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My Insta-Year 2012 & 20 Things I’m Thankful For

I cannot believe how quickly 2012 has come & gone. I feel like I was doing this year-end Project 365 review post just yesterday and suddenly we’re approaching the dawn of a completely new year, and here I am again. My 20’s are flying by! Sheesh.

I have so many incredible things to be thankful for this year. 2012 was truly a year of growth and constant change for me. I think I experienced the most changes in my adult life during this year. From career changes to lifestyle changes to personal life changes and self-renewal, this was a pivotal year for me. I’ve learned so much about myself from all the trials & tests I’ve had to endure. My faith is way stronger and I have clarity of mind about where I see myself and what I truly want out of life. The Quarter-Life Crisis is real, y’all. But necessary. Most important lesson learned? Count your blessings.

Here’s a list of My 2012 Top 20 Things I’m Thankful For:

1. My first trip to San Francisco

San Francisco is a city after mine own heart. From the incredible sight-seeing, the beautiful rolling hills, the coastal views and the amazing green lifestyle there, to the tech vibes and the diversity of the city, I fell head over heels.  I love it and I can’t wait to go back!

2. The birth of my newest nephew

There’s nothing more beautiful to me than the birth of a new soul. We added a happy addition to my family this year – my nephew Ezekiel. My other nephew Justice has made cameos on the blog from time to time (particularly this time I dressed him up in my Russian fur hat Ralph). I love these two boys with all my heart.

My 3 year old nephew, and my new 8 month old nephew

3. Taking Risks With My Look

Before this year, I hadn’t colored my hair at all since 2006. Big step for me! I mean, yes it was colored extensions so not actually “my” hair, but it was still major for me to embrace the color and the change. Dana Gibbs of Dana’s Loft did an excellent job on my BET Awards look. I think it was my best hair ever. Ombre ends might make a reappearance on this head in 2013.

4. My First Published Travel Story

I have always been addicted to travel. Any major trips I take, I document them right here on the blog and it’s always been something I was really passionate about. So it was a MAJOR deal for me to have my first travel story published in a print magazine. I had the opportunity to do so in the April 2012 issue of UPTOWN Magazine. I’ll never forget it!

5. My first “Home” away from home

So this year I started my new Home Improvement series. I moved into a new apartment in the city that just has so much character and, for once, really feels like “my” home. I’ve been really enjoying making it my own and giving it a personal touch.

6. Discovering LiSi Cosmetics 

By far one of the best moments of 2012 was my first time walking into the flagship LiSi Cosmetics store in downtown NYC. From that day on, I have been hooked and the brand has been so incredibly supportive of me and my endeavors. I’ve had so much fun spreading the word about them. From the Digital Launch Party to the creation of my nail polish color. I’m beyind grateful for having stepped foot into that store.

7. My Trip to the BET Awards

The fact that this blog all started with a runway recap of the BET Awards in 2009, it really brought things full circle for me when I was invited by Ford to be a special guest in their Ford Hotspot in LA. Not only was it my first time in LA, but my Road To BET Awards series really hit home for me because it truly has been a journey since starting my site.  The opportunities I’ve been given go beyond my wildest dreams.

8. My Trip to New Orleans

I almost didn’t make it to the Essence Music Festival this year. But I had always wanted to go and so instead of being rational, I threw caution to the wind and booked a last minute flight out to New Orleans. Best decision I made all year. I had an absolute blast hanging with my blogger besties in one of the most beautiful and culture-rich cities in this country.

9. My Successful Whole 30 Challenge

So towards the end of the summer, you guys who follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook probably recall me jumping head first into a full 30-day detox called The Whole 30. This was life-changing for me. It’s incredible to see firsthand how your body reacts to cutting out toxic foods. I never felt better. I’m already planning my next Whole 30 journey for 2013. It may be happening sometime in February, stay tuned.

10. Being Valued as a Voice

This year I had the pleasure of doing a number of speaking engagements and panel discussions =- something I’ve never done before! This year, I spoke at the Blogworld & New Media Expo, the Rising Affluent Conference, the BlogHer Conference, a Fashion Blogger panel for a Youth Women’s group as well as a PENN Alumni panel. You guys already know I love to talk, so being able to share some of my experience in this industry with other folks who really care? Priceless. I can’t wait to do more of it in 2013.

