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LBS Chic: 90’s Style Inspiration by VH1’s The Breaks

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True story – when I saw VH1’s trailer for “The Breaks”, I was hyped. I love the 90’s. No really. As a late-80’s baby, I grew up in the 90’s and I still get nostalgia thinking about all the iconic style. I loved everything about it from the boombox culture to the dark-lip-and heavy brow beauty moments to the graphic sweats and ripped jeans.

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So when elements of 90’s style (like the dark lip, the choker, distressed denim) came back into mainstream as cyclical fashion does, I embraced it with open arms.

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VH1’s The Breaks series currently airs on Monday nights on VH1, and it picks up where the original TV-movie left off. If you saw it, you know it’s set in New York City in 1990, at the height of rap’s “Golden Age” of creativity.

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The main character Nikki (Afton Williamson) lands a dream job as the assistant to the legendary and out-of-control Barry Fouray (Wood Harris) while her best friend and producer DeeVee (Mack Wilds) is working with new rapper Ahm (Antoine Harris), who is currently under investigation by the police for murder. It’s crazy yall. But so SO good. Check out the trailer below:

If you haven’t seen it, you need to get your life. They’re currently offering a full Season Pass to the series on iTunes. With a pass, you own every episode plus bonus content, so you never miss a beat (corny pun, I know).

 

One of you lucky folks will get a Season Pass for FREE courtesy the folks at VH1! Just leave a comment on this post sharing your favorite memory or style trend from the 90’s. We’ll contact you when a winner is chosen. Good luck!

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Photography by Royal Light

ABOUT THE BREAKS

Official Website | Facebook | Twitter

This post is sponsored by VH1. All opinions expressed above are my own and not those of the company.

LBS Mompreneur Diaries (Working Mom Edition): Asmau Ahmed

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I’ve partnered up with Capital One for another “Working Mom” edition of LBS Mompreneur Diaries, featuring women of color who are killing it at work and at home. Capital One is consistently recognized for its exceptional workplace culture and for supporting diversity and inclusion initiatives across the entire organization. That’s why I’m excited to present this series, because Capital One gets it. They’ve been ranked on Fortune’s “100 Best Places to Work” and Working Mother Magazine’s “100 Best Companies” to name a few.

Hopefully you read and loved our last interview with Alicia Thompson. This week’s featured mom is Asmau Ahmed. As a mother of two and an engineer turned entrepreneur, Asmau Ahmed is the founder of tech startup Plum Perfect and now a leader in Digital Project Management at Capital One. Asmau founded a venture-funded tech start up whose groundbreaking visual search and recommendation engine she nurtured from an idea to a product embraced by top retailers, major brands, and consumers in over 150 countries. Asmau is one of only 12 black women to have raised more than $1million in VC funding. We talked about her transition from entrepreneur to intrapreneur at Capital One, how she achieves work/life balance, the importance of STEM education, and how she’s helping to close the tech gap for women of color.

 

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Why did you want to become an engineer?
I’ve loved the sciences for as long as I can remember. My dad was an aeronautical engineer so I’m sure that was part of my influence. My mom nurtured my love for science at an early age and supported me. She actually turned our laundry room into a chemistry lab for me.

As someone who has been an entrepreneur, what insights are you bringing to your role at Capital One?
Most entrepreneurs thrive on the concept of having an idea and being able to see that idea turn into a product or service that people eventually engage with. With Plum Perfect, I started out with an idea to build a visual search engine that would utilize social media to build commerce and advertising. It was just a concept. Part of why I joined Capital One is that I’m able to do that same thing here. I get to have an idea or concept, build it out, and then see it go to market. I didn’t want to be at an organization where that concept got lost. At Capital One, there really is a culture of innovation.

Can you share how you bring balance to your life, managing family and work?
That was huge for me when I was contemplating this role. It was critical for me to be able to maintain balance. Most people say you’re never able to create true balance but I wanted to feel like there was an end to “work” and a start to “home”. I wouldn’t have joined the Capital One team if I didn’t feel that balance was supported. That’s the culture we have here. There were times that I wasn’t able to achieve that as a full-time entrepreneur. I remember there was an entire week that went by and I would leave for work before my son woke up and get home after he went to bed. That’s when I realized that lifestyle was not sustainable long term.

