2 WAYS TO WORK A BRALETTE IN THE FALL

In my mind I'm a street style New Yorker. I live in Texas but I'm basically a New Yorker. Truthfully I think New York is the only place where I could rock this outfit in broad daylight with no stares. Or weird behavior and thats why NY is in my plans for 2018. But we'll save that for another post. 

So I get that bralettes aren't everyones forte. They really aren't a fave of mine but I love those outfits that you just kinda throw together because you're rushing and they actually end up doubling as something fashion forward. Instyle actually just did an article with Sereyah, from the TV show Empire, about rocking a bra-let as a shirt. So, this blog post is right on time!

This bralette I actually got from target for about $3 and it's best for itty-bitty titty committee members [LOL]. I only say that because its a bit see through and has very little support. I love it because it actually makes my boobs look bigger. And I feel more feminine and sexy even when I switch to an edgier feel. 


Now the HOW TO!

1. THE PANTS
The easiest and most fashionable way to rock anything cropped or short is to pair it with a high waist pant. Anything high-waisted is usually very flattering and forgiving to the waistline area! It creates a nice balance and really defines the outfit as fashion rather than gym attire or just a fashion-NO. I wouldn't recommend a bralette without something high-
waist. These I thrifted for $1. I am a thrift queen. Other options would be forever21, h&m etc. 

2. THE JACKET
Unfortunately its not summer anymore. 
And its cold out here! 
So the jacket is a must! Personally I think a bubble coat is the answer here. An athletic high waist look and a bralette is screaming bubble coat [LOL].
However I paired this look with a blue raincoat because I actually could not find a bubble coat that I liked. If at all possible get a bubble coat. If not any oversized mens or women's jacket should work as long as its an athletic type feel!








3. THE SHOES
Shoes are probably the easiest way to switch up any outfit. For this one I chose a look that would slay the street and then a look that would still slay the street but not your feet [LOL] --I'm lame but you get what I mean. SILVER is in. Its a thing this fall. And Im totally here for it.











THE IMPORTANCE OF LIKE MINDED FRIENDS + THE RED SERIES




Have you ever thought about texting your friend like "Hey girl so I wanna do a photoshoot in a one-piece bathing suit and a fur jacket at the library. You down!!?" LOL. 



I feel like in life we all might have different types of friends. Like your childhood friends, your workout buddies or your church friends. I'm a person of very few friends and it's honestly by choice. I don't believe in depending on everyone I meet or calling every friendly encounter a friendship. 



-----PSA-----If you haven't already checked out my "The Blu Series" blogpost stop what you doin' (in my Wendy Willams voice lol) and go check that out right here. If you have then you know I said my next post would be somewhat of a motivational piece. It was going to be about why its important to push your limitations---[and it's still in the works]---- but, for now I decided I really wanted to brag on my friend Epahnee and just express the importance of having like minded individuals in your life.-----PSA-------  



I like to keep my hands dirty, [creatively speaking] and it's really awesome to have friends that I can send ideas too and its like *boom* they just get it. I'm very blessed to have like minded friendships and I honestly think it's extremely important to your overall success. Your family members, generally speaking, will always love you and try their best to support you. Sometimes however that doesn't always equate to the exact help that you need depending on your chosen career path. 



I cant really call my sister up like "hey help me with this photoshoot". I know that seems weird, but she's not very interested in photography. She's kinda like that friend who wont take more than 5 selfie pictures of you. She gets bored easily and hungry fast and then she's just over it. 




I was actually kinda in a bit of a slump before I did this shoot. I had been trying unsuccessfully for weeks to put together another type of shoot and I just kept having set backs. Not to mention several job interviews----no job. So I was itching to just do something creative and fun.


You'll start to realize some folks idea of fun is not your idea of fun. Hence the importance of like minded individuals. I texted "E" like "Hey I wanna do this shoot in your apartment". At first she was like my apartment really isn't the move because it's dirty right now. So I'm like "I had this vision of me like laying on books and a dimly lit area. Where can we go?". From there the idea just kinda grew. 


We ended up going to this place in Denton called Recycled Books. As we walked in I noticed a candy store across the street and I was like "dude ...lol...please we gotta shoot there". To my surprise Epahnee was all for it. I've found that many folks wont just up and run with you on ideas. But like minded friends are different. Although I was the one modeling I felt like she honestly had a blast. And her photography skills were amazing!



We ended up shooting at a candy store and comic book store. After that it was pretty late and I still felt like something was missing but I didn't wanna push it. I mentioned to her that I wish we had gotten some shots up against the drinks in the fridge. And she was like we can still do that! I literally could've jumped for joy. She ended up needing some gas at QT and we just went in and took more pics. The shoot was just so much fun. It's rare that you find folks who are willing to just help because its fun for them too.


I feel really grateful to have friends that I can confide in not only for companionship but also support. Like not only are they like "you can do it" but also "you can do it" and "I'm gonna help you". Those types are invaluable and I feel really blessed to have that. As a creative and also super independent, I'm always trying to do things on my own. But its really amazing to have people in your life that have dreams in line with yours. It's like you all are able to help enhance and propel one another forward.



