July 2014 archive

LBS Exclusive: Gabrielle Union Skin Care Secrets With Neutrogena


Recently I was offered the opportunity to chat with the lovely and super talented Gabrielle Union. Yes, the Being Mary Jane protaganist herself. Not only am I obsessed with her sense of style but I think she has one of the prettiest faces in Hollywood. Her skin? Flawless! I met her once at an event at the Essence Magazine headquarters and she rubbed my baby bump (I was preggers with #babybrownsugar).


All I kept thinking was “Her skin is so dewy and amazing. Must Steal Gabrielle Union Skin Care Secrets!”

So when Neutrogena told me that they were partnering up with Gabrielle to host their Buy 1 +Donate 1 Program (which essentially means that Neutrogena will donate 1 sunscreen product to a family in need for every Neutrogena sunscreen product that YOU buy between May and July), I knew I had to pick her brain. I asked her everything from what’s in her beauty bag to which sunscreen product is her favorite.

Check out what she had to tell us:

Two products Gabrielle has in common with me as a fave – Neutrogena’s Beach Defense Sunscreen Stick (with SPF 50) AND the Oil-Free Acne Wash in Pink Grapefruit! That stuff will literally zap any all zits in a matter of days – I love it!


Support + Shop Neutrogena Sunscreen Products:


 Which sunscreen products are your faves? Do you use sunscreen every day?

This post is sponsored by Neutrogena. All opinions expressed herein are my own and not those of the company.


Sick Site Spotlight: Foxy Mango


There is no shortage of online beauty retailers. From tried & true stores with bricks & mortar locations like Sephora to smaller more specialized sites like DooBop, the websites that cater to beauty addicts like myself are endless. What I love, though, is that the internet makes it so easy to find a small niche of beauty lovers and cater to just them. Well, this week’s Sick Site spotlight – FoxyMango.com – does just that. A site that caters to women of color seeking affordable natural, organic, and safe-ingredient hair and skin care products, FoxyMango.com boasts fresh, body-happy goods from small independent retailers with amazing products. The owner Cheryl Rose had this to say about the creation of the site:

“The shop came from my own search for hair care products designed for textured hair, that also contained healthy and safe ingredients. There were little to no brands that met both of those needs that I was happy with from my local Target or even Whole Foods…so my husband and I decided to start one.”

Foxy MangoIf you’re that girl who likes to support small beauty businesses and also likes to be “that friend” who discovered “that product” first – this site is definitely for you. Also, if you’re an organic girl who likes to be green from the inside-out, this site for you too. The owner of FoxyMango explains:

“…there’s enough “junk” in the environment, in products, and on my meal plate, that I can’t control and that could be harmful to my health with collective and long-term exposure. Why add to the risk with items I can control, like personal care and beauty products?”

Orange ThymeFoxy Mango does a great job of showcasing natural and organic brands with eye-catching products. I stumbled on this brand Orange Thyme while on the site that boasts scented soaps and lip balms that I can’t wait to try out. They look so pretty!

They have a carefully curated selection of hair products like Anita Grant organic clay deep conditioners and Soultanics detanglers.

Acure Argan OilSome skincare highlights on the site include this brand Acure which I first discovered on the site with reasonably priced organic skincare products. They have everything from facial scrubs and serums to Argan Oil Cleansing Towelettes. I’m kind of obsessed with skincare products so I spent a LONG time perusing the skincare section. It’s up to par, trust.

They also offer these super cute tote bags from Emily McDowell with hilarious saying on them.

Emily McDowell Tote BagsTake a few minutes out of your busy day and browse around FoxyMango.com. You’re bound to find something that catches your eye!

LBS x FoxyMango DEAL (10% OFF)

If you guys are heading to FoxyMango.com use code LBS10 for an exclusive 10% OFF discount for LoveBrownSugar.com readers only towards any purchase on the site!

Happy shopping!

