Monday, January 31, 2011

Love is in the air...

The magazine cover that pushed me over the edge...
With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching I find myself inundated with signs of love: heart shaped boxes of chocolates, stuffed animals bearing messages, red and accenting pink everywhere. And although I am SOOO ready to move on to St. Patrick’s Day, I find myself succumbing to the love fest.  Since it seems to be consuming my world, I figured I’d drop a bit of it into yours from now until – that dreaded…I mean…delightful day – I will feature a Valentine’s Day related post. It will include this Naturalista’s recommendations on things such as interesting date ideas to great gift ideas.  Consider it my Valentine’s Day gift to you, so just sit back and enjoy the power of love!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Forever 21 ...say it ain't so...

Me one of my fav Forever21 dressses

You may have not been inside the store, but most know it well. Either you passed one of its stores with music blasting, its white walls, and big windows, and bright light luring the fashion conscious inside.

I love this place...All you need is a dollar twenty dollars and a dream.

 Or perhaps you have just seen the bags being toted by passersby in your local mall. I mean with its signature bright yellow and black bag how could it be missed? Whatever your familiarity you should know that Forever 21 is my guilty pleasure. It’s a shop where I can get my retail therapy on the cheap, which is important for a girl trying to make it in NYC.  I used to check their website to get my daily fix when I was unable to walk into the physical store and was never disappointed. 
 My guilt is rooted in my real age not matching that of the store and the fear of going to an event where someone is wearing the same outfit. Earlier this week I was reading one of my fav blogs and noticed a mention of an article about Forever 21.  Now I have researched a little bit about this company before - not only because it is a frequent appearance on my bank statements - but because of one minor inconspicuous detail printed on the bottom of all its shopping bags. John 3:16, a bible verse which starts with "For God so loved the world…. "


Once I found my answer to the rationale behind it, my research on the company was complete.  I moved on and kept shopping, but the article I had found on Bloomberg Business Week’s website was very informative and highlighted a few things I did not know. Here are a few highlights:
·         Forever 21 had a profit of 135 billion at the end of the year 2008. More importantly they accomplished this feat without selling any item over $60.
·         The Chang's (the owners of Forever 21) purposefully order small batches of clothing styles. It’s the old theory of supply and demand. If there is less supply there will be more of a demand for it. They have trained consumers (myself included) to buy items as soon as they see it because it won’t be in store now.  (I’m still waiting for a white dress I saw one night that was out of stock the next morning to come in)
·         As with most large discount store chains (think Walmart) the Changs are facing several law suits for Sweatshop like conditions at it manufacturing sites.” They squeeze their suppliers and make it necessary for them to get things done as quickly and cheaply as possible, no matter what the cost to the workers.” - Bloomberg Business Week. Sound Familiar?
·         The Changs also have faced several lawsuits from other clothing companies such as Anthropologie  for copying their clothing designs. It is currently at a point where they have a policy for businesses that believe their clothing designs have been copied. Basically, Forever 21 gives them a  small percentage of the profits they receive from the item in dispute.

Marc Jacobs vs. Forever 21 source

Ana Sui vs. Forever 21 source

·         Mr. and Mrs. Chang are born again Christians with a deep faith in God. Mrs. Chang had stated that she climbed to a mountain top in L.A. and received a message from God - that if she opened a clothing store she would be successful.
·         Currently, Forever 21 has 477 stores and employs 35,000 people. The company has come a long way from their first store Fashion 21 in L.A. in 1984.
As of right now I will continue to shop in Forever 21 because it is in sync with my budget and fashion needs,  but I will keep my eyes and ears to the streets for signs of F21’s world domination. Let’s just hope it’s not a hostile takeover. ; )  Want to read the article click here.

Natural Hair Icon: Janelle Monae

I had fallen in love with Janelle Monae's style before she was anywhere near mainstream. Her look was natural, which was rare and edgy for a rising star. Many bloggers and "vloggers" (video bloggers) have tried to duplicate her signature natural pin-up hairstyle, but none in my opinion has mastered it like Ms. Monae.

Yet another hair style I will add to my repertoire.

