Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Good Bye Summer | Summer 2014 LookBook

I will always remember Summer 2014!  It was filled with so much excitement and laughter.  I learned a lot about myself and quantum mechanics [Ph.D Class :-( lol]

Before Summer began I had all these big aspirations for my blog… Publish a new blog every week… But as you see… Life got in the way… Traveling here, studying for this exam, going to this party… It was very rare that I even had time to sit down at my computer for more than 20 minutes other than when I was studying.

If you follow me on Instagram (tameradionne), then you know I recently purchased a Canon EOS T5i. It was definitely an investment worth making! Although I wasn't able to push out a new post every week, I was able to take pictures at a lot of the events I went to this year.  So I decided to make this a Summer 2014 LookBook BlogPost.  Hope you enjoy!

Vacationing in Panama City Beach, Florida
Crop Top: Forever 21, Kimono: H&M, Shorts: GiTi Boutique

Attending a Banquet in Arlington, Va
Shoes: Steve Madden Jumpsuit: Walmart (Tina Knowles Collection) for $5 no lie! 

Family Reunion Picnic in Chicago, Il
Dress: Asos, Shoes: Forever21, Kimono: H&M

Summer Sun, Panama City Beach
Swimsuit: Monif C. Swimwear

Summer Sun, Panama City Beach
Swimsuit: Walmart Kimono: H&M

Natural Hair Freedom, All White Party
Atlanta, Ga

Good Bye Summer 2014!!!! 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

My Decision to Long Term Transition | Big Chop

I was addicted to the creamy crack.  Well... maybe it wasn't an addiction, but it was definitely something I thought would be a part of my life forever.... I mean I'd been getting them since I was 5.... We are creatures of habit and continue to do what we're taught... It was something I had gotten used to... like brushing my teeth everyday….  Straight hair had just become a part of who I was…

I remember the "jump start" of the natural hair movement… It was sometime in between my junior/senior year of college… You know the free spirit Denise Huxtable HBCU experience that all females try to capture… We want to find ourselves… Maybe switch up our wardrobe… Chop our hair off… Take a few trips to Africa… Yes… I was Denise personified, but I just didn't want to chop off my hair…

I was traumatized at the touch of that first centimeter of "nappy hair" and could not wait to melt that kink away… Every 4-6 weeks I sat in my beautician's chair faithfully… You see, I had what everybody would call "good hair" even relaxed… My roller wraps were EVERYTHING… Curls would fall in place as I gently unwrapped my hair every morning… Occasionally I got the, "Is that a wig" question… You see I had no desire to stop getting relaxers… Everybody loved my hair and so did I…

Fast forward to the age of YouTube gurus… I started following the relaxed hair journeys of KISSseventysevenulovemegzTheHappyHairShow, and prettywitty77.  If you've visited any of these girls channels you would know that all of these ladies have achieved waist length relaxed hair… And that was my new desire… I'd always had healthy, relaxed hair… But I never could get it to grown past shoulder length (maybe bc my beautician deceived me into trimming my ends every time I got a relaxer… but that's another story lol)  What I gathered after watching countless videos from them?  In order to achieve waist length hair you have to 1. Stretch Relaxers and 2. Incorporate protective styles into your regimen…. I was on a mission and I had a plan… Journey to waist length hair… I even started a pinterest board to track my journey Relaxed with a Natural State of Mind 

With a plan in mind, I ran to my local Whole Foods to buy all the natural oils and butters I believed would help me on my journey… The first two months were the hardest… I remember feeling that new growth and thinking, Lawd… How am I gonna make it???? But after month 3 it got easier… This is where my plan began to shift… I started to realize that my "nappy new growth" was in fact not nappy but manageable…

The next day, after the above picture was taken, I went and got a relaxer…. See I was addicted… Even after people commented on my picture telling me I didn't need a relaxer, I still longed for my creamy crack.  Once I hopped out the chair I literally whipped my hair back and forth… It felt so nice and silky… but there was one problem… I sort of missed the thick curly new growth I'd grown accustomed to over the past 3 months and my hair was short!  I'd put all this effort into growing my hair for my ends to disappear after getting a relaxer… Yep! I was done…

