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July 2013 archive

4 Ways To Try Summer Prints With Nail Art

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Summer is my absolute favorite season. Not only for the warm weather, beach days, and picnics but also because bright colors and fun prints are a wardrobe must-have. If you’re used to sticking to neutrals during the colder months, bursting onto the summer scene in full-on prints might be a tad intimidating. But don’t worry, your wardrobe isn’t the only place you can try the trends.
Nail art is an easy way to pull off fashion-forward prints as an accessory to your look. Here are four cool ways to try the print trend the DIY nail art way:

 

1. Runway-Inspired Nails

 

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This Kenzo-inspired manicure is easily accomplished in four simple steps. If you’ve seen this print on some of your favorite celebs, I’m sure you’ve wondered how to get the look for less. This DIY nail art tutorial will show you how. It’s high fashion, quick, easy and on the cheap!

 

2. Modern Art-Inspired Nails

 

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Taking cues from artist Piet Mondrian, this manicure looks way more complicated than it actually is. You can achieve this look in six quick steps. It requires a few different nail colors applied in block strips to achieve the boxed look, and just a little precision with a black nail art brush. Give it a try, especially if you can’t afford to have a Mondrian original hanging on your wall. Instant decor for the nails!

 

3. Chevron Nails

 

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One of the simpler nail art looks that can be easily interchanged with your preferred wardrobe colors, the chevron print is a popular one this season. This tutorial features five super simple steps. It’s a bold print, and also fun and easy to do. You can tone it down for more professional setting by using two neutral palette colors. It’s a jazzier version of the french mani!

 

4. Rainbow Nails

 

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By far the most arts & craftsy of the bunch, this style might be best for a fun weekend picnic, a summer festival, or a pool party. You’ll undoubtedly stand out with multicolored nails, and the cool thing about this five-step tutorial is that it is super easy to personalize. Pick your three favorite summer colors and have at it!

 

Would you try any of these bold DIY nail art trends to upgrade your summer wardrobe? Keep me posted!

This post is part of BlogHer’s Revamp Your Style editorial series, made possible by Schick Hydro Silk.

Cover Girls: Kelly Rowland for Essence Magazine

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Kelly Rowland looks absolutely stunning on the cover of Essence Magazine’s September issue! In it, the starlet & R&B songstress talks about her past battles with self-confidence and the untold stories she alluded to on her single “Dirty Laundry”. About the Beyonce-jealousy controversy, she explained to Essence:

“For a long time I wasn’t happy, but that had nothing to do with Beyoncé,” Rowland says. “That had to do with me trying to get my life in order and make better decisions for myself. I’m seeing all these wonderful things happen for her and I am happy for her. But I want a path. I want things to pop off for me, too. Not on her level but whatever my level is supposed to be.”

I’m beyond happy for Kelly Rowland. I’ve been an avid follower of hers since her Destiny’s Child days, and I’m glad she’s finally come into her own and happy with who she is and what she’s accomplished. There’s nothing better than feeling happy regardless of how people look at you or try to judge you. Don’t you agree?

I must say I’m also INCREDIBLY excited for the Essence September issue because I make a brief cameo in it! Once I have an issue on hand, I’ll share my feature with you guys. Stay tuned!

 

For more about the exclusive Kelly Rowland cover story, check out Essence.com here:
 http://www.essence.com/2013/07/31/kelly-rowland-graces-september-issue-essence

LBS Beauty: Unlock Your Softer Side With Suave


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If you know my beauty regimen, you know that I’m no stranger to drugstore beauty and affordable products. Though I love my luxury staples as well, there are quite a few brands on the market that combine quality with affordability. Suave is one of those brands and I’ve always been a fan of their products. Everything from using their conditioner to co-wash my hair when I first went natural, to using their body washes and lotions that do the job just as well as pricier brands.

wendy-williamsSo once I found out that TV hostess, personality and homegirl-in-my-head Wendy Williams was taking the challenge to unlock her “softer” side with Suave, I had to find out what the hooplah was all about. If you guys know Wendy, you know “soft” is not typically a word used to describe her. Ever since her radio days, she’s been the hostess to say exactly what was on her mind, regardless of who was listening or who didn’t like her. Because I think she’s hilarious, and she actually gives really great hair & beauty advice on her talk show, I knew her partnership with Suave totally made sense.

