Saturday, May 9, 2015

Viva La Print!

(March 8, 2015: Schooling myself at Barnes and Noble/ The Grove, LA)

Over the past decade, I've made a career in the online world. From heading an SEO writing department and managing social media campaigns of professional practices to becoming a fashion columnist, freelance writer, and currently, a full-time Los Angeles blogger, my life in the field of communications has been solely Internet-based.

Ironically, when I wrote for my college newspaper and student-run magazine back in the day (Daily Titan and TUSK Magazine), I never cared if my articles were published online (mind you, it was the late 90s - early 2000s...). As an observer by nature, I just loved watching other students on campus reading my articles in between classes and folding it up to put in their backpacks. Having my words splattered inside something tangible was an indescribable feeling! But after I graduated (print journalism degree), technology evolved, and I realized how truly awesome it is to work in the online world, my goals in print took a backseat. The opportunities that I was presented shortly after graduating from CSUF became priority, so I sorta stopped pitching to mags and stuff. But I never stopped studying and reading some of my fave publications (especially when sipping on coffee at Borders or Barnes and Noble).

See, the thing is, my heart beats fastest when reading, touching, and inhaling the beauty of a print magazine versus scrolling and swiping on my laptop or iPhone. Slowly turning crisp pages, folding the corners on a great article that I can revisit later, and opening up the perfume ads to rub on my wrist -- print magazines offer a multi-sensory experience that a blog or online magazine just doesn't have the ability to do.

(August 19, 2013: the now-closed Barnes and Noble/ Pasadena, CA)
OK, I realize that this article is coming across as Internet-bashing, which may seem especially odd coming from me, a blogger. But nope - not what I'm saying. This is more of a don't-forget-about-print-magazines even as you remain addicted to blogs, websites, and social media. When I hear people say things like, "print is dead" or "print will soon be extinct"...my palms get sweaty imagining life without them. I also feel for the entire teams behind producing just one monthly magazine issue. From the writers and editors to the employees behind a cool printing process and advertising execs that work hard to make sure their brand gets a proper space, I would hate to think that their jobs have an expiration date. (I mean, I still want to contribute to a print mag one day myself!)

Ultimately, my love for print publications comes from the 'lil pleasures that are really big deals. That said, here are my top 5 reasons why print mags still rule: 

(1) Perfect for a long bath: I do NOT trust myself with anything technology-based near a mass of water (and you shouldn't either!). Wet, wrinkled pages, on the other hand, I can deal with. Last night, I enjoyed a glass of merlot and the lovely sounds of Sade in a bubbly bath as I studied some of the new workout moves and nutritious recipes in the latest issue of Women's Health Magazine. Was a perfect evening!

(2) Coffee table conversations: The type of magazines that someone has laid out on their coffee tables says a lot about his/her personality, be it a gossip mag or a fashion publication. It gets conversations flowing ("Oh my gosh! Do you think Kylie Jenner will ever stop enhancing her lips?") provides an artsy touch to, possibly, an otherwise dull table, and gives guests something to casually browse through as they wait for you to get ready. (Last-minute date?)

(April 22, 2012: Soaking up the sun with Self/ San Dimas, CA
(3) Summertime companions: I don't know about you, but there is something awesome about laying out in the hot SoCal sun -- whether on the sandy beach or while laying out at an apartment pool -- and flipping through the latest this or that mag. Soaking up the rays and new knowledge at the same time is pretty peaceful, if you ask me. (Which you didn't, but you're reading this, so you must care about my opinion in one way or another!)

(4) Wall or fridge art: When I see an amazing outfit on a website, I rarely print it out and post on my bulletin board or frdige. But when I find something memorable in a magazine, such as an affordable pair of heels or an inspirational quote, I rip out and plaster it somewhere. I love this convenience factor as well as the actual look of a ripped-out page of a mag...uneven torn edges are just so ultra-cool and edgy.

(5) Creative artifacts: While I don't like to face that fact that print will (ahem, could?) become obsolete, I think it's important to start saving some of your favorite issues. For years, I saved as many magazines as I could with Gwen Stefani starring as the cover model. These are social artifacts that our children of children may one day want to discover. Let's give 'em something to talk about!

So, now that you have an understanding (I hope!) of why I believe that print still rules, I gotta know your thoughts! Are you proud to shout "Viva La Print!" at the top of your lungs? Or, are you so Internet-based that you don't find value anymore in print mags? Do tell!

For additional commentary, interviews, or any other inquiries, please feel free to contact me directly. 

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Put Your D.I.Y. Skills to the Test With Jamberry Nails!


(Photo Credit: Jamberry Nails on IG...and moi!)

...And that's what I did recently. You know, put my arts-and-craftsy self to the test with Jamberry Nails at-home application!

