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My Classic Beauty Look for 2018

As we’re embracing a new year, I’m in deep reflection about all the things I’ve left in 2017 and what I’m bringing with me into 2018. I’ve decided that I’m only bringing the things I enjoy most in life with me in 2018 – from career and relationships down to my skincare and makeup regimen.

2017 brought with it a lot of great changes for me. I reached new heights in my career being one of the first influencers to be featured in a national campaign with Dove, Cadence became a three-nager (proununced like teenager), my baby boy Colton was born, and I learned to truly appreciate the simple things in life. The older I get, the more minimalist I become with my beauty routine. I’ve given up the idea that the most expensive, most trendy or most complicated is what will work best. Also now, as a mom of two, my time is super limited. So I’ve perfected my classic beauty look down to a science with these three must-haves:

 

1. Clean Skin

The way to perfect your beauty look is to start with skin. Makeup looks infinitely better painted on a beautiful canvas. Drink lots of water, never sleep in your makeup overnight and make sure you have a moisturizing cleanser. Dove Beauty Bar (as you all know) is one of my go-to’s. I can use it on face and body, it doesn’t dry out my skin like other soaps do, and it’s the #1 dermatologist recommended bar.

I follow up my cleanser with a good toner, then a moisturizer and sometimes a serum at night.

2. The Perfect Foundation

The age-old question is how to find the best foundation for you. If I’m going to be honest there’s no dream product out there that works for everyone. It takes a bit of trial and error. Make sure you get foundation-matched at your local beauty counter. Have an understanding of your skin type as well. I have dry/combination skin that loves light to medium coverage liquid foundation and tinted moisturizers. Texture and coverage level will really depend on your skin type and preference. Try a few different brands until something works. My current fave is Fenty Beauty’s Pro Filter Soft Matte Longwear Foundation. I also love Lancome’s Teint Idole Ultra Wear.

3. A Classic Red Lip

It’s amazing what some red lipstick will do for your confidence. I think red is just such a quintessential ladylike color to sport. It puts the exclamation point on your beauty look and there are reds that compliment every shade beautifully. The trick is to find a shade that works well with your skin’s undertones. I have yellow/warm undertones, so I opt for reds that have more of an orange base. If you have a cool undertone, you should aim for a red with a blue base. Two of my current faves are Bawse Lady by The Lip Bar and Stunna Lip Paint by Fenty Beauty.

I can’t believe it, but this year marks my 9th year as a blogger. It’s hard to believe I’ve been going at this for almost a decade.

I am so honored to have partnered with Dove over the past year as one of their beauty ambassadors, and I look forward to an amazing 2018. Happy New Year, loves! Feel free to share your classic beauty must-haves in the comments below.

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

BrownGirlsLove POWER Day 2018 Presented by Toyota (Recap)

On this past Saturday January 6th, 2018, I hosted the third annual BrownGirlsLove POWER Day Presented by Toyota. Taking place at NYC’s hidden gem Helen Mills Event Space & Theatre, nearly 200 guests gathered on the first Saturday of 2018 for this dynamic empowerment day complete with networking, business panels, workshops and more.

Y’all. I had the TIME OF MY LIFE. I am so blessed to have cultivated a community of women who believe in the power of collaboration, education and transformation. We kicked 2018 off the right way – with love.

BrownGirlsLove POWER Day is a day conference crafted to cater to millennial women of color looking to turn their dreams into reality. Our panelists provided guests with tips on everything from thriving under 30 to being a mompreneur, developing a successful podcast, branding yourself and even preparing for life after college.

I created BrownGirlsLove because of you. You all sent me emails and DMs asking about my journey as an entrepreneur and often asking questions that I didn’t have the answer to. So I would turn to my sister-friends in the industry. I decided to take the conversation offline and host a LIVE event to answer some of your questions. That was the birth of BrownGirlsLove.