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With that said, it is a busy home and work schedule and I have obligations outside of those areas as well, like Plum Perfect. Capital One encourages me to maintain my ideas and experiences outside of my role here. I have worked at many organizations before, and I don’t think I would have the same level of balance that I do now if it wasn’t for Capital One.

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Why is STEM education important, particularly for little girls of color?
When people say STEM careers, most people think of engineering. But it really affects everything we do today. Whether you’re a writer, or a doctor or a driver, STEM careers affect and touch everyone. Having a STEM foundation will be important in participating in this new technology wave. Tech is defining an evolution in so many areas, even medicine.

Particularly with girls of color, there is a tech gap today. The tech industry can be biased. We build technologies based on our personal experiences. So when you have mostly white men building these technologies, you’re going to find a huge gap between what applies to us (as women of color) and what applies to them. And that gap is widening daily. I spoke recently at digitalundivided’s 2017 BIG Demo Day sponsored by Capital One. And there were so many brilliant ideas presented, by women of color, that might have gone unheard if it weren’t for organizations like that. So, it is important for us to have people in the driver seat who can build and cater to our experiences.

[Capital One is also proud to continue to support Black Girls Code. If you aren’t already involved, visit http://www.blackgirlscode.com/ to volunteer, donate, and learn more.]

What advice would you give to an up & comer who wants a STEM career?
Just get started. If you don’t have an engineering background, it’s ok. You don’t have to know how to code. If you know how to logically think through the execution of your idea, start there. That’s what coding is. Refine your idea and hire talent to help you. Get educated and stop second guessing yourself.

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As someone who has filled both roles, do you have any advice for entrepreneurs turned intrapreneurs and vice versa?
Build a team around you that understands how to build your business. As women of color, we face unique challenges that are hard to navigate if you don’t have the right partners in place. Surround yourself with the right people. You need the right investors, clients, and colleagues. One of the reasons I joined Capital One is because there is a culture of diversity and inclusion here. They were looking for people like me. For entrepreneurs that are looking to exit, look for workplaces that have the right cultural fit and figure out how you can cater to their market and help them increase enterprise value.

Is she inspiring or what? Be sure to keep up with our LBS Mompreneur Diaries series to keep up with other inspiring mommies. Leave a comment below if you enjoyed this!

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

5 Reasons You Need To Attend #BrownGirlsLovePOWER Day

 

bgl-power-dayToday officially marks 7 days until BrownGirlsLove Power Day 2017! I can’t even express how EXCITED about this I am. It’s our 2nd Annual Power Day and it’s going to be bigger and better than ever. Don’t believe me? Here are 5 reasons you need to attend #BrownGirlsLovePOWER Day 2017.

1. The Swag Bags

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What’s a dope event without amazing swag bags right? I’m proud to announce that our sponsors like Motions Hair, Capital One, Canviiy and more will have amazing products for everyone to take home. Prepare for beauty products, hair products, stationary and much more.

2. The Stories

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I’m a storyteller at heart. That’s why I created LoveBrownSugar. To tell my unique story and the stories of other people in my community of beautiful brown girls. So one of the things you’ll experience at BrownGirlsLove Power Day is unique and heartwarming stories from women you admire, speaking openly and honestly about their journeys. From the speakers to attendees, Power Day is a judge-free zone and we get to tell our own authentic stories so we can grow together.

3. The Speakers

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When I say we have some of the dopest brown girls on the planet who will be in attendance at Power Day, I’m not exaggerating. These women are people who inspire me daily. They are the top influencers, expert, business owners, brand builders, editors and more. They are the cream of the crop and they’re ready to dole out information to anyone who’s prepared to listen. More than anything, they’re REAL. These women are authentic and I chose them because I know they won’t sugarcoat. They will give it to you straight no chaser. So be prepared to learn from the best. Click here to read more about our speakers.

4. The Sisterhood

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By far, one of my favorite things about #BrownGirlsLove events are the bonds that are formed by the women who attend. Some women form new friendships, meet new business partners, become each other’s accountability partners and more. You never know who you’ll meet at a BrownGirlsLove event. But you are, without a doubt, bound to meet beautiful brown girls who are just like you and who want to see you WIN.