I was introduced to Jamberry Nails, which launched in 2010 by three sisters who were ready to take nail art to a new level, by my friend and Independent Consultant Shana Swanson. Now, I haven't seen this adorable chick for years, but we go waaaaay back. I'm talking Sunday School as kids, Jewish camps in Malibu as know-it-all-teens, and Honors English classes throughout high school in Pomona (as the only two Jews in the school, besides my sister, I think). Fortunately, due to the power and incredible benefit of social media, we've remained connected on Facebook. (Oh yeah, and after visiting Israel back in the day, she brough me back a Tori Amos T-shirt in Hebrew and an album from a singer dude that has a track titled, "Elana." See what I mean?! Shana rocks.)

Anyhoo...so when she messaged me and asked if I wanted to try out Jamberry Nails and blog about it, I was all over the opportunity for a few reasons. Yes, the first being that Shana is my girl, and I'm always into supporting a friend. The second reason is that, of course, as a blogger it's fun to sample products and write a review. And for the third reason: I'm all about saving money. This cost-effective application method offers nail art lovers the chance to save a good chunk of mula. (I'm sure you'll agree with me that visiting a nail shop every two weeks or so can add up!)

So I tried out her samples, and as you can see from my photo collage above - I had a great time showing off my results. Here is the application video that I chose to watch when it came to applying my Jamberry Nails -- pretty easy-to-follow:



Soooo....the question now is: Are Jamberry Nails right for me -- an LA blogger who is always on the go? The truth is, I absolutely adore the plethora of unique designs and colors. In addition, the application process is simple and straightforward. However, I believe that the ideal Jamberry Nails customer is a gal who has PATIENCE. While I am working on building up my patience (in all sorts of ways and for all sorts of reasons!), it also requires time and a clear mind. You must be conscientious and meticulous regarding the process! Because I was a little nervous that I would mess up each fingernail (which I did with a few during the filing step), I didn't enjoy the overall process as much as I thought I would.

Therefore, for me and my busy lifestyle, I prefer to let the pros beautify my nails in between running errands around town. 'Cause truth is, I trust that they will do a near-perfect job and I'll get that hand and arm mini-massage that I live for.

But if you, my dear, pride yourself in being a D.I.Y. queen, then I highly suggest looking into Jamberry Nails. Their website is fun to cruise, the range of selection is vast, and the cost range is VERY affordable: $15 - $17.50/set. And, of course, please connect with my friend Shana when you're ready to get started!

To place an order, schedule a party, and/or join Shana's team:
shensta.jamberrynails.net
Join her Facebook page for customers to ask questions/share pictures:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/ShenstaNails/
Cell: (702) 275-6326 (text is preffered)
Email: shensta@gmail.com



Friday, April 24, 2015

Red Carpet Realness at 'The Voice Spring Break Concert" Event!

(Featuring The Voice's top 8 contestants of Season 8!)

Had a blast night hangin' out on the red carpet with my friend and blogger buddy, Leeann of Join the Gossip, for "The Voice Spring Break" concert! Amongst the competition that actually does exist among press and the blogging community, it was quite a joy to attend "The Voice Spring Break Concert" event with someone who also prides herself in being an ethical journalist first. (She and I are both CSUF alumnae with print journalism degrees!) But that's a whole other topic to write about...

(Me and Leeann red carpet-ing it up. We love black!)
So, in between Leeann and I gabbing about all that is entertainment and the randomness we obsess over, we got some face-to-face action with Season 8 contestants. They chatted about tons (with other reporters right next to us), including their love for music, the support they provide one another, their love for the judges, and how being on television has changed their lives.

Not only did I gain inspiration from the contestants, I truly enjoyed meeting Pharrell (he and Blake hit the red carpet with the contestants also!). Due to the slight chaos that typically develops behind the ropes, I didn't have a chance to ask my favorite fashionable male celeb a question. But kindly, he shook my hand and I was able to introduce myself. In fact, the did that with every reporter, which according to Leeann (who hits more red carpet events than I do), that's an extremely rare gesture from a celeb.

(Pharrell: Judge, Trendsetter, Music Mogul)
Speaking to a reporter from Hollywire, Pharrell provided genuine insight to the world of the contestants and what he believes their goals are as performers: "The love what they do...So, yeah, they wanna win, but I think they want to learn and advance more than anything else. And that's what's super-exciting for me...And I think that's what America's responding to..."

If you religiously watch The Voice, you definitely do NOT want to miss out this Monday, 8/7c! Word on the street is (and well, everywhere...that just sounded cool), is that former judges CeeLo, Usher, and Gwen are returning to the show to provide coaching support.

My only question about that is: What will Gwen be wearing??? (Can't wait.)

Photo Credit: Courtesy of my new iPhone 6 Plus!

Monday, April 6, 2015

BLACK GIRLS ROCK! 2015: The Most Inspirational (and Stylish!) Show of the Season!