suave-body-productsI decided to take the challenge to “unlock my softer side” as well and give a few of Suave’s moisturizers and body washes a test run for a week. My skin tends to get dry year-round, from winter to summer so moisture and softness is really important in maintaining my look when I step out on the NYC streets. I picked up two different moisturizers from Suave – the Suave® Skin Solutions Smoothing Body Lotion with Cocoa Butter & Shea (two of my fave ingredients) and the Suave® Skin Solutions Advanced Therapy Body Lotion.

suave-smoothing-lotionI used the Smoothing lotion to help maintain my skin and make it smooth to the touch before heading out. I love how rich it is as a moisturizer for day, and I also love the cocoa butter smell – yum!

suave-advanced-therapyAt night, before bed, I smoothed on the Advanced Therapy collection. It has a fresh crisp smell, and was really effective at relieving dry skin. I like to use heavier moisturizers at night before bed to allow them to soak into my skin overnight. I wake up with super soft skin and I always feel like it helps improve the overall condition of my skin. 

suave-sweet-pea-violetI also gave their Suave® Naturals Sweet Pea & Violet Body Wash a try. It smells amazing, and lathers really well. You can use it double duty and poor a little in under running water for a nice moisturizing bubble bath too.

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Each product has its own unique benefits. After taking the challenge, I stand by my love for Suave as a really great alternative to higher-priced products because it actually works. You shouldn’t have to splurge on key products like moisturizer and body wash when companies like Suave offer affordable options. Beauty on a budget, for real. Love it!

 
Are you a fan of Suave body products? How do you unlock your “softer” side? Tell me in the comments section below for the chance win a $100 SpaFinder gift card! 
Don’t forget to Unlock Your Softer Side, and visit Suave on Facebook
Sweepstakes Rules:No duplicate comments. You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

  1. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
  2. 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
  3. Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
  4. For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

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.
BlogHer will pool entries from participating blogs and select a sweepstakes winner at random and will contact the winner with details about fulfilling the prize.

The Official Rules are available here. This sweepstakes runs from 7/29/13 – 8/15/13.

Kickin’ It: 2013 NOLA Crawl Recap

nolacrawl_recap_lovebrownsugarI’m back from the Big Easy! I got back earlier this week and I’m still on a high from all the excitement, good food, live performances, beauty parties and more we got into on our 2013 NOLA Crawl! As I mentioned, me and the girls (Jessica of Glamazons Blog, Danielle of The Style & Beauty Doctor and Lexi of LexiWithTheCurls) headed down to New Orleans to partake in the festivities surrounding the Essence Music Festival, and we decided to put on our very own “Crawl” similar to the FNO Crawl we did last September.

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LBS Feature: Black Enterprise’s Black Blogger Month

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Guys, today is such a proud moment for me. Since Black Enterprise first began their annual Black Blogger Month series, I’ve been a close follower as some of my absolute favorite blogs were featured and highlighted. I never thought that just 4 short years after starting my own site, I would be one of the faces gracing this series. I am SO humbled and honored. This has to be one of my proudest moments to date.

Below is a snippet of the intro to the article. They made your girl tear up! Reading this was like hearing “You iz kind, you iz smart, you iz important…” over and over again a la “The Help”. Deep sigh.

Fashion has always pumped through the veins of Queens, New York native Christina Brown. It’s that passion for all things style and beauty that led the now 26-year-old editor in chic to serve as senior fashion editor of the widely recognizable campus glossy, The WALK, during her undergraduate days at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. Brown didn’t stop there, she spent her summers learning the ins and outs of the fashion industry, interning at luxury retailer Saks Fifth Avenue, and the ropes of the digital marketing field at BET.

After finding issue with the lack of diversity in fashion and media, the style maven took to the Internet, starting her blog, LoveBrownSugar.com, in July 2009. From high-end designers to mass retailers, Brown’s real-girl approach to covering the highly lucrative and competitive field of fashion has earned her recognition as one of Essence’s Fab 40 Fashion Bloggers, The Root’s 2012 Black Bloggers To Know, Huffington Post’s Top Fashion and Beauty Insiders on Instagram and Sparkah’s Top 100 Beauty Bloggers, among others. Brown has landed editorial positions at Honeyand Uptown magazines, and her insights have appeared on various media sites including The New York Times,Refinery 29 and Elle.com. And if you thought her empire only existed online, think again! Brown joined forces withLiSi Cosmetics to create her own nail lacquer, appropriately titled LoveBrownSugar.