Epahnee and I collaboratively styled this shoot. She's a thrift enthusiast and so creative! I actually made these pants which I've filmed a tutorial on for you guys and its coming! The top is from Target $12, shoes are from Charlotte Russe $20, and the fishnets $6 at Party City. I actually asked Epahnee if she had a big pimp jacket and she was like "actually yea I do". The accessories are just a modge podge of things that we gathered from around her room. 



Surround yourself with people that want to succeed and also want to see you succeed! 
Check out Epahnee's styling profile on instagram @thehouseofpenelope.
Please share and comment! 


THE BLU SERIES





First off, this was an amazing experience. This was my first time styling and directing a look of this caliber. The crazy thing is that aside from the accessories and bathing suit, most of this look is thrifted! I love that we were able to put together something that seemed so editorial by basically re-cycling and re-using.




Last week a lot of things weren't going as planned. I had to scrap the ideas I originally had and wound up with this random one. It honestly just came out of no where and I have no idea what my inspiration was. It just feels like something off Americas Next Top Model. Like the most unconventional place to have a bikini shoot----and it worked!


My friend Epahnee let me borrow this faux fur jacket a long time ago and it just wasn't working with the outfit I was trying to wear it with. So the thought popped into my mind to wear it with my white bikini and clear booties. From there, this one outfit actually grew into an entire series. This is basically part one and my personal favorite!


I had this image in my mind of me laying down kind of sprawled out on the floor in a low lit room. There was a specific location that came to my mind (which I'll talk about in my next post) but that one didn't work out. So Epahnee and I decided to go to Recycled Books in Denton.



When I tell y'all its uncomfortable as heck shooting in a public place in a bikini and fishnets. -----It's uncomfortable as heck lol. Thankfully, it was Denton. Denton is that type of town thats full of quirky, eccentric people, so that made the experience a lot better. 



Luckily this particular store had a basement area where we shot all of these. So, we weren't interrupted by employees or management. I honestly felt really free to just do what I needed to do. At one point, a guy walking by got kinda startled by us and then realized my bum was just out there and he started to stare lol. But he was cool nonetheless. A toddler noticed me and it seemed as if his parents were a bit alarmed by my attire--lol. Either way we got it done!


I get really old school editorial vibes from this---definitely something out of a black seventies movie. For me personally in the past this is something I wouldn't have done, because I used to be very self conscious. But as I'm getting older and growing, I'm really loving myself and my body. 



This entire series has some really bold and powerful looks. It embodies creativity, self expression, love and acceptance---and I'm so happy that I get to be a part of this. I hope you guys enjoy this series. Two more looks are coming after this one + a blog post about using your creativity to push through failures and hard times!


Fur Jacket: Thrifted $7
Bathing Suit: Aeropostale $20
Fishnets: Party City $6
Heels: Thrifted via Depop $20
Choker: Walmart $4

Please comment, share and follow me on social media for more style inspo!

Roasted Sweet Potatoes With Brown Sugar


So, I've been finding new things to meal prep to try and save money on food. Sweet potatoes are healthy, relatively in-expensive and extremely versatile when it comes to cooking. I hadn't meal prepped with sweet potatoes in forever. Mainly, because every time I tried to do sweet potato fries they weren't crispy and took way too long to cook. So I moved onto try out a new recipe. Here is the original link to this recipe, but I actually put my own spin on it!


        INGREDIENTS

  • 1 ½tablespoons grape seed oil
  • 1 ¾ pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 2 teaspoons light brown sugar packed
  • ¾ teaspoon pink himalayan salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1               tablespoon of cinnamon


These ingredients will yield about 2 servings. I didn't follow the measurements exact because I used more potatoes than the recipe calls for, so I honestly eyeballed it. It really depends on how many servings you're going for. I was prepping for the week so I made about 6 servings and had to just add more ingredients as I saw fit.     

 

PREPARATION



 1.  Start by washing your potatoes off, either with soap and water or a veggie cleaner/spray. Here is a link to the (veggie cleaner) that I use--I get mine at my local sprouts. 


2. Cube your potatoes (I have detailed pics of this down below because it can be difficult) 

3. Pre-heat the oven to 350-400 (depending on your oven)


4.  Add your cubes to a large mixing bowl and begin to stir in the oil (I used sunflower). 



5. Once the cubes are nicely coated begin mixing in the brown sugar, pink himalayan salt, ground black pepper and nutmeg. (I like to shake my bowl up to get everything mixed evenly) 


     6. On a baking sheet - sprinkle just a little more oil on it - then evenly distribute the cubes ( see picture)


7. Let them cook for an 1 hr 15 minutes turning once or twice.

8. I like to dump mine onto paper towel and sprinkle a little bit of cinnamon and a little more salt.





HOW TO PROPERLY CUBE POTATOES 

Take a potato and cut it in half (width-wise, see pic). Now each half has a stable base to stand up on.         