My first instinct was to never big chop… Remember, I loved my hair… There was nothing wrong with it… So I set forth a journey to long term transition for two years… I figured I'd be ready to cut my hair by then…

The longest part of long term transitioning was waiting… You wanted your long, curly tresses NOW!  To keep my hands and mind off my hair I did a lot of braids, twist and weaves…. I can say with confidence that 12 out of the 16 months I transitioned my hair was in some sort of protective style….

Yarn Twist, Crochet Braids with Curly Hair and Crochet Braids with Afro Puff Twist
Custom Made Wig, Braids, Marley Twist 
Twist and braid outs and flexi rod sets were a big fail during the beginning of my transition…. Once majority of my new growth took over (around month 14) I was able to start wearing my hair out more often… This is what brought along my Twist and Curl mini video…

It was after that video that I realized, I AM READY TO CHOP!  Detangling my hair had gotten too complicated and I was tired of seeing those raggedy ends amongst my luscious curls…. But the hardest part to actually getting the cut was finding somebody you'd trust to do it… I talk to many popular natural hair studios in Atlanta while trying to shop around for the best person for the job… But I still was a little weary… Then it dawned on me… I was going to a family reunion at the end of June and I have a cousin who is a professional stylist… The appointment was made!  Check out the video below….

It's been a month since I've officially become 100% natural… This may sound cliche but it really is one of the best decisions I have made.  Need help on your transitioning journey? Don't hesitate to contact me for tips!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

I Double D.A.R.E You!

I hesitated about actually making a blog post about this… Maybe for fear it might turn into one of those EliteDaily or BuzzFeed Posts like, "25 Things I Wish I Would've Known Before…"  Don't get me wrong… I love those post… Its actually cool to find out that you're on track with the rest of the world (not sure if this is where we want to be) but you catch my drift…

Lately my post have been all about fashion… I get it… People love fashion…That's probably the only reason people view my posts… I haven't quite figured out yet how many of you actually read what I say lol… I just want to share some things that I've learned this year... But don't worry… a few fashion pics will be included below…

I always have so much to say when I start writing blog post…  Most times my thoughts get all jumbled up and its hard to eloquently express what I’m trying to convey…. For this reason, I have asked my friend Khirsten to cowrite this blog entry with me…  She is one of my closest friends from college.  She recently graduated from the University of Alabama where she received her Masters of Arts in English. Roll Tide!! In the fall of 2014, she will begin doctoral studies in English at the University of Louisville.  

Lately we have been having many conversations about  love, dating, and the ups and downs that they both bring.  Many of our conversations always end with her telling me… let go.. have fun… enjoy life…
This time I finally decided to take her advice and this is what we have discovered....

1. DARE to make mistakes

My mom always tells me to learn from the mistakes of others... I mean... Yes... It's sounds perfectly right... If you see somebody accidentally walk into a puddle you try your best to avoid the same puddle.... Well I'm here to tell you to make a big SPLASH and  jump in the puddle...  I've always been scared to try new things and live a little because I'm always scared of the consequences... However, I have found that making a few mistakes has actually helped to prepare me to handle tougher challenges.  When faced with difficulties, I remember lessons learned from mistakes. Not only am I able to lower the chances of repeating the same behaviors, I also gain a better sense of myself and those around me through observations and interactions.  These mistakes become essential to my understanding of myself and my growth as an individual.

2. DARE to love yourself

We always hear it… You have to love yourself before somebody else can love you…  But that phrase is actually true… Since I’ve started my self-love journey, I’ve learned that I'm tied up in myself... I love myself and that's enough.

When I moved to Alabama two years ago, I realized that I had been avoiding so many things,  people, and problems in my life.  It was so easy to brush things off because I was so consumed with other things prior to moving and living alone.  My love and attention to school and social activities often caused me to ignore things that were seriously affecting and influencing me. So, I took a challenge to face myself and learn to love all of me. Everyday, for 30 days, I sat in the mirror and wrote. No specific time, no specific topic...just writing about myself, with myself, for myself. To some people, this exercise may sound extremely vain, or even silly, but the things I saw and learned truly helped me to better love myself. In turn, my friendships, relationships, work, and other areas of my life have all been enhanced. I credit it to those days of search within and facing myself as an attempt to love myself a little more. I complete this exercise a couple times a year now, and I love what happens in those moments of reflection.

3. DARE to let some people go!

I’ve held on way too long to many relationships because I did not want to hurt the other person.  I was sparing their heartache (or so I thought) at the cost of my happiness.  Experience has shown me that it’s ok if you don't feel as strongly for somebody over time as you did in the beginning... Unfortunately, that's part of growing up and finding out more about yourself...  You can't force your new self to love the person your old self fell in love with...daring to let some people go allows room for positive and fruitful relationships to exist.  Holding on when you have realized that interactions aren’t beneficial to you can ultimately cause more problems...and ain’t nobody got time for that!

4. DARE to ask

Assumptions are dangerous things to make... Recently, I have found myself asking a lot of questions... If I'm confused/concerned about something somebody says, instead of jumping to the worst conclusion, I ask them to help me better understand what they were trying to say... This has helped tremendously in building honest and open relationships with people... But be mindful in how you ask... You can't rush anybody into opening up about something they don't want to... Make it clear that you ask because you care... Not just to be nosey... Sincerity is received in all things...

5. DARE to date

It seems that since I’ve graduated from college, everyone close to me is either embarking on serious relationships, getting engaged, or starting their family. Me...I’m just getting degrees  lol. Seriously, in the midst of all the congratulations and observations via social networks, it’s easy to find myself wondering just when my happily ever after will come. During those times, I DARE to date. Dating is fun, but it is WORK! Not the typical work like a 9 to 5 office job, writing/grading papers, it’s emotional and physical work.  Dating interactions can be as sweet as a Georgia peach and as smooth as Tennessee whiskey; but  they can also be as bitter as an Alabama football loss and as rough as the back roads of Mississippi.  No matter what each dating situation may bring, taking that daring step to allow yourself to meet and become acquainted with new suitors proves to not only be beneficial to your future, but it is also beneficial to learning more about yourself--your likes and dislikes, your desires, your fears, etc. So, no matter how daunting it may seem to find that extra time to squeeze in a dinner date or happy hour meet-up, take a chance and dare to date!

6. DARE to try...and try again

Stepping out and daring to date will lead to many success and probably more defeats.  Sucks, I know, but it’s true.  The way I get over this ugly truth is by accepting that if it was supposed to work with every person I met, I probably wouldn’t be single right now.  With that in mind, daring to try...and try again has become a constant for me this year.  I’ll be the first to admit that the courage that it takes to try is relatively simple for me. I believe I’m pretty ambitious, so stepping out there is actually pretty exciting. BUT trying again after a defeat, is not that easy.  The self-doubt, the questions, the fear, and so many other factors began to effect me in ways that I never imagined.  This year has challenged me to face those doubts, fears, and questions and try again. Sometimes the outcome still was not what I wanted, but I was proud of myself. I saw that I had just a little more inside of me to give, a little more to learn, and so much more room to grow.

7. DARE to write
It’s not uncommon to hear people say that they hate writing or describe it as a difficult task.  Over the past couple years, I have found a new love and appreciation for writing.  This attention is due in part to the decision I made to pursue studies that afford me to teach composition to college students. It can also be attributed to the peace that I feel when I dare to write.  There are so many things that we deal with daily.  For me, writing has become a place of peace where I explore my thoughts and desires. Sometimes they can be as trivial as what color nail polish I am considering wearing with my next outfit, or as captivating as my thoughts about my current love interest. One of my dearest advisors explained it to me this way: “You think writing is hard? It most certainly is NOT! You’re writing all the time. When you think of a new thought, listen to a song, watch a movie, or have an engaging conversation. There are so many wonderful things going on in your mind. The work is sitting down, dumping that information out, and putting the pieces together.” Those words keep me motivated to write.  In fact, co-authoring this post has inspired me to give my blog some much needed attention.  So, let’s share our stories, our thoughts, and our interests. Afterall, Dr. Maya Angelou said it best, “We are more alike, my friends, than unalike.” Dare to write!