As part of Black Blogger Month, BlackEnterprise.com caught up with the style aficionado to discuss her blooming brand, lessons learned from four years of blogging and why LoveBrownSugar is a sweet online destination.

Please click HERE for the full article: http://www.blackenterprise.com/lifestyle/black-blogger-month-lovebrownsugar-christina-brown/

I would LOVE if you guys showed your support and left comments on my Black Enterprise feature. I really wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you. Thank you SO much for your continued support!

 

LBS Beauty: My Skincare & Makeup Essentials in New Orleans

beautyessentials_collageI’m here guys! I have touched down in The Big Easy and can’t wait to jump into all the Essence Music Festival festivities including the stops we plan to make along our #NOLACrawl. In preparation for the trip, I made sure to pack a few skincare and makeup essentials that will help get me through this long humid weekend in New Orleans. Check out a few skincare must-haves I packed from Shea Moisture and makeup essentials from Cover FX:
Shea Moisture Skincare Essentials
 
sheamoisture_skincare.jpgThe best way to take care of your skin, especially with a change in climate, is to pamper it. I brought along with me some essentials like Shea Moisture’s body butter, scrubs body washes and massage oils to pamper my skin.

shea moisture coconut hibiscus body scrubThe Coconut & Hibiscus Body Scrub ($9.99) is my go-to when my skin needs some exfoliation and extra moisture. It’s also great to combat the effects of dehydration and dryness from frequent flying.

olive and green tea body lotionI swear by Shea Moisture’s Body Butter ($9.99). It’s light enough to use during all seasons but really does a great job of providing long-lasting moisture. I have it in the Olive & Green Tea scent as well as the Lavender & Wild Orchid.

threebuttersAnd even though it’s from the masculine grooming collection, I really enjoy their Three Butters Wash & Scrub and Lotion ($9.99/each). Each is infused with Shea, Mango and Avocado butters.

CoverFX Makeup Essentials

coverfx_essentialsI was first introduced to CoverFX at a launch event they hosted last year. I’ve been obsessed ever since.  I bragged about their Total Cover Cream Foundation and Matte Setting Powder in my LBS Chic: Mixed Media post last December.

cover fx highlighterWhat I really love about the CoverFX brand is the quality of their makeup essentials. This is makeup that goes on and stays put all day long.

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I also love that they place an emphasis on making colors that match different skin tones so well. I use their cream concealer in Deep and it blends really well.

coverfx blotting powderI’m also really impressed with their powders and bronzer collections. They were kind enough to send me their Illuminator, Bronzer and Blotting Powder which I plan to put to good use while in this NOLA humidity.

What are your travel skincare and makeup essentials? Have you tried any of these products?

African Pride Beauty & The Beat Beauty Suite Event + GIVEAWAY!

African-Pride-Beauty-and-the-Beat-Suite-Blogger-Crawl-jpgIf you’re headed to New Orleans this weekend for the Essence Music Festival, one must-attend event for the weekend is the African Pride Beauty & The Beat Beauty Suite. Aside from the fact that myself and my blogger buddies Jessica of Glamazons Blog, Danielle of The Style & Beauty Doctor and Lexi of LexiWithTheCurls will be attending as part of our #NOLACrawl festivities, it will be chock full of fun activities and surprises.

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The “Beauty And The Beat” Beauty Suite will be hosted by DJ Spinderella and Grammy – nominated songstress Kelly Price. This pop-up beauty experience will fuse beauty and music for a unique experience encouraging guests to travel from the 80’s to today through the journey of hair.