Next you want to start slicing (as pictured) as wide or as thin as you would like your cubes to be.


Take each slice and begin to cut that length wise, once again, depending on the thin or thickness that you want your cubes to be.

Lastly you will cut those in half and at that point you'll have your squares.   

 
These are great to use for lunch/breakfast meal prep. I can eat them as a side with my other greens and veggies for lunch or have them with poached eggs for breakfast. I find that if I re-heat these in the oven it tastes so much better than microwaving. This is just a winner when it comes to healthy meal prep. I like to store mine in napkin and aluminum foil because I don't like containers (I have a thing about them lol). 

Thanks for checking out my blog.
Have you cooked these before? Let me know how you like them!
Please share, like and comment.  




               


8 WAYS TO HELP LOUISIANA TORANDO VICTIMS


Tuesday, February 7 many parts of southern Louisiana most notably (New Orleans East) was slammed with a total of six tornadoes. The storm destroyed nearly 800 homes across the state and there were 39 injuries reported so far, thankfully no deaths. I am a New Orleans native and my family was displaced and relocated to Texas due to hurricane Katrina back in 2005. Although I no longer reside there it is still my home and home to many of my friends and family.


   Source: Times Picayune via Nola.com

    Source: Times Picayune via Nola.com


Unfortunately, our family back home has been affected by this and we are doing what we can to help.  Although we are grateful that no lives were lost for many families, including mine, this will be their second time losing everything to a natural disaster. 

   Source: Times Picayune via Nola.com  


Seeing these images makes it really hard and I know it brings back those horrific 2005 memories for many of us. We are so grateful that everyone survived. It's completely unbelievable being from New Orleans and never having tornado threats or drills. Just know that tornadoes were not a normalcy.  

   Source: Sean Grander/Getty Images via Nola.com

Louisiana legislatures are still waiting for the president to declare the area a federal disaster but FEMA is beginning to offer assistance to some. This happened over a week ago but the road to recovery is far from over.

 The city still needs all the help it can get! I have compiled a list of eight ways you can donate wherever you are. I also have included links to more ways to get involved at the very bottom of this page.

                             
    1. American Red Cross 
(CLICK HERE) The Red Cross is your go to if you’re out of state and want to give a monetary donation. To make a donation to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, visit redcross.org/donate, or call 1-800-REDCROSS. Financial gifts may also be sent to your local Red Cross chapter.

You can contact the regional location at redcross.org/Louisiana or call 1-800-256-4733.

       (CLICK HERE) Proceeds from this fund will support nonprofit organizations in the Greater New Orleans area providing assistance to families who have suffered catastrophic losses due to the devastation wreaked by the tornadoes in various neighborhoods throughout the region.
      To make a donation (CLICK HERE). City Church is seeking donations and volunteers and will be providing commodities, emergency supplies, hot meals, clean-up help and grief counseling. Accepting: Monetary donations and physical items including bottled water, non-perishable foods, toiletries, flashlights, batteries, baby wipes, band aids, peroxide, ointment, aspirin and basic first aid items. They are not accepting clothing.
      Make a financial contribution at citychurchno.com/relief or by calling 504-246-5121. Volunteer or bring items by coming to the church at 13123 I-10 Service Road.
Accepting: Monetary donations, 100% of which will go towards purchasing gift cards for families in need to help them get back on their feet.To make a donation, (CLICK HERE)
Accepting: Monetary donations. To make a donation online, (CLICK HERE) To make a donation by check, please make payable to United Way of Southeast Louisiana, write 2017 Tornado Relief in the memo line and mail to: United Way of Southeast Louisiana, ATTN: 2017 Tornado Relief, 2515 Canal Street, New Orleans, LA 70119.
If you are interested in volunteering to help rebuild (CLICK HERE) to sign up through the United Way Hands On New Orleans Volunteer Center.
    
  
    6. Abramson Sci Academy 

Is seeking monetary donations for 12 of its students impacted by the tornado and the Red Cross to make a donation (CLICK HERE)


 Is collecting unopened dry cat and dog food and large air crates. Donations can be dropped off at the LA-SPCA (1700 Mardi Gras Blvd., 504-368-5191), Canine Connection (4920 Tchoupitoulas St., 504-218-4098), Camp Bow Wow (3301 Conti St., 504-309-9939), NO Fleas Market (4228 Magazine St., 504-900-1446), and Demo Diva Demolition (6246 Memphis St., 504-486-4121). 

Donations also can be made via the LA-SPCA's Amazon wishlist and on its website.


8. Please spread the word about Tide Loads of Hope
    Source: Procter & Gamble via wdsu

Procter & Gamble's mobile laundry unit will collect, wash, dry and fold laundry free of charge at the Home Depot on I-10 Service Road. They are collecting up to 100 loads of laundry a day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. In addition to the free laundry service, volunteers will also hand out toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, conditioner, soap, body wash and other Procter & Gamble products for free.

LOOKING FOR MORE WAYS TO GET INVOLVED?  OR IF SEEKING ASSISTANCE CHECK OUT THESE LINKS: