November 2011 archive

Cece’s Curls: My First Blowout at Hair Rules Salon

Last month, when I found out I would be co-hosting an afterparty/cocktail with Curly Nikki (HERE), I knew I wanted to really jazz up my style with a fierce ‘do. Since going natural back in November 2010, I had devoted myself to keeping my hair free of heat for an entire year to allow it to grow. Well, I made it! And to celebrate, I went to curly hair expert Dickey of Hair Rules Salon.

My inspiration for the evening was fierce natural diva Tracee Ellis Ross:

I decided to give the milmaid braid look a try and it turned out so well! See below from the cocktail:

Aside from my obsession with his amazing products, I had heard so much about Dickey’s styling techniques, I had to try him out!

Upon arriving, I was greeted warmly and given a lesson on my curl type and how to properly care for it. They gave me a thorough conditioning cleanse, a “ting” oil treatment, trim, blowout & style. Altogether, I was really happy with my experience.

Check it out in the video below:

To learn more about Hair Rules check out their Website | SHOP Hair Rules | Facebook | Twitter
Stay tuned for another post about all the cool ways I rocked my blowout!

Confessions of a Shopaholic: Top 5 Cyber Monday Deals

For those of you who ventured out at the crack of dawn (literally) on Friday for the in-store Black Friday frenzy, I tip my hats to you. I do hope that you didn’t have to endure the grueling agony I experienced that day. Yes, I’m dramatic. No, I didn’t lose a loved one. But I did lose some valuable merchandise and for that, I’m thoroughly disappointed. Sadly, a bag of my just-purchased goods was stolen from me on Black Friday. Blame it on being in a crowded mall at midnight when the masses were out. But those goods are long gone, and so is my once undying love for Black Friday. I’m now happily a fan of Cyber Monday. I’d much rather do my in-store shopping when the crazies aren’t running rampant. With that, here’s my Top 5 List of Cyber Monday deals I think you guys will care about:

1. Old Navy – Super glam? No. Perfect for cheap and sturdy staples? Yes. I’m a fan of their tanks and long sleeved v-neck tees. They’re perfect for layering in the fall/winter time. On this glorious Monday, snag your favorites for up to 50% off at OldNavy.com.

2. Shop Nasty Gal – Am I the only one addicted to this store? I always feel like I want one of everything in the store. That’s the mark of a damn good boutique. From my fave Jeffrey Campbell platforms to the perfect Aztec poncho, this store never missed the mark for my style. SHOP Nasty Gal HERE

3. Amazon.com – Because there HAS to be something on Amazon you can use. It’s like the Walmart of the internet. They’ve got everything! For those of you who blog and enjoy photography, they’ve got tons of gadgets on sale. Shop Amazon HERE

4. American Apparel – You’re not a real hipster until you have a piece of AA in your closet. Aside from my obsession with their lace bodysuits and mesh maxi skirts, I’ve been feigning for this cape since the beginning of time. Seriously. Get into their 30% OFF sale with FREE shipping. (Shouts to Chictopia for the tip). Shop American Apparel HERE.

5. ELF (Eyes Lips Face) – Get your beauty fix in with 50% OFF sitewide at the beauty junkie’s paradise ELF.com. Whether it’s to re-up on your perfect pink pout or to grab stucking stuffers for your best friends, you can’t go wrong with luxe beauty loot. like this. Check it out HERE!

For more Cyber Monday deals check out some of my favorite sites like Refinery 29 for their 14 Cyber Monday Deals and UPTOWN Magazine for the Cyber Monday Hotlist!

Are you stocking up on deals today? Comment below & tell us about any sales we missed!

LoveBrownSugar’s 2011 Holiday Wishlist

These are the goodies I hope I find under my tree this year. From Beyonce’s smooth moves to Jimmy Choo’s signature scent, here’s all I want for Christmas besides my two front teeth…

1. Jimmy Choo fragrance, Saks.com, $70.00
2. Cambridge Satchel in Fluro Yellow, Cambridge Satchel, $155.00
3. Nikon 1 J1 Camera, Nikon, $641.95 
4. Elements of 4: Beyonce Live in Roseland DVD, Walmart, $14.88
5. Nars Blush in Orgasm, Sephora, $27
6. Combined Fur Waistcoast, Zara, $99.99
7. Messeca Charmene Flannel Cuffed Wedge Boot, ASOS, $409.05

What’s on your holiday wishlist? Soundoff below!

Talk That Talk: Top 5 Tips For Kissable Lips

Aside from my obsession with Rihanna’s new album release Talk That Talk this week, I’ve been thinking about the importance of beauty tips that are catered specifically to the cold & harsh winter months. Considering the dead of winter will be upon us soon, now is as great a time as any to chat it up about winter beauty must-haves. Often overlooked in the winter beauty regimen, the lips are a focal point on the face and deserve a little extra TLC when the temperature decides to pop, lock & drop. Here are 5 important tips for maintaining kissable, pucker-worthy lips:

1. Exfloiate

Like any other body part that’s exposed to the dry, cold air of winter, our lips are often rough and/or uneven because of lack of exfoliation! When using your favorite exfoliant on the face, don’t skip the lips!

