresses in wide range of sizes from straight size to plus. This dress is specifically for the ASOS Salon for Curve collection but they have the exact same style for straight sizes here.

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The fit & flare style is my favorite because it compliments my body so well. And I couldn’t resist these beautiful flowers on the print.

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I decided to pair it with this CC Skye clutch for an evening formal look.

Shop ASOS Salon Collection:

 

Get The Look: 2014 Emmys Red Carpet Beauty Tips

2014-emmys-red-carpet-beautyThe 2014 Emmys Red Carpet was chock full of fashion and beauty hits and misses. And with a fair share of the Emmy nominees this year being for women of color, I was overjoyed to see so many brown faces walking the red carpet. Highlights for me included Kerry Washington post-pregnancy and absolutely stunning, Keke Palmer in her royal blue and basically every single Orange Is The New Black cast member. I LOVE that show.

LoveBrownSugar has the inside scoop from celebrity stylists on how to get some of your favorite red carpet looks with simple products that you can buy yourself! Check it out:

1. Keke Palmer’s Sleek Twisted Ponytail

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Celebrity stylist Cynthia Alvarez was responsible for Keke Palmer’s sleek ponytail at the 2014 Emmy Awards. Cynthia says, “…we decided to go with a simple, chic ‘up do’ style to complement the dress. From the front it’s very simply pulled back, but once she turns around, you’ll see the back has interesting detail.  A classic style, with a twist…literally.”

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How To Get The Look:

1. Start by cleansing hair with Motions Straight Finish Cleanser, followed by Motions Straight Finish Leave-In.
2. Apply a small amount of Motions Straight Finish Sealer then blow dry with a paddle brush and Gold ‘n Hot Professional Titanium Dryer.
3. After drying, straighten with Gold ‘n Hot Rose Gold Flat Iron, followed by a very small amount of Motions Shine Enhancing Pomade for the edges.
4. Part hair into 3 horizontal sections. Starting with the first top section, gather it into a ponytail using a fabric covered hair tie. Then, using fingers, make a hole right above the hair tie. Pull the ponytail down through the hole and retighten the ponytail by splitting the ponytail in two and pulling tightly. Continue this inverted ponytail (topsy tail) for the other sections, pulling hair from the previous pony into the new one.
5. Spray the hair with Motions Light Working Spritz and apply a tiny amount of Motions Shine Enhancing Pomade. Tie hair down, and do not remove until style is complete.

6. Finish with Motions Hold & Shine Spray. And top off the style with fancy hair bling of your choice!

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Stylist Cynthia Alvarez says:
Keke hit the red carpet glamorous and beautiful as ever, and when she turned around the twist in the back was a pleasant and beautiful surprise!

2. Dasha Polanco’s Goddess Makeup

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Celebrity makeup artist Lucky Smyler created this ethereal look for Dascha Polanco using all Shea Moisture makeup. Lucky Smyler says, “Dascha is the true definition of a beautiful feminine and sexy woman. This was the perfect opportunity to let her be ethereal, whimsical and a true goddess.”
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How To Get The Look
1. To achieve this luminous and creamy canvas, prep skin with Shea Moisture Spray Toner. Then apply Shea Moisture Primer using a foundation brush. It’s important to massage the primer into the skin and pores so the foundation lays like butter.
2. Then, apply Shea Moisture Sheer foundation with a damp sponge. Sweep Shea Moisture concealer under the eyes with your ring finger. For this look, Lucky used Yasuni Honey by Shea Moisture for her foundation and Snowdonia Fawn by Shea Moisture for her concealer.
3. Next, to create more shape, use the darkest shade in the Shea Moisture Medium Light Color Correcting Contouring and Highlighting Palette, and sculpt the hairline, cheek bones and jaw area with a damp sponge and blend. Using another foundation brush, lightly whisp the lighter shade in your t-zone to bring out more highlights in your skin.
4. Finally, set with Shea Moisture Yala Golden Pressed Powder.  Work illuminating powder in Cinnamon Ceylon into the t-zone for warmth and glow with a huge kabuki brush, and Mandalay Dusk illuminating powder as a bone chiseling contour on the temples, cheek bones, jawline and neck (for continuity). Apply a final pop of Shea Moisture Annecy Maroon Mineral Blush to the apples of the cheeks for whimsical fun and to complete the storyline.
5. For the eyes, dust Shea Moisture Cecilia Eyeshadow all over to set the canvas and to add as highlight under the brow bone. Use a mix of Deysi Eyeshadow with Cecila (for a pastel effect) on the lid with a damp shadow brush for pigment intensity. Add Shea Moisture Black Liquid Liner corner to corner with four coats of Shea Moisture Volumizing Mascara, mixed with Lengthening Mascara on the lashes.
6. Finally, for the lips, start by using the Shea Moisture Lip Exfoliator. Blot excess moisture off with a tissue,  apply Shea Moisture Roberta Chubby Lip Crayon all over as the lipstick, blot again and re-apply. Use Shea Moisture Rosie Lipgloss as the final touch.