For the third annual event, I curated a powerful team of experts and presenters who have mastered the art of building and sustaining a brand. Special guests included Jade Kendle of LipstickNCurls, Gracie J of TheEditorialNail, Nicaila Matthews Okome of Side Hustle Pro Podcast, Rana Campbell of Dreams In Drive Podcast, Dreena Whitfield – founder of WhitPR, Melanie White – founder of Melanie Marie, Kim Roxie – founder of LAMIK Beauty, Mia Ray of Glamaholic Lifestyle, digital marketing strategist Emmelie De La Cruz, On-Air Talent & Journalist Gia Peppers, Charli Penn – Senior Digital Lifestyle and Relationships Editor at ESSENCE, Sheila Coates – Founder of Be Your Own Brand (BYOB), Kimberly Brown of Manifest Yourself, Radio Personality & Host Scottie Beam, Brand Manager Stacie Smith, and Nicole Sanchez – Founder & CEO of Hero Tax and so many more.

The two story venue was filled with black girl brilliance, welcoming guests from all over the country. BrownGirlsLove Power Day was made possible by presenting sponsor Toyota USA, platinum sponsor The Mane Choice and silver sponsors Capital One and Cantu. Guests enjoyed a host of live activities provided by our sponsors and vendors.

The Mane Choice Beauty Lounge kept attendees refreshed and relaxed throughout the day by providing complimentary hairstyling and massage services using their products. Each guest received full size products from The Mane Choice in their gift bags as well, including the Heavenly Halo Shampoo & Conditioner and the Green Tea & Carrot Hair Mask.

LAMIK Beauty provided guests with professional makeup touch ups. Special thanks to Kim Roxie for providing her amazing team to primp our attendees.

Toyota USA revolutionized the idea of a photobooth by sending in a 2018 Toyota Camry for attendees to take selfies in.

Guests left with two luxe swag bags – one filled with products provided by sponsors like The Mane Choice, Capital One, Cantu, Made Beautiful, and EDEN BodyWorks. Toyota provided their own custom tote bags complete with customized “Brown Girl BOSS” engraved leather portfolios and makeup bags.

Attendees were also treated to an amazing mini shopping experience from fellow female-owned and minority-owned businesses like Mind Oil Soul, Melanin Magic Shop, Beauty by Africa Miranda, and BrownGirlsLove.

I couldn’t have asked for a better day. Women left empowered, inspired and geared up for 2018. And I was reminded of how important this work is that we’re doing. Love & light to everyone who attended and all who tuned in. You can see video from the panel discussions at LoveBrownSugar TV.

To see more pictures from BrownGirlsLove Power Day 2018, check out the Facebook album HERE.

Shop LoveBrownSugar Holiday Pop Up 2017 Recap

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. 

IMAN Cosmetics debuted some of their newest items from the collection they curated in partnership with the Proud Mary film. They also had some of their classic items and bestsellers. Those matte lippies? So bomb! If you haven’t already, check out my Holiday Beauty How-To Featuring IMAN Cosmetics.

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.

For more pictures from Shop LoveBrownSugar 2017, click HERE for the album on Facebook!

Want to try This Open Space to book a space of your own? Use my referral link to get $25 OFF your first booking: http://fbuy.me/gT0gj

Photography by Kolin Mendez | Videography by Joe Chea

25 Ways To #BuyBlack On Black Friday

 

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:

Adwoa Beauty

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.

https://adwoabeauty.com/

beauty by Africa Miranda*

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. 

https://beautybyafricamiranda.com/

Black on Black BK*

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.

https://www.blackonblackbk.com/collections

Cee Cee’s Closet*

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.

https://www.ceeceesclosetnyc.com/

CurlBox

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.

http://www.curlbox.com/

Debra Cartwright*

One of my favorite illustrators, Debra Cartwright creates beautiful watercolor masterpieces that feature diverse women of color. She now offers prints, notebooks and other novelties.

https://debrcartwright.patternbyetsy.com/

Eden BodyWorks

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.

https://edenbodyworks.com/

Feminine Funk

A bold line of tees and sweatshirts for women of all shapes and sizes, their taglines will give you an extra boost of confidence before you walk out the door. 

https://www.femininefunk.com/

Happy Hair*

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.

https://happyhairshop.com/

Harper Iman Dolls

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.

http://www.harperiman.com/products

heritage1933

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. 

http://www.heritage1933.com/

Jam + Rico*

If you’re looking for a small slice of island happiness in the form of custom jewelry, Jam + Rico is the brand for you. Bright, colorful pieces crafted with love.

http://www.jamandrico.com/

LAMIK Beauty

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.

http://www.lamik-beauty.com/

The Lip Bar

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.

