Flowers In Bloom

I am truly a "set" type of girl, so when I came across this outfit at Ted Baker, I immediately fell in love.

This two piece set is exactly what you need as a staple in your closet. Why you ask? Well it's two outfits in one. The shorts can be worn with the jacket for a cool spring or fall night or alone with a really cute tank for the summer. 

Every detail of this outfit is made to perfection. Although I love the print on the outside, the inside of this bomber jacket has a slightly different print. Unfortunately, it is not reversible. The jacket can also be worn with a pair of skinny jeans or pencil skirt as a "pop" of color. You can literally make it your own.

The shoes - These lace-up beauties were purchased at Top Shop. I wanted to switch things up by adding a pair of silver shoes because of the details in the flowers. Normally, I would wear them with a pair of black pumps but they were entirely too gorgeous to pass by.  

A special addition to this outfit was the bag and reflective sunnies. I was so excited to get my hands on them. Purchased at Frugalfinds

Photographer: Zakiya Lucas-Murray IG: lucasmurrayphoto

 

 

Date Night & The Little Black Dress

Have nothing to wear? I am pretty sure you have a black dress sitting in your closet. Though it may seem a bit boring to wear black, it is however all in your accessories.

Wearing black typically makes me feel sexier and slimmer, especially for a date night. As mentioned above, accessories play a key role in your overall look.

For example, this simple dress by JLuxlabel.com is both sexy and form fitting but not too revealing. I paired it with python earrings or "Black Mamba" as my best friend Zakiya like to call them from Patricia Field. She was the designer for Sex and the City the series.  

The shoes are indeed the show stopper. Picked those up at a showroom in Manhattan and once I laid my eyes on these beauties, it was love at first sight. This textured gold and black pumps by Christian Siriano (Gold Edition) for Payless were the perfect match. Remember, heels are your friend. Why you say? It elongates your legs.  

When accessorizing a simple black dress, get creative. Choose your favorite color combination and don't be afraid to be different. The possibilities are endless! Think of it as a blank canvas and you are the artist. Create darling!! 

Photographed by Zakiya Lucas-Murray

Give Me Some Lips Baby!

Imagine meeting your date for a romantic dinner. Dolled up, hair done, the right scent of perfume and a Red Bold Lip! This simple, yet powerful statement can and will make you the center of attention.

Now, of course is a matter of preference and which shades works best for your skin tone. But if I were to name them all, I would be here all day so, I narrowed them down to my top three (true reds and burgundy reds.)

True Reds- provides a sense of flirtiness and makes your smile appear even brighter. Mood: Sexy and Seductive. Perfect if paired with a cork lip liner from Mac.

Merlot by Dose of Color 

Rubi Woo by Mac Cosmetic

 Kiss of Fire by Dose of Color

Burgundy Reds - provides a sense of mystery and excitement. Mood: Bold and Bad. Perfect if paired with Currant from Mac.

Vampira by Kat Von D

Ellarie by Colourpop

Video Vixen by Wet and Wild

This Valentine's Day, make your own entrance and rock your best Red Lip.

The Ankara Print

Welcoming Black History Month with this colorful Ankara set. This two piece set is fit for a Queen. For those who know me well, I am a huge fan of prints and bold colors. This set met all my requirements.

The material is soft and flowy with an elastic high waist band and a split at the front. Best of all, it has side pockets. The tube top shows just enough skin and super comfortable to wear. I would suggest a strapless bra. Pair them together or wear as separates. See similar sets available for sale here.

Photographed by Zakiya Lucas-Murray

 

Are You Bold Enough To Wear Jade?

I have been on the fence about buying another lip product and eye shadow palette. I mean, how many lipsticks and eye shadows does one really need?  That came and left my mind just as quickly when I saw these beauties. I immediately fell in love with the shade range of the Queen of Heart palette and the Jade liquid lipstick.

First the palette:

Made in the USA, this Queen of Heart palette is filled with 6 mattes and 6 shimmer shades. The mattes are great transitional colors for all skin tones. There are some light to dark browns as well as some pinkish shades. The shimmers on the other hand are intense! They are super pigmented, vibrant and soft. Perfect for that pop of color.  This is the palette that has it all. Perfect for travel and the case is super luxurious. 

