Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Beauty Tuesday- Trader Joe’s Coconut Body Butter

If you’ve been to Trader Joe’s, you know that this specialty grocer is not just a go-to spot for organic eats and hard-to-find food items; it also produces its own line of personal care products.  One of the latest: Trader Joe’s Coconut Body Butter.  Made with Coconut Oil, Shea Butter and Vitamin E and other natural ingredients, this butter is thick, creamy and lightly scented.  It absorbs into the skin almost instantly and gives good moisturization.   Trader Joe’s Coconut Body Butter’s only drawback is that it doesn’t give the skin that “glow” often delivered by more expensive body butters.  It won’t necessarily replace your Body Butter from the Body Shop.  However,  for the awesomely low price of $5, this butter makes a nice addition to any beauty arsenal.

To find a Trader Joe’s near you, visit www.traderjoes.com.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Chicagoland- Natural Hair Bridal Couture Fashion Show Is Coming


In celebration of its web launch, NaturalHairBride.com presents its Inaugural event, Natural Hair Bridal Couture Fashion Show.  This hot event will showcase natural hair styles and bridal inspiration, with a little help from some of Chicago’s hottest bridal gown designers, models, and makeup artists.  Bridemaid and groomsmen fashions from vendors throughout the U.S. will also be featured.

This cocktail party- fashion event will feature cuisine sampling, wine tasting, pampering services and fabulous live entertainment from soul sensation Dwele. 

The details:

Friday, May 24, 2013

Doors open at 6:45 pm; Show begins at 8:30 pm; Early arrival recommended.

Alhambra Palace- 1240 W. Randolph St.

Ticket prices vary according to package.  $45 at the door.

For more details about the show, or to purchase tickets, visit www.naturalhairbride.com.



Friday, April 26, 2013

Masina & Co. Pre-Derby Trunk Show & Launch Party

Accessories are truly the hallmark of a great outfit.  Whether you’re wearing a $30 dress or a $300 one, the right accessories will always take your look to the next level.  And nothing else, expresses individual personality and style perspective better (except perhaps a killer pair of shoes). As a committed accessory wearer, I was pleased to attend the Masina & Co. Pre-Derby Trunk Show & Launch Party held at the upscale RM Champagne Salon on Saturday in Chicago’s West Loop.  Masina & Co. is an online company that specializes in fashion and bridal accessories, with offerings for both ladies and gents.
In the spirit of the events' Pre-Kentucky Derby theme, attendees were treated to Masina Julep cocktails (a take on the mint julep) and cupcakes by pastry favorite Sprinkles, while shopping amongst the mix of just-in-time-for-the-Derby hats and fascinators, women’s fashion pieces, and neckwear for men.   

Unfortunately, once I arrived at the event, heavy camera (DLSR) in tow, I realized the battery was dead.  Yes, that happened.  Thus, I had to use my camera phone to give a sample of Masina offers.
I was particularly fond of the ladies headwear and bridal pieces.
For the fellas
I really loved the Men's neckwear, particularly the bow ties.  Men's slim ties are also available.

I purchased a fabulous necklace that will be featured on a future post.  And because I made a purchase, I was gifted with a nicely appointed swag bag which included a piece of Masina jewelry.  Love that.   
 Classy touch for a classy event.

To see more of what Masina and Co. offers, visit www.masinaco.com.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Beauty Tuesday- NARS Satin Lip Pencil in Golshon


I’ve mentioned my love for NARS a time or two, right?  Well, I was checking out one of my fave blogs, Product Junkie Diva, where she was reviewing items from her latest product haul.  Amongst her haul items was NARS Satin Lip Pencil in Luxembourg, a watermelon pink.  After seeing how pretty it looked, I knew I’d be heading to Sephora (especially since it was a rare Sephora sale, albeit 15%).  After playing in the lovely NARS colors, (of which there were several I wanted), I opted for Golshon, a spiced wine. 


