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A Quick trip to LA is always in the cards…

28 Jun


My good friend Mariama and I over packed two suitcases, lugged way too much makeup, piled into a car and drove from the Bay Area to Los Angeles for a weekend getaway and to attend the IMATS (International Makeup Artists Trade Show) in Pasadena. We arrived in Los Angeles Saturday afternoon to  a perfect “79 degrees and sunny”, took in the over sized billboards, palm trees, and general beauty that just seems to be everywhere in LA.   We stayed in a hotel in Hollywood, less than a mile from Hollywood blvd; giving us close proximity to all the clubs our hearts desired later that night. First stop on our list though once we dropped off our bags…The Beverly Center.  Known for its incredible shopping, its equally known for the gorgeous people that seem to collect themselves there in droves. Whether that’s a byproduct of being in Los Angeles, or they just happen to congregate at the Beverly Center, I don’t know. But I do know, that when it comes to brown skin brothers in particular; there’s all kinds of gorgeousness that also happen to be dressed to a T!

We shopped for way too long, had to forego our dinner plans at Geisha House and seriously cut into our time for getting dressed to go out (this is what happens when you get two beauty and shopping addicts together!!).  But eventually we got back to the hotel and got “beautified” for the night!  After a few mishaps…waiting in line at the W hotel to get into a pre BET award show party,only for them to reach capacity, about to head to playhouse to meet friends, only to find out it had reached capacity as well,a long taxi drive that led to a non existent club and a long walk down hollywood blvd that had my feet screaming…we ended up at “My Studio” and danced the rest of the night away.

Here are some pics of what I wore, and us out and about! Enjoy!

Outfit: Top (American Apparel), Skirt (French Connection), Shoes (Sam Edelman), Rings (independent jewelry stores), bracelets (urban outfitters & other stores) and watch (Chanel). For the Items with links, click to be taken to the sites where you can purchase them.

*pictures courtesy of my nikon and google images


LOVE LOVE LOVE the spikes on the back of these shoes!!

People kept calling me Rihanna...I don't see it tho? lol

MY STUDIO

Inside "My Studio"

Another "Crowd shot" of "My Studio"

Me and Mariama! 🙂

COMING SOON!!!! POST ON THE IMATS!!!!

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Summer Tops!

23 Jun
 Flowy, tight, strapless, halter, cutout, crop top, and lace…summer tops come in so many styles, and colors that it’s hard to pick. But what’s super trendy this summer??
 
I’m loving crop tops paired with maxi skirts , or short frayed jean shorts for that LA look. Tight racer backs or loose fitting silk tanks also paired with maxi skirts or mini’s are absolutely divine. The boyfriend’s oxford shirt is the shirt of many possibilities this summer.  It comes with all types of sleeves, prints, pops of color, materials, etc all adding a touch of structure to any summer look . With the sleeves rolled up slightly and cuffed, you get that casual cool “I just threw this on” look. Even better is when the bottom button is un-buttoned and tied in a little knot, exposing a little stomach and paired with a maxi it equals perfection!  Lace and sheer tops are also a fun way to incorporate a sexier look into your day style. These tops are definitely not exclusive to the night; with a neon bandeau underneath you can create a really fun edgy look under any lace top. And sheer tops allow you to play with layers, or go for the barely there look. Some people are bold enough to go with nothing underneath (not I said the fly!),while other’s opt for a bra, tight crop top or a tank.
 
