Easter Sunday With Jaren

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I had a marvelous Easter Sunday yesterday, and I owe most of that to The Walking Dead and hanging out with Jaren. I swear good friends are hard to find and great friends are few and far between, but I’m glad I found a great friend in Chicago. I’m happy we got to spend some time together, since our schedules have been ridiculously hectic this year. But you make time for the people you care about, which is why we were downtown on a cloudy afternoon on State Street.

We decided to meet up at Latinicity, a new restaurant in the Block 37 mall, for brunch to celebrate Jaren’s 29th birthday.   If you haven’t been, I highly recommend that you go. It was $25 for two alcoholic beverages and all you can eat Latin inspired food. And everything is made to order, so there’s no food sitting out that’s been breathed over by a bunch of nasty individuals.

After the food and mimosas, we took a bunch of photos. Jaren is a photographer, so it was fun getting her behind the lens for once. She kept saying, “I’m never the model.” And I was like, “Just act natural, girl.” I wish it hadn’t have started raining, or we’d been out longer. But, the photos we took were pretty interesting and captured the mood just right. Two friends enjoying each others company, while taking advantage of the perfect lighting.

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8 Hours in Retail: I Found a Bag of Pee Once

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Retail. Whether you’re flipping burgers or folding a mountain of polos, you’re in the business of dealing with customers. Most customers are standard, they’ll be in and out with little to no fuss. Then there are the select few who come out of nowhere just to create havoc in your work environment. From messing up the store to cussing you out, you hate them and they know it. And, then there are those customers who do or say the craziest things that’ll either have you giggling fondling in remembrance or rolling your eyes in annoyance at their stupidity. This segment will explore a little bit of all of the above. Now let’s get to how I found that bag of pee.

It was a typical late summer day in 2012. I was working at a trendy resale shop at the time in a faux bougie area in Chicago. Most of the customers wore Lululemon workout apparel or Tory Burch with a Michael Kors or Marc Jacobs bag, but walked around like they were wearing head to toe current season Alexander Wang with a Birkin bag on their arm. You could feel the entitlement emanating off some of these folks.

Anyway, I was working the fitting rooms that day. I went back to do my usual fitting room check, closing doors and making sure no one left any clothing or sensors behind, when I see it. A plastic bag with this liquid inside siting in the corner of one the stalls. I take a closer look. The liquid appeared to be a clear, pale yellowish color. I was taken aback. I remember just staring at it, trying to figure out what it was, why it was there, and who left this? Who carried around a bag of mysterious liquid? I couldn’t wrap my mind around it, but at least it wasn’t all over the fitting room floor. There had been a pickle juice incident a month or two prior, so I lucked out.

I grabbed a paper towel, picked it up, and went show it to two of my managers in the back room. I’m like, “Look what I found.” Their response was to bust out laughing. Hilarity and dramatics ensue from that point forward. One of my managers paraded it around to everyone working that day. She called people from the front of the store to the back just to look at it and laugh hysterically. Oh, the fun we used to have back then. The bag of pee has since been immortalized in a photo taken from that managers Facebook page, with the caption “In case you’re confused, that is a bag of urine found in the fitting rooms at work. In case you’re still confused, we’re on the same page.”

That’s not the last weird item I’ve found working at that store, but it’s the most memorable and least disgusting bodily fluid story I have.

Retail MeRetail Me Circa 2013

Esperanza Spalding’s New Album Was Everything I Needed

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Yesterday, everyone was freaking out over the release of Kendrick Lamar’s secret album untitled unmastered. Not me. I  listened to it. It’s good and I will come back to it later. Right now my ears are too preoccupied with Esperanza Spalding’s latest release, Emily’s D+Evolution, to take notice of anything else.

I, like many other fans, have been waiting 4 years for Esperanza to release a new album. The length of time I’d been waiting for Rihanna to put out a new joint. The length of time it took me to get through college. The length of time it’s been since my grandmother passed, because I remember having just bought her last album Radio Music Society and playing it in the car with my mom and cousin as we drove through Mobile, Alabama. That’s where my mom’s side of the family is from. Not to get too melancholy on you.