(Honorees!/Photo Credit: www.businesswire.com)

(Beverly Bond/Photo Credit: www.goodhairmag.com)

(The Smiths!/Photo Credit: www.eonline.com)

(Erykah Badu/Photo Credit: www.fashionbombdaily.com)

(Cicely Tyson/Photo Credit: www.nydailynews.com)

(Janelle Monáe/Photo Credit: www.vibe.com)

(First Lady Michelle Obama/Photo Credit: www.nydailynews.com)

(Ava DuVernay/Photo Credit: www.styleblazer.com)

Did you catch last night's BLACK GIRLS ROCKS! celebratory show on BET? I definitely did and tweeted the entire two hours.

Hosted by actresses Regina King and Tracee Ellis Ross, this was one of the most inspirational (and stylish!) shows of the season. An extension of the BLACK GIRLS ROCK!™ non-profit organization, founded in 2006 by celebrity DJ and philanthropist Beverly Bond, this show is far more worthy than I believe it gets credit for. I would love to think that those who tune into a popular show, such as The Academy Awards, would also tune into this one. But the the amount of tweeting during BLACK GIRLS ROCK! is much less.

But I stay hopeful for next year!! I mean, from beautiful 'dos, awesome speeches, and amazing fashion statements, the honorees as well as the entire audience was a seriously beautiful sight to see. I felt such pride watching awards given out to both girls (Gooo Gabrielle Jordan! Young motivational speaker, author, and entrepreneur!) and and women in the field of publishing, movie-making, philanthropy, music, and acting, as all acceptance speeches dug into the concept and importance of supporting and encouraging one another. (First Lady Michelle Obama received a standing ovation as she gave a sincere speech: "Challenges and failures are necessary components of success...")

BLACK GIRLS ROCK! is the celebration of embracing who you are and pursuing your passion no matter the type of adversity you may face. And while I do acknowledge that non-black women could somehow feel marginalized simply due to the title of the show, I believe it provides empowerment for all. Lessons can be learned and inspiration can be derived from understanding that, despite the fact that racism, bigotry, and sexism still exists, there is beauty in persevering no matter what. (At least, I hope that all women would pick up on this.)

But the focus on "black girls" was developed for a reason.

According to www.blackgirlsrock.com, the non-profit's mission is pure: "BLACK GIRLS ROCK! is to change the world by empowering Black girls to lead, innovate, and serve...Committed to enriching girls through leadership, education, and positive identity development since 2006. BLACK GIRLS ROCK!™ Inc. builds the self-esteem and self-worth of young women of color by changing their outlook on life, broadening their horizons and providing tools for self-empowerment and efficacy."

A big kudos to Bond, who successfully made her vision a reality! According to the website, "BLACK GIRLS ROCK!™ is also a multifaceted movement dedicating to shifting the cultural paradigms of media/music messaging that often negatively impact women and girls." As Bond stood on stage in recognition of her contribution, she explained that it's important for young, black girls to watch this show and "see black girls that look like them...rocking out and calling shots."

And ohhhh how I fell in love with so many looks of the night. My favorites of the evening were worn by Ava DuVernay (director screenwriter, film marketer, and film distributor), Janelle Monáe (psychedelic soul and R&B singer-songwriter, composer, and record producer), and Erykah Badu (singer-songwriter, record producer, activist, and actress). Each look was completely unique! Duvernay's gown was full-length, form-fitting in a bright shade of coral/orange that brought out her smile and complimented her lovely locs. Monae wore a black and white-striped, two-piece set that provided a cool balance of classic and feminine. And the insanely talented Badu took boho-chic to an uncomparable level of vintage-esque, beautiful androgyny.

So as I continue to think about what BLACK GIRLS ROCK! means to me, I can proudly look at myself (a mixed, Jewish LA journalist and blogger who lives to inspire readers with fresh outlooks on fashion, entertainment, and culturally-related topics) and claim that I, too, ROCK.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

(Yeezy Season 1-Inspired) Flesh-Toned Fashion Accessories!

(Set created on www.polyvore.com)
I'm a lover of bold tones, including teal and black. But there are times when I want to incorporate something softer into my outfits...something that will add a nice touch of boho-chic sophistication.

And while I wouldn't necessarily describe Kanye's new women's fashion collection - in collabo with Adidas - as a "sophisticated" range of styles (his bodysuits and body hugging styles are risqué and leave little to anyone's imagination), I appreciate some of the flesh-toned "somber" colors he chose as well as the simplicity of his collection. When watching clips of his February 2015 showcase, held on the first day of New York Fashion Week on YouTube (didn't make it to NY this season!), I was really digging it. But I also realized that shades of cream, beige, and browns don't complement most women's bodies from head to toe - especially worn skin-tight.

That's where accessories come in! 

As you can see from the my Yeezy Season 1-inspired Polyvore set, I chose pieces that could work in nicely with nearly any color - especially white and black. As an LA blogger who strives to inspire, this is intended to get you thinking about the flesh-toned pieces you may already have in your closet and jewelry box! And if you feel you're lacking in these colors, nearly every single retail shop you come across -- from Ross and Forever 21 to Bebe and Nordstrom -- you will find some treats. Want something waaaay unique and rare? A flea market is your best bet.