WHO: African Pride Hair Care

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WHAT: “Beauty and The Beat” Beauty Suite hosted by DJ Spinderella, Kelli Price and celebrities from the 80’s, 90’s and today
WHERE: Wyndham Riverfront, New Orleans
WHEN: Saturday, July 6, 2013 from Noon – 4:00pm
WHY: The African Pride Hair Care “Beauty and The Beat” Beauty Suite will serve as an oasis for female concertgoers, providing an escape to the hectic weekend festivities, while mingling with girlfriends and connecting guests with the universal language of music.
GET DIGITAL: Create your African Pride digital hair journey on MadameYou.com
GET SOCIAL: Twitter/IG – @MyAfricanPride #AfricanPrideBeautyBeat or win a chance to attend this fabulous affair on Facebook.com/MyAfricanPride
Not attending Essence Music Festival this weekend? That’s quite alright. You can get a piece of the African Pride action too! I’m giving away 5 FULL SETS of African Pride products in celebration of the beauty suite. Just (a) fill out your information in the widget and (b) leave a comment below for a chance to win:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Join us at Essence Music Festival! #NOLACrawl in New Orleans

nolacrawl_flyer_finalHappy 4th of July guys! I hope you’re all enjoying your beautiful holiday. I’m sure quite a few of you are reading this from the sunny streets of New Orleans as many of you are down there for the Essence Music Festival. I had a blast when I attended last year for the first time.

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For those of you who are there, and for those who can’t be there but want to follow along in the excitement, myself and some of my favorite fellow bloggers Jessica of Glamazons Blog, Danielle of The Style & Beauty Doctor and Lexi of LexiWithTheCurls are hosting our very own #NOLACrawl!

What exactly is a “crawl”? Well it’s very similar to the Fashion’s Night Out Crawl we all collaborated on last September. We made quite a few stops all around NYC that evening in celebration of FNO. And you guys, our lovely readers and friends, came right along with us! Here’s a video to jog your memory:

You ready for Part 2 in New Orleans? We are! Thanks to our wonderful #NOLACrawl sponsors African Pride, Shea Moisture and Cover FX, here’s what we’re getting into during this weekend’s Essence Music Festival festivities:

 

Saturday, July 6th

12:00PM – 4:00PM: African Pride Beauty & The Beat Suite hosted by DJ Spinderella, Kelli Price and celebrities from the 80’s, 90’s and today! We’ll be there from 1:00PM – 3:00 PM.

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Wyndham Riverfront 701 Convention Center Boulevard, New Orleans

2:00PM – 5:00PM: SheaMoisture Meet & Greet with Curly Nikki and Celebrity Stylist Diane Bailey. Come out for consultations on hair care and color! We’ll be stopping by from 3:30PM – 5:00PM

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321 Chartres Street Between Bienville and Conti Streets (across from W Hotel French Quarter)
Sunday, July 7th

1:00PM – 6:00PM*: SheaMoisture Day Party with hair consultations by celebrity hairstylist Felicia Leatherwood (we’ll also be there chatting about SheaMoisture’s skincare line and helping you guys with purchases). We’ll be there from 12:00PM – 2:00PM. (*Shop opens at 11AM, party starts at 1PM)

SheaMoisture NOLA Popup Shop
321 Chartres Street Between Bienville and Conti Streets (across from W Hotel French Quarter)

2:00PM – 4:00PM: Cruise the Convention Center–we’ll be checking out the various booths, seeing the sights, and celeb-spotting!

 
900 Convention Center Blvd New Orleans
 
Hope to see you guys there! Follow along with us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and everywhere in between using the hashtag #NOLACrawl to keep track of all the festivities!
Have you ever been to Essence Music Festival? Are you attending this year? Holla at me below!

 

Shea Moisture’s Chic Pop-Up Shop in New Orleans

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If you’re planning to be in New Orleans this weekend (or even if you reside there and want to stop by), Shea Moisture has your skincare & hair needs on lock with their new NOLA pop-up shop!

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You guys already know I’m a huge fan of Shea Moisture’s skin and hair products. From their body scrubs and oils to their curl products and their Art of Color at-home hair color, I’m a big supporter of their approach to all-natural, yet effective products. Hence, me and my #NOLACrawl buddies will be spending quite a bit of time at the pop-up shop this weekend.

