March 30, 2015

Monday Motivation...

success is not final failure is not fatal
Success is not final, Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts. -Winston Churchill
Failure is a pathway to ultimate success! Stay motivated! 

March 25, 2015

We're 15 Days Away From the 2015 French Quarter Festival!

2015 French Quarter Festival Cubes Music Lineup
2015 French Quarter Festival Cubes. Click the pic above to view the 2015 French Quarter Festival music lineup cubes

We're only 15 days away from the 2015 French Quarter Festival in New Orleans! Yay! French Quarter Fest is the largest showcase of Louisiana food and music in the world and it's the largest FREE music festival in the country. This year over 300 acts will perform at the festival providing over 400 hours of free music on 23 stages with over 1,700 local artists. The French Quarter festival welcomed over 700,000 visitors and locals alike in 2014 and they're looking to top that number this year. Below are a few fun things to look forward to at the 2015 French Quarter Festival that will be held Thursday April 9th to Sunday April 12th:

See pics from The 2014 French Quarter Festival HERE.

French Quarter Festival Second-Line Kickoff Parade, Thursday April 9, 10am. The parade departs from the 100 block of Bourbon St and makes its way to Jackson Square.

The Opening Night Gala at Antoine's, Thursday April 9, from 8pm-10:30pm, tickets are on sale now and can be purchased online at

A showcase of some of New Orleans' finest cuisine, from The Court of Two Sisters to GW Fins to Muriel's, over 60 vendors will feature classic New Orleans dishes for purchase at the festival. Also lookout for the festivals first ever "adult snowballs" made with drinks like Southern Comfort Caramel and Herradurra Tequila.

The Film Fest at French Quarter Festival Presented by Timecode: NOLA returns to Le Petit Theatre and expands to three days.

Let Them Talk: Conversations on Louisiana Music Annual lecture series, visit HERE for the full "Let Them Talk" schedule.

Family Fun at French Quarter Festival 2015 Chevron Children's Headquarters Expands Programming and Moves to Natchez Wharf.

Plus Dance Lessons, Battle of the Bands, Dancing at Dusk, Rouses World Championship Crawfish Eating Contest, Pirates Alley Juried Art Show, Port of New Orleans Boat Parade, St. Louis Cathedral Spring Concert, and Opera at Dusk are beloved special events that all are part of the 2015 French Quarter Festival.

Click FQFI for more info on the 2015 French Quarter Festival, April 9-12!

March 17, 2015

Happy St. Patrick's Day! And Travel Tuesday to Sligo, Ireland!

Sligo, Ireland Countryside
Sligo, Ireland
It's St. Patrick's Day 2015! What does that mean exactly? I don't really know, but this list gave me a bit more insight into the holiday. Anyhoo, how pretty is that countryside scene above? So pretty right? I certainly thought so, this is Sligo, Ireland and doesn't that pic make you wanna go to Ireland and twirl in the grass like Julie Andrews in "The Sound of Music"? And yes, I'm aware that The Sound of Music was set in Austria and not Ireland, just follow along with me here for a sec. Ireland may not be that high on some people's travel bucket lists, but my grandmother who will be 81 this year has been talking about visiting Ireland for years. She wants to see it with her own eyes and being the dutiful granddaughter, I would love to take her. Below, you can watch the video to find out a little bit more about Sligo, Ireland or click the Hotwire link to book your trip!

Sligo Tourism Ireland

March 16, 2015

Monday Motivation: Do the Work...

Hard Work Motivational Quote

Look. You've all heard the following motivational quotes and inspirational sayings:

Nothing amazing happens in comfort zones..

Talent is good, but hard work trumps talent..

Dreams don't work unless you do..

The thing is that these quotes are all true! And who wouldn't be super motivated to work harder after reading these quotes?! Bottom line (and I'm about to lace you with yet another motivational quote) is that the universe will conspire around your best efforts. YOUR BEST EFFORTS. This doesn't mean that your efforts have to be perfect, you just need to be working hard at trying. So just get your grind on, DO the WORK and watch how AMAZING things start to happen :)

Yellow Do Work Tee
Do Work T-Shirt

March 10, 2015

Travel Tuesday Travel Inspiration...

Sail trip vacation wine book best travel

Travel GOALS, amirite?! This is some dream travel snapped right quick in a photo. #traveltuesday

February 24, 2015

Travel Tuesday: Say Yes to New Adventures...