11. My First Runway Fashion Show

BlogHer blessed me with the opportunity to strut my stuff in their very first runway fashion show. I had SUCH a blast being in the company of other awesome bloggers and walking down a runway for the first time. I even landed a beauty feature on Elle.com because of it. So much fun!

12. Hosting Social Women Brunches

This year, myself and Yoli of Yoli’s Green Living co-hosted a series of brunches entitled “Social Women”. We had esteemed guests like comedienne actress Kim Coles and even socialite/entrepreneur Angela Simmons. I’ve always love hosting events so this was a true accomplishment for me.

13. My First ATL Weekend (Turned Week)

There’s nothing like a plate of Southern food to make you feel at home, even when you’re away from home. I visited Atlanta for the first time this year and what was supposed to be a quick weekend getaway turned into an extended stay due to Hurricane Sandy. I didn’t complain. I connected with ATL friends, ate tons of Southern cuisine and counted my blessings, considering the tragedy that was taking place in my hometown.

14. My Successful 2 Year Natural Hair Journey

Two years natural guys! Can you believe it? I didn’t think I would make it without the creamy crack but I did! And the journey is still going strong.

15. My Daytime TV Debut (Katie Couric Show)

I had the pleasure of being Katie Couric’s behind-the-scenes live blogger on her daytime talk show this year. I got to meet Katie, I wrote a post for her website and I was treated to a front row seat at the show (with laptop in tow). It was a great experience. 

16. Taking Part in Political History…Again

I voted back in 2008 for what I believed would never actually happen. Having a First Family of color for the past 4 years has been nothing short of amazing for me. Our ancestors fought so incredibly hard to make dreams like this come true. I was happy this year to participate in his re-election. Not because of his skin color, but because I believe in his values and what he plans to do for this country. I’m not really big into politics, but I was proud to do my civic duty this year.

17. Meeting Iyanla Vanzant

Guys, I am ONE degree of separation from Oprah! That’s right, your girl met Iyanla Vanzant at a launch dinner for her new show “Iyanla Fix My Life” not too long ago. I was honored, to say the least. She has such a warm presence, and her show on OWN network is really touching lives. This night was monumental for me.

18. My BlogHer Style Squad Appointment

I am a super proud member of BlogHer Publishing Network’s very first Style Squad. I contribute posts to their site and they now service ads right here on LoveBrownSugar.com (as you guys probably have noticed on the right sidebar and top header). It’s beyond my wildest dreams that I’m able to make a little chump change from doing what I love. I’m thankful to BlogHer for believing in me and supporting my dream.

19. LoveBrownSugar Nail Lacquer

What can I really say? This is something I can now check off my bucket list. I have a beauty product in my name! Even now, over a month after the announcement, I’m still in awe. My Limited Edition “LoveBrownSugar” nail polish is still available for sale HERE. I love & appreciate you guys who have supported me by purchasing bottles of your own!

20. Surviving 2012

From bad breakups to bouts of unhappiness and depression, nearly losing loved ones in my immediate family and feeling like all hope was lost. I even stopped blogging for nearly a month! God’s grace is really the only reason I can say I’m still here. So I’ll go forward counting my blessings and remembering how important it is to give thanks for the positive things in your life. One of which, for me, is your readership and your continuous support. I’m beyond blessed to have readers (and friends, really) like you all. I wish you guys continous success, prosperity and true happiness for the upcoming year!

What’s one major thing you accomplished in 2012? What are you most proud of?

Flavor of Friday: Styled By June, Spring Fashion & More

Happy Friday folks! This week was hectic readjusting to NYC’s fast pace. Boy do I miss the sunny, laid back steaze of San Fran. Anyway, here’s the tee on style & beauty this week, from some of my favorite sites…

Reality Check

Styled By June is coming to a TV screen near you! Get into this Supertrailer of June’s new show premiering March 19th at 9:30PM. Can’t wait!
Get more deets and pics from the show over at TheYBF

Spring Fashion

The weather is warming up which means it’s high time to spice up your wardrobe with some color!
Click over to VIBE Vixen for some amazing pantone colored pieces to incorporate into the wardrobe this season!

