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 clichés 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!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

It's My Wardrobe, I Can Wear What I Want To

Leah Frazier Beauty4Ashes Dallas Fashion Blogger Flourish Lite ConferenceAs a stylist, I know that there are colors for every season as well as different materials, textures and wardrobe options that are more seasonally appropriate than others. Even though I know that these things still exist, I frankly could care less. Why, you ask?  Because I live in Texas!  The seasons themselves are confused, therefore my wardrobe options and day-to-day attire is even more confusing.

Apparently, the first day of Fall was on September 22nd, but the Texas weather Gods missed that memo. So in an effort to just embrace the season that I'm in and to rebel against Fall, I'm going to continue to wear my bright Spring and Summer colors. This is what I wore to my church women's conference, Flourish Lite...it looks like Miami in Dallas! I love it! What do you think? The motto: don't be afraid to mix and match colors, even if you feel like they will not go together. You never know what you'll come up with!

Leah Frazier Beauty4Ashes Dallas Fashion Blogger Flourish Lite Conference

Leah Frazier Beauty4Ashes Dallas Fashion Blogger Flourish Lite Conference

Outfit Details: Off the Shoulder Blouse by Gianni Bini (Dillards), Pants from Nordstrom Rack and Peep Toe Pumps by Fergilicious (DSW)

All Photos to be credited to: Meagan Frazier



Monday, September 22, 2014

Flourish Lite: Bloom Into the Woman You Want to Be

Many of you always write to me and tell me how inspired you are by my journey. I openly wrote a snippet of where God has brought me in my July 2014 post: Dream Big--What God Has for You is Just That--For You. While I would love to think that the accomplishment of my dreams was through my hard work, sleepless nights and determined perseverance, I know for a fact that this was not all my doing. I have openly communicated the desires of my heart to God, whether it was for my career, relationships or family by writing them down or saying them in prayer. While many have likened this to the "Oprah effect" and her popular "dream board" theory, this is a principle solely rooted in scripture.

"Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart." ~Psalms 37:4

Flourish Women's Conference Covenant Church 2014
When I discussed the quadrupling of my business in the above referenced blog post and also the expansion of my influence, it was ignited through a women's conference put on by my church annually entitled Flourish. At Flourish, I get to dive deep into the desires of my heart, speak those things into being, interact with women who are actively going after their passions and gain the knowledge and tools in how to go about achieving my purpose--but according to God's plan.


Without fail, EVERY YEAR that I attend this conference and apply the principles that are being taught, everything around me begins to change and grow. Financially, I have seen increase.  Business-wise, I have seen increase. My road to entrepreneurship gets brighter and brighter. Relationships improve. I am not one to promote something that I don't believe in, but this is a conference that women (believer or non-believer) need to be at.

Flourish Lite Women's Conference Covenant Church 2014
Photo From: Flourish Lite Website
We all have that itch...that something that gets out of bed everyday and that keeps us going.  What is your dream?  What is your passion? Do you have the tools you need to get there? Have you openly expressed the desires of your heart? Have you connected with women who have been there and done that? What are YOU doing to get yourself to where you need to be so that you are in line with your purpose?

If you are struggling with these questions and need the extra added push to get the answers, then I am personally inviting you to Flourish Lite at Covenant Church on Saturday, September 27, 2014. While this is not the large annual conference that is held every year, this is a small and FREE snippet of what many of us experience on a year to year basis. Saturday's conference will discuss health and fitness among many other issues that women often need guidance with.

In addition to September 27th, mark your calendars for May 6-8, 2015 for the annual conference. It is truly life altering and you will thank God (and me) later. 

Flourish Women's Conference Covenant Church 2014

More information on Flourish can be found by visiting the website here.

***AFTER WRITING/PUBLISHING THIS BLOG POST, I WAS INFORMED THAT THE SEPTEMBER 27TH EVENT IS BOOKED TO CAPACITY. PLEASE REGISTER FOR THE MAY 2015 EVENT EARLY AS THE SAME WILL HAPPEN FOR THIS EVENT***

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Blogging in Brooklyn: Essence Street Style Party

Beauty4Ashes Dallas Fashion Blogger Leah Frazier New York Fashion Week
Cab view of me crossing over the Manhattan Bridge

While I was in New York for Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, I had the opportunity to venture to the other side of the Manhattan Bridge and attend the Essence Street Style Party in Brooklyn.  Anytime I think of Brooklyn, I always think of that line from the Sex and the City movie where Miranda was contemplating the move from Manhattan to Brooklyn and says, "New York Magazine says that Brooklyn is the new Manhattan." Then Carrie looks at Miranda with the side eye and remarks, "Whoever wrote that LIVES in Brooklyn!"

  


Manhattan Bridge
Looking up at the Manhattan Bridge
It's so funny to me.  This is what pops into my head everytime I think of Brooklyn--as if it were not the same or better as Manhattan. As my cab crossed over the Manhattan Bridge and circled into Brooklyn I was curious to see exactly what this quote from the movie meant...and honestly, I would have to agree with Miranda. I thoroughly enjoyed Brooklyn 10 times more than I did being in the city. It was family friendly, I could breathe and my whole aura was more calm. Brooklyn had character. 

The Essence Street Style Party was thrown in conjunction with all of the events being held for Fashion Week. It was underneath the bridge and near Dumbo Park. While there wasn't as many vendors as I was hoping for, it was definitely a break from all of the Lincoln Center Fashion Week madness and a chance for me to relax and connect with Essence readers and down to Earth folks. I put a lot of thought into my outfit and wanted to really showcase what Dallas was all about (just in case I was asked). So I put on this fabulous skirt from Dallas brand Phantasie, paired it with an olive green top, leather-esque belt and peep-toe booties. And let's not forget, my Tom Ford shades to finish the look!

Leah Frazier Dallas Fashion Blogger Brooklyn Essence Street Style Party

Leah Frazier Dallas Fashion Blogger Brooklyn Essence Street Style Party

I felt good and was surprised when I was stopped on the street to take photos...I know for a fact it was my Phantasie skirt that was getting all of the attention. There are drawstrings on the side of the maxi skirt that you pull to create the bubble skirt effect.  If you want a straight maxi skirt then you release the drawstrings...so a 2-in-1 skirt!  I loved it and so did the people of Brooklyn!  Anyways, enjoy these photos! It's just another day in the life of the traveling, Dallas fashion writer.

Brooklyn Essence Street Style Party
A view from the block party

Brooklyn Essence Street Style Party
The first lady of NYC speaking at the block party