For comparison, I went ahead and swatched this on two different skin tones (fair and deep).  

The Jade liquid lipstick:

I must say, this was love at first sight. From all the lipsticks I own, this has to be one of my favorite. It is not for the faint of heart. It is in your face bold and I love every moment of it. My initial reaction as I applied this was seeing how smooth and evenly this product distributes on the lips. With one swipe, I was able to cover the entire lip. I went ahead and applied a second layer just to intensify it some more. It is absolutely beautiful and I received so many compliments. Definitely, one of my favorite purchase of 2017 thus far.

Unfortunately, this palette is sold out on the Coloured Raine website but the lipstick is still available. Hopefully, we will see more of this beauty in the near future.

**Thanks to my wonderful friends for swatching for me :)**

Rich Soil: My Journey To South Africa

Traveling the world has always been a dream of mine. As a child, I used to watch my mother travel with her friends regularly. I looked forward to seeing the photos of her travels, the items she would bring back, the clothes she would buy and the smile on her face as she sips tea at the nearby café. I wanted to be just like her when I grew up.

While at work, now to think of it, it is always while I am at work, a deal came about to visit South Africa. Without hesitation I called upon my friends to book. One in particular would not answer her phone (Thalia). After many attempts, my friend Leonor and I made an executive decision to just buy her ticket. When we finally reached her and told her the news, she felt as if she just won the lottery. We snatched these round trip tickets for $543 each via Etihad Airways for 10 days.

Planning for this trip took a lot of creativity. There was a total of 8 of us traveling with tons of ideas and very little time. Thankfully, we are all a very resourceful and cohesive group. We managed to grab a modern Airbnb four level house with a pool and Jacuzzi. We created an itinerary with every single excursion and most of all; everyone was included in the planning process.

A few months later, it was time to say goodbye to NYC. We were so filled with the anticipation of visiting the motherland. Although this was not a straight flight, we were more than happy to spend the night in Abu Dhabi. This was my second time visiting the UAE so I was happier than ever. A few of my friends visited the Mosque, while the rest of us stayed in the resort and partied. Our continuing flight was in the morning.

Once we landed in Johannesburg, we did not waste much time. Our first stop, Pilanesberg Safari National Park. This 2 and a half hour drive from our hotel was tiresome. We slept the whole way there. Once we reached the National Park, we saw the most beautiful creatures. We watched the elephants bathe themselves as we ate. I promise, I think they have gotten used to all the attention because they posed so well in every photo. To see these animals in their natural habitat was surreal, an experience unlike any other. I remember my friends and I saying that we will never see a zoo the same way again.

The following day we decided to explore downtown Johannesburg. We headed to "The Top of Africa" then caught a sightseeing bus which made stops around Jozi's landmarks, ie, The Apartheid Museum, Constitution Hill, Orlando Towers, FIFA stadium, and Mandela's House. We hopped on and off the bus. We felt right at home. The Nelson Mandela house was special. I felt my spirit being lifted and travel back to that time period. Seeing that bullet hole on that wall was devastating. There were moments when I just stood back and tears fell down my eyes.

On our very last day in Johannesburg, we arranged for a hot air balloon ride. This was so much fun! Never in my wildest dream have I felt so much at peace. The feeling of being so far up in the sky, gliding and observing everything below me was exhilarating. At the end of our ride, we were handed mimosas.

CAPETOWN

Since culture is what we seek, we decided to take a short flight to Capetown. There we visited the most iconic landmark in South Africa, Table Mountain.

The Aerial Cableway is the system that is used to transport tourists and visitors to the top of the mountain. It has the most scenic, most beautiful view of all of Capetown. The floor rotates as it provides the perfect 360 degree view. Once at the top, if you ever want to see the most beautiful sunset, this would be the place. The view was breathtaking. It is not uncommon for proposals to take place there. We watched the sun set as lovers kissed and whisper sweet nothings in each other’s ears.