Happy Hunting!


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Original Victoria's Secret Model Kimberly Friedmutter Gives 'Narsie' and Nice Style Tips! (Take Notes)

(The lovely, poised Kimberly Friedmutter!)

Kimberly Friedmutter is more than a beauty! She's an internationally-acclaimed life management expert, celebrity hypnotist, goddess of greatest gadgets, and reality television star (TLC's "Sin City Rules"). Also one of the original Victoria's Secret models, Friedmutter is an innovative, trendsetting Las Vegas-based star that coined the hilariously-clever term "Narsie." (Keep reading...you'll get it!) And she's here on Good Girl Gone Shopping, providing both practical and creative tips regarding shopping, style, and home decor. Insight to celebrity and our universal social media addiction included. Enjoy! 

The term you coined – “Narsie” – is so clever! I especially appreciate your philosophy regarding these types of photos (“selfies” that are posted on a public social forum) as healthy. What would you say to those who abhor this social media photo trend? 

I’d say ‘grow up!’ Change is rarely fun, especially if it’s irritating change. The beauty with Narsies is that you don’t have to participate in social media if you’re not feeling social! It’s an easy thing to avoid unless you're ‘in on the trend’...but try looking at the positive side of Narsies! A Narsie-holic is likely to over-share, so try to enjoy them by finding the humor in it.


(Friedmutter: Bombshell of today!)
For those who are still trying to perfect the art of taking a great Narsie (including myself!), what tips would you give? 

It’s a funny thing because normally, you want a photo shot from very low so the body is elongated, lean and tall, but with a Narsie, the best angle is the opposite, the higher the better. However, the real key is LIGHTING! No amount of editing can look as great as starting with good key light (main light source) so do your best to find light and Narsie on!

Thoughts on Kim Kardashian’s new book, “Selfish”…? 

It’s the perfect title, perfect subject, perfectly hilarious! You can’t make this stuff up! It’s perfect for her, her personality, it’s what we love about her and also what makes us uncomfortable, too. Very few women can pull this off but for Kim, it’s pretty much what we would expect, right?

Social media is so prevalent in our lives…Hard to imagine life without it! What social networks do you find most beneficial to you and your work? 

I like Twitter the most because of the give and take. Not only is it easy to post but other twitter accounts are really interesting. I like to look at other people’s Twitter to see how they are doing . . . to check in. You can tell so much from daily posts! I do feel bad for people when they accidentally post private messages or don’t think ahead about repercussions. People just really love to be known and social media reveals a lot -- good and bad.

What do you find most fascinating about celebrity living in the age of social media? 

It used to be that you just monitor what you say. Now it seems most people say what they want and then post really damaging things. Personally, I think social media is great but it’s become the new survival of the fittest. If you carelessly post inappropriate things, chances are it’ll catch up to you.


(Friedmutter: Victoria's Secret blast-from-the-past!)
From being one of the original Victoria’s Secret models, called the ‘Most Famous Hand Model in the World’ by CNN’s correspondent Tony Clark, to an internationally-acclaimed Life Management Expert, Celebrity Hypnotist, Goddess of Greatest Gadgets, Trendsetter, Magazine Contributor, and Reality TV star, you have a unique range of experience and specialties. How do you stay balanced? 

It’s interesting because I spent the first part of my life modeling, a lot of which was lingerie catalog modeling. The goal, at the time was to not look ‘too sexy’ for the garments and catalog; no overt sexy looks or poses, rather more moderate and mainstream. Now, it’s the exact opposite. It wasn’t too long ago, lingerie ads couldn’t air on television, restricted by network ethics departments. I’m so happy to see beautiful lingerie, especially for VS, because the catalogs launched an iconic business for sensual beauty and the freedom to bare it. I love the brand and I LOVE what VS has become. At the same time, I was recognized for my hands of all things! CNN approached me to do a special on my success, interviewing clients and documenting my photo shoots, etc… The network found my success to be a unique human interest story, of course Seinfeld publicly had episodic fun with the notion of ‘hand modeling’. I segued into film, screenwriting, talk radio, then private practice Hypnosis and television. I pretty much follow my interests and they seemingly charted toward more cerebral industries. However, I REALLY love gorgeous lingerie [laughs]!

I absolutely love your OK Magazine summer video called: “Clean Our Your Closet And Create aBeautiful Flower Arrangement At The Same Time.” The common woman often gets frustrated and stressed out when merely considering the idea of cleaning out her closet, but you offer hope! Was there a particular situation or experience that inspired the idea of turning shoes into vases? 

Yes, definitely! I’m a ‘grab whatcha’ got’ kind of girl. I use pillowcases for dining place mats (it’s true!) I use candleholders for glasses, draperies for tablecloths, rugs for blankets and boots for vases! I get a little bored with traditional things and LOVE the unexpected! I entertained the other night and guests loved that I used books as chargers under the dinner plates. I recommend looking around at what you have instead of what you want, you might already have it, in another form or purpose . . . that’s the payoff for cleaning closets; keep an open mind so treasures can reveal themselves.