https://www.thelipbar.com

LIT Brooklyn*

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.

https://www.litbklyn.co/

LLULO*

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. 

https://www.llulo.com/

Lust Cosmetics*

A vegan nail polish brand with bright vibrant colors and safe ingredients, their holiday collection makes a great gift with must-have colors for the beauty-obsessed on your list.

http://www.lustvcosmetics.com

The Mane Choice

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.

http://www.themanechoice.com

Rue 107

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.

https://rue107.com/

Pardon My Fro

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.

https://pardonmyfro.com/

Scotch Porter

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.

https://www.scotchporter.com/

SDOTBEAUTY*

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.

http://www.sdotbeauty.com

TNEMNRODA*

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.

https://www.maisontnemnroda.com/

Undra Celeste

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.

http://www.undracelesteny.com/

84 Gem*

A collection of beautifully handcrafted statement necklaces, earrings and more. I love the materials she uses and how everything comes together so flawlessly. This is queen jewelry.  

https://www.84gem.com/

*These brands will be available to support at Shop LoveBrownSugar Holiday Pop-Up in NYC sponsored by Iman Cosmetics and CURLS on December 9th. Get your tickets at the link below:

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Check out my other “#BuyBlack on Black Friday” lists from year’s past to support other businesses not listed here:

2014 Buy Black List “25 Black Owned Online Stores”
2015 Buy Black List “#BlackOnBlackFriday Top 50”
2016 Buy Black List “12 Black Owned Brands To Support’

BrownGirlsLove Power Day 2018 Presented By Toyota

Guys! Today we are officially two months away from BrownGirlsLove POWER Day! For those of you who have been following me for a while now, you know that Power Day is an event I decided to produce starting back in 2016 based on my desire to empower, educate and inspire women like you at the beginning of the year.

Not only is it an opportunity for me to meet, greet and love on all of you in person but it’s also a chance for me to introduce you all to women who inspire me personally and who will motivate you to get out of your chair and DO something. I’m so proud to announce that our 2018 Power Day event is being presented by Toyota USA!

The first weeks of every year are truly critical. They set the tone for your entire year, and that’s the critical time when you set intentions and make an action plan for all you want to accomplish. It’s for this exact reason that I made sure Power Day takes place during the first weekend of the year. It’s an opportunity to explore all your hopes and dreams and hear from women just like you who have made their own dreams come true.

Toyota, who was our Presenting Sponsor for 2017, is back with bigger and better plans to blow your mind at Power Day. I won’t reveal any of their surprises, but know that if you’re in attendance with us this January – you’re in for a special treat. You may recall their #LetsGoPlaces 360 photobooth last year, which was SO much fun. They are such an amazing brand for committing to the empowerment and inspiration of young black women. I’m so proud to have them as a partner for this event.

So here’s what you can expect in 2018:

  • Really Dope Panelists – You know I’m always looking for the brightest and baddest brown girls to bring you expertise, empowerment and inspiration at Power Day. The panelists this year are a combination of women from our very own BGL community as well as heavy-hitters in the digital space who have claimed a real stake in their industries of choice.
  • Amazing Sponsors & Vendors – I can’t reveal all the secrets but expect to have a TON of fun during our breaks and during lunch hour at Power Day because the sponsors and vendors are going to give you so much to do. From photobooths to live demo’s and can’t-resist products, you won’t want to miss it.

  • Swag Bags on 100! Our sponsors are not playing this year. Everyone will get a FREE BrownGirlsLove tote bag filled with swag from our sponsors. Trust, you won’t have to buy any beauty products for at least a few months.

  • The Best Networking, Ever. Issa Rae did an interview earlier this year where she talked about the importance of networking “across” and not up. Basically, the people you should be trying to get to know are the people on the same level as you who are just working hard, trying to make it. Why? Because they make the best partners to GROW with. I loved that advice and it’s so true. Those are exactly the types of connections you’ll make at Power Day 2018.

Want more? Check out this recap video of Power Day 2017 with highlights from the day’s festivities:

I want YOU to attend Power Day. There is so much you would enjoy and so much MORE you would learn just by being in the building. Click below and use the promotional code “LOVE” to buy your ticket with $50 OFF before they sell out!

