Wedding Day…and Dress Bliss!

“Goin’ to the chapel…”

Well, I didn’t go to a chapel, but I did go to Power Plant Productions on June 27th and married Eric Smith!

These last few months have been devoted to wedding planning, work as a social worker and working on my clinical social work license, but style was never far away. With a venue like Power Plant, we were able to bring in all of our own vendors and decorations, add our own personal touches and of course learned a lot with the whole process.

It has only been a week, but I could not resist sharing a sneak peak and some candids of our wedding day style. Once we receive the photos (Clever Girl Photo, who did our wonderful engagement photos, was amazing!) and go on our reshoot (it rained so hard all day!), I will definitely give you my style summary, how I saved, where I splurged, what went wrong that didn’t have to, which vendors saved the day (Diverse Catering for one) and which expenses I could have avoided.

Until then, a few shots of our awesome day and a few style tidbits! More to come!


Ivory & Tea Rose Lace Trumpet Wedding Dress  David Tutera for Mon Cheri

Swarovski Crystal Belt Fantastic Finds  ($380)

Wedding Bouquet of Peonies Kate Farley Design

Latvian Flats in Silver Glitter Steve Madden ($42)

By buying my dress outside of Philadelphia, back home in Lansing, Michigan at Fantastic Finds, I was able to get more for my money out of a wedding dress. Dresses in Lansing were more than half the cost of the ones I looked at a local boutiques. This was the first dressed I tried on, but I still tried on seven more dresses, purchases a different one only to return it thirty minutes later for my first one. I didn’t wear a veil, purchase jewerly or splurge on shoes and instead decided to accessorize my hair and dress. 

Clever Girl Photography

First Look 2

Leda Swarovski Crystal Headband Bride LeBoheme ($152)

Wedding Hair By Tamika  Sianni Salon ($125)

I am so happy I went with Sianni for wedding hair. They are a multi-cultural salon and did a great job on all of our hair types, including Tamika blowing out and styling my natural hair. They also provided a room for lunch and gave us a surprise treat. They even provided a chair for our make-up artist! I only had to place a small deposit down for my nine appointments. They were definitely a vendor hero! 

Wedding Make-Up  Raymond from M.A.C. (varies on party)

Raymond was another wedding vendor hero! He did custom blends for bridemaids and is one of the few make-up artists who I have seen with the ability to easily transition among women of color and get that perfect (read: not ashy) look. He did 11 faces in record time, did two make-up trials and kept in constant contact for my wedding. He placed everyone at ease and was everyone’s favorite. Raymond and I met when I begged him to squeeze me in for The Geek Awards last year when my make-up artist and stylist canceled last minute. Investing on everyone’s make-up as part of my bridal gift definitely was one thing I would invest in again.

First Dance

Nena and Dad

With Auggie

If you are having your furry family member in your wedding, than I really suggest you hire Mandy! She was so amazing with taking care of Auggie in all of the chaos and making sure he made it down the aisle as ring bearer! She dressed him, picked him up from home and even saved us by grabbing our marriage license all while having Auggie tucked in while we danced the night away! 

Photography by our Groomsmen

Raining… in Pattern, Texture & Style!

It has been a while!

I love writing on Beauty & Britches and it has been an amazing experience over the last year for me, meeting new people and also having an outlet that’s fun, positive, makes me happy and allows me to express myself. Fortunately and unfortunately, me returning to social work, planning a wedding and a few other things (my new corgi puppy!) have kept me from writing as often as I would love.

I added a subscribe button to the right for when I am able to write, but I hope as the weather breaks (and as Auggie finishes puppy school and can learn not to bite at my arm as I type), I can add more entries regularly. Style is still my love story, but right now it seems my story has added a few more loves!

A few weeks ago, I received a beautiful arm scarf from my cousin and fellow blogger, Jessica Vann. She runs a lifestyle blog in Chicago about everything from vintage, music, dating and does a video a day to talk about or share what is happening with her, which we can all relate to.

