Sunset on 30

I’ll be 31 in three days.



Sunshine and melanin.

Last year, I was getting ready to turn 30. I had a lot of expectations for myself that I was supposed to reach before I turned 30.

I was supposed to be a lawyer.

I was supposed to be married.

I was supposed to have children.

I was supposed to have a Master’s degree.


But do I HAVE to take this pic, though?

Since I’d done none of these things by 30, I felt as though I really didn’t have too much to show. Like, what am I even doing with my life?

I’m not a lawyer.

I’m not married.

No children.

Can’t even decide what to study to get a Master’s degree.




I made new, wonderful friends.

I co-own a business.

I’m getting published.

I’ve tapped into my creativity in ways I’d never done before.


Grass + bare feet= happiness

Most importantly…

I’m happy. I’m the happiest I’ve been in a while.

I’ve learned that success is measured by different factors.

I’ve learned that all accomplishments should be celebrated.

I’ve learned it’s important to never stop believing wonderful things can happen for you.

I’ve learned how to really embrace me and all of my facets.


Here is my fierce. Let me show you it.

30 has been so good to me. I can’t wait for what 31 brings.

Happy birthday to me.πŸ™‚

Photo credits go to my wonderful business partner, friend, and lil sis Stephenie Valentino. See more of our work on our Instagram!

Positivity Stories

Introducing: Roses In Concrete Photography

So, I promised y’all on Wednesday that I’d give y’all a little more info about where I’ve been the last month.

Short answer:

Longer answer:



So, remember when I had those pictures done in January? My wonderfully creative and talented friend Stephenie and I thought that we would do a photo project (we’re still doing it. but that’s under wraps and construction!)…and then thought…but we’re awesome photographers. Why don’t we just make it a business?

And there you have it.

It’s been weeks of paper work and planning and meetings, but we’ve made it official.

We’re entrepreneurs!

This has been a serious undertaking (and we’re still getting things together,) but for those of you that are local to NY or NJ: we officially open for business beginning next month. Feel free to contact me personally using any of the methods here, or you can get hold of both of us via the Roses in Concrete Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

Don’t think that I’m abandoning here. This blog and all of you that read it mean the world to me, and I don’t want to leave y’all! I would say you’ll have to get used to the once or twice a month posts until we can get our business a bit more steady, but I’m not going anywhere.

Hope y’all hang in here with me for this ride! Have a wonderful weekend, y’all.πŸ™‚

Blog Stuff Positivity Stories

Metallic Neutral

*taps mic* This thing on?


Did y’all miss me? I sure missed y’all!

More info on my radio silence to come Friday, but first: can we talk about my nails?

I feel like it’s been a million years since I’ve really had time to paint them up all pretty. Since I had some time on my last day of mini-vacation, I figured I’d treat myself to a nice manicure.

And…it’s in a neutral color. AΒ pinkΒ neutral color!

I know, right? Who AM I!


Now, of course there had to be some sparkle, because…well, this is me we’re talking about here. But it’s suprisingly subtle.

And I absolutely ADORE it.



Such a fresh, spring manicure!

The pink (pictured) is Julep’s Abby, and the silver is Essie’s Apres-Chic. I used some chevron stickers to help make the design and topped it all off with some tiny pearls. I love this manicure. It’s fancy without being too much and it hides nicks well (because working freight is hard on a manicure, honey.)

See y’all Friday for an awesome announcement!

Nail Adventures

Philosophy in Blue

Although I pursue photography as a creative outlet and enjoy taking pictures of others, I hate having pictures taken of myself.


That’s hard, considering I’m a makeup artist and kinda, well, have to take pictures of myself in order to sell my services. Selfies are easy, though. It’s just my face. My skills are pretty good. I’m pretty much the selfie queen! I bet y’all don’t know how many I take before y’all see the two or three I ultimately post, though.

It’s a lot more than just two or three, let me tell you.

Is it a confidence issue? Maybe. I was always one who hid as a teenager. Even with all of the work I’ve done to help build myself up, I still use the fact I have such a fancy camera to stay out of pictures.

