For some of you that have been following me for some time, you know I pioneered the chain Mask Strap holder. Having launched a collection of multi-use chains a few years ago, it’s been such an incredible journey from journalist to entrepreneur. Also for anyone looking for added inspo on how to use my mask straps:
While nothing about this time has been easy, your support has helped me in ways that I don’t think I’d otherwise be able to do all of this as a 1 woman show.
The journey has really made me appreciate the struggles of small business’ and why it’s so important we support them. Especially in today’s climate. When it comes to the Pretty Connected Shop, I’m currently my own pr, marketing person, and warehouse. I pack all of the orders, I am the web master, social media manager, advertiser, photographer, product developer and just about every other hat you can imagine. And I’m not alone, small business’ everywhere are hustling hard to get noticed, so if you love them, show them some love. Like their posts, share them to your stories, tell your friends… send them a DM with a quick note or comment about how you love them.
It’s the moment most of us have been waiting for. After 3+ months, we can finally say goodbye to our gray hairs, our split ends and remember what we looked like in the old normal. For us in NYC, this was the week! I went to see Carlos Lopez at West Vibe, a gem in Hell’s Kitchen in NYC. He took me from Quarantine Lara to pre-Quarantine Lara in a few hours. Just look at that before and after, I’m literally a new woman. I will not miss my DIY hair cuts.
For anyone looking to book an appointment here are a few tips.
Do a virtual consultation, less is more when it comes to the amount of time you spend in salon.
Ask if they accept Venmo for tips.
Make sure a full PPE staff uniform will be worn at the salon you go to.
Try to get the first appointment of the day, less bodies before you = less risk. That’s one of my general hacks, but you can also ask for a less busy time but it’s good to have an understanding of what you’re walking into — how many active stations does the salon have, how many booking they are taking at a time…
Make sure the salon is offering plexiglass dividers or some type of separation policy.
Make sure to read/ask their policies in advance of going in and what you need to know.
I don’t recommend considering any salon that isn’t requiring/enforcing masks and taking all guests temperatures upon arrival.
Make sure each station and tools will be sterilized in between each and every client.
Lastly, wear a disposable or mask you don’t mind ruining a bit if you’re doing color. It’s inevitable you might get a little dye on it if you’re getting your hair colored.
For anyone wanting to visit my colorist, ask for Carlos Lopez at West Vibe, 451 West 46th Street btw 9th and 10th ave. Set up a virtual consultation in advance!
The NewBeauty July TestTube box is here and I’m so excited to share it with you! As some of you know I recently joined the NewBeauty team as a Guest Editor, and have been helping curate their beauty subscription service, TestTube. TestTube is the original, editor curated beauty box and features 8 full + travel size beauty products valued at $180+ for $29.95! The July box is epic and valued at $267!!!!!!!!!!!
I’m so excited to announce I’m partnering with my friend Yazmin Ramos, Emmy nominated producer of The Wendy Williams Show and founder of Spicy Christians Clothing Brand. We’ll be collaborating to sell her “This Too Shall Pass” Face Mask with my Pretty Connected Mask Chain. 15% of all net proceeds from my site will be donated to Black Girl Ventures, which creates access to capital for black/brown women founders. Supporting small business’ is something important to both of us and as two female founders who have had to face a lot of obstacles we want to give back and create more opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs.
Yazmin has been an amazing supporter of Pretty Connected accessories line, putting my multi-use chains on The Wendy Williams show several times. Last year, when she decided to launch her clothing line she asked if I would help mentor her on the ins and outs of starting an online store. We sat for hours going through Shopify and tips and tricks when it came to packaging, inventory and setting up a shop. She is one of the most ambitious women and quickest learners I’ve ever met.
This is not Yazmin and my first collaboration. I co-founded the non-profit, Share Your Beauty, which collects new beauty products from brands, magazines, editors, influencers and beyond and distributes them to women shelters and other organizations in need. Yazmin launched the non-profit, Polished Angels, which hosts regular beauty events at nursing homes and offers complimentary manicure, hair and beauty services to spread joy to the elderly. On several accounts, I had my program donate beauty products and raffle items for her events and have volunteered with her to paint nails for the elderly.
Finding new ways to work together and to be in a network of women who are committed to positivity, friendship and doing good in the world is probably one of my biggest joys.
Meet my friend Makeda Saggau-Sackey, or glamazondiaries.com. She’s one of the most amazing creators and photographers, and a longtime friend to me and my brand. We’ve hosted events together, done the Women’s March and countless collaborations. She was one of the first influencers to support my Pretty Connected accessories line, rocking both my chain straps and boss rings when we first launched and so graciously agreed to be one of my models for my mask chains. She has incredible style and is a great Instagram follow @glamazondiaries. She wrote this great post introducing herself.
We’ve been through a lot in our almost 10 years as friends and more so then “ally’s”, a word that is being used a lot, we’re family. Our support has always been a two way street and when I think of words like equality, that a great way to look at our friendship, as equals. We’ve created opportunities for each other, supported each other and her wins are my wins and vice versa. We are stronger together.
With a heavy heart, I write this blog post. Like many of you I feel an overwhelming weight of sadness over the state of our country. I’m sad that it’s 2020 and racism still exists. I’m sad that we’re in a pandemic, and families are struggling, kids are out of school, hunger relief programs need our support, small business are going under and our economy is at the brink of collapsing, the planet is deteriorating and we are only now having a serious conversation around Black Lives Matter and that police brutality is not okay. So here’s a quick list:
The other note I’ll make is to ask your black friends questions. The amount of fear to speak up out of the potential to be attacked is breeding silence. So ask questions. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to one of your friend then Instagram is an amazing tool as well, DM someone you admire in the black community. Open up. Say something along the lines of I admire your you and your posts, I’m trying to have more conversations with my community, is this statement okay? Or I don’t understand x, y, z can you help explain it to me, I’m working to educate myself and be a bigger ally.
Okay beauty lovers, as some of you know I recently joined the NewBeauty team and have been helping curate their beauty subscription service, TestTube. TestTube is the original beauty box and features 8 full size beauty products for $29.95.
TestTube comes out every other month (6 tubes/year). Each box is $29.95 (or you can subscribe for 1 year for $149.75). It features 8 full and travel size beauty products and has a minimum value of $180+. The May Tube is valued at $232!
I’ve been a long time Fornasetti admirer. That signature face, the black and white with a pop of red lips always caught my eye. The brand launched their latest candle as part of the Fornasetti Star Lina collection (300g size, $215). The range of candles are available on Olivela.com with 20% off all proceeds going to Save the Children.
Bearing the enigmatic face of Piero Fornasettie’s muse Lina Cavalieri, She was an internationally recognized artist who lived at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, who was known as ‘the most beautiful woman in the world.’ While Piero never met Lina, he considered her face the quintessential image of classical beauty and her face has since become a signature Fornasetti centerpiece.
During quarantine, my final shoot came out with Bella Magazine for their Influencer Issue. To be included online and in their print issue with such an incredible roster of entrepreneurs, designers and influencers and get to work with my friends at Caravan Stylist Studio at The Gregory Hotel feels like a dream now. The Bella glam team Lauren Vena (@makeupartist_lv) for makeup) and Jennifer Capella (@i_am_jennmichelle for hair) made me feel so on point. I loved my one sided braided hair and incredible makeup job that made me feel glam but still like myself. Photographed by Jessica Cirz (@jessicacirzphotography) outside the Gregory Hotel.
Outfit: C/MEO Collective top, Rag & Bone pants, Lagos Caviar Apple Watch, Chanel bag belt c/o What Goes Around, Roxanne Assoulin bracelets.