Friday, August 2, 2013

Beyonce In Concert & Pepsi's Iconic Summer Moments

*squeals* I'm so excited and I just can't hide it! Guys, I'm headed to the Barclays Center here in NYC to experience all there is to take in of the one & only Queen Bey! Beyonce is performing LIVE at Barclays Center on this Saturday, August 3rd and the folks at Pepsi are sending me to shake my tail feather and act a fool. I can't wait!

As part of their Pepsi Iconic Summer Moments campaign, Pepsi is encouraging fans (Beyonce fans & the like) to share their own #iconicsummer moments here: http://www.pepsi.com/en-us/d

All you do is upload a photo featuring one of your favorite summer moments captured (don't be shy, I see y'all straight flexing on Instagram) and for each photo submitted, Pepsi has vowed to donate to a group of exceptional charities that support the military and families in need. In addition, with every submission, each of you will have the chance to win an iconic summer experience courtesy Pepsi.

My #IconicSummer Moment
My submission is a picture of me lounging at a Coachella pool party in my favorite polka dot bikini. It's iconic to me because (1) I love the pool in the summer and (2) I'm proud I can wear a bikini with confidence!

Pepsi Giveaway

But WAIT, there's more! For being my readers & for participating with me, one of you will get a super fly Pepsi Prize Pack worth $75 which includes:

- A Pepsi Classic Hat
- A Pepsi Classic Duffle Bag
- A Pepsi iPhone 4S case
- A Pepsi Classic T-shirt

Owww! Can't go wrong with a free T-shirt & a new gym bag. Just saying. Here's how to enter the giveaway, in 2 super simple steps:

1. Enter your information in the widget below.
2. Tweet me @LoveBrownSugar using the hashtag #IconicSummer

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck! And stay tuned for my updates at the Beyonce concert tomorrow. So excited!

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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

4 Ways To Try Summer Prints With Nail Art

Summer is my absolute favorite season. Not only for the warm weather, beach days, and picnics but also because bright colors and fun prints are a wardrobe must-have. If you're used to sticking to neutrals during the colder months, bursting onto the summer scene in full-on prints might be a tad intimidating. But don't worry, your wardrobe isn't the only place you can try the trends.

Nail art is an easy way to pull off fashion-forward prints as an accessory to your look. Here are four cool ways to try the print trend the DIY nail art way:

1. Runway-Inspired Nails

This Kenzo-inspired manicure is easily accomplished in four simple steps. If you've seen this print on some of your favorite celebs, I'm sure you've wondered how to get the look for less. This DIY nail art tutorial will show you how. It's high fashion, quick, easy and on the cheap!

2. Modern Art-Inspired Nails

Taking cues from artist Piet Mondrian, this manicure looks way more complicated than it actually is. You can achieve this look in six quick steps. It requires a few different nail colors applied in block strips to achieve the boxed look, and just a little precision with a black nail art brush. Give it a try, especially if you can't afford to have a Mondrian original hanging on your wall. Instant decor for the nails!

3. Chevron Nails

One of the simpler nail art looks that can be easily interchanged with your preferred wardrobe colors, the chevron print is a popular one this season. This tutorial features five super simple steps. It's a bold print, and also fun and easy to do. You can tone it down for more professional setting by using two neutral palette colors. It's a jazzier version of the french mani!

4. Rainbow Nails

By far the most arts & craftsy of the bunch, this style might be best for a fun weekend picnic, a summer festival, or a pool party. You'll undoubtedly stand out with multicolored nails, and the cool thing about this five-step tutorial is that it is super easy to personalize. Pick your three favorite summer colors and have at it!

Would you try any of these bold DIY nail art trends to upgrade your summer wardrobe? Keep me posted!

