So I’m almost like a child when it comes to holding my handbag. You know, that one that begggssss you to bring an item on an outing and you dread saying yes because you know you are going to end up carrying that said item. Well, that’s me with my purse!
The first thing to consider when selecting a handbag is what will you put in it and how will you use it? Then consider what outfits you can wear it with. In theory owning a large purse that can carry all of your essentials sounds fantastic. But by midday holding what feels like a ton of bricks is pure torture. And like Erykah Badu sang, “you gone hurt your back.”
I once had the nickname of Mary Poppins…any and almost everything could be found in my purse. But unlike Mary Poppins, my purses don’t look like upholstered furniture. That’s why when Wilsons Leather asked me to choose an essential Fall handbag I went with their Genuine Leather Roma Square Backpack. It was a no-brainer! The leather is ultra soft and smooth to the touch. Almost like butter but still has great structure…it’s seriously amazing. I knew I would look chic and technically I wouldn’t have to carry my handbag. Win. Win.
Since having the Roma backpack, I’ve used it as an everyday bag. No. Seriously, I’ve used it EVERY day! I’ve used it for: walking around the city, meetings for work, I’ve even taken it with me on a date, and to go dancing with my girls! It is the most versatile handbag I own! Hands down!
I’m all about K.I.S.S (Keep It Sweet & Simple). So when purchasing a new handbag consider these three simple things:
Style and Purpose
Ladies, you deserve that new handbag. So go purchase one right now!
Seemed like New York finally got the memo that it was Fall. Temperatures dropped overnight and I was more than happy to unpack my sweaters and boots.
Like many women, I share one of the top fashion concerns during this season. Which is looking larger in our coats and in our layers. There is an art and science to layering. It is more than smothering yourself in multiple sweaters. There should be a balance between aesthetics and functionality. So I’ve teamed up with Wilsons Leather to show how you stay stylish without sacrificing warmth.
My solution for not smothering myself in layers is by simply purchasing a warm coat. Now, this may seem like a “DUHHH” moment, but many women purchase coats based on appearance alone and not functionality. They figure they can just add layers to stay warm. And I don’t know about you, but I hate feeling like a stuffed turkey unless it’s after a Thanksgiving dinner.
The fabric content of your coat is the most important detail when shopping for warmth. If you are coat shopping and need help with the best coat materials to keep you warm start at looking for the following five below:
Please don’t let the company’s name fool you. Wilsons Leather has many styles, fabrics, and sizes to choose from. Leather is not the only option. I chose this chic latte faux-shearling coat because I wanted my coat to make a sophisticated fashion statement while keeping me warm.The faux-shearling is ultra lush. It looks and feels like real shearling. To make matters better, or possibly worst, it’s so comfortable and cozy I legitimately can fall asleep in it.
Ladies here’s a shopping side note for this coat: you may want to size down. Always check the sizing chart. I’m in between a size16/18 and I chose a 2X, but I should have chosen an XL. Thankfully there’s a matching belt in addition to the buckle closures so I can still define my waist.
I usually get asked what it is like dating in the Big Apple and a robust laughter usually escapes my lips following the question. I don’t have any horrific dating stories to share so far. I hope I’m one of the lucky few to never have stories that make me want to become a cat lady. So far dating in the city has been an enlightening experience. I’m narrowing down my wants and needs. Learning what I can and will not tolerate in relationships.
I’ve embraced the single lifestyle and I actually enjoy it. Yes, I would love to have a significant other, but I refuse to settle for just anyone. I haven’t met anyone that makes me want to leave the single lifestyle behind and I must admit living in the city does not help much. New York is a city of convenience, excessiveness, and accessibility with most of its residents focus on their careers. I’ve learned to date without placing pressure on myself or other and to go with the flow…haha but don’t worry because I control the valves.
So whether it’s the first date or fifth, here are 5 style tips I live by while getting ready for a date.
Make sure it’s comfortable and it fits properly. I’m not just talking about your shoes But while we are on that topic, wear shoes you can walk in. You may not take a cab in between venues. As for your clothes, you don’t want to be readjusting yourself the entire night. It will make you look uncomfortable and nervous.
