Crafting for a CAUSE • Sunday September 15th

I’m very excited to announce my next event coming up on Sunday September 15th— a fundraiser for local Bay Area fashion designer Erica Varize who is launching a new venture called Sew What Project Uganda. Sew What Project Uganda is an international extension of the summer camp Erica has run locally for the past seven years in which she creates a sort of “fashion design” camp for young girls and teaches them not only how to sew, but some of the entrepreneurial aspects of the industry. This summer, Erica has built an exchange with a group of girls in Uganda and her local Sew What campers and in October she plans to travel to Uganda and host Sew What abroad.

When Erica asked me to host the fundraiser for her, I immediately said YES YES YES! First of all, Erica is an extremely accomplished designer and I am always wow’ed by her styles (and have worn many myself!)But more than that, a fun lesser-known fact about me is that I LOVE to sew and think it is one of the most empowering skills a person can have. To be able to provide this educational opportunity for girls to lift themselves up is a goal that rings near and dear to my heart.

Thus

a Bay-Ganda fundraiser for Sew What Project Uganda

was born.

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Here’s the scoop:

THERE SHALL BE CRAFTING: I absolutely adore all of EVarize’s fashion designs in which she incorporates beautiful African patterns. So I thought we could all make something together with some of these patterns and colors. Our craft du jour, will be a braided fabric necklace that you will be able to make and take home for yourself (or as a gift!)

THERE SHALL BE MUSIC: What’s a party without some jamz!? DJ Bella Soul will be spinning tunes and setting the mood. Lovez it!

THERE SHALL BE NATURAL HAIR GOODNESS: Our friends from Komaza Care will be joining us for the event and providing some natural hair samples for all attendees. I love them! So excited they’ll be in the house!

THERE SHALL BE SHOPPING: That’s right! We’ll have a little shopping area and if you’re interested in being a vendor, please let me know! cassidy [at] naturalselectionblog [dot] com.

Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. You can purchase them below OR visit the ticket page here. All proceeds will go to support Sew What Project Uganda. This is truly a community effort, so if you would like to be involved, please let me know and we can certainly figure something out! Can’t wait to see you soon!



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Style With Oakland: event wrap up + gallery

Celebrating the launch of its brand new Coconut Shea Line, EDEN Bodyworks made a trip to the West Coast to share the excitement with all us Bay Area beauties with its Style With EDEN event series.

Bringing together the worlds of hair and fashion, Style With EDEN featured Jackeh of HairPlay Salon and Erica Varize of popular Bay Area fashion line EVarize (whose designs you might recognize from that AWESOME piece I wore to the November EDEN Bodyworks event in Los Angeles).

Two models were styled to show of both straight and curly styles while modeling fierce EVarize designs.

I myself, well, I rocked my patterned harem pants I found while in Senegal + tube top + shrug combo topped off with a brand new haircut (and we’ll get to that more in tomorrow’s post).

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Everyone in attendance was looking delightfully chic in bright colors, patters, and ‘dos.

Special thanks to Ylorie, Renae, Sherrell and Alisa from the EDEN Bodyworks team for putting on such a wonderful event for us out here! For those of you who have not yet checked out the new EDEN Bodyworks Coconut Shea line, make sure you do! I’ve been using it for a few weeks now and absolutely LOVING IT! (Again, full review to come soon!)

And now, without further ado— the full Style with EDEN Oakland gallery!

One Dress, Infinite Styles: what I wore to Curls, Curves & Cocktails

Dress shopping can be an incredibly daunting task. So, When I saw the Kaori Infinity Dress on the IGIGI websitenull, I knew it had to be mine. Thing is, I’ve got a thing for convertible dresses: why buy one dress when you can buy one that turns into 15?!

In person the dress was even better than I had anticipated! It’s made of an awesome slinky, jersey materials that creates a sexy and slimming silhouette. The dress actually has two arms, but when you tuck one of them inside, it creates a one-shoulder number with a nice side ruching detail. With all of the swimming I’ve been doing, I went for the one-arm look so I could show off my shoulder sculpting as much as I could ;) I also decided to belt mine to add more shape to the waist as well.