(A "BoHo-Rock" Friedmutter!)


In speaking of fashion, how would you describe your own personal style? 

It’s fun for fashion to follow your feelings! My most comfy fashion is what I call BoHo-Rock. I love a good blingy cowboy boot with jeans, a white T-shirt and DIAMONDS! Combine b-l-i-n-g with b-a-r-n (either jeans or flannel shirt) and the combo gets a lot of attention. It’s effortless but not ignored; looking like the perfect combination of ‘easy’ but polished.

Scenario: You RSVP’d just a few hours before an important event and don’t have time to buy anything new nor contact a designer to borrow a piece. So you’re stuck with putting everything together in a short period of time on your own. What type of look is the safest to turn to at this point, while still being attention-getting? 

Tops and bottoms of the same color are easiest and fastest to throw on last minute. Let your accessories be your assets! It’s easy to have a neutral, sparkly shoe, bag, bracelet and necklace ‘at the ready’ to look pulled together. My best advice is to merchandise your closet! I do this on any given weekend and it’s MY BEST TIP EVER! Hang your clothing as outfits. Start with your favorite jacket, hanging it next to pants, tops and skirts that go with that jacket. You now have many mix-and-matched outfits. Do this with all of your favorite key pieces. Then separate closet into categories: work, play, travel, beach, winter, dinners, gym, etc . . . (categories to suit your needs) Remember to include a section I call ‘fat’ simply for days you can’t find comfort in tight clothing. Now, when the phone rings with a last-minute travel plan or invite, you can reach for the section and choose your outfit. I think my 'closet trick' is one of the best tips ever! 


"Go where the spirit of clothing leads you!" - Friedmutter)

Best place to travel to for unique as well as affordable fashion? 

Any place away from where you live! We tend to dress for our geography -- it’s a subconscious form of survival to look like those we are in contact with. In order to expose yourself to global fashion, explore boutiques, street markets or malls when you travel for best variety. Obviously, the internet opens your closet sense to the world, however, it’s a lot of fun to allow other women to inspire you to try different styles. When I travel to Costa Rica, I find myself wearing tighter pants with my suits as opposed to Indonesia, where I enjoy looser but less clothing. Go where the spirit of clothing leads you!

Connect with Kimberly Friedmutter by visiting her website and following her on Twitter

Photo Credits: All courtesy of Kimberly Friedmutter 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

gx by Gwen Stefani Now on Shelves at Nordstrom (Naturally!)

(Photo Credit: gx by Gwen Stefani's Twitter page!)
In March 2014, I reported on the gx by Gwen Stefani collabo with ShoeDazzle! And now...just a year later, mind you...her unique and affordable line of yummy heels are available at Nordstrom! Yessss.

The cute and colorful range of styles are available both online and in the store. In fact, I just got off the phone with a Nordy associate to make sure they are on the shelves. YES, it's confirmed -- the BP shoe department at The Grove in LA received its first shipment this month. You're welcome! 

**Ain't no stopping Gwen -- and I love to be all over it! Check out some of my previous articles featuring this music, fashion, and business mogul's brand launches and collabos: Spark the Fire' with Gwen Stefani and Mastercard! (Pricesless) (2014), OPI + Gwen Stefani: An Insane Blast of New Nail Color! (2014, and Delivering Cuteness to Target: 'Harajuku Mini' in Time for the Holidays! (2011)

Rock Black on the Boardwalk During Hot Summer Evenings!

(Visual created on www.polyvore.com)

I loooove color. I mean, like really. But in my book, black is a universal tone that looks great on everyone and can embody different personalities. Most chic, edgy, sophisticated, mod, über industrial, and sexy looks are often developed with black pieces.

So, with summer inching closer (hurry up!!), I'm looking forward to investing in a few black bikini tops and halter styles that can take me from day to night. In other words, items that I can lay out in and then dress up for a nighttime stroll on the boardwalk with my BF. As you can see with this visual, I included a pair of grunge-y jeans (Rag & Bone Women's Boyfriend Jean - Rebel Wash) to offset the sexiness of the tops and heels. I'm all about comfort and still maintaining a casual toughness to an evening look!

Basically, what I'm pretty much saying is this: I'm so ready to kick off sandy flip-flops as the sun sets before throwing on a pair of jeans and heels to accompany my skin-baring top (yummy earrings already on!).

What about you? Think you'll rock black on the boardwalk during summer evenings? 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Philly-to-Hollywood Beauty Stylist Neicy Small is the Illest!

(Neicy Small/ Photo Credit: www.neicysmall.com)
No stranger to set life and transforming the looks of pop stars, video vixens, models, actors, rappers, and entertainers, Philly-bred beauty stylist Neicy Small has been taking on Hollywood for more than a decade. With a roster of celebrity clients that includes both males and females (think levels like: Jasmine Villegas and Tyrese Gibson), Neicy is known to turn a simple look into a sensational, jaw-dropping hit. Because I love shedding light on industry professionals that I believe could give you that dose of style inspiration you may (so desperately) need, I'm proud to feature this humble and innovative mogul on Good Girl Gone Shopping.