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Shop LoveBrownSugar Holiday Pop Up Returns

I can’t even express how EXCITED I am to make this announcement. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably already seen the incredible news. Thanks to a generous grant from the folks over at This Open Space, the Shop LoveBrownSugar Holiday Pop-Up shop is returning this December 2017!

It has been my sincere pleasure to host this holiday pop up shop every year since 2014. I am so incredibly passionate about supporting minority-owned business and brands, and there’s no better way to do so than to support with our dollars.

There are so many minority-owned businesses popping up left and right and the internet has made it so much easier to launch successful brands overnight. But the lifespan of a minority-owned business isn’t as long because there are specific hurdles (like funding!) that get in the way of growth. Though passion is truly the foundation of a successful brand, money is an absolute requirement to keep it going. 

Check out this recap of Shop LoveBrownSugar 2015 Holiday Pop-Up

I have encountered so many amazing small businesses over the past 8 years since starting LoveBrownSugar. When I discover something beautiful, I have to share it with you all. That’s why I started my #BlackOnBlackFriday holiday shopping lists and it’s why I created Shop LoveBrownSugar. But last year, due to overwhelming costs and lack of funds, I opted out of producing the pop-up shop and instead launched ShopLoveBrownSugar.com. While you all loved the online shop, it wasn’t quite the same as the live NYC shopping experience. There’s nothing like seeing, touching, feeling and experiencing the brands in person.

So when This Open Space launched their $30K Space Fund business competition announcing that they would grant one First Place winner with $6K in space funding (i.e free venue!) I immediately applied with the hope that their Creative Council would see my vision and award me with the opportunity. Well, prayers were answered. I WON FIRST PLACE!! I won $6K to put towards a space to host Shop LoveBrownsSugar in NYC. I’m so incredibly grateful. Words can’t express how honored I am. And thanks to this generous grant, I can offer General Admission tickets for FREE!

Wanna join us in NYC for Shop LoveBrownSugar? Get your FREE tickets here:

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5 Travel Essentials for Overnight Trips & Staycations

With Labor Day just around the corner, I’m sure many of us are planning our final summer excursions, staycations and overnight trips. When it comes to convenience while overnight traveling, I usually opt for very compact luggage and small overnight bags to save space and time. That typically means I can only bring the essentials with me, so I get super selective about which items I pack. I always opt for items that serve double duty – whether clothing or beauty. Below are my top 5 travel essentials for overnight trips. These will save you time and space when packing:

1. Overnight Backpack

There are a plethora of options for carrying your overnight must-haves. I’ve traveled with everything from duffel bags to rolling mini suitcases. My favorite of overnight travel options is a great sized and stylish backpack. If I’m traveling by air, it keeps me hands free to carry other items or to hold my little one’s hand. It’s usually spacious enough to fit all of my essentials and it has tons of side pockets for little things like chargers, wallets and hand sanitizer that I need to grab quickly on-the-go without digging deep to find them. The one pictured here is from Mina Kay Bags.

2. Dove Beauty Bar

This one is a no-brainer for me. I have to confess – I don’t trust hotel soaps & cleansers. I don’t always know the brands carried by the hotel, or have a full breakdown of the ingredients in those products, or how my skin will react to them. When it comes to cleansers, I have to go with a brand I trust so there are no surprises. Who wants to worry about allergic reactions or dry skin on vacay? So I always bring a Dove Beauty Bar along with me on my travels.

Because I can use it on both face and body, it’s an easy choice for overnight trips as it cuts down on the number of toiletries I have to fit in my bag. When I simply don’t have the space to pack a face AND body cleanser, the Dove Beauty Bar works double duty perfectly in one small bar. Formulated with ¼ moisturizing cream, it provides superior care that other premium cleansing soap bars do not. I often find hotel soaps strip my skin and leave them feeling dry and tight. I don’t have to worry about that with my Dove Beauty Bar. I found that out during my 7 Day Challenge where I used the beauty bar as my facial cleanser for a week. This one always goes into my overnight travel bag.

3. Red Lipstick

I come from the school of “Red Lipstick Fixes Everything”. When I can only bring a pared down makeup collection on my travels, red lipstick is the first thing I pack. Even if I only have tinted moisturizer and mascara, I can throw on a red lip and be ready for anything. It’s my number one makeup must-have for travel. My favorites include The Lip Bar “Bawse Lady”, MAC Lipstick in “Ruby Woo” and Lip A.R.T “SLAYbelles”.

