June 2011 archive

LoveBrownSugar Turns Two!

Today, LoveBrownSugar is 2 years old! Words cannot express how appreciative I am for all your support. You guys – my readers, friends and extended family, mean more to me than anything. On this day, two years ago, LoveBrownSugar.com was born.

You guys remember this? The ORIGINAL header for LoveBrownSugar
 It started out as just a small place for me to muse about fashion, beauty, celebrities and live events. Since then, it has grown to become an outlet not just for myself but for all of you to voice your opinions, agree and/or disagree with me about celebrity looks and follow my journey in life from going natural

to going on vacay, to going crazy in the fitting room

 I absolutely love you all and LoveBrownSugar.com would be nowhere if it wasn’t for you. In celebration of this milestone, I’ll be hosting a fab 2 Year Anniversary event next Wednesday, July 6th. More details on the event coming soon, but if you’re in the NYC area (or if you will be next week), save the date!

In celebration, I’d love for you guys to comment with either a) your favorite post or b) your favorite thing about LoveBrownSugar.  
I want to keep serving up content that you guys love, so tell me what I’m doing right. You can also tweet me @LoveBrownSugar with hashtag #LBS2Year or leave a comment on the Facebook page!

Kickin’ It: Fort Greene Music Festival

 This weekend I did my normal Saturday trek to Brooklyn (I spend lots of time there during the summer) for the 2011 Fort Greene Festival. Featuring headliner and hip-hop artist Mos Def as well as a myriad of other amazing musical talents, the festival was a huge celebration of indie music, amazing Brooklyn-based food vendors, and of course festival fashions. Check out some of the street style I snapped:

Dorothy, Brooklyn, NY
Once I saw these awesome printed shorts out the corner of my eye, I know I had to stop this little lady. Love this kente print and she topped off her look with a straw fedora.

Tracey & friend, Brooklyn, NY
These two ladies are proof that natural hair is oh-so-chic. Tracey, on the right, sports a strapless romper and statement necklace, while her friend rocks out in a 70’s-style jumpsuit and statement bag. 
Jovel Roystan, Brooklyn, NY
My good friend and former intern Jovel Roystan rocked the Fort Greene festival in an Urban outfitters tee, slim-fitted pants and this summer’s menswear staples – statement shades & a snapback cap. Loved his look!

Millana Snow, Brooklyn, NY
You guys may recognize this little lady above from last season’s Project Runway. She was the winning model. Her name is Millana Snow and she rocks. Millana kept it cool in a cropped black top, cutoff shorts and python flats.

Here I am with plus-size model and Jones Mag correspondent Chastity Saunders. She tossed on a big floppy hat to shield her skin from the sun.
Jessica & Aisha, Brooklyn, NY
Cutoff shorts & lightweight blouses were the attire of choice for the festivities, as evidenced by these chic ladies above.
Netchum is my kinda gal, rocking a printed jumper with a strong red lip and a turban. I caught her snapping pics, just as I approached to snap hers.

Estelle & Melinda, Brooklyn, NY
These UK-bred ladies had so much Ray-Ban swag, I had to do a double take. Loved Estelle’s unconventional I Heart NY tee on the left.

And finally here’s what I rocked to the festival. I went for laid back yet pulled together with a silk striped top, black mesh midi skirt, vintage leather waist belt, my usual jewels and my favorite new leather sack (separate post about this bag I’m obsessed with coming soon).
 How did you all spend your weekend?
For more pics from the Fort Greene Festival, check out UPTOWN’s live event photos.

Kickin’ It: Indique + Ginger & Liz Launch Glam Survival Kit

Last week I had the pleasure of attending the Indique + Ginger & Liz launch of the Glam Survival Kit at the Townhouse Spa in NYC. Hosted by the lovely Lianne Farbes (one of THE first beauty bloggers to hit the scene and recently tapped for MAC’s Blogger Obsession collection), the event was jam packed with beauty goodies & smiling faces. 

Me & Danielle of TheStyleandBeautyDoctor
Guests were treated to manicures courtesy Ginger & Liz, hair tutorials by Indique (a luxury hair brand offering top quality Indian remy hair extensions) and super sweet cocktails courtesy X-Rated liqueur. 
 I had such a great time meeting up with fellow beauty/fashion bloggers and learning all about Indique’s new Glam Survival Kit which features a combination of last minute “on-the-go” hair extensions for quick fixes as well as Indique’s own Ginger & Liz collaborative color, called Indique Pink.
Ran into Shaunequa of Temple Of Glam!
And Jessica of Glamazons Blog who recently did the Big Chop!
Me, Jessica of Glamazons Blog, Lianne Farbes, Manicurist TracyLee
To purchase Indique’s Glam Survival Kit, head over to their online shop. Though the kits are pricey, the extensions are superb (I used to rock them when I had relaxed hair) and you’ll be less likely to suffer from a bad hair day!

LBS Fashion Countdown: BET Awards 2011

You guys know the drill! Here are my Top 10 Best and Worst of the BET Awards 2011 red carpet. Feel free to chime in with your commentary. This year’s fashions were…interesting to say the least. There were prom queens and club-hopping train wrecks galore. As well as a few understated gems. Take a look!