Travel Say Yes to New Adventures

Some of my favorite travel experiences have been on a bus or a train. Whether traveling by bus or train in Southern Italy, California Wine Country or from New Orleans to Chicago on Amtrak, bus and train travel are some of my most fond travel memories. Sure these modes of transportation takes longer to get you from point A to point B, but it also gives you a chance to relax, unwind and enjoy the journey. It's also more comfortable and spacious than most air travel today which treats passengers like sardines packing people into insanely too tight rows and seats. And just FYI, we traveled to California Wine Country and Southern Italy in the Fall/Winter months and these places are some of the best places to travel to in October, November and December only because it seems less crowded and you can get the feel of having the place to yourself. So what say you? Do you love bus and train travel too? If not, how about saying yes to new adventures?

February 23, 2015

Monday Motivation: Be FEARLESS.

Positive Affirmation Quote Be Fearless

When it comes to pursuing your dreams, you have to step outside of your comfort zone to start seeing the real manifestation of your desires. There's just no other way. Of course you could stay inside your bubble of comfort and maybe things will work out by happenstance, or you can go out there and MAKE THINGS HAPPEN. Be bold and ASK FOR THINGS. There's a chance that you'll be told NO, but that's ONE PERSON telling you no, not the entire world. Move on to the next! And here's a thought, what if you get a YES when you ask? It'll feel like the heavens just opened up for you and you wouldn't have gotten to that point without being FEARLESS and ASKING FOR WHAT YOU WANT. I hope this positive affirmation and these uplifting quotes of inspiration and motivation helps someone to reach their full potential. And trust, I'm talking to myself too :)

February 20, 2015

Fab Fro Friday: My 4th DIY Crochet Braid Install...

crochet braids marley hair curly
My 4th crochet braid install above. See pics of my 1st install, 2nd install and 3rd install.
Happy Fab Fro Friday y'all! It's been a few months since I installed crochet braids, but I finally got around to it. This is my 4th DIY install! Yay! This has to be one of the easiest black natural hairstyles to do but I have to be honest, when I finished it this time, I wasn't sure I loved it. Now don't get me wrong, I don't hate it, but I'm not sure I love it either. I've done crochet braids with Marley hair before (see HERE) except I didn't curl it, I just left it as it was. But then I saw so many people curling this hair with awesome results that I wanted to try it out for myself. I will say this, Marley hair is probably the absolute easiest to install because of it's course texture. So I 'll give points to this hair for being really user friendly.

I used 2 packs (I've never used more than 2 packs) of LoMe Natural Kinky Marley Hair in colors #2 and #1B/30 (see above) and I short cut my way throughout this entire process. Let me explain. First I didn't comb out any of this hair or put any product in it. Most people brush or comb out the hair before installing or rolling it on rods, I didn't do that. This hair went from the pack to the rods, which leads me to the second thing I did. I pre-dipped the hair instead of (1) installing (2) rolling (3) then dipping it in hot water while it's on my head. I'm not really a fan of dipping hair in boiling hot water that close to my face, you know? Check the video below for a crochet braid tutorial on using the pre-dip method. 
So in conclusion, I'm pleased enough with the outcome, but I think I'm more pleased with the fact that I feel like I'm getting better and better at installing them. The more you do something, right? Plus I feel I'm like a hairdresser now... and I'm my only client, lol ;)

February 9, 2015

Outfit Ideas: Mixing Chiffon and Faux Leather...

faux leather jacket pink dress outfit

New outfit post and natural hair updates y'all! Yay! lol. So I decided to mix and match my pink Sweetees chiffon tank dress with my faux leather jacket (from the $15 Dollar Store!) and this is the result. And just FYI, this isn't my first time mixing tough with sweet. Remember this outfit from a couple years ago? I like the look of mixing flirty, girly pieces with something more tomboy rugged. And even though this look has been done, done, done in fashion, it's still a little unexpected which is probably why I love it. And my curly hair is growing back y'all! These pics mark 10 months since my 2nd big chop (see my hair at 9 months HERE) and I gotta tell you, I really think my hair is thriving beneath all my protective hairstyles (crochet braids, lace wigs, twists, etc) Leaving it alone for weeks at a time is giving my hair a chance to do what it do! I'm pretty pleased with the progress. Check below for more pics and scroll through to browse and shop similar outfit pieces below!

faux leather jacket pink dress outfit

10 months post big chop natural hair

faux leather jacket chiffon dress outfit

faux leather jacket pink dress outfit

January 26, 2015

Basquiat and More at our Weekend NOLA Art Outing...

