Saturday, October 29, 2011

Ten Days in Ecuador: Day 1

I've just arrived at my first destination in Ecuador. I'm in Quito - the capital city! So far, it's absolutely beautiful. Apparently we're at Ecuador's highest altitude. I was worried coming here that I'd have an asthma attack or something (no, I dont have asthma smh) but clearly I was just being over dramatic per usual. Upon leaving the airport, our group was greeted by a smiling middle-aged man named Gonzalo. Gonzalo is my new BFF. He's really nice and he pretty much assured us we're going to have a good time this week. He's our designated tour guide and he'll be with us the entire week. From what I know, he likes technology, US gossip, and Obama. Hence we were destined to be friends.

Our first hotel is so amazingly nice - it's the Swissotel in Quito. When we walked in, we were greeted with fresh squeezed orange juice and warm hand towels. I can already tell it's going to be good times. From my hotel room, I can see the whole landscape of Quito and all the high hills and mountains. Its really breathtaking.

Our first official activity is dinner at a fancy restaurant called the Ventanal tonight around 7pm. Tomorrow morning, we're headed to Coca to tour the Amazon jungle. Cant wait! Will update you guys on how it goes.

Ten Days in Ecuador sponsored by Latitude International & LAN Airlines
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Thursday, October 27, 2011

3 Things Left on My 2011 Bucket List

So the year is officially coming to an end. This weekend marks the last weekend in October, then comes November and sooner than you know it New Year's Eve will be staring us in the face. That was fast, right? After college, it seems like the years pass by at an accelerated rate. Whomps.

Anyway, the purpose of this post is two-fold. First, I needed this post. When I first began this blog, back in 2009, before the online features and the cameos on Essence.com and the fancy advertising you see above (lol), I started it for me. I started it at a time when I was frustrated in life and needed a creative outlet to express myself. I also wanted to document the wonderful life of a 20-something fashionista in the big Apple, unapologetic about being curvy & fab. So, to bring it back to it's original roots, I needed to write this post so that I can document on this fine day in October, what I'd like to do with the rest of my year (and hopefully have something to refer back to when I accomplish them).

Second, you needed this post. Somewhere between July 2009 and now, my blog has evolved into this thing that's WAY bigger than me. And I love it. I can't tell you how many emails I get from you lovelies about how something I've done or said or featured on my site has made an impact on your lives or inspired you to be bigger, better and greater than you were before. Getting responses like that makes it all worth it. So, with that, here are the three things left on my 2011 bucket list. Hopefully this list will inspire you to re-evaluate some things in your life today and make a list for yourself:

1. Redecorate my apartment.

I've literally been talking about this for the past 12 months. "One of these days, I'm gonna HGTV the hell out of my place!" It still hasn't happened. I've been spending hours scouring sites like ApartmentTherapy.com and more to figure out exactly what I want to do with it and I even got the process started two weekends ago by adding a few chairs and a new comforter to my room. I would say I'm 40% of the way there. Hoping to be completely done by the end of December. (any suggestions? Hit me up in the comments!)

2. Become a mentor.

In 2005, I went to Ocho Rios, Jamaica on a cruise with my older sisters. As most tourists do, we headed to Dunn's River Falls to climb up the beautiful mountain. In order to get to the top, everyone in our tour group had to lock hands in a single line, and the excursion leader would literally "pull" us up to the top as a group. As you took one step, you had to pull the person behind you and the entire group moved along in that fashion. This is how I feel about youth mentorship. As you move up the ladder of success, you should take others with you. Finding a great non-profit to support, or gathering up a group of girls and having a chat with them once a month - that's definitely on my list this year. Mentorship has always been something I've wanted to do more of so I'm hoping to get more involved before the year is up. (Any NYC-based folks involved in youth mentorship programs? Leave me a comment!)

