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     Beyond Fashion 

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Hadiza Kassim

Hello my Style Star Sisters. I think it is important to feature someone whose style goes beyond fashion. Hadiza Kassim is just that person to keep one’s eye on. She’s helping to change her native country of Ghana in major ways.

While most college students are consumed with courses, deadlines, and social activities, Hadiza Kassim, juggled the demands of a combined bachelor and masters program in occupational studies and a thriving fashion business.  In 2014, while a student at Ithaca college, Hadiza started her fashion brand, Sarauniya. I had the pleasure of speaking to this dynamic young woman to learn how all this came about. Well, let’s just say fashion was the catalyst for Hadiza’s true calling.

A Fashion Brand is Born

When a friend gifted Hadiza an African print bag, she immediately knew if she loved the bag then others would surely want this accessory too. So, the young entrepreneur decided without hesitation and fear to sell the bold and colorful bags. Hadiza wanted to get her bags made in Ghana and use local artisans to make certain the bags had an authentic African flair. And, what better way to pay homage to her Ghanaian roots and provide sustainability to Ghana through jobs. This was the beginning of Hadiza’s fashion brand, Sarauniya, which means Queen in Hausa, a language widely spoken in West Africa.

Ain’t no Stoppin Her 

Hadiza expanded Sarauniya to include a women’s clothing that embodied a contemporary and sophisticated vibe. She showcased vibrant colors and patterns to highlight the beauty in all women. She even showed her collection during Accra Fashion week in 2016. Take a look below at some of her designs.



http://www.shopsarauniya.com

Her true Calling

You would think her studies and fashion brand were enough to keep Hadiza busy. No, she had only just begun. As a child visiting Ghana often with her family, Hadiza knew she wanted to give back to her beloved country.  She saw the disparity of medical resources in undeserved areas of Ghana. During her senior year, Hadiza changed her major to gerontology with a concentration in occupational therapy. She would take this knowledge and focus on helping to improve the health and wellness for those in need.

 Fatima Initiative for Public Health   Reform

While speaking to this soft spoken entrepreneur, the term ‘woke’ immediately comes to mind. She saw a need for resources in Ghana and worked tirelessly to find solutions all while still completing her degree. Hadiza’s selflessness and determination are what led to her next venture. On April 8, 2017, The Fatima Initiative for Public Health Reform launched. Her goal was to bring preventative care, community medicine, and education to those areas in Ghana that have the greatest disparity.

How Sarauniya Helps 

Hadiza uses a percentage of her profits from Sarauniya to help FIPHR with various out reach programs.  On Oct. 14, 2017, FIPHR , she launches their first free clinical screening in the Nima township. Hundreds came from far thanks to the help of local mosques, advertisements and radio. Hadiza was fortunate to work with two local hospitals, Lekma hospital and Greater Accra regional. The medical personnel offered HIV testing and STD testing, blood pressure, malaria and others. See the pics of this event below.

http://www.FIPHR.org

This is just the beginning for Hadiza Kassim’s mission to bring health resources to a country she loves. As the saying goes, it takes a village, and we can support the mission of this determined young woman. Please check each site to learn more.

http://www.sarauniya.com

http://www.FIPHR.org

And, remember my Style Star Sisters, style can transcend fashion. Stay woke!

Your Style Star Sister,

Natasha

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Trends Go Buy Bye

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Hello my style star sisters. I must admit we all get sucked into designers forecast about style trends. We all want to look chic and fashionable. Yet, some trends need to go away or left on the racks in our local mall.   But, we buy them anyway promising ourselves that one day we will wear it. Guilty!   

Today, I want to share my thoughts on what latest makeup trend or clothing fads to ditch this fall. Trust me I own a few of these trendy terribles but as a card player says you got to know when to fold em, know when to walk away. 

 SQUIGGLY EYEBROWS

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Honestly, I don’t know why anyone would want their eyebrows to look like a circus clown. This is silly and not attractive. Please leave this so-called called makeup trend to the clowns.

PAJAMAS NOT FOR THE BEDROOM? 