Over the winter, she learned to make these amazing arm scarves and I decided to see if I could put together a work look where I could show off my new scarf! This is a mini-entry due to the non-stop rain in the shoot! I couldn’t get good pictures of anything below the waist, but I still love this look! Below is the full look I wore to work, followed by the shoot photos.

orange pants, polka dot shirt, cheetah flats

Tomato Modern Boot Cut Pants Gap ($20)

West Blvd Basic Round Toe Ballet Flats Amazon ($20)

I absolutely adore these cheetah flats I bought on Amazon. They were super affordable and comfy enough for thee price. The pants I have worn before in a past entry and love the pop of color. Unfortunately, they met the fate of the dryer and are now quite faded. 

arm scarf

The Basic Cowl in Burnt Orange JVann ($20)

You can’t tell, but it was POURING during this photo! I wear this scarf all the time, but thought a pop of color on a colorless backdrop would look great along with mixing textures.

orange arm scarf

 Polka Dot Cardigan H & M ($15)

I love H & M cardigans! They are easy when you want to mix your summer and winter items- I usually wear a favorite summer tank under a cardigan for an every day look

compass necklace

Compass Necklace Open House, 107 S 13th, Philadelphia (gift)

I am a huge fan of compasses and I love that my friend, Susan, bought this for me for our Secret Santa exchange (she said since there are only two of us, it is not called ‘Secret Santa’ but I like Secret Santa!). The compass actually works!

I also much tell you my love of Open House. My Uncle came to visit from LA and I went there to create him a Philadelphia themed welcome gift. I would definitely recommend you to go their for a little Philly flare for your home or a gift for any visiting guest! 

polka dot cardigan and textured top

KYS Textured Top Marigot, St. Martin ($50)

I really really really wanted a textured see through top for the summer and found one while in St. Martin. I absolutely adore it and found the different textures and patterns to be so great with this top. Mine was a bit pricey, but you could easily find a cheaper one like  this one on Sammy Dress or on Amazon- even at any department store. They are all over!

My hair is pulled up in the back and I am not feeling it in this photo, but I absolutely love the product combination I am now using. I went back to using Shea Moisture’s Coconut & Hibiscus Curl and Shine Shampoo and Conditioner and still use Miss Jessie’s Leave-In Condish and Pillow Soft Curls. Some products don’t let you mix and match (I am looking at you As I Am), but you can totally mix up these two brands.

polka dot cardigan, burnt orange arm scarf

Umbrella is Smak Parlour

I hope everyone is having a wonderful and snowy President’s Day and I hope to be back soon with a fuller entry of style! Stay warm and sound off in the comments about how you mix textures and patterns or how you stay warm!

Photography by Eric S.

Big Hair and Work Wear!

Happy Belated Thanksgiving! It has been awhile, but I have a good reason: I am back to working full-time! Back to the social worker life, which I love. I am still learning my job and still trying to figure out my own work style. I know that takes a back seat to learning my position, but as I said in my About Me, bringing my own style to work makes me feel more confident and shows a bit of my personality.

Do you have a work style and what is it? Do you have a go to piece? Sound off in the comments below!

grey dress


Polka Dot Cardigan  H & M  ($25)

I absolutely love cardigans and I wear them to work a lot, both at my new job and my old job. It seems every office I am in the temperature is never consistent, plus it is an easy way to transition a dress along with tights. Though I am wearing solid flats and black opaque tights with this outfit, I would easily mix it up with these tights and these shoes. What do you think?



Grey Dress with Pleather Detail  H & M ($40?*)

West Loop Opaque Tights Walgreens ($8)

*I lost the receipt for this dress, but I bought it recently and it should still be in the store. I won’t pay more than $50 for an H & M dress, so I think it was between $35 and $40.

This dress is a little more fitted than I like. I bought it without trying it on to wear to my interview, so I didn’t have time to exchange it for a more flattering fit. I do love it, but I definitely wouldn’t wear it without a sweater to assist with the back slit riding up a bit.

In colder weather, I wear two pairs of tights for added warmth. Though two pairs can start to get uncomfortable after awhile, I love these tights! They are super cheap and last a long time. I found them when I couldn’t get lint off of my tights before an interview and had to run into a drugstore to see what they had. Surprisingly, they have an amazing selection!