 Hope this gives you some ideas on how to play with some of your summer top options! Here are some of MY favorite tops that are sure to keep you looking fab all summer long! Just click on the pictures to be taken to the websites where you can purchase the items! 🙂
 
 
 

pret-a-surf

pret-a-surf

Patterson Kincaid

Joie

Satin Tie Back

Satin Tie Back

Cheap Monday

Stripe Sleeveless Boyfriend shirt

Evil Twin trailblazer shirt

Evil Twin

Asos fringed collar

Cloud Nine Blouse

Funktional Deconstructed silk shirt

Shredded Knit Tank

Newport Racerback Tank

Cold Shoulder Tie Blouse

Newport Racerback Tank

Lifegaurd Muscle tea

American Vintage

Theyskens' Theory

Theyskens' Theory

Ruffle bow back

Velvet

Velvet

Silence & Noise

Free People Lace Top

Blue Life

American Apparel

Ajak Deng…A True Inspiration…

20 Jun

Looking at Ajak, one would never question why she is taking the modeling world by storm. Towering at 6 feet tall, with legs and arms “for days”, this Sudanese beauty has become a favorite of designer Jason Wu and has scored major campaigns with United colors of Benetton, Top shop and Calvin Klein. But behind this stunning models success is a story of pain, fate and ultimately inspiration.

Ajak Deng, born in Sudan Angelique Ajak Deng, was forced to flee her native country in 2002 with her family at the tender age of 12.  The Sudanese war -the reason for their fleeing- gripped the country from 1983 to 2005, leaving roughly 2 million dead and displacing hundreds of thousands more. A senseless war painted by different parties as a war between Muslims and Christians or a war between Arabs and Africans, caused inconceivable violence and despair to many innocent people (wikipedia.org). Ajak and her family were part of the “lucky” few that were able to find safety in a Kenyan refugee camp. But as is often the case in refugee camps due to the lack of resources, aid and medical attention; her mother contracted Malaria and died soon after. Leaving Ajak’s father to care for her and her seven siblings on his own. Finding a way to immigrate to Australia, Ajak and her family received refugee status. Giving them hope as they moved into a new chapter in their life;  Ajak had the opportunity to resume her education and eventually enter the modeling industry that would change her life, and the life of her family…forever (Ajak_Vogue-Black).

Once she was in high school and in search of a part time job, Ajak began to “catch wind” that she should consider modeling. As she describes in the video “Fresh Face Ajak Deng” by Modelinia, when she would apply for jobs, all her prospective employers refused to hire her because they thought she should be a model. So after doing a little research on the local modeling agencies in Victoria Australia, she walked into FRM Model Management with a few pictures, no pretensions or expectations; and the hope that she would be able to “give her brothers and sisters everything they ever wanted” (www.hellobeautiful.com).  Needless to say, Ajak was quickly snatched up by FRM. At Australia’s fashion week, she caught everyone’s attention and even had the international fashion community inquiring about who she was. Absolutely everyone was abuzz about this angel faced, bright eyed model, with an innocent and gentle disposition.

Ajak has since walked in fashion weeks all over the world, most notably for Louis Vuitton, Chloe, Givenchy, Oscar de la Renta, Jean Paul Gaultier and Lanvin. Though she is an extremely edgy-high fashion model, her smile lights up any photograph with an electricity, that marks an undeniable commercial appeal . With Alek Wek (the famous Sudanese model) slowly doing less and less modeling, Ajak seems first in line to take the spot of the iconic model!

Ajak’s story is truly inspiring, and reminds us that we are all called for a specific purpose in life. And though we may go through a period of pain and suffering, or have hopelessness with the possibility of change feeling intangible. We really never know when our fate will find us and set us on the path of fulfilling what we are born to do. Ajak was born to model, and watching her fulfill her dream when it seems all the odds were against her, is the ultimate inspiration.

*Pictures courtesy of google images and models.com

“Surf Baby”-Summer Makeup Series

18 Jun

Eyes: Untitled (primer), Brown Script, Surf USA, Orange, Goldmine, Teddy (eyeliner), Blue Noon (eyeliner), dark brown jordana eyeliner (eyebrow), and Ricepaper (eyebrow highlighter).

Face: Peachtwist (cheek), NW45 Studio Fix Powder, NW45 Pro long wear Concealer and Foundation.

Lips: Get Rich Quick (Dazzleglass lipgloss)

All Products used are MAC unless stated otherwise.