This post is part of BlogHer's Revamp Your Style editorial series, made possible by Schick Hydro Silk.
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Cover Girls: Kelly Rowland for Essence Magazine

Kelly Rowland looks absolutely stunning on the cover of Essence Magazine's September issue! In it, the starlet & R&B songstress talks about her past battles with self-confidence and the untold stories she alluded to on her single "Dirty Laundry". About the Beyonce-jealousy controversy, she explained to Essence:
“For a long time I wasn’t happy, but that had nothing to do with BeyoncĂ©,” Rowland says. “That had to do with me trying to get my life in order and make better decisions for myself. I’m seeing all these wonderful things happen for her and I am happy for her. But I want a path. I want things to pop off for me, too. Not on her level but whatever my level is supposed to be.”
I'm beyond happy for Kelly Rowland. I've been an avid follower of hers since her Destiny's Child days, and I'm glad she's finally come into her own and happy with who she is and what she's accomplished. There's nothing better than feeling happy regardless of how people look at you or try to judge you. Don't you agree?

I must say I'm also INCREDIBLY excited for the Essence September issue because I make a brief cameo in it! Once I have an issue on hand, I'll share my feature with you guys. Stay tuned!

For more about the exclusive Kelly Rowland cover story, check out Essence.com here: http://www.essence.com/2013/07/31/kelly-rowland-graces-september-issue-essence

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Monday, July 29, 2013

LBS Beauty: Unlock Your Softer Side With Suave

If you know my beauty regimen, you know that I'm no stranger to drugstore beauty and affordable products. Though I love my luxury staples as well, there are quite a few brands on the market that combine quality with affordability. Suave is one of those brands and I've always been a fan of their products. Everything from using their conditioner to co-wash my hair when I first went natural, to using their body washes and lotions that do the job just as well as pricier brands.
So once I found out that TV hostess, personality and homegirl-in-my-head Wendy Williams was taking the challenge to unlock her "softer" side with Suave, I had to find out what the hooplah was all about. If you guys know Wendy, you know "soft" is not typically a word used to describe her. Ever since her radio days, she's been the hostess to say exactly what was on her mind, regardless of who was listening or who didn't like her. Because I think she's hilarious, and she actually gives really great hair & beauty advice on her talk show, I knew her partnership with Suave totally made sense.

I decided to take the challenge to "unlock my softer side" as well and give a few of Suave's moisturizers and body washes a test run for a week. My skin tends to get dry year-round, from winter to summer so moisture and softness is really important in maintaining my look when I step out on the NYC streets. I picked up two different moisturizers from Suave - the Suave® Skin Solutions Smoothing Body Lotion with Cocoa Butter & Shea (two of my fave ingredients) and the Suave® Skin Solutions Advanced Therapy Body Lotion.

I used the Smoothing lotion to help maintain my skin and make it smooth to the touch before heading out. I love how rich it is as a moisturizer for day, and I also love the cocoa butter smell - yum!

At night, before bed, I smoothed on the Advanced Therapy collection. It has a fresh crisp smell, and was really effective at relieving dry skin. I like to use heavier moisturizers at night before bed to allow them to soak into my skin overnight. I wake up with super soft skin and I always feel like it helps improve the overall condition of my skin. 

I also gave their Suave® Naturals Sweet Pea & Violet Body Wash a try. It smells amazing, and lathers really well. You can use it double duty and poor a little in under running water for a nice moisturizing bubble bath too.

Each product has its own unique benefits. After taking the challenge, I stand by my love for Suave as a really great alternative to higher-priced products because it actually works. You shouldn't have to splurge on key products like moisturizer and body wash when companies like Suave offer affordable options. Beauty on a budget, for real. Love it!

Are you a fan of Suave body products? How do you unlock your "softer" side? Tell me in the comments section below for the chance win a $100 SpaFinder gift card! 

Don't forget to Unlock Your Softer Side, and visit Suave on Facebook

Sweepstakes Rules:

No duplicate comments. You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
  1. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
  2. Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
  3. Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
  4. For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.
This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winner will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.
BlogHer will pool entries from participating blogs and select a sweepstakes winner at random and will contact the winner with details about fulfilling the prize.

The Official Rules are available here. This sweepstakes runs from 7/29/13 – 8/15/13.

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Friday, July 12, 2013

Kickin' It: 2013 NOLA Crawl Recap

I'm back from the Big Easy! I got back earlier this week and I'm still on a high from all the excitement, good food, live performances, beauty parties and more we got into on our 2013 NOLA Crawl! As I mentioned, me and the girls (Jessica of Glamazons Blog, Danielle of The Style & Beauty Doctor and Lexi of LexiWithTheCurls) headed down to New Orleans to partake in the festivities surrounding the Essence Music Festival, and we decided to put on our very own "Crawl" similar to the FNO Crawl we did last September.