I Double D.A.R.E You! 

Shirt: Forever21 Jeans: Giti Boutique Shoes: ASOS 

Enjoyed this blog? Let us know! Check out +Khirsten L Echols at 1 Brown Girl's Milestones

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Go Fourth and Fashion!

Fourth of July is right around the corner… and believe it or not, the Fourth is one of my favorite holidays … Not only because of the good food, spending time with family, and watching fireworks, but because I get to plan my Fourth of July outfit…There's just something very patriotic in planning an outfit for that day…  Take a look at all my social media feeds and you will find that on the Fourth I am smiling and sporting my red, white and blue…

Instead of buying something new this year, I decided to look in my closet and do a little matching.  The outfit below has been in my closet for at least a year… The red and blue printed pants came from Old Navy, while the blue peplum top came from Forever21.  Because these items are so old it was hard to find the direct link to them… But don't worry… I've included some looks that you can find right now for some last minute Fourth of July fashion ideas…

Still in need of an outfit for the Fourth? Check out these sites below. 

A Fashion to Figure Fourth

Fourth of July

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Sitting on Top of the World

During the summer we are always on the go... Heading to this BBQ, that festival, this picnic, that party... I think you pretty much get it... Summer is all about fun and food, but let's not forget about fashion!  

I've always lived outside the city in the suburbs.  While living in Mississippi this wasn't a problem... A 15 mile drive only took you 15 minutes... Moving to Atlanta, however, changed my life... Traffic, traffic, traffic... This small town girl just could not get used to a 15 mile drive turning into an hour long road trip.  For the first 6 months I was literally late to everything...  I even arrived to my own pinning ceremony an hour late because I was stuck in traffic...

Fast forward... I've been living here for two years and I think I've finally gotten a hang of traffic... I know when and when not to leave my house lol... But most of all I've learned how to pack for a day.. Yes really... Everyday before I leave my house I pack a bag for the day...  It usually includes some workout clothes, pjs and an outfit for the next day... You just never know...  Especially after Snow Apocalypse '14 -- Yes I survived after being stranded... 

Just a little background...  
I live 33 miles north of Downtown Atlanta (according to Siri it would take me 51 minutes to get to downtown); my school is 23 miles from where I live (it takes 48 minutes to get to my school); however, my school is only 13 miles/25 minutes away from downtown... 

I spend most of my day at school... After classes there's always that one friend that wants to go somewhere downtown... But wait... I can't just rush home and change my outfit...  That's when I finally got the hang of Day to Night looks.. I always went places in my "school clothes" because I just refused to drive all the way back home and then head back downtown... In case you guys haven't checked... Gas is a little too high... and AINT NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT!! 

Since I've moved to Atlanta and now that I'm in professional school my wardrobe has totally changed... I find myself only buying clothes that are functional to my lifestyle... Can I wear it to school?  How can I transform it in case a friend wants to go out to dinner or to a party after class?  The easiest transformation pieces for me are skirts and dresses...  I always find myself taking a dress and pulling a skirt over it... Check out this Day to Night look I pulled off...  

This first look is perfect for brunch with friends or a BBQ with coworkers 

Have a date planned after that BBQ?  Slip off the skirt to show a more fitted dress perfect for any date! 

