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June 2013 archive

2013 BET Awards: The Ford Hotspot

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Ford Motor Company sent me to the #FordHotSpot to cover the activities in their social media lounge at the 2013 BET Awards. All opinions expressed herein are solely my own and not those of the company.

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My chic ride from the airport – the 2013 Ford Fusion

After a whirlwind last-minute packing spree and a 6 hour flight from NYC to LA, on Saturday I finally touched down in LA. After being picked up by a super-cure pastel colored 2013 Ford Fusion from LAX, it was straight to the J.W. Marriott L.A. Live to prep for the Ford Hotspot.

IMG_0872After arriving at the hotel, it was straight to the Ford Hotspot to chat it up with celebs stopping through. I picked up my press credentials and went straight to the lounge.

Upon arriving, I spotted hostess Toccara interviewing different celebrities test driving the brand new 2013 Ford Fusion on display. She looks great, right? Go girl!

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So many celebs stopped in to check us out at the Ford Hotspot. Everyone from Elle Varner to Tamar Braxton, Adrienne Bailon, Letoya LuckettMichelle Williams, Janelle Monae and more!

fordhotspot_celebsI was beyond excited to be a mainstay at the lounge for the second year in a row. Each blogger had their own special table for conducting interviews and lounging with the hotspot guests.

IMG_0830I managed to grab a pic with former 3LW member and reality star Adrienne Bailon.

Christina Brown, Adrienne BailonAlso, BET Award nominee Elle Varner’s curls gave me so much life. Love her!
Toccara-Elle-VarnerI had a blast at the Ford Hotspot on Saturday. Promptly after leaving the hotspot, we headed off for dinner with the Ford team and then to get some rest in preparation for the 2013 BET Awards day.
IMG_0834Stay tuned for a recap of all that I got into at the 2013 BET Awards!

2013 BET Awards: Prep Day

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Happy Friday guys! I’m back from a week-long hiatus. Things have been super crazy as I’m prepping for a slew of travel this upcoming month. So hectic that I almost forgot to check in and share my BIG NEWS!

I’m pleased to announce that for the second year, I will be heading out to LA for the 2013 BET Awards courtesy of Ford Motor Company. I will be live-tweeting, blogging and socializing as a correspondent in their #FordHotspot backstage at the BET Awards yet again. I cannot wait to get in on the live action. As I did last year with my Road to BET series, I’ll be keeping you guys up to date with live celebrity pics, red carpet updates and more from LA. If you follow me @LoveBrownSugar with the hashtags #FordHotspot and #fordand you’ll be able to see everything surrounding and leading up to Sunday’s awards.

meandcelebs.jpg Last year, I met everyone from Elle Varner to Common to Boris Kodjo and more! I’m beyond excited. Part of me hopes I catch a Beyonce sighting. Cross your fingers for me y’all. Blue Ivy here I come.

With less than 24 hours until I touch down in LA, I’m on a mad dash to find an amazing dress (ASOS has a few options for me, pick out a glam nail look (headed to the salon to find something chic now), lay this head of hair and PACK!

Here are some dresses I’m choosing between for the weekend:

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ASOS Curve Mini Dress | ASOS Skater Dress | ASOS Asymmetrical Ruffle Dress

I’m in love with all three, but I need to see them on me before deciding. Thoughts?

And I think I’m going to try out Stiletto nails for the first time:

nail_options.jpgWhich of these styles do you think I should try – Graphic Print, Solid Color Neon or Half Moon?
Thoughts on these options? Leave a comment below or holler at me in social @LoveBrownSugar and tell me your picks!


Missed me at the Ford Hotspot last year? Check out my video debut with everything you need to know about the #FordHotspot (look for me at the 1:30 mark):

LBS Fashion News: Isabel Marant for H&M Collection

isabel-marant-pour-hmBreathe, stretch and get prepared for another sold-out designer H&M collection. Designer extraordinaire, Isabel Marant, has partnered with the fab retailer to produce a winter collection for women and men. Yes, men will be included in an H&M special collection for the first time. Yes H&M. Yes.

Marant, who’s been an in-demand clothing savant since ’94, is toting a chic collection that serves her signature Bohemian/gritty/androgynous aesthetic. Are you pumped? I certainly am.

Obsessed fashion fiends have six months to pinch their pennies and prepare for the clothing flood sure to ensue. H&M is being mum on the details. We don’t even have pics, prices or sketches of the digs yet, but if classic Marant shows up – there’s no doubt I’ll be buying.
The Parisian fashion goddess has slayed runways at Paris Fashion Week season after season, premiering collections that are simple enough to wear to the park or a spontaneous date to a bookstore.
Flowing silhouettes and untraditional hems are Marant’s trademarks. Her layering techniques will work in winter. We’re eager to see what Marant produces. She promises to deliver.