Summer Day Affair

15 Jun

Casual Summer Day Affair?? What better than these tie dye shorts by Miss Me, a bar III top in chrome yellow, throwing on whatever silver rings and bracelets I could get my hands on and sky high YSL suede pumps? I cant think of a better outfit. Enjoy the pics!

 

The Nordstrom Trendshow

15 Jun

OUTFIT: Jacket (nanette lepore), Top (bar III), Shorts (BCBG), and Shoes (Michael Kors)

The Nordstrom Trend show Event was on June 11th at the San Francisco Westfield mall. The prize for my Makeup contest entrants, I was excited to see them and finally attend the event I had looked forward to for weeks. Unsure of what to expect, I rose at 6am on Saturday morning to get dressed and ensure an “on time” 7:30am arrival to the mall (sooooo early I know!!!… but well worth it!). Giddy with excitement I waited in line with family, my close friend Mariama Eghan a fabulous beauty blogger/guru herself and hundreds of eager and excited women. Promptly at 8:00am the elevators to Nordstrom opened and we were taken up to the area where the beauty and fashion crazed event was going to be held!

Amidst the beautiful clothes and shoes the buyers for Nordstrom do a phenomenal job of choosing season after season, was an incredible set up . Immediately to our left, healthy breakfast platters with fruits, yogurts, and mini muffins were displayed perfectly in order to welcome us in, tantalize and wakeup our taste buds. To our right were the beautiful faces of the pristinely dressed Nordstrom employees, genuinely thrilled to have us at their event and even more excited to hand us tote bags with free beauty goodies and programs detailing all the brands, products and events for the day.  And finally, straight ahead was the main stage where a huge screen, runway and a sea of white chairs in rows going in all directions clearly marked out final destination. Lights were on full blast, the DJ had the music pumping, and the MC smartly dressed from head to toe in all white was ready to show us a good time. After just 15 minutes of talking to us, the MC made us forget that it was early Saturday morning, made us feel like we were about to “Partayyy!” and announced “Let the show begin!”

The trend show started with a mini runway show dedicated to all the summer fashion trends. My favorite trends from the mini show? The bold use of bright colors, so paring a bold bright top with a bold bright pant. Graphic flowing print dresses with pops of a single color, making for the perfect outfit for a daytime event. And last but not least, print shorts and a loose fitting white top!..here are some pictures from the mini show (sorry it was hard to get good ones!).

The rest of the trendshow was dedicated to allowing all the beauty brands that Nordstrom carries to explain what each brands are doing for summer. From MAC to Guerlain to SuperGoop to Anastasia (epic eyebrow lady to the stars) literally ALL the brands were covered. And we learned everything from new spa treatments that lift and tighten your skin like the Intraceuticals Oxygen Infusions facials done in the Nordstrom Spa’s to Burberry’s new cosmetics brand with “to die for” lip colors, to how get rid of wrinkles in 10 minutes with the Double Strength Deep wrinkle filler by Kiehl’s.

Laura Mercier rep and model

Anastasia!!

Did I mention there were male models?!?!

Me and Bradley 🙂

After the trendshow through my partnership with the Business Manager for MAC, Bradley Miller, my family members, friends and contests entrants/winners all had appointments at the MAC counter to learn about the super summery and fun “Surf Baby” collection. The collection has beautiful grays, turquoise and coral colors…all PERFECTION for summer.  We all got our makeup done, had a blast and spent WAY too much money on all the new products.

A few of us also had the unique opportunity to attend one of the MAC Master class’s that were taught throughout the day. Taught by two MAC Pro artists that travel the world doing makeup for magazine photoshoots and high fashion runway shows, these makeup guru’s knew what they were talking about. From how to get the perfect “J.Lo complexion” to the best “neon lips” for summer, the master class was a class we were not going to miss!

MAC pro artist showing Summer lip colors!