Ok, I admit there is something sexy about a silky two-piece pajama set. Nice bold color or print. But, do I want to look like I just jumped out of bed ?  Oh and what about the grease stain from the slice of pizza you had at midnight or was it the glass of wine. Anyway, I think some designers are soo wrong about this trend. 

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It still looks silly even on a 5’10 tall model. I vote to keep this in the boudoir. What are your thoughts? Should you risk riding the iron horse in your pjs?

 HOLEY TOPS 

I admit I think there’s something sexy about a pair of holey or slashed pair of jeans and heels. This shows a stylish I don’t give a damn vibe. However, I think the holey tops should be left to our Saturday cleaning. 

Nah, sorry I still think you can be casual and well out together as shown below. A nice jacket will always make a casual outfit like jeans and basic tee pop. 

Bell Sleeves  

There’s nothing I love more than dramatic pieces that are bold and inspiring. And, sleeves over the years have gone through many fabulous changes. I’m still a die hard fan of doman sleeves. After seeing Diana Ross in Mahogany, I became obsessed with the look. But, I ain’t got love for bell sleeves. This look may be feminine but honestly I don’t want to look like a flamenco dancer. 

I love the newer sleeve options like the cold shoulder or one sleeve trend (as shown below) is a good alternative to add the sexy. So, remember my style stars don’t go broke spending your hard earned money on impulse purchases. Buy smart and know when to say bye to a look.

Your style star sister,

Natasha  

Focus on Fall

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Hi style star sisters. Im baccck! There’s soo much going on here and worldwide that it’s good to sometimes escape and put the focus elsewhere like your fall clothing transition. Those cool morning breezes and strong winds may be the remnants of the horrific hurricane patterns throughout the country. I think it’s fall telling us to retire our flip flops and cold shoulder tops. Well, put the the flip flops away for next season because there are some great looks to look forward to.

BOMBER JACKETS

This look is not new but it’s has been updated from the military green bomber jacket we’re familiar with. Now ladies we have bold feminine patterns and silky textures. Take a look below at some of the bomber trends.

This is a mid price sexy off the shoulder bomber jacket from BCBG I found on line for over $100. Love the bold pattern.

MSM4J788_U44Of course,  as a style star who loves a good deal, I found many other cute bombers at other stores like JCP for under $50.00.6877020DP0503201700225174M

RED LOVE AFFAIR

Well, style stars, most designers have fallen back in love with the color red. I must admit you have to really commit fully to this color if you plan to wear a full on red assemble like shown below from Fendi. I love the fitted coat and sleek boots.

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Another gorgeous I want it right now red explosion from Fendi. 3ffb53cea5f02405e818c500482e9f60--red-fashion-fashion-check

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If you are bold enough for head to toe red looks as shown above . This is how you do it. Flawless!

For those of us who do not spend our days trotting down runways in complete red looks, I suggest adding a pop of red with a great bag or shoes.

These two bags are great for work days since they can fit many items.

I love these Steve Madden shoes that are a dead ringer for the pricey Altuzarra shoe. The red stretchy boot from Madden is a great look for pants and dresses.  Looking good does not have to break your budget. Both looks can be found for less than $130.00.

FURS and FEATHERS

Ok I admit, I love the colored faux fur and sherlings many stores are carrying now. Also, feathers and shimmy dresses are in season. I  have a cute shimmy dress I bought 2 years ago for a Halloween party. I wanted to embody Tina Turner. It’s good to know I will be able to wear this again. What do you think? FB_IMG_1506438734503

Here are a few looks for the fall season that will help you spark you inner Tina and glam goddess.

These feathered looks were featured looks for fall.

Calvin Klein fall 2017

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Above featured ostrich skirt from Line & Dot found at Revolve for $70. This skirt will have you doing a shimmy all night long. This cute purse or bottie can add a flirty sexy vibe to any outfit. The purse is from International Concepts for $25.

So, my style star sisters,  I hope this fall you find your inner glam goddess. Make the looks your own by trying one of the hot looks featured. See you all on the concrete runway!

