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LBS Healthy Living: My Year of 28 Fitness Goal

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One of the reasons I started this blog was because I realized the importance and impact of the statement “When you look good, you feel good.” So much of what we adorn on the outside is deeply connected to how we feel about ourselves on the inside. So it only follows that you are way more motivated and hyped to step out the door when you’re wearing something that makes you look great.
Well, that doesn’t just stop at your corporate suits or chic summer festival frocks. It also applies to your workout gear. You’re almost always more motivated to go on that run around the block when you have a shiny new pair of workout sneaks to flaunt. Or that matching pink sweatsuit you can’t wait to run the treadmill in at the gym the morning after you’ve purchased it.

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Well, when I was offered the opportunity to try out Target®’s C9 collection, I was thrilled. Who doesn’t want new workout gear? What I love about the C9 collection is that it’s stylish, fits comfortably and still falls in line with Target’s affordable pricing. I bought this C9 Compression Sports Bra because it has a fun pop of color and matches well with my other workout gear. I spend enough money on new shoes and handbags. I don’t need to spend an arm & leg on my workout gear as well.

So over the next three months, I’ve set a goal of losing 28 pounds. Why 28, you ask? Well, this is my Year of 28. I turned 28 years old on the 28th of January this year. And as such, I’m embracing that number. I’m committed to losing this amount because I had a chat with my doctor who informed me that my BMI is too high and that a 25 pound weight loss is recommended for me. I’ll tell you more about why in a follow-up post. It’s important, trust me.

Aside from the discipline, focus and time I’m going to need to accomplish this fitness goal, I’ll also need a jolt of confidence. If I have to put in those extra hours at kickboxing class, I may as well look cute doing it. I’m glad there are brands like Target® C9 that will help me look my best without breaking the bank.

What about you? Does cute workout gear give you more motivation to do it?

This post was sponsored by Target® through their partnership with POPSUGAR Select. While I was compensated to write a post about Target® C9, all opinions expressed herein are my own and not those of the company.

LBS Chic: Year of 28

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It’s finally here! Yes, your girl is celebrating her 28th birthday today and I couldn’t be more excited. I feel so blessed and honored to have lived another year. God has been really good to me and I’m so grateful for my life and all the wonderful people in it including you guys, my wonderful readers.

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There have been times, in years’ past, when I felt utterly unfulfilled or even upset that it was my birthday. Whether it was because I was going through a tough time or feeling less accomplished than I should have, I can definitely remember years when my birthday wasn’t such a joyous occasion for me. Even though I was smiling, deep down I might have been anxious or disappointed or just sad about life.

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Now in my 28th year, I’ve identified that being sad about your circumstances is a choice. You choose to be upset about your situation or to smile knowing that what’s coming to you in the future are blessings far greater than you could ever imagine.

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The older I get the more I realize how precious life really is. It’s full of ups and downs but they all work together for your good. As cliche as it sounds, you really do have to live everyday like it’s your last.

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This is my first year bringing in my birthday with a mini me. If motherhood has taught me anything, it has taught me this life we’re living is short. We have no choice but to love and embrace it if we’re going to truly LIVE. It seems like I blinked and my daughter went from being a tiny little speck on a screen to this little person who now wiggles out of my arms, (almost) walks, and has well-formed opinions of her own. Time waits for no one.

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Crop Top & Skirt: ASOS | Shoes c/o Shoedazzle | Necklace & Bangles c/o Fashion to Figure

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So in my Year of 28, I’m going to take chances. I’m going to make a point to laugh hysterically at least twice a day. I’m going to travel as if it’s my last year on God’s green earth. I’m going to grow and cherish my relationships so they blossom even more.

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I’m going to tell at least one person a day that I love them. I’m going to lose 28 pounds not because of my appearance but for my health (more about this in a post coming on Friday). I’m going to accomplish every goal represented on my Vision Board.

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And above everything, I’m going to appreciate every single day of my Year of 28. Because I’ll never ever get it back!

Hair by Seto Mccoy | Photos by Lydia Hudgens

5 Tips For Long Term Protective Styling

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Protective styling is a form of styling that allows you to maintain your hair with minimal manipulation and use of styling tools. This methods helps to retain length, minimize breakage and stimulate hair growth if done properly. If done incorrectly, you may actually cause harm to your scalp and irreversible damage to your hair. There are various protective styling options that you may enjoy from braids, twists, weaves and wigs. Choose a style that works best for your personal taste and lifestyle. In this post we are sharing 5 tips for long term protective styling.

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1. Prep Your Scalp & Hair Beforehand: Before you even consider getting a new style you should thoroughly assess your hair making sure it is strong enough to withstand long term protective styling. Trim any split or dead ends. Deep condition your hair for softness and use a protein treatment for added strength. It’s important to make sure your hair is strong and as healthy as possible prior to installing a new style. This is especially important if you are planning to get a style that involves braiding the hair. Braids can cause a lot of stress on your delicate strands, which may lead to breakage. If your hair is weak, stick to styles that do not require a lot tension or manipulation.