MAC Master Class

MAC pro artist

These trend show’s are a great way for women AND men (if this is your kind of thing) to learn about new beauty products and how to best make them work for you. These experts/gurus are there to teach YOU how to make YOU look and feel like the best YOU, and that’s what truly makes these kinds of events so special. They’re there to de-mystify the world of beauty, so you can look like the people in magazines and on billboards…because the only thing that’s separating you from looking like them at the end of the day is the right product and knowing how to use it. What’s better than that? So take the time to figure out when a trendshow is going to be at your local Nordstrom, because it’s an event you don’t want to miss!!

Here are the “Official” 2011 Nordstrom Beauty Trends

Bright Lips: Line Lips with a matching lip pencil for lasting color.

Colorful Eyes: Boldly Apply bright color to eyes

Sun-Kissed Skin: Try matte bronzer

Bright Complexions: Reach or advanced serums

Iridescent Eyes: Shimmer instantly brightens eyes

Angelic Lips: Precision is key-avoid over-smudging

Bold Nails: Match nails to lips

Glazed ‘70s-inspired Hair: Try a deep side part with shine

Bright Scents: Layer products for a lasting scent

On Twitter: @Nordstrom, @NordstromSF, @Nordstrombeauty

Haati Chai…the perfect summer jewelry.

13 Jun

Haati Chai Jewelry worn by a model photography by Stella Simona

“Haati Chai” literally meaning “elephant tea” in Bengali, is a jewelry line that was started in Los Angeles, California by Stella Simona.  Known for her incredible photography, she was inspired to start her line for the same reason that most designers begin creating…she couldn’t find jewelry pieces that she wanted to wear. But more specifically for Stella, she wanted unique pieces to use in her photography. So with the encouragement from fellow photographer Caleb Wilson (and now Haati Chai designer) Stella made her first collection. Initially her pieces were only used in her photography to enhance her already beautiful photos, but after realizing how special and desired her pieces were, as Stella said she “just needed to let people rock them.”

Finding a unique way to blend contemporary styles in jewelry making with jewelry making techniques and styles from India; Haati Chai creates a uniquely magical combination of “on trend” pieces rooted in Indian culture. Personally, I love when any designer can provide a context for their creations. Creating things for the sake of “going with the times” makes them meaningless. But in Stella’s case, she provides wearers with stylish pieces of jewelry that have hints and accents of her Indian culture. It’s not glaringly obvious in all the pieces, but you can tell she’s tapped into something different, special and unique.

 

Only making ONE of each piece, when you buy any Haati Chai jewelry, you know you are the only person in the world with that specific piece of jewelry. This jewelry brand not only has the “usual” earrings, rings, necklaces and bracelets expected to encompass any jewelry line, but it boasts anklets, body chains, head pieces, nose rings, men’s jewelry and Indian trinkets. Items definitely not found in most contemporary jewelry lines, and if they are its doubtful they are executed with such care, elegance and craftsmanship. The pieces have such simplicity, yet there are some incredible architectural elements and the use of stones, wood, aluminum and other organic materials give it an earthy “grounded” feel.

alipur haati neckpiece

With collections for men and women, Stella and her team, Caleb Wilson and Sheba Snow design and hand craft all the Haati Chai pieces. And for the items they don’t make themselves, special craftsmen in India bring their designs to life. Stella and Sheba serve has the head designers for the women’s collections while Caleb designs the new men’s collection called “Chele” meaning “guy” in Bengali. Though the “Chele” collection is officially for men, it can also be worn by women and serves more as a unisex collection.

ankh neckpiece

shoojoh ring

thool toe ring anklet

sylheti iced silver

khaat lion ring

khaat budha ring

dhaka khalo phota bracelet

dhaka turq bracelet

So who wears Haati Chai Jewelry?

Haati Chai jewelry is for anyone that considers themselves trendy, fashionable, or just wants a beautiful one of a kind piece of jewelry. Works of art, the multi chain rings, armor rings, cuffs, statement piece necklaces, etc all could have been on the runway shows in the spring. This is the kind of jewelry that people stop you on the street and ask you about. The pieces truly are conversation starters, and best of all you are getting incredible quality and style for a great price.