Unfortunately, not everyone recognizes their innate talents and hits the the road to reach their goals. In fact, it's easy for many people to get discouraged and quit before their journey even begins.

But for Neicy, the in-demand beauty stylist who is known to "beat" faces and whip hair with the best of them (arguably, the best in Los Angeles), her itch for styling developed after a significantly memorable moment as a young girl. "I went to a salon to get my hair done...my hair was down to my waist. I was so young! I didn't know the lady would end up cutting all my hair to the point where I couldn't even make a pony [laughs]," recalls Neicy. "I was traumatized and wanted no one to touch my hair, so I went to hair school."

(Jasmine Villegas/ Photo Credit: Courtesy of Neicy Small)

Although it wasn't necessarily her initial dream ("I used to rap and make music, but that didn't work out so hair and makeup it was."), Neicy knew that LA was the place to pursue her career in the beauty industry. And while the pressure that comes with making a name for oneself in Hollywood can feel daunting and discouraging to most, Neicy's strength and faith drove her to eventually leave Philly and head to the west coast.

"I come from a city where there is not much opportunity, and being a mixed child, I grew up in a competitive hood where I always had to prove myself," says Neicy. "Pressure doesn't bust my pipes...it just makes me go harder."

(Ester Dean/ Photo Credit: Courtesy of Neicy Small)

And she is doing just that. Currently, Neicy is prepping for a new, upcoming travel experience that she welcomes with open arms. Scheduled to accompany acclaimed American pop singer/songwriter, rapper, actress, and record producer Ester Dean on "The Pinkprint Tour" in Europe (headlined by Nicki Minaj), Neicy has come quite a long way since getting her long locks, unknowingly axed.

Excited to be on board for this 1-month, overseas tour with Ester (who has contributed to some of Nicki's hottest hits, including "All Things Go" and "Super Bass"), Neicy is also excited about spending time in a spot she's never been. "I'm looking forward to the different culture and places outside of what I see each day," she says. "Everyday people, art, fashion, lifestyle, nature...pretty much anything can inspire me."

(Tyrese Gibson/ Photo Credit: www.neicysmall.com)

As for Neicy's renowned skills in hair, makeup, nails, and male grooming, her "east coast flava" definitely adds a unique touch to her work on the west coast. "I use technique with style and grace when I touch a client's hair or face. I like to call myself a lifestyle hair and makeup artist," she says. 

Famous for providing her clients with "good vibes and laughs," Neicy reveals who she would absolutely love to makeover. "I would love to make over a regular girl maybe from a small town. I've worked with a lot of celebrities, but I would love to give someone a makeover who doesn't know about fashion and style...someone who doesn't even watch TV like that," says Neicy, who has proudly worked with Jasmine Villegas for five years, the American pop and R&B singer featured in Kendrick Lamar's "That's Me Right There."

In speaking of the "regular girl" or even the girl who is clueless about how to attain a fresh-looking face, what simple makeup tips would my favorite lifestyle hair and makeup artist give? "My simple tips would be to always clean and moisturize your face first, before applying makeup. Use an everyday foundation of your choice. If you have oily skin, use non-oil foundation. If you have dry skin, then use a moisturizing foundation...and little mascara and lip gloss for a clean, everyday look!"

To see more of Neicy's amazing work, please visit her website and follow her on Instagram

Sunday, March 1, 2015

5 Lessons to Take From the Giuliana Rancic-Zendaya Fiasco!

(L-R: Giuliana Rancic, Zendaya/ Photo Credit: www.accesshollywood.com)
There was a time when I couldn't stand "Fashion Police" on E!. The performance of industry folks sitting around to basically judge a celebrity's style -- following an award show or while dissecting Hollywood trends in segments like "Bitch Stole My Look" -- turned me off for a bit. Because my passion for fashion roots in creativity and in the beauty of diversity, I didn't always feel comfortable laughing at what comedian Joan Rivers said (even if it was hilarious!). It was so very "Mean Girls" to me.

But then I hopped back on the E! train a couple of years ago or so, becoming a regular viewer of the show. I decided to really listen and learn from the intellectual perspectives of the stylists, including topics surrounding the distinct signature styles of designers, why particular cuts don't work well with certain body shapes and sizes, and how this color combo or that type of print can make or break an outfit. From George Kotsiopoulos bringing me to a new level of understanding to the cleverly coined phrases and excitement of the fabulous Brad Goreski (who now sits in Kotsiopoulos' seat), their presence on the show helped to balance out the rest of the nonsense.

