Sunday, June 29, 2014

Experiencing Ellie Kai: A Must for Every Woman's Wardrobe

Just as Diane von Furstenberg was revolutionary for women's fashion in her creation of the iconic wrap dress, I predict and will stand firm by it that Ellie Kai is not too far behind in being one of the top brands to truly fit a woman's body like a glove. When I first experienced Ellie Kai, I was invited to an exclusive trunk show at the Rosewood Crescent Hotel. I had a million things to do that day (as always), so really only had planned to walk in, browse and pick up a lookbook to go through later. Need I say...this did not happen.

Leah Frazier Ellie Kai Dallas Fashion Blogger Thomas Garza Photography Beauty4Ashes
Necklace and serpent bracelet: Stella and Dot, Shoes: Nine West (old), Clutch: Susu Handbags, Shades: Banana Republic (old), Rose Gold Watch: Caravelle New York
I chose two colorful prints from the Ellie Kai collection to try on. One was a bold turquoise dress covered in chevron prints and the other was a blend of navy, cream and pinks in chevron prints. The material was as smooth as butter and included nylon to create the perfect stretch over my body. I'm a rather curvy girl with a little junk in my trunk. When I say that every single dress that I tried on, fit me perfectly with no alterations needed, I was completely in awe.

Leah Frazier Ellie Kai Dallas Fashion Blogger Thomas Garza Photography Beauty4Ashes

I began to wonder. Why have I never heard of Ellie Kai?  Then I started thinking of my clients...every one of these women needs these dresses in their wardrobe!  The collection has everything from business casual looks to vacation maxis and even blouses and skirts! 

Leah Frazier Ellie Kai Dallas Fashion Blogger Thomas Garza Photography Beauty4Ashes

What I love most about Ellie Kai and what I really try to embed in each and every one of my clients is the concept of individuality and exclusivity. With an Ellie Kai dress, you get to choose the fabric, choose the color, prints and the style. It would be extremely rare that I would walk up and down the streets of Dallas and see another woman in my exact same dress--something that I adore. On top of the fact that the dresses are custom-made to order, it completely ensures that my dress will fit my body perfectly.

Leah Frazier Ellie Kai Dallas Fashion Blogger Thomas Garza Photography Beauty4Ashes

As I predicted earlier, once more women catch on to Ellie Kai, it will be a complete domino effect. Pieces are online and available via trunk shows. For more information on this cutting edge brand, please visit

Leah Frazier Ellie Kai Dallas Fashion Blogger Thomas Garza Photography Beauty4Ashes

All Photos Taken By: Thomas Garza for Thomas Garza Photography

Friday, June 27, 2014

Senegalese Twists at Fine Plats Braiding Salon in Coppell

It's that time of year in Texas where the weather is hotter than hot and for us "natural hair" girls...we have decisions to make.  Either we can go all summer continuously washing and moisturizing our hair (who has time for that?) or we can opt for a protective style to protect our hair from the heat and any heat damage. Well, because I have such a hectic lifestyle, I'm opting for a protective hair style this summer--plus it's stress free, easy to maintain and simple.

For the past year, I've noticed an upsurge on social media from all of my natural hair bloggers sporting the Senegalese twists. Normally these twists can go all the way down to your waist so that you have more options as far as elaborate updos or versatile styles. So once I decided to do a protective style for the entire summer, I decided to venture to my friend's new salon, Fine Plats Braiding Salon in Coppell, TX to get the Senegalese twists put in.

Me before my braids were put in. Hair washed, dried and put up in a bun.
The atmosphere of the salon was extremely laidback and it was exceptionally clean. Also, because I have an issue with sitting in a chair for too long, they offered two braiders who would braid my hair simultaneously (one on my right side and one on my left) to get me out of the salon faster. THANK YOU! When I made my appointment, I gave my hair type to the salon owner over the phone so by the time I arrived with my hair already washed and dried, the hair was in the chair and we were good to go.

Looks like Cousin "It" died in my chair...but here's my hair before they got started.
Getting started: two braiders, thick hair and an A.D.D. state of mind...hopefully this goes quick!

Fine Plats Braiding Salon Leah Frazier Dallas Blogger Senegalese Twist
Halfway done!
My twists are probably 1/2 an inch in width, go down to my mid-back and took 3.5 hours with two braiders. My twists are not tight, so I will still have my edges once they get taken out. I didn't even have to tell the braiders to go easy on the edges--they already knew.  So I didn't wake up with headaches the next day or have hair bumps from the stress of the braids.

Fine Plats Braiding Salon Leah Frazier Dallas Blogger Senegalese Twist
The best braiders at the salon!