Untitled (Cadmium), 1984 by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Ogden Museum of Southern Art New Orleans
Basquiat, "Untitled" 1984
We had the chance to check out "Basquiat and the Bayou" at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art last weekend which was a part of Prospect New Orleans, a contemporary art triennial that featured 58 artists located throughout New Orleans. We went on the very last day (it was FREE for Louisiana residents!) as I didn't want to miss out on the chance to see some of Jean-Michel Basquiat's work up close while it was right here in the city.

 Basquiat and The Bayou A Project of Prospect New Orleans
I had read brief articles on Basquiat before and knew of the film depicting his life (starring Jeffrey Wright) but I wanted to know more about the artist that has rappers like Jay Z, Kanye, Nicki Minaj, J. Cole and Macklemore referencing him and his work left and right in their music.. click any of the links and pics to read more.
Jean-Michel Basquiat, the artist
Jean-Michel Basquiat, Zydeco, 1984 Acrylic and oilstick on canvas
Basquiat "Zydeco" 1984
'King Zulu,' 1986 by Jean-Michel Basquiat, at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art
Basquiat "King Zulu" 1986
Prospect 3: Notes for Now A Project of Prospect New Orleans
Prospect New Orleans
"Tembok Toleransi #2" by Artist Agus Suwage
Artist Agus Suwage from Indonesia "Tembok Toleransi #2" or "Tolerance Wall #2" . The material is tin cans and  car audio systems. Incredible. More on this piece below.
About artist Agus Suwage
A close of Agus Suwage's work above.
Art Installation Before I Die by Candy Chang
Artist Candy Chang "Before I Die" was featured prominently on the side of the Ogden Museum outdoors. Click the pic above to watch Candy Chang's TED Talk. Also below, we watched as people shared their aspirations in shared public space..
Art Installation Before I Die, Candy Chang

What an awesome weekend of culture in NOLA!

January 23, 2015

Fab Fro Friday: Crochet Braids on Fleek!

Marley Hair Crochet Braids Curled
Marley Hair Crochet Braids
Beautiful Crochet Braid Hairstyle
Pics spotted on Pinterest
Protective Styles have never looked better! 
#naturalhair #diy #crochetbraids #protectivestyle

January 21, 2015

SEWING: My Red Satin Column Ball Gown With Pockets...

My DIY Red Satin Mardi Gras Ball Gown with Pockets

Hey y'all! It's January of the new year and this red column ball gown is my 1st completed sewing project of 2015! Yay! My friend Anita invited me to the Krewe of Athena's Inaugural Mardi Gras Ball and let me tell you, I had every intention on wearing a sequin ball gown that I had worn once before. THIS GOWN RIGHT HERE to be exact. I wore it to the Endymion Ball back in 2013. But then I had an insane lightbulb moment, which was, why don't I make myself a dress? The idea was insane because I can be a notorious procrastinator when it comes to sewing and I only had a little over a week to complete something. Would I finish it in time? But I decided to go for it anyway because I could always fall back on my purple sequin gown if I had to right? Anyhoo, everything worked out and I was pleased with my result, but first, let me walk you through my process...
Chanel and Anita snap a photo at the Krewe of Athena Mardi Gras Ball
Me and Anita who is one of the "Ladies of Athena." Teal was the Krewe's beautiful signature color!
 I've had about 4-5 yards of shiny red satin in my fabric stash for I don't know how long, I just never knew what I wanted to do with it. Since it's shiny and red, I always figured I'd do something formal with it but I didn't know what until we got the Mardi Gras Ball invitation. Like I said, I had a little more than a week to figure it out and with my sewing track record of wasting time, I didn't have time to do a lot of bells and whistles, ruffles and pleats, so my best bet for finishing a gown in time was simplicity. So I did a google search of simple ball gowns and the straight, sheath column silhouette seemed to be the easiest route. I used New Look pattern 6483 (view C) for the top of the dress and Butterick 6533 for the bottom of the dress, it's a Franken-Pattern! But I mix and match patterns most of the time. It's the best way to get exactly what you want when you're sewing. I put the two patterns together lining them up at the waistline, traced the patterns onto brown pattern paper with a tracing wheel, then I made sure the front matched the back at the side seams (true the pattern) finally I did a muslin mock-up (to be sure of the 'new' design and the fit). I measured the dress for length with the shoes I planned to wear and I added my own in-seam pockets. Because if you've been following me on this blog or anywhere else, you know that I LOVE POCKETS. I try to put them on EVERYTHING. The things I changed: I dropped the neckline in the front just a tad and I did more of a racerback shape in back. I lined it in purple satin to make it feel a little more like "Mardi Gras" I also changed the back neckline completely turning it into a "V" because (and don't laugh) I wanted to make sure I had a wide enough opening to put the dress on over my head. Now I could fib and tell you that I didn't really have the time to put a zipper in, which is the normal way to get yourself into and out of a formal gown, but in all truthfulness, I never had any intention on sewing in a zipper. I have a real love/hate with sewing hardware (i.e., mainly zippers) so I completely sewed the dress all the way up and just wore it to the ball completely sewn in. With no zipper. And what's the difference anyway if I could get in and out of it, right? All that said, I was quite pleased with the result! Even though I was still sewing the hem an hour before the ball started.. smh. But I'll tell you what, my sewing confidence was through the roof after this one! You feel more and more capable after every sewing project you complete, trust me on that. A couple more pics below :)

