I am still on a high from this past weekend’s Shop LoveBrownSugar Holiday Pop Up Shop. As the third annual event of its kind, the 2017 rendition was bigger and better than ever. Hosted at The Mezzanine in downtown NYC, the snow didn’t stop you guys from coming out and supporting minority-owned businesses for the holidays and I am SO honored that I could host this event for another year. Here are a few of the highlights:
Our title sponsors had amazing VIP beauty services for our guests including makeup touch-ups, hair touch-ups and free giveaways.
Here one of their artists does a fierce touch-up for me during the event. Flawless look and their products compliment brown skin so beautifully.
CURLS offered free hair touch-ups in their VIP suite, and also had a bomb gif photobooth that guests were able to use to snap fun videos at the event.
They also gave away free samples of their Blueberry Bliss Leave-In (smells so good and works WONDERS!)
DJ Rubadub was on the 1’s and 2’s and she ROCKED it!
We had an amazing group of editors and digital influencers who came through to support. There are SO many to thank for their support. It feels good knowing people will trek out in the snow to support something you believe in.
Our vendors sell some of the coolest products you could possibly place under the Christmas tree.
They are so incredibly creative, and I feel blessed that they were part of this event offering some of their amazing creations to customers.
From beauty products to crafts to journals and jewelry. There was such a great variety of items at price points for everyone on your list.
Make sure you’re following me on Instagram @LoveBrownSugar because tomorrow at 9pm, I’ll be hosting an IG Live session with a “Holiday Gift Guide” featuring products from these brands.
I know many of you who don’t live in the NYC area wanted to support but couldn’t make it, so this my way of hosting a virtual shop so you can see and support the brands from at home!
There will be giveaways and exclusive deals just for LoveBrownSugar followers from some of these brands, so save the date & time and tune in for some fun!
Very special thanks to This Open Space for allowing this event to take place, by way of their Space Fund business competition. Winning first place in that competition was just the boost I needed to bring this event series back to NYC and support budding creative entrepreneurs display their talents. I’m beyond grateful for the support.
So you guys know I am a huge supporter of black-owned businesses, especially during the holiday season. I started the Shop LoveBrownSugar holiday pop-up series with the intention of supporting these businesses over the past few years. And every year since the tragic events in Ferguson in 2014, I’ve created an annual Black Friday list with some of my favorite minority-owned businesses to support. For 2017, I’ve brought back a few of my steady favorites and I’ve also added a few new brands I’ve discovered over the last year. This is in no way an exhaustive list! There are SO many amazing minority-owned brands to support out there. But on my little slice of the internet, I like to promote the ones I personally love each year. Here they are:
A new lifestyle brand catering to no-fuss curlies who want effective and easy to use products to complete their natural hair regimen. The founder is Julian Addo – curator of the groundbreaking BellaKinks brand out of Dallas, TX. On top of their beautiful imagery, I love the use of ingredients like baobab oil and peppermint.
One of my tried & true beauty staples since it launched last holiday season, the beauty by Africa Miranda elixir is awesome as a primer, a light oil moisturizer as well as a makeup remover. I love a good 3-in-1 product and a little goes a long way.
There are no shortage of t-shirt and sweatshirt brands with a message, but what I really love about Black on Black BK is how unapologetic the statements are. I also have a thing for black and white so I love that the designs stick to these colors. They’ve got really cute sweats, tees and tote bags and items come in kids sizes up to adults.
Headwraps make a really awesome holiday gift. They’re so beautiful and they’re the perfect “bad hair day” fix for your favorite friend. What I love about Cee Cee’s closet is that they not only make amazing wraps but part of the proceeds from each wrap goes back to support artisans who are handcrafting the products in Nigeria.
The pinnacle of all subscription boxes for naturals, CurlBox is the first and best in the market. The boxes never cease to amaze me. They partner with the best brands on the market and always deliver a premium experience. Also, founder Myleik Teele is the ultimate girl boss. I’m obsessed with her MyTaughtYou podcast.
One of my all-time favorite beauty brands, EDEN BodyWorks has a plethora of great options for hair, body and skincare. Their products are available at most major retailers. I’m partial to the EDEN Kids line for my daughter and their new Citrus Fusion line for myself.