What To Pack For Thailand

what-to-pack-for-thailandNow that I’ve decided where I’m headed on my dream getaway destination as well as my dream itinerary, now all I have to worry about is what to pack for Thailand! As part of the last post in my Dream Getaway series with the Capital One Venture Rewards Card I’ve decided to rundown a list of all my must-haves for the trip. I looked up the best times to travel to Thailand and it looks like my best bet, because I’m a beach bum and I want it to be hot, is to head there sometime between April and May. This is when Thai is the warmest and it’s the best time to hit the beach. Because I plan on going to multiple areas of Thailand and doing as much as I possibly can, I’m not planning to pack too much. I like to keep it light & right. With that in mind, here are the travel essentials I plan to bring to Thailand when I go.

Related: My Dream Travel Itinerary – Thailand

For Beach Excursions in Phuket:

phi_phi_island_beachPhoto Source

I poked around Expedia’s “Things To Do” tab and found that if you plug in the city you’re headed to you can find exclusive excursions and activities for whatever city you’re visiting. So I then typed in “Phuket” and found this really cool beach excursion to “Snorkel and Sightsee on the Phi Phi Islands” which is exactly what I planned on doing while in Phuket. Using the Capital One Venture Rewards Card, you can book an excursion like this on your card and wipe it clean from your credit card statement with the right amount of rewards points. Capital One allows you two rewards points for every dollar spent – no blackout dates, which is perfect for booking an excursion like this. Here’s what I would pack for a beach excursion in Phuket:

  • Convertible Maxi Dress (easy to take from day to night)
  • Sarong (in a fun fabric that can double as a head wrap)
  • Bathing Suit (cute enough for beachside pics and sturdy enough for snorkeling)
  • Flip-Flops (these are a Thailand essential)
  • Beach Bag (to store extra sunscreen, a waterproof camera and my floppy beach hat)
  • Sunscreen (to protect my skin from sunburn)
  • Wide-Brimmed Hat (to protect my head from the intense Thai sun)

 Related: My Dream Getaway Destination

For Sightseeing in Bangkok:


So I plan to do a full-day excursion in Bangkok. On Expedia, there are really cool options for daytime excursions like this “Floating Market, Elephant Show and Rose Garden” Tour that literally allows me to knock out 2 of my top activities for Thailand – the floating market and seeing the elephants! With the Capital One Venture Card, you have the ultimate flexibility to book on any day and at any time you’d like. There are no blackout dates – win! Here are a few important things I plan to pack for sightseeing in Bangkok:

  • Backpack (to keep my digital camera and some snacks handy)
  • Flashlight (Thailand is prone to blackouts – just in case!)
  • Digital Camera (to snap all of the fun memories)
  • Denim Cutoffs (to keep cool and comfortable)
  • Light Jacket (in case of rainfall, and for areas with intense A/C)

I know it probably doesn’t seem like a ton, but that’s exactly the way I like it. I plan to pack light and bring a BIG bag so I can do some shopping and bring back lots of souvenirs.

How would you pack for your dream getaway? Did I miss anything? Let me know!

This post is sponsored by Capital One. All opinions expressed herein are my own and not those of the company.

Embracing a Healthier Me, One #TinyWin at a Time


So a few weeks ago I did a post about my #FABFit challenge in which I made a promise to myself to do my best to eat healthier and cleaner, cut down on my calorie intake and start to work out. It wasn’t a “diet” or a “cleanse” or anything dramatic. Just me and some friends dedicating ourselves to doing better and making small changes in our lifestyles that would eventually lead to big results over time.

Well I’m proud to say that since starting my challenge to a healthier me, I’ve not only lost over 12 pounds but I’ve also gained a tremendous sense of awareness about how change REALLY takes place. It’s not about a crash diet or a crazy 6-week workout regimen, or even one particular “miracle” product. It’s about making healthier choices and decisions each day, no matter how small.