3. Take an extended trip outside the US.

Me studying abroad in France, 2008
Last but not least! Death to the weekend getaway. Since the beginning of the year, I've promised myself that this year I'm going to get out of this country, at least for a 5-day trip. No such thing has happened. Instead I've been taking mini weekend getaways around the US to ease my travel itch. As a college student, I left the country AT LEAST once a year for Spring Break. And in my Junior year, I spent an entire semester abroad in France. So international travel is in my bones. And LUCKILY my 2011 trip is on the horizon! Tomorrow I'll be embarking on a 10 day trip to South America! I'm touring the beautiful country of Ecuador from the capital city of Quito to the coastal cities of Manta and Santa Elena. 
 I'm super HYPED. I'll be updating you guys as often as possible while I'm away so stay tuned!

In the mean time, what's still on your 2011 bucket list? Tell me in the comments section!
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Monday, October 24, 2011

Kickin' It: Curly Nikki & LoveBrownSugar Meet-Up

Last Thursday at Pranna NYC, myself and Curly Nikki teamed up for a super chic meet-up & afterparty to Nikki's very first NYC shindig. I met so many lovely ladies, both blog followers of LoveBrownSugar and of Curly Nikki and overall had a blast! Check out the pics below:

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Kickin' It: Carols Daughter Launches Chocolat Smoothing Collection

Last night at the GODIVA store in midtown Manhattan, Carol's Daughter hosted a small group of bloggers & editors to celebrate the launch of their new line of products called Chocolat. A Smoothing Collection of products that claim to rebuild hair structure and smooth each hair strand from within, Carol's Daughter founder Lisa Price believes it's one of their most innovative and effective product lines to date. In fact, she even had her bouncy curls straightened for the event!

The genius behind the Chocolat Smoothing Collection is that for those who want to blow-dry or straighten their naturally curly hair (or any hairtype for that matter!), the three-step collection of Smoothing Shampoo, Conditioner & Blow Dry Cream tackles frizzy and unmanageable hair by way of natural ingredients like Keravis; a hyperactive plant protein that helps fill in lifted hair cuticles, and Cacao plant extract, which helps smooth the hair cuticle.

Though I haven't tried the products yet, I'm super excited to give them a whirl.

Hairstylist Bibby Garcia

Their spokeslady, Latina Magazine-ranked #1 hairstylist Bibby Garcia (pictured above), was on hand to show the transformation of her hair. She went from a huge curly head of hair to sleek, smooth strands with only a blow-dryer, no flat iron, using the Chocolat Smoothing collection.

Eileen of MissWhoeverYouAre, Angel of Concrete Loop & Makeup Artist Tara Lauren
While there I ran into quite a few of my blogger buddies. Eileen of MissWhoeverYouAre (far left) actually used the Chocolat products to get her silky straight hair, and she only had to blow-dry, no flat iron!

Also ran into the lovely Angel of Concrete Loop! Any aspiring bloggers that haven't checked out her book Angel's Laws of Blogging, you absolutely should. It's a must-read.

Julee Wilson, Style & Beauty Editor, HuffPost BlackVoices & Me
I also ran into Julee Wilson of Huffpost BlackVoices. You guys remember her from her Get Like Me feature a few months ago? Yeah she's awesome. And we always show up to events wearing similar outfits! 

I also spotted these natural beauties Cassadie of Natural Selection and Imani of upcoming blog Tribe Called Curl.

Overall I had a blast at the event. Carol's Daughter Chocolat Smoothing Collection is on sale now and I'll be giving them a try very shortly and posting about them. It's coming up on my one year natural hair anniversary, and I'll be straightening my strands in celebration so look out for a post on that soon!

For more information on Carol's Daughter products visit their Website | Facebook | Twitter

Will you be giving the Chocolat Smoothing Collection a try?
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Listen In Tonight! My First Radio Interview

Hey lovelies! Tonight at 8PM EST I'll be a featured guest on The Frenzy Radio Show with fashion bloggers Leslie of FashionDuJourDaily.com and Claire of The Fashion Bomb. I would LOVE if you all listened in & called us up to ask questions! All the info is in the flyer above. Call in to 347-884-9651 to listen in. If you want to talk to us, just press “1″ at anytime during the interview. Also, you can listen online through www.GXMedia.biz

See you then!

