Sunday, December 7, 2014

When Destiny Calls: NFL Player Jason Brown Leaves $37.5 Million Contract to Follow God's Calling

When I first wrote my blog post on pursuing my dreams in fashion, it was welcomed with an overwhelmingly positive response. I openly discussed acknowledging God's voice, following his calling, and going after my purpose regardless of what others said or without the necessity for their approval. (Read more here: Dream Big: What God Has For You is Just That--For You)

Today I was on Facebook when I came across the story of Jason Brown, an NFL player who turned down a $37.5 million contract in order to follow God's calling on his life and start a farm. Not only did Brown admit that he had never farmed a day in his life, he also admitted to having to watch YouTube in order to learn more about the business and how he was going to make it work. All he knew, was that there was more purpose in growing crops on his farm to feed the less fortunate, than making money in the NFL.

Jason Brown NFL First Fruits Farms


I am so incredibly inspired by this story and hope that it touches your heart too.  Read this post here on Examiner.com for more on Jason Brown and his farm called First Fruits Farms. Hopefully it will light a fire for you to go after your passion and calling. Life is not always about the money.

~Your Purpose Is Greater Than A Paycheck~


Urban Decay Goes 'On the Run' With Newly Released Palette

First it was Bonnie and Clyde, then it was Jay and Bey, and now it’s Urban Decay. For these ultimates, going on the run is king. Following right in line with these infamous duos is Urban Decay with its recently released “On the Run” palette — a surprise from the cosmetics company just in time for the holidays. In sync with its name and rightfully so, the all-in-one travel kit was designed for the girl on the go.
After the successes of its trio of Naked palettes, beauty junkies are chomping at the bits to get their paws on this limited edition carry-on of makeup products that are guaranteed to give you a completely fresh and well, naked look.

Urban Decay On the Run Palette

The all-in-one palette includes.... Read the full article here.

Image via Urban Decay.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Jessica and Ashlee Simpson Head to Belk Galleria Dallas November 22

Mark your calendars fashionistas, Jessica Simpson and Ashlee Simpson are coming to town! The sisterly duo will make the trek to Belk Galleria Dallas on Saturday, November 22 to celebrate the launch of Jessica's new bedding line under her latest venture of "Jessica Simpson Home."

Jessica Simpson Ashlee Simpson Belk Galleria Dallas

Both sisters will be making a personal appearance at the mega-retailer from 1-4 p.m. and invite guests to come out for the special meet and greet. For a purchase of $50 or more under the Jessica Simpson or Jessica Simpson Girls line, receive a free gift bag and an autographed photo!

Mark your calendars and get ready to celebrate the native Texan sisters being "Home for the Holidays"!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

NFL Game Day Style: Making Fan Gear Stylish

So what do you do when you have your favorite NFL team's jersey or tee but want to spice it up just a bit for an extra added style factor? Ditch the ordinary jeans and tee recipe and go for a more edgier and feminine approach by adding statement jewelry, heels and of course leather!

NFL Fan Style NFLShop.com NFL Women's Apparel Jordin Sparks
Image Credit: NFLShop.com
I was asked by Vogue to come up with an NFL game day style for my home team which would be the Dallas Cowboys! As I drew inspiration from how celebrity Jordin Sparks styled her game day look (pictured below), I came up with a sweet and edgy combo.

Dallas Fashion Blogger NFL Game Day Style Leah Frazier Beauty4Ashes




Shades: Tom Ford from Hautelook
Jacket: H&M
Liquid Leggings: TopShop
Studded Heels: Shoedazzle
Statement Necklace: Black Beauty Accessories








How would you style your favorite NFL team? Would you go fun and flirty in a skirt like Jordin or edgy and rebellious in leather like me?

Dallas Fashion Blogger NFL Game Day Style Leah Frazier Beauty4Ashes


Dallas Fashion Blogger NFL Game Day Style Leah Frazier Beauty4Ashes

Photo Credit: Meagan Frazier


Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Art of 'Columbusing': Give Credit Where Credit is Due

If you've been paying attention to social media over the last year, you may have seen the word "Columbusing" being thrown around. If you were anything like me, you may have been like "What in the world does that mean?"  So of course, I looked it up on the web only to find the definition in one of the most reputable sources out there: The Urban Dictionary. *insert sarcasm here* The Urban Dictionary defines Columbusing as: "When white people claim they have invented/discovered something that has been around for years, decades and even centuries."

I'm all about humor and really trying not to make everything a black or white thing so naturally I tried to see what recently has been "Columbused." So here's a few examples.

Miley Cyrus and the "Twerk" 

Miley Cyrus Twerk Columbusing
Apparently after Miley went Twerk crazy all over the universe, gyrating from one stage to the next...folks attempted to credit her with the newest dance craze--only to realize that black people have been doing the "twerk" or some similar version to this dance for years! I'm not sure if this is something to necessarily brag about or get a trophy for, but I can even remember "doing the butt" as a kid and yeah, pretty sure Miley wasn't around during that point in time. The Twerk = COLUMBUS'ED!





