Monday, July 29, 2013

Columbus or Bust!

My Lil Lovebird and I are preparing to head to my hometown Columbus, Ohio today. It's been a little over a year since we've been and two years since we went to the Ohio State Fair and I'm SO excited to take her now that she's nearly 3 years old. I have fond memories of the fair as a child, and I'm excited to continue the tradition with Nia!
Enjoying Ohio corn//first glimpse of the epic butter cow
It is bittersweet though because we are leaving Mr. Lovebird behind and this past weekend we packed a lot in to make up for this. Nia woke up this morning asking for him and my heart sank a little. I know she'll have a blast though visiting family and our return trip Thursday will come quickly.

We had a fun-filled weekend . . .

We met up with my friend Kristen at the Jersey Shore

Pogopalooza 2013 with GoGo squeeZ

My daughter wants to live at GoGo squeeZ 's Mobile Playground!
Dim sum//hula hooping//silliness with "The Humans"

See you soon Daddy!
Have you flown solo with your little one before? (We got a little practice on Amtrak last week and Nia did very well - I do prefer the train to air travel!)

Friday, July 26, 2013

Lovebirds' Summer Beauty Review: BB Cream Comparison Vlog

Has it cooled down where you live? It definitely has here, and I'm so thankful especially since my skin looks like an oil spill happened when the weather heats up (speaking of hot check out this hilarious NSF rant about the recent heat wave)!

Anyway, today I'm reviewing Garnier's BB Cream which also promises to help reduce shine, and I compare it to the other BB creams I've tried as well as show you how I do my "under 5-minute face." 

Products mentioned in this vlog review:

clockwise l to r: 1//2//3//4//5//6//7//8

Do you have a favorite BB cream or are you still skeptical? 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Let's Talk Conferences: S.H.E. Summit, NExT Festival and Blogging While Brown

Today kicks off the biggest blogging conference of the year, and it's crazy, but I nearly feel conferenced out! After attending both BlogHer and Blogalicious last year I was on the fence about BlogHer this year, but I knew that attending Blogalicious '13 was a MUST. Now coming off our mini-trip to Newport earlier this week and leaving for my hometown of Columbus for a few days this Monday (hooray for the Ohio State Fair!) I don't know what I was originally thinking that I'd be able to fit BlogHer into the mix and now especially with my involvement with GoGo squeeZ's big event this weekend - to say there's a lot going on is an understatement!

I had mentioned attending Claudia Chan's S.H.E. Summit, NExT Festival as well as Blogging While Brown last month - all dynamic experiences - and I'm excited to finally share them with you! What's so great about social media (including the often abhorred hashtags) is that you can get an inside look from the comfort of your home or wherever you may be. 

Here we go with the top 5 learnings from each of the conferences:

NExT Festival*

The Vibe: C-level execs who were super approachable (I loved how I could walk right up after a panel and engage in a conversation without their handlers whisking them away!), tech-entrepreneur focus set in Willamsburg, Brooklyn at the charming Wythe Hotel (definitely the hispter scene!)

The Knowledge:
  1. The importance of storytelling - Warby Parker's CEO David Gilboa shared how keeping a common theme throughout his company's partnerships with other brands and initiatives have been able to create better outcomes; rather it be for your own start-up or your own self as a brand always think of the story you want to tell
  2. Consider becoming a B-Corp - I had never heard of this until this conference, but if you want to start a socially conscious venture consider looking into this option to stay faithful to your mission; check out B-Labs
  3. Niche is great, but passion is better - In the constant conversations about to niche or not to niche, I really appreciated this timely nugget from Anthony Casalena of Squarespace. He stressed the importance of not chasing a niche to exploit it but instead to do what you're passionate about
  4. Data is king - from analytics, to having accurate books prior to acquisition, the more on top of your data you are, the better your business life will be; crunch those numbers folks, or hire someone to show you how!
  5. Forgo the advanced degree - when it comes to entrepreneurship the tide is shifting from getting an MBA to getting in niche training at a fraction of the cost; in this economy there is a definite disconnect between expectations and the reality of higher education
 *Thank you to UHY LLP for my complimentary ticket!