4. Jeweled Flats

If I can only bring one pair of shoes with me on an overnight summer trip, I always aim for metallic or jewels flats. They add an extra “wow” factor to any outfit and you can easily take them from day to night, beach to bar-hopping, and everywhere in between. They can work with denim, linen or fancy dresses My favorite places to get jeweled, inexpensive flats are ASOS, Zara and Nasty Gal. It’s always best to buy inexpensive ones in case they get lost or you accidentally leave them. I leave my super expensive shoes at home when I’m traveling.

5. Day to Night Dress

Typically when I’m picking outfits for an overnight trip, I stick to pieces that can serve multiple purposes. The perfect little black romper or a printed kimono I can wear as a beach coverup and as a statement piece at dinner. My top pick among outfit choices for an overnight trip is a great day-to-night dress. I typically choose something solid colored, with breathable wrinkle-free fabric and a really beautiful silhouette that can be taken from day to night. A-line and maxi dresses are typically good for this. You want something simple enough to be worn with flats for day and dressed up with heels easily at night. Two outfits in one.

What do you all pack for your overnight trips and staycations? Leave a comment & share your must-haves.

I partnered with Dove to present this post. All opinions expressed above are my own and not those of the company.

LBS Chic: Maternity Style For BabyBrownSugar 2

MaternityStyle_4

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.

MaternityStyle_1

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.

MaternityStyle_6

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.

MaternityStyle_2

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.

MaternityStyle_3

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.

MaternityStyle_5

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.

MaternityStyle_7

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! 

Photos by Flaunt Your Fro | Makeup by Kim Roxie for Lamik Beauty | Dress by H&M | Shoes (found at Burlington)

Women In Tech Demo Day NYC

Candid WIT Demo Day

Last Saturday, I had the opportunity to attend the Women in Tech Demo Day NYC hosted by Capital One in partnership with Women Who Code and AngelHack. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Capital One over the last year to spotlight some of their amazing associates and their corporation’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, so I was honored to attend their Demo Day. In a nutshell, Women in Tech Demo Day is an opportunity for smart and talented women to come together and pitch their tech-savvy ideas (whether it’s for an app or a web-based destination) to solve specific challenges that women in tech and business face.

Judges WIT Demo Day

This year’s theme was about solving the problem of unconscious bias and gender discrimination, whether it be in the workplace or elsewhere. As someone who primarily operates in the style and beauty industry, it was a refreshing change to be surrounded by so many brilliant tech-focused women. The teams could create projects in advance and use the time during WIT Demo Day to continue working on their ideas and were expected to present their projects to professional judges on pitch day. It was really incredible hearing the different presentations. I literally wanted to download every app – very cool.

Asmau Ahmed Christina Brown WIT Demo Day

One of the most touching parts of the Women in Tech Demo Day was hearing tech start-up founder and current Capital One employee Asmau Ahmed share her experience as a woman of color trying to secure funding for her startup venture Plum Perfect. Her experiences, as she explained, were not unique as many women (and women of color in particular) face these hardships. People just simply don’t believe you’re capable and inherent bias prevents them from taking a risk on you, regardless of how talented and innovative you are. Part of hearing these truths was disheartening. I mean knowing that she literally took her photo off of her LinkedIn profile to get more meetings with investors is a sad but true reality. But on the other hand, it was incredibly empowering to hear that she fought through adversity and eventually secured Series A funding for her idea.

Here’s one of the best takeaways from Asmau’s speech – a list of ways YOU and I can make a difference when it comes to women getting investment funding for their brilliant ideas:

1. Become an investor.

Now this may sound nearly impossible or like a far cry from anything you can do to help women get more funding for their businesses but it’s absolutely not far-fetched. Every time you make a purchase or support a Kickstarter from a women-led businesses, you are inherently making an investment in that business. You’re helping to keep the lights on, or providing raw materials or helping that business develop a new team. Your financial support is so important. If you can do BIG, by all means please do! Find a small company you believe in and pledge your support. But all investments – big or small – help.