Your style sister,

Natasha

I Woke Up Like This..(really)

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Greetings Style Stars…

Whew… I know it’s been a while.  I’ve been swamped with so many commitments. But apparently I’m not the only one who has been busy. It seems you all are so busy you don’t have the time to put on a face. What! Yes “beating” your face was a girl’s morning ritual. You wake up, glam up,  jump into something fabulous and go. Now it appears make up – is one and done..done..done. .  We  keep it on– from permanent lashes to now semi permanent eyebrows.

It’s all the rage: Eyebrow MicroBlading. What? Well it’s tattooing using tiny needles to replicate eyebrow hairs.

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It is different than the permanent make up we’ve heard about, because micro blading  is placed in short strokes to mimic hair.

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Also micro blading is not permanent.  Reports are it lasts about a year, year and half- some say three years.  It does require touch ups of course.  Ok- so I know you are thinking if it’s painful. Feedback is- it  feels someone is scratching your eyebrows.. so doesn’t hurt. Numbing cream is applied to squash that. The brows are thicker and darker at the start so don’t freak- they fade.

Celebrities love it.. seems they may be the only ones who can afford it. MicroBlading  ain’t cheap. Get ready to shell out- on average  $700 for the initial application and one month follow up. But pow- the results are  gorgeous! Check out the pics .

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This goes without saying- please find someone who knows what in the heck they are doing. Eyebrows are vital to your face.. and remember  it is semi-PERMANENT.

We pluck them, thread them, tweeze them, shave them,  pencil them in– now we can  “tat em in” one by one.

Ok you got the brows.. now get the lips. Seriously this is peal off lip color.-stays on your lips. Downside though, some are reporting it makes lips a lil dry.  Who needs that in the dead of winter.

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Now  Style Stars when you open your eyes- you are half way there. Yeah baby, I woke up like this for real.

Ciao

Vanessa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s In My Bag?

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Ok style star sisters,  I must admit I love a large gorgeous bag. But, it’s not the size of the bag that’s important, it’s the contents that I cannot live without. A pair of flip flops for that emergency pedicure, several lipsticks colors because you may want a deep red lip by the end of the day or your  favorite scent is right at your fingertips.  Um, doesn’t that sound familiar ladies. So , I thought it was high time I shared with my fellow style stars, what’s in my bag.

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100% Tea Tree Oil is my liquid doctor fix. This oil is my go to for pimples, razor bumps, and any skin imperfections. So, my style star gents can find this useful too. It has helped clear my dark marks and it soothes mosquitoes bites too. Just add a few drops on a cotton pad along  some warm water daily and you’ll see the difference. A bottle ranges from $6.00 to $9.99.

Now, after your skin is clear and blemish free, make sure you use the best mascara ever. The L’Oreal Paris Voluminous Superstar mascara is the next best thing to false lashes. All my style stars need this duo mascara that includes a white thickening gel that adds volume to your lashes. I love the fullness of my lashes without looking too done up. For about $10.99, it is worth running to your nearest CVS.

Now that your eyes are gorgeous, your lips need to pop to complete your look. I must admit I buy MAC lipsticks, but I find the mattes are very drying. Well, no more cracked dry lips. MILANI lipsticks are an affordable line found in many major drug chains.  I am most impressed with the matte colors. The colors are bold, beautiful and moisturizering. My favorite color is Matte Confident. It’s a perfect red for  darker skin tones. Also, the regular lipsticks are extra moisturizering and luscious. My favorite is Tuscan Toast. This is a perfect combination of brown and brick red. You’ll definitely buy several colors at a time.

For those of us who have large pores and oily skin, I have found a great product. I have used  Dr. BRANDT’S Pores No More for over a year now. Within  seconds my skin looks smooth and my pores are minimal. Dr. BRANDT’s products range in price. But, for a little over  $40,  your skin will look flawless. Go to Sephora for the DR.BRANDT’s line.

Now, I have saved one of the best product lines for last. Nerium International has the best age defying formulas on the market. I used the night cream for several months and I noticed a change with my skin texture. My pores minimised and I looked refreshed. Now, you can order Nerium on line. There is a 30 day money back guarantee. So, style stars, you really have nothing to lose and everything to gain by trying it out.

There you have it Style Stars. All my hidden beauty finds are now yours.