Radio Music Society is one of my favorite albums of all time. I actually went out and bought it. And the people that know me well know that I don’t buy albums, unless I love them. And that album spoke to me, just like her newest release does. Emily’s D+Evolution picks up where Radio Music Society leaves off, but it has more of a story to it. This album takes you on a journey with Emily. Esperanza’s lyrics weave an interesting, abstract tale of Emily as she falls in love, deals with conformity, and just gets over fear of living her own life the way she wants to. In some spaces the album reminds me of Janelle Monae with it’s quirky, funky sound at times, but with more fusion jazz mixed in. To put it simply, the album is amazing and you should listen to it.

Not convinced? Listen to Esperanza and her band perform the whole album live during NPR’s “First Listen Live” segment. You’ll love it!

 

Books: Tehran Streetstyle by Hoda Kotebi

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I went to a radical coloring book party on Friday and found fashion. It was unexpected, but not unwelcome. Sitting on a table between photographs and other bobbles was a little book, Tehran Streetstyle. I wasn’t going to buy it, but after a quick conversation with the author and photographer, Hoda Kotebi, I had to.

As I fumbled with my phone trying to remember my Paypal password, we had a quick conversation about the book. All the photos were taken in Tehran, Iran, a place that Hoda calls home, despite being born and raised in the States. The book is the product of her activism work in Iran and the only print street style book on Tehran’s underground fashion scene.

I left the venue ecstatic about my purchase. My friend Jaren commented over coffee the next day that she had no idea people dressed like that in Iran. Which brings up another powerful aspect of the book, it makes you rethink what you know about Iran’s dress code. The photos in the book show a lot of color, fantastic prints, stylish hair cuts, and great usage of accessories on the young and old.

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Grab your copy of Tehran Streetsyle ($25) on her shop site. Joojoo Azad Shop.
Visit Hoda’s radical fashion blog to find out more about her work! Joojoo Azad.

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Hoda Katebi on the streets of Iran from her blog Joojoo Azad.

 

5 Fashion Documentaries To Watch On Netflix

I’ve recently been in a sort of “fashion rut”. To be blunt, I had lost all desire and excitement for fashion and style. I still made sure I was dressed impeccably, but my love of fashion magazines was gone, I stopped paying attention to the collections and trends, I just stopped caring. I stopped caring, because I was bored. You ever get the feeling that all the models look the same, all the clothes look the same, the people you follow on Instagram or Youtube look the SAME? Where’s the individuality gone? Well, after some digging I realized that individuality does still exist and I’d been looking in all the wrong places.

A good place to start was on Netflix as it turned out. Search “fashion documentaries” and some good ones pop up. Here are 5 fashion films you must see. Covering topics from personal style to the dangers of fast fashion, each film sucks you in and makes you want to revamp your wardrobe right after.

  1. Fresh Dressed (2015)
    This documentary shows how hip hop influenced fashion from gang culture to designer labels.
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  2. Bill Cunningham New York (2010)
    I adore Bill Cunningham’s street style report for The New York Times. This documentary gives you a little slice of the man himself and his legacy in street style photography.
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  3. Iris (2014)
    Iris Apfel is the woman behind the big circular glasses and the loud accessories you may have seen on your favorite style blog or magazine. She even makes appearances in two of the documentaries on this list, Bill Cunningham New York and Advanced Style.
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  4. The True Cost (2015)
    Did you ever wonder how fast fashion can charge basically nothing for it’s clothes? Why most of our clothes are made in China or some other third world country? Even if those thoughts never crossed your mind, educate yourself on what it costs for you to have that new Zara coat.
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  5. Advanced Style (2014)
    Age really ain’t nothing but a number. Just because your old, that does not mean you have to act like it or dress like it.
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Playing Catch Up: 12/18/15