It did not disappoint.  From the first swipe, I was sold on the awesome pigmentation and creamy, yet lightweight texture.  With its smooth glide and pencil format, it’s easy to line and fill the lips perfectly.    For me, full color lasts a couple of hours; however, for others it has lasted a lot longer.   A plus is that when the color wears off, it dries to a pretty stain. The only drawback is that as I don’t find it to be really moisturizing, and would recommend adding a gloss or balm for additional moisture. 

Overall, if you are looking for great color payoff and texture, NARS Satin Lip Pencil makes the cut.

The NARS Satin Lip Pencil Collection comes in 13 shades and retails for $25.  NARS can be found at Nars Cosmetics, Sephora, and Nordstrom.


Monday, April 15, 2013

The Invasion of Ankle Length Pants- How to Wear Them

It’s like déjà vu.

It was only a few years back when I would venture out for one of my weekend shopping trips in search of a great fitting full-length pant.   Seems easy enough, right? Not so much.  Every retailer in the continental U.S seemed to be engaged in a conspiracy to make us, the consumer, wear Capri pants.  (Ok, that may be exaggerating, but seriously…) Capri pants were EVERYWHERE.  And I’m not knocking them… I own a few.But for certain office environments or special occasions, sometimes a girl just needs a full-length pant.  Not to mention, capris are not considered to be universally flattering.

Well, just when the Capri pant seemed to have lost its steam, and you thought full length pants are making a comeback… pump your brakes.   Ankle-length pants are now the new Capri.  A few recent shopping trips revealed ankle-length pants pervading the malls in epidemic like proportions. This sometimes less flattering cousin of Capri pants is seemingly the pant-du-jour of summer 2013.  While some find the look to be perfect for summer, many argue that a hem that cuts off the leg at the ankle creates an undesirable, stumpy-legged look.

If you've been thinking of incorporating ankle-length pants into your wardrobe, don't fret;  here are 3 simple “rules” to rocking an ankle-length pant well:

Tapered legs are best… particularly at the ankle:
Wide legged pants that stop at the ankle create a “flood” look a la Steve Urkel from Family Matters. A slim look throughout the leg (particularly at the ankle) lengthens the leg, and counteracts the “stumpy” look. 
Ankle-length pants look best with either flats or heels

A clunky boot, or clog heels with are no-no.   A killer stiletto heel or ballerina flats work best.

Work them with a blazer
Need I say more. Also, for women with wider hips, a tapered legged ankle pant can be tricky. A blazer is a perfect way to balance full hips.

What say you?  What do you think of ankle-length pants?  Do you wear them?

Friday, April 12, 2013

Crystal B Designs Fashion Show- What I Wore

A couple of weeks ago, I attended the Crystal B Designs Fall 2013 Fashion Show here in Chicago. If you missed the post, you can view it here. It was a Friday evening event, and that meant choosing a look that would also be feasible for my workday. Fortunately, at work we are currently enjoying Jean Fridays. --I attended with my longtime friend, and partner in crime, Cecil aka Styleguru.   He does not play games with style and I’ll be talking about him more in the future. Anyhoo, sometime last year I promised to show more pics of myself, but with the cold winter weather and my hibernation, photo opps have been sparse.  Warmer days are ahead right? ... 
Jacket- Banana Republic/ Jeans- GAP/ Boots- MICHAEL Michael Kors

The Styleguru

 Happy weekend.



Monday, April 8, 2013

Pretty Spring Nails- OPI's Gargantuan Green Grape

For the first time this season, we Chicagoans finally experienced some real Spring weather. Temps reached the upper 60’s and the sun was shining brightly. I hardly knew how to act. It was the perfect time to break out the Spring nails. Color of choice: OPI Gargantuan Green Grape. This almost-mint green hue is just what the doctor ordered.


Worn with these bracelets
What is your favorite nail color for Spring?