WIT Demo Day Pitches

2. Advocate for having more women and diversity on boards.

Most of the decisions that are made to invest, from venture capitalist firms, are coming directly from their boards. It’s typically a group of investors and more likely than not, that board is comprised of wealthy white men. Diversity is severely lacking in this arena. Do what you can to be an advocate for more women and people of color being included in the decision-making. The more of us there are making these decisions, the less bias and discrimination.

3. Get the men in your lives to become allies.

This is often underestimated as well. Having strong support from men is really important. At the end of the day, the industry over-indexes in male support and dominance. Once we can change and defy perceptions about what you have to “look like” in order for you to be considered capable, more opportunities will open up.

4. Amplify your voices by helping each other.

This is a BIG ONE. I’m always preaching about the importance of collaboration over competition. Partnership and collaboration is so incredibly important, especially among women. We’re so much stronger as a unit. Asmau made such a great point by stressing that we have to stick together.

Christina Brown WIT Demo Day

5. Never settle. Don’t give up!

This was a great point to end on. At the end of the day, the strides that are being made in various industries, including the tech industry, are being made because there were women (our predecessors) who refused to give up.

Think about how much further my daughter’s generation will be if we push hard enough to open doors for women and girls everywhere NOW. I’m hopeful that with events like Women in Tech Demo Day, more women will get the exposure they need to make substantial changes in this industry. Thanks to Capital One for having me and for pledging their support to such an incredible movement.

Interested in attending WIT Demo Day? They’re headed to D.C next! Click here to register for tickets to attend or to pitch your ideas. Get in FREE with my code: “WITDDwithChristina”

I was invited to attend Women in Tech Demo Day on behalf of Capital One and was compensated for my time. All opinions expressed above are my own and not those of the company. For more information on Capital One Careers, click here.

Review: Baby Dove Product Line

Baby Dove Sensitive

As a Dove ambassador, I’ve been getting the opportunity to try out lots of their products, many of which I already use and love, but some completely new. When Dove announced the launch of their Baby Dove line, I knew I had to try it out on my 3 year old Cadence.

First of all, I had already been using their Sensitive Skin bar as part of Cady’s bath regimen. I took a trip to their headquarters last year and heard from a dermatologist that the Sensitive Skin bar was safe and approved to use for kids. Cadence’s skin is very delicate and she even has some spots of eczema, so I’m always very careful about the types of products I use on her. So when the Dove team sent me the entire line – including the Baby Dove Rich Moisture line and the Sensitive Moisture line – my first inclination was to try her out with the Sensitive line.

Baby Dove Lotion Wash

The Baby Dove Sensitive Tip to Toe Wash is the first product we tried. What I liked about the wash is that it was creamy and moisturizing. Cadence’s skin tends to get dry especially in the colder months, so I love moisturizing cleansers for her skin. Her skin was soft and not at all irritated after using it. I also like the fact that it’s hypoallergenic, fragrance free and tear free. This one is also rated and approved by the National Eczema Association, which I check often to determine which products to stay away from with her.

Next up, I prepped her for bed with the Baby Dove Sensitive Lotion, which was pretty light and absorbed into her skin quickly.

baby Dove regular wipes

Since Cadence is still in the stage where she needs help in the bathroom after going potty, I tested out the Baby Dove Wipes for her first on the potty. They’re not flushable, but they certainly do help with potty messes. I also stashed them in the car for snack spills and sticky fingers.

I decided to try the Rich Moisture line myself. Little known fact: I love Baby products…for myself. No, I’m not ashamed. I love how the entire line smells. It smells like freshly-powdered brand new baby with chubby edible cheeks! So yummy.

Baby Dove Wipes

Just like the Sensitive wash was creamy and moisturizing for Cady, the Rich Moisture line was pretty creamy as well. It washed off clean, which is important for the little ones. I tend to like washes that leave a little moisture behind but overall it was a nice consistency.

Dove Wipes

I also love the wipes. I keep a pack around the house for quick messes and another in Cady’s school bag for when we’re traveling back and forth. Overall these products are a great value. I’m so happy Dove has taken the charge with developing a line just for the little ones, especially with their campaign around #RealMoms and relieving some of the pressure we moms face to be superwomen everyday. Check out their #RealMoms campaign here:

This post is sponsored by Dove, a Unilever company. All opinions expressed here are my own and not those of the company.