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3. Uzo Aduba’s Textured Bun

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Celebrity stylist Jamika Wilson is responsible for making Uzo Aduba aka “Crazy Eyes” on OITNB look flawless on the red carpet. I loved her textured bun – perfect for natural girls! Jamika Wilson told us, “…our look for today was Classic Beauty! Soft, simple pulled back bun with a little volume keeping it soft at the top. Very glamorous & chic!”

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How To Get The Look:

1. Shampoo natural hair with Motions Lavish Conditioning Shampoo & Moisture Plus Conditioner. Spray the hair with Motions Nourish Leave-In Conditioner and comb through for even distribution. Add a small amount of Motions Straight Finish Sealer, then blow dry the hair straight.

Tip: “I love this product combination because it really eliminates frizz and smooths the hair. The hair was silky and ready for a classic style.” – Jamika

2. Flat iron entire head with a focus on the top, adding a bump for volume. For added volume, fluff hair with fingers and then pull toward the back into a simple bun. Secure with hair pins, leaving volume at the top.
3. Smooth the sides of the hair and nape of the neck with Motions Shine Enhancing Pomade and Motions Light Hold Working Spritz.
4. Use a blow dryer to seal the hair – a simple trick that holds a style into place.
5. To finish the look, spray the entire head with Motions Hold & Shine.

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Kickin’ It: Afropunk Festival 2014

afropunk-festival-2014This year I’ve been taking a lowkey approach to festival-hopping. Though last year I went everywhere from Palm Springs for Coachella to Philly for Made In America, this year I decided to keep things local and explore many of the festivals in the NYC area. In May, I posted a recap of the BAM Dance Africa Festival. And yesterday, I went back to Brooklyn for the 2014 Afropunk Festival.

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Aside from having really cool indie music acts, Afropunk always has the best and coolest fashion and beauty vendors, the hottest street style looks and they almost always have amazing food truck vendors. So of course I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to stop by and soak up some sun at Commodore Barry Park in Fort Greene.

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What I love about Afropunk is their support of young, up & coming designers and artists. I stopped by to see my friend and fellow fashionista Samantha Smikle of accessory brand TNEMNRODA. She’s known for her bold & bejeweled eyewear, super chic midi rings and gems.

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I tried on a pair of her TNEMNRODAluxe sunnies and fell in love. You can check out her selection of sunnies here. I already have quite a few of her rings. I posted about one in this outfit post.

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So proud of this young business woman. She’s definitely proof that you can make your dreams come true with hard work and dedication.

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I ran into the founders of an accessory brand called Red Period Co. Their tagline is “Be Bold [Period]“. They were definitely representing the brand well.

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Another indie brand Tribal Immunity has beautifully remastered accessories and clothing with hand-painted designs. Love these handbags!

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Obviously I couldn’t go to Afropunk and NOT shoot pics of the amazing hair. I saw so many women with dope hairstyles including this couple.

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The summer fedora was an accessory staple at Afropunk. Love how this girl rocked hers with dark shades and a bold red lip.

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I literally had to stop this girl and snap a pic because I was mesmerized by her big bold curls.

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Also featured at the festival were a myriad of hair and beauty brands including one of my faves Nubian Heritage. They are under the same Sundial umbrella as Shea Moisture and they have some of the best and most effective natural products on the market.

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Printed backpacks! There were so many cool vendors selling ankara, waxprint and kente pieces.

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Jewelry designer Andrea Bocchio makes handmade crochet jewelry like these fun statement necklaces and bracelets of the same design.

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Last but not least – the FOOD! What I love about Afropunk is that they always have an incredible selection of exotic food trucks. One in particular I stumbled on was a truck called Sweet Chili run by Top Chef finalist Lisa Fernandes. Lisa happened to be working the truck that day and I had a chance to talk with her. Anyway, she makes these Sriracha Fries that will make you wanna slap your mama. They are the perfect mix of sweet & spicy.

I had a great time at the Afropunk Festival.

What about you? Have you ever been to Afropunk Fest? Have a festival similar to this one in your city? Leave a comment and let me know!

 

 

Am I Plus-Sized Or Nah? My Experience #OnTheCusp

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This past week has been full of buzz surrounding a few different things happening in the world of plus-size fashion. Earlier this week, myself and seven other amazingly beautiful bloggers (GorgeousinGrey, KellyAugustine, MargiePlus, EverythingCurvyandChic, Liz Black, Sandee Joseph and Megan Murphy) featured in a national Denim Lookbook for Fashion To Figure. Denim is undoubtedly the bane of a plus-size girl’s existence and so Fashion To Figure’s decision to show how real girls wear their denim (for under $40!) was a no-brainer. Obvi, I’m honored to have been part of it. I even had my little quote in a piece about it on Huffington Post and featured on Refinery29. Win!