“I aim at creating something real – something women want to wear in their everyday lives – with a certain carefree style,” she said. “I think this is very Parisian: You dress up, but don’t pay too much attention to it, and you still look sexy. The collection is infused with this kind of easiness and attitude. Everything can be combined following one’s own instincts, and my take on fashion is all about personality.”I’m too ready for this collection. It will be released to 250 stores and sold. I’d drive the three hours to the closest H&M for this one, but thankfully it’s being sold online as well. Sign on at 11:59 p.m. November 13 to get the leverage on the Isabel Marant collection. I think it’s going to sell-out quickly.

Check out the vid Marant did for H&M below:

Are you looking forward to Isabel Marant’s H&M collection?
 
– Evette Dionne

5 Ways To Exude Caribbean Style At Home

Now that it’s officially summer, many of you may be planning chic beachside getaways for the season. I recently took a trip to San Juan, Puerto Rico and now that I’m back stateside I’m still yearning for that carefree Caribbean style that always puts me at ease. One thing I noticed about the Caribbean is that aside from being a haven of relaxation, people there really work to live instead of living to work. There’s a clear difference, and I think just taking a few cues from this philosophy can help reduce stress and help you live a happier life. Here are some fun & easy ways to bring carefree Caribbean style home, long after the vacay:

1. Wear your favorite beachside maxi dress on a non-beach day.

Beachwear doesn’t necessarily have to be for beachside occasions. Pairing your favorite maxi dress or printed beach cover-up with the proper undergarments and accessories can give it new life, even when you’re not kicking up sand.

Maxi dresses are my absolute favorite. I dress them up for a night out or pare them down with flats for daytime.

2. Unwind with Malibu Island Spiced cocktails.

Cocktails might be my favorite part about poolside lounging while I’m on vacation. Rum, the quintessential liquor for island gals like myself, is a great base for fun & fruity drinks. Enjoy them out with your friends or in the comfort of your home. I really love the new Malibu Island Spiced rum. It has such a unique flavor infused with coconut, vanilla, and a hint of cinnamon. And get this, it’s sweetened with Truvia® so there are only 70 calories per serving. Flavorful and guilt-free? I was sold.

Malibu’s website has a really great list of special cocktails you can mix using Malibu Island Spiced. For my island-themed night at home, I mixed two of their signature cocktails – the Spiced on Ice, the Sparkling Spiced and a variation of the Chaise Lounge using Orange Juice instead of Pineapple. Here’s what I did:

Spiced on Ice is literally just 1 serving of Malibu Island Spiced over ice, garnished with lemon:

Sparkling Spiced (another low-calorie cocktail) is 1 parts Malibu Island Spice and 2 parts sparkling water:

Chaise Lounge is 1 and 1/2 parts Malibu Island Spiced and 3 parts pineapple juice, which I substituted for OJ instead:

3. Try a traditional Caribbean recipe.

One of my favorite west-Indian dishes is jerk chicken. My dad is Jamaican so I grew up eating this at home. Though it’s spicy, it tastes amazing. Depending on what recipe you use, it’s quite easy to make milder versions of this. The key to a great jerked chicken dish is in the marinade. You should let your chicken soak for at least 8 hours before broiling, grilling or baking it.


4. Bump your favorite reggae tracks.

I grew up on Sanchez and Beres Hammond. Something about smooth reggae tunes puts me in another place. This is a surefire way to bring the sun & sand of the Caribbean to your living room. Put on some of your favorite reggae tunes and get into the groove.

5. Paint your nails turquoise.

I think one of the reasons turquoise and other blue-green shades are my favorites to put on my fingers and toes is because they remind me of the ocean! I’m a believer in the power of beauty putting you in a good mood. I could be having the most horrible day but bright colors on my fingers and toes immediately lighten my mood. Try out a new aqua shade and don’t worry – be happy.

How do you exude care-free Caribbean style when you’re back stateside? 
Sound off below for your chance to win a $100 Visa Gift Card!
Sweepstakes Rules:
No duplicate comments.You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
  • Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post.
  • Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
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This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winner will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available hereThis sweepstakes runs from 6/13/13 – 6/30/13. Visit Malibu Island Spiced Rum on Facebook to get more drink recipes and join the brighter side of spiced rum!
And be sure to visit the Malibu Island Spiced brand page on BlogHer.com to read other bloggers’ posts.