Big hair, don’t care! I wear my hair natural to work and have been switching it up with a few simple styles. I pulled it back once and everyone missed it in its usual fantastic fro-ness. I actually went back to using Shea Moisture for my shampoo and conditioner due to cost and how much product I use, but I found a perfect mix with Miss Jessie’s Leave-In Condish and Miss Jessie’s Pillow Soft Curls. The Pillow Soft Curls is a bit much in cost, but I use a little more than a size of a quarter on my hair (and my hair is thicker than it looks).


 Lion Necklace Wilbur’s Vintage  716 S. 4th St, Philadelphia ($25)

Express Gel Manicure Yuya Nail Spa, 624 Market St, Philadelphia ($25)

I absolutely love my necklace from Wilbur’s Vintage! I don’t know what else to say about it since it speaks for itself. It gives me a little vintage style to take to work (other than my engagement ring)!

I love my new nail salon by my work. I didn’t realize how much cheaper it is to get gel done in Old City than by my house. The punch card is a dangerous thing, because I love a good deal! I have been twice so far!



These glasses were issued to me from the Philadelphia VA Medical Center (love ya’ll!), but this style ALWAYS breaks pretty quickly. The arm gets all wonky, so I am now wearing my back up pair. They have some cute women’s frame options and it is easy to find out if you qualify for low-cost or free glasses and eye care; start here! My Warby Parker glasses lost under a pile of clothes in my bedroom. I will send an SOS.


 Breckelle’s Flats  Eternity Shoes 1522 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia ($14)

These shoes look way more blue in this photo than in person! These flats are run of the mill, cheap, but get the job done. I go through flats so much that I really stopped looking for shoes with supports, but I probably should start. I see you, bunion!

polka dot cardigan, grey dress

Photography by Eric S.

Autumn Fun With Layers,Texture…and Bunnies!

Hello! It has been awhile! I went on vacation, a trip that was fabulous and warm, and returned to cold weather!

 I don’t know about you, but I hate breaking out my coat. Last autumn, I was all about dresses and tights. This year, I am all about switching it up with layers and textures. So I was really happy when my new sweater came in the mail, along with a cute new accessory.
rabbit sweater, red jeans
rabbit sweater
rabbit sweaterCotton Rabbit Sweater in Beige Sammy Dress ($9)
Now, on to that sweater! My new sweater from Sammy Dress FINALLY arrived. I ordered the sweater on August 19th and was emailed September 5th letting me know that they were out of stock. I could wait or receive a refund- I am glad I waited! Currently, the beige I am wearing is out of stock, but pink is available for $10. I absolutely love it except for one thing… the sleeves are too short. They hit a little below my elbow. My cousin Theresa, who lives in Japan, bought this exact sweater in a store there and she also reported the same issue. At over 5’8” (I think Theresa is also my height) I have a feeling all imported Sammy Dress clothes are going to be short in the sleeves. I was going to give the sweater away, but I think I am just going pull up the sleeves. 
gold septum ring, rabbit sweater
Brass Septum Ring Purity Jewel on Etsy ($17)
I went on Etsy looking for a new septum ring for fun and adore this one! It was easy to put in, but feels a bit lighter and thinner than my previous retainer (I wear a 16g). The length of the ring makes it hard to wear daily (as well as the style). The shipping was cheap, only $3, but did take ten days to arrive. 
Legging Jeans Gap ($30 at 50% off)
I bought these soft legging things (they are like a jean/corduroy mix, but softer and less awful) last year and the color and material has held up well. 
rabbit sweater, red jeans out of print necklace
‘Scout and Boo’ Necklace  Out of Print Clothing ($30)
Out of Print Clothing has teamed up with Books For Africa to donate a book for each purchase. What I love are the hard to find book t-shirts on the site. I ordered myself a ‘Song of Solomon’ and ‘Native Son’ tee while I ordered Eric the ‘Invisible Man’ tee. which he has yet to wear!
Not RayBan Aviators Pelican Key, St.Maarten ($15)
I love my sunglasses. These I picked up in St. Maarten! I bought these at the Flamingo Bay Resort gift shop and love them. I definitely love my aviators style.
brown leather boots
Vince Camuto “V” Front Tights Macy’s ($18)
I love my textured tights. I love buying my tights from Macy’s since they seem to last the longest and Hue brand tights are always buy two and get some sort of discount. These aren’t Hue, but they are a great length and the pattern is holding up fairly well. These aren’t available online from Macy’s, but are available from Vince Camuto for the same price. 
brown leather boots
Brown Leather Troopa Boots Steve Madden ($100)
I went on and on about these books on my previous fall post
What is your go to fall style this year? Sound off in the comments below!
nena and eric
Photography by Eric S.

