August 2015Faces of Black Fashion: August 2015

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Prepping for the MET Gala: Actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw for Vogue

I love these photos of Gugu Mbatha-Raw as much as I loved her in the movies Belle and Beyond the Lights. Vogue gives us an intimate look Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Lanvin artistic director, Alber Elbaz, getting ready for the 2014 MET Gala. How gorgeous is she?

See more photos HERE.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Style Files: Afro Punk Fest Brooklyn

Yesterday I attended day one of the Afro Punk Festival in Brooklyn. The Afro Punk Festival is annual celebration of music across the African Diaspora. 

For the festival I dressed down a little black dress from Zara with flats then layered a large multicolored statement necklace with a simple turquoise stone necklace and added by mirrored sunglasses. I then grabbed by camera to take style photos and hit the road.

Here are a few of the style photos I captured below. Afro Punk did not disappoint. It took "Black in Style" to another level. Enjoy!!!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Alicia Keys on Why She Stopped Hiding Her Gifts and Dimming Her Light

"Let your light so shine before men so that  others may see your good works, and glorify your Father who art in Heaven" 

In a beautifully raw post titled, A Reflection, Alicia Keys shares her decision to stop hiding and to fully embrace herself. She writes,

"For as long as I can remember, I’ve hidden myself. It might have started in school when I realized that I caught on to things a little quicker, and teachers started to show slight favor to me, or use me as an example. I remember feeling like my friends would make fun of me or look at me as if I was different from them and so… I started hiding. Not intentionally, I didn’t mean to, but I did. Little pieces at a time."

Afraid to stand out or bring too much attention to herself, Alicia Keys decided to hide in order to fit in, a practice so many succumb  to hoping to avoid criticism, envy or worse.

"I became comfortable hiding, my intelligence, my physical appearance, my truths, my  thoughts, myself."

Hiding impacted Alicia as an artist and in the way she chose to express herself through her clothing choices,

"I chose the baggy jeans and timbs, I chose the ponytail and hat, I chose no makeup, no bright color lipstick or pretty dresses. I chose to hide. Pieces at a time. Less trouble that way."

She describes the moment when  she experienced the epiphany to fully embrace herself and let the caged bird free,

"And just the other day it hit me! OMG! Alicia!!! Why are you choosing to be that person?? That is so old and outdated!! STOP!!
You are allowed to be smart
You are allowed to be beautiful
You are allowed to be radical and have strong thoughts that others might not agree with
You are allowed to be tough
You are allowed to be sexy
You are allowed to be bold
You are allowed to be shapely
You are allowed to be kind
You are allowed to be yourself!!"

You can read the entire post on Alicia Keys' Website 

Have you ever felt the need to hide your talents and gifts to make other people comfortable? Do you relate to Alicia's post? 

Five Lessons From My Two Year Fitness Journey

1. Fitness is indeed a lifestyle. Since I've been working out consistently for the past two years, I now view fitness as a lifestyle choice. Not only do I reap physical benefits, if I am having a particularly stressful day going to the gym is like medicine to me.  Additionally since I started working out, I make healthier choices about the foods I eat.

2. "Poco y Poco," little by little. A past roommate taught me a phrase that I apply to many areas of my life: "poco y poco," little by little.  Getting fit is a matter of consistency and little by little you WILL make progress and see changes. It's not about going to the gym for a couple of weeks to see a big change. The small changes matter, and they add up overtime. Each work out is a step to a healthier you.

3. Variety is the spice of life; it's also the spice of fitness. A few times in my journey, I got bored with my exercise routines, which affected my desire to go to the gym. These times serve as a sign that I need to add variety or try something different. For example, earlier this year I started going to a class (Zumba, Pilates etc) once a week, and more recently, I purchased Bret Contreras and Kelli Davis' amazing book, Strong Curves.  I am now on week seven of the Strong Curves Gluteal Goddess Program, and I love it!

4. Increased confidence and discipline. Making it to the gym will not always be easy. There are days I simply don't feel like going; yet I go only to leave feeling proud of myself for my follow through despite my feelings. It takes discipline to keep a promise to yourself and stick with a routine when you feel otherwise, but the rewards are worth it! Additionally, I am a lot more confident in how my body looks and how I feel about myself.  It's also nice when other people notice and compliment your hard work. 

5. Inspiration Matters.  Thanks to the internet and social media sites like Instagram and Pinterest, I have tons of fitness inspiration at my fingertips. Although I don't know many of these ladies in real life, having visuals of my goals keeps me motivated.

What are some lessons that you've learned since you started working out? Please share them in the comment box.

Monday, August 3, 2015

The Power of Resilience: Misty Copeland

According to Psychology Today, resilience is "that ineffable quality that allows some people to be knocked down by life and come back stronger than ever. Rather than letting failure overcome them and drain their resolve, they find a way to rise from the ashes. Psychologists have identified some of the factors that make someone resilient, among them a positive attitude, optimism, the ability to regulate emotions, and the ability to see failure as a form of helpful feedback. Even after misfortune, resilient people are blessed with such an outlook that they are able to change course and soldier on." 

Last year, I posted a feature on Misty Copeland, who first made history at the American Ballet Theater by becoming its third African American soloist. This summer Misty Copeland became the first African American female soloist at the American Ballet Theater. To say I'm proud is an understatement. Misty's story is one of resilience.  She defied many odds as a woman of color  whose  body was considered nontraditional in the world of classical ballet.

It takes a certain spiritual strength and resolve to believe in yourself when the the outside world  says "no."   I don't know what barriers or obstacles you may be facing today, but I hope that Misty Copeland can serve as a role model and an inspiration to you to soldier on in the face of difficulties. Have a great week!