Thursday, April 4, 2013

"Walk the Line" Crystal B. Designs Autumn/Winter 2013

Bumpin’ beats filled the Mana Contemporary Art Center Friday night as style enthusiasts gathered for the debut of Crystal B Designs Autumn/Winter 2013 Collection entitled “Walk the Line”.  The art-filled space was a perfect backdrop for a night of fun, food and of course, fashion. 
Fresh on the heels of her brilliantly hued Spring/Summer 2013 Collection, “Pop Art”, Designer Crystal B Simms took a darker turn with “Walk The Line”.  Dominated by dark blue and black tones, “Walk the Line” is moody and modern.   Though void of frills or “bells and whistles”, “Walk the Line” is not for the shy.  Simms’ use of architectural shapes and lines add a bit of edge to its clean design.  Think simplicity meets futuristic funk.   A look at "Walk the Line"and a peek at Spring/Summer 2013 “Pop Art”:



Owner/Designer Crystal B. Simms


From the Spring Summer 2013 Collection "Pop Art"
Inside Crystal B Designs Showroom
Uber coolness...
 All photos by Maven

To learn about Crystal B Designs, visit her website at www.crystalbdesigns.com.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Beauty Tuesday- Maybelline Color Sensational Vivids in InfraRed

Maybelline Color Sensational Vivids in
I’ve mentioned a time or two how I consider lipstick (or gloss) to be a “must-have” in my daily routine.  However, in full disclosure, I tend to be not-so-adventurous in choosing lipstick colors.  While I’m personally not a fan of nude lips, I don’t tend to go super bright and bold either.  I’m a bronzy, deep shade (russets and berries) kinda girl.  But a funny thing happened when Maybelline introduced its Color Sensational Vivids line.  I think the colors were just so pretty, I had to try at least one. 
If you are thinking of punching up your spring routine with a bright shade, Maybelline Color Sensational Vivids delivers exactly what it promises.  Color Sensational is highly pigmented with a creamy texture and easy application.  A bonus is that for a budget lipstick, it is a reasonably long wearing product.  I found it to wear for several hours, and like a stain, still leaves some color once worn down.  “Vivids” also wears comfortably on the lips.  It’s not really moisturizing, but it’s not drying either.  For the price, it’s definitely worth a purchase. 

Maybelline Color Sensational Vivids comes in 10 shades and retails for $7.49.  Infra-Red is part of the Color Sensational Vivids Limited Edition Fashion Week 2013 Color Goes Electric Collection line, ( a four color line) and was purchased at Walgreens. 

What about you?  Do you wear bold color? Have you tried "Vivids?"




Thursday, March 21, 2013

Kickin' It Casual- GAP's 0769 Sneakers

Photo by GAP

Allegedly, yesterday marked the first official day of Spring.  Note the use of the word, allegedly, since we Chicagoans spent our first fanciful Spring day bundled in parkas, as the barometer refused to leave the 20 degree range.  Oh, the joy!  Brighter days are said to be ahead and I can say unequivocally that we are ready.    
Looking ahead to warmer summer months, the GAP is unveiling its exclusive special edition sneaker line in collaboration with California-based footwear brand SeaVees.  The colorful 0769 line (named in honor of GAP’s July 1969 founding) is a fun upgrade from the classic white canvas sneaker.   Looking for a cute casual look on those “need a pedicure" days?  The 0769 sneaker could make a great option.
SeaVees for GAP 0769 sneakers are $54.95 pair and hits GAP stores tomorrow.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Cute T-Shirt Alert! You Should Know: Natural Hair Don't Care Tees


I love a good tee.  Its flexibility is undeniable.   Worn dressed down with a pair of jeans and sneakers, or upgraded with a blazer and heels, the right tee can be the perfect complement to any outfit. While recently attending a natural hair event, I noticed a steady flow of traffic at the Natural Hair Don’t Care table.  I figured it must be good.  What I found were some pretty  darn cute tees.
I chatted a bit with Carsa Hemphill, Owner of Natural Hair Don’t Care Tees, LLC to find out more about her T-shirt line and being an independent business owner. 
1) What's the inspiration behind Natural Hair Don't Care? How long have you been in business?
I started my t-shirt line a year and a half ago, in September 2011. I was inspired by my daughter who was born that same year. I wanted her to grow up loving herself just the way she was created and I wanted to be her best example of embracing the "natural" me. So I came up with the idea to create an apparel line to celebrate my natural hair loud and proud. I designed this line for women that want to make a statement about their natural hair without saying a word. I also wanted to be sure not to alienate women who choose not to wear their hair in its natural state, but rather to celebrate those who do. My tees are created to express the pride I have in my hair-itage and the joy I feel in sharing that pride with others in our community. All of my tees are designed with the fashionable girl in mind. I understand that natural girls are fashionable too. I do this for the fly natural girls!