Want to learn more about J Monae? Check out her site:

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Statement Making Handbags Under $50

There are only a few accessories that are guaranteed to  polish off your look like a bold statement making handbag, especially in the winter when you are covered from head to toe. Here are a few pieces that caught my eye and my budget. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Style of the Week

This week I decided to keep it simple to alleviate some stress. Last week I attempted the tuck and roll, which I showed in some pictures:
The Tuck and Roll 

 However, whenever I took down my hair to re-moisturize it I had the hardest time pinning it back up. I ended up putting my hair in a low pony tail, which received a lot of compliments, but is all but protective. I scoured YouTube for protective style inspiration, which turned out to be unsuccessful. In the end I settled on a combination of flat twists on one side and some medium sized twists on the other. In an effort to add a protective element, I pinned up the twist to one side and pin curled the side that was left out. On Monday morning I unpinned the twists and I was pleased. 
Flat twists...

Pinned up twists in the back...

This method proved to be simple, effective, and hat friendly (it was like 2 degrees in NYC). I’ll probably rock a twist-out from these twists this weekend. I’m still on the hunt for next week’s style myself. What are some hair styles that you’re considering in the upcoming week?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Out and About: Ocean's 8 at Brownstone Billiards

This place is one of my favorite weekend hang-out spots in Brooklyn because it’s pretty low-key and has a little bit of everything for everyone. At one point in time I could be described as a regular - being greeted by the wait staff, ordering from the menu without needing to see it, having special requests honored with little to no difficulty (I have a healthy obsession with pickles) - just feeling quite comfortable as if I were at home. Now, even though I do not frequent the establishment as often as I use to, I still enjoy the time I spend there.

Someone call the WPBA (Womens Professional Billiards Association) they're missing out on a NATURAL! 
The Hair: An old twist out banana clipped with a pomp in the front.
The Good: There are a lot of pool tables, but if pool is not your thing there is also air hockey, mini-bowling, ping pong, and a few other arcade games. Although I have never played any of these games it is still nice to have options. There is also a bar, a dining area for folks who just want to take in the scene, and a “VIP” section. There are a couple of TV projectors with screens for your viewing pleasure perfect for game nights and the occasional Ultimate Fighting Championship bout. The drink menu is so-so. However, there’s a whole bar at your disposal so you can create whatever drink your heart desires.  The wait staff serves you at your assigned pool table if you’re not dining at the bar which is a blessing because no one wants to walk away from a game of pool while you’re in the zone. If you’re lucky, you can catch their five dollar special on random menu items which can be anything from the shrimp basket (my personal favorite) to chicken wings.
Yes...that IS the 8 ball...

The Ugly: There are about 30 pool tables, but a few of them are dare I say “classic”. It feels like Russian Roulette when requesting a pool table. Basically, you never know what kind of quality you will get in a  table. I cannot proclaim to a skilled pool player (although I often do once I start playing), so the table quality isn't a problem for me.  In some parts of the venue there are wider spaces between some pool tables than with others. Therefore, the occasional bump from players at other tables or waiting to take shots occurs frequently on nights when it’s crowded. Fair warning I love this place but don’t order their $5 nachos! They were by far the worst nachos I've ever had. The cheese tasted old and dry.  There was supposed to be meat somewhere on them, but it was so sparse that it was hard to find. The tortilla chips seemed less than fresh. Everything else I had ordered from their menu had been great, just not the nachos!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Wash Day Blues

Hey Folks. It's wash day and I am not a happy camper. Sometimes it can be such a long drawn-out time consuming process. I would pay money to be anywhere else doing ALMOST anything else. In an effort to inspire myself I went online to one of my favorite websites fuckyeahcurlscurlscurls. Hopefully a year from now I can achieve some of these looks:

All Pics from fuckyeahcurlscurlscurls
On a side note I have found a shampoo that I absolutely love (the product junkie in me can't help but picking up a new item or two every once in a while). It's Herbal Essence's Hello Hydration Shampoo plus Conditioner. Yes, a two for one. I love it!

Style Files....Dreaming of Spring

I was recently in H&M and although I was focused on perusing the winter clearance racks my eyes did spot a lot of cute Spring trends. My heart ached as I day dreamed about roaming the streets with a light jacket and bare legs. With NYC in a cold snap I say bring on the Spring. Wish I could wear this tomorrow...
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