Your style star sister,

Natasha

 

Spring into Summer

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So style stars, the warm days and balmy nights are upon us. Time to show those bright painted toes and sexy shoulders. I’m excited about some of this seasons trends. Sleek one strap sandals, bare shoulder dresses, wide-legged pants and fringes are everywhere. My inner Tina Turner is going to come out.

The one strap sandal is a great must have for the season. Pair them with a fitted body con dress or jeans for a chic look. I found a few sandals that are worth snatching up. Steven Weitzman has pair for as low as $398. But, I like the more affordable options by Carlos Santana and Steve Madden. Both designers have the same look for as low as $50.

Here’so another look from Stuart Weitzman and Steve Madden that are a very good match too.

My other new shoe addiction are the sexy fringe sandals. Yes, all you modern day Tina Turners can step and shimmy in style. I found a pricey designer version from Aquazzura for a little under  $700. Steve Madden has almost the exact shoe for less than $150. My affordable pick is a brand I was not familiar with Chase and Chloe.  It was less than  $40. Take a good look.

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Chase and Chloe fringe

 

The block shoe is back. I find them a bit clumsy but I found some of the new styles are worth checking out. These two styles combine the single strap and fringe trend. Let’s take a look. Both I found on line for less than $150.

 Now, if you want to add a fringe hand bag, I saw a few great pieces that would bring out the bohemian goddess in all of us. My splurge item is from Farrah for $598. Gorgeous leather in a great camel color.

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Farrah fringe bag

So, now let’s bring the attention to our shoulders. I love all the shoulder baring sexy dresses this season. There are all price ranges available so style stars will not have to break the bank.

 

The wide-legged pants or palazzo look is also a great look that can be casual or dressed up. Paired with an off the shoulder top for a cool sophisticated vibe is a good day time option.

Celebrity Victoria Beckham has a high end fashion line which sells tailored wide-legged pants. Below, Victoria gives us a pulled together sophisticated look you can wear for business.

 

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My style stars have a lot to look forward to this season. Remember: bold, sexy, and flirty looks can be yours too without going broke.

Your Stylestarsister

Natasha

2016 MET GALA

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It’s that time of year everyone when the Who’s Who of Hollywood gather in New York for the Met gala. As for myself and every other fashionista, I look  forward to viewing the extravagant gowns and innovative designs that grace the carpeted steps. And, this years theme, Manus X Machina : Fashion in the Age of Technology, did not disappoint.

The theme Manus X Machina comes from the notion of couture designs being superior and more desired than the ready to wear or mass produced fashions. Yes, some couture gowns can take thousands of hours to make. Therefore, designers can slap hefty price tags for their coveted wears. Now, Manus X Machina debunks the man versus machine myth. This years gala theme explored the blurred lines in fashion to achieve something exciting and new for the future.

Whew! Now let’s talk about who actually did this successfully.  I went through numerous pics of gowns that were innovative, sexy and wearable. How ever, I noticed some gowns resembled what one would see at the Golden globes. Pretty and boring. Ugh! I promise I will just talk about those who I felt were  truly fashion forward.

WHO STOLE THE SHOW?

I must say actress Claire Danes looked like a modern day Cinderella in her Zac Posen designed ball gown. What made it even more special were the Led lights through out the entire dress. Magnificent!

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Claire Danes Zac Posen gown

Another beautiful gown was designed by Marchesa for Karolina Kurkova. It included over 150 led lights. Stunning!

Ok, the lights were impressive. But, I will now just show who I believed to be the best dressed ladies. Sexy, alluring, mysterious and just down right magical. And, they added something fresh to the evening.

Best Dressed Ladies

I absolutely loved Ciara’s fitted silver gown by H&M. Fabulous!

Kylie Jenner was stunning in Balmain at her first Met gala. Model sister Kendall Jenner was not letting Kylie steal the show in her Atelier gown.

My other stand out ladies were Alessandro Ambrosio, Beyonce in a latex design, Rita O’ra, Naomi Campbell, and Zendaya in Michael Kors. This would have been my choice for the evening. I wore something similar to to the Harlem awards. It was soo cheap I could not believe it.