Confidence is key. It is one of the most attractive qualities a person can have.
Natural and minimal is the best for the first date. Show him your glamorous side later on.
Wear a color or outfit you feel the most confident in. Everyone knows confidence is attractive! So wear the color you feel great in. I feel the sexiest in coral and wine to name a few.
Your look should reflect your environment. If you guys are going to a sporting event heels and a body-con dress will stand out like a sore thumb.You want to blend into the scenery, but standout to your date.
Dates can be nerve wracking, but one should just go in with an open mind, manners, and kindness. You can only control what your actions and attitude, if your date is rude or makes you feel uncomfortable you have every right to leave.Don’t force yourself to be anywhere or with anyone you do not want to be with.
Just remember that being polite and confidence can move mountains! Happy dating!
The moment I saw this flamingo dress I was immediately attracted to how quirky and cute it was. I debated for a while whether to purchase it or not. I was on vacation in Florida so ofcourse, it matched my location at that time, but I would be returning to New York in a few of days. Fall was arriving soon and it didn’t fall into a Fall color scheme nor did it match my metropolitan environment.
As I sat in the dressing room for more than 20 minutes I thought about how I was completely in love the silhouette, neckline, and its print. But, it screamed “southern prep”. I paused for a moment and wondered if I felt as if the southern preppy style was exclusively for white women? This thought alone unexpectedly brought up some past emotional issues I had about being mixed.
My color or race was never an issue while growing up in St. Croix. The skin tones of my family members come in a wide range. It was normal to me and I never thought twice about it as a child. The women on both sides my family are classy, feminine, and beautiful. They wore stylish pieces and always looked ‘put together’. It wasn’t as if certain styles were reserved for my black relatives and certain styles were reserved for my Puerto Rican relatives. One could argue that maybe I was just too young and naive to notice, but based on the photo albums I’ve seen, I beg to differ. It wasn’t until after moving to America, that I realized racism wasn’t a just history lesson and where I would have experience my most memorable experiences with colorism. I’m not saying it doesn’t exist in the Caribbean because it does. What I am saying is that I was introduced to heavily in the states.
I went to a fairly mixed high school in Florida, but at times I felt like I wasn’t “black enough”. I was constantly being called “high yella” and was constantly being told I spoke ‘like a white girl”. To top things off, I didn’t have an ‘urban’ style. I remember purchasing a Baby Phat top to just fit in and it felt completely wrong… completely unauthentic. At times, I felt as if I had to be a stereotypical version of a black woman to legitimize my ethnicity.
The urban style was created out of the need of representation for African-Americans. In the 90’s it was reserved for R&B and hip-hop artists who embraced street wear brands. This dress is the furthest thing from urban clothes but I felt the most authentic in it… more than I did when I tried to rock that Baby Phat top. As I continued to sit in the dressing room reflecting on my experiences surrounding my racial identity in relations to my style, I wondered if I was alone in feeling like this and if I had a disconnect with my culture. Shopping behaviors come from internal motivations like emotions, experiences, and culture. But, do we ever stop to think about those motivations?
My experiences are just snowflakes at the tip of a gigantic iceberg concerning racial identity and style. We Americans rely on clothing as an economic and social indicator because we don’t have official marks of rank such as a caste system or aristocracy. We are constantly trying to label things and place them into boxes. And when something doesn’t fit into the (perceived) norm it feels like there’s a malfunction. Including when one of a certain ethnic group dresses outside that group’s perceived style.
Who would have thought a simple garment could have the power to bring up such a heavy topic?! Fashion is usually seen as superficial, but there is a rich history, psychological factors, and depth! That’s why I love it. If you are interested in learning more about the psychological factors clinical psychologist Dr. Jennifer Baumgartner literally wrote the book on this phenomenon called, “You Are What You Wear: What Your Clothes Reveal About You
Society’s influence on how we perceive ourselves including our style is extremely powerful. So ask yourself, will you take control of that power or will societal and cultural norms have complete power over you?
Have you ever experienced colorism? If so, let’s chat!