Visit the Haati Chai website for more information on this beautiful jewelry line: http://haatichai.blogspot.com/

Want a little more info on Stella Simone?? Here is a little backgrounder on the designer/photographer/stylist/knower and doer of all things fashion.

That's Stella! She's Stunning!

Stella Simona is currently known best as a professional photographer. However she has a bit of background in the modeling world as a print and commercial model. The interesting thing about Stella is that for the majority of her shoots, she does the makeup, hair, and wardrobe styling. She’s always had a taste for fashion and the way the industry works so Haati Chai is just another extension of the already very talented beauty.

Stella Simona

 

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What jewelry piece do you love?!?! What did you guys think of this post??? Comment below!!

Summer Office Style!

7 Jun

Recent Twitpics of my Office Style (I work in San Francisco…its cold!… we wear scarves and jackets year round!)

Do you have a summer internship, new job or current job and just want to find clothes that are appropriate to wear to the office but are in style? Then this is the post for you. It can definitely be hard staying within office dress etiquette rules without wearing ALL black from head to toe or “Mumus” that hide your shape. But i’m here to tell you that you have more options than that! You can wear bright colors, prints, stylish suit separates, shirts with detailed collars, etc and still maintain a professional look. Office style is no longer about wearing a two piece suit to the office like we saw our mothers do. Its about playing with separates, harnessing the power of a DVF wrap dress and most of all having fun with different fabrics, textures, shapes and styles. As long as you “keep it classy,” have the right attitude and “rock” whatever your wearing with confidence…NO ONE will question your choices.

Here are some pieces I love, to get you through your 9 to 5’s! Shop away by clicking the items below!

*Pictures courtesy of shopbop.com, bcbg.com, revolveclothing.com and frenchconnection.com

Tops

Diane Von Furstenberg

Theory

Tucker

Diane Von Furstenberg

French Connection

French Connection

French Connection

Jenni Kayne

Tucker

Winter Kate

Beyond Vintage

Diane Von Furstenberg

Rag & Bone JEAN

Skirts/Dresses

French Connection

French Connection

French Connection

RACHEL by Rachel Roy

French Connection

Diane Von Furstenberg

Diane Von Furstenberg

Diane Von Furstenberg

Jackets

Alice + Olivia

 

BCBG

 

Rachel Roy

RACHEL by Rachel Roy

French Connection

French Connection

BCBG

BCBG

Pants/Shorts

French Connection

French Connection

BCBG

BCBG

French Connection

French Connection

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Liu Wen…China’s Breakout Star

6 Jun

Finally Asian models are beginning to show the world how marketable and mainstream they can be, and Ms. Liu Wen is leading the way. Notice how I said “marketable and mainstream” and not just “beautiful” or “gorgeous”…if you ask anyone with half a brain, and moderate vision…..Asian beauty is a given (unless you are a narrowminded and racist individual, in which your opinion is not cared for nor wanted here ). What unfortunately has not been a given is the international fashion companies casting of Asian Models in Ad campaigns, as brand spokespersons, on the cover’s of American, French or British magazines (namely Vogue as it represents the pinnacle of the fashion world), or even regular use as models in high fashion editorial shoots. Traditionally this has been the struggle for all models that are non white/ European. It has taken bona fide stars within each race to break the  mold, and pave the way for crops of models of the same race to even have a chance at careers with less than a semblance to “their stars.”  For African Americans it was people like Beverly Johnson appearing on the cover of American Vogue in the 70’s, and Naomi Campbell who continues to land lucrative ad campaigns and contracts that  revolutionize the kinds of fees models are allowed to command. For the many shades of Africans, Latina (other than Brazilian), Middle Easterners, Indians, Asians, and all the other women of color in this world, it will take stars like that to pave the way for their chance. Liu Wen represents that chance for Asian models (no pressure!).