This is exactly why I was so excited to partner up with Crystal Light’s #TinyWin campaign. Cutting down on excessive calories is just one small piece of the puzzle towards being healthier. Crystal Light obviously helps with making the switch from high-calorie beverages by providing low or no-calorie options that are still delicious and make it easier for you to make the transition. Whether it’s mixing up a mocktail with one of their powdered mixes instead of a high-calorie cocktail or simply choosing to walk up the stairs instead of taking the elevator at work in the morning, celebrating just one tiny win a day leads you to ultimately embracing a healthier you. So here are some of the GOOD habits I’ve picked up after my recent fitness challenge:

1. Drinking WAY more water.

One of the most important ways to live a healthier lifestyle is to drink more H20. As a building block of life, it’s the best way to hydrate yourself. I’ve never really had a problem with drinking water straight up without any flavoring or extra anything added to the mix. But I know so many people who need great taste in order to get their extra liters of water in for the day. Do what you need to! I’d suggest trying out Crystal Light’s Liquid on-the-go packs. They’re great for flavoring your water when you’re out and about and don’t have much time.

2. Exercising at LEAST twice a week.


So I started both Zumba and Kickboxing classes and I LOVE them. I’ve posted on my Instagram page before about my new love for my group exercise classes. I’ve found that working out in a group is best for me because I’m motivated around other people. It makes exercising easier for me.

3. Eating more GREEN.


Can I be real with y’all for a sec? I really don’t like vegetables. Yeah I said it. Eating more vegetables has been my biggest challenge and the only way I’ve been able to get more green into my life is with creative recipes and juicing. I’ve developed an affinity for green juices in the morning (and when I get a sweet tooth!) and I’ve also tried quite a few new salad and grilled veggie recipes that are now my staples. It’s not as difficult as you think. Once you being to experiment and find what works for you, the rest falls right into place.

So, what are some of YOU doing to keep yourself healthy despite the “lazy summer” draws of BBQ & beer every weekend. Share your #tinywin with the class and let’s motivate each other!

This post was sponsored by Crystal Light. Opinions expressed herein are my own and not those of the company.

Kickin’ It: On The Run Tour With Carol’s Daughter

on-the-run-carols-daughterLast Friday, I was honored to have the opportunity to attend the “On The Run” tour featuring Beyonce and Jay-Z here in the NY/NJ area with the lovely team at Carol’s Daughter. If you know me, you already know how HYPED I get about a Beyonce concert. Last year I saw the Mrs. Carter tour THREE times. Yes, I’m a crazed Bey fan and I’m totally not ashamed.

on-the-run-car-selfieAnyway, I was picked up at my house around 6PM and we headed over to the Meadowlands as the concert was held at the MET Life Stadium.Of course I was a complete goofball and took selfies in the backseat. Don’t judge.

selfie-lovebrownsugar-on-the-runI had actually never been to the Met Life Stadium. It’s pretty amazing and was a great location for the concert.

red-asos-dressFor my concert look, I decided to opt for a sexy but tasteful red dress that I snagged on ASOS.com over a year ago. I haven’t been able to fit into it in forever! Thanks to my FABFit regimen I’m fitting into some of my old clothes again post-BabyBrownSugar. I also opted for some leopard print wedges. I love how leopard looks with red outfits, and these ASOS wedges are super comfortable – perfect for dancing!

on-the-run-met-life-stadiumCarol’s Daughter had a really dope suite facing the left side of the stage. The stadium is massive – this is only half of it.


The suite was of course filled with all my favorite CD goodies. On display was the Sacred Tiare collection (which I reviewed here), their Curl Milk collection and more.

on-the-run-photobooth-picsOne of my fave style bloggers Monroe Steele was there with Carol’s Daughter as well. She is such a sweetheart and she has such great style.


