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What To Do at Essence Festival 2016

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It’s that time of the year again! Essence Festival weekend is upon us and plenty of you brown beauties will be heading down to New Orleans for a fun-filled weekend of cajun food, NOLA street style snaps, good music and celebrity sightings.

 

 

NOLA is always an amazing time during 4th of July weekend. Though I won’t be at Essence Fest this year (this mompreneur needed a break to spend time with the mini me) there are TONS of really fun events taking place there and I want you to know all about them. See below for a list of What To Do at Essence Festival 2016 in New Orleans this weekend:

FRIDAY, JULY 1ST

Essence Beauty & Style Expo

Essence is hosting their very first Beauty & Style Expo at Essence Festival this year featuring some of your favorite influencers, celebs & more! Essence Beauty Box is the main sponsor and they have tons in store.

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Cost: FREE  | Schedule | Register: http://www.essence.com/festival/expo

Essence Day Parties w/ Everyday People

Essence Day Parties

Cost: $25-$75 | Info: http://www.essence.com/day-party-series

Bevel Lounge @ Ace Hotel

Bevel Lounge – an immersive, relaxed experience where you can try out the Bevel shave system and Bevel Trimmer. They will have a DJ, bar, and product giveaways. Guest appearances & meet CEO Tristan Walker.

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Time: 2-6 PM CT | Venue: The Music Room at The Ace Hotel, 600 Carondelet Street, New Orleans, LA 70130

NOLA Luxe Pop-Up Shop w/ Blogger Hosts

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Time: 12pm – 5pm | Cost: FREE w/ RSVP|  Location: The Ritz-Carlton New Orleans, 921 Canal Street, New Orleans, LA 70112

Cantu at Essence Fest

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The Cantu Crew of influencers will be in the building at the official Essence Festival Beauty & Style Expo. If you stop by, make sure you say hello! Cantu has such great products – I’m sure there will be free samples, tutorials & more!

Creme of Nature at Essence Fest

Creme of Nature has a great lineup of influencers hosting their booth at the Beauty & Style Expo. Check them out this weekend for giveaways, meet & greets & more!

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SATURDAY, JULY 2ND

New Orleans Natural Hair Expo sponsored by EDEN BodyWorks

My baes Jessica Pettway, Romance of HeyCurlie and Yolanda Renee of EtcBlogMag are hosting the New Orleans Natural Hair Expo, sponsored by EDEN BodyWorks. Definitely check it out!

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Time: All Day Location: New Orleans Contemporary Arts Center 900 Camp St, New Orleans, LA 70130 Cost: $25-$55 | Tickets: http://www.neworleansnaturalhairexpo.com/tickets/

Red Carpet Beauty Lounge w/ Design Essentials

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Chrisette Michelle will make a special appearance at the DESIGN ESSENTIALS Red Carpet Beauty Lounge
at the New Orleans Natural Hair Expo as well!

Notorious Kia at Sally Beauty

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Kia of Notorious Kia will be hosting two meet & greets at Sally Beauty on this Saturday. Stop by – totally free!

The Great Girlfriends at Essence Fest

Check out Great Girlfriends Sybil Amuti and Brandice Henderson-Daniel for their appearances! Love these girls.

Great Girlfriends

 

THE PERFORMANCES

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Don’t forget about the nightly performances at the Superdome! If you’re in town, you’ll want to get tickets for each night because this year’s lineup is ON POINT. My girl Jessica of HeyGorJess will be covering the nightly concerts for LoveBrownSugar.com so follow her on social media for live updates from the concerts!

Cost: $50-$2700 | Location: Mercedes-Benz Superdome | Tickets | Artist Lineup

For those of you running around town having a blast at Essence, make sure you use hashtag #browngirlslove for a feature on the BrownGirlsLove Instagram page. We wanna see you!

So what are you planning this 4th of July weekend? Will you be at Essence Fest or home? Soundoff below!

 

Kickin’ It: 2015 #NOLACrawl Style Suite Presented by Dove

nolacrawl-style-suite-2015It seems surreal that just 3 days ago I co-hosted the second annual #NOLACrawl Style Suite and that what was just a small, organic way for a handful of bloggers to come together has slowly morphed into an epic annual event during Essence Festival. I’m so honored to have had the opportunity to co-host this event with a presenting sponsor like Dove.

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Most of my personal friends, family members and readers (you guys) swear by Dove products. I have been using their trusted body products for as long as I can remember and it comes at no surprise that when they decided to launch a product line for curly girls like us that they did so with a purposeful and meaningful campaign.

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The #LoveYourCurls campaign has to be one of my favorites to date because not only did Dove create a line for curls but they did it in a way that celebrates and empowers women who historically have not felt their hair was beautiful.

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Kickin’ It: #FordUp Fun at Essence Festival with Ford

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This past weekend at Essence Festival, I had quite the packed itinerary but I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to soak up all the fun activities that Ford presented as a 2015 sponsor of Essence Festival. Each year, they have something new and special happening at the Convention Center and at the Superdome. I wrote a post about all the exciting activities in my post 3 Must-Do #FordUp Activities at Essence Festival but here’s a quick recap of all I enjoyed with Ford this weekend.