E!'s popular correspondent Giuliana Rancic usually added tasteful support (or tasteful opposition) to what some of the other hosts would say. And with her chic flavor and friendly personality, I maintained a certain level of respect for Rancic. I also gained a respect for Kelly Osbourne over the years, as she has proven to the world that she is her own person with her own opinion. The bubbly Brit (and daughter of the "Prince of Darkness") brought an edgy look, as well as a knowledgeable and unbiased commentary about a star's look (whether she was friends with him/her or not!).


(Kelly, you'll be missed! Photo Credit: www.VH1.com)

But now, due to poor judgment and for the sake of "comedy," everything has changed.

Here's what happened: Actress/singer/dancer Zendaya flaunted gorgeous faux dreadlocks at The Oscars. In analyzing her look on "Fashion Police," Rancic said: "I feel like she smells like pachouli oil" while another unidentified voice chimed in with "Or weed!" Zendaya then tweeted about being insulted in regards to the comment, prompting an uproar from the social media world, which included accusations that Rancic's comment was "racist." Rancic made a public apology to Zendaya on E!, and Zendaya acknowledged the apology. Then Osbourne quits the show, after making it clear that she is friends with the star and that she was not happy with how any of it went down. According to US Weekly, Osbourne was against the Zendaya comments during filming and didn't want to go along with it.

My big questions: Why was Rancic the designated host to make the comment? Because she's not a comedian, wouldn't it make more sense if Kathy Griffin (who took Rivers' position) to say that? Did Rancic try to object or was it her idea? 

While a new season of "Fashion Police" is set to begin in a few weeks, I have decided to stop taking part in it. Simply being a viewer, in my mind, is saying being a Mean Girl is acceptable...and it's not. It has not been said yet who will take over Osbourne's position and whether or not Rancic even continues with the show (be it her choice or E!'s). Until then, I'd like to shower this story with some positivity. There are many lessons that we can take from this ordeal. Here are my top 5:


(Loyalty reigns!/ Photo Credit: Huffington Post)
1) Words DO hurt. Celebrities are people too, and yes critics can take things too far even if they didn't have an evil intention.

2) Know your lane. Rancic is not a professional comedian. Period. Stick to interviews, girl! That's what you're great at.

3) Public personalities must be aware that they make a difference (good or bad). Social media may not always feel like your friend when something goes wrong. Just means you need to remember that there is power in the people, as well as power in the tool that allows us to voice our opinions.

4) Glamour is not a cookie-cutter image. Who says that a couture gown cannot be accompanied with natural hair or a statement-making hairstyle? Coming from someone who loves her locs and loves her Bond No. 9 perfume (I hate pachouli oil!), I say eff yes - you can create your own version of glam.

5) Have boundaries. It's been reported that Osbourne has been unhappy on the show since Rivers passed. But whether that is true or not, the time obviously came when Osbourne had to make a decision that was best for her. She knew her boundaries.

Where do you stand now with "Fashion Police"...? Will you continue to watch the show?

Monday, February 23, 2015

Top 3 Movies That 'The Oscars' Got Me Hyped to Watch!

(Actress Emma Stone going off on her Pops, played by Michael Keaton, in "Birdman.")

Yes, I love award season for the fashion. I mean, it's a time when Hollywood's gorgeous of the gorgeous is wearing the gorgeous-of-the-gorgeous gowns! But, of course, I look forward to amazing acceptance speeches and seeing snippets of talented actors and actresses doing their thing on the big screen.

And last night was no exception! The 87th Academy Awards featured some amazing films that have now made it to my "must watch" list. While I have become more of a "Let's stay in and rent a movie!" kind of chick, these dramas are made for the big screen for a reason. So I will say that, yes, I'm willing to overspend on tickets and snacks (and even allow my ears to suffer during the grossly loud previews in the theater!) in order to truly learn why these films have become such a talk of the town.

In no particular order, here are the flicks that I'm ready to check out (including Oscar moments that were enough to make me wanna watch all three): 

(1) Boyhood: Patricia Arquette's speech on women's equality after winning for 'Best Supporting Actress' got Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez on the edge of their seat with applause and cheers. I need to learn if that particular topic holds relevance to the actual film.

(2) Birdman (Winner of "Best Picture"): The brief scene that showed a heated Emma Stone going off on Michael Keaton (who plays her father) was way intense. Looking forward to the build-up and why she thinks "Birdman" became a loser.

(3) Selma: I can't stop thinking about the horrid-yet-kinda-cool brick red suit worn by British actor David Oyelowo (who plays Martin Luther King, Jr.). That, and sensing the emotions behind his eyes when he teared up during John Legend and Common's "Glory" performance (total moxie status!) told me that this dude ain't scared of showing his dramatic personality. Was obviously casted for a reason!

Which movie do you think I should see first? I'm all ears!!

Photo Credit: www.betcheslovethis.com

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Save 45% Off Luxury, Grecian-Inspired Sandals from the 'Corinna Saias Collection' (You're Welcome!)

(Photo Credit: Courtesy of Corinna Saias Collection)

The first day of spring is gonna arrive before we know it! And for fashionistas who are preparing their wardrobe for the warmer, more sunshine-y days even before March 20th hits (official start of the new season), you're in luck.