You guys should definitely check out her blog FashionSteele.

shanel-odum-deena-campbellI also ran into two editors who were very influential in my career when I used to work for magazines. Shanel Odum, who’s currently the EIC of VIBE Vixen (she was editor-in-chief at Honey Magazine) and Deena Campbell, who’s currently the Hair & Beauty Editor at Essence.com (she was my coworker at UPTOWN Magazine). Love these two!

suite-met-life-stadiumOnce the concert got started I got to work twirling and twerking to Beyonce’s hits. Obvi, I know all the choreography. And I got equally turned up to Jay-Z’s set.

on-the-run-tour-met-life-stadiumThey did such a great job of merging both acts seamlessly. And they closed the concert hand in hand with a heart-melting reel of the two of them with their daughter Blue Ivy.

beyonce-tour-on-the-run-met-lifeIt was SO adorable and perfect. If the On The Run tour is coming to a city near you, you MUST go. Grab your besties and go. Seriously. The best part of the night (yes, EVEN better than seeing Beyonce perform live) was getting to hang out with Carol’s Daughter creator Lisa Price. It was really a complete full circle moment for me even being invited to the concert with her brand team.


Back when I was a freshman at PENN and first getting my feet wet as a writer, I wrote for a small publication on my college campus called Little Black Book. It was geared toward women of color on campus. And my first MAJOR interview was with Lisa as an up & coming entrepreneur. I was fascinated by her and by her business.


Carol’s Daughter has grown leaps and bounds since then. That was almost 9 years ago! I just feel so blessed to have been able to share this experience. What inspired me most is that these women that I look up to are mothers as well. The theme of the night really was that with hard work and dedication, you can do anything. When in doubt, think of women like Beyonce and Lisa Price.

Have you seen Queen Bey live in concert? Planning to? Soundoff below!

My Dream Travel Itinerary: Thailand

dream-itinerary-thailandSo a few weeks ago I shared with you all that I’ve been tapped by Capital One to share some of my travel experiences as well as my dream destinations with you all in a series about the new Capital One Venture Rewards Card. I’m especially excited about this series because I’ve always recapped my past travel experiences for you guys but I’ve never shared what destinations are on my bucket list. In the first post, I revealed that Thailand is my ultimate dream destination, for a number of reasons. From the food that I ADORE to the beautiful landscape, the shopping and of course the excursions, I adore everything about Thailand and can’t wait to set my feet on Thai grounds one day. Until then, a girl can dream. So here’s a list of the things that are part of my dream travel itinerary when I finally make it to Thailand:

Eat & Play in Bangkok

floating-market-in-bangkok-thailand.jpg(Photo: BackyardTravel.com)

If you know me, you know I love to eat. I LOVE good food. I’m a fat kid at heart and I’m not ashamed. Thai food happens to be one of my favorite types of cuisine, so first on my list of to-do’s is hitting up the Floating Market in Bangkok to get some authentic Thai cuisine. There will be plenty of time to sample the food at the restaurants. But when I go away, I like to try food from the most authentic sources whether it’s a mom & pop shop down the road or a street vendor in the local neighborhood. So the Floating Market is my first stop in Bangkok. Girl’s gotta eat.

Bangkok-Grand-Palace(Photo Credit: LuxuryPrivateTravel.com)

Call me corny but my intrigue for Thailand grew even deeper after reading NY Times Bestseller “Eat, Pray, Love” about a woman’s international journey to finding herself with her last stop being in Thailand. Temples were such an integral part of her trip – for meditation, self-discovery and so much more. I couldn’t go to Thailand without exploring the luxurious and regal Temple of the Emerald Buddha inside the Royal Grand Palace in Bangkok.

Thailand Elephant Ride(Photo Credit: DiscoveryAdventures.com)

And finally, I couldn’t leave Thailand without fulfilling my America’s Next Top Model dream of posing atop a Thai elephant and taking a flawless picture. It must be done! Let’s hope I have enough courage to actually get up there when the time comes.

Sleep & Relax in Phuket

phuket-thailand(Photo Credit: Fabtimeshare.com)

After Bangkok, I’d be headed to Phuket to experience the pristine beaches, epic private boat rides, marine wildlife and relaxation of the secluded islands in the area. Phuket has some of the most beautiful beaches on the planet. So this is where you’d find me for the rest of the trip.