SIP EASY. ENJOY MALIBU RESPONSIBLY.
MALIBU ® Caribbean Rum with Coconut Liqueur & Natural Spices, with Truvia® Sweetener. 30% Alc./Vol. (60 Proof) ©2013 Imported by Pernod Ricard USA, Purchase, NY
Truvia® and the Truvia®  logo are registered trademarks of the Truvia Company LLC.
PER 1.5 FL. OZ. SERVING. AVERAGE ANALYSIS: CALORIES 70; CARBOHYDRATES less than 1 gram; PROTEIN 0 grams; FAT 0 grams.
*when mixed with your favorite zero calorie mixer. Limes and other garnishes may add calories

LBS Beauty News: RiRi Hearts Mac Collection Launches June 18th

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Finally! The long-awaited MAC collection designed and co-signed by rocktar songstress Rihanna is finally hitting shelves in just a few short days. We can’t wait! Ever since we got our hands on RiRi Woo back in May, we’ve been itching to try out the entire collection. Here’s what MAC sent us about the collection debut:
This is more than summer love. Rihanna and M∙A∙C strike a chord with an online-exclusive colour collection created by the global superstar. Bronze and cool coral combine for a Powder Blush Duo in the unforgettable Hibiscus Kiss, while Retro Matte Lipsticks in RiRi Boy, Heaux and the instant classic RiRi Woo make a statement against sheer, shimmering skin highlighted with rose gold Lustre Drops. Available exclusively online.

Will you be purchasing this time around? Considering Rihanna’s fan base, the collection is sure to sell out!

Style Play Polish: Suit & Tie

Ladies, there is no need to limit yourselves. We can be just as dapper as the handsome suited gentlemen out there. Once again our favorite childhood boy band beaux never fails to leave an imprint of adolescent memories on our hearts or in this case on our nails.

This week’s Style Play Polish was inspired by none other than Justin Timberlake’s “Suit & Tie”, but this wouldn’t be LBS if we didn’t put a little feminine spin on it. Don’t panic! The 8 steps to achieving this look are simpler than they look.

What you’ll need:

Shop The Products:

Step 1: After prepping your nails, polish on 2 coats of your preferred white or cream colored polish.
Step 2: Using small pieces of tape, place them at angles from your cuticles creating an upside down triangle.
Step 3: Apply 2 coats of your metallic color and allow the nail polish to dry.
Step 4: Use your black polish/nail art pen to outline the metallic color on your nails.
Step 5: Create 2 black lines parallel to the metallic outlines forming a smaller triangle. You can leave the design as is, but if you’re feeling a bit more on the creative side, continue to steps 6-8.
Step 6: Paint a horizontal X on your nail as a guide for your bow-tie.
Step 7: Use your dotting tool to fill in both sides of the X with your metallic color. Also add 2-3 dots going down your nail vertically.
Step 8: To clean up the design, go over the X once more with the black polish and close off the sides. Create black dots on top of the previous metallic dots for buttons.
Before you know it, you’ll be creating nail art like the pros. Stay tuned for next week’s Style Play Polish, and don’t forget to tag us on Instagram @LoveBrownSugar with your Suit & Tie inspired looks!
– Gracie J

LoveBrownSugar Chic: Wearing White in Wacoal Smooth Complexion

Style-obsessed fashionistas know that undergarments can really make or break an outfit. I wouldn’t be caught dead in a gown at a black tie event or on a red carpet without a good supportive bra and a controlling bottom that sucks in the tummy and smoothes imperfections. They’re a must!

So one of my biggest concerns with undergarments, whenever I’m considering wearing an outfit that is either all white or sheer, is finding the proper undergarments that will be seamless and undetectable underneath. Enter Wacoal’s Smooth Complexion Collection. Unfortunately for us ladies of color, there often are not many options in the “nude” department at the store that work for our shades. Most nudes are of the lighter variety – this goes for things like shoes & also for lingerie.  Thankfully, Wacoal has taken that into consideration when creating their Smooth Complexion collection.

The collection currently comes in 4 different colors – White Swan, Naturally Nude, Praline (and for ladies my complexion or deeper) Coffee Bean!

Wacoal sent me three of the pieces in their Smooth Complexion collection including the Smooth Complexion T-Shirt Bra ($60), Smooth Complexion Long Leg Shaper ($40) and the Smooth Complexion Bikini ($18 or 3/$45). For this outfit sporting my favorite Fashion To Figure white peplum dress, I rocked both the T-Shirt Bra as well as the Long Leg Shaper for a seamless look.