Taking A Chance On Facebook Ads: My Experience With Sammy Dress

I have been doing a lot of online shopping to prepare for my trip to St. Maarten (we are leaving on Friday!), but while online shopping and using Facebook at the same time, I ended up getting tons of focused advertisements I generally ignored. However, after visiting and liking ModCloth via Facebook, I decided to get sucked in and click on a few of the other advertisements.

The one I decided to actually shop from is  I am sure you all have seen the ads, ‘Cheap online dresses- $6!’ I wondered what the catch was and immediately it became clear- you are ordering direct from China. Sizing, quality and shipping time were all immediate concerns, but I decided to try it and see what happens.

black and white sheath dress

Abstract Letter Sheath Dress Sammy Dress ($13)

I started by ordering two dresses and a sweater. Sammy Dress gives you an option to upload pictures of you in the item, so I tried to purchase items where people uploaded their photo. I also made sure to read the ratings and look for the raters sized the closest to me, if there are too many, then I looked for 3 star ratings, since I felt like those gave the most objective view. They took the time to explain why it wasn’t five stars, but still higher than one.

brick wall 3

I found shipping to be pricey, sometimes even higher than the item being purchased, but it still makes the item a deal. So, if shipping is $9 on a $6 dress, then I won’t get too bent out of shape. Also, the shipping takes about three weeks. I received my first two dresses in three weeks, but my sweater was still on back order, so they gave me an option to wait for the sweater or receive a refund. I decided to wait for the sweater and am still waiting. Each of the items state the length of time to ship, but that is simply to ship the order, not for the item’s arrival. I don’t mind waiting for packages, but if you are in a hurry, then any international shipping is going to stress you out. The only time I had fast international shipping is ordering bathing suits on Amazon.

sheath dress

I love my dress! It is lined, light, but I will easily be able to wear it in the fall, early summer and spring. My wool dress I haven’t tried on yet. It came so wrinkled that I’m going to need to press it beforehand. It is definitely 100% wool. My iron is going to hate me.


Earrings Hello World (gift)

I absolutely love these earrings. They are bronze and match a lot of my handmade jewelry. 

fence 2

Box Braids J.P. Hair Perfection ($90 not including hair)


 Paper Bead Necklace Darwin, Australia ($20)

My Aunt Michale brought necklaces with her from the same artist who gifted me one in a previous entry. I adore my necklace, and you can find a similar one on Etsy, but it was decided that my Aunt’s friend would make more selling his jewelry in Australia than in the States. The necklace is made out of paper and is a long process. I am very fortunate I was able to buy two necklaces and a pair of earrings from him during her Stateside visit.

black and white dress

fence 4

 Beijo Brazil Necklace Tselaine ($44)

This necklace made by a local Philadelphia artist, caught my eye immediately. I love the design and the detail even in the chain. She has many more one of a kind pieces at Tselaine.


fence 5


 Steve Madden Black Schoolgrl Flats Amazon ($44)

These are actually the third pair of these flats I have ordered over the years. I love them so much and love the style. I wear them all the time! 

fence 6

I am going to order from Sammy Dress again, but only items I don’t depend on. I wouldn’t use them to order primary winter coat, for a wedding or an event dress, I also wouldn’t purchase anything over $20 since I don’t have the patience to deal with returns. Do you shop online? Sound off in the comments below!