Three months ago I blissfully sat on the sandy beaches of my island of St. Croix in awe of its beauty. Happy to be away from the bustling streets of New York City and happy to be amongst my family and my people to celebrate our Centennial. The U.S.V.I was purchased from Denmark in 1917 for $25 million in gold. Yes, I am American, but I’ve always prided myself in being raised with the blended customs of my Puerto Rican and Cruzan heritage.
Twelve days after Category 5 Hurricane Irma caused destruction throughout the Caribbean, Maria, also a Category 5, was named the 13th hurricane of the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season. Her direct hit brought mass devastation to the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico while trying to recover from Hurricane Irma. St. Croix, St.John, and St. Thomas are experiencing massive structural damage and a one-hundred percent loss of electricity just like Puerto Rico. Only those with power generators have power and the power restoration across the entire island will take months according to Governor Mapp. There is also a lack of telephone and internet service, making the communication to the mainland U.S. hard.
The days that pass since Maria have been filled with sadness, concern, helplessness, and a sense of guilt that I am safe in the comforts of my NYC apartment while my people are suffering from the aftermath of Maria. My heart is heavy and my eyes repeatedly and randomly release tears. Many of my Caribbean friends and family that live here on the mainland are still waiting to hear from loved ones on Puerto Rico and in the V.I. Many of us stateside are not only concern with the physical state of our family and friends, but their emotional and mental state. We are struggling with how we can help rebuild from a distance.
Many Virgin Island residents felt abandon and felt as if the news outlets were largely focused on Puerto Rico and the aftermath of Hurricane Irma to Florida and the mainland. I want you all to know you are not forgotten nor abandon! We love you all! I have family on both U.S territories and they are both experiencing loss of property and power and food shortages. What I love about my people is our warmth and unity! We have to unite our efforts here on the mainland to help our loved ones back home.
The items listed below can be purchased at the dollar store if you have a limited budget. Anything helps! Below I have posted where you can donate hurricane relief supplies for the U.S. Virgin Islands AND Puerto Rico with locations here in NYC and Tampa, FL.
Donate Critically-Needed Items for Hurricane Relief in U.S. Virgin Islands
Tres Chic Carnival Troupe held a relief drive today that ended at 3:00 p.m. Contact them at email@example.com with questions.
Donate Critically-Needed Items for Hurricane Relief in Puerto Rico
Across the five boroughs, 17 firehouses and EMS stations are collecting critically-needed items for hurricane relief for the people of Puerto Rico.
The City is encouraging donations of the following five items:
First Aid Supplies
Feminine hygiene products
All donated items must be non-perishable, not second-hand, nor contain liquids of any kind. Open or unsealed donations of food or hygiene supplies will not be accepted. At this time, only the five items listed above are being collected.
The following locations will accept your donations of the above listed critically needed items:
Engine 91 (East Harlem) 242 East 111th Street Cross Streets: 2nd Avenue and 3rd Avenue
Engine 95 / Ladder 36 (Inwood) 29 Vermilyea Avenue Cross Streets: Dyckman Street and Academy Street
Engine 28 / Ladder 11 (Lower East Side) 222 East 2nd Street Cross Streets: Avenue B and Avenue C
EMS Station 26 (Morrisania) 1264 Boston Road Cross Streets: EAST 168 Street and EAST 169 Street
EMS Station 55 (Melrose) 3134 Park Avenue Cross Streets: EAST 159 Street and EAST 160 Street
Engine 64 / Ladder 47 (Castle Hill) 1214 Castle Hill Avenue Cross Streets: Gleason Avenue and Ellis Avenue
Engine 83 / Ladder 29 (Mott Haven/South Bronx) 618 East 138th Street Cross Streets: St. Anns Avenue and Cypress Avenue
Engine 316 (East Elmhurst) 27-12 Kearney Street Cross Streets: 27th Avenue and 101 Street
Engine 289 / Ladder 138 (Corona) 97-28 43rd Avenue Cross Streets: 97th Place and 99th Street
Engine 307 / Ladder 154 (Jackson Heights) 81-17 Northern Boulevard Cross Streets: 81st Street and 82nd Street