During our tour, we walked through the Shanty town also known as townships. These are homes made out of plywood, metals and cardboard boxes. Considering that I come from one of the poorest countries in the world, Haiti, this experience hit home for me. Walking through this area, I was reminded of my country. The lack of infrastructure, proper sanitation, safe drinking water and electricity. The things we tend to take for granted. This made me appreciate everything that I do have.  

On a lighter note, we got a chance to visit Dalukhanyo Pre-School. There we interacted with the most amazing preschoolers. They greeted us with hugs and high fives. They sang and danced for us. Made us feel so welcomed.  All they wanted was to take pictures and play with us. It was heartwarming.

One of the things that stood out to me the most this entire trip was the ability to visit Nelson Mandela's jail cell in Robben Island. We were so fortunate to be able to get a glimpse of the place where Mr. Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years along with many other political prisoners during the fight to end Apartheid.

While on the ferry to the island, we were reminded of the condition in which they lived. The gates were built by the hands of those political prisoners. They were wiped, humiliated and treated less than animals. However, these brave men remained steadfast and firm in their beliefs.

Ever wonder why some of the best wineries in the world are located in South Africa? Well, we were set to find out. We visited four different wineries and did a taste test of at least five types of wine per location. Needless to say, we were all very tipsy by the time we reached the third winery. Still not sure if I was able to answer that question but the “research” was fun!

I am not typically the adventurous type but when the idea to go shark diving came about, I was all in. On our last day in Capetown, we decided to be one with the Great Whites. We were picked up from our hotel and 3 and half hours later, we made it to the location. It was freezing!!! Once we were provided with the rules on how to stay safe while in the cage, we were on our way. The closer we got to the middle of the ocean, the sicker I got. My head started pounding and my stomach was uneasy. Within minutes, I was sea sick. My friends geared up and entered the cage and sang “wade in the water” the entire time. The first shark passed by and grazed the cage. Another had his/her teeth on the cage. It was scary but oh so cool. Although I was not able to join them in the cage, I am so glad to have experience this time with them.

Tip:

1. Have an itinerary when traveling to South Africa. It makes it easier to accomplish everything within a time period.

2. Exchange you currencies in the US. The rates were amazing and we were able to get so much for our money.

3. Go into town and get your clothes custom made. It’s super cheap to get an entire dress in African fabric within days. Just let the seamstress know when you will need it by and they will accommodate.

4. Everyone is super friendly. Go with an open heart and most importantly….HAVE FUN!

Photographed by Zakiya Lucas-Murray

The Nars I & II Cheek Palette

Hello my loves,

Before we begin, I must say this, I am not usually a blush type of girl but I was so impressed by these palettes, I just had to try them.

The Narsissist Unfiltered Cheek Palette I & II ($59 each) blew my mind. These limited edition, six blush cheek palette, have a selection of highly pigmented blushes, super smooth, super buildable colors. The Unfiltered I palette is perfect for all skin tones, particularly, women of color. This set includes Watch Me, Me First, Takeover, Out There, Chic and Exhibit A.

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However, the Nars II cheek palette is a rosy more subtle version of the cheek I palette. This set also includes six shades, very pigmented, super flattering shades. This set includes Conquest, Undefeated, Power Play, Hot Sand and Fame.

Black Series

Hello my loves,

There are times when I really surprise myself by simply shopping in my own closet. Came across these pieces and thought, this will make the cutest outfit. Remember buy pieces, not outfits! Top: Hot Miami Style  Shorts: Top Shop Bag: Ralph Lauren Shoes: Christian Loubontin

Photographed by Zakiya Lucas-Murray

The New Urban Decay 'After Dark' palette

Besides the fact that this pallet is called ‘After Dark ‘ but carries bright colors, I am in love with the selection and the pigmentation. Each individual shadow swatches like a dream and the color payoff is one you can only expect from Urban Decay. For the price of $49, you get 10 unique highly pigmented shades. Smooth and easy to blend shades. Very Woman of Color friendly. 

With flash

 

Without flash