 10. Best – Keke Palmer

I love how Keke Palmer always dresses so chic yet still appropriate for her age. Love this form fitting glitter dress on Keke. She always looks amazing on the red carpet!

9. Worst – Meagan Good

Meagan looks like she’s on the way to her prom. I say if you’re going to do “prom-like” dress, at least add some color. BET Awards is the one awards venue when celebs can get fun & funky. This dress is a yawn, and inappropriate for the occasion.

8. Best – Lala Vazquez

Everyone raved about Lala’s Tom Ford dress. I think it fit her well, and she did the trend right by going with understated hair & makeup so the dress could truly shine. Well done!
7. Worst – Keri Hilson

Normally I’m in Keri’s corner, but this look was just a yawn for me. It’s very…basic. And something just seems a bit off to me. I can’t put my finger on it but I wasn’t loving this look.

6. Best – Eve

Eve always manages to dress so well for her toned body. This ensemble proves it. It has her edgy appeal female MC appeal with fashion still at the forefront. And the hair was well executed. Alicia Keys’ camp could take a few lessons. This is how you do a fishtail pony. Keep it neat!

5. Worst – Nicki Minaj

Now we all can expect Nicki Minaj to push the envelope when it comes to red carpet fashion. But this look is well…underwhelming. The pink of this dress is way too dull, and the tights underneath were unnecessary. I was hoping to see something more vibrant from Nicki on the red carpet.

4. Best – Kelly Rowland

Kelly Rowland was the belle of the ball at last night’s BET Awards. She executed this hot pink Marchesa look flawlessly. The color looks amazing on her complexion and the silhouette fits her to a tee.

3. Worst – Ashanti

Ashanti is another one who went to prom last night. Unlike Meagan Good, she actually had some color in her ensemble. This whole look just makes me sad. Lawd why? Shorten this dress and get rid of that horrible embroidery.

2. Best – Kerry Washington

This Kerry knows how to rock the carpet right. I absolutely loved this canary yellow dress. The color compliments her skin so well. And the color/fabric combination make it an understated and appropriate dress despite the length. This was a classic example of dressing “up” without being OVER-dressed. Well done Kerry!

1. Worst – Teairra Mari

What in the hot hell? Whoever approved this ensemble needs to be fired. No ma’am! The lace! The color! The lacefront wig! All kinds of wrong.

What’s your verdict? Did I miss anyone? Soundoff below!

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You’re Invited! Style Scene Exhibit

I hope you lovelies based in NYC will join me next week for a fab fashion event I’m co-hosting with Lowefactor.com & The Victoria Agency. Highlighting some up and coming stylists of color, we’ll be sipping cocktails and enjoying an exhibition of their latest & greatest works. Hope you can join us on the rooptop of Bar 13!

To RSVP email rsvp@thevictoriaagency.com and mention “Style Scene Exhibit” at the door. See you there!

Flavor of Friday: Curvy Girl Swimwear

It’s officially summer! I don’t know about you, but this summer I don’t plan on hiding behind a mumu. Curvy girls don’t have to settle for that. At least I never have. You can rock a vintage style high-waist two piece like the one Queen Bey is rocking above. Or, one of my personal favorites, a fitted one-piece with a deep V-neck. It plays up my best features.

Beachside in Puerto Rico, 2010

Curvy girls, if you’re looking for inspiration regarding great bathing suits to rock for your body type, you’re in luck! I made my debut on Essence.com on Wednesday featuring a special Curvy Girls Guide to Swimwear report with tons of bathing suit options for plus-sized divas like me. Check it out and tell me what you think!

 Check out my feature on Essence.com!

Don’t Believe The Hype

Recently Coco + Creme posted a thought provoking story about a good friend of mine Gabifresh of Young, Fat & Fabulous (now renamed Gabifresh.com) and some qualms she has with the plus-size community. Subsequently after, another blogger (and one of my fave tweeters) Sarah Conley of @StyleIT posted a response. To make a long story short, both women raised interesting points about the plus-size blogging community and the idea of supporting any and everything within it. I think this topic is one to be explored, not just in the realm of plus-size blogging but in the realm of blogging/journalism and life circumstances period.

Here are my two cents (or three, or four) about the situation:

1. Blogging is personal. 

I understand that in this day and age, with the internet overpopulated and websites clamoring daily for readers’ attention, many have taken the opportunity to turn their blogs into businesses. Pageviews and comments become the sole priority for some bloggers after the initial realization that “other blogs are doing it too” and there’s potential freedom from the drone of the 9-5 in blogging. Some sites, which may have started out strictly as personal style blogs, now have online shop components (myself included – i.e. SHOP LoveBrownSugar). But at the end of the day, for most, the blogs were birthed out of personal conviction and ultimately because we LOVED what we were blogging about. What happened to that?

When did it become the standard to blog or write about something because it is the “it” thing or because you’re supposed to belong to a certain “community”? 

