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March 2012 archive

Natural vs. Fake Hair Debate: Weigh In

Hey guys! I’m ecstatic and bubbling over to announce my latest story. A few months ago, the beauty editor at Refinery29 tapped me to ask 5 of my fab friends about their hair journeys, regimens and how they feel about the natural vs. relaxed, fake vs. real and everything in-between debate. This week, they posted the article and it’s been stirring up tons of interesting commentary.

Here’s a snippet about the story:

At the root of every bad hair day is a desire to achieve the highest level of hair amazingness possible…and the subsequent failure to meet those expectations. We always want what we can’t have, so we set ourselves up for disappointment when our strands can’t live up to our high hair hopes. We all fall prey to mane envy, and with that comes the desire to enhance — whether it be through straightening, coloring, cutting, or adding extensions.

Photo by Erin Yamagata



There’s been an interesting debate brewing recently over what “natural” hair actually is and whether hair enhancements like wigs, weaves, and extensionsplay a misleading role in how we define beauty these days. Is wearing your hair natural “better” than wearing extensions? What exactly gets everyone so riled up when a woman chooses to wear fake hair?

We found five real, stylish girls who have all dabbled with faux hair to answer those questions and more. Read on for their insightful opinions on this hot-button issue, then weigh in with your own thoughts on the “natural or not” debate.

You can check out the full story over at Refinery29.com



What are your thoughts on this debate? What side are you on and why?

Cover Girls: Angela Simmons for Ladygunn Magazine

Angela Simmons steals the spotlight in this month’s issue of LadyGunn Magazine. Though I’ve never picked up an issue, I might be heading to the store to grab one. These photos of Angela are gorgeous.

Love the playful texture of the editorial…

And the hair is flowing and radiant per usual. Loves it! 
BONUS: Just found this super cute video of Angela, her stylist Kanayo and her makeup artist Angel making over an NYC subway rider for BET’s Rip The Runway 2012. Check it out below!

Image Source: TheYBF
Video Source: BET.com

Last Chance! Refinery29’s Most Stylish Hood Contest

It’s officially the LAST day for the Refinery29 contest I told you guys about two weeks ago! I really need your votes to take home a win. Just click on the picture below, go to the ‘Popular Contestants’ tab and click the heart in the left hand corner over my picture.

If I win this contest with Refinery 29 and luxury retailer Cole Haan, I’ll officially win an editorial on Refinery29.com, a Cole Haan wardrobe and FREE NYC transit access for a YEAR! This would mean so much to me, and would really help me make some improvements to LoveBrownSugar.com if I win. Not having to worry about NYC transit fees would be a life-altering benefit for me this year, and would help me bring you guys more amazing content, giveaways, and posts.

Please Click This Link and Vote For Me! 

Click on the ‘Most Popular Contestants’ tab. Check the heart in the left hand corner and login with your Facebook account to vote!
Photo by Ugonna Igweatu
Thanks in advance guys!!

LBS Beauty: All In the Pleat

Yesterday, I did an outfit post “All in The Pleat” and promised to post a mini how-to on how to get my beauty look. There are a few main hair & makeup essentials I used to achieve the look. Below is a break down of the products and how I used them. I promise, when I get the hang of this video thing, I’ll start recording these.

Ok so I’m super excited that I FINALLY can pull my natural hair into a top knot. The main products I use to achieve this look are:

1) Spray bottle (with a mix of water, drop of coconut oil, and cheapie conditioner)
2) Jane Carter Leave-In Conditioner (gifted to me by the wonderful folks at True Indian Hair after I got my sew-in done. Now I’m hooked!)
3) Curls Unleashed Curl Boosting Jelly
4) Goodie hair bands 
5) Hair pins
6) Homemade sock bun

I typically use my spray bottle to dampen my hair so that it’s manageable and moldable. Then, I apply leave-in conditioner to properly moisturize. After that, I pull all my hair up using a goodie band into a puff at the top of my head. At this point, I’ll apply my Curls Unleashed Curl Boosting jelly around my edges and up to the top of my hair to hold in strays and give my hair some shine. I place my sock bun over the edges of my puff and actually pull the edges around it into a neat bun. Then I use another goodie band to finish off the bun and pin the stray hairs with hair pins! Since I don’t have a vid, take a look at how Youtuber Laila-Jean does her sock buns:

For my red lip, I used none other than MAC Lipstick in Ruby Woo

It’s the perfect matte red and it works on so many different skin tones. For my face, I used Makeup Forever HD Invisible Cover foundation mixed with MAC Oil Control Lotion for my very own tinted moisturizer. I then brush my cheeks with Stila Cosmetics One Step Primecolor in Capri Coral for a nice bronzy finish. On the eyes, I’m wearing Urban Decay Eyeshadow in YDK.

That pretty much sums up my look! Any other questions? Hit me in the comments box.

LoveBrownSugar Chic: All In The Pleat

I was playing around in my room taking test shots before snapping this outfit. Two of my recent finds. Two new wardrobe staples – the tribal top and the pleated skirt.

So happy I can finally get my hair up in a top knot. I used the sock bun method. Tutorial coming soon on how I do mine.

Hair & Makeup

I went for a shimmery eye and a matte red lip. Tomorrow I’m going to post a mini how-to on products I used to achieve this look so stay tuned.

Nails

Last week I got minx done at Channing in the City‘s 2 Year Anniversary Party. The lovely ladies of Nail Taxi hooked me up. My first time getting a full set of minx and I really like it!

The Look

I paired the look with my favorite jewelry and a pair of wedge booties.

Top: Forever 21 (similar one for under $20 here). Skirt: H&M (similar one here and cognac version here for only $64). Wedges: Forever 21 (similar here for only $40). Watch: Michael Kors. Wrap Bracelet: Linea Pelle.

Have you voted for me yet? Click my picture below and go to the ‘Popular Contestants’ tab to vote!

The Fab Five: Amanda Miller

You guys may remember seeing today’s subject Amanda Miller as one of my very first Get Like Me interviewees back in March of 2010. As the Senior Fashion Market Editor at Saks 5th Ave, Amanda exudes chic. I mean, when you’re directing the trends and buying decisions at a mega retailer like Saks, you kind of have to exude style.

I’m pleased to introduce a new series The Fab Five, highlighting five amazing ways to wear one killer piece. This first rendition is guest edited by none other than Amanda Miller! Check it out below:

As the Fashion Market Editor at Saks Fifth Avenue, I am a girl who still LOVES to play dress up in my closet. Whenever I leave a store with a new item I automatically daydream about different ways I will rock it. I usually love to buy transitional pieces that I can wear from spring to fall. One of my most recent purchases is this blackground floral print dress from H&M ($24.95). Here are 5 different ways I would wear this:

Vest: Saks Fifth Avenue Astrakhan Vest. Shoes: Christian Louboutin. Sunglasses: Oliver Peoples. Earrings: H&M

When it starts to get a bit colder a few great outerwear pieces are essential, especially in New York. I have this Astrakhan vest from Saks Fifth Avenue Collection that I love to wear with just about everything.  

I would wear this over the dress with printed stilettos (and black tights depending on the weather). This is cute enough for work and afterwork drinks.

Leather Jacket: Elie Tahari. Shoes: Jimmy Choo. Leggings: Wolford. Handbag: DVF

To transition this dress into early fall when the weather just starts to get a little crisp in the morning, I would wear this back to my Elie Tahari black leather baseball style jacket. 

I would probably go no hosiery for September, but when it gets a bit colder I would wear this with black opaque tights and rock this at work.

Blazer: Elie Tahari blazer. Earrings: Vintage. Ring: H&M. Clutch: Nancy Gonzalez. Wedges: Sam Edelman.

 

If I want to be more casual a great go-to item in my wardrobe is my Elie Tahari blazer.

 I would throw this over the dress and wear it with comfortable Sam Edelman wedges for a trip to the park in the Fall.