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Fierce or Foolish: Solange Attends Angel Ball 2011

Last night, celebs were out and about at The 2011 Angel Ball for Cancer Research where Naomi Campbell was honored by Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation here in NY. I absolutely adore Solange's one-shoulder dolman sleeved gown. If I only I could see those shoes. And I'm steadily on a quest to uncover who does her hair.

Do you see this fro? Amaze! Love that she kept her makeup light & natural. Who says you can't rock white after Labor Day?

What are your thoughts on her look? Fierce or Foolish?
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Monday, October 17, 2011

You're Invited! Curly Nikki x LoveBrownSugar Meet Up

NYC lovelies! I'm partnering up with one of my fave beauty bloggers Nikki of CurlyNikki.com to host a meet-up event on Thursday, October 20th at 10pm. Curly Nikki will be hosting a natural hair meet-up of her own that evening from 7pm-10pm (Her RSVP list is full, but see HERE for more deets).

As a follow-up to her event, we're hosting a super chic afterparty at Pranna Restaurant, 79 Madison Avenue (at 28th St) for all our 21 & up friends! Interested in joining? The event is open to the public, so come on down & bring friends. (NOTE: You DON'T have to be naturally curly to attend (lol), it's for everyone!) Space is limited so please RSVP to luvbrownsugar@gmail.com if you plan on attending.

Get there early - hope to see you then!
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Friday, October 14, 2011

Flavor of Friday: [VIDEO] Rory Becca For Forever 21 Holiday Collection

Photo courtesy RACKED
 The lovely folks over at Forever 21 have sent me an exclusive video sneak peek of Forever 21's holiday collection collaboration with designer Rory Becca. Kicking off her first successful capsule collection with Forever 21 earlier this year, Rory's teamed up with the trendy retailer once again to release an entire collection of 18 pieces launching on October 21st. Here's an inside peek at what to expect!

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Confessions of a Shopaholic: Republic of Foreigner

This week's shopaholic confession is a true confessions indeed. I've been keeping this little gem a secret since I found out about them a few months ago, but the time has come for me to unleash the greatness of this designer label for the greater good! In what I can best describe as DVF meets Boxing Kitten, these girls have captured the essence of bohemian chic meets Afro-centric sophistication.

Republic of Foreigner, a Nigerian-based designer label, is the brainchild of sisters Carmen and Selina Sutherland. Both UPENN grads (Selina was one of my classmates!), the up & coming design visionaries have recently embarked on starting their own collection based on their love for fashion and the lack of Nigerian brands that reflected their style.

The ladies gifted me a few pieces to try out from the collection and I ended up wearing this silk printed shift dress to the Arise: Made In Africa show during New York Fashion Week:

Photo courtesy Glamazon Diaries
 First of all, I thought the dress fit perfectly. And second, I was in love with the print and the mesh bell sleeves! I paired it with my Steve Madden leopard print platforms, Stacy Armand jewelry, my H&M fringe handbag and Michael Kors watch.

Photo courtesy Glamazon Diaries

Aside from the fact that the sisters are friends of mine, I have to say the clothes (especially because I'm addicted to prints) are absolutely amazing.

They have incredible fit, especially for women with curves, and trendy silhouettes that flatter different body types.

For more about Republic of Foreigner, check their website www.InTheRof.com and follow them on Twitter @LadyInTheRof
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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Dat Sh*t Cray: My Chance Encounter With Kanye

So since I announced yesterday that I ran into Kanye West at the premiere of Reed Between The Lines (HERE), I've gotten so many questions about my encounter with him. What's he like? Was he nice? Did he smell good? So I figured, what better way to capture my life-changing 45 second run-in with Mr.West than in a detailed list addressing my Kanye Encounter FAQs (frequently asked questions). So here they are:

1. Was he nice? I heard he was arrogant!

Don't believe all the hype. Contrary to popular belief, Kanye was incredibly nice and open to chatting for the all of 45 seconds I had with him. He was actually on his way out of the venue and (like a ninja, according to Sandrine Charles) I cut across the room, walked up to him and put my hand out to shake his hand. It went kind of like this...