Photography by Eric S.

Boots, Pockets & Dressing For Fall

It is officially Autumn and I don’t want to admit it! As the weather is becoming a bit cooler, I am trying to decide how I can hang on to a few of my dresses by giving them a different edge than last year. 80s throwback? Industrial look? Or just a love of skirts with pockets- whatever works, I just love the simple style of a heavy fabric to match my heavy fall boots. Now is the time to break out my sweaters to throw over my dresses and to hand wash my million pairs of tights.

How are you preparing for  Autumn?

burnt orange dress


 Burnt Orange Taylor Dress Nordstrom ($83- still available online in select sizes)

I love the pattern and the heavy material on this dress! I found it on sale and still have to take it in a bit (my dress is clamped in the back for this shoot), but the pockets are what sold me. I am not a huge clutch person, so whenever I see a dress with pockets, I automatically swoon!


Paper Bead Necklace Darwin, Australia ($20)

My Aunt Michale brought necklaces with her from the same artist who gifted me one in a previous entry. I adore my necklace, and you can find a similar one on Etsy, but it was decided that my Aunt’s friend would make more selling his jewelry in Australia than in the States. The necklace is made out of paper and is a long process. I am very fortunate I was able to buy two necklaces and a pair of earrings from him during her Stateside visit.

brown leather boots

Brown Leather Troopa Boots Steve Madden ($100)

I have been looking for the boots since my cousin bought them some time ago. I love how heavy they are and I ended up buying another pair in stone (they didn’t have wine in my size), but they do hurt my left heel after walking in them for awhile. I am going to see if a sticker insole helps. The boots are still available on Steve Madden and on Amazon for an even lower price and various additional colors.


Rosin Bracelet Darwin, Australia (gift)

My Aunt brought this bracelet as a gift from an artist she works with Australia. The bracelet is made of rosin, so if you have ever been in middle school orchestra, you know the feeling. I wish I had more information on this artist, but my Aunt made it seem like her pieces wouldn’t be in my price range (my Aunt keeps it real, though I did have to explain to her what shade meant after that).


Laura Mercier Lip Glace’ in Quartz Birchbox ($10 subscription sample/original price $25)

This lipstick came in my Birchbox months ago, but is no longer available in Quartz. I looked everywhere since I broke my only tube after the shoot! There are similar colors available on Birchbox and Laura Mercier. I did cancel my Birchbox subscription after ten months because too many of the samples in the box were unusable for me even after adjusting my settings. I think there is a disconnect when it comes to women of color and Birchbox (I spoke to them in email about this and they stated ‘they are working on it’) and instead of being frustrated with my ‘nude’ nail polish or sulfate hair products, I decided to move on.



Box Braids J.P. Hair Perfection ($90 not including hair)

I am leaving for St. Marteen in a little over a week, so I decided to get my hair braided. I found Mia online and I love my braids! They took a little over six hours, but Mia was completely professional, accommodating (I was able to work while getting my hair braided) and easy to get to. She uses all natural products (she makes her own peppermint spray conditioner spray) and she is natural! I definitely recommend her to anyone and look forward to returning to her in the future.

tall wall

orange dress, brown boots

My friend and fashion inspiration, Devaney, opened her own store on Etsy called, Sew AuCourant , she makes fabulous pillows and home décor items and takes custom orders as well. She is making my linens for my wedding. Check out her site and I have to do a feature on her work and how I am saving money on my wedding at some point on my blog!

Photography by Eric S.

Adding Some Glitter With Gold

I hope everyone had a wonderful Labor Day! I came back from Michigan and walked right into this heat! Even though it is hot, I still love everything about Philly. Especially now that I have more time to wear my summer dresses.

This week, I decided to accessorize with gold! I love how great jewelry can jazz up a colorless dress. I love white dresses, and gold seemed like the perfect addition to this one. How do you use bold accessories? Sound off in the comments below!


