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My name is Francis Smith; a natural haired fashionista, so naturally, I love afros and fashion. For most my life, I have always been attached to fashion in some way, shape or form. I love traveling, meeting new people and finding things in hair and fashion that are out of the norm.

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Finding My Voice and then some

Monday, October 30, 2017

A French Connection: Introducing a millennial generation to minimal style

There is something to be said about achieving great style with little effort. Contrary to popular belief, however, setting your sites as a minimalist through your closet can be easier said than done. The issues of repetition, level of thrill, versatility, and seasonal changes come up and for some, that terrifies you to no end!

With a few tips and tricks from yours truly who's learning to also embrace the minimal side of life, you too can start to embrace the less wild side of your closet-and even learn how to spice up the simpler things as well.

1. Start with the colors you want to use.

    Great thing about minimal (style), often associated with French culture and fashion, is that you can really pick a group of colors that compliment and embrace each other well and you're off to a great start. The world really is your oyster when you connect the colors together first. The easiest way to do this, is to start with a base neutral and wrap colors around that. For spring, aim for a cream or tan neutral color to work with; for summer, try out a pop absent color of white or a light pastel that blends well; for fall, aim for a darker cream or deep tan; and for winter, try your hand with the staple of colors- black or even deep/dark browns.

From there, connect these neutrals with the color wheel. Depending on the season, you can really embrace all the colors on the color wheel if you wanted to. Although many people talk of rules and "guidelines" to which colors can go with which season, with neutrals- the palette for each color is a little more matte and tamed; can also be a bit more pastel and washed out instead of extremely bright and bold.

2. Keep the styles and fabrics simple.

  Don't get wild with a super patterned look that takes away from the minimalism you're trying to achieve. Keep the blouse simple and white. Go with a simple boot leg denim or straight fit jean. Get yourself an a wool all one color coat. Don't overthink this part too much; this is where people essentially go wrong- they think that if they just go with one color but add in a mix of patterns and textures, they're good. The thing about minimizing a look is that you have to go ALL the way back to the basics. It's like you're taking square one of fashion and just aging it to fit your particular style needs.

3. Accessorize carefully.

   This is also the downfall of so many when it comes to being so minimal. They want to accessorize and take it to the next level after their clothes perfectly mimic a minimal inspired style. The best way to take your accessories up a notch is to pair golds and silvers, bundle accessories like bangles and necklaces- remember, layering is your friend even with accessories, and focus on simple designs in small quantities. Something gold with a simple swirl design or a larger necklace piece that just has any type of rock in a neutral color works.

(all images courtesy of Google)


Colors of fall: The introduction to deep colors and textured fabrics

So after a long awaited period, sitting around mostly waiting for fall to FINALLY get here so I could break out the boots and sweaters, fall has finally decided to come around-- slowly but surely. This means, it's time to bring back the colors that fall inspires! The mauve, the maroons, the deep and rich oranges, BLACK! Greens, grey, purple, dark and deep reds, and dark denim! I'm getting all giggly just thinking about it!

So, below, I've put together a very simple look that transitions into the best of fall; a simple sweater paired with light denim and a dark makeup look. Enjoy!

 Embracing stripes: Stripes are great in the spring and can really wake up a look. In the fall and winter though, its the best and easiest way to add a bit of a mix to your already dark and simple look. As a transitional look through the seasons, it can really tie an entire outfit together without being out of place. Plus, I don't know why, but thicker stripes just seem to work for the winter. 

Love the dark side: This is the fun part about fall; the dark colors come out and they make the best appearances ever! In spring, they can seem out of place, but when transitioning seasons they can be just the stand out item you need to take your look to the next level. Especially in the make up; the dark make up vibe is a strong and bold move to welcome fall.

 (Ok, I also like this picture because of this lovable pup Zola. She's awesome and I wanted the entire world to know it). 

Light denim in the fall usually is a no-go for many people. Yet if paired properly with dark colors and accessories, it can work. This is most true when still going from late spring to early fall. The light colors still bring out the environment that hasn't quite changed around you yet, and eases the color tension that dark colors sometimes bring to the table if done overbearingly. 


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Recognizing & connecting: Life update

Oh hello :)

As you all could've guessed, I have been MIA for quite some time. For the past couple of months, I have kind of been to myself and away from doing too much. The main reason for my absence was because of my schedule; I took on a new job in event planning (no more retail for this girl!) and man, have the events been coming in! I love it, don't get me wrong, but it definitely keeps me on my toes and super busy. As of recently, I am just now returning to work after about 4-5 days-- I got injured at work falling down a flight of steps (Yep. A flight of steps took me out. I would be the one to get hurt by STEPS). So this added to my delay in writing. Although I did have an obligation to write for other freelance jobs I took on, I neglected my own work.

Another part of my absence is that I mentally and emotionally fell off from my work, and I honestly didn't know how to explain this to you guys. It's not an easy thing to tell others when you've fallen off the horse in something you love, especially when it means that you won't be providing content and letting down others; including your own expectations. Yet, after speaking with close friends who also write, it was clear that I needed to take time from my work, recognize and acknowledge what was really going on with myself mentally and emotionally, and create a plan for myself to get back on track. Unfortunately with emotions and anything involving mental situations, you can't really pin point a particular time or date when you're "better".

So, I took the time to assess my life and what I was feeling, went through a couple lows (quite a few) and supportive highs, and here I am getting back on the horse. I've come to terms that I may have to take a number of breaks in life to refresh myself and take on problems that come up, as well as take a mental break from the craziness of life. If I don't, I end up losing myself in mindless day-to-day things and forget the importance of who I am. I would then forget the importance of getting back to what I love. Forget this, and I would never get back on the horse.