Dress from Target, Shoes from ASOS 

Skirt from Ross
Pictures were taken on the Jackson Street Bridge, Atlanta, Ga 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Stepping Out

Tis the season for Crop Tops + Florals…. So I've heard…

Summer Fashion is all about being bold and stepping out in tiny shorts, floral prints, tank/halter/crop tops, and short dresses.  Now I'm a fan of summer fashion,  but I've always played it safe with more "covered" approaches of summer fashion -- maxi dresses, long flowy skirts and kimonos.  Let's just say I've always been a little self conscious about certain things on my body -- especially my arms (I still don't think I'm ready to rock a tank).  Just recently a friend and I had a conversation about stepping out of our comfort zone.  As creatures of habit its so easy to get stuck into not doing something just because we've never tried it.  It reminded me of a blog post I read a while ago from For Colored Gurls.  If you've been following me since the beginning you know that my sole purpose for creating this blog was to be an inspiration to others.  The other day while watching +Chante' Burkett and +Kelly Augustine +Size Tag Video, Chante answered that her biggest pet peeve in the plus size community was women who claimed to be confident and an inspiration to other plus size women while opting to cover their bellies with oversized purses in every shoot.  After reflecting on what she said, I totally had to agree.  How can I be an inspiration to you guys and tell you to love your body when I choose to hide certain things about my body…. So guys… I stepped out!

I found this gorgeous floral two piece crop top set from Stacked Apparel

Shoes: Urban Outfitters Purse: Michael Kors 

Everything you ever wanted is one step out of your comfort zone. 

Looking to find a matching crop set of your own? Check out +Alissa Wilson and her blog +Stylish Curves where she tells you were to get the latest Two Piece Crop Top Set 


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Plus Size In The City

So we all know that Carrie Bradshaw started it all - the tutu moment we all remember!  I absolutely loved watching Sex in the City just to see what Sarah Jessica Parker would wear next... That was the first time I thought about getting a tutu...  I still remember that gorgeous mint tulle skirt she wore while in Paris right before Big told her she was... The One... but she can get away with anything...right?  I mean she's so tiny and petite so everything is cute on her...  Plus, I couldn't dare put on a skirt that would make me look any bigger than I was... 

Fast forward a few years after that movie and the TuTu Trend jumped off... Everybody was wearing one... Still I didn't feel comfortable getting one... What grown woman would wear a tutu? But then life was received and I starting seeing plus size bloggers I admire wearing one...  +gabifresh,  +Garnerstyle,  
+NaturallyFashionable,  +Chardline Faiteau+Jay Miranda  and +CeCe Olisa.  I knew the time had come... I buckled down and started looking for a tutu.  I surfed all over the web... The tutus I found were at least $100... I'm not sure about ya'lls coins... but mine just didn't agree with paying that much for a skirt I would probably wear once.... I had given up... A year later while getting my daily dose of IG, I ran across a picture of my prophyte promoting her new business Krafty Kreations.  She specializes in designing Krafty Kreations including wreaths for any occasion, tutus, home accent pieces, etc. Not only were her tutus AMAZING, but I also paid under half the cost of tutu's I was finding online.  If you like my tutu definitely contact her and place an order  Here's a look at my tutu and some other tutus she has created… 

So, I finally have my tutu and I'm stuck... How do I wear it? I researched a million Pinterest sites just to find how other people were pairing theres... Nothing seemed to catch my eye.  Then one day while looking for a sweatshirt to wear for Mardi Gras, I stumbled across the site CustomPlus.  I'd fallen in love with the Beyonce "Surfboard" sweat shirt only to get it and it was a BIG BUST!!!  The "S" and "D" literally stretched to underneath my armpits... I was completely done with the site... But before I closed out, I decided to give it one more try and bought the +Size tshirt thinking it would go great with my new tutu... As soon as it came in I tried it on with the skirt and ding ding ding, WE HAVE A WINNER.  I paired the outfit with shoes from ASOS.  Check out my outfit below and let me know what you think.   

It was my photographer's idea to get balloons… I think it adds a nice romantic touch to the photos!! 


Like my hair in the photos? Check out this brief video to get an idea of my Twist and Curl for transitioning hair!