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  1. Clémentine Desseaux was thought to be Christian Louboutin’s first plus size model in a potentially historic beauty campaign. Turns out it was just the luxury shoe brand reposting her airy video wearing their lipstick. But, it brings up the question why more luxury brands aren’t using plus size models in their campaigns? – Refinery 29
  2. Beth Ditto, lead singer of Gossip, is releasing her own plus size clothing line next year in February. She’s already released the first look of a t-shirt dress collaboration with Gaultier. – Vogue
  3. Two words. Squad Goals. According to Fashionista.com, friendship was the biggest trend in fashion. Referring to the celebrity/model clicks that form every season, exacerbated by our favorite social media platforms. I’ve long passed the age where I’d look at these cliques in reverence, but there’s no feeling like finding out one of your favorite celebs is besties with your other favorite celeb. – Fashionista
  4. 3 trends to look out for according to The New York Times are leather chokers, long wrap coats, and seventies inspired stripe sweaters. Unless your into the dominatrix look or looking like your auntie in an old photo, I’d stick to the over sized wrap coats. Timeless, goes with everything, and perfect for those bummy days when you need to leave the house, but don’t feel like dressing up. – The New York Times
  5. Last, but not least. The former CEO of Turning Pharmaceuticals was arrested for securities fraud. Martin Shkreli made the news earlier this year for drastically increasing the cost of an AIDS related drug. – Bloomberg Business

 

Santigold Ft. ILoveMakonnen – Who Be Lovin Me

Santigold’s latest single “Who Be Lovin Me” featuring ILoveMakonnen is just what I need right now. I’ve been obsessed with this song for the past month and just found out that there is a music video. It’s set at some music festival (They all look the same after a while. But, it’s Made In America in Philedelphia. Still salty I wasn’t able to go this year and now I’m extra salty.) where Santigold and ILoveMakonnen ride around on a pimped out golf cart and hang with artists like Big Sean, Earl Sweatshirt, and even Meek Mill whose riding one of those hoverboards. It’s cute, it’s quick, and it’s fun and to the point. The new album can’t come soon enough. Entitled 99 cents, it’s out January 22, 2016. So close, but so far away. I may buy it. Maybe.

10 Tips To Survive A Summer Music Festival

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Samsung Stage At Lollapalooza

Lollapalooza ended last Sunday and I had an excellent time. Besides leaving with an annoying heat rash from that thing we call a sun, the experience as a whole was pretty positive for my first Lolla. I recommend volunteering for anyone who wants to go, but doesn’t want to spend the money. It’s ridiculously easy work in exchange for free entry. Now I had the distinct pleasure of working at the Information booth and saw first hand a lot of different ways to fuck up your festival experience. From a girl in tears because she couldn’t find her friends to stolen cellphones to just plain passing out from the heat, basically a bunch of crappy experiences that are very preventable and can be avoided. Read this before you go to your next festival! It could save you unnecessary arguments with security or just remind you to pack sunscreen.

  1. Water. Water. And More Water.
    You will need water. Don’t think you can survive the summer heat without it. Stock up before the festival, when you get to the festival, and know where the filling stations are. I recommend just bringing water. It’s easier and there’s no line. If you need to use a filling station, go waaaaay before your artist hits the stage. You’ll be pissed if you missed half the set from waiting in line. And, no one has time for you fainting on them.
  2. A Portable Charger Will Save Your Life.
    You will be so much happier spending $10-$50 dollars on a portable charger for your phone. You’ll thank me later. Or not. Just get to the festival and see why.
  3. Dress Appropriately. It’s A Music Festival, Not A Vogue Shoot.
    We all want that best dressed festival look. But, don’t forget to be practical. You are not used to being outdoors for long periods of time, while on your feet and constantly moving. Unless you are, but I’m sure most people aren’t. So stick to a lightweight and breathable outfit and some comfy and cute shoes. I wear my docs to every festival. Someone is always stepping on my toes.
  4. Have A Plan Before Hand.
    It’ll make your life a little easier and the festival less overwhelming if you planned out who your going to see and where they’re playing before you get there. Some festivals, like Lolla, actually give you early access to the festival map and who’s playing on what stage. This way your sure to know where to run when the gates open and you want to be front row at one of the main stages. Yes, people actually run when the festival gates open.
  5. A Great Bag Goes A Long Way.
    Whether it be a crossbody, book bag, or fanny pack. A great bag does go a long way. I wore my crossbody, but I wished I had a cute backpack. It would have been easier to stuff all my bottles of water and misc. items inside.
  6. Have A Designated Meeting Spot In Case Of Lost Homies.
    I really hope that girl found her friends. She wasn’t the only one who came by Information looking for a way to contact friends, because they got separated and had all the person’s belonging with them. Including phone and money. It’s so simple to just plan a spot to meet in case something like that happens. Someone can simply say, “Hey. If we get separated lets meet at X.” Everybody agrees and your off to see whoever or do whatever. Trust me, and I speak from experience, there’s nothing more irritating than being in a large crowd of people looking for your friends. Brings back memories of last year watching J.Cole at Made In America. Couldn’t even enjoy the show I was so irritated.
  7. Glance At The Festival’s Prohibited Items List.
    A lot of people came by the Info booth very irritated that this or that got taken away. Read the prohibited items list and spare yourselves the hassle. Also, sometimes security takes stuff not on the list. So it could help to bring a copy to reference if you feel like they’re taking something they shouldn’t.
  8. Sunscreen, Lots Of Sunscreen.
    Now I put on sunscreen. That doesn’t help you avoid a heat rash though, but it does protect your skin from sunburn. There’s nothing worse than red, peeling, painful skin. Or skin cancer.
  9. Keep Track Of Your Belongings. (YOUR PHONE!)
    You are in a crowd full of people. You take a quick photo, put your phone in your pocket, and continue walking with friends. Except, you missed your pocket and your phone fell. Someone sees, picks it up, and just walks off. It takes 2 seconds to look down and make sure your phone is placed safely in your pocket or bag. And, not just your phone, but your wallet, sunglasses, bag, etc. Some people even lost shoes. Just be aware of your surroundings, know where your stuff is, and don’t get too wasted. You’ll hopefully be fine. There are good people that will turn in lost items, but a lot of people (teenagers and adults) will try to make a quick buck off your misfortune.
  10. Expect Assholes.
    They are at every festival. They push you without saying excuse me. They stand in front of you when your sitting and watching an artist. They are the loud, obnoxious, and annoying people that are at every festival. Pick your battles, ignore most of them, and you’ll be fine.

