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Thursday, January 31

Around this time of year, I start to get real antsy about planning my year and figuring out what trips I could possibly make. I don't get to travel nearly as much as I would like, but BOY do I plan alot of trips. Some happen, some don't. I recently discovered 2 new tools (websites) that have made the planning process even more fun.

First up is OYSTER:
Oyster infographic
Oyster has a very simple mission: to give a comprehensive preview of the hotels you might choose to stay at, from the beds you'll sleep in to the bathrooms you'll use to the food you'll eat. Unlike TripAdvisor (which by the way is awesome and necessary), Oyster has professional photographers visit the hotels, so you get great pictures and you can in turn clearly see what you're looking at. 

No Photoshop, no False Advertising allowed.
Sometimes a non professional won't capture what you want to see in a hotel room, or the pictures can be so poorly lit, you lose interest in what was probably a decent room. In addition to the excellent pictures, you get a list of the pros and cons as well as a very detailed review on all aspects of the space. 


As far back as I can remember there's just been one truth about getting a better deal on a flight, don't travel weekends, simply look for midweek flights. Well, SkyScanner tries to take the guesswork out of all that. It's probably best for flexible flights, for those times when you simply want the best deal.

For example, I was looking for a flight to Prague some point in May for a total of 9 days.  A blind flight search came up with tickets closer to $1,400. With Skyscanner, I could see the exact dates that were more affordable and the proper combination for departure and return so that the flight cost dropped to less than $800. I would highly recommend the phone app, I think its actually easier to use than the actual website.

A return flight on June 4 is $399 as compared to June 10 which jumps significantly higher to $854.

So, have you made any recent discoveries that have made it easier to plan your trips. 
If so, Please SHARE.


Wednesday, January 30

Received beautiful email in my inbox today from a young lady today, working really hard to make a difference. I so admire people like that. I think her words say it best, so I'll share what she said:

In 2010 I started a platform called Meet Mutsa. I was set on actively doing something to change the state of the HIV pandemic especially in Africa and I wanted to gear other people up to do the same in a creative, fun and refreshing way. The pandemic is often portrayed as a hopeless situation and I don't believe it is at all. It can end.

I raised money and in and trained fifteen young people to be peer educators then they created their own project and did outreach work in neighboring villages; speaking and educating their peers.
I need to get back out to Zambia this year to continue this work. I'm hosting a Danceathon in London and New York on Saturday 9th February I thought this would be a fun way to get people involved and fundraising. Each person who registers pledges to raise £30/$50 in sponsorship then on the 9th they'll dance a mixture of African, Zumba and Street Dance for three hours.

Doing something great, while dancing for 3 hours,not to mention the mega calories burned. If I didn't have a prior commitment, I would so be there. There's tons more info, pictures etc about the good work she's been doing right here.

Scenes from a Meet Mutsa Summer Event
That's Mutsa.


Tuesday, January 29

Seen in this month's issue of Elle Magazine, this NYC attorney's cool chic wild side can't be tamed. Definitely an inspiration.  You can have fun, be yourself, express your personal style and still be a complete professional. And I just have to add, she's 37, great skin and totally gorge.

All images via ELLE


Monday, January 28

Hey guys, It was quite the unreasonably cold weekend on the East Coast. I kept my behind indoors wrapped up, bundled up, fleeces, blankets and pillows. I quite frankly refused to budge. It was the perfect time to finally play a bit more with the HTC phone I received and though. Truth be told, the hubby is already quite attached to it and now I know why.

Because I have an iPhone 5, I can only really compare the Two.  Here's how things stack up.

1.) DESIGN / FEEL: The HTC One X is a well designed and attractive looking phone with little to no pieces protruding from the case. Because its larger, I expected the HTC  to be heavy, but it is actually very thin and feels much lighter than the iPhone. Its rubberized case makes for an easy and good grip. I like that you don't really need a case for this. It already survived one drop test at a restaurant.  Unfortunately, the wider size made it a little difficult to use with just one hand. It actually got uncomfortable after a while but this may depend on the size of your hands and maybe some practice. The volume buttons on the HTC are flush to the case which makes it somewhat difficult quickly increase / decrease volume without feeling around for it.

2.) SCREEN QUALITY: For basic browsing, you can't really see many differences. However, when I used Instagram, I noticed images were sharper, crisper and more true color on the iPhone due to the retina display.  HTC has room for improvement here.

3.) YOUTUBE: This was not even a competition. HTC was head over heels better. First there's the bigger screen.  YouTube videos take up the entire 4.7inch screen on the HTC and look amazing!  YouTube is not optimized for the iPhone 5. In addition. YouTube HD video on HTC looked like HD and looked worse than standard definition on the iPhone.  I have to say that video loaded faster on the iPhone using the same WiFi network, but overall it just looked way better on the HTC.


5. ) APPS: I was pleasantly surprised by the impressive lineup of Android Apps.  There's definitely some apps I love that still aren't available but most of the major apps that I use daily are available on the Google Play store so there wasn't much lacking there.  New apps are added everyday so that could change.