Corinna Saias, founder of the Grecian-inspired, luxury sandal brand Corinna Saias Collection, recently reached out to me with an exciting sales promotion: an exclusive 45% off discount for GGGS readers on ALL online merchandise! Considering spring is right around the corner, marking the beginning of international travels, resort stays, skin-baring fashion trends, and cutesy-pie pedicures, tons of you are looking into practical (and sexy!) footwear to accent your fierce ensembles. Yup - myself included.

(Photo Credit: Courtesy of Corinna Saias Collection)

As you browse the brand's site, you'll notice a detail that's pretty special: Each sandal is stamped with the name of exemplary women who have left their "stamp" on Greek history. According to Saias, "The designs are inspired from ancient Greece, but the classic silhouettes are reworked with ultra-luxe and glamorous touches for the modern woman." Regarding the beauty of each genuine leather sandal, which are handmade in Greece, she continues, "Swarovski crystals are used to embellish the sandals and to revive the du jour, jet-set lifestyle led by Jackie Onassis in Capri and Princess Grace of Monaco."

Although the price point may not easily fit into the common budget-conscious shopper -- regularly priced from $150 - $288 -- I love being able to offer you an exclusive 45% off discount. Here are the details: Merchandise coupon is valid from today, Sunday, February 22nd, through Wednesday, March 4th. Use coupon code "goodgirl" during checkout on www.corinnasaias.com, which can be used on an unlimited basis within this period.

....Happy Shopping! 

Friday, February 20, 2015

The 'Himalayan' Sneaker: An Iconic Collabo Between Camper and Bernhard Willhelm!

(Photo Credit: www.fashionmodeldirectory.com)
Four weeks ago, I welcomed a great, new sneaker to my shoe collection.

Wait - that's such an understatement. The real truth is this: Four weeks ago, my shoe game reached a new height of coolness, creativity, and comfort with the addition of an artistic "sneaker."

Thanks to being introduced to this Mediterranean brand by my boyfriend ("Babe, there is this line of cool sneaks I want us to both try!"), I couldn't imagine my wardrobe without my Camper Himalayan kicks now! And as a journalist by nature (and degree), I immediately knew that I had to get the ins about this awesome brand firsthand.

Turned out the original pair my boyfriend chose for me were a bit snug on my wide 'ol feet (and the line runs slightly small), so my visit to the Camper store at The Grove in LA was the perfect opportunity to chat with one of its team members. And to my delight, Dachelle Boehm (retail area manager for the west coast of the US and Canada) was there to give me the goods!

"Romain Kremer just became our creative director, and the styles are shifting and becoming more fashion-forward, which is really cool," said Boehm. "We're known for having comfortable, quality walking shoes. So everything is meant to be very comfortable and look very premium."

(Capturing the beauty of the "Himalayan" shoe...)
Not only did I also learn that Camper is a family-owned company based in Majorca, Spain and began making shoes 130 years ago (!!!), I learned that my particular shoe is a product of the creative collabo between Camper and innovative German designer Bernhard Willhelm.

Per Boehm, "The Bernhard Willhelm's have a huge cult following."

Nope - not surprised in the least. As you can see, the unusual features of this shoe are waaaay fashion-forward, epitomizing the designer's unique and edgy style. Willhelm's career in fashion is one that is internationally notable (launched his first women's collection during Paris Fashion Week in 1999, just after college, and designed his first menswear outfits in 2000).

Eventually, upon receiving accolades, becoming the creative director for Roberto Capucci fashion house (2002-2004), and opening his first boutique in Japan in 2006 (his women's line is licensed under the Japanese company, Bus Stop), Willhelm joined forces with Camper seven years ago, according to the designer's website. The "Bernhard Willhelm-Camper-Together" special lines of shoes began in 2008, providing both men and women interesting options in footwear.

(His and hers!)
I loooove that my Himalayan shoes turn heads anywhere I go. From the grocery store to the mall, it's now odd not to hear, "Hey girl, cool shoes!" Often pairing them with all black or a black-and-white ensemble, I let my Himalayans take center stage with each outfit.

While the cost of the Himalayan shoe costs sorta an arm and a leg for the common fashion lover, the details are worth the purchase ($275 regular price).

Awesome features of this shoe: padded tongue, thick laces that wrap around the entire shoe, anatomic insole that gives extra comfort on the heel (and a little bounce!), rubber layer for a good grip, and striking contrasts of color.

If you're in the LA area, I suggest stopping by The Grove to inhale the artistry of the "Together with Camper" line. I also just noticed that Willhelm is currently presenting a solo exhibition at MOCO Pacific Design Center in LA, which will last through May 17, 2015 ("When Fashion Shows the Danger Then Fashion is the Danger"). That's definitely on my radar and making its way to my calendar as we speak.

So what else can I say about my favorite new shoe? Just that I'm officially one "Happy Camper."