If mom jeans come back into style next season, guess what? I’m not blogging about them! I don’t like them, they’re unflattering on my body type and personally I think they’re hideous. Will I include them in a LBS Runway Report if Marc Jacobs starts making them? Of course! Will I ask you all if Beyonce is Fierce or Foolish for wearing them, yes! But you won’t find me sporting them on here. Or raving about them. My personal blog philosophy is: If I don’t sport, I don’t support. And that’s that.

2. Branding is a business. A full-time job actually.

Picture this for just a minute. Imagine your favorite fashion magazine of all time decided to switch directions with their content. Instead of serving up amazing, high-end glossy fashion editorial, they decided to simply have a free-for-all and invite every fashion brand with a few advertising dollars to play an integral role in the magazine. Can you imagine how sloppy and watered-down the content would be? If VOGUE decided to let K-Mart take center stage in an editorial shoot – you’d be appalled. Why? Because they have a brand, and a reputation to uphold. As an editor who works day to day at a magazine, I’ve learned that branding is everything. Your reputation can help and/or hurt you in attaining future opportunities. Bloggers (and non-bloggers alike) should be so careful about aligning ourselves with entities that don’t truly represent who we are and what we stand for. At the end of the day, your personal brand is more precious than that free sample or that $50 ad space in your sidebar. Choose wisely.

3. Integrity is everything.

Nobody likes feeling betrayed or deceived. When people put their trust in you (as a blogger, as a confidant, even as a friend!) it’s your responsibility to uphold it like it’s more precious than gold. Everything you see on LoveBrownSugar is a direct reflection of me; my thoughts and my likes/loves explored. Personally, I would rather not discuss a brand if I strongly dislike it. This goes for beauty, fashion and everything in between. That said, why should someone be expected to rave about a product or line just because they fit a certain descript or are lumped into a community? I’m a natural-haired girl and I love my natural hair but sometimes I like wigs! Yep, I said it – I do! So even though I joined the natural hair community last November, it doesn’t mean I’m suddenly going to review every natural hair product and do what that blogging community does. It’s not my sole priority, and it doesn’t have to be.

I think Gabi and Sarah’s points regarding plus-size blogs and companies, address a bigger issue that we should all evaluate. How often do you sell out, or give into the hype of something because people assume you should? Bloggers, are you being honest with your readers? As an adult, are you being honest with yourself about your career path, your love interest or your friendships? What is there to gain by believing the hype instead of your gut?

What are your thoughts? Soundoff below!

Steal Her Chic: Solange at Dream Downtown Opening

Solange Knowles looked absolutely gorgeous last night at the opening of Dream Downtown in NYC. After the ASH flagship opening, she showed up to Dream donning a delicate Alexander Wang blouse, Honor wide-legged trousers and jewels from Dannijo and House of Waris.

She topped off the look with delicate nude heels and a coral lip. I die! Here’s how to steal her chic:
1. Palazzo Pants, ASOS, $68.96. 2. Top, DKNY, $95.99. 3. Lipstick, Lancome L’Absolu Nu in Coral Sand, $29. Earrings, Rachel Rachel Roy, $36. 5. Sandals, ALDO Marum, $100
Would you try this look? I would!
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Kickin’ It: ASH Flagship Opening With Solange + Refinery29

 Last night I was invited to the flagship opening of ASH footwear boutique in Soho. A luxury shoe brand originally launched in Europe, ASH opened it’s very first store on US soil in downtown NYC last night. The event was hosted by two of my faves: Refinery29 & Solange Knowles.

Located at 44 Mercer St, the ASH boutique is a special place housing numerous shoe styles from their spring & upcoming fall collections. 

 I’m in love with their skilfully crafted wedges and their handbags are to DIE!
Of course I had to chat it up with my fave fashionista and host of the evening, Solange Knowles. 
 Solange was decked out in a DVF dress and ASH sandals. She looked absolutely fab.

The man behind the magic, Solange’s stylist Charles Wade, was in attendance as well. Charles and I used to work together at Honey Mag – he now resides in LA. Love him! Profile on his career coming soon to LBS.

I also ran into chic fashion blogger Taliah Ferguson from FashionWasHere. She recently won the Ebony Magazine + June Ambrose twitter contest and scored a free turban from June’s line. Love her style!

Taliah’s equally fashionable friend showed up in a printed crop top and accordion maxi skirt. Love this boho chic look.

My fave publicist Sandrine Charles went downtown chic in this rose colored jumpsuit from Urban Outfitters and the American Apparel oversized leather clutch that seems to be the “It” bag of the season.

On-site attendees were treated to champagne by Nicholas Feuillatte, canapes by the Bubble Lounge and hair braids & feathers by Whittemore House.

How cute is Michelle King from Seventeen Magazine in with her hair braiding and feather?

All in all, I had a great time! Had fun with old friends & new ones, sipped on cocktails and had a ball gazing at the eye candy all around (the shoes!). If you’re in the NYC area, be sure to stop by the ASH flagship store on 44 Mercer St. If not, you can find them online and follow them on Twitter @ASHShoes.

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