So, why tell you all this? Why explain my life update so personally?

Because I'm positive that I'm not the only one who deals with this; the only one who deals with highs and lows frequently, constantly getting anxious over things that normally put you at ease, second guessing everything, and feeling overwhelmed by things that once never even bothered you. I want to let you know that it's OK. It's alright to feel like this and that it's OK to walk away for a bit to get you back on track again. Anyone who tells you otherwise clearly cares nothing for your well-being or value you. As a writer, one easily gets writer's block. But as a person, one can just as easily get caught up with life and lose themselves from the words they seek. Recognize the issues plaguing your mind, acknowledge their presence and find ways to combat them- support from friends and family, distracting yourself with simple things such as listening to music and taking a dance break, cooking, running or some form of working out, going out for walks or just a long drive, etc.

I'm glad to be back, and I'm ready to bring you guys some great content! Super glad you've stuck with me through it all too :)

Friday, July 28, 2017

The essential nude look

Something that I've wanted to dab into for awhile now, is playing with nude colors. Now for some, this can be amazing and super easy. However, if you're like me, its extremely difficult to pull off--you want to right nude tones and perfect glow without looking like a gel bodied blob with eyebrows and eyeliner on.

So, after working at it a bit, I found the perfect balance for my nude/skin toned looks I do these days; maybe these tips and ideas will help you in the time to come!

I find it best to work with a nude look during the day; the great thing about this look is that its a super basic yet really well put together look that doesn't require much of your time-just nude and skin toned makeup and outfit pieces. Even better, the nude look stands out more and gets more recognition, in my opinion, during the day when its more noticeable what you've achieved. Now don't get me wrong, when done right at night it can be devastating to the eye in the best possible way (more like "I'm looking so good, I didn't even try" kind of way), but to me its easier to work with during the day.

Even cooler than that, a lot of people don't realize that spring and summer can also inspire nude looks as well. This allows any outfits of stand out colors to really shine.

So how do I achieve this balanced look?

1. Find THE RIGHT SHADE. So many times I see a woman going with nude tones for her face or trying one color in her outfit to rock, and it comes across as overwhelming and abrasive. Make sure the shade you choose for your face, outfits, accessories, etc is the right one that fits you-try some out and really do your research on some great skin toned products (especially when it comes to make up).

2. It's all a balancing act. When you don't balance out nude with black, the ULTIMATE essential, (or even another nude color not of your own shade) the look can just fall apart with you either blending in standing out in the worst possible way. Balance nudes with other neutrals and skin tone colors. You'll be surprised how awesome that works.

3. Don't be afraid to bold up a nude; in spring the funnest way to really make nude looks pop is if you add color. You heard that right, add color and really make that a stand out piece with your nude look. Bold it up with a strong shoe or accessories, or even a great pant that compliments your nude tones, and you're ready to stand out in the best way possible!

Nude doesn't have to be hard if we just learn to embrace our basic tones and really rev' them up once in awhile. Remember, those colors, tones and hues need love too!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

H&M is making moves in D.C.; why you need to take notice

     There isn't a person around in DC who couldn't tell you about H&M. The one stop shop for all things great fitting and mostly basic, the retail chain is well-known in the D.C. area. With here and there stand out looks that occasionally rock the market and sell out fast, and amazing collabs that encourage early morning lines and releases to the public,

**(fun side note: used to work right beside a H&M; the one on F Street NW--when they re-opened and launched the KENZO collab, you would've thought that downtown D.C. had died and gone to style heaven. The looks were amazing and the vibe in H&M was fun, inviting and vibrant; contrary to the relaxed chilled out nature they extrude)

                                                                                             one is left to think, what could possibly be left for H&M and how do they increase their market in D.C. while continuing to build their brand in such a politically branded city? Most people would say 'open more stores and boost advertising'. While true and effective to say the least, H&M realized what most retail savvy people do: this can only take a brand so far. Luckily, H&M had an answer to this.

A lot of people didn't know that H&M had sister brands/companies that they had launched. Yep, you heard that correctly. H&M has 2 other women driven brands that they've concocted to boost sales and increase their target markets to all types of females. From the fun eclectic soul, to the young and carefree "whatever trend is in" girl, to the career driven woman focused on growth, H&M has officially introduced something for everyone! Below are the 2 latest brands from H&M to join the D.C. retail family, both located in Georgetown!

    & Other Stories: the chic, eclectic little sister of H&M, this small boutique shop is anything but the ordinary; with fun and vibrant prints paired with the everyday basics that one would normally find at their parent brand H&M, this store recently made its debut into the D.C. scene in Georgetown this past February. Although open for almost half a year now, still a fairly new store to check out and make a point to find some great bold pieces.

     It seems as if H&M is making it their mission to venture into the political world of D.C. and make it more fashion forward, due to the fact that they've opened up another of their sister stores, Cos. Opened in March, Cos is the more sophisticated, neutral toned side that H&M has to offer. If the political heads in D.C. needed a money conscience place to shop, this would be it. With basics and silhouettes for set older crowd, Cos brings a level of style and class that H&M's market could be missing in D.C.


Monday, July 3, 2017

Natural hair summer inspiration


   So, summer is here, and as usual, I've become bored with my hair. Although its a deep plum/fair mixture of brown and black since the sun continues to hit it, this was done closer to the winter going into spring. Like most natural haired women out there, you start to get tired of the same old curly ball of hair on top of your head. The dark color of your hair can feel extremely dissatisfying and uninspiring. If this is you right now, no worries-- I've dropped a few looks below for you all to get inspired and get working on some amazing looks for your natural hair this summer! Happy hair, everyone!

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