Don't worry, you're getting a BRAND NEW, not this one, shipped to you directly by HTC.

6.) USER EXPERIENCE:  This is my first time using Android OS so there was a slight learning curve but once I got the hang of it, the user experience was enjoyable.  The phone is quick, responsive and highly customizable so you can place your favorite apps within reach.  Also love the ability to search google right from the home screen.

Of course I ended with a TIE. Anyways, there's probably tons more you'd like to know but hey you could just WIN ONE right here and you won't need to Spend a Dime to find out. I'll try to keep this simple... see below.

Oh and I just wanted to thank all you guys for your comments, support, participation in giveaways etc. It's cos of all of u, that people think I'm worth sending freebies to give away. Next stop an Ipad Mini??? Ok, let me stop, can't get greedy.

Heads Up: This Phone is AT&T only.
#TroopOneX #HTCOne

As always entries using Rafflecopter to keep things easy.
Remember: Giveaways are open to Blog Followers only, so please FOLLOW. Thanks.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Sunday, January 27

There's increasingly more of coming out. If you follow opportunities to get designer items for less, then you've probably already heard about this one. Just sharing my fave selections from the Duro Oluwo for JcPenney collection. Finally, I might actually go to JCP for something other than their Buy One Get One Free Pillow Sale. (oh and there's also my uncle's dress shirts, but that a whole other story).

Images courtesy JcPenney

natural target prabal gurung kate spade saturday designer naptural twist black hair 


Wednesday, January 23


Please email me at for further details on how to claim your prize.

And to all others as always -Thanks for entering. 
And most of all thanks to Virginie of   for making this giveaway possible. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Half United is a humanitarian clothing company, every time you purchase one of their products, it translates into a week of healthy meals for a child in need in Liberia, Cambodia, Fiji and also within the US. The founders are a brother sister team and have been passionate about humanitarian causes since a young age. Their line includes everything from t-shirts, dresses, bags and other accesories. Their most popular item is the bullet necklace. They wanted to take something that is normally negative (a bullet casing), and change it into something positive.

This is part of a series in which I'll highlight socially conscious projects, fashion or otherwise.


Tuesday, January 22

I  now understand that I was one of the lucky few to not work yesterday and yet somehow I managed to accomplish so very little. What is it about long weekends? I mean, on Friday I had a page long list of all the things I had to do. I was so excited for the extra day. Now, here I am and all I can really say I did, was that I did my laundry, which is truly no accomplishment at all. Of course, now this means that I'll be playing catch up all week long. Can't blame anyone but myself for this. Here's hoping you did a bit more with your weekend than I did.

To POSITIVE ENERGY all week long.

Booties, Necklace: Old Navy  
Skirt: Yoox  (Had forever, think it was $29)
Denim blouse: F21
Jacket: Zara (many seasons ago)
Bag: Baginc

natural naptural kinky hair black twist out afro puff budget chic  baginc alexa alexander wang rocco


Monday, January 21

From the King Center Archives

There is such a wealth of information about Dr. King at The King Center and if you have a moment, it's a great site to visit. From his writings, letters, telegrams, newspapers clippings and more.

Pathos & Hope. See in entirety Here.


Friday, January 18

From East London (of British & Guyanese descent) and only 16 (yes...16), this is Rainy Milo. Interesting that her name is Rainy, as she has that voice, the perfect soundtrack to a rainy day indoors. If you enjoy Lianne La Havas, you should like Rainy. Haven't heard enough from her to make any proper conclusions or predictions. What I do know is that I like what I've heard so far and will be on the lookout for more from her.

The EP

new music undiscovered artists 

You want me to do WHAT?

Thursday, January 17

Anyone who knows me, knows I love my iPhone and all things Apple, so when HTC decided to send me an HTC One X to use and review I was more than a little skeptical. I was so certain I would be biased, I wasn't going to do it. Then they mentioned that there was going to be a free phone opportunity for one of my readers and well, just cos I was close-minded didn't mean I should deprive someone else who could use a free phone.

So it came in and I have been playing with it and will try to do a write-up for next week. If there's anything you'd like to know about it, please let me know. So far, I have done Instagram, Facebook, YouTube comparisons and well, I won't spoil anything just yet, but if you follow me on , you might already know what one of my surprises has been.

I generally don't do sponsored posts (I like picking what I share). However, at the end of the day, all I really need to do is be honest and straightforward about a product and better yet, I really just wanna be able to give away one of these babies.


#TroopOneX #HTCOne


Tuesday, January 15

Heya Everyone, pretty excited about this giveaway cos it come from one of my fav stores from the very onset of my Etsy fascination. Shop owner  is a friend in my head and on email. We've been meaning to get this together for you guys for a while now but there were so many unexpected delays. I can only thank her for being so patient with me. It's time to meet Virginie Millefiori and to make a statement with her unique, minimalist jewelry.

Do you have a workspace? If so, please share (see pics above).
Yes I do have one and a very spacious one I especially appreciate after having lived in a small studio with my husband and welcoming always new guests friends from France visiting Big Apple! I have several working stations: computer, enamel spot, metal smithing bench, assembling station... I try to keep organized but since it's not a natural virtue for me it rarely looks like on the pictures.