Bo Derek, The Kardashians and Cornrows


Bo Derek Cornrows



Bo Derek, one of the more popular sex symbols of the late 70's and 80's, is famous for being pictured as a bombshell on the beach with her cornrows hairstyle.








Kendall Jenner Cornrows

Fast forward to current times and all of the Kardashians from Khloe to Kim to Kendall have all rocked the hairstyle. It wasn't until Khloe rocked cornrows earlier this year and her younger sister, Kendall followed suit--that sources like Marie Claire coined Kendall with "taking bold braids to an epic new level" or when Hollywood Life referred to Khloe's cornrows as a "dramatic new look." Again...COLUMBUS'ED! African-American women and women of African descent have been rocking this "epic hairstyle" for years...heck decades! There's nothing new or "bold" about this hairstyle and they were popular well before Bo Derek--it's just that she was "bold" enough during that time to wear them as a Caucasian woman.






The Art of "Co-Washing"

So after all of my valuable research on Columbus'ing over the past year, I regretfully ended up putting it to use. I was browsing my Instagram feed the other day when I came across a post by a very well known celebrity esthetician (who shall remain nameless). She was going on and on and on about how she started co-washing her hair. PAUSE.  For those of you unfamiliar with co-washing, it's a term that simply means that instead of washing your hair with shampoo and then conditioner, you only use conditioner to wash your hair. You eliminate the shampoo part completely. Hence, 'co' (conditioner) washing. African-American women especially have to do this, as the chemicals and soaps in shampoos strips our hair of its natural oils. The effects of using shampoo are much harsher to African-American hair which is why co-washing has been used amongst African-American women or women of African descent well before the beginning of time.



Cantu Beauty Co-Wash
Anywho--so I read on to see her thoughts and I was really amused as she went on to make it like "co-washing" was just invented.  That it was the BEST thing ever and here's the kicker...she gives props to Lisa Rinna and Chaz Dean of Wen Haircare products for putting her on to this "new" phenomenon. 

So I took a deep breath, and replied politely that African-American women with natural hair have been doing this since the beginning of time and that companies such as Cantu Beauty, Carol's Daughter, etc. already have a wealth of products dedicated to "Co-Washing".  Pretty much just politely informing her that this is not new, and Lisa Rinna and Chaz are not the ones who should receive the credit. Co-Washing = COLUMBUS'ED!


After I posted, she replied back that she was aware of that, which I beg to differ, because if you were aware, you would have properly given credit. She also proceeded to tag one of her African-American friends who appeared to have a haircare line to see if she had a co-wash product in her line.


Let's face it. It could have been an honest mistake, but I just had to let her know that this was not a new phenomenon and please give credit where credit is due. At first I thought the whole Columbus'ing craze was funny, but yesterday was one of the first times where it really made me scratch my head and think. I guess I'll have to keep my eyes peeled for more "new discoveries" that aren't properly credited. 

Have you noticed something that was Columbus'ed? Please share in the discussion!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Amazon Burning by Victoria Griffith Book Review

Our resident book and novel expert, Ashleigh Ray, received an advance copy of award-winning author, Victoria Griffith's latest book, Amazon Burning, which comes out later this month. After reading the book from cover to cover, find out the scoop on whether Ashleigh thinks this next book from Griffith's collection is worth the read.

Overall Assessment: Amazon Burning is a great book for an afternoon read. 3.5 out of 5 stars for an enjoyable, fun and easy read with definite strong moments.

Amazon Burning focuses on the main character, Emma Cohen, and her journey to redeem herself in the journalism world by writing a news-breaking story during a trip to the Amazon with her father, Mike. Throughout the story she attempts to juggle her relationship with Jimmy, an attractive photographer friend of her fathers and her desire to unlock the truth behind the death of Milton Silva, a environmentalist who was murdered in cold blood. 



Although this book is promoted under the young adult genre, I would give this book a rating of NC-17 (no preteens or young teens allowed) for the involvement of sexual content.






This book delivers in its intent to grasp the reader and throw them into an adventure in the Amazon. The interspersion of Spanish dialogue and the inclusion of different animal and foliage species definitely add to the overall immersion of the reader into this strange yet interesting world. The characters make the story interesting. Each character has their own individual voice and personality. To the reader, their interactions and their conversations are believable. Also, the chemistry between Emma and Jimmy seems very natura and not forced in anyway. They complement each other, and the author did a good job in drawing out their relationship.The characters bring the story to life by adding another dimension of reality to the piece. 
However, the story is more than the characters; it is also the mystery and detective journalism surrounding the corruption in the Amazon. 

After the first few chapters, you will find yourself already guessing and trying to figure out “who dun it.” 

There is a strong element of suspense in this piece despite the clich├ęs and the predictability of some of the events. The abrupt cliffhangers at the end of most chapters will throw you off a bit, but only because it felt as though the author was trying to force the suspense on the reader. It takes a few chapters to move past the initial reluctance, but overall you will be glad you did. Moreover, there are a couple of convenient scenes in the story that seem a bit too coincidental to be seen as a real situation, but not enough to completely take you out of the moment.
Victoria Griffith did a good job with this novel. It is enjoyable but probably for only a one time read. It’s good for a nice afternoon if you’re looking for something easy and entertaining, something that’ll hold your attention for the moment and keep you guessing until the very end. This book rates a 3.5 out of 5.

