We arrived at The American Stock Exchange Building here in NYC which is “Volez, Voguez, Voyagez – Louis Vuitton” until January 7th, 2018. From the moment you enter, you can sense you won’t be disappointed. The tour opens with the most symbolic object of the House: the trunk and retraces the adventures of the House of Louis Vuitton and its founders from 1854 to the present. It even features select articles on loan from the Palais Galliera and the Musée de la Mode de la Ville de Paris along with objects and documents from the Louis Vuitton heritage. This historic journey was designed by Robert Carsen and curated by Olivier Saillard and is worth the wait!
Only the heavens know what gave me the brilliant idea to apply my Jamberry nails for the very first time this late at night. I sat at my desk chanting to myself “I think I can. I think I can” like the Little Blue Engine. Two episodes later of Southern Charm and my determination and energy were practically nonexistent. I wanted to call my consultant like she advised, but I knew she’d be asleep and wouldn’t be thrilled to walk me through a simple process at 1:30 in the morning. I thought to myself, “This isn’t Rocket Science Melizza…What were those tips again for ridding my nails of these air bubbles?”
The clock read 2:35 a.m. and I was beyond exhausted. I rolled over and told myself I’d contact my consultant in the morning before rushing out to catch my flight. And my body groans as I climbed into bed with a pounding headache knowing I have less than 3 hours before I would l be tempted to smash my alarm against my bedroom wall.
With a quick morning text over to my Jamberry consultant, she recommended using a heated spoon or knife to press out the air bubble and once again reminding me to work from the cuticle to tip. And again I thought “This isn’t Rocket Science Melizza!” The need for my nails to look professionally done was increasing rapidly and these air bubbles were messing up my vision. But, I had less than 20 minutes to do my makeup, hair, and get some caffeine in my system before dashing out to the airport. This technique would have to wait until I landed in Miami. From afar my nails look great but as I type these words at the airport, I’m literally cringing at these air bubbles and almost desperate to use the hand dryer in the restroom and a plastic knife to press them out. But, could this really be done with looking me suspicious? I wasn’t willing to risk be detained for the annoying air bubbles in my nails. It would just have to wait until I arrive at my hotel.
I was excited to know Jamberry offers over 350 designs. My consultant chose this beautiful matte lilac color with rose gold tip near the cuticle, which was definitely my style. This design was supposed to last about 2 weeks, but the only thing I would think about while pressing and heating my nails was “Is this worth it?” I mean my salon manicure only last 2.5 days before chipping. And on the 4th day I couldn’t take it anymore and grabbed my acetone to remove the polish.
By the time I checked into the hotel it was late in the evening, all I wanted to do was to shower and rest. But, I was constantly reminded of the air bubbles on my nails. I practically torched my nail beds to smooth out these air bubbles and did a decent job but it wasn’t as smooth as I wanted. My ultimate desire was for my nails to look like I had them professionally don’t without the salon price. Sure I was complimented many times about my nails, but I swore these air bubbles would be the death of me.
My Jamberry manicure did chip like a normal salon manicure and didn’t last the advertised two full weeks. Now it lasted longer than my regular manicure, but those air bubbles were a thorn in my side. I would like to think that I may give it another try with the tips from my consultant. But, I can honestly say I haven’t been turned into a believer and that probability is extremely low.
I could blame my dissatisfaction on multiple things. Maybe it was me and not the product, maybe if I had a hotter blow dryer, or maybe if I didn’t do it at 2 am I wouldn’t have had the air bubbles. But either way, I realize I don’t have the time, patience, nor the desire to trim design to my nails or to torch my nail beds to get that smooth perfected look that I desire. It involved more work than I wanted to do. This should have been tried on a lazy Sunday when I had the time.
If you guys have used Jamberry let me know your experiences with the product. Do you have any tips for women thinking of purchasing Jamberry instead of going to the salon or purchasing press on nails?
I wrote the following over two years ago and I have only shared it with my mom and sister. But as I sit here in my Miami hotel room, I decided to share it with you.
~ October 15, 2015 ~
My trance abruptly ended as the aircraft’s obnoxious seatbelt signal dinged and its captain notified the flight crew and passengers to prepare for landing. One could have easily attributed the decrease in pressure I felt to the flight descent into my hometown’s airport. But, I knew better.