 White Structured Cut Out Dress  Smak Parlour ($85)

I love the detail at the bottom of the sweetheart dress. It gives it that little extra push of coverage, with it not really being there. The top has boning and I am wearing a strapless bra with it.

white dress, gold necklace



  Gold Bib Necklace   Wilbur’s Vintage  716 S. 4th st, Philadelphia ($40)

I adore this necklace! I feel like it gives a good optical illusion like I am actually filling this dress with cleavage. It fits perfectly between the detail and is surprisingly light. I decided not to wear earrings due to how bold the necklace is. My nails are gold glitter gel shellac, so they fit right into the shoot!


I ended up doing two buns in my hair after I had a twist out go completely haywire the night before. I think next time I will use black clips and make the back into a French roll instead of a bun. I switch over to using Carol Daughter’s Hair Milk Styling Butter ($12) since I ran out of my Jane Carter Curl Defining Cream ($18) and I needed something to take in my carry-on that didn’t cost a lot in case it was confiscated (it wasn’t). I really like it!



Gold Tiger Eye Bracelet   Wilbur’s Vintage  716 S. 4th st, Philadelphia ($35)

I can never find a bracelet that fits me, but I actually found two this week! This vintage bracelet is light and I love the Tiger Eye detail. I can’t wait to find earrings so I can dress this down.



SAYNT Open Toe Sandals  Nine West, Liberty Place, Philadelphia ($30)

I love these shoes, but they are definitely a half size too big (I bought a pair in black that are the right size)! I bought them on clearance for the Geek Awards and the wonderful team at Nine West added a few holes in the strap to make sure they were snug. With my evening gown, you couldn’t see how big they are, so I may save these shoes for when I am wearing something long again. Just found out if you buy online, the second pair is half off!



It was awesome checking out A & G Labs and learning more about MVSE, a new app to improve the dressing room experience. Read all about it on Geekadelphia!

 Photography by Eric S.

Mixing It Up With Online Shopping

Hello from Michigan! Can you believe August is almost over? I need more summer!

I had an amazing time at the Philadelphia Geek Awards and can’t wait to see all of the photos from that amazing night! Philly Mag has a great round up of the night’s awesome and creative looks! My hair is still straight from that night and I don’t know what to do with it. I only use heat on my hair a few times a year and in order for my curl pattern to remain intact and to avoid heat damage, I don’t reapply heat. I have been wrapping and sponge rolling like no other. Can’t wait for braid season.

Thank you all for supporting Down to Utopia! It is still getting it legs, but thank you so much for your support and great messages. I really appreciate it! Please take a moment to check out my new mental health & wellness site if you haven’t yet.

On to this week! I don’t online shop often. It scares me and is time consuming when it comes to figuring out if sleeves will be long enough and what will fit. I do like the True Fit tool on Nordstrom’s site, which shows you how close the fit will be based on your style and size, but if you know me, I am cheap- so I decided to see how shopping on Amazon would work.

I wanted a white blazer for the summer and decided to see if I could find at a price I could live with. I destroy white on a regular basis, so I would only buy a jacket I can spill a ton of stuff on and not cry for days. I think it turned out well! Where do you online shop and what are your tips? Sound off in the comments below!

white blazer and checkered sheath dress

White J. TOMSON Boyfriend Blazer Amazon ($20)

I like this blazer! It is very light weight, but kind of hard to iron- I probably have to take it to the cleaners to get pressed. It came with the sleeves rolled up and I will probably keep them that way. I would prefer a bit longer sleeve, but I like the sleeves longer than they should be. Definitely worth the $20 (free shipping with Amazon Prime). 

checkered sheath dress

 Blue and White Forever 21 Dress Once Worn Consignment, 906 N. 2nd st. Philadelphia ($10)

This was my first time in Once Worn and I found this dress with the tags still on it. The clothes in the store are a little young for me (I know, I sound like a Grandma), but I did find some cute items for a cheap price, so I will check them out again when I am in Northern Liberties. I love a good sheath dress since they are so easy to dress up or dress down. The sandals are the same ones from my Vintage Style post.

  Lime & Turquoise Beaded Necklace Greene Street Consignment 3734 Spruce St. Philadelphia ($12)

If you know me then you know I love turquoise! Well, I just love saying I do; this necklace is actually looks like a different shade of blue, but I love it. I really adore Greene Street and have a good amount of clothes from their South Street and University City locations. I like the University City location because it has a lot of  clothes from the local college students, but more of a grad student feel. The South Street location has an eclectic vibe to it. I have been to the Manayunk location a few times and love their dresses. They have a lot of high end pieces at a low price. If you aren’t in the area, you can shop online!

beaded necklace and bracelet

  Burnt Orange Bracelet  Once Worn Consignment, 906 N. 2nd st. Philadelphia ($5)

I love this bracelet! I rarely wear bracelets, but I couldn’t pass it up!  The necklace doesn’t match perfectly, but I think that is what makes the pairing work. It looks fun and adds much needed color. 

beaded necklace and bracelet

I love this photo! I am not punching myself in the face! I was trying to show the necklace and bracelet together, but it turned into something a bit more cheeky (pun intended).

Photography by Eric S.

Summer Sweater Layering Fun

Hello! I refuse to believe it is almost August. I have been a bit busy these last two weeks. Dorothee and I still plan on shooting, but in the meantime you are stuck with me for another post. But before we get into this week, I have a few great announcements!

This Saturday are the Philadelphia Geek Awards and I wrote an awesome post over on Geekadelphia for it, along with a giveaway! Congrats to the two winners! Check out the article for all of the great Geek Awards beauty deals. I also learn how to put these kind of giveaways together. They are a lot of fun, other than the whole post office part. I wish I lived next door to one.

I also wrote a non-fashion article focusing on two cool geeks headed to Nationals with their cool invention. If that isn’t enough cool for you!

Most importantly, I soft launched my brand new mental health & wellness site, Down to Utopia. It is a site dedicated to talking mental health and wellness from a cultural and every day perspective. I was going to narrow the focus to women of color, since I am writing the blog, but the response has been so overwhelming that I don’t think it is right to not have a platform for everyone who wants to talk. Though a lot of the articles will be cultural issues & I am interviewing my Dad and Step-Mummy when I get home, I can’t wait to talk to all of you! All of your outpouring of love and support has meant so much! I look forward to next week’s posts. Check it out if you get a chance. Special thanks to Endy Photography & Annie Design Co. for the page set up, design, beautiful ‘Meet Nena‘ graphic, the photo, hand painted logo and basically the most beautiful page ever. Annie Design Co. is designing our wedding invite as well!

Okay, my plug life is over!

Layering is caring when it comes to me. I never really thought of the genius of it until Abby posted a photo of her layered sweater with shorts. With me spending way too much time in air conditioning, I just had to try it. All of my knit sweaters immediately became layer pieces on those (rare) light August nights. I only owned one pair of shorts and am not into shorts, so I actually went and bought a pair. What are your layered summer looks?

Let me know in the comments!

shorts tall 2

   Sequin Sweater   Wilbur’s Vintage  716 S. 4th st, Philadelphia ($25)

I adore this ‘sweater’. It is all sequins, but you wouldn’t be able to tell if one fell off, so it is a great piece to have in regular rotation and transitions with the seasons. I always go inside of Wilbur’s to shop, but this time I linked his Etsy shop if you aren’t close by. This sweater almost was placed on there! 

shorts 2

Blue Tank  H & M  ($5)

You know I love my sales! Basics at H&M are usually pretty cheap, so I bought two colorful tanks for $10. I only saved a dollar, but that’s a dollar for, can buy a small coffee or two stamps! Remember when you could buy a gallon of gas for under a dollar? 


purse and ring

Gold Clutch  H & M

I don’t remember the price of this clutch, but I remember it being the last one and under $20. I get so many compliments on it and love it to death. It use to be a little more, well, gold, but I wore it out. 