Friday, October 10, 2014

National Handbag Day 2014: Top Picks and Top Trends

Did you know that there was a National Handbag Day? Well I didn't either until recently, but whoever thought of October 10th as the day that will honor only the greatest of wardrobe accessories is just pure GENIUS! I'm completely obsessed with handbags and will admit openly here that I have an addiction. From totes to crossbody bags to clutches, I have an overflowing closet full of handbags in different shapes, sizes and colors and for different occasions. In honor of National Handbag Day, I've decided to list out my top handbag picks and trends for 2014. Ready to swoon?  Here you go!




Top Trend for 2014: Bucket Bags



Bucket bags are making a comeback and is notably one of the top handbag trends for 2014. My favorite is the Mansur Gavriel bucket bag which is in such high demand that you have to be on a list to pre-order the handbag!  I want it and I want it now!









My Top Tote for 2014: Freedom of Animals Veronika Tote

This tote is one that is both basic and functional but also so incredibly well made that it will stop people dead in their tracks when they see it. I compared this to the "poor man's Hermes Birkin" handbag in one of my earlier posts (read here) and it truly is. I get looks and inquiries everytime I wear this handbag!






Photo Credit: Thomas Garza



Top Casual Bag for 2014: Hobo Crossbody Bag

The crossbody bag is definitely one of the top casual handbags for 2014. From festivals to a casual walk in the park, this highly multi-functional bag is one that can be easily dressed up and down and one that needs to be in every gal's closet. My favorite brand for crossbody's this year would definitely be Hobo. They are very well made, using fine quality leathers and did I mention...oh so cute!










Top Clutch: Bottega Venetta

Clutches are definitely a staple for the handbag enthusiast. Whether worn casually in a light fabric or embellished lavishly for a formal night out on the town, clutches are definitely one of my favorite "purses" to carry. So what clutch has caught my eye this year as a top pick? I'm head over heels for the Bottega Veneta clutch. It's simple, yet elegant and everywhere I shop, I notice brands trying to emulate this popular style.



Photo from: www.shopjacquem.com



Top Local Handbag for 2014: Jacque M (Gimme Fringe!)


Lastly, on a local level, handbag extraordinaire Jacque M is taking the DFW handbag world by storm. With her unique and innovative designs, this local designer has definitely caught my eye. For 2014, I fell in love with the Accessories in the Nude Competition winner's fringe detail on her one-of-a-kind foldover clutches. I can't wait to see what she comes up with next.







This is just the tip of the iceberg. I can't wait to see what top picks and trends 2015 will bring! Have a favorite handbag of yours that you would like to share? Email me a pic and you may just make a future blog post!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Jouer Cosmetics Review: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Blushington Dallas Jouer Cosmetics Leah Frazier Beauty4Ashes Dallas BloggerJouer Cosmetics touched down in Dallas on September 24, 2014 at Blushington Makeup and Beauty Lounge and I decided to attend the French Fete soiree to get the scoop. Myself and my newest beauty contributor, Meagan Frazier, attended the "Girl's Night Out" event to see if this line of cosmetics could fare with some of our all-time favorites (i.e. Nars, Urban Decay, MakeUp Forever, etc.).


Jouer Cosmetics Blushington Dallas Meagan Frazier
Beauty Contributor Meagan Frazier receiving her Jouer touch-up


As we tend to review things from the "women of color" point of view, I reached out to my newest contributor and beauty junkie sister, Meagan, to give me her complete and honest opinion of the newest launch of the French award-winning cosmetics company. After receiving a complimentary touch-up and getting up close and personal with Blushington professionals, here's our newest resident expert's opinion on Jouer.






Jouer Cosmetics Launch at Blushington Makeup and Beauty Lounge Dallas

Likes:  
  • Super light texture, non-clogging, natural, easy to apply and in love with the year-round colors
  • The blush lends itself to a myriad of skin types 
  • Great selection of tinted moisturizers with SPF in illuminizing as well as matte
  • Absolutely LOVED the lipsticks, tints and glosses...the BEST SELLERS of this brand!  A definite MUST HAVE! They are super light, non-sticky and last all day.


Dislikes: 
  • There was not enough color for the woman of color. Specifically, there were no base colors that would work in most light settings for a woman of medium to darker skin or the woman who has spent too long in natural light or artificial light
  • Many of the blushes and base colors as well as the tints had a red undertone which is not good for many African-American, Hispanic, Native American, Asian-American, or Pacific Islander women who need more of a golden undertone--lest it makes us look gray and chalky
  • The only brow definer was in blond. (We're secretly hoping that we overlooked the darker brow definers.) 
  • May not be enough coverage for someone wishing to cover blemishes or skin imperfections

The overall premise for this brand is that we will definitely be buying the lip products but will need to see vast improvement on the foundation products (tinted moisturizers, base colors, etc.).  We're still on the hunt for the best products for women of color.  Think you know the brand? Shoot us an email and we're more than happy to review!