My dream accommodations would be the Anantara Phuket Villas. Each villa has it’s own private plunge pool (get your life!), there’s an exclusive spa on-site, a cooking school, a myriad of private restaurants and more! This is one of the top-rated hotels in Phuket. With a rewards card like the Capital One Venture Card, you could easily book a stay here on your favorite travel website and use your rewards to wipe the slate clean. You could even charge your transportation to and from the airport to the card and use rewards towards your statement. I mean…Anantara here I come? I can just feel the cool water in between my toes.


For years, I’ve been hearing that Thailand has the BEST massage therapists in the east and that their spa services are so reasonably priced. Obviously one of the things on my itinerary when I get to Thailand is to book an outstanding masseuse for a back massage on site.

phuket-thailand-fruits(Photo Credit: WeLovePhuket-Thailand.com)

I also love sampling local and exotic fruits. So that’s another thing I’ll be snatching up from the local markets – authentic fruits and delectables native to Thailand.


There’s SO much more I’d love to do in Thailand. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Obviously if I go I’d need to stay for at least a full 7 days to experience all I want. Rewards cards like the Capital One Venture Rewards Card make my Thailand excursion dreams a little closer to reality. You can literally use the rewards to redeem travel rewards anywhere and under ANY carrier. No restrictions and blackouts. It’s the TRUTH. Thanks to Capital One this dream destination might not be a “dream” for much longer. For now, Thailand is all over my vision board and I’m speaking it into existence that I’ll be there within another year or so.

What about you? What’s on your dream getaway itinerary? Exploring the pyramids in Egypt? Feeding penguins in the Galapagos? Share them with the class below!

This post is sponsored by Capital One. All opinions expressed herein are my own and not those of the company.

Kickin’ It: EDEN BodyWorks Celebrate My Beauty Event

eden-bodyworks-celebrate-my-beautyThis past weekend I announced that one of our main #NOLACrawl stops during Essence Fest would be the Eden Bodyworks “Celebrate My Beauty” event. In addition to running a really cool giveaway featuring the Coconut Shea Collection HERE, the girls and I made a special appearance at their New Orleans event at the W Hotel which was chock full of exciting beauty stations and activities.


As the event was about celebrating our beauty, each corner of the room had activities that focus on beauty from the inside out. There were makeup demos being done by makeup artists on-site.


The suite featured fun manicures and hand massages, as well as back massage stations.


And for beauty on the inside, there were green smoothies being mixed up with all fresh and natural ingredients.


So delicious and a really nice touch considering Eden Bodyworks products are made from all-natural ingredients as well.


All of the Eden Bodyworks collections were on display and actually free for the taking, including their Peppermint Tea Tree collection, the Jojoba Monoi collection and the Coconut Shea collection.


Every guest walked home with free products to try out at home.


Of course the girls and I took pics in the fun Eden Bodyworks photobooth.


It was such a fun & exciting event and a great way to kick off their “Celebrate My Beauty” nationwide tour.

Atlanta-based beauties, if you’re free on Thursday, July 10th from 6pm – 8pm you should definitely check out the Eden Bodyworks “Celebrate My Beauty” event in Atlanta at the W Hotel!

RSVP HEREhttps://www.eventbrite.com/e/eden-bodyworks-presents-celebrate-my-beauty-in-atlanta-tickets-12028638983

This post was sponsored by Eden Bodyworks. All opinions expressed herein are my own and not those of the company.

My Experience With Ford at the 2014 Essence Festival

ford-lovebrownsugar-essence-festivalSo this past weekend, I filled you guys in on all the exciting things Ford had in store at the 2014 Essence Festival. As the title sponsor of our #NOLACrawl and our Style Suite event, we spent the good part of our Essence Fest weekend experiencing all the brand had to offer whether it was at the Convention Center, the Mainstage or elsewhere. I had an incredible time as a guest of Ford this weekend. Check out all I got into:

more this way

The 2014 #NOLACrawl Style Suite Presented by Ford


This past weekend in New Orleans, Essence Fest had it’s fair share of exciting highlights. The biggest highlight of them all, of course, was the #NOLACrawl Style Suite I co-hosted with fellow bloggers Jessica of Glamazons Blog, Lexi of LexiWithTheCurls and Sekou Writes of SimplyRides.com.