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2. Take Care Of Your Hair Underneath: Although protective styles are a great excuse to be lazy and carefree with your styling. Keep in mind that the purpose of long term protective styling is to grow and maintain healthy hair. To do this, you need to pay close attention to your natural hair during this time. For example, if you are wearing a sew in weave or wig as a protective style, every 2-3 months you should remove your unit allowing your scalp to breathe. Thoroughly cleanse your hair and scalp and provide proper conditioning and moisture before reinstalling a unit.

Related: 5 Ways To Prevent Heat Damage

3. Protect At Night: Whether your hair is in a weave, wig or braids it’s imperative that you protect your natural hair and your style at night. If you are wearing a weave for example, try pin curls or flexi rods to help maintain your style and use a satin scarf or bonnet to protect your hair line. This also applies to braids and twisted styles. If you opt for a wig, make sure you remove it at night and wearing a satin scarf or bonnet to maintain your braids underneath.

4. Keep Washing At A Minimum: This is especially important for ladies that are wearing braids or twists. Although it is important that you wash your hair while wearing a long term protective style, overdoing it can cause an itchy dry scalp and frizzy braids. To prevent ruining your style only wash your scalp once or twice per month using a gentle cleanser. In between washes freshen up your scalp by applying a small amount of  apple cider vinegar using a q-tip.

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5. Proper Takedown Practices: When you are ready to remove your protective style it is best to devote a set amount of time to it, ask a friend for help with areas you can’t see, and take your time. Removing braids, twists or a weaves takes time and patience. Remember that the purpose of the protective style is to promote healthier hair. So be gentle with your hair when taking down your style.

Are you protective styling this winter? What’s your go-to protective style? 

On the Market: Target Ava and Viv

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With the launch of the highly anticipated, Altuzarra for Target came an open letter. Chastity Garner of Garner Style described what felt to her like a “slap in the face” at discovering that the line only came in “standard” sizes and courageously stressed the sentiment many plus-sized girls across the nation have been holding on to season after season. This sparked a dynamic and desperately necessary conversation amongst the fashion community. Blog post after blog post went up, giving a voice to women who felt that the designer collaborations from Target didn’t necessarily seem aimed to target them. Our very own Christina Brown, founder and Editor-in-Chief of LoveBrownSugar.com wrote about her life “on the cusp” of being a plus-sized woman and the trials that come along with being a (gorgeously) curvy, girl wondering aloud “Am I plus-sized or nah?”

Target has now decided to actively participate in this dialogue demonstrating their respect and appreciation for the needs of their plus-sized shoppers by launching a new line called Ava & Viv.

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The go-to retailer for budget conscious fashionistas has gone even further in its impressive attempt to be inclusive by extending an olive branch to plus-sized bloggers Gabi GreggNicolette Mason, and even Chastity Garner herself by allowing them to preview, consult on, and model the Target Ava and Viv line.

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The selections from the line, which will range in price from $10.00 to $79.99, will be continuously updated on a monthly basis as Target seeks to translate today’s trends into plus-sized offerings. Containing both “trend-driven statement pieces “and “stylish basics” this collection, will be designed to cater to all types of personal styles.

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Christina attended the line’s Spring 2015 launch where she had a chance to chat with the ladies and get an up close and personal look at the vivid colors and flattering cuts including the jogging pant ($24.99) and the tulip skirt ($24.99).

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Using bloggers in the look book for this line shows the brand’s commitment to including the everyday woman.

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Fabulous though they might be, these ladies look like they would be just as at home waiting for the A train as they would be on the cover of a glossy magazine, an aesthetic that is sure to have serious appeal for the Target shopper.

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Previously regaled to the fringes of the fashion industry the plus-sized market has recently been brought to the forefront. With the term “fatkini” retailers like Forever 21 and others have seized a new opportunity for swimsuit sales. The publishing industry has recognized fashion-forward plus-sized women as well, with Marie Claire and InStyle both carving out space for columns featuring style advice from plus-sized women. Hitting stores mid-February, Ava & Viv is just one example of how the digital space is connecting retailers and consumers and customizing the shopping experience.

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Are you looking forward to the launch of Ava & Viv? What would you like to see next on Target’s sales floor?

Check out behind the scenes footage from the ladies shoot below: 

-Keyaira N. Boone

Red Carpet Countdown: SAG Awards 2015 Red Carpet

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If you didn’t watch the SAG Awards 2015 Red Carpet last night, you certainly missed out on some great style! These ladies were giving me life in their stunning gowns, flawless hair and makeup. Usually Hollywood goes all out for the Oscars and the SAG Awards Red Carpet doesn’t get much love. I’m so glad the ladies stepped their game up this year. Of course, there were some not-so-hot looks–you can check out my Twitter timeline for the tea. Keep reading for details on the best Red Carpet looks!