Less than three hours earlier, I felt as if I was suffocating under the weight of my proverbial baggage prior to boarding. I mindlessly stared at the one-way boarding pass my fingers loosely gripped wondering if I’d ever purchase a returning ticket. Only a handful of loved ones knew the truth behind my hasty return home. To everyone else, my social media beautifully masked the pretense that I was extremely happy and living ‘the’ dream in the big city. It never once revealed what I was struggling with while pursuing my dreams.
Whether it was because of pride or the fear of being vulnerable and judged, I chose to hide the depths of my struggle. Yes, I was proud that I had won a national contest, met a celebrity fashion stylist, attended wonderful events, and worked during the coveted fashion week. But, truth be told, I felt lost in the Bermuda Triangle of trying to find myself in a city of millions and making a name for myself within the fashion industry. I felt alone. I felt unsure of myself and I began to question my decisions, my identity, and my self-worth, which isn’t normal for me. And not to mention that I felt drained mentally, financially, physically, and emotionally.
I yearn for the moment life’s pressures and turbulence would cease and my ride would be nothing but smooth and clear skies. But, deep down I knew it was not meant to be so. Moments of turbulence will occur and moments of intense pressure may cause you to feel as if you’re in desperate need of an oxygen mask. Don’t lose hope or become discouraged! You’ll survive the bumps and will regain your ability to breathe. In these moments you learn more about yourself: your needs, your wants, your truths, and most importantly your strength. Persevere and focus on your final destination! You can do it!
It’s been two weeks since I left the city. I spent my time home being surrounded by the people, places, and things I love. Through being vulnerable with my communications and my interactions I continue to learn more about myself. I was inspired by many. I learned things I didn’t know and related to their journey pursuing their dreams and some of their personal struggles, which made me realize I wasn’t alone.
As I stare out of my aircraft’s window, I can’t help but replay all the moments that have lead to this moment of returning. In this moment, I have come to appreciate life’s pressures and turbulence. It has made me stronger, more confident, and even more resilient and independent. I am encouraged, inspired, and know I can accomplish my dreams of becoming a well respected and renowned fashion stylist not only in New York City but internationally. Take flight, soar high, and enjoy life’s ride.
I’ve had many conversations with different friends who are following their dreams and we’ve all concluded that we don’t feel like we share the turbulence we experience. I believe we should share some challenges because even the greats faced challenges. Failures aren’t really failures. They are lessons and evidence that you’ve tried. So keep trying and pushing. And don’t worry if everything isn’t social media perfect either.
If my life were a sitcom, the past two weeks would have had my viewers on an emotional climatic edge! With my rocky path of personal growth and development center stage for everyone to see. My closest friends can attest to some of the most bizarre yet comical conversations and interactions I’ve had with the opposite sex (old and new), my professional & personal dilemmas, and even the reappearance of characters viewers thought were killed or written off from the very first season!
There were moments where I’d sit to catch my breath and something else would happen unexpectedly like a football hitting me in the face out of nowhere. We’ve all seen that scene and have winced from the second-hand pain and the second-hand embarrassment that follows. I seriously thought to myself almost every day, “where’s the freaking film crew?”
But one night, while restlessly tossing and turning, I wondered “what am I putting out that’s inviting this chaos in?” And the simple answer was: allowance. I was allowing certain things that I shouldn’t have entertain to enter my life as if my life were a hit sitcom like ‘Insecure’. But it’s not! And I was emotionally drained.
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.
- Style and Purpose
Ladies, you deserve that new handbag. So go purchase one right now!
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.
With so many stylish options for Fall and Winter pieces at Wilsons Leather, there’s practically no excuse to leave the house by freezing or looking frumpy this season.
**I received these products courtesy of Wilsons Leather, however, all opinions are entirely my own.**
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.
- 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 of course, 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.
- Non-Perishable Food
- Dry Snacks
- New Socks
- New Underwear
- Baby Supplies
- First Aid Supplies
- Baby food
- First Aid Supplies
- Feminine hygiene products
- Toilet Paper
- Dish Liquid
- Pancake Mix
- Paper Towel
- Adult Pampers
- Batteries (All Types)
- Bug Repellant
- Children’s books/ Workbooks
- School Supplies
The City is encouraging donations of the following five items:
- Baby food
- 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
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).
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.