Trench: Viktor and Rolf for H&M. Flats: Jimmy Choo. Handbag: Elliot Luca. Earrings: Vintage.
It seems that Spring may have finally sprung, so I love pairing this Viktor & Rolf trench coat for H&M that I got a few years ago (one of my favorite things in my closet) over this dress. 

Mixing floral print with the defined waist trench coat is ultra feminine and I can wear it back to my Saks Fifth Avenue black ballet flats for a comfortable Sunday brunch.

Skirt: J Crew. Wedges: Boutique 9. Bag: Rebecca Minkoff. Earrings: Vintage

Summer is by far my favorite season (probably because I am a summer baby) and I absolutely LOVE dressing for the summer. One of my favorite tricks is making a dress into a different silhouette, so here I put my dress on with a chambray J. Crew skirt over it.  

This gives the illusion of a knit top. I would wear this with my new Boutique 9 white wedges for a summer date night.

Would you rock your dress this way? Any other tips/tricks for getting mileage out of this piece?
Follow Amanda on Twitter at @amanda_at_saks | Read her Get Like Me feature

Cover Girls: Melanie Fiona Covers VIBE Vixen

On the heels of her new album release, The MF Life, R&B songstress Melanie Fiona covers VIBE Vixen.  She’s giving off-kilter glam with this melon sorbet dress and menswear tie. Absolutely love her style. VIBE Vixen chatted with the Canadian sensation about her new album, her emotional highs & lows, heartbreak and self-confidence:

On her new album:
I believe that the songs people have heard and the things that have been released, when they get the album, they’ll be pleasantly surprised. That’s not necessarily the bread and butter of the album. There’s really great hidden gems on this album, and I just think that it’s a really strong album that gives appeal to both men and women, which I think is a tough thing to do.

On heartbreak:
“…for me, I just know that even when I’m in love, I still write about heartbreak and that’s an emotion that I draw on and I know people need to hear about that. I think that there’s strength in owning that [hurt] and sharing that and saying like, Yeah this is who I am and this is where I’m at. And I think that why people love the music.”

On being confident & finding her “sexy”:
I think, as women, we continue to evolve and find it. It even becomes as materialistic as you finding the perfect pair of shoes and just putting them on. I think it’s always a process, and I think you have to be able to find the sexy everywhere. You really have to find the sexy when you feel the ugliest, so I feel like it’s a constant evolution.

Read the full interview over at VIBE Vixen

Have you voted for me yet? Click my picture below and go to the ‘Popular Contestants’ tab to vote!

3 Ways To Simplify Your Life

This week, I’ve been commissioned by the lovely folks at Sprint to expand on the ways I simplify my life. As a blogger with a full-time job, sometimes burnout is inevitable. At the moment it’s 3AM and yes, I’m still blogging. But for anyone who wears more than one hat; whether you have extracurricular activities, children, or a small business – life can be daunting at times. Here are 3 simple ways I simplify my life:



1. Prepare.

Preparation is the antithesis of confusion. Though it may be hard at times (especially if you don’t have a personal assistant!) preparing everything you need for the coming days/weeks can make all the difference. I once read a book about efficiency and time management, and one of the key takeways was about “batching” tasks. That means doing a whole lot of one specific thing, all at one time. Bloggers, for example, can take 3 – 4 hours out of their weekend to just draft up and schedule all posts for the remainder of the week, instead of spending two hours each day on them. That’s essentially batching. And it helps!

2. Write things down.

“I know I have to do something at 5pm tonight but I can’t quite remember what…” Sound familiar? Simplify your busy schedule by writing things down! Whether it’s oldschool with a pen & paper or digitally on your iPad, writing down to-do lists and checklists can really help you remain in control. If you’re forgetful like me, this is key.


3. Know your limit.

The hardest thing for me to do, when I was in college, was saying “No”. Whether it was a friend who needed to vent for an hour, a group member slacking on their work that needed some extra “help”, or an event invite sitting in my inbox. I always felt like whatever was asked, I could do. Not true.

Knowing your own limits can truly help you avoid potential pitfalls and will essentially simplify your life. Sometimes you need a day to yourself. And that’s ok. The sooner you realize it, the faster you can take the time you need to re-energize and conquer your complicated life.