The name Natural Hair Don't Care Tees LLC derived from the term "long hair don't care" which was coined by Lil Wayne, the rapper. Natural hairdon't care simply means to have the audacity to wear your hair in its natural state.

2) Your tees have a very cool design element. Do you have a design background?

No. I sketch my ideas and designs, then my graphic designer brings them to life.

3) What is your best selling item?

The signature tee in brown and gold. It's currently sold out. I can never keep it in stock. The "Natural Is The New Black" t-shirt is also a fave of my customers.

4) What are the challenges to having your own business?

Time management! I'm a one woman company so I run my business by myself...from sketching designs to managing my online store to de-tagging and packaging t-shirts to shipping to responding to emails and vending at events. I do it ALL but the reward is greater than the sacrifice. To see women who look like me express their love for their natural hair by rocking my tees is EVERYTHING to me.

5) Your product line currently includes tees and earrings, do you have plans to add new designs or products?
Yes, I'll be adding new t-shirt designs and different color ways for Spring. I also sell wristbands and button pins with my logo.  

6) What advice would you give anyone starting a new business?
Be clear on why you want to start a business, do your research, create a simple business plan, determine/know your target customer, and network network network! Most importantly, do what you love and love what you do.

7) Anything else you would like to add?
Listen to God for direction. He will lead you, if you let him.
Find these and additional colors Natural Hair Don't Care website:  http://nhdctees.bigcartel.com


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Beauty Tuesday- Soultanicals Knot Sauce (Coil Detangler)


I can vividly recall my childhood years and the ordeal of washing my hair.  Mama Maven nearly breaking into a sweat while attempting to detangle my thick mass of curly/wavy hair.  My hair knotted something awful, and in those days effective hair detanglers were few and far between.  Fast forward, many moons later and my hair still enjoys a good tangle.  And while many products claim to detangle, I’ve found the results to be....meh.   I recently heard about Soultanicals hair and body care line and decided to try their Knot Sauce Coil Detangler after washing my hair.   My findings:
“Yess!  Yeeeeesssss.  Yes.  Yes Lord!  My soul... My soul says Yessss!-  me singing “Speak Lord” from the movie Color Purple.

Soultanicals Knot Sauce is an amazing coil detangler.  Ah-maz-ing.  With its creamy consistency and texture, Knot Sauce spread easily onto the hair and literally melted the knots away.  The product has great slip and leaves the hair very manageable.  Knot Sauce’s fragrance is simply yummy with its sweet, cake-batter like scent.  The smell is not however, overpowering.  It also consists of impressive plant-based ingredients including:  Distilled Water Botanically Infused with Certified Organic Blue Malva, Nettle, Horsetail, Slippery Elm, Oatstraw, Chamomile, Coltsfoot & Marshmallow Root, Certified Organic Aloe Juice, Meadowfoam Seed Oil,  and Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil to name a few.  It is easily one of the best detanglers I have ever used.   
Knot Sauce is also created to be used as a conditioner or Leave in, however I used Knot Sauce primarily as a detangler.  It’s worth the money on that basis alone.  As an aside, the Soultanicals product packaging deserves a mention for attractiveness.  l highly recommend it.
Knot Sauce sells for $13 for an 8 oz. bottle at Soultanicals website: www.soultanicals.com.

