When did you start selling on Etsy and Why Etsy?
I've been browsing Etsy since its beginnings in 2005 when I was still living in Paris. At the time I was playing with polymer clay (yes, hence my artist name Millefiori) and was amazed by the techniques people were using in the US while it was barely existent in France. I'm a slow mover, I only opened a shop in March 2008 and then only put up my very first listing last summer when I actually decided to do it full time, being now settled in NYC and having my business registered.
What I like about Etsy is the great traffic I get on it and the energy plus the seller advice their team brings. It feels like we (the sellers) are all evolving at different speed but making progress together and when you have your own business you work most of the time alone so it's good to share experiences and find a like-minded community.

Is this a full time gig for you? If yes what do you love about it?
Yes my jewelry business is my full time job and has been so for a year and a half now. I love absolutely everything about it, of course especially realizing an idea into a tangible piece and seeing the sparkle in the eye of my customers discovering it. The only exceptions are the administrative aspects and the fact to be alone most of the time. By the way I'm looking for an intern so if one of your readers is interested, I'd be happy to receive an email :).

Your personal fav item in your shop right now?
Call me a masochist, I've always had as favorite the last piece that took me the most time and effort. Right now for my Etsy shop it's the . You can see on the last picture (see below) of my listing the different steps involved.  I love to put stress on the handmade labor, I think that is what people look for when buying on Etsy, at least I hope! Peter Pan collars are very popular and you can find them in a wide array of prices and qualities of course. Since most of my pieces are quite dainty and delicate this is kind of a statement piece for me so I wanted it to be very elaborate. I spent hours sketching over and over and sawing it off. Then in my e-shop it's my reindeer necklace; that was technically super challenging as well!

What was first piece you ever made/sold?
My first pieces were made out of polymer clay and were most of the time necklaces you can see pictures above: three dimensional orchids or millefiori beads were my specialty.

What are your plans for the future?
Last year I've had a craft show almost every single week end, I've managed my Etsy sales, the orders on my e-shop and the wholesale orders for boutiques around the world. I finished the year exhausted. I can't realistically hope to grow as a person and as a business doing all that at once and myself. At some point I would need either to have someone working with me or at least to focus on one main activity for my business: online versus shows versus wholesale. I will soon sit down, breathe and figure this all out, this is in my 2013 resolutions list!

Where else can we find your goodies?
I have an e-shop (http://www.virginiemillefiori.com)  on my website which also lists my current retailers. I am also on most major social platforms: , , , .

Any advice for women considering starting their own business ?
The first thing is to be sure you are truly passionate by the field in which you want to start your business because you will spend a lot of time talking, reading and thinking about it. It's not a fairy tale, simply because you have the heart and the ideas for it, will not mean overnight success. This means you must be financially able to survive until your business grows enough to make a living out of it. This is also vital to stay focused on your core business, which means to remain true to yourself and your unique identity that will meet the needs of a niche market loving your products for their added value. Eventually you will need a lot of determination and positivity to turn any failure in a learning experience and to evolve stronger and stronger rich in knowledge and accomplishments. 
This is the most difficult but also the best job I've had so far. It's just been a year and a half and I still have a lot to learn but I'm already proud to look back and see the evolution my brand is going through and the wonderful people I've met along the way. This is a life experience not any regular job.

For fun: whats playing on your ipod, mp3 player, favorite book?
I could not work without music and it really helps me staying positive and never bored if I have to do a repetitive task like sawing off tons of identical shapes. I listen all day (and night) to Songza where I love the diversity and the ability to pick a style by the activity you're doing. They have some really fun activity suggestions like "looking at pictures of your ex" which always makes me laugh. Then about books I must admit first I'm not a big reader and second I'm kind of a monomaniac: I read books about jewelry and about conducting a business... The most fun part of my day is watching episodes at night, lately Portlandia season 2 (I laughed again when they reused "she's making jewelry now") and before it was Louie CK, That Mitchell and Webb Look, thank you Netflix!

Also I'm a brunch fanatic- any local brunch recommendations please?
Since I'm sure you know way more than I do in that field I won't disappoint you by stating the new underground hip brunch in Williamsburg, instead I will remain very french: I eventually tried Lucien after hearing about it for years now and it is actually true to its reputation. The food tastes just like in France so since I did not go back for the holidays it was a delicious ersatz for food at least! The location couldn't be easier: 1st street and 1st avenue.

So that's our giveaway of the week, 
I hope you enjoyed going behind the scenes with Virginie. 
As always entries using Rafflecopter to keep things easy.

Remember: Giveaways are open to Blog Followers only, so please FOLLOW. Thanks.
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Monday, January 14

If you don't know Angela or her blog, Boutique La Boheme, then you should. She's got the goods on design, thrifting, fashion and travel. Now seriously, how perfectly perfect is her office space above? See more on her blog

The lovely Angela.

natural twist out black hair naptural kinky

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