 1. Viola Davis

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Miss Viola Davis brought her A-game to the red carpet last night! This ivory-hued dress is perfect against her brown skin! A lot of ladies opted for white last night, but Viola’s look threw shade at them all! The halter neckline of this floor-length gown adds just the right amount of flair to an otherwise simple piece. Her glowing makeup look and natural fro were the perfect accessories (So excited about natural hair on the Red Carpet!)

Related: Kerry Washington Golden Globes with Neutrogena

2. Uzo Aduba

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You may know her as Crazy Eyes from the Netflix series, Orange is the New Black, but last night there was nothing crazy about this look. Uzo’s gown, by Angel Sanchez, was the perfect choice for her! The neckline flatters her larger bust, the canary color is everything against her skin, and the netted design is unexpected. Uzo was flawless for her special night! If you didn’t know, she took home awards for both Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series and Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series.

3. Laverne Cox & 4. Danielle Brooks

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Laverne Cox and Danielle Brooks, aka Sophia and Taste of Orange is the New Black, also slayed the SAG Awards Red Carpet last night! Laverne was giving me Greek Goddess in this Johanna Johnson gold ensemble with a goddess braid across the crown of her head. Danielle was Old Hollywood Glam in this one-shouldered navy Christian Siriano gown and soft waves. Both of them look like they’ve been drinking from the fountain of youth with this glowing skin! We need the tea on their beauty regimens!

Related: Cover Girls: People Magazine Names Lupita Nyong’o “Most Beautiful”

5. Lupita Nyong’o

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And last, but certainly not least, you know we had to feature our girl, Lupita Nyong’o! Although she wasn’t nominated for anything this year, she still turned heads on the red carpet in this multicolored, striped Elie Saab dress. This full skirt and low neckline were great on her small frame! Again, she shocked us with a new hairstyle– this braided updo gave us so much life.

Which were your favorite looks from the SAG Awards Red Carpet?

LBS Chic: Empire State of Mind

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So I’m officially obsessed with Fox’s new primetime drama “Empire”. The day it premiered I wrote this 3 Reasons To Watch Empire post highlighting why I thought it was really a series to watch. Since watching the show I’ve become obsessed with the costume design. Whoever is handling wardrobe for main character “Cookie” (Taraji P. Henson) is doing a damn good job. So much so that I broke out this jacket with faux fur collar inspired by one of Cookie’s show outfits:

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Cookie is super sassy, blunt and in-your-face. For short, she just doesn’t give a damn. She’s served time, she’s a street hustler and she’s incredibly raw. Even though her character is a far departure from mine, I relate to her somehow. She just wants what she believes she deserves. Isn’t that what every woman wants? Safe to say, I’m rooting for her on the show.

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Mimicking your favorite TV characters’ style choices in real life can be so much fun. I mean “Olivia Pope chic” became a thing after ABC’s Scandal premiered right? For this look I paired a faux fur jacket with denim jeggings and my favorite booties.

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A true “Cookie” fashion moment isn’t complete without a little bit of animal print. I accessorized with this fun Two Tone Safari clutch ($20) sent to me by Chic by Choice. I love that it folds over – very versatile.

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Taking my fierce to the next level, I topped it off with this Iman Global Chic Platinum Rock the Runway Genuine Haircalf Iconic Necklace($89.99) from her HSN collection.

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For makeup, I stuck with neutral eyes and a deep red lipstick. I’ve been obsessed with the Fashion Fair Cosmetics Fall/Winter line (check out my full review here!) and so I picked their Lipstick in Bordeaux ($17.50).

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This coat is from Steve Madden’s collection and is about two seasons old. I couldn’t wear it last winter because my pregnant belly refused to fit inside the straps. Finally I’ve had a chance to break it out the closet. The color and the cape sleeves had me at hello. See below for a few similar faux fur collar jacket options.

Shop Faux Fur Collar Jackets:

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Jacket: Steve Madden | Jeggings: Forever 21 | Shoes: Kelsi Dagger: | Clutch c/o Chic by Choice | Necklace c/o Iman Global Chic at HSN

Hair by Seto Mccoy/Photos by Lydia Hudgens

 

3 Ways to Rock It: Winter White

Winter White Collage Draft 4From mixing prints to going monochromatic fashion girls are rebelling against outdated rules left and right. One of the ways they’re doing this is wearing white at any time of the year. White brings a crisp shine to stormy weather and these three stylish bloggers modern looks are winter ready.