Thursday, March 7, 2013

Want Cute Kids' Clothing? You Should Know: Slice By Cake

As the style-loving aunt of a young niece and nephew, I’m always looking out for stylish yet unique children’s clothing.  During a recent fashion show at the Chicago Naturals 2nd Annual Black Beauty Summit, such a clothing line grabbed my attention.  Slice by CAKE is a specialty brand featuring African-inspired children’s apparel, accessories and gifts.  Slice by CAKE puts a modern spin on African wear to create a look that’s fresh, fashionable and fun for kids.  After seeing the young kids from 'CAKE' work the runway, I wanted to know more about the line. 
I had the pleasure of speaking with Slice by CAKE’s creator Lande Sanusi to find out more about the brand: 
Creator Lande Sanusi

About the inspiration behind Slice by CAKE:
I was born in Chicago, but raised in Nigeria.  I returned to Chicago and attended the University of Illinois at Chicago. My husband and I lived here in Chicago and didn’t have opportunities to return to Nigeria often, but wanted our kids to also have Nigerian culture.  So, I initially started CAKE, Inc. (Culture of Africa for Kids Everywhere), an organization to introduce kids to African culture.  We wanted to incorporate the best of both worlds.  At CAKE, Inc. we would visit schools and teach African culture.  We would have various activities...we started out making aprons, pencil cases, and then included clothing.  Slice (which really means “Slice of Africa”) by CAKE was created.
About the Slice by CAKE customer:
We service size ranges 12 months - children’s size 12.
About the clothing designs:
I create the designs and choose the fabrics. Clothing is manufactured here in the USA.
Spring Collection-soon to be online

Where can the consumer find Slice by CAKE fashions?
Currently we are online based. We will also be adding more of the smaller sizes (infants/toddlers) online in March. When we open *CAKE village, there will be an onsite store where purchases can be made.

Spring Collection

What’s next for CAKE? 
Opening *CAKE village: a 2000 sq. foot facility which will house CAKE Inc.  It will include a music dance room, theatre, and the Slice by CAKE store.  CAKE village will be located in East Dundee, IL.
We will also have a couple of upcoming fashion shows.  We’d like to bring more awareness to the brand and more national exposure.
As an entrepreneur what advice would you give to someone starting a business?
Research your business.  Don’t just jump in.  Be willing to listen to others.  People who’ve been in the business for awhile know what they’re talking about.  You don’t lose your creative process, but be open to listening. 
 Doll Clothing

Slice by CAKE will be one of the featured designers during the Fashion Wars Chicago- My Mini Me Kids Fashion Show on May 10 at Lacuna Fitness Chicago.

You can find more Slice by CAKE apparel and accessories at www.slicebycake.com
Photos by Slice by Cake, Inc. 


Monday, March 4, 2013

Color Me Excited: Duro Oluwu for JCPenney

We’ve seen it all before, right?  High-end designer joins forces with mid-priced mass merchandiser to bring us their version of high-meets-low fashion at affordable prices.   Everyone from veteran designer Karl Lagerfeld to shoe maven Jimmy Choo to current design sensation Jason Wu has thrown their hat into the designer “collabo” ring.  The results have been mixed.  While H&M’s early collaborations with both Karl Lagerfeld and Jimmy Choo were met with high fanfare and sold out collections; its recent efforts with both Marni and Maison Martin Margiela barely generated a significant buzz.  Heck, for many who aren’t among the fashion devoted , Margiela’s name recognition is derived from a Kanye West rap.   Even fashion darling Jason Wu isn’t exempt from scrutiny. While his collection with Target was highly anticipated, the final collection left some underwhelmed in terms of appeal and quality.
Now high-end designer Duro Oluwu enters the fray as he debuts his limited edition collection for JCPenney.  But he is up to the challenge?  The answer is YES.  The Nigerian born, London-based designer brings one of the most aesthetically pleasing collaboration collections I’ve seen in some time.  With bold colors and lively prints, Oluwu’s JCPenney collection stays true to the essence of his much-touted designer pieces.  Oluwu for JCPenney is fun, wearable and affordable. 
The price range for the collection is from $10 to $100 dollars and includes handbags, shoes, clothes accessories and home décor.  The Duro Oluwu collection is in stores and online through May 2013.
From the Duro Oluwu lookbook:



What say you?  What do you think about the Duro Oluwu for JCPenney collection?