Engine 271 / Ladder 124 (Bushwick) 392 Himrod Street Cross Streets: Wyckoff Avenue and St. Nicholas Avenue
Engine 277 / Ladder 112 (Bushwick) 582 Knickerbocker Avenue Cross Streets: Gates Avenue and Palmetto Street
Engine 218 (Bushwick) 650 Hart Street Cross Streets: Myrtle Avenue and Central Avenue
Engine 201 / Ladder 114 (Sunset Park) 5113 4th Avenue Cross Streets: 51st Street and 52nd Street
Engine 228 (Sunset Park) 436 39th Street Cross Streets: 4th Avenue and 5th Avenue
Engine 153 / Ladder 77 (Stapleton) 74 Broad Street Cross Streets: Wright Street and Quinn Street
Engine 157 / Ladder 80 (Port Richmond) 1573 Castleton Avenue Cross Streets: Port Richmond Avenue and Faber Street
Ladder 79 (Port Richmond) 1189 Castleton Avenue Cross Streets: Roe Street and Taylor Street
**Refer to USVI List of Relief Items Above. Water is accepted at these locations.**
4916 S Lois Avenue
Tampa, FL 33611
2701 North Himes Avenue
Tampa, FL 33607
I will be reposting other locations I find on my social media. We have a long way to go to rebuild but we can do it together. If you guys know of anymore location please leave a comment below or on my social media pages (@wwmelizzaw).
Now, I know some daring women are breaking many fashion rules and are looking great while doing so! But, I have one fashion rule I believe every woman (plus & straight size) should follow while wearing shorts and heels to look stylish.
Itsy bitsy teenie weenie shorts should NOT be paired with extremely high heels.
When it comes to pairing shorts and heels, the shorts’ length and the heel height play a major role. And proportion is key. If you want to wear short shorts with a smaller inseam, pair it with a short block heel sandal (2″ or below). The longer your shorts, the higher the heels you can wear.
Personally, I enjoy bending the rules, but for all you rebels continue breaking fashion rules if it makes you feel and look fabulous.
Someone once told me to view my life as a train with many exciting destinations. Along the way, it will stop to pick up new passengers but not every passenger will make it to the final destination. Returning to Tampa was nostalgic for me, but it made me realize that many passengers that were once on my train, weren’t.
I begin to struggle with guilt because I felt myself growing, pursuing my dreams, and wanting more. And as I grew, my circle changed. It was an uncomfortable place; feeling the distance with the people that I was once close to. But, it is a necessary place.
At some point, you just have to let go of what you thought should happen and live in what is happening. Sometimes growing up means growing apart. But, true friends can grow separately without growing apart. I don’t have the energy or desire for any superficial relationships whether they are platonic or romantic. Point blank. End of discussion.
When presented with a much needed R&R opportunity for the weekend with my girl friend Raisa, I didn’t think twice before accepting. We agreed upon relaxing and exploring Philadelphia, PA. At this time, Raisa and I had never traveled together so we both knew this trip would put our friendship to the ultimate test.
Raisa was the best travel companion! We both had a list of attractions and restaurants we wanted to visit and we were extremely flexible with timing. We both agreed that: we did not want to wake to an alarm, we would start our day whenever we were ready with no rush, and we would spend the entire day out doing activities while making the most of our time together.
Before I recommend what to enjoy in Philly, I have five simple things you should look for in you travel companion and a questionnaire that may make you fall in love with your travel companion!
Share some common interests. You and your travel companion’s interests will determine how you both will be spending your time. This saves you conflict on your trip when determining where to go together.
Avoid people who tend to extremes. I personally do not travel well with any one who excessively plans out the entire trip and adheres to a strict itinerary.
Make sure you enjoy each other’s company. You and your companion should be able to talk about pretty much anything, yet enjoy each other’s company in silence. If not, you should travel by yourself.
Agree on expenditures and activities before you leave. You don’t have to necessarily budget and plan everything out, but having an idea of what you’d like to do and what you can avoid will save you from embarrassment and a headache.