If you’re a sucker for specialized products, buy an exfoliant made specifically for lips the pout like the Bliss Fabulips Sugar Lip Scrub, $18.00. It’s the first step toward smooth, scale-free smackers.

2. Soothe

The next step in healing dry lips is to soothe problem areas before they get worse. A medicated balm like Carmex Original or Burt’s Bees Medicated can help. Spring for products with all-natural ingredients like menthol, camphor & eucalyptus that will help soothe and coat the lips with a protective layer.

3. Moisturize

This is by far the most important part of the lip regimen. You have to moisturize – daily! Keep your favorite lip balm handy for midday touch ups and reapplications. Keep it simple with a classic like Vaseline Lip Therapy, $2 or get fancy with a spa-worthy treatment like La Mer Lip Balm, $45

4. Choose Pucker-Worthy Products

Lip maintenance goes beyond special treatment; it’s about choosing daily products that have moisturizing properties. Spring for lip products that are naturally moisturizing in the winter months. As much as you may love that matte lipstick (like MAC Ruby Woo, for example), your lips will thank you for choosing a lipstick packed with moisture. Of my favorite collections are Maybelline’s Color Sensational lip collection and Cover Girl’s Queen Collection lip color.

5. Don’t Pick & Play

The last thing you want to do, after carving out precious time to perfect your pout, is mess it up with bad habits like picking lips or biting them. Be mindful and aware of your precious pucker and do whatever you can to protect it. Aside from the risk of potential infection, picking your lips just isn’t chic.

What are your fave tips for maintaining a pucker-worthy pout? Soundoff below with suggestions & product recommendations!

LoveBrownSugar Feature: Vixen of the Day

Special thanks to VIBE Vixen for featuring me as their Vixen of the Day today! I’m super excited and I’ll actually be contributing as a VBlog contributor for them starting next week! Of course, you guys will be first to know when my stories are posted. In the mean time, feel free to check out my story on Vixen!

Photo Credit: Brandon Haynes
Dress: H&M, Shoes: Steve Madden, Bag: Elliot Luca, Ring: H&M
Check out my Vixen of the Day interview here!

Kickin’ It: Rachel Roy Beauty Launch

Last Thursday, I was invited to the Rachel Roy designer studio to celebrate the launch of her new beauty palette; the Rachel Roy Eye Shadow collection! Of course, I accepted the invitation with excitement and headed to the studio to see what Rachel has in store for her new collection. For someone with such a strong presence in the fashion industry, it’s a major leap to to jump into the world of beauty. But thankfully, as Rachel Roy assured us, she’s no stranger to beauty. She has a mean smokey eye and it paid off. Here’s what I got into at the event:

First, I ran into my beautiful blogger buddy Danielle of The Style & Beauty Doctor, looking just as gorgeous as ever. We immiediately made a beeline to the RR Jewelry Bar stocked full of jewelry goodies from the RACHEL Rachel Roy collection.

 Each guest got to take one baby home, and I feel in love with beauty:

Of course I went for the Sagittarius Ring, $48. My boyfriend’s a Sag, apparently I’m drawn to them. Danielle tried on a few as well:

Pictured above left (Scorpio Ring, $48)
She ended up going with the Pisces ring, $48, which is absolutely gorge. Next, I squeezed my way over to the sweets section to grab a few of these macarons.

 I swoon for macarons. They remind me of Laduree – a famous macaron shop along the Champs-Elysses in Paris.It was one of my fave places to sit & people watch when I studied there. And the macarons are amazing. They’ve just opened a Laduree in NYC so you local divas can experience it for yourself!

Now on to the good stuff – the makeup! Rachel Roy’s breakout shadow palette features the essential colors that Rachel uses to achieve her smokey eye. The cool thing about the color mix is that it allows for versatility with day & night shadows in one convenient compact..

To demonstrate this versatility, the team had a makeup artist on hand to work either a Day or Night look suited for each guest. I opted for a night look with a purple smokey eye…

Loved the rich color!  We also got a chance to chat with Rachel about her signature smokey eye and how she achieves it. She actually demonstrated the whole process on her friend, it was very cute:
Rachel shares her beauty secrets with the group.
I had a blast at the event and definitely plan on using the Rachel Roy Eye Shadow collection this holiday season, especially because I don’t normally do the smokey eye look. It will be fun to try out. Stay tuned for an upcoming video review!

Get more info about the product and pre-order it for the holidays HERE.
Will you be giving it a try?

Cover Girls: Olsen Twins for VOGUE + Bey & Solange Best Dressed!