Here’s a rundown of all the cool #SheaMoistureNOLA stuff happening. Everything is free to the public, so be there or be square:

Friday, July 5th –  5:00PM – 8:00PM

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This one should be fun. Some of my favorite bloggers will be there PLUS first 50 guests get free swag!
Saturday, July 6th 2:00PM – 5:00PM
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Meet & greet natural hair guru Curly Nikki and celebrity stylist Diane Bailey. There will be hair consultations and skincare recommendations from yours truly and the #NOLACrawl crew as we’ll be attending between 3:30 and 5:00PM.
Sunday, July 7th 1:00PM – 6:00PM
 
SheaMoisture NOLA Popup Shop
Sunday is all about a good day party! Shea Moisture will be keeping the NOLA party going with special appearances by stylist Felicia Leatherwood, and of course me and the #NOLACrawl crew will be in the building as well.

Can’t wait! Have you tried Shea Moisture products? Will you be partying with us down in NOLA?

2013 BET Awards: The Big Day

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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.

9:00AM – Preparing For The Awards

asos_dressesSo early in the morning, it dawned on me that the ASOS dresses I told you guys about in my prep day post alas were not going to make it to me in time for the BET Awards. They were to be sent overnight and sadly didn’t make it to LA in time. Thankfully, I ALWAYS have a plan B, C and D and I had a few different options with me to choose from for the red carpet.

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I opted for this Bar III dress (on sale for $40.99) from Macy’s which was a beautiful shade of yellow, complimented my skin well and also was a great fit for my body type.

Hair: Pin Curls

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So, for the sweet & sexy look I opted for a head full of bouncy curls. I tamed my natural curls with a John Frieda by Conair flat iron and a RED by Kiss curling wand. I then proceeded to use the curling wand on my extensions as well.

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My super simple product arsenal! I never put heat on my hair without first using a heat-protecting oil. I really love the Ouidad Salon Series Mongogo Oil spray. It’s really light, smells amazing and protects my hair from intense heat. I also used hair pins to hold the curls in place and let them set. And I used a cheapie firm holding spray from Suave that I snagged at the pharmacy last-minute.

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I just used the flat iron to straighten out my natural curls on top and so they would blend seamlessly with my extensions. Then, I used the curl wand all around my head for perfect rounded wave/ringlets.

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All curled and pinned up! Next up was DIY stiletto nails.

Nails: DIY Stiletto Nails

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So I found this super simple YouTube tutorial on DIY stiletto nails. Instead of spending a ton of money at the salon, I opted for the DIY route with KISS press-on nails in ‘Active Oval”.

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All I did was apply the nails, and then shape them into the pointed stiletto shape I desired. I then opted for simple black polish (Maybelline Color Show in Onyx) with a white cross design.

1:00PM – Arrival at the Red Carpet

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Voila! The final product: Dress courtesy Bar III. Shoes by Zara. Vintage clutch. Necklace by H&M. Ring courtesy Glitterrings.


3:00PM Ford Gives Back

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As part of Ford’s initiatives to give back, they gave one lucky viewer the opportunity to win a VIP Experience at the 2013 BET Awards as part of Ford’s “Rolling With Ford AND The BET Awards Contest.” Byron (on the right), the winner of the contest, took part in a VIP Experience during this year’s awards show and also appeared live during the “106 & Park” BET Awards Pre-Show in which Shawn Thompson (head of Multicultural Marketing at Ford) gifted him with a brand new Ford car! So amazing.

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Congrats to Byron! Nothing like a taking home a brand new car to make you warm & fuzzy inside.

4:00PM – Red Carpet Arrivals

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We ran into quite a few celebs on the red carpet. Everyone looked fab (some more chic than others) and everyone seemed to be in a pleasant mood in anticipation of the the show starting.
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Over at the Ford Hotspot, Toccara interviewed celebs like Jamie Foxx, Angela Bassett, Gabrielle Douglas and more.
Check out a few of my Instagram pics from the weekend:
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I had an absolutely fab time out in LA for the BET Awards. Special thanks to Ford for hosting me for the weekend, and for always inspiring me to “Go Further”. This time last year I was in awe that the very awards show that I started my blog around back in 2009 was hosting me nearly 3 years later. I’m still in awe at how much I’ve accomplished, and companies like Ford make it possible for little ole bloggers like me to see our dreams come true. So I have to thank them for that.
And thank YOU guys for following my journey. None of this would ever be possible without your support! Love ya!