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VIDEO: #EssenceFest Ride & Drive Experience with Ford

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As promised in my last post about how much fun we had at Essence Festival with Ford, here’s a quick look at the video we created. On top of Ford offering some of their newest models for test-drives, they also had some really cute and fun activities in partnership with Playdate USA that we took advantage of at the convention center.

Check out the video below:

The 12th Annual McDonald’s 365Black Awards

Sevyn Streets, Smokie Norful, Shanice Wilson, and Amber Riley perform at the the 12th Annual McDonald's 365 Black Awards at the Ernest Moral Convention Center in New Orleans, LA on Friday, July 3, 2015.

This year I was invited to attend the 12th Annual McDonald’s 365Black Awards in New Orleans. The awards take place every year during Essence Festival as McDonald’s takes the time to bring together community leaders, television and music entertainers, as well as local and national influencers to pay homage to the outstanding work happening within the African-American community. Because of my crazy packed schedule this weekend, I wasn’t able to attend and cover the golden carpet at the awards on Friday but the folks over at McDonald’s sent me these great pics and information about the star-studded event below.

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3 Must-Do #FordUp Activities at Essence Festival

ford-essence-festEvery year when I attend the Essence Music Festival, I try to get around to check out the different festival sponsors and to experience their activities at the Convention Center. One of my favorite booths to stop by is the Ford booth. As the exclusive automotive sponsor for Essence Festival, Ford not only provides cars for fun test-driving experiences at Essence Fest, but they also host a slew of fun activities with celebrities and correspondents live and direct from the convention center. Here are just three quick must-do activities at the Ford Booth I plan to get into:

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You’re Invited! #NOLACrawl Style Suite Presented By Dove

NEW-NOLACrawl-2015_Event-FlyerI am SO excited to announce that the girls and I are back for yet another #NOLACrawl Style Suite down in New Orleans this weekend during Essence Fest! The first time we did it in 2014 it was a huge success and we are SO excited to be back at it again, even bigger and better than last year. Here’s why you should stop by our event if you’re in NOLA on 4th of July:

Dove is Presenting Sponsor

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We are so amped to have beauty brand Dove as a presenting sponsor for our #NOLACrawl Style Suite this year. As a result, our guests will be treated to express dry styling services provided by Dove. They’ll be using their new Quench Absolute line to do touch-ups at their pop-up salon bar. They also plan to have a super fun photobooth set up to capture your looks post-styling too!

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Super-star celeb stylist Cynthia Alvarez will also be at the event to meet & greet guests and give style consultations. It’s going to be pretty dope. Trust me, with celeb clients like Lady Gaga and Keke Palmer, Cynthia knows what she’s doing.

Our Co-Hosts Are Fly

 

IMG_1792I mean what more could you want! Me, Jessica, Lexi, Taren and Kim. All different but all so spectacular! Anything you want to know about style whether it’s how to style your curls, how to dress for your curves or which whip you should buy this year, we’ve got you covered!

FREE STUFF!

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Ok if this doesn’t get you to RSVP, I’m not sure what will. Free cocktails, free light bites, free goodie bags and free dry styling. This is the star treatment, seriously.

Are you planning to be in New Orleans this weekend? What are you waiting for?

RSVP HERE for Complimentary Entry

Prepping My Hair for #NOLACrawl With Dove Quench Absolute

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The last thing I want to worry about when I’m headed on a business-meets-fun trip like heading to New Orleans for #NOLACrawl is what my curls are going to be doing in humidity. I know I’m not the only one who’s lacked curl confidence from time to time so it’s really important when you travel to arm your hair with the right foundation so that you can rest assured.

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Before heading to New Orleans for Essence Fest, I prepped my curls using the Dove Quench Absolute collection. I used the Shampoo + Conditioner to cleanse and soften my curls before braiding it under my extensions for the weekend. The two work really well together and left my hair feeling clean but not stripped.

After using the shampoo and conditioner, I prepped my towel-dried hair with the Quench Absolute Serum which I absolutely LOVE. The serum is one of my favorite products in the line. It smells SO good and fills my dry curls with so much moisture.

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After prepping my hair, I braided part of it and left a small portion of it out in the front before adding in extensions from Vixxenn Hair. I tried their newest collection – the Indian Curly collection to give myself a full and voluminous hair look for the weekend. The hair is also really light and soft with absolutely no shedding, which was awesome.

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The great thing about the serum too is that it works well on my natural curls as well as on my extensions. I always look for products than serve double duty with my protective style.

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Though the weekend was hot and humid and full of activity, I’m glad I was able to take some time to give my hair a little much-needed TLC. I went from having full on frizzy fro to more defined curls throughout the weekend with use of the products.

How do you guys prep your hair for summer trips? What types of products help you?

The 2014 #NOLACrawl Style Suite Presented by Ford

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!