Teaching young girls to love and accept their hair in various shapes and forms is so important to building confidence in them. The founder of Happy Hair, Mechal Roe, picked up on that by creating a line of children’s books, dolls and prints that support curl confidence. Great gift for the littles in your life.
Instead of your typical Barbie or American Girl dolls, support a doll maker that caters their designs to little brown girls of all complexions. Harper Iman dolls are custom made and you can request the hair, skin complexion and clothing of your choice for your favorite little one.
Self-care is so important to your wellbeing and health. When it’s time to wind down at the end of a long week, I spring for heritage1933 items like the Ms Know It All whipped butter or their Exhale bath salts.
LAMIK, an acronym for Love And Makeup In Kindness, is a Houston-based beauty brand with makeup for women of all shades. With an emphasis on catering to women of color, LAMIK has lippies, shadows and more with excellent color payoff crafted by founder Kim Roxie.
You guys hear me rave about this brand all the time because I genuinely LOVE their lipstick. Bawse Lady – their matte red – is arguably one of the best red matte liquid lippies in my beauty arsenal. I’m a lifelong fan.
A home-based candle company with candles handpoured in Brooklyn, LIT Brooklyn exploded onto the scene less than 2 years ago and is slowly becoming a true household name. From the luxe gold packaging to the intoxicating scents, LIT should be on everyone’s holiday list.
I first fell in love with this brand years ago when their founder Michelle sent me one of her signature sweatshirts. They have since expanded to offer a plethora of products with her signature “Africa” silhouette design and ankara fabrics – from pillows to swimsuits and home decor.
With a brand like The Mane Choice, you really can’t go wrong. They are popping out new innovations everyday, they are backed by a team of the dopest brown girls on the planet and they create products that solve problems. I swear by their Soft As Can Be 3-in-1 conditioner. Also now exclusive to Target – their Halo Hydration collection. Get you some – available at all major retailers and online.
There are very few indie clothing lines that I get excited about anytime they come out with something new. Rue 107 is one of the select brands on my list of favorites that continues to innovate and provide dope designs for women of all shapes and sizes. Their items run in both straight and plus sizes, they cater to curves, and everything they make is super cute and super functional. This black dress above is a go-to staple that I own and love.
Offering everything from stationary to shower curtains and now luggage – Pardon My Fro is an amazing design house that makes products featuring powerful women of color. Everyone should have a piece of PMF in their home.
Shopping for bae can be difficult. Make life a little easier and get him grooming product he’ll love. This brand of products for beard and for overall mens’ grooming smells yummy and will make him feel special.
Ever since I tried these products out back in 2015, they have been on my go-to list of beauty staples. From their facial masks to the body oils and cleansing toners, SDOTBEAUTY has a little bit of everything for the best in all-natural skincare.
If you’re looking for true STUNNA shades, like the type that make people stop you on the street and ask you where you got them, look no further than TNEMNRODA. The brand is literally “adornment” spelled backwards and that’s what their shades are – adornment for your face.
I first discovered Undra Celeste last year at the Harlem’s Fashion Row pop-up shop. Crafted by a young designer with vision and creativity, I love how understated yet luxe her pieces are. If you’re looking for a little touch of holiday luxe this season, definitely check out her designs.
If you’re following me on social media, I’m sure you already have seen my special news. Over the weekend I announced that I’m expecting baby number two! Coming this Winter 2017, there will be a new little face making their debut here and on BabyBrownSugar. Not only will this little gift be influencing my maternity style all summer, but this baby is going to change things dramatically in every aspect of my life.
To be honest, this has been such a rough journey for me since finding out. BabyBrownSugar 2 is an unplanned but delightful surprise and it comes with such a mix of bittersweet emotions. For those of you who remember when I documented my journey as a first time Mom with Cadence, you all know I spent half of my pregnancy with her on bedrest.
My bedrest orders were not anticipated at all, so I went from being up and on-the-go everyday to being bedridden for almost 5 months. It felt like torture. Anyone who knows me, knows I’m always out and about. I love my independence and it takes ALOT to get me to sit down somewhere and relax. So that was my first time really having to sacrifice my time and my mobility for a greater cause.