Fine Plats Braiding Salon Leah Frazier Dallas Blogger Senegalese Twist

Fine Plats Braiding Salon Leah Frazier Dallas Blogger Senegalese Twist

Fine Plats Braiding Salon Leah Frazier Dallas Blogger Senegalese Twist

I'm really in love with these twists and this new salon and plan on going back for touch-ups throughout the summer. I've received A TON of compliments on these braids--and let's face it, my self-esteem is through the roof with these.  I definitely feel like "Leah-Yonce" and no-one, I mean no-one, can tell me differently! haha If you're contemplating a protective "do" or are looking for an affordable and laidback place to get them done, please give Fine Plats Braiding Salon a try! For more information, visit their website here.

Fine Plats Braiding Salon Leah Frazier Dallas Blogger Senegalese Twist
Feelin' like a million bucks!
Hint: P.S. When putting the address for this salon in your GPS, make sure you put the entire address including the city of Coppell and the zip code--otherwise you will end up on the other side of Irving like I did and be 20 minutes out of your way! Oops!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Making a Crop Top Work For You: How I Conquered My Fear of Belly Exposure

Every woman has insecurities about their bodies, and mine is and always will be my mid-section.  No matter how hard I work out or how many diets I do, I just can't seem to find that happy medium for my belly. (See my Eat Clean Challenge post for more deets on how despite my insecurities, I slimmed my mid-section down) So lately, the crop top trend has made a fierce comeback and they are being spotted everywhere. I would always see them on everybody and think, "That looks cute for them...but not for me."

Ese Azenabor 2014 Phantom of the Runway Dallas Fashion Show Mindy Loll Leah Frazier Dallas Fashion Blogger
Standing with my girl Mindy Loll, top luxury consignment seller for Ebay (left) / Photography by Crystal Chatmon
So fancy this...I'm in H&M browsing and I spot this really cute and flowy crop top in white.  My brain starts to go 90 miles a minute on how to style it. So I pick up a pair of high-waisted shorts and head to the fitting room to see how this "trend" would fare on my taller frame and wider mid-section area. The high-waisted look was definitely key. It covered just enough of my belly to keep my most secure lower belly covered but revealed just enough to make the trend work for me. It was sexy and classy all in one...not revealing too much.
Ese Azenabor 2014 Phantom of the Runway Dallas Fashion Show Leah Frazier Dallas Fashion Blogger
Photography by Crystal Chatmon
The next night, I head out to the Ese Azenabor fashion show with some of Dallas' most stylish...and I decide to try the darn thing out.  I ended up pairing it with my striped Limited high-waisted skirt and pops of coral with my necklace by Stella and Dot. It was a hit!  I received so many compliments.  Now I'm rummaging through my closet to find more high-waisted shorts, pants, etc. so that I can wear it again. (Check out my write-up of the Ese Azenabor fashion show here...amazing!)  

Ese Azenabor 2014 Phantom of the Runway Dallas Fashion Show Vanna Collins Leah Frazier Dallas Fashion Blogger
Me and Dallas media personality, Vanna Collins / Photography by Crystal Chatmon
All that being said...take a risk!  You may find yourself thoroughly surprised.  Make the trend work for you! For most of us, all we will need to do is pair the crop top with a high-waisted bottom...and for those who have bodies like Jillian Michaels...well, you can definitely sport a low-waisted bottom and expose the entire mid-section. Not me!  All that to say, I've conquered the crop top...I wonder what I can conquer next...the body con dress????  Hmmm......

Ese Azenabor 2014 Phantom of the Runway Dallas Fashion Show Mindy Loll Leah Frazier Dallas Fashion Blogger
Mindy Loll and I

Monday, June 16, 2014

Throwing Shade: My Top Summer Sunglasses Picks from Sunglass Hut

Anyone who knows me well knows that I have this tiny (well, maybe not tiny), HUGE obsession with sunglasses.  They can be plastic and "one-time use only" sunglasses from a sunglasses vendor at the mall to a pair of Tom Ford's that I've trolled Hautelook for for over a year.  I just LOVE shades. Sidebar: I spotted a pair of Bottega Veneta shades (original retail of $600) that I tried on last year at the actual Bottega Veneta store and now they are at Neiman Marcus' Last Call at Grapevine Mills for $169, plus I have a $25.00 off on the lookout for them to make an appearance in an upcoming blog post.  Trolling and patience has its perks people!
Leah Frazier Dallas Fashion Blogger Banana Republic Sunglasses
Me and one of my fave shades from Banana Republic. I've had them for years! / Photo Credit: Thomas Garza Photography
Anyways, Sunglass Hut sent me a preview of their 94 Shades of Summer lookbook in honor of the 94 days of summer which featured several different shade styles from different brands. SWOON! I personally REFUSE to hop on the reflective aviator bandwagon that EVERYONE and their mama is hopping on lately, however for your enjoyment I've included a pair in my slideshow below.  I'm personally digging the cat-eyes by Miu Miu...just sayin'!