The Beauty Beat

So you now when you have a favorite makeup shade and suddenly it’s discontinued? Hate when that happens. MAC Cosmetics may have a solution. They’re opening up a M.A.C by Request contest that will allow beauty fanatics to vote for their favorite discontinued shades.

Get the deets at The Style and Beauty Doctor!

Get Like Them

Glamazons Blog sat down with two of my favorite female entrepreneurs – Titi and Miko Branch of Miss Jessie’s for a “10 Minutes With” feature. Love these women for being forward thinkers.

Check out what they had to say over at Glamazons Blog!
Travel Luxe
Meanwhile, back on the ranch, I hope you’ve gotten into my weekend excursion to San Francisco (HERE). It was an amazing time – if you’re thinking of visiting I highly recommend.
What fab plans do you have for the weekend? Hit me up in the comments!

Top 5 Natural Hair Tips For Travel


As the Spring Break season is in full swing, and many of us will be planning spring and summertime getaways in the coming months, it’s important to highlight proper haircare when you’re on the go. As someone who adores travel, I’ve had my fair share of natural hair WTFs while on the road. From leaving for a week-long excursion without a leave-in conditioner, to extreme after-swim shrinkage. Yep, you name it, it’s happened to me. Jet-setting naturals, arm yourself with these super quick & easy tips for a stress-free vacay and healthy curls…

1. Sample Sizes Are Your Friend.

As someone who attends media events regularly, I have the pleasure of grudgingly hoarding cabinets and cabinets worth of sample size product. Every shape, size, type and kind, you can probably find it in my beauty closet. But you don’t have to be media, to get into it. Sample sizes are readily available and offered by a number of different companies. One of my faves is Oyin Handmade.

They have an amazing 5 Piece Snack Pack, $22, of their signature products that are perfect for travel. Another great option is CurlBox. The monthly subscription service for curlies sends sample sizes of all different types of products.

On my trip to San Francisco, I took the sample size Karen’s Body Beautiful Sweet Ambrosia Leave-In Conditioner sent out in this month’s CurlBox and it worked wonders for me!

2. Bring Protection.

The last thing you want to forget on an overnight excursion is your satin cap. Cotton sheets are not your friend. So if possible make sure you either tote a satin cap or scarf with you. The best option is to add a satin pillowcase to your emergency hair kit.

That way, whether you’re on a romantic getaway or a girlfriends’ trip, you won’t have to sacrifice style for curl care.

Read This: Beauty & The Box Braids: Weigh In

3. Cover Up The Goods.

Aside from the sexy sarong or mesh maxi you have to cover up post-pool or beach activities, you’re gonna want to make sure to cover up your ends if you’re doing major water activities. Protective styles like mini twists, cornrows, flat twists and buns will do the trick. Just make sure you protect those ends before hopping head first into H20, so you don’t experience unwanted shrinkage and potential breakage. Just remember, when your hair is soaking wet, it is at its weakest point.

4. Work What You Got.


Depending on where you go, travel sizes of your favorite products might not be readily available. Boyfriend whisking you away for an unexpected weekend getaway and he forgot to pack your Kinky Curly Knot Today? Never fret! There are a few tried & true natural ingredients found almost everywhere that will tame your strands. Never underestimate the power of a little H20. Water has been known to turn my hair from a Disaster Zone to an Enter With Caution. Huge difference. Hotel conditioner may not be your brand of preference but mixing a few dabs of conditioner with water and sealing with a natural oil really can make the difference in preserving your curls on the go.  Call the front desk and ask if the kitchen can bring you up a small cup of olive oil. Weird request but you won’t regret it.

5. If All Else Fails, Wash & Go.

If you don’t have the luxury of a styler, try wetting your hair in braids or twists, dabbing a bit of conditioner on the hair and sealing the ends. Let them air dry (or use a hotel blowdryer on low setting), and keep it moving.

Bonus: Hair pins are your friends! They don’t have a size restriction on planes, so they should be the first thing you pack in your emergency hair kit.

What say you? Any helpful tips for traveling naturals?