Gabi Fresh embraced contrast with this crisp New Year’s look she posted on her blog Gabifresh.com. The celebrated blogger, columnist, and swimsuit designer paired a fuzzy cropped sweater from SimplyBe with a white tulle midi skirt for a look full of romantic glamour.

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Sisi Nike Pro Beauty Makeup Workshop

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I’ve known self-taught makeup artist Sisi Nike for years now and so I was delighted when I heard she would be hosting her very own Pro Beauty Makeup Workshop here in NYC. Only bummer? It was on the same day as my #ShopLoveBrownSugar event! As bummed as I was, I still got a taste of this amazing event as my good friend Amber Peterson attended and covered it on behalf of LoveBrownSugar. Amber learned so much at this workshop, she was able to go home and actually use some of these tips to perfect her natural beauty look! Read on for a recap of the event and to see how Amber used Sisi’s tips to perfect her makeup look.

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How To Make Clip Ins For Natural Hair

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Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I got my natural curls blown out for a length check and also because I traditionally heat-style my hair for the Holiday season. I’ve been doing it for a few years now and I am SO pleased with how my hair has grown and flourished since going natural back in 2010. The only thing that frustrates me about straightening my natural hair is that because I have really fine hair, I can never achieve the volume I want. I’m very happy with my length at this point (my hair is about 12 inches) but with longer length comes less volume for me.

So this year I opted to make clip ins for natural hair using some Afro Kinky extensions I was gifted by True Indian Hair. I’ve been familiar with True Indian Hair for quite a while now. I filmed a video tutorial with them for Vibe Vixen a few years ago and the owner Karen Mitchell is very sweet and super knowledgeable about the hair extensions industry. I loved using their Indian Afro Kinky texture in 14″ for this look.

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What You Need:

  • Scissors
  • Weaving Thread
  • Wig Clips (2-3 per track)
  • Afro Kinky textured extensions (14 inch – I used just one bundle for this look)
  • Blowdryer
  • Shampoo, conditioner & styling products

Step 1: Measure & cut extensions

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Cut the extensions to your desired length by measuring around your head. Be sure to leave space around the peripheral of your head for some of your own natural hair to cover up the tracks.

2. Sew Wig Clips to Hair

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 You want to set aside at least 2-3 wig clips for each of the extensions you’re using to make a clip-in.

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I used traditional weaving thread. You’ll need this for attaching the wig clips.

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Make sure you sew them on securely! The last thing you want is for your clips to slip off. (Ain’t nobody got time for that)

3. Wash & Blowdry the Hair

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This step can actually be done first, but I opted to wash my hair after the clips were sewn on there. Washing them in individual pieces as opposed to in the bundle is actually easier for me. Use your favorite shampoo and conditioner. The hair will need to be damp so you can blow-dry it.

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Next step (for me) was blow-drying my clip-ins so that they would blend with my pressed natural hair. If you’re planning to wear your clip ins curly, feel free to skip this step altogether.

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Once you’re done blow-drying, the hair should be straight but still have volume. That’s the beauty of afro kinky extensions, they don’t get bone straight so they blend really well with your hair if you have Type 4 curls.

4. Section Hair & Install Clip Ins

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I used duck-bill clips to section my hair and installed the clip-ins (I made three total) into my hair from the bottom, working my way up.

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They blended in really well. and gave my hair just the right amount of volume. I styled the hair in soft curls using my curling wand and heat protectant (I really like Ouidad’s Mongongo Oil – wrote about it here). Here were my results and a before/after comparison so you can see the difference.

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This is a snapshot of my hair before. Same length but definitely not as much volume.

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Here’s what it looked like after. Really full and voluminous but still natural!

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If you want to try this hair, head over to True Indian Hair and use the code LOVEBROWNSUGAR for 10% OFF until 1/20/14! I used their Indian Afro Kinky texture and mixed it with my curls to achieve this look.

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Anyone else out there with natural hair that’s fine in texture? Would you consider using clip-ins? Have you? Soundoff below.

5 Ways To Prevent Heat Damage

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Heat damage is inevitable if you are a fan of sleek straight hair. However, with a few small changes you can decrease your risk of permanently damaging your hair . Using heat styling tools like flat irons, blow dryers and curling wands can lead to severe damage if used too frequently and improperly.

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“I’ve personally dealt with heat damage on my own natural hair journey on more than one occasion. Back in 2010 I had to big chop my 100% chemical free hair due to heat damage. My curls were very dry, lifeless and had no curl definition from months of blow drying & flat ironing my hair several times per month. Now that I know better I do better. However, I still struggle with heat damage in certain areas of my head. I rarely straighten my hair now but, when I do I take the necessary steps to help prevent heat damage.” For more info check out this video on Fatima’s Youtube Channel.

Keep reading if you are interested in learning 5 ways to prevent & recover from heat damage.

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