*All pictures courtesy of google images.


Discovered in 2005 at the New Silk Road World Model contest  in China- though she was not the winner-she soon appeared on the cover of China’s FHM magazine.  Her appearance on the cover of FHM turned her into a national success, launched her modeling career and made her the top choice for other major Chinese magazines like Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar (wikipedia.org). From there the jobs kept rolling in, all leading up to a carreer changing editorial shoot for the September 2007 Cosmopolitan issue where she wore Karl Lagerfeld and Victor + Rolf designs. The shoot not only wowed the international community but led the designers to cast her in their Paris shows the following season (wikipedia.org). Walking in the Paris fashion shows in 2008 led to a major contract for Liu with the Marilyn Agency, the biggest modeling agency in Paris. Her contract with Marilyn, innate talent, high cheekbones, perfectly proportioned model figure and smile; had the “glass ceiling” barring women of color tumbling down and the fashion industry clamoring to get a piece of her.

She is the first woman of East Asian descent to walk in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion show, making her first appearance in the 2009 show and then again in the 2010 show. She was also asked to become a “face of Estee Lauder,” the first Asian face ever for the company. And in the Spring 2010 Ready to Wear Season she walked in 70 shows! 2nd highest of all models for the season. If that doesnt scream top model I dont know what does! 

Liu Wen is a star, and the work she has done in the industry has allowed for a new crop of Asian models to slowly but steadily take a piece of the fashion industry for themselves. Vogue did an editorial shoot and article called “Asia Major” in the November 2010 issue on these up and coming Asian models.  Featuring Liu Wen, Du Juan, Tao Okamoto, Lee Hyun Yi, Hyoni Kang, Bonnie Chen, So Young Kang and Lily Zhi all beautifully dressed in couture gowns and shot by the incredible photographer Steven Meisel.  Though the shoot was ground breaking in its own right, it creates the potential for Vogue to announce the descendence of these statuesque beauties all in one single shoot, say they’ve featured them and never revisit the unique elements they bring to fashion again. To really “introduce” the Asian Models to the fashion industry and “the world” they should steadily and consistently give them work in their editorial shoots (as much as they give the white/ european models), pair them up with “up and coming” and iconic fashion designers they are featuring and we as readers should get to know each of them as individuals as they become top models…not en masse. So Vogue prove me wrong and let’s see Asian models littered throughout your pages, on a regular basis, from here on out!

 

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My Memorial Day Style…

3 Jun

I spent memorial day in Durham, North Carolina. My first time in the notorious ” South” (other than a short stint in Texas when I was younger that I don’t remember) I have always had reservations about going to any of the southern states. Stemming from an assumption that the African skin I had grown to love so much, would be the same skin that would invite ridicule, taunts or maybe even worse ominous silence. Turned out my reservations were miss placed; and all my notions of ignorant individuals that would harass me for my darker complexion, were quickly made to look rather ignorant.




Southern hospitality, smells of all kinds of fried food (even fried bananas??!?!?) and the hot southern sun, all warmed my soul. Durham was full of beautiful tall bright green trees, rolling land and a young vibe because of all the universities in a short mile radius. Combined with the fact that we visited my father’s best friend of 40 years, and had a rockin Ghanaian party (I know you all read the NY Times article)… this memorial day was definitely one to remember.


What did I choose to wear? One of my favorite summer dresses from Forever 21.  A patterned strapless dress with smock detailing at the waist, it has always been a favorite of mine for warmer weather. Its light, doesn’t stick to my skin and moves when I move…think “flowy.” I paid maybe $22.00 dollars, but I’ve worn it countless times and is definitely a staple in my closet (nothing like a cheap garment that ends up having some lasting power!). I chose to put a think belt from French Connection on it, and I think it was about $150.oo. Below I have found some similar dresses, all fro Forever 21. Forever 21 can be such a pain to sift through both in the store and online so i’ve done a little work for you! Click the options below to be taken to the website so you can purchase them.