I mean, someone has to take the pics, right?

At any rate, it’s hard to proclaim myself a fashion blogger and y’all rarely ever get to see me in any fashion.


I can’t keep allowing myself to hide like this. Even with the strides I’ve made to put myself out there, go out and socialize, make some new friends and have some new experiences…I still shy away from something as simple…as a camera.

Something’s got to give.


I figure that in some cases, the best thing to do to combat something that scares you is to just do it. I called up a talented photographer friend of mine to come and take some pics of me for the blog. So y’all could see me. So I could really see myself.

And maybe not be so scared.


Don’t get me wrong. I got some hangups. I looked at the shots like…but my belly. But I’m so wide. But, but, but. Just all types of self-depreciating thoughts flowing through my head. I wouldn’t let anyone close to me speak about themselves like that, but that’s the fun part about internal dialogue. No one knows how I was ripping myself down but me.



When I got home and got a good look at things, though? I won’t tell y’all I did a 360 on my thoughts. I didn’t. But I can say what I love about myself. I can say I looked amazing. I can say that, when it’s genuine and I’m truly amused, I have a nice smile. When I showed some folks the pictures, I was surprised that the ones I didn’t think were the most flattering were the most popular.


Like this one of me smiling. Cause with these braces, I don’t. I’m still very self conscious about both them and my teeth. Stephenie, my photographer, said “Okay. Let’s get one of you smiling.” Me: *stare* *skeptic look* Her: “I know, I know. But come on, smile.” I gave her the most half-assed smile I could come up with. She took the pic, and it looked just as tortured as could be. I hate smiling on purpose, I really do. A few minutes later, however, I’m cracking up at something Stephenie said. She seized the moment and snapped.

C says: “Your smile is radiant!”

J, my coworker, goes “That is just a genuine smile! You look so good!”

My coworker looks at the pic and goes, “Your niece has your smile. That’s so cool!”

My niece does have my smile. She’s just adorable.


Maybe I’m pretty cute, too. I’m getting there. Slowly, but surely.

Outfit details: I’m wearing a really, really old (6-7 years?)Lane Bryant sweater (here’s something similar), Lane Bryant Genius Fit Trouser Jeans, and Nike Sneaker Wedges (on sale!)

Photo Credits: Stephenie Valentino’

Makeup Looks Positivity Stories


2015 was a year of major changes for me. Outside of finally getting my septum pierced (a thing I’d been dreaming of for years!), I finally got my first tattoo.

I also decided to finally live life as queer. I don’t think I’ve ever shared that with y’all before, but there it is.

I still tingle when I write that. When I say that. Because it is and continues to be so affirming to live freely.

New Year’s eve, I decided to do one more modification. Something I had never done because I’d gotten so much push back. So much: “OMG, but whyyyyyyyy?!” Or “Maybe you should braid it instead to get a different look!”

I heard every reason known to humankind as to why I shouldn’t cut my hair, but I only needed one reason to go for it.

Cause I’m grown and I do what I want.πŸ˜€

Honestly, my hair has been such a source of contention when it came to professional life (“You have to be marketable to future employers and make sure to adhere to a non-threatening look for work!”) and personal life (see damn near everyone I’ve ever dated that has been more attached to my hair than I am). Even when I transitioned my hair to natural, instead of doing the big chop like I wanted I just transitioned my hair. My boyfriend at the time loved my hair. And I loved him. So I kept it.

Fast forward to December 22, 2015. I’m catching up with a good friend of mine, C. She sends me a pic of her hair, shaved on one side, and I think it’s so beautiful. I didn’t think I would ever be brave enough to rock that. I mean, everyone loves my hair, so I should keep it, right? Then C shocked me.

“As much as I love your hair, this haircut has changed my life. I bet it will change yours too.”


She gave me the info of her barber and I made an appointment the same night. I didn’t know if I would go through with it. I didn’t really tell folks I was cutting it, either. I did warn my coworkers the day before, and my friends S and C knew. Β I just didn’t want anyone to try and talk me out of it.

December 31, 2015: I did it.

I cut my hair.