Chanel and Ron at the 2015 Inaugural Krewe of Athena Mardi Gras Ball
Me and the Mr.
Chanel and Ron at the 2015 Inaugural Krewe of Athena Mardi Gras Ball

Chanel in her DIY Red Satin Ball Gown at the Krewe of Athena Mardi Gras Ball

January 20, 2015

Travel Tuesday: 27 Tips For Traveling in Style [LINK]

Click the pic below for tips on booking your trip, packing and vacationing in style!

27 Tips for Traveling in Style

January 17, 2015

Saturday Shopping: Stella Jean's Ethnic Style...

Designer Stella Jean in her Showroom

Who is Stella Jean? Stella Jean is an emerging Haitian-Italian fashion designer and former model, whose cultural identity often provides inspiration for her eponymous label, and that is a quote straight from VOGUE. You might remember Rihanna wearing one of her dresses during her visit to the White House last year, you can shop Rihanna's dress HERE or click the pic below.

Rihanna wearing Stella Jean on her trip to the White House
Rihanna wearing Stella Jean
 Her eye-catching designs are unmistakeable and on top of that they look cute and fun to wear. Scroll to shop even more dynamic Stella Jean looks below:

January 12, 2015

Solidarity with NIGERIA.

Pray for Nigeria

There's been so little coverage about the extreme atrocities going on in Nigeria right now and it's disgraceful. Below are some links to stay informed on what's going on in Baga, Nigeria right now which is shamefully going largely UNREPORTED... #PrayForNigeria

What I Wore: Cold Weather Cut Off Denim...

Hip Candy Cold Weather Cut Off Denim
My first outfit post of 2015 y'all! And who doesn't like cut off denim boyfriend shorts? I've always loved the easygoing, tomboy vibe of them, they're the polar opposite of the tight, fitted Daisy Duke version, these are more rugged and loose. And what if you still want to wear them out but the weather's frigid? Just add tights! Problem solved. Although there's nothing new about this style, I remember pairing denim shorts and tights in college, old styles always have a way of circling back around.
Faux Leather Moto Jacket, F21 | CHANEL T-Shirt, my FREE gift with cosmetic counter purchase | Denim cut offs, Levis | Boots, F21 | The Hair, Sensationnel "Samantha" (cut and styled by me) | Location, CBD NOLA
Hip Candy What I Wore Cold Weather Cut Off Denim
Hip Candy Protective Hairstyle Natural Hair Wig
Hip Candy What I Wore Cut Off Denim CHANEL Tee
What I Wore Cut Off Denim Tights Protective Style Natural Hair
Hip Candy Protective Style Natural Hair Lace Wig CHANEL
What I Wore Casual Winter Outfit Idea
Protective Hairstyle Lace Wig CHANEL


WATCH: The 2015 New Orleans Jazz Festival Lineup is HERE!

SO much to see at the New Orleans Jazz Fest this year!



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