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!

Rings

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

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. 
DSC_0306
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.

Interviewing in Style? You Tell Me!

I was on my way home and ran into Evan and Alex of Reading The Streets. I thought Alex was stopping to say ‘Hi’, but they were actually stopping me for a few photos for Shoppist’s Street Style section in Philadelphia Magazine. I really didn’t think I would make the cut, but I did! See, me in Shoppist here and be sure to check out more amazing fashion at Reading The Streets!

I usually don’t venture into talking about interview clothes because, to be honest, I was that person who wore amazing, killer, and totally inappropriate heels to my first training outside of grad school. So I really have no business being the voice of reason.

Fortunately, I learned a little bit over the years. However, for all of the young ladies headed to college this fall, Project ALOE (Assisting Ladies Offering Essentials), has you covered where I don’t. Project Aloe not only gives college bound women care packages of beauty and lifestyle essentials (to quote my undergrad brother, ‘deodorant ain’t cheap’ to quote me, ‘natural hair products aren’t cheap’), but also networking opportunities, mentorships and connections to peers who are currently attending their chosen university.

You can find out more or sponsor a student here.

As for me, I was called in last minute for an interview for a social work position in a federal facility. It was at an organization I worked for before, and interviewed with previously. Why aren’t I wearing a suit? I’ll tell you.

Based on my information on the organization and my previous experience with them, I knew it would be okay. That and they had complimented my style previously, which is certainly a plus. There is a debate in social work over suit or no suit. I have read message boards on it and I would maybe have gone with a suit if it were an outside non-profit, agency, or a place I wasn’t already familiar with. But what about your industry? What do you wear to an interview? Suit? Cardigan? Do you disagree with my choice? Feel free to sound off in the comments!

pink dress, polka dot cardigan, warby parker glasses

Black Polka Dot Cardigan H & M ($14)

My friend, Devaney, gave me a piece of interview clothing advice I still use today. “Wear a jacket, but if somehow you can’t, cover your shoulders.” Or something that meant wear a cardigan or something similar. She probably didn’t know she would create a cardigan addict. I should probably ask her the direct quote. I thought this cardigan was dark blue (I would have preferred it in blue), but I don’t have anything colored or patterned like this

pink dress

pink dress

Pink Dress H & M ($35)

I love this dress because of the length and color. It can easily transition with sandals and fun jewelry.

pink dress, polka dot cardigan, warby parker glasses

pink dress, polka dot cardigan, warby parker glasses

Crosby Frames in Greystone  Warby Parker ($95 with prescription lenses included)

These glasses aren’t for fashion, I actually need them, but I don’t need to walk around all day in them. I brought them to go over paperwork if needed and driving. I love my glasses and actually wrote about Warby Parker once here.  I will have to show you my VA issued glasses in a different entry.

scout and boo necklace

My nails were a shade of coral for the interview, but I switched them yesterday to this color. I love the sparkly candy accents to pieces. I did hide my septum piercing, of course.

scout and boo necklace

‘Scout and Boo’ Necklace  Out of Print Clothing ($30)

I kept the jewelry simple instead of my usual layering by wearing this simple necklace. 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’ tee and Eric the ‘Invisible Man’. They even have my Dad’s favorite author, so I know what he is getting for Father’s Day!

micheal kors pumps

MICHEAL Michael Kors Pressley Pumps Akira ($100, but cheaper here)

I am pretty sure I probably read in some magazine that you had to own one pair of patent leather pumps with a low heel to interview in, and then I justified purchasing these pumps for that purpose. I like them a lot now, but they honestly rarely see the light of day.

I always wear opaque tights due to my tattoo. I bought these on the way to the interview at a CVS for $7 since mine picked up some lint I didn’t notice until I got into the car.

black purse

Black Purse Smak Parlour ($68)

I carry a few clutches, but I usually stick to an every day bag that can fit my laptop. That is why I don’t feature a lot of bags. This is my every day bag which holds my chrome book, chargers, lotion, three notebooks, sunglasses, umbrella, a book and a small clutch. I am currently working on my own project (which is why I wasn’t expecting to interview) focused on mental health and wellness for women of color. It will be launching in July and I am working on the site currently. I will keep you posted.

pink dress, polka dot cardigan, warby parker glasses

I wore my hair in the remnants of a two strand twist with a moisturized seal, so it looked like a mixture of this week and last week’s blog’s hair, but I definitely don’t change my hair. I know some people do and are not a fan of this and I use to wear a headband or a pinned up style, but I wear my hair like this every day.

Photography by Eric S.

Wear It Or Bare It?

I own a lot of small dresses. If you look in my closet right now, you would be forced to listen to me justify why my three white dresses are not all identical. Surprisingly, I also wear these dresses year round. Though this winter I had to box one up with the summer clothes.

I am use to balancing my dresses a bit here and there either by adding bright tights or blazers or skipping out on heels all together. Even though I own a ton of heels, I usually wear flats or sandals whenever possible. I am almost 5’9″ and I feel like heels make my skirts look shorter. Plus, my feet feel so much better in flats. But sometimes I have a dress that I don’t mind breaking the rules with. I always ask myself, ‘wear it layered or bare it as is?’

I recently was invited to a fantastic shoot with Asya Shirokova of Asya Photography and Elizabeth Terenchin, a well known make-up artist who completed many of the ladies’ fabulous looks at The Geek Awards. Clifford Scott and Company styled all of the ladies hair (and can work a weave and flat iron in his sleep), but my hair had been braided for over two months at this point (Go Briana!).

So what are your rules for baring it and wearing it? Cover everything, but your favorite feature? Flaunt it? Layer away?

Wow Couture Smak Parlour ($68)

To be honest, I can’t remember if this dress was $68 or slightly less, but as usual, I go with the higher price, BUT I did see the black and copper version of this dress on their sale rack not too longer ago, so it is probably even cheaper. What I like about Smak is they are consistent with the popular designers or styles they carry, so a variation of this dress is there somewhere. 

Bronx Taste Ankle Boots Akira ($65)

These are the only boots with a heel I have been wearing lately (other than a pair of black heels). Even though wearing this dress with gold sandals won’t make it any longer, I feel like it creates a different look once you change the footwear. This summer I will be going with gold or my nude and jeweled sandals. For the winter, (when not in the warmth of a studio) purple tights, black boots and a over sweater would be cute IF I DIDN’T BREAK THE ZIPPER ON BOTH OF MY FAVORITE BOOTS!!! 

Briana’s twists held up for two and a half months before I took them down! 

With so much gold going on with this dress, I decided not to wear any jewelry. I thought I at least wore some skull studs, but I guess not!

 Thanks to Asya for such an amazing shoot in her studio and for all of the great pics and huge thank you to Elizabeth for putting it all together and actually thinking I would be a good addition to her professional models. It was my first time wearing fake eyelashes and I have to tell you- AWESOME. Eric and I head back out into the cold this weekend for a new shoot!

Sweater Weather

Why, yes, I am a fan of The Neighbourhood, but this post actually is about sweaters.

First I want to share a few exciting and not so exciting holiday moments. Hopefully all of you enjoyed the holidays, whether you’re still celebrating or wrapping things up. My favorite part of this time of year, is how it brings families together.

I went to Michigan thinking I would get a a few entries done and would be able to shoot with Heart of XXiV, but then Michigan turned into this:

photo (14)

We had the largest ice storm in the Board of Water & Light’s 100 years of recorded history. A large portion of the city was out of power. I am so glad my Grandmas had power, but other family- from my Dad to my Uncle, didn’t. The upside (if there is one), is that it was the largest Christmas at my Grandma’s house I have ever been to. It brought a lot of people together.

The other thing which brought people together was:

photo (15)

I found my wedding dress! In my quest for deals, I thought I would have more options for my budget in Michigan. With my cousin Jessica in tow, we went to Fantastic Finds with me being a bit skeptical. Seven dresses later, the initial dress I fell in love with the first one. I returned with my Grandma, Aunt, Mom and Jessica the next day and thought I would go with a more traditional dress only to change my mind and go with the first one. Not wearing white is something my Grandma wasn’t certain of, but she is completely on board.

So, to stop rambling because I probably lost you at ‘The Neighbourhood’. On to sweater weather!

I love sweaters, but I hate thick layering. I can’t remember who said it, but I have heard it many times: fashion over comfort. I like to wear my own style, but try not to freeze. There are certain parts of my body which take cold better than others. I am sure everyone is different, but mine include my shoulders and back. This is why I am so excited about the various sweaters at Smak Parlour which still bundle, but give the element of surprise.

webbed back sweater

Webbed-Back Sweater Smak Parlour ($58)

webbed back sweater

Bandeau Top (Red)  Smak Parlour ($15)

Awful Back Tattoo Sedalia, Missouri ($75)

webbed gray sweater

Grace Pendant Art Fair, Chicago ($12)

Red Earrings Temple University Student Center ($7)

The Student Center has various stands where usually student organizations are rallying up members or selling baked goods. Almost every other Friday, there is a wonderful stand where various hand made and bought jewelry, oils and incense and other items are sold for a very, very low price. I use to stock up as much as possible. Another place I love to buy jewelry is outside of 15th street station in Philly. Bracelets are as low as $5. Oils are also sold, so if you are looking for an oil to add to your spray bottle without going to the health food store , than this can be a great alternative.

red legging jeans

Legging Jeans  Gap ($30 at 50% off)

DKNY Active “Hi-Speed” Leather Moto Boots Macy’s (over $100)

I went on a tangent about these boots in my Winter Dresses post, but did finally find these boots on HSN.com for $50. They have the boots retailed at $198, but I know I did not pay that much. They are sold out on HSN and you can find similar boots for much cheaper online. The other entry gives a few examples. 

close up

Havana Twists using Marley Hair by Briana

Photography by Eric S.

In other fun news, I was quoted on the amazing Melissa Alam’s blog! She asked me and three other bloggers what our winter must-haves in our purses were. I am interested in what your winter must-haves are too, but definitely check out my answer here. If you run into me than I might tell you why I can’t figure out where my winter must-have came from.

The Perpetual Page Turner likes my little blog! How exciting! I made her list of best of 2013 non-book list! I usually just Google Toni Morrison or something similar, but I found this awesome music to book entry which turned into a half hour of me pointing to books and asking Eric which ones he read or finding ones he gave me. He finally said, “Jamie reads a lot of books”.

Check her out if you want to read a lot of good books too.