I went from this….


To this!


Design and all!


Close up of the swirls. Haircut by Khane at Camera Ready Kutz.

If you would have told me I’d cut my hair (into a Mohawk, no less!) I’d have thought you’d lost your mind. When I tell you I feel free, though? As she buzzed my head every expectation attached to my hair fell away. I feel lighter.


Not just from what people expect when they look at a Black woman’s natural hair but from society’s rules. Yeah, it’s a bit cliche, but I look like the cool, queer, aunt. I happen to BE a cool, queer aunt. It’s awesome to be able to show outwardly the freedom I feel within.


Happy New Year.

Hair Makeup Looks Positivity

Happy New Year

I just want to take a moment to wish you all a happy new year! I hope you rang it in safely and that you have some time to recover (I’ll be at work by the time this post goes live.) Thanks so much for reading my work and all of your comments. I love all of you!


Oh, and I cut my hair Thursday. I’ll show y’all those results on Monday! Have a great weekend!


Blog Stuff

Fatshion Friday: Finishing Touches

Before we get into the meat and potatoes of this post, I’d like to wish all of you that celebrate a Merry Christmas. I hope that you’re spending it with people you love and that you’re in a loving environment.

For those of you that don’t do holidays: I hope that you’re able to spend the day doing things you love with people you love (or if you prefer solitude, that you’re able to indulge in some self-care), and that you’re someplace warm and safe.

And finally: to my sisters and brothers in retail: solidarity to those of you that are working today and I hope all of your customers are pleasant and that your workday goes quickly.πŸ™‚

I’ve gone over some clothing ideas and some shoe suggestions for New Year’s, and now I’m going to share my picks for the finishing touches. This is always my favorite part, because I definitely believe that more is more.

I know. Coco Chanel said to take one thing off before you leave the house, and I’m liable to put two more things on. I say if you love it, rock with it. Confidence has a way of making all types of fashion decisions look sexy.

On to the good stuff!

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Cowrie shells and glitter. From Rachel Stewart Jewelry.

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Shells and shine! From Rachel Stewart Jewelry.

I love a statement earring! I’ve discussed that I don’t really do well in unfamiliar situations with a lot of people, and that goes for going to clubs. My introvert self has a hard time sparking conversation, but I find that I’ll eagerly discuss what you’re wearing or what I’m wearing…hence these lovely earrings! They give interest to whatever you’re wearing and have people ask you where you got them from. And just like that…you’ve made a friend. A lot of her pieces tend to run on the larger side (which I love.) Some of her pieces I’m wearing below to get an idea of some of the sizing.


I’m such a fan of her work!

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Let me draw your eye downwards…From Lost Queens.

Necklaces are something I’m getting back into. I have eczema, and sometimes having things on my neck (including clothing, which is why I rarely wear button down shirts) irritates me. But I love the drama of this necklace! If you have on a low cut top and a good bra, this just helps to accent all of that lovely cleavage. I am always here for that!

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Arm candy in my fave shade of blue. From Lost Queens.

Bracelets! I love bangles because they jingle. I’m a fan of anything that glitters and makes noise when I move. I figure that’s a more subtle way to draw a little attention, especially when they’re mixed in with a bright color. Blue is bright and soothing, and I adore this set of bangles. Either wear them all on one arm or split them between both (which is how I’d style them.)

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Sexy fringe. From JustFab.

Fringe has been everywhere this season, from shoes to belts. Honestly, the quickest way to up your outfit’s chic quotient would be to add a touch of fringe, and this little clutch fits the bill. Bonus: black and white goes with just about everything so it’s a piece you’ll be able to use again and again!

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Wearable pop art! From Love Cortnie.

I am such a comic geek! The moment I saw this I was ready to change my outfit so I could buy this! Sadly, this doesn’t go with a blessed thing in my wardrobe (as much as I love yellow, I don’t look good in it), but I love the wow factor! This is another ice breaker piece–you’re sure to be asked where you got this from as you’re working the room in your fabulous outfit.

Next week: let’s talk makeup looks and fabulous products! Have a wonderful weekend!

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