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The website boasts that the dress can be worn in 11 different styles, but I actually know it’s a bit more than that….

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I had the chance to sit on the panel next to Yuliya Raquel, the designer behind IGIGI and immediately began gushing about how much I loved the dress and how I couldn’t wait to work it into different styles. Right on the spot, she clued me into how I could wear it in almost every way imaginable, ranging from a halter dress to a maxi skirt. It really makes me think that sky’s the limit on this LBD!

With Yuliya Raquel of IGIGI

With Yuliya Raquel of IGIGI

Flattering, flirty, and fun—this dress is definitely a keeper and I can’t wait to have infinite fun in styling this dress!

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Win $40 to Urban Mosaics T-Shirt Shop!

I’m not a t-shirt person.  At all.  Items with logos and images and text must be incredibly awesome for me to even consider rocking them.

Imagine my delight when Urban Mosaics offered me up a couple of their shirts to try and I didn’t like them: I LOVED THEM!

First there was this number, which I selected because it’s a really distinctive design and very post-modern painterly-like.

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See I liked it so much I made three of me!?  And yes, maybe there is just a LITTLE bit of resemblance in there.

My second Urban Mosaics Shirt I’ve been rocking non-stop as my go-to layer for being active outside.  (And you may have also seen it in my True&Co Video from last week!) Black.  Gold. NATURAL.

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Both shirts are made from with a really nice organic cotton; you can really FEEL how high quality these shirts are!

So those are my two choices! But there are so many other cute options for you to choose from!  Like this one being rocked by Urban Mosaics Owner, Stacy Edey:

 

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Or this beautifully drawn “Hairendipity” tee!

 

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I’m giving a $40 Urban Mosaics Gift Certificate away to one lucky reader!  To win, visit the Urban Mosaics shop and let us know in the comments which design is your favorite!  Winner will be selected at random next Wednesday!

 

Learning to Love My Boobs: True&Co Bra Service Unboxing + Review! (+vid)

So here’s the thing, I’ve never loved my boobs. I’ve never been happy with the size, shape or any of the other boob qualities they’re supposed to have. It’s no surprise then that I have always despised shopping for bras. It’s a necessary evil, yes. But, there is always something so miserable about the process of going to a department store and aimlessly sifting through thousands of bras. Then trying bunches of them on beneath unflattering fluorescent lights only to emerge two hours later with a single, measly and just okay fitting bra.

There’s nothing delightful about this sort of shopping experience. It’s frustrating, awkward and sometimes even painful. Not to mention, for a gal who doesn’t even like her boobs in the first place, there’s nothing I’d rather not do.

So when I heard about True&Co, a new company that curates and ships you boxes of bras custom fitted to your needs, I knew that my life was about to change, well at least in the boob department.

You start by taking a True&Co quiz that asks you all about your bra size, favorite brand, how your cups fit– you know all of the standard things you think about. Then you dive into the #realtalk about if your cups spill over, if your straps dig in and whether or not you get that lovely armpit-muffin top-spill over.

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Once you’re done with the quiz, you’re taken to your Personal Shop where True&Co has selected a bunch of bras just for you based on your answers. Then you go ahead and pick three leaving two spots for True&Co to surprise you with their expert pics!

I anxiously awaited for my box arrived and squealed with delight when I saw it waiting for me at my door! I ripped the box open to see my pretty, lacy things, but -of course- not before turning on the ol video cam! What? You thought I’d leave you out of this!!?? No way, sister girl! Check it out!

All in all, I am L.O.V.I.N.G. my new bras! The expert pics were ON POINT and I’ve never in my life had such an easy and painless bra try-on experience. Out of the five bras in my box, I’m keeping four of them. Not only are the bras functional, as in the support and how they keep things in check, but they’re actually beautiful, quality bras from established companies.

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I spent a decent amount of time on the phone with my mom today discussing whether or not I could do a little show and tell here on the blog of me wearing my new bras, but decided against (read: Dad said no). That said, all of my girlfriends have received [unsolicited] text message pictures of me in my gorgeous new bras! I’m just that pleased.

Yea, that’s right!

The girl who doesn’t (didn’t?) love her boobs is texting her friends pictures and is legitimately sad about not being able to share with you how awesome look in her new bras! Can you say change of heart!?

True&Co’s process allowed me for the first time in my life feel really, really good about shopping for bras and finding the perfect fit for me–not a Vickie’s model or someone with perfect, perky ta-ta’s–ME. I’ve never, ever felt this way before, but I can’t wait to buy more bras!

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To find your perfect fit and get your own True&Co box, visit their website and take the quiz! You’ll pay just a $45 deposit for your first box of 5 bras and you ONLY pay for what you keep! If you don’t like something, print out the label and send it back to ‘em free of charge. Simple as that! Enjoy!

Order through this link and receive a free 3-pack of panties with your first order!


How many of you have struggled with your breast and/or bra shopping? Leave a note in the comments, I want to hear your story!

ANNOUNCING: Curls, Curves & Cocktails! Saturday 4.6.13

I’m so freaking jazzed to finally announce my next event going down here in San Francisco, CA:

CURLS, CURVES & COCKTAILS: a natural hair and plus size style soiree

I’ve partnered up with Marie Denee of The Curvy Fashionista to put down this event which will be showing off the latest trends in natural hair and plus-size fashion! Whether you’ve got a little extra, a lotta curls or just are a fan and supporter of both— this event will have something for you!

Top natural hair line MyDNA will be bringing the fierceness in the natural hair department, IGIGI- known for their chic clothes for curvy gals will be presenting their latest styles and the fabulous Kim Roxie of will be showing off the cosmetics couture of LAMIK Beauty.

Following a style show, we’ll be having a panel discussion with our top experts followed by the opportunity to mix, mingle and enjoy all things curvy, curly and of course a few cocktails!

Tickets are ON SALE NOW and there are only a limited number available so be sure to buy yours in advance!

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Style Post: who made that top!?!?!?!

Ever since wearing that gorgeously versatile top at the Brunch With EDEN in Los Angeles, I’ve been inundated with the same question: WHO DESIGNED THAT TOP AND WHERE DO YOU GET IT?!

The answer is EVarize, a cut and sew boutique located in Berkeley, CA. I first fell in love with EVarize’s designs when models rocked them on the runway during Brown Girl Bliss:

I saw. I swooned. I HAD TO HAVE SOME EVARIZE OF MY OWN!!

The next week, the designer, Erica Varize, invited me to her boutique and I picked out three pieces to wear at the various events I’ve attended while on this trip. Each of the pieces I’ve worn have not just been fun, classy and chic, but also extremely flattering for all shapes and sizes.

Here’s a rundown of my EVarize outfits from the trip:

That last piece is particularly fun because it’s super versatile in how you wear it—hooded or snapped or open! You can even have fun with different belts. I love that it’s such a simple piece that can do so much! The coolest part? Check it out when it’s not being worn:

Erica is a visionary designer who incorporates bright african prints and luxe fabrics to create unique urban-chic pieces. As a cut and sew boutique you can even get pieces customized by color, fabric and sized JUST FOR YOU! If you’re in Northern California, make sure to swing through her shop located at 2700 San Pablo in Berkeley! If you can’t swing through, check out her website evarize.com or call to make an order: 510 845 0376.

UPDATE: EVarize is offering 25% off for NaturalSelection readers! Just mention the blog when you call or stop by the store to make your purchases. Super cool. Super stylish.

Shout out to Chuckstr Photography for hooking me up with some of these pix! Check out his work and if you’re in Chicago make sure you holler at him for your photography needs!!

Brown Girl Bliss: recap + gallery

ANOTHER EVENT FOR THE BOOKS!  Brown Girl Bliss was this past Saturday and absolutely knocked all of my (and perhaps all of OUR) expectations out of the park.  I’ve hosted and attended many events in my day, but none of them have been as inspiring and fulfilling as Brown Girl Bliss.  I mean, this one had it all: FASHION! FOOD! YOGA! SEX! DANCE! Basically everything I love in the world.

Highlights include:

  • Kicking things off in the morning with an amazingly invigorating yoga practice with Heather of BodaBodaYoga.  As I said once we finished “seeing a bunch of chocolate faces in Warrior II is a rare sight to behold, but truly warmed my heart.”
  • The HONEY HUMMUS!  Holy crap, the Apothocurious-catered lunch was nutritious AND delicious!
  • Learning tips and techniques from Diana Rodriguez of Balanced + Beautiful about how to maintain a balanced eating regimen.  One of the tricks I’ve already even used!!  Try it yourself: rather than topping pasta with sauce, use pasta like “croutons” to top the sauce.  This will keep your meal veggie-heavy and gluten/wheat-light!
  • Having Nenna Joiner of FeelMore510 create an honest and open dialogue about everyone’s favorite, but not openly discussed subject: SEX!  It was a no-holds-barred conversation in a safe space where people were asking, sharing and learning.  This discussion definitely made me realize that as black women we need more sex-positive conversation that isn’t just about AIDS, prostitution, rape and other unsavory matters.
  • Learning from Jennifer, a rep from Rodan+Fields, that sulfur is used as an acne treatment!  Sulfur is always popping up in hair and skincare products, which makes me want to know more about it!
  • Felicia Leatherwood, not just dropping her unparalleled knowledge about natural hair during her presentation, but being one of the most engaging attendees throughout the entire event!  From Downward Dog onward, Felicia was one blissed out Brown Girl!
  • SWEATING. IT. OUT. for Hipline’s Shimmy Pop class!  When was the last time you were at an event that had you drop it like it was hot during 45 straight minutes of cardio.  And by “sweating” I mean “glossing”…because Hipline girls don’t sweat, they get glossy.  Obvi.
  • Ooh’ing and aah’ing over the fashion spectacular presented by Sway Boutique, EVarize and Amber Aaron.  Can you say serious sartorial savvy?
  • Nibbling on Nothing Bundt Cakes and sipping on champagne while listening to Stephen Satterfield share his epicurean prowess and answering some need-to-know information on vino and vittles.

All in all, it was an exhilarating and exhausting 8 hours (I mean, did I mention that 45 minutes of dance cardio!?)—-but I loved every second of it.  Everyone that was in attendance was raving about the experience, stating that we MUST do it again.  Stay tuned for a survey coming soon because if we do it again, we want to hear from you about what you liked and didn’t like. Even if you didn’t attend and even if you don’t live in the Bay Area— we will want to hear from you!

 

Now, without further ado—- the BGBG (Brown Girl Bliss Gallery):

Special thanks to my co-organizer Heather for her tireless effort in pulling this off!  Brown Girls everywhere are about to owe a lot to you! ;)

To those that attended—my we had fun didn’t we??!  Thanks for coming and supporting this event and bringing your infectious energy and smiles.  You made it the special experience that it was!

To those that couldn’t make it— you were missed!  But hopefully you won’t miss the next one :)

TOMORROW: Brown Girl Bliss! Half Day Passes + Scalp Consultations

 

Oh my goodness! Oh my goodness!

I can’t believe Brown Girl Bliss is already here!  The event is tomorrow, Saturday, October 13th and goes from 11am-7pm.  Check out the full schedule here!

Due to popular demand we’ve decided to release a limited amount of half day passes.  These half day passes to your day of Brown Girl Bliss include all of our afternoon sessions from 3pm onward including

