Thursday, January 30, 2014

Yoga-Gate, and Why XOJane kind of F-ing Sucks...


In case you haven't heard, a piece was written and published on XOJane that has caused a complete uproar all over social media. I call this scandal (dun dun duuuuun) "Yoga Gate". Basically, writer, Jen Caron, experienced a yoga class where a "fairly heavy black woman" had the misfortune of placing her mat behind the author's.

Jen, who was unavailable for comment, has attempted to fall completely off of the internet (I think she deleted her Facebook and moved to Calcutta). With good reason. Take a look at this:
"I was completely unable to focus on my practice, instead feeling hyper-aware of my high-waisted bike shorts, my tastefully tacky sports bra, my well-versedness in these poses that I have been in hundreds of times. My skinny white girl body. Surely this woman was noticing all of these things and judging me for them, stereotyping me, resenting me—or so I imagined."

So you imagined...or she could have had cramps, or was thinking about her day, or anything else in her life other than your stuck up ass (pun intended).

And here is one of the best responses I've heard about it, by CeCe from Plus Size Princess.

It's all laughs at this point. Not even worth commenting on.

Until this...here is XO Jane's official apology

And here is where I have to stop. 

So...I read through the original work as well as a few (very funny) responses. And I knew an apology was looming (like when Dolce and Gabbana thought it would be awesome to dress in blackface, then got slammed, then wrote a BS apology which should have read (in my Super Mario voice) "Dear Brown People of the World, don't be mad with us. Please keep buying our stuff.")

However, I didn't think XO Jane would be...ballsy enough to let their own brown skinned editor take the heat.

Wow. That's astounding.

Make the black girl apologize for the white girl being racist to the black girl.

I mean, that's...simply amazing.

I mean, yeah, Jen sounded like an idiot, a privileged, small minded, small world view having, idiot. Ok, there are lots of those, especially in the blogging world. We make fun of them for a full 24 hours, then send them back into obscurity where people like Jen Caron kind of belong. 

But no... Instead you choose to add insult to injury, XO Jane uses editor Rebecca Carroll as the black shade to cover the light that has been shed upon white privilege disgustingly expressed on their site by a narrow minded writer (who should have been the one to apologize). 

Wow.

If you're going to have a higher up apologize  for the disaster of a PR nightmare you're in XOJane, at least have the guts to have either the producer of said disaster, Jen, apologize and clean up her own mess, or have the mama, "Jane" herself, say something.

Why has the practice become offend the blacks and then offer a half assed "I'm sorry" as if it's supposed to placate stereotyping, offending, belittling, and pissing off an entire ethnicity, not to mention those who are, say human enough, to be ethically sensitive? I'm sorry doesn't fix it. It's like putting a bandage on someone's arm after you've broken it. Only change will fix it. And right now,mi see nothing changing...

Wow XO Jane, you now suck. 

Readers, Your thoughts?

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

So...J.Crew Isn't Actually Lowering Its Prices???

News flooded the blogosphere today with the most delicious gossip I heard all week.

No it's not about Miley or Justin (who I'm starting to think are the same person. I mean c'mon, who has seen them both in the same room together. It's like Hannah Montana all over again.)

No, this is something you will actually care about.

J. Crew, a brand known for quintessential American cool blissfully blended with elements of urban lux and airy preppy elements, but is one of those locales that had prices a touch out of most of our comfortable spending limits, was supposed to be lowering their prices. I mean supposedly the news came from the J.Crew higher ups so it has to be true.

And anyone who has been reading this blog long enough will know that J.Crew is definitely one of my brands. So I was elated. I came straight home from work to research. And there it was, all over my bloglovin feed.

Sale lovers rejoice...right?

Wrong. Fashionista had to burst our pretty J.Crew bubble necklaces. Editor Dhani Mau clues us in, "According to a source within the company, J.Crew will actually just focus on having a better balance of prices across the board and better communicate why certain items cost what they do. So, perhaps there will be a few more friendlier-priced items in the mix, but prices won’t be lowered overall."

Oh well, looks like my J. Crew purchases will remain where they have always been from...the thrift.

Tahari Moto Jacket

I need to start by reminding you that I am not a label whore by any stretch of the imagination. I only buy it if it looks good, otherwise I really could care whose name is scrawled across the label. But I am also the same person who told you in Thrifty Tip 15 to Know Your Brands.
And I know Tahari. 

Elie Tahari produces some of the chicest Day to Evening pieces I've seen. Most of Tahari's pieces can make you look sharp in the board room, and brunch or an evening bash. Known for producing quality transitional pieces, Tahari items can run you a pretty penny (and let's face it, they are kind of worth it) if you don't know we're to go...but I'm sure by now you do. 
This is a Tahari deep purple Peplum Moto Jacket. And I fell in love (a. It's my favorite color, b. It's a moto jacket, c. It's my size, d. It's gorgeous!)

Look at the stitching on the peplum! And the lined inside. This feminine take on the classic Moto is still tough and edgy without being masculine. Love!

Ouch...like I said, Tahari piece CAN run a pretty penny if purchased at, say, Nordstroms or Neiman's. But I grabbed this little winner at, you guessed it, the thrift! With the tags still on and in impeccable condition, feeling like I found one of the pieces to wear out on my birthday weekend!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Thrifty Tip #19: Know When to Go

This tip is actually a new phenomenon I'm discovering along with you amazing peeps, but apparently even thrift stores have sales. And you really should know when those sales are. The whole point in thrifting is to obtain incredible stuff and save money. If you could get great stuff by saving even more money, why wouldn't you do that?

Simply signing up to be on the email list is the best way other than frequently stopping in to buy.

The reason why I'm so excited by this tip is because I actually experienced the thrift store sale. In fact, I ran into one, of epic proportions...
And this is the haul.

A Fa'brik Maxi Dress (which is just the right length for me! Tall girls rejoice!) with the tags still on it, marginally retailing for $78...Tagged for 1 (O-N-E) dollar.
A Lenox picture frame (can never have too many beautiful picture frames) $5
Coach leather mules, $10
BCBG Strappy heels, $2
Ferragamo Boots, $18
Buffalo by David Bitton Pouch, $5
Gap Long Sleeve Tee, $1
A Top Shop Scarf with chains embroidered in it, $5
Fuzzy Warm Socks (I love those things) $2
Not pictured was a gold "love" beaded bracelet I found for $1 (because I was wearing it, I love jewelry)

And here is where it gets good...this particular day, everything under $20 was HALF OFF!

Therefore, making this entire haul about $25.

See why the thrift store sale is so crucial. I would have paid $50 for all of that stuff, and that in and of itself would have been a great deal. But I paid half because I went thrifting on the right day. If I had actually known when to go, I could have done even better! 

The point is, when thrifting, be in the know of when to go!


Monday, January 27, 2014

The Reclaimed 2014 Grammy Awards Best Dressed

The Grammy's this year were kind of epic.

The Carters (That being Beyoncé and Jay-Z) opened the show (and all Beyoncé worshippers have now since cut out their weaves in adoration).

We got to see Ringo Star and Sir Paul in the same room that we saw Black Sabbath.

Rookies ran the night with my faves Lorde and Macklemore and Ryan Lewis taking home awards, while Pink gave Cirque Du Soliel a run for their money and Katy Perry simulated devil worship and a witch burning (and to think she used to sing for Jesus...that's another topic for another blog)

We fell back in love with newlywed John Legend. 

Paris Hilton wore an ENTIRE gown, kind of epic in and of itself.

We rocked out with Kendrick Lamar and Imagine Dragons. 

And all in all it was a pretty good night.

See, I can stay awake for at least half