Stylestarsisters Natasha Lowery and Vanessa Tyler at the First Annual Harlem awards.

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Best dressed men of the evening

I must say there is nothing more sexy than a man who looks great in a suit. And, these men came out correct for the evening. My top pick was….wait for it..Idris Elba. Damn. Effortless style and he looked handsome as ever. A few other men stood out as well. Michael B. Jordan, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Tyga who wore a sparkling silver jacket. Confidence never looked better on the red carpet.

Best dressed couples at the Met

I was impressed by a few couples at the Met gala. They seemed to compliment each other not out shine one another. Just one nice package. Two for one. Don’t  you just love those deals.😃 My favorites were Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban, Derek Jeter and Sports Illustrated model, Hannah Davis, Gigi Hadid in Tommy Hilfiger and Zain Malik wearing a metal armed jacket by Versace . Very innovative.

Yes, there are soo many looks worth mentioning. But, you can scan pictures of Madonna’s naked butt another time. Stay tuned next week for my Spring favorite items.

Your Stylestarsister

Natasha

 

My Skintastic Finds

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It’s been a long time since I’ve shared some of the products or fashion finds that I’m excited about. Well, today, I’m taking a slight detour from fashion to focus on skin products. I feel the maintenance of your skin is more important than any outfit. Now, these products I just didn’t glance at on a store shelf or in a magazine. I actually used all these items for several months. I must say I am quite pleased with the results. My skin looks brighter, softer and less fatigued. And to top it off, all these products are extremely affordable and located right at a CVS near you or online. So, here’s my Skintastic Finds list.

1. Hansderma SkinCool Ice Roller-This product is kept in your freezer. I use it for facial puffiness, tired muscles, and after waxing treatments. It’s perfect for after my biweekly lip wax. Very soothing and helps to revive a tired face in the am. This item is about $30.00 and found online.

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2. Salma Hayek Nuance products-Cucumber and Rosewater Dual Phase Makeup Remover. Great! . This gently removes makeup while moisturizing your face. I use a cotton pad and swipe away all the day’s makeup and dirt. This is a Must! And, for less than $10.00. I loved the remover so much I tried another product from the same line.

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3.  Salma Hayek’s Moisturizing Day Cream- This day cream I use every morning after I tone my skin. My skin looks good even without makeup. I love it because it’s gentle, not oily and has SPF 30 too. So, you have a daily moisturizer and SPF protection for under $20.00. All of Salma Hayek’s products are found at CVS.

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And, my last favorite find.

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4. MUA Retractable lip brush- Ok, I have to confess. I’m that woman that hates to give up a great lipstick color even when the stick gets low in the tube. I hate to waste anything. And, we know cosmetics can add up. So, instead of digging in my tube with whatever,  I found a good solution. Mua’s retractable lip brush is good for defining lips and using the last drop of your favorite lip color. You have to get this. Also, available at CVS  for less than $10.00. So, there you have it. I hope you try all or at least one of the products.

Your Style Star Sister,

Natasha

I’ve GOT NOTHING to Wear!!!

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Greetings StyleStars!

Does the phrase ‘I’ve got nothing to wear’ sound familiar? Often we are saying it with our hands up in the air staring at this– our full closets.
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I have a confession to make. Come closer- don’t tell anyone- but that is MY closet. One of them. Usually it is not that messy, but I was looking for something to wear!

But what if I gave you a whole new wardrobe. Well technically it is a whole new outlook on your old wardrobe in a brand new way. It is a Closet Rejuvenation. Fascinating! The term coined by my new friend Diane Pollack- who says we StyleStars are missing fashion opportunities staring us right in the face.

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Diane says Closet Rejuvenation is a closet overhaul or closet audit. So naturally I’m thinking a closet organizer-believe it or not California Closet has been here.

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The art of Closet Rejuvention is much more than adding shelves and extra hanging space. But Diane breaks it down- by going through your closet and working magic right before your eyes. This is how she does it:

“I come to my clients home and recreate a wardrobe out of what they do have. The first thing we do is get rid of old, outdated, ill fitting, or damaged clothes. These items are just creating clutter. Then I create outfits out of what they do have; outfits that they had not thought to wear together. The finishing touches on an outfit, taking it from fine to fabulous are the accessories. The right shoes are key. I also help accessorize a finishing piece of jewelry, bag or scarf etc.
Then we take pictures. This makes it a no brainier when a women is rushed in the morning, she does not a have to think about her outfit and knows which pieces really work well together.
Finally, I suggest missing pieces. Often, the outfit is not working well because the woman does not own the right components.”

Diane Pollack/ Closet Rejuvenation.

Wow! Imagaine that. Months ago I wrote a post for you StyleStars about shopping in your closet. Somethng I have done before when I “discovered” a dress that I haven’t worn in forever. But this is different. Even on a budget (which as you know is the number one rule of a StyleStar)- you can update with accessories.

I asked Diane what if I find something in my closet I haven’t worn in two years. (I hate when people say throw it out- No! I may wear it again even if it is years later.) Diane says “This generally still holds true. If nothing else, the item should certainly be re-assessed with a keen eye.There are a few exceptions. Perhaps the item hasn’t been worn because the woman doesn’t have the proper item to make a great outfit. In that case, she should keep it and I advise what would look best with it. I also allow women to keep an item or two of sentimental value”.

Now wrap your head around this StyleStars- Diane believes you actually create a larger wardrobe by following her tips.
AND speaking of tips- you know the best way to fit more clothes neatly in a small closet- Diane suggests getting thin hangers and hang all your clothes on the same type of hangers. You can fit in more clothes.. yes I know- great idea.

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Oh do separate your seasons. Why have the sundress next to the sweater dress.

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And hang like items together. If Diane had a dime for every time she says she saw pants hanging next to a jacket- well those dimes would add up for enough to buy a new wardrobe. But again who needs it– when you can rejuvenate the one you already have.

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Want more of Diane Pollack’s expert advice:
Her company is Stylempower http://www.stylempower.com.
She can be emailed at diane@stylempower.com and contacted at 646 831 2584.
Also sign up for her newsletter on her website and follow her
on Facebook, Instagaram, twitter or Pinterest, all under Stylempower.

‎au revoir
Vanessa

MY GOOD GIRLFRIEND’S BIG NIGERIAN JAMAICAN WEDDING

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Hi Style Stars.. Have you attended any weddings this season? The wedding guest dressing season is still upon us.. So let’s talk about my good girlfriend’s June Wedding. In a word- Fabulous. Hey Suzette (her Jamaican roots),Hey Evans (his Nigerian roots), Hey Lil Diva (their adorable daughter Campbell mixed roots)–

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So leave it to my girl Suzette to serve glasses of Champagne before the ceremony even began. Love her. And the bar was open ALL NIGHT LONG. The Ceremony was nice and short and held in the same beautiful space as the reception. Also the food was plentiful and delicious. Shout out to the Stone House- Elegant.   

  So let’s get to the fashions.
  Here is what I wore.

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Being the true StyleStar diva on an extreme budget- yes this cheap little find was under $30 at Joyce Leslie. You would never know it.

And my girl Suzette also paid pennies for her dress, (can you say off the rack) She then had her ‘handy with a needle friend’ bling it out with rhinestone trim. It gave it life! The dress looked like it cost $3,500 seriously- no lie.
Check her out.

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All my other girlfriends were fabulous as usual.

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Special nod to my girl Sandra who always looks like a freaking super model. And Pat is always sassy.

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But it is my other girlfriend Abena that ding ding ding gets the award. First of all she came in theme, which always gets extra credit points. Then she made this little number herself. She put in the last stitch just moments before leaving for the ceremoney. Whew! Talent and Beauty.

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She also had an accessory- which we won’t mention here, but she knows what I mean- which got her extra extra points.

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So the bottom line, is always “turn up” at weddings. My advice for dressing this wedding guest season is exteme sexy- you never know who has been invited. Even if there is no flirting or love connection, there still could be a business contact. StyleStars always have time to talk business in between tiny tiny tastes of wedding cake.

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Oh and congrats again to Suzette, and Evans (he is an attorney). May God bless your family forever.
Love is always in Style.

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Vanessa