Claudia Chan's S.H.E. Summit*

The Vibe: 2 days of women's empowerment: Day 1 covered Career and Leadership, but I attended Day 2 covering Lifestyle; attended by mostly women in their 20s, some 30s who are looking to change the world, lifting each other up in the process; I felt a connection to founder Claudia, also a product of single-sex schooling high school through college

The Knowledge:
  1. Refuse to be part of the tear-down culture - a great reminder not to get caught up in the trap that causes strife between so many women; the positive environment at S.H.E. reinforced that 
  2. +Social Good - an awesome new platform designed to link needs with interest in doing social good around the world; a Kickstarter of sorts for change! 
  3. Amplify your ability to succeed via collaboration - this was the same theme echoed at NExT ("collaboration removes competition"); working together vs. against each other is the way to go when it comes to building your brand
  4. 10% Challenge - Elizabeth Gore challenged us to invest 10% of our time, $ and/or resources into women and girls; this is a new MUST for me as an entrepreneur and champion of women! 
  5. Build STEM confidence early - my mother's in education and stresses this point to me and it was reiterated at the conference; especially those of us with daughters, it is SO important to get them on board with STEM early on; while my Lil Lovebird adores her princesses it makes my heart sing when I see her focused on building with her blocks and making structures - who knows? She could be be the first princess engineer!
 *I attended as part of the GoGo squeeZ Squeez Squad

Blogging While Brown

The Vibe: The go-to conference for bloggers of African descent - mostly women but some men present; a 2-day conference including a focus on the business of blogging 

The Knowledge:
  1. If you're not winning in it, don't do it - Markus Robinson's opening keynote was chock full of immediately applicable information including this piece of advice; in the fast-paced world of social media it's best to cut your losses and quickly move on; similar to this point Tamara Jeffries quoted Isaac Mizrahi in her session (Ten Tips for Great Blog Writing), and I've been loving it: "Decide which world you're going to rock and then rock it."
  2. Be an early adopter - don't be afraid of the next thing coming out; I have to say I was slow to Twitter and since jumping in full force about 3 years ago it's had an amazing ROI for my brand, and I look forward to further harnessing the power of Pinterest (check out this tool) and Google+ as well
  3. Educate yourself on protecting your cyber real estate - there are laws in place to protect your content and identity (and scary stories to prove what can go wrong - just do an internet search); you MUST include a copyright notice on your blog (::runs to do this STAT::)
  4. Be careful of pattern matching - this point was brought up by Elisa Camahort from BlogHer; I hadn't heard of this term before, but it sounds like what it is: surrounding yourself with those like yourself; while like often attracts like it's best to keep it diverse in all areas!
  5. Don't discount the power of email marketing - Markus raised this point, and I have to admit it's an area I've neglected (maybe because I get too many emails myself!); he shared that people still pretty much open their emails especially when it's so easy to miss news feeds with the pace of Twitter, Instagram and Facebook; being able to communicate to a captive audience via email is key to blogging success
Overall, I found I'm definitely a fan of the intimate conference experience, which all three were. Next up: Blogalicious in Atlanta!

Blogger or not, are you heading off to any conferences this season? Which are your favorites?


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Join Me & GoGo squeeZ at Pogopalooza This Sunday in Union Square!

I've been a part of GoGo squeeZ's Squeez Squad for almost two months, and it's been a blast! If you follow me on Instagram you've seen some of the GoGo squeeZ events I've been at, and this weekend I'm gearing up for our biggest yet: the Mobile Playground at Pogopalooza in Union Square this Sunday, July 28.

The Mobile Playground will also be at Tompkins Square park on Saturday, but I'll be attending Pogopalooza on Sunday at Union Square with my family and would love to see some of my readers there. Pogopalooza is the premiere pogo-ing event with the opportunity to see pro-pogoers and even try pogo sticks on your own! There will be fun giveaways for kids as well as plenty of fun games and of course free GoGo squeeZ!

Speaking of pogo-ing my sister captured this cool pic on Instagram of a kid on a pogo stick and it seems like ever since I've been seeing them pop up around the city. It definitely brings a bit of nostalgia doesn't it?