Anywho, enjoy and feel free to leave me a comment as to which style you like and what you will be rockin this summer! I'd love to hear from you.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

MakeUp Organization for Less: Organize Like a Hollywood Celeb

I remember watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians years back and those Fabulous Life of TV show series on television and drooling over celebrity womens' closets.  I wanted my makeup and jewelry to be on display so elegantly and organized to a "T".  What girl doesn't want all of her brushes out and available and have glosses with glosses, powders with powders, etc.

So when I was first on the hunt to mimic what I saw on TV, I came across a company called GLAMbox on Instagram.  They had just sent their GLAMbox to Lilly Ghalichi of Bravo TV's Shahs of Sunset and were trying to pitch the fact that she used their organization boxes, that we the consumer should buy it too!  WRONG! While these boxes are allegedly "luxury" and very nice looking, they are $200.  And there is no way that I was paying that!

GLAMbox Makeup Organization
GLAMbox, Photo Credit: Instagram
As patience would have it, I saw a sale on Hautelook for the exact replica of these makeup boxes by a company called Cosmetique.  I got the same organization space but only for $18.00 and $13.00 for two organization boxes...and they look great! It doesn't appear that the company has an official website but I found mine on and it looks like they may have some on Sears, Amazon and eBay.  This is way better than $200!

Cosmetique Collection MakeUp Organization Hautelook
Cosmetique Collection MakeUp Organization purchased from Hautelook

Cosmetique Collection MakeUp Organization Dallas Beauty Blogger Hautelook
My finished product in my bathroom using Cosmetique Collection MakeUp Organization trays, I stacked several on top of each other to fit all of my most used makeup items. / Photo Credit: Leah Frazier

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Summer Sizzle Fashion Preview at Grapevine Mills

Want to know the hottest in summer fashion AND get to spend the evening with some of DFW's top bloggers? Want to get a taste of that "blogger life"? Better yet, how does it sound just to spend the evening with yours truly???  THAT'S MORE LIKE IT!

One lucky Beauty4Ashes fan will enjoy an exclusive preview at Grapevine Mills on Thursday, June 12, 2014 from 6:30PM - 8:30PM featuring:

  • summer fashion style presentation
  • cocktails and hors d'oeuvres
  • swag bag with special gifts
  • $25 American Express Simon Gift Card
  • Interactive tour with the chance to win a $250 American Express Simon Gift Card
So how can you win this fabulous and exclusive shopping experience? Easy. Leave a comment on this post with your email address and I'll choose a winner at random on June 8, 2014.

Good luck!  This is one shopping preview you don't want to miss!!!!

Grapevine Mills Summer Sizzle Fashion Preview 2014

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Come Fly With Me: FlyWheel Plano Introduces Community Appreciation Weekend and New Pricing

As many of you know, I love to eat but I completely despise working out. I only work out because I have pool parties to bask at and fellas to see. Recently, I tried out FlyWheel at the Plano location and was completely impressed. I was able to choose my instructor and my seat all online! And...the most important part for me, was seeing ahead of time what type of music I would be riding to because nothing is worse than working out and not feeling energized.

FlyWheel Plano
Photo Credit: Leah Frazier
I really enjoyed the indoor cycling studio at FlyWheel because they provide the shoes (all clip-ins) and they incorporate lifting weights for arms during the last 10 or so minutes of the ride (the weights are actually attached to the bike.)
Photo Credit: Leah Frazier / Sign-In via Laptop Computers and if you reserve early, your shoes will be available in a cubby once you arrive.
FlyWheel Plano is now rolling out a community appreciation weekend from June 7-8th to roll out a new pricing schedule, fun partnerships and special classes like the JayZ vs. Beyonce FlyBarre Class to bring in the summer months with a bang.

FlyWheel Plano Summer Special Classes

Individual classes which were originally $25 per class will now be $20 per class if purchased individually and as low as $15 per class if purchased in a package. The first class is always free--and new members can try their first month as an unlimited FlyWheel and FlyBarre member for $99 if purchased from June 7-13th.

FlyWheel Plano Pricing Schedule

So here's what I'm excited about: there's going to be a black light GLOW ride on June 7th at 9:30AM and need I mention again, the JayZ vs. Beyonce FlyBarre class on June 7th at 3:00PM where pulsers can bring their guy for free by emailing an RSVP to

There's more in store at FlyWheel Plano and I'm super pumped. With giveaways and promotions from community partners such as Eatzi's, Vita Coco, Legends Popcorn, DryBar and Blue Mesa Grill--this weekend and this summer is sure to be a blast.

To sign up for your free introductory FlyWheel or FlyBarre class, go online to or email FlyWheel Plano is located at W. Parker and the Tollway 5964 W. Parker Road.