Travel with someone who is flexible and open-minded. I believe if you want to get the most out of traveling one must be open to new cultures and experiences. If not, you’ll always end up eating the same meals, doing the same activities, and learning absolutely nothing. That’s not true traveling.
Raisa and I grew closer during our meals by asking and honestly answering each other the questions on The New Times’ “The 36 Questions That Lead to Love” . If you haven’t answer these questions before with a relative, significant other, or a friend, I highly recommend that you do. If answered sincerely, you both will learn something beyond superficial details.
Here are the places and activities Raisa and I enjoyed during our R&R weekend in Philly.
“Respect your uniqueness and drop comparison. Relax into your being.” – Osho
Today, there’s a divide on social media’s long-term consequences. On one hand, there’s a belief that we have cultivated this culture of needing things to be “picture perfect” and that we have created a pressure based the amount of “followers” which then pressures some users to create a false narrative. And although I don’t see social media entirely as an evil, I have seen how its negative impact.
There are two main components of social media: its content and its networking capabilities. I am guilty of browsing through the several platform’s content for endless hours and appreciate the ability to network and meet amazing individuals I would have never had the opportunity of meeting. But, navigating through today’s social media landscape without comparison or envy can be difficult. So whenever I am tempted to compare myself to others on social media I remind myself of Osho’s quote above.
“Respect your uniqueness and drop comparison. Relax into your being.”
We all have our individual qualities that separate us for every one else. Embrace them and proudly display them.
**My entire outfit was purchased at K-Mart in St. Croix (insert shocked face)**
This may come as a shock, but I’ve been a nanny for almost 10 years! It’s actually how I began styling and I continued to do so while living in NYC. And was even recognized nationally as “Rockstar Nanny” with a reputable Upper East Side agency. Along the way I’ve learned many valuable life lessons and here are a few golden nuggets I cherish.
1. Reserve a block of time for personal quiet time every day.
Any typical day, especially with a toddler, can be extremely demanding so this is a great way to re-energize. If the child is too old for a nap time, make sure you schedule a quiet actiity for you both. You and the child can choose to read, meditate, journal, color, or whatever it is you need to take a break separately. I believe kids should learn to be comfortable doing things they enjoy alone because let’s face is as adults we’re not always going to be around people and I believes it gives us a better sense of ourselves.
2. Learn to be flexible.
You will have plans and life WILL interrupt them. Ha, honestly have you ever gotten out of the house with multiple children under 5 in under five minutes? If so, please tell me your secret!
3. Do not feel guilty for needing a break!
When I first started I worked part-time and everyday novelties were easy. But, after a while it starts to take its toll just like any other job. There have been many times I have overworked myself and felt guilty for wanting to rest so I’d continue to work. What usually ended up happening was that I’d get really ill where I had no choice but to rest. Listen to your body. No one know you better than yourself.
4. Most of your stress comes from the way your respond so you must have patience.
Kids are constantly growing and learning, which can sometimes takes countless tries. You need to have patience when they are completing a task you know you can do faster or when things don’t go as planned, because with kids this happens often. Change what can be change and let everything else go. No need for the extra stress… will whatever it is matter 5 day or 5 months from now? If the answer is no, then let it go and breathe!
5.It’s better to over-pack than under-pack.
You’re shoulders may hate you since your diaper bag will be heavy, but your sanity will adore you! Because in that moment that child wants or needs something you don’t have, you will feel like you have less than 30 seconds to diffuse a tiny human explosive! And trust me, NO ONE wants to witness that explosion!
6. Good parents have THE HARDEST job in THE WORLD.
As a nanny, I’ve gotten a first hand glimpse. But, I get to check out at the end of the day and don’t have to worry about the kids (not saying I don’t think of them). Parents don’t have that luxury. Which has earned my respect in many ways.
While my time as a nanny had a bittersweet ending, the memories will last forever. If you are thinking of becoming a nanny, please realize it is an enormous commitment involving a lot of energy and the ability to be selfless. There will be highs and lows but in the end it is absolutely rewarding.