Have you ever been on a pogo stick? Which nostalgic games are your favorite? I LOVED playing jacks and pick-up-sticks as a kid! 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Lovebirds' Summer Beauty Review: Honey Curls Hair Honey Oil Blend

Disclosure: I received a sample of Honey Curls' Hair Honey Oil Blend for review purposes. All opinions expressed are my own.
See that picture up there on the far right in my Summer Beauty collage? That's my Lil Lovebird giving Honey Curls Hair Honey Oil Blend a try. The oil is just what it says - a mixture of several luscious oils:
  • Canola seed oil
  • Sweet almond oil
  • Jojoba oil
  • Meadowfoam seed oil
  • Wheat germ oil
  • Shea oil
  • Borage oil
  • Olea Europaea oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Karanji oil organic
When Honey Curls reached out to me to review the Honey Oil blend I appreciated that there aren't any parabens, sulfates, petroleum or artificial ingredients in their products. When the oil arrived it was in a tall flask - it was a generous amount that I've even found beneficial to use on my skin especially because it has a neutral smell.

I decided to use the Honey Oil Blend in two ways on my Lil Love Bird's hair:

1) As an enhancement to her conditioner during her weekly wash

I love the sheen the oil helped give her hair and the manageability to create this style 
2) As a baggying/overnight oil treatment

I applied the oil to her hair and worked it in - it was completely saturated
Before bed - it did not stay on the whole night (she abhors anything covering her head!)
The next morning
Overall I have to say I preferred the #1 method - Nia's hair soaks up pretty much anything I put in it and at her age it's hard to keep a cap on in addition to the baggy (if you can't tell by the look on her face!). Since I'm still transitioning and wearing extensions, the oil is too heavy for me to use now, but when I'm done with my transitioning journey at the end of '14 I look forward to revisiting Honey Curls for myself. 

Interested in trying Honey Curls Honey Oil Blend? An 8oz bottle can be purchased on their website for $20.

Have you tried baggying? Which oil treatments work best on your hair?


Monday, July 22, 2013

A Weekend of Parties

We're on our way to a mini-trip up north, but I'm barely recovered from the three parties we went to this weekend. I'm going to try to be a good sport and stay awake while Mr. Lovebird drives, but I won't make any promises!

Daddy's back! After a week away we enjoyed our monthly tradition
The city is my absolute favorite on early weekend mornings
Party #1: Her Majesty

A Little Fun with Kiss Nails
Party #2: My Father-in-Law

Party #3
Are any of my readers partied out this summer?


P.S. I'm no longer delinquent on Lil Love Bird's 3rd birthday party Evite - I sent it out over the weekend! 3 weeks to go...

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Introducing: Lovebirds' Summer Beauty Series

Those of you who follow me on Instagram see all the fun events I go to here in NYC - I love being a blogger here! With this comes tons of products to try via swag bags as well as products I'm sent to review and others just to have. I could set up a shop with all the products I have, and it's such a dream compared to when I was in college spending what little I could squirrel away from babysitting jobs at the local CVS because I just *had* to have the latest shave gel or nail polish. Now I rarely buy toiletries!

I thought it would be fun to highlight some of my favorites products that I've been using over the past few months on myself and my Lil Lovebird. From hair and make-up products, to bodycare and hair removal systems I promise to give you my honest opinion.

Here's a sampling of what I'll be reviewing the rest of the summer . . .
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Honey Curls The Hair Honey Oil Blend {Image Credit}
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Are you a product junkie like I am? Which products are you loving this summer?


Friday, July 19, 2013

Fall Jewelry Preview with Jade & Jasper

I'm still having a few jewelry woes as I mentioned before (I just lost another diamond in my wedding band yet again), and I'm determined to move on and not be afraid to rock fun jewelry (despite what my toddler believes!) so when Jade & Jasper invited me to their showroom to preview their fall collection I was more than excited!

Take a look at what they have in store . . .

Duvall, the associate at Jade & Jasper, picked out the necklace I'm wearing and it was a perfect addition to my dress!
I love the added touch of an adjustable mesh band on some of their rings -  fingers swell so this is great!
Very Gatsby!
Love the spikes and metal - so punk!

I learned there are also a slew of celebrities who wear Jade & Jasper; for a company that's under 2 years old that's pretty awesome! 

Which Jade & Jasper piece suits your style? Did you know you can become a consultant with Jade & Jasper (learn more here)?



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