  • Felicia Leatherwood’s Loving Your Hair With Natural Care Workshop
  • Hipline Dance Studio’s Brown Girl Shimmy Pop
  • Brown Girl Couture: a fashion show by EVarize and Sway Boutique followed by “Fall Into Fall” a presentation by stylist Amber Aaron
  • Food + Wine with Stephen Satterfield of San Francisco’s NOPA
Half day ticket holders will also receive a goodie bag.  Half Day Passes are $25 in advance $30 at the door, so you might as well save your self a few bucks and buy your ticket now!
For those who have FULL DAY PASSES, you’ve still got a lot of awesome things coming your way including the chance to win one of three Lululemon outfits ($200) value and a one-on-one scalp+hair consultation with Celebrity Stylist Felicia Leatherwood!  If you’re still on the fence, we’re running a $10 off ticket sale between 9am – 12pm!  So your Full Day Ticket to Bliss will just be $40 if you buy between those times!
We’ve got an amazing line up of presenters!  A full lunch catered by Apothocurious!  And some truly, truly enviable giveaways including
  • Brownness Series T-Shirts
  • Lululemon outfits
  • Bodyshop Gift Baskets
  • CorePower Class Passes
  • Funky Buttons Earrings
  • A night out of beauty and pampering with Kiehl’s
  • Bare essentials make-upShea Moisture products
  • Pedicure kit
  • Rodan and fields gift basket
  • Juniper tree soaps
Awesome goodies right!??!?!??!?!?!
For those of you who have never done yoga or been in a dance class before—this is your chance to do it in one of the most comfortable and supportive environments, surrounded by a bunch of friendly faces and wonderful instructors!  Even if you don’t have a yoga mat, we’ll have some on sale for $15 at the venue so you don’t have to worry about that!
In addition to the yoga by BodaBodaYoga, I’m super hyped about all of the sessions! We’ve really got some great things coming up for you including:
  • A Fashion Show by EVarize and Sway Boutique followed by a styling presentation called “Fall Into Fall” with stylist Amber Aaron
  • Trends in Sexuality with Nenna Joiner of Feelmore510
  • Brown Girl Shimmy Pop with Hipline Dance Studio
  • A skincare demo by Rodan+Fields
  • Feed Your Soul with Diana Rodriguez
  • Food + Wine discussion with Stephen Satterfield
Brown Girl Bliss is geared towards just relaxing, learning, and blissing out and promised to be a truly special one-of-a-kind day.  I can’t wait to see you there!

Announcing: BROWN GIRL BLISS! Saturday October 13th

Those who attended Fall Into Natural this past Sunday were the first to her the exciting announcement of the next event I’m hosting called Brown Girl Bliss!  Brown Girl Bliss was inspired by a desire to host an event geared not just towards the natural hair movement and the hairstyles that go along with it, but the entire LIFESTYLE.

In collaboration with Heather of BodaBodaYoga, we created a day-long retreat for women of all multi ethnic backgrounds that will include everything yoga to dance to nutrition to sex to wine and yes, of course, natural hair.  The schedule includes interactive presentations and demonstrations with some of the most inspiring brown girls out there including:

  • Morning Yoga Flow -  Lead by Heather of BodaBodaYoga, this energetic yoga practice designed for newbies and experts alike will leave you invigorated, awake and smiling! No experience required.
  • Loving Your Hair With Natural Care – The world-renowned natural hair care workshop lead by celebrity stylist and product expert Felicia Leatherwood
  • Feed Your Soul-  Don’t just diet, learn to eat for your complete well being in this informative workshop + Q&A session with Diana Rodriguez of Beautiful and Balanced
  • Old Sexual Practices Made New- A discussion about trends in sex and sexuality facilitated by Nenna Joiner, owner of Oakland’s premiere adult boutique, FeelMore 510
  • Feed Your Soul, a guide to eating not just for a diet, but your entire well-being with Diana Rodriguez of Beautiful and Balanced
  • Brown Girl Shimmy Pop- Get ready for what is best described as “a dance party with all your girlfriends” lead by the fabulous instructors of Hipline Dance Studio.
  • BrownGirlCouture- fashion shows presented by Sway Boutique styled by Amber Aaron and local designer EVarize
  • Wine Time- A guided wine tasting and champagne toast to end the day led by local wine and food connoisseur Stephen Satterfield of San Francisco’s NOPA.

All of this is going down at the fabulous CityLine Event Center right on the Oakland/Emeryville border. Tickets are $50 and all inclusive of the workshops, lunch, snacks and goodie bags! There are a seriously limited amount available, so be sure to buy them early! I really hope you can make it, this is going to be a fabulously blissful event!!

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