Me: Hi Kanye! I'm Christina Brown!
Kanye: *smiles and shows bottom grill*
Me: I rushed over to catch you before you leave! Just wanted to let you know, as a fashion head, how much I love your new DW line. I saw the pictures from the runway during Paris Fashion Week and I thought you did an amazing job.
Kanye: Well, thanks Christina *wide grin*
Me: Will you take a picture with me?!
Kanye: Sure! *pulls me in close for the pic*

And that's how it went. A splendid encounter indeed.

2. What did he look like? (Runner up: What did he smell like?)

He looked exactly the way he looks on TV and in pics! Lol. No different. In my heels and curly fro, I was slightly taller than him but other than that he looked normal. No surprises. And he smelled great. Like a rich man.

3. What was he wearing?

He wore typical Kanye "just chillin'" attire - a flannel shirt, V-neck tee, jeans, sneakers, and a gold chain. (See pic with Tracee Ellis Ross)

4. How did you feel?

To be honest, Kanye might be one of the biggest stars I've met to date! I mean I met Jay-Z when I was like...14 years old at a Knicks game. And I met Beyonce in 7th grade when she was still a member of Destiny's Child. But besides them, yeah - this was pretty major, and random. I didn't really go to the premiere party with expectations of meeting 'Ye, but I'm super grateful I did.

It was a perfect lesson in the importance of getting to know someone (even briefly) before you pass judgment. Do I still shake my head at him for interrupting Taylor Swift at the VMAs that year? Yes, I do. But I have a newfound respect for him for taking 45 seconds of his life to say hello, be cordial, and take pics when he didn't have to. Definitely a stronger Kanye stan than I was before.

Special thanks to the lovely PR team at BET (@BET_PR) for inviting me to the event. Another special thanks to my stealth, ninja camera woman Sandrine Charles for capturing these pictures on my digicam (love you girl!)

Any other questions about my Kanye encounter? Hit me up in the comments section!
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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Kickin' It: Reed Between The Lines NY Premiere

Last night I was invited to midtown NYC's Bar Basque to premiere BET's newest original scripted series Reed Between The Lines starring Tracee Ellis Ross and Malcolm-Jamal Warner. Can I tell you what an amazing night I had? I died a few times and came back to life. Between meeting one of my all-time hair & fashion idols Tracee Ellis Ross to my chance encounter with Kanye West, last night was an amazing whirlwind of star-gazing & swooning. Check out what I got into:

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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Cover Girls: Tika Sumpter for VIBE Vixen

Hollywood's newest "It-girl" Tika Sumpter chatted it up with Vibe Vixen recently for her exclusive digital cover issue this week. I had the pleasure of meeting Tika Sumpter (HERE) during fashion week, and let me say this girl is just as gorgeous in person as she is on screen. And she has a beautiful spirit, which isn't always true for many celebs.
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Monday, October 3, 2011

Fierce or Foolish: Tracee Ellis Ross at BET Hip-Hop Awards

In my eyes, Tracee can do no wrong. Tracee Ellis Ross was spotted on the red carpet at the BET Hip-Hop Awards taping in Atlanta this weekend. She rocked a sequined dress, a purple lip and her beautiful bouncy curls. Can't wait to see her looks on her new BET show "Reed Between The Lines" premiering next week!

What do you think of her look? Fierce or foolish?

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Get Like Me: Nneya Richards

Aspiring to break into the fashion industry or simply intrigued by it? Well LoveBrownSugar has something for ya! Our “Get Like Me” series highlights exclusive interviews with industry insiders from celebrity stylists to fashion designers, editors, fashion PR heads & more!
 Pulling looks for celebs, writing press releases, and traveling the globe - all in a day's work for this week's interviewee Nneya Richards. As a Public Relations Assistant for one of the UK's bestselling brands Topshop, this native New Yorker's claim to fame includes being one of the original Teen Vogue insiders from the magazine's conception. Whether it's landing Topshop looks on the likes of J.Lo and Beyonce or flying across the country as a brand ambassador, check out what her fashion PR lifestyle is all about:

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