5. The Saturday

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There’s absolutely no coincidence that I chose the FIRST Saturday of 2017 to host BrownGirlsLove POWER Day. There’s something very special about the first week of the year. It sets the tone. It gets you revved up. And if you’re making an investment to be at an empowerment event on your very first weekend of the year, you must mean business. There’s also no coincidence that Power Day falls on the 7th day of the year. Seven is a very special number. It’s God’s number of completion. It means perfection at its core. So don’t sleep on the amazing things that can happen on Day 7 of 2017.

So what more could you ask for in an empowerment event? Have you snagged your ticket to Power Day yet? 

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Must-Have Easy Holiday Gift Ideas

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Around holiday time, it can be really tricky when you’re shopping for friends and family. There are so many options out there and staying under budget can be a challenge. My problem is always going into a store to shop items for my loved ones and coming out of the store with bags on bags for myself!! It’s a TRAP I tell ya! Anyway, I partnered up with TheOutfit.com and JCPenney to show you guys how to get chic and timeless gifts for friends and family without breaking the bank. Here’s the first quick and easy idea:

Get High Tech 

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Headphones are the quintessential gift for pretty much anyone on your list. Who doesn’t like music? These are perfect for anyone who commutes, travels often or simply wants to shut out noise from the outside world. Get ahead of the game and go wireless. They will love you forever (or until invisible headphones are invented).

Check out the full list of my quick & easy holiday gift suggestions by clicking over to TheOutfit.com

This post is sponsored by JCPenney in partnership with TheOutfit. All opinions expressed here are my own and not those of the company.

 

12 Black-Owned Brands To Support #BuyBlack on Black Friday

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Guys! After two years of hosting my annual Shop LoveBrownSugar holiday pop-up shops in NYC, I decided to officially launch an online shop! Shop LoveBrownSugar is now live and in full effect, and the shop currently hosts 12 black-owned brands that I’ve partnered with this holiday season for amazing gift offerings. Here are the brands and a little about why you’ll love supporting them, just like I do:

12 Black-Owned Brands To Support on Black Friday

1. Pardon My Fro

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One of my absolute favorite illustrators, Dana Bly of Pardon My Fro partnered up with me for Shop LoveBrownSugar to do custom journals, custom holiday cards, a BabyBrownSugar calendar, BabyBrownSugar Coloring Book and so much more. PMF is AWESOME.

Shop Exclusive Items on Shop LoveBrownSugarBuy direct from Pardon My Fro

2. LIT Brooklyn

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I discovered LIT Brooklyn on the ‘gram and instantly fell in love with the packaging. Then I met with the owner Denequa in Brooklyn and fell head over heels for her scented candles. I mean, such a dope company. And the candles are travel size!

Shop Exclusive Items on Shop LoveBrownSugarBuy direct from LIT Brooklyn

3. Ginger + Liz

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I’ve known the ladies behind Ginger + Liz for years now, and it was love at first sight with their nail lacquers. They’re vegan, toxic-free and vibrant. I use these on myself and on Cadence during special occasions.

Shop Exclusive Items on Shop LoveBrownSugarBuy direct from Ginger + Liz

4. The Lip Bar

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I remember when The Lip Bar first launched! I thought it was such an innovative concept, empowering women to feel beautiful and challenge beauty standards with vibrant, poppy bright lip colors. Since then they have expanded to include liquid matte lipsticks, glosses and so much more.

Shop Exclusive Items on Shop LoveBrownSugar Buy direct from The Lip Bar

5. 84 Gem

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Kimone of 84 Gem was a vendor at my last two pop-up shops and her jewels are always a big hit. Handmade by her in her studio, Kimone is self-taught but you would never know. Her jewels are absolutely beautiful and one of a kind.

Shop Exclusive Items on Shop LoveBrownSugarBuy direct from 84 Gem

6. Belle Butters

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Y’all. Belle Butters makes so many amazing skincare products I love. But when I took a whiff of this butter owner Tasha custom created for Shop LoveBrownSugar’s first pop-up shop in 2014, I knew this was a winner. It smells like heaven in a jar. And so do most of her products. Definitely a beauty brand to watch!