I got through it, and honestly having to sit still those months got me super focused on becoming a better mompreneur and monetizing my influence. It was a true blessing in disguise.
So this time around, I’m shifting my focus away from how overwhelming this sudden and life-changing gift is, and instead I’m focusing on what God is trying to help me understand in this process. Transitions are meant to really grow us, challenge us and morph us into better versions of ourselves. So that’s exactly what I’m learning to embrace this time around.
I’m finishing out this trimester incredibly excited to meet my little munchkin, and to see how Cadence interacts with her little sibling. She’s been my one and only little princess for 3 years now so I’ll be documenting over at BabyBrownSugar how the transition goes.
For all of you who have wished me well on social media – THANK YOU! I appreciate the love, the words of encouragement and the prayers. I’m grateful everyday to have an extended “family” on social media who wishes me well.
So, what about you guys? Ever go through an unexpected/tough transition? How did you deal with it, and what did you learn from it? Share your own experience below!
This time of year is always special for me. Since becoming a Mom three years ago, I’ve been incredibly blessed. But motherhood definitely comes with its challenges. Suddenly you have a little person (or people) wholly dependent on you, and that can be SO overwhelming. But it’s honestly a job I wouldn’t trade for anything. And it’s something that has made me even more appreciative of my own mom’s love and sacrifice.
One of the perks of being a Mom is receiving all the hugs, kisses, acknowledgment and even special gifts on Mother’s Day. I typically spend so much time and energy making sure the moms in my life are taken care of, I hardly ever indulge in anything for myself. So when Hallmark Jewelry reached out to me and told me they wanted to send over a special gift from their Hallmark Diamonds Heart of Hallmark Collection for JCPenney, I was ecstatic. Nothing like a little sparkly self-indulgence.
Opening the package up is sometimes the best part. Little boxes always have something sparkly and special waiting for you. I loved the Hallmark packaging. They included a cute little quote card in there with my necklace that reads “Life’s the best story of all…”.
I chose this piece because I thought it was so simple, elegant and beautiful. I don’t wear fine jewelry often, but when I do it’s typically on special occasions and I like my pieces to be minimal but still statement-making like this.
One of the things I find so tough about buying gifts for “the mom who has everything” is finding something that has special meaning. What’s nice about Hallmark Jewelry’s collection (available at JCPenney) is that there’s a little something special for every Mom. If your Mom is faith-based, there are beautiful crosses and angels to choose from. If she loves rose gold, there are mixed element pieces that suit her style. Even if you just want something to reminder her she’s “Mom” they have something for her. The pieces are really beautifully made.
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.
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.
VH1’s The Breaks seriescurrently 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.
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!
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
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Earlier this month, I went on an 8-day excursion to Italy and Greece. Ever since I studied abroad during my Junior year in college, Italy has been one of my absolute favorite countries. Though I studied in France, Italy left such an incredible impression on me. I’ve always wanted to go back. This year I had that opportunity. I also had the chance to finally visit Greece! My only regret during my study abroad semester is that I didn’t take a trip there, so when my friend Gabi invited me to Santorini for her 30th birthday – I was all in. Here’s what I wore and loved on my Eurotrip. I chose pieces that fit my shape and made me feel like a goddess:
This season Harlem’s Fashion Row once again celebrated designers, innovators, and stars of color at their Runway show and awards ceremony. Throngs of fashion industry spiders flocked to Chelsea Piers to attend the celebration which was supported by Motions, Latina Magazine, Ebony Magazine and more. As Harlem’s Fashion Row founder Brandice Daniels reminded attendees designers of color make up less than 1% of the brands found in major department stores making institutions committed to highlighting these unsung talents crucial.
Legendary record producer, philanthropist, and designer Swizz Beatz was presented with this year’s icon 360 award. His speech was straightforward and compelling. He confessed that when he was told about the award he instructed his assistant to clear everything on his busy New York Fashion Week schedule so that he could attend the ceremony. “Sometimes when people call we say I’m busy but when Tom Ford calls I’m not busy. So I had to make sure that I answered your call the same way that I answer Tom Ford’s call”.
During his speech he also highlighted acclaimed stylists like Ty Hunter and Wouri Vice who were also in attendance thanking them for their contributions to the fashion community.