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I had so much fun shooting the lookbook with FTF but after the shoot I couldn’t help but wonder how people would feel about seeing ME as part of the campaign. I know what you’re thinking. As a blogger who has adamantly stood up and voiced my opinions on body image issues and plus size power in the past (like HERE), it seems almost comical that I would feel self-conscious about being featured in a campaign like this, right? But the feelings are real. Here’s why. I’m going to let you in on a secret. You ready?

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#FABFriday: White Lace Dress After Labor Day

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So my blogger buddies Jessica of Glamazons Blog, Lexi of LexiWithTheCurls and I decided this #FABFriday to rock the same white dress from Modcloth in different ways. With Labor Day on the horizon, I know many of you will be rocking your last of summer whites. I decided to take this white lace dress and show you how I would wear it to achieve a professional/modest look after Labor Day.

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I paired the dress with a vintage navy blazer, my Pour La Victoire Butler tote and my favorite red shoes from Zara for a nice pop of color.

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The right accessories really set the tone for the look especially when you’re transitioning summer pieces to fall (like I did in this One Dress Two Ways post).

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I promise I didn’t wear red, white and blue on purpose. This look is great for work, church and any other locations where a modest yet fashion-forward look is appropriate.

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Dress: Modcloth Entirely Enchanting Dress (less than $50!) | Blazer: Vintage | Shoes: Zara | Bag: Pour La Victoire (on sale for under $200!) |Watch c/o Caravelle by Bulova

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3 Tips for Wearing White After Labor Day

1. Opt for outerwear in a darker color. It makes for a great contrast to white and can instantly bring your look from summer into fall.

2. Don’t be afraid to keep it fun with color. Just because summer is over doesn’t mean the thrill is gone. Keep the color party going even when transitioning to cooler seasons by adding in pops of color with your accessories.

3. Forget about the “No White After Labor Day” rule. Seriously this rule is so outdated. Wear white whenever you feel like it!

This post was sponsored in part by Modcloth. All opinions expressed herein are my own and not those of the company.


One Dress Two Ways: The Mini Dress From Summer To Fall

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So I’m back with another One Dress Two Ways post. Last May I highlighted the peplum dress and how to take it from day to night. This time it’s all about the mini dress. When the weather starts changing from summer humidity to the crisp winds of fall, one of the hardest things is figuring out how to get leverage out of those amazing dresses you’ve been wearing through summer and keep up the love affair in the fall.

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My Summer Hiatus: One #TinyWin Can Change Your Day

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A few weeks ago I announced to you all that LoveBrownSugar would be taking a brief hiatus. In celebration of the blog’s 5 year anniversary, I decided to take some time off, reflect and enjoy the last few weeks of summer with my new bundle of joy who is growing so incredibly fast. What I didn’t expect was how eye-opening the experience would be. Just having time to “be” instead of “do” was such a huge shift for me. I’m always on a tight schedule with multiple deadlines and somewhere to be, someone to see, or something to do. Having time to reflect and brainstorm and discover this little thing called “spare time” really helped me develop a sense of gratitude about my life and the wonderful things in it, including my daughter.

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LBS Beauty: 4 Tips for Natural Hair Growth

natural-hair-growth-tipsAs we’re about to embark on another fall/winter season (deep sigh), I’ve already started to consider what steps I plan on taking to maximize my hair growth potential. I was going through my Natural Hair archives and stumbled on this old post about My Blowout Month back in 2012. Within it, I listed some important tips for growing out your natural hair. Many of these truths still hold true so I decided to dust off the list and add a new best practice to it. This upcoming Fall season, aside from experimenting with a few hair vitamins now that I’m no longer breastfeeding BabyBrownSugar, I plan on implementing these 4 tips for natural hair growth below.

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Monday Motivation: Positive Energy

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Happy Monday! I’m back from my Summer Hiatus and feeling so amped to finish out the summer and usher in the fall. I’m renewing the Monday Motivation series and hope that I can bring you guys just a small drop of positivity and love on Mondays.

One lesson I am learning more of each day is the importance of keeping positivity in your inner circle at all times. Life is tough and everyone has bad days. But if there are people in your life that constantly speak negatively, never have a nice or encouraging word to say, or whom lead you to believe that you can’t live up to your highest potential – get rid of them.

Negativity is like cancer. It spreads quickly and can eventually kill your hopes, dreams and aspirations. Surrounds yourself with positive people so your light keeps shining!

How do you stay positive during the week? Share your stories in the comments section – you could be helping someone else!