Vintage Pearl Necklace Salt Lake City, Utah (gift from Dev)

I love this necklace! My friend, Devaney, as usual, knows what I love! She is actually sharing what she loves soon when she opens her own Etsy shop featuring pillows, amazing clutches and more! You can get a sneak peek, order early, see her home decor style and catch up on what shenanigans Coco is up to on her Instagram. I will update you on her store when it opens! 

bowie ring

David Bowie Ring (Aladdin Sane)  Smak Parlour ($16)

You know I love my Bowie from my Rockin’ Out post. I love this ring, though I rarely change my rings out. I ended up forgetting I had this ring on and was cleaning a whole sea bass. Not a good idea! Smak has more than David, I personally love their Darth Vader ring too! 

short tall

Jean Shorts  H & M  ($10)

These are basic jean shorts. Nothing to write home about. 


Lexii Gold Wedges Steve Madden ($80)

Last time I featured these sandals, I complained about them, but turns out I had the strap on too tight. They actually are comfortable and I learned how to walk in them. I am a fan of the strap. I question the dark purple pedicure. 


sassy look

 Photography by Eric S.

PSA: You Can Be A Bone Marrow Donor

What a summer! I hope everyone is enjoying their summer… or what’s left of it! I just finished turning in two articles for Geekadelphia. One is on style tips for the 4th annual Philadelphia Geek Awards. I am doing my first ever giveaway and it isn’t even on my own site! Boo! Once the article posts, I will repost it here and do a little giveaway for my readers.

I do want to say thank you so much for everyone that takes the time out to read, talk to me, comment and be a part of my blog. I didn’t realize how much my little blog would grow in less than a year and I always say that I love my readers. You are more stylish than me, but you read anyway!

I am asked questions once in awhile so I added a FAQ section called ‘Stitches‘, because I am a lover of bad puns. I am also going to up my posting again to once a week and will be shooting Dorothee on Friday along with doing a few boutique reviews to switch things up. Dorothee is also natural, but uses heat, so I look forward to talking to her about how she avoids heat damage and her hair care routine.

Any who! This week’s blog is not about fashion, but about something I always wanted to do. My Dad says my blog is boring and not for guys (and he hates my septum piercing), but when I told him about registering to be a potential bone marrow donor he became interested. He remembered in 1995 when Rod Carew’s daughter, Michelle, battled Leukemia, and though 70,000 volunteers came forward, she unfortunately passed.

Mr. Carew asked for those with a similar heritage as his daughter to come forward. Even though donor donation has gone up for Black/African-Americans from the 5% in 1996, there still is a very large gap in donation and research is being done on why. Heritage is important when matching and with a more diverse group of volunteers helps save more lives.

Since my Dad and I fall between the 18 and 55 year old age perimeters of donation, I decided to be the first one to take the plunge and register. I signed up via Delete Blood Cancer. By signing up here (IT’S FREE!), you are on the National Registry.

envelope 3

In about a week, I received my kit in the mail. My Dad asked me if I was worried about sending an organization my DNA. I reminded him that we were both in the military and the government has every form of our DNA. Plus, our bank robbing days are over.


Inside the kit were a few envelopes to send back my swab with instructions as well as registration key cards and every other form of instructions. One of the reasons I never got around to donating was because I thought I had to go to a hospital to donate and I only use the VA. The kit came about a week after I registered.

envelope 2

qtip swag

Swabbing was pretty easy and self explanatory. Eric thought it was a little too ‘in my mouth’ to show me swabbing, but you get the idea.

qtip in envelope

The biggest thing people forget to do is SEND BACK THE SWAB! I sent my back and received a confirmation letter saying I am now registered.


Being registered doesn’t mean you are now forced to donate. Life does change, but when you do donate, the donation is much easier than you might think.

Bone Marrow is taken from your pelvic bone (not your spine) with a special syringe and you are able to go back to normal activities in about a week. Stem Cells replenish within a week and you should feel better within two days.

If you are a match, you are contacted for further testing, so it is important to keep your contact information updated. With bone marrow use advancing in so many ways, including Sickle Cell Anemia, and with the relative ease of donating, please take the time to donate if you can.

Don’t leave me after this non-fashion entry! I will be back next week with clothes galore! Have a non-profit or cause you love! Talk about it in the comments, especially if they are here in Philadelphia!

 Photography by Eric S.