Shop Exclusive Items on Shop LoveBrownSugarBuy direct from Belle Butters

7. Beauty by Africa Miranda

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When I first met Africa Miranda, we were fast friends. I watched her reality show when she was living in Atlanta and thought to myself “Omg! Love her!” (as if I really knew her, y’all do it too #dontjudge). Anyway, when I met her she totally lived up to my expectations and since then I’ve been consistently inspired by her and her drive. So when she told me she was creating a Facial Elixir based on her travels to Rio, Brazil I knew I needed some and you needed some too.

Shop Items on Shop LoveBrownSugarBuy direct from Beauty by Africa Miranda

8. Balm & Co

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I’ve been following influencer, author & fellow mompreneur Alex Elle for years now. I remember when she was documenting her natural hair journey. And then when she released her first book of poetry. And then when she got married and shared her beautiful wedding photos on social. Safe to say, I’m a FAN. So when I saw she was releasing a line of skincare products, I was all in.

Shop Exclusive Items on Shop LoveBrownSugarBuy direct from Balm & Co

9. S Dot Beauty

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Last year, S Dot Beauty was a vendor at our Shop LoveBrownSugar holiday pop-up and while I ws there she gifted me a set of her baby products to try out on Cadence. When I tell you I use her products RELIGIOUSLY as part of Cadence’s bedtime routine! They’re infused with lavender and chamomile and all things amazing. And she makes products for women, men and the whole family.

Shop Exclusive Items on Shop LoveBrownSugarBuy direct from S Dot Beauty

10. CLEANSE by Lauren Napier

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As someone who travels often, I’m always looking for options to make my life easier. I’m a travel wipe addict. I use them to remove makeup, to freshen up my skin on long haul flights and everything in between. These aren’t just wipes. They are made with the best & safest ingredients. For the conscious beauty aficionado.

Shop Exclusive Items on Shop LoveBrownSugarBuy direct from Lauren Napier

11. Happy Hair

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When I first got a copy of Happy Hair™, I thought it was SUCH an incredible campaign. Teaching young girls to love and accept their hair in various shapes and forms is so important to building confidence. So I’m beyond proud to be carrying this book in our shop.

Shop Exclusive Items on Shop LoveBrownSugarBuy direct from Happy Hair

12. Cee Cee’s Closet

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I’m a big fan of head wraps. As a mompreneur, it can get tough having your hair in tip-top shape every single day, so headwraps are my save for bad hair days. They’re also super cute & allow you to express yourself with different colors and patterns.

Shop Exclusive Items on Shop LoveBrownSugarBuy direct from Cee Cee’s Closet

 

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Hey NYC loves! If you’re in the city on Black Friday, stop by the Harlem’s Fashion Row pop-up shop taking place at Solomon & Kuff (3pm-9pm) to shop some of the Shop LoveBrownSugar brands! I’ll have a space there – can’t wait to see you! RSVP HERE: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/harlemss-fashion-row-black-friday-pop-up-shop-tickets-29327081089

Other 2016 #BuyBlack Gift Guides I Love 

In Her Shoes “75 Black Women-Owned Brands To Shop”

Fashion Bomb Daily “25 Black-Owned Business To Shop This Black Friday”

Essence “#BuyBlack: 15 Holiday Beauty Products Made For Us and By Us”

LBS Mompreneur Diaries (Working Mom Edition): Alicia Thompson

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I’m excited to partner with Capital One on the second post in our “Working Mom” edition of LBS Mompreneur Diaries, featuring women of color who are killing it at work and at home. Capital One is consistently recognized for its exceptional workplace culture and for supporting diversity and inclusion initiatives across the entire organization. That’s why I was so excited to work with them to offer this series, because they get it. They’ve been ranked on Fortune’s “100 Best Places to Work” and Working Mother Magazine’s “100 Best Companies” to name a few.

Hopefully you read and loved our interview with working mom Kenya Paul. Our second featured working mom is Alicia Thompson, Manager of Supplier Diversity at Capital One. We talked about her role as a working mom to two beautiful children, what she hopes to teach them about diversity and inclusion, and advice that every mom should consider when picking a place to work.