How do you keep it simple? Leave your tips in the comments section.

Sprint is the only national carrier that has truly Unlimited data for all phones while on the Sprint network with the Everything Data plan. No throttling, no metering and no overages. Plus you get Unlimited text and calling to any mobile. It’s the simple plan that allows you to use data on your phone the way it should be used. Visit http://bit.ly/xK6WDo
 
Compensation was provided by Sprint via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Sprint.

LBS Luxe List: Top 10 Statement Jewels For Spring

There’s nothing I love better in the spring & summer than a simple maxi dress, a great transitional jacket in denim or leather and amazing accessories to top it off. It’s the ultimate fool-proof ensemble! The coolest thing about a statement piece, is that it does the talking for you. Here are 10 conversation pieces you should add to your arsenal:

Armor rings are showing up all over street style galleries. They’re the new statement ring of the season. This one from Melody Ehsani is bold and adds tough luxe to any outfit.
Armor Dillo Ring, Melody Ehsani,  $45.

The statement necklace is like a work of art. Splurge on a piece that you’ll wear for a lifetime like this one from Stone Savant.

Purple Haze Necklace, Stone Savant, $433

I stumbled upon Yumnahnajah last week at Channing in the City’s 2 year blog anniversary. Upon feasting my eyes on this Mondrian ring, I swooned then died. I had to have it!

via Instagram (follow LoveBrownSugar)

It spans over all my fingers like a double finger ring – cute right?

Yumnahnajah Mondrian Ring, $25.00

You can’t help but stand out in ear candy like this. When I saw Natasha of Asili Glam rocking these during Texture on the Runway, I had to find out where she got them. 
via Instagram (follow LoveBrownSugar)

Harlem-based brand Badacious makes all types of bold statement pieces in eye-catching prints like this. 
Mezmoryze Earrings, Badacious NY, $38.00

Aside from their utilitarian use of telling time, watches are the ultimate accessory. Investing in a great one is key but there’s no reason you can’t tap into trendy ones as well.
Flud TableTurns Watch, $70.00

ToyWatch USA Velvety Orange, $200

I love this ornate cuff for its vintage feel. Treasures like this may be hard to come by at the Goodwill. Cut the hunt in half and pick this up from JCrew.
Enameled Ram Bangle, JCrew, $98.00
This statement ring is bright enough to set you apart but subtle enough for day-to-day wear.

Kenneth Jay Lane Ring, Net-A-Porter, $75.00

Tribal is almost always in for spring/summer. Get a jumpstart without having to dive headfirst into an entire printed jumpsuit, with a little taste of print on the neckline.

Aztec Masaai Necklace, Melody Ehsani, $130
Talk about heavy metal. Take a ride on the wild side with this bullet cuff from Filthy Magic. 
Bullet Bracelet, Filthy Magic, $16.00
What jewels are you looking forward to rocking this season?

Flavor of Friday: Rihanna’s Line, DVF for Gap Kids & More

Model Behavior

Refinery29 sat down with one of my favorite models Liya Kebede for a peek into her closet. She’s uber chic. And she’s a philanthropist, nothing’s more attractive than giving back.

Check out her pictorial HERE 

She Got Her Own

Word on the street is, Rihanna is planning to launch a clothing line! Yes, the Bajan princess will be releasing an eponymous line. I knew it was a matter of time.

Check out the scoop at VIBE Vixen
Transition Me Beautiful
Carol’s Daughter recently released a promo video for their new website Transitioning Movement which will be geared towards educating and empowering women who are transitioning to natural hair. How genius, right? And promo video featuring Solange Knowles is SICK.

Get more deets about the collaboration at Glamazons Blog

Kiddie Chic

DVF partnered up with Gap Kids to create the most adorable capsule collection I’ve ever seen. Let’s just say, I’m glad I have no daughters or nieces. Because if I did, my bank account would be shot. Adorbs!

View the full lookbook at Lowefactor

Happy Friday folks! What are you looking forward to this weekend?