Sunday, June 1, 2014

The NeoBantu Awakening: A Beautiful Insight

Dallas-based African brand, NeoBantu is more than just bold and colorful prints, playful patterns and all things vibrant. It's a brand that encourages community and culture--and for me, it was an introduction and window to my roots.

Dallas Fashion Blogger Leah Frazier Beauty4Ashes NeoBantu

Bantu of the name "NeoBantu" is a tribe in Africa that lives by the motto "I am because we are."  There are so many powerful things about this statement in and of itself. When I was interviewing NeoBantu co-founder Tendai Tawonezvi for a write-up for DFW Style Daily (see the article here), she candidly described the Bantu culture--one that believes in community all the while celebrating individuality. I instantly became intrigued because it was as if I was attending a class to learn more about myself, my roots and where I am from.
Dallas Fashion Blogger Leah Frazier Beauty4Ashes NeoBantu

As Tendai was describing Africa, the Bantu culture, her adventures in researching current African fashion and trends, I kept mulling over the statement "I am because we are."  How often do we really attribute success and growth based on our connection to community or the fellowship with others?  To me, I immediately began to think of Ecclesiastes 4:12.  This revelation in scripture is how I know that NeoBantu will be an ultimate success.

"And if a man prevail against him that is alone, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken." ~Ecclesiastes 4:12~

The fact that the Bantu community recognizes strength in numbers and thrives off of the fact that we are not self-made by any means--we each deposit and take from each other, is so powerful to me and made me smile from the inside out. Community, culture and fellowship is the recipe for meaningful living and to a balanced life.

Dallas Fashion Blogger Leah Frazier Beauty4Ashes NeoBantu

After my brief history into the background of the brand, Tendai gave me a tour of the showroom. I immediately noticed that I was smiling from ear to ear.  I was instantly in a good mood as I browsed through the clothing, touched the fabrics and conversed with a woman that I genuinely felt was my sister. There's no other way to describe it.  I felt as if the clothes had reached into the depths of my soul, knocked on the door and said "Awaken Leah. Arise."

I looked over to Tendai and naively began to describe just how joyous the fabrics and clothing were making me feel. It was something natural within me that was drawn to them--I was opening the door to another part of myself. I went on to describe to Tendai how playful and vibrant prints can be intimidating to some and how recently I have just stepped outside of the box to mix prints on prints because it was "on trend."

Dallas Fashion Blogger Leah Frazier Beauty4Ashes NeoBantu

The look Tendai gave me was if I had defied my African roots. She explained that bold prints, colorful patterns and mixing prints is all that she knows, especially since she is a Zimbabwe native.  So this is not something that is "trendy" or intimidating--this is purely African fashion and what embodies the culture. I immediately became embarrassed--to think that I have been raised culturally to fear prints, patterns, colors and the likes; to associate a negative connotation to something that is so beautiful; to dull my inner African roots to merge into American culture. Thus, the awakening began.

Dallas Fashion Blogger Leah Frazier Beauty4Ashes NeoBantu

I likened this experience to when I first went natural with my hair 3 years ago. We, as African-American females have been trained to dislike our natural hair--that straight is more beautiful, that long length defines beauty, etc. so we damage our hair with permanent relaxer treatments. When I first went natural and started transitioning from relaxed hair to my natural hair, I remember being embarrassed to go out into public with curly roots--again something that society has taught African-American females is negative and unattractive. I fought through these negative associations and immediately begin to re-train my thinking as to what is beautiful.  In doing this, I instantly became angry--to know that we have been trained to despise our hair--something that I have learned over time to be beautiful, unique and definitive. Another awakening.

Dallas Fashion Blogger Leah Frazier Beauty4Ashes NeoBantu

As I exited the NeoBantu showroom, I felt revived, excited. It was just another glimpse into me and why "my black is beautiful." In this moment, I couldn't be more proud of where I'm from and I can't wait to explore more. Everything about this brand is natural and I wish them nothing but eternal success. I thank NeoBantu for letting me test out their apparel, especially this colorful hi-low skirt for my photoshoot. I need to gradually merge into the prints on prints, but I subtly paired the NeoBantu skirt with an animal print belt and shoes to tap into my African side.  I'm a creature of comfort so I casually tucked a cotton tank into the skirt for a completed look.

Dallas Fashion Blogger Leah Frazier Beauty4Ashes NeoBantu

Want to see more from this emerging brand?  Visit their website here. How do you NeoBantu?

*All images by Thomas Garza Photography / Skirt: NeoBantu, Shoes: Nine West (old), Crossbody Handbag: Hobo Handbags, Wild Flower Tank: Flourish Girls, Necklace: Lia Sophia, Rose-Gold Watch: Caravelle New York*