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LBS Chic: Transition Your Look For Fall

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I love everything about summer style so once fall creeps up, I get a serious case of FOMO. Transitioning back to neutral and dark tones, heavier fabrics, and structured silhouettes takes me longer than average because I absolutely love the flowy silhouettes and bright colors of summer.

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If you’re anything like me, you may need some tips on bringing the fun & free flow of summer into your fall wardrobe. I partnered up with TheOutfit.com and JCPenney to show you guys how to transition your look for fall with 3 easy tips.

Photos by Keyaira Boone

Check out the full story with my tips, more pictures of my look and “Where To Buy” information here: The Outfit

This post is sponsored by JCPenney in partnership with TheOutfit.com. All opinions expressed here are my own and not those of the company.

LBS Chic: 4 Tips For Living Your Best Color Full Life

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This post about the Color Full Lives podcast is sponsored by State Farm®. All opinions expressed here are my own.

As you all know, I am incredibly passionate about women of color looking good AND feeling good. I’ve also made it one of my personal missions to help positively change the perceptions of women of color in the media, so I am really happy to team up with State Farm to talk about the Color Full Lives podcast series.

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LBS Mompreneur Diaries (Working Mom Edition): Kenya Paul

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For those of you who have been following the LBS Mompreneur Diaries series here on LoveBrownSugar, you know I’ve been using it as a platform to share my personal tips and tricks for success balancing work and life as a full-time mompreneur. There are so many working moms out there, many of whom function as intrapreneurs, managing teams and taking on important management roles within an organization on top of managing small teams right at home! It requires the same balance and support to have a successful corporate career as it does when you run your own business.

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So I am proud to partner with Capital One for the very first “Working Mom” edition of Mompreneur Diaries to chat with some women of color who are killing it at work and at home. Capital One is consistently recognized for its exceptional workplace culture and for supporting diversity and inclusion initiatives across the entire organization. That’s why I was so excited to work with them to offer this series, because they get it. They’ve been ranked on Fortune’s “100 Best Places to Work” and Working Mother Magazine’s “100 Best Companies” to name a few.

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LBS Mompreneur Diaries: #SmallButPowerful Moves That Make History

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I’ve dedicated much of my career as a digital influencer to smashing stereotypes and showing the world that women of color are powerful, productive and pretty while doing it. I’ve created platforms that inspire women of color to be great, allow them to know that they’re not alone and that challenge stereotypes. My most dedicated “follower” of all the thousands of you who follow me daily is actually my little princess Cadence. She’s not only seeing what I do online but she seems me in action each day as I work hard to provide for her and balance the responsibilities of motherhood and entrepreneurship.

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It is SO important for me to set an example for her but also to encourage her to live out her dreams, defy stereotypes, set new records and excel in everything she loves. So I am really honored to have partnered with Tide Pods on their #SmallButPowerful campaign featuring record-breaking powerhouse Simone Biles. As the most decorated American gymnast of all time and being a young black female, she has truly inspired so many young women who may have never thought they could do the impossible. Her dedication, hard work and perseverance are just the characteristics I hope to instill in Cadence. Check out Simone’s commercial with Tide here.

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On the same evening that Simone Biles and the Final Five took gold at the Olympics, Cadence and I had the opportunity to meet and take a class with Olympic gold medalist Dominique Dawes. Dominique partnered with Tide Pods in support of Simone Biles, to showcase the evolution of power. They were featured in the Tide Pods’ Evolution of Power commercial, showcasing the amazing transformations of history-making gymnasts over the years and comparing that to Tide’s progression from a powder detergent to now being available in its small but powerful liquid pod form.

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Dominique is the first black woman to win an Olympic gold medal in gymnastics! I remember growing up and watching Dominique on TV and being so proud that she looked like me. So it was a really proud moment getting to introduce her to Cadence and getting to chat with her, as she’s also a new mom. Her daughter is just a month younger than Cady! I’m excited for Cadence because she had the opportunity to watch another young, black woman make history in gymnastics, the way I did with Dominique. After seeing gymnasts like Simone Biles excel at the Olympics, I decided to enroll Cadence in a toddler gymnastics class just to see if she would enjoy it. Turns out, she loves it! Check it out here:

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