See! That was easy. Enjoy your summer festival!!

lollapalooza, summer festivals, american summer festivals, american music festivals, lolla, summer festival guide. survive music festival, chicago summer, lollapalooza chicago, lollapalooza 2015, dinell williams
Chevy & Me

Model Nykhor Paul Shades Unprepared Makeup Artist On Instagram

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Dear white people in the fashion world! Please don't take this the wrong way but it's time you people get your shit right when it comes to our complexion! Why do I have to bring my own makeup to a professional show when all the other white girls don't have to do anything but show up wtf! Don't try to make me feel bad because I am blue black its 2015 go to Mac, Bobbi Brown, Makeup forever, Iman cosmetic, black opal, even Lancôme and Clinique carried them plus so much more. there's so much options our there for dark skin tones today. A good makeup artist would come prepare and do there research before coming to work because often time you know what to expect especially at a show! Stop apologizing it's insulting and disrespectful to me and my race it doesn't help, seriously! Make an effort at least! That goes for NYC, London, Milan, Paris and Cape Town plus everywhere else that have issues with black skin tones. Just because you only book a few of us doesn't mean you have the right to make us look ratchet. I'm tired of complaining about not getting book as a black model and I'm definitely super tired of apologizing for my blackness!!!! Fashion is art, art is never racist it should be inclusive of all not only white people, shit we started fashion in Africa and you modernize and copy it! Why can't we be part of fashion fully and equally?

A post shared by Nykhor-Nyakueinyang Paul 🇸🇸🇺🇸 (@nykhor) on

When I read things like this, I remember Iman saying in an interview how when she started modelling she had to mix her own foundation and bring it to modeling gigs. That was in the 70’s and it’s 2015. Model and activist Nykhor Paul has a right to be pissed. With all the brands that cater to women of color of all shades that exist in today’s beauty market, makeup artists still only bring enough to accommodate skin of the lighter variety.

This is what Bethann Hardison has been talking about. In a previous post, I wrote on how Bethann is advocating for more diversity in the modelling industry. And, how slights like wanting only one black girl or not bringing the right shade of foundation to accommodate the one black girl is unconsciously racist. I say unconsciously, because I believe most people are just ignorant and have no idea of the severity of their actions. Everyone in some way has been subtly brainwashed and manipulated by white patriarchal American society. And, it’s up to us WOKE people to continue to question and speak out against racial slights. Even the small stuff.