This might have been the best decision we ever made! Aside from receiving so much love from our sponsors like African Pride, Shea Moisture and CoverFX, we had an absolute blast making the rounds in New Orleans, taking in all the sights and even getting to meet some of you guys who were down in New Orleans with us! Here's a snapshot of all the amazing fun we got into:

African Pride Beauty & The Beat Suite

Upon arrival into New Orleans, we headed to the Wyndham Riverfront for African Pride's premiere event featuring songstress Kelly Price (who looked AMAZING by the way) and DJ Spinderella on the 1's & 2's.

Kelly dished all about her upcoming endeavors, including an album on the horizon for early 2014, and also about the challenges of being part of an industry that doesn't really embrace natural hair or plus-sized talent. It was a very honest and much-needed conversation.

DJ Spinderella still got it y'all. She had the crowd turned up at the African Pride event. Anyone else used to love some Salt-N-Peppa?

The event was chock full of product freebies and giveaways, including African Pride's Olive Miracle collection.

They were also doing makeovers and beauty treatments at the suite.

We got to snap a pic with the hostess of the evening, Miss Kelly Price! 

We also ran into the infamous Momma Dee (of Love & Hip-Hop ATL fame).

From left: Lexi,  Jessica, Danielle and Me!
Good times at the African Pride Beauty & The Beauty Suite!

Sidebar: Congrats to the five winners who won my African Pride giveaway. Check out who the winners are here.

The Shea Moisture Pop-Up Shop (Saturday)

Our next stop along the NOLA Crawl was the Shea Moisture Pop-Up Shop - one of my favorite places in New Orleans this weekend. I loved the homey, organic feel of the shop and of course being surrounded by some of my favorite hair & skincare products.

While there, I ran into natural hair blogger Curly Nikki.

I had a blast trying out all the products from Shea Moisture - from their body scrubs and hand creams to their curl creams and detanglers.

They have products for every skin type under the sun.

We did video interviews and took tons of pics with the Shea Moisture folks.

We got a little carried away shopping for products!

We had a great time! And just like that, Saturday was a wrap.

Kirk Franklin House of Blues Gospel Brunch

There's nothing like a good Gospel Brunch to put you in a positive mood on a Sunday morning. We went over to the House of Blues in the French Quarter to meet & greet Kirk Franklin and to indulge in an all-you-can-eat buffet of Southern, Louisiana-style breakfast. It was beyond amazing.

Shea Moisture Pop-Up Shop (Sunday)

At the Shea Moisture pop-up shop day party on Sunday, we ended up running into actress and natural beauty Nicole Ari Parker. I really love Nicole. Aside from being one of my favorites on the hit series Soul Food, I really admired that she took a leap and did the Big Chop during a time when being natural as a celebrity is still something slightly taboo in the industry. I think it was such a bold move and I appreciate her for that.

Her handsome hubby Boris Kodjoe was there as well. The power couple posed with the CEO of Sundial as well.

DJ C. Devone was on the 1's & 2's for the party - she did an awesome job

Imani from TribeCalledCurl and Julee Wilson from Huffington Post were there.

Photo courtesy Huffington Post
The lovely Julee of Huffington Post featured me in their Essence Festival Street Style gallery - head over to the site and check it out!

CoverFX Kept Us Covered

If you've ever been to New Orleans, you probably know that the humidity can be quite intense. Whenever heat & humidity are a factor, you need dependable makeup that will last you from daytime brunch to nighttime party-hopping. Me and the girls gave CoverFX a test run this weekend, and they passed with flying colors. I had barely any shine, thanks to their blotting powder and kept a crystal clear complexion due to their concealer. Had to give them a major shoutout. They were definitely a pivotal part of this year's NOLA Crawl.

We had such an amazing time in New Orleans this weekend! Have you ever been to NOLA or Essence Music Fest? Would you plan a trip there?