The Smooth Complexion Coffee Bean shade is dark enough to be undetectable underneath my white dress. Not only that, the long leg shaper really got rid of my bumps & lumps, especially in my backside area, and it was actually comfortable believe it or not:

Ladies if you’re my complexion or darker, I highly recommend the Coffee Bean shade. The collection itself is really comfortable and lightweight, which I love. It makes me happy knowing that lingerie companies like Wacoal are taking into consideration that they have consumers of all different skin shades and really embracing it.

In celebration, all month long I’ll be pinning images to one of my Pinterest boards “My Brown is Beautiful” to celebrate this and other beautiful shades of brown.

Every skin tone is beautiful to me. Comment below and tell me why you love YOUR complexion!

This post is sponsored by Wacoal America. Opinions expressed are my own and not those of the company.

Cover Girls: Alicia Keys for Marie Claire UK

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This July, Alicia Keys sets the cover of Marie Claire UK on fire, right in time for the summer. Shot earlier this year on the island of the Bahamas by photographer Yutsai, the photos are really breathtaking. Alicia is featured in sophisticated, sexy looks from Gucci, Versace, Diane von Furstenberg and Just Cavalli. In the issue, she opens up about her first impressions of her husband, evolving and directing.

On her overall first impression of Swizz Beatz:

Swizz will have the fastest car, the biggest jewelery, the loudest jacket; everything with him is really over the top. I used to see him and think, “He is so annoying.”
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On writing “That’s When I Knew” for Swizz Beatz:

That’s when I Knew” is definitely an ode to my husband… Honestly, I didn’t really like him that much. I thought he was too ostentatious.
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On what she’s learned from her relationship:

I think we’ve taught each other a lot. He’s taught me to live more fully and I think I’ve taught him to live more deeply.
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On becoming vocal about her feelings:
You have to speak up. To say, “I don’t like that, it’s not cool, don’t do that to me”, but it’s not easy, especially with people you love. I think getting older has made me evolve in a lot of ways and made me more relaxed about saying how I feel, no matter what.

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On maintaining balance:
I realize you have to have a balance – you can live life and have more experiences as well as working.

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On becoming a director:
I fell in love with directing. Because first of all I didn’t have to get up early for make-up and, second, I’m a very diplomatic individual.

Check out the behind-the-scenes video here: http://bcove.me/96p2c38e
Thoughts on this cover? Do you love it?

Style Play Polish: Kenzo-Inspired Nails

Screw diamonds – fashion is a girl’s best friend! Some of us will go without necessities just to look and feel good in the clothes that we buy. Since most of us don’t have the funds to get our hands on all our favorite celeb designs, we can definitely improvise and rock the look on our nails by using what we already have lying around the house.

This designer’s leopard prints have been spotted (no pun intended) on some of our favorite celebrity crushes, from Solange Knowles to Beyonce to Brandy & Rita Ora:

We’re gonna show you how to get the look in 4 easy steps!

What you will need:

Step 1: After you have applied your base coat, color your nails with 2 coats of yellow polish.

Step 2: Using the ginger colored polish, paint one or two strokes across your nails in which ever direction you choose.

Step 3: Using the clicker part of the pen as a dotting tool, create polka dots on your nails using the lilac colored polish.

Step 4: To create the textured fuzz like spots, use your make-up sponge to create comma shapes around the polka dots. Seal with a top coat and you’ve got Kenzo!

Expensive taste on a budget? No problem – we got you!

Keep it sassy, classy, and creative. Get a little busy and switch up the colors, tag us on Instagram @LoveBrownSugar with your Kenzo inspired looks.
– Gracie J

Cover Girls: Serena Williams Covers Essence Magazine

On the topic of healthy living (and perfect motivation given our current LBS Beauty Detox), tennis star and sports mogul Serena Williams covers the July issue of Essence Magazine. The July issue is Essence’s Body Issue themed around loving your shape and Miss Serena is serving curvy athletic realness!

In the issue, Serena talks with Essence about her fight against a devastating pulmonary embolism over two years ago, and how at 31 she’s in the best shape of her life. About her body and age, she says “I feel lighter, I feel healthier, and even though I’m 31—which really isn’t old, but for an athlete, particularly a tennis player, it’s old—I promise you, my body has never felt better. Considering how much I’ve played and how much I’ve done, I feel fine. I’m strong.”

I don’t know about you, but this cover shot is going right up on my inspiration board. Who’s with me?