SI_Nola-Flyer-Updated FINAL- Alt Black

Presented by Ford and sponsored by Beautiful Textures, the Style Suite was an exciting daytime suite complete with complimentary cocktails, light bites, mini manicures courtesy OPI, product giveaways by Beautiful Textures and Indique Hair, an interactive photobooth, a live DJ set and more! VIP gift bags also included products from OPI, Curls, U by Kotex, and Red Bull.


First let me say that planning this exclusive Style Suite was no easy feat. Myself and the co-hosts of #NOLACrawl wanted the event to be a full-on celebration, we wanted it to be completely FREE for all of our invited guests, intimate and TONS of fun.

nolacrawl-style-suite-cohostsMission accomplished. Everyone who attended had a great time celebrating our second annual #NOLACrawl in style.

angela-simmons-cohostsWe had a celebrity guest appearance by stylish correspondent and entrepreneur Angela Simmons who looked amazing.

christina-brown-deena-campbell-jessica-andrewsHair & Beauty Editor Deena Campbell from Essence.com stopped in to say hello!

nolacrawl-claire-fashion-bomb-dailyFashion blogger Claire of TheFashionBomb popped in to kiki with us.

carmen-blakely-tasha-burton-nolacrawlCarmen of Lipstick Fashion Mascara, Tasha Burton of Belle Butters

kela-walker-tiffany-gaitlin-christen-rochonTiffany of Tastemakers Magazine, Kela of Kela’s Kloset and Christen of  Divas and Dorks were there.

reiko-gods-fave-shoesI also finally got to meet Reiko of God’s Favorite Shoes who I’ve been following for a while. Love her!


We posed and did kissy faces in the photobooth. Who doesn’t love a great photobooth?

winners-nolacrawlAnd, best of all, we gave away exclusive gifts courtesy Beautiful Textures (6-month’s supplies of products) and Indique Hair (4 bundles of hair).

A great time it was. I can’t wait for next year’s Essence Fest and NOLACrawl. New Orleans is a beautiful city and the festival is one of the best places to meet new faces and interact with people from all walks of life.

Thank you to EVERYONE who supported the brand this year and who followed along on our #NOLACrawl. You guys are the best. ‘Til next year!

GIVEAWAY: EDEN Bodyworks Coconut Shea Collection

eden-bodyworks-coconut-shea-glamazons-blogAfter a long and exhausting trip from NYC to New Orleans, I’m finally here and I’m so excited about heading to the EDEN Bodyworks #CelebrateMyBeauty event today! I mentioned it in my post yesterday and today is the day it takes place. If you’re in New Orleans this weekend for Essence Fest you should DEFINITELY plan to stop by between 3pm and 5pm.

PrintI’m a huge fan of EDEN Bodyworks. I swear by their Peppermint & Tea Tree Hair Milk (see here). I just recently received some of their newest products from the Coconut Shea collection and I love them! In preparation for my hair look this weekend, I deep conditioned my hair with the Coconut Shea Hair Masque.

eden-bodyworks-hair-masqueI’m going to be rocking both my natural hair and extensions this weekend so to protect my hair from the heat and humidity, I always deep condition so my hair is smooth and stays frizz free for longer. The masque did the trick and my curls felt really moist after using it. I also love that the brand is filled with all natural goodness.


For those of you who aren’t in town for the #CelebrateMyBeauty event this weekend, I’m giving away a collection of EDEN Bodyworks Coconut Shea products just for YOU!

Rules for Entry:

1. Leave a comment below telling me how you “celebrate your beauty”!

2. Enter your information in the widget below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Good luck! Follow the hashtag on social media #CelebrateMyBeauty to see updates from the event!