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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

LBS Feature: Black Enterprise's Black Blogger Month

Guys, today is such a proud moment for me. Since Black Enterprise first began their annual Black Blogger Month series, I've been a close follower as some of my absolute favorite blogs were featured and highlighted. I never thought that just 4 short years after starting my own site, I would be one of the faces gracing this series. I am SO humbled and honored. This has to be one of my proudest moments to date.

Below is a snippet of the intro to the article. They made your girl tear up! Reading this was like hearing "You iz kind, you iz smart, you iz important..." over and over again a la "The Help". Deep sigh.

Fashion has always pumped through the veins of Queens, New York native Christina Brown. It’s that passion for all things style and beauty that led the now 26-year-old editor in chic to serve as senior fashion editor of the widely recognizable campus glossy, The WALK, during her undergraduate days at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. Brown didn’t stop there, she spent her summers learning the ins and outs of the fashion industry, interning at luxury retailer Saks Fifth Avenue, and the ropes of the digital marketing field at BET.

After finding issue with the lack of diversity in fashion and media, the style maven took to the Internet, starting her blog, LoveBrownSugar.com, in July 2009. From high-end designers to mass retailers, Brown’s real-girl approach to covering the highly lucrative and competitive field of fashion has earned her recognition as one of Essence’s Fab 40 Fashion Bloggers, The Root’s 2012 Black Bloggers To Know, Huffington Post’s Top Fashion and Beauty Insiders on Instagram and Sparkah’s Top 100 Beauty Bloggers, among others. Brown has landed editorial positions at Honeyand Uptown magazines, and her insights have appeared on various media sites including The New York Times,Refinery 29 and Elle.com. And if you thought her empire only existed online, think again! Brown joined forces withLiSi Cosmetics to create her own nail lacquer, appropriately titled LoveBrownSugar.

As part of Black Blogger Month, BlackEnterprise.com caught up with the style aficionado to discuss her blooming brand, lessons learned from four years of blogging and why LoveBrownSugar is a sweet online destination.

Please click HERE for the full article: http://www.blackenterprise.com/lifestyle/black-blogger-month-lovebrownsugar-christina-brown/

I would LOVE if you guys showed your support and left comments on my Black Enterprise feature. I really wouldn't be here if it wasn't for you. Thank you SO much for your continued support!

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Saturday, July 6, 2013

LBS Beauty: My Skincare & Makeup Essentials in New Orleans

I'm here guys! I have touched down in The Big Easy and can't wait to jump into all the Essence Music Festival festivities including the stops we plan to make along our #NOLACrawl. In preparation for the trip, I made sure to pack a few skincare and makeup essentials that will help get me through this long humid weekend in New Orleans. Check out a few skincare must-haves I packed from Shea Moisture and makeup essentials from Cover FX:

Shea Moisture Skincare Essentials

The best way to take care of your skin, especially with a change in climate, is to pamper it. I brought along with me some essentials like Shea Moisture's body butter, scrubs body washes and massage oils to pamper my skin. 

The Coconut & Hibiscus Body Scrub ($9.99) is my go-to when my skin needs some exfoliation and extra moisture. It's also great to combat the effects of dehydration and dryness from frequent flying.

I swear by Shea Moisture's Body Butter ($9.99). It's light enough to use during all seasons but really does a great job of providing long-lasting moisture. I have it in the Olive & Green Tea scent as well as the Lavender & Wild Orchid.

And even though it's from the masculine grooming collection, I really enjoy their Three Butters Wash & Scrub and Lotion ($9.99/each). Each is infused with Shea, Mango and Avocado butters. 

CoverFX Makeup Essentials

I was first introduced to CoverFX at a launch event they hosted last year. I've been obsessed ever since.  I bragged about their Total Cover Cream Foundation and Matte Setting Powder in my LBS Chic: Mixed Media post last December

What I really love about the CoverFX brand is the quality of their makeup essentials. This is makeup that goes on and stays put all day long.

I also love that they place an emphasis on making colors that match different skin tones so well. I use their cream concealer in Deep and it blends really well.

I'm also really impressed with their powders and bronzer collections. They were kind enough to send me their Illuminator, Bronzer and Blotting Powder which I plan to put to good use while in this NOLA humidity. 

What are your travel skincare and makeup essentials? Have you tried any of these products?

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