I was all too excited to see this morning that some of my favorite style icons will be featured in VOGUE’s Best Dressed Issue this year! First, I’m obsessed with the boho-chic Olsen twins.

I’ve always been huge fans of their style (yes, since the days of Full House!) and I’m actually surprised that this is their first ever VOGUE cover. Congrats to them! As stylish sisters and budding entrepreneurs, I truly look up to them. And they look faboosh on the cover!

Even better, this year’s VOGUE Best Dressed theme centers around “Dynamic Duos” – basically the flyest & most fashionable siblings! Head to VOGUE.com, and you can vote for your favorite set of stylish sisters. Topping the list as the only siblings of color are my absolute faves Beyonce & Solange Knowles!

  They’ll definitely have my vote. Here’s the full list of nominees:

  1. Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen
  2. Elle and Dakota Fanning
  3. Claire, Virginie, Jenna, and Prisca Courtin-Clarins
  4. Ruby and Lily Aldridge
  5. Poppy and Cara Delevingne
  6. Bianca and Coco Brandolini
  7. Beyoncé and Solange Knowles
  8. Charlotte Gainsbourg and Lou Doillon
  9. Pippa Middleton and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge
  10. Kate and Rooney Mara
Which set of siblings will have your vote?

Source: NY Mag

Ten Days in Ecuador: Day 10

I’m off to New York today. Before I left I had a great morning of sight-seeing. I got a chance to go shopping in downtown Guayaquil and really see the city. It’s a holiday here plus it’s Sunday, so everything opens up pretty late. I originally left the hotel with the intent of buying some Ecuadorian chocolate, but my cab driver really took me on a tour of the whole city.

First, we visited the Parc Iguanas in Guayaquil. It’s a small square in the middle of the city where some of the largest iguanas live and roam free. They’re huge, seriously!

 I can tell just by looking around that there’s so much more I haven’t explored here. So many shops I haven’t been to, and activities I haven’t done. I guess that means I’ll have to come back to Ecuador! Until, then I’ll have my pics & blog posts to remind me of my amazing time here.
Ten Days in Ecuador sponsored by Latitude International & LAN Airlines.

Ten Days in Ecuador: Day 9

9am: Today is my last full day in Ecuador! I’ll be heading back to the states tomorrow afternoon. We’ll visit two museums today and then start heading to Ecuador’s largest port city – Guayaquil! I’ve been dying to get to Guayaquil, it’s the biggest city in Ecuador. While here. we’re supposed to take a trip to a cocoa hacienda to see how fresh chocolate is made – yum.

Museum Sumpa (museum of lovers)

11am: We just finished up at the Lover’s Museum. I’m normally not a big museum person, but it was pretty interesting. I think my mind is more focused on getting to Guayaquil. Can’t wait to see the city.

Tapestry at Lover’s Museum
My friend wanted to take this tapestry home, but of course it’s not for sale. It’s a permanent fixture at the museum!

6pm: Tonight we’re having dinner at the Hotel Oro Verde. It’s an amazing luxury hotel in downtown Guayaquil. They have amazing service, and they’re rated one of the best hotels in the world. I’m off to freshen up for dinner – it’s my last one in the country!

Ten Days in Ecuador sponsored by Latitude International & LAN Airlines. 

Ten Days in Ecuador: Day 8

9am: We’re off to Isla de Plata today. It’s supposed to be a mini version of the Galapagos Islands. We have to drive to the port then take a one hour boat ride out to the island. I’m praying to baby Jesus that it won’t be canoes. If I see another canoe, I might cry. No seriously.

12pm: So it wasn’t a canoe. I feel like it was worse though. We took a super bumpy ride through the ocean in a 17-passenger motorboat. It felt like a never-ending roller coaster at a water park. But without seat belts. On the bright side, we saw dolphins! They were the cutest thing ever. Just a-swimming along the ocean right near the boat. It was really amazing. Apparently our group is pretty lucky with animal spotting because these dolphins aren’t supposed to still be here. They should’ve left in September according to the tour guide. *shrugs* Works for me!

3pm: *heaves in heavy & coughs up lung* Soooo they didn’t tell us we’d be going on a 2 hour hike! I’ve officially burned off every bit of caloric intake from the last 7 days I’ve been here. Seriously. Anyway, outside of the fact that I almost fell off a cliff (not really, I’m dramatic in case you haven’t caught it yet) – there were beautiful blue-footed boobies all over the island! They were amazing. These beautiful blue footed birds who nest on the cliffs of Isla de Plata. Now we’re off to go watch sea turtles and snorkel at a coral reef. My fave activity – can’t wait!

5pm: I went snorkeling! That might be my favorite vacay activity outside of eating & beach-side lounging. I love tropical fish. the water was actually warm, to my surprise. And I found Nemo! Wouldn’t mind returning to Isla de Plata one day, it wasn’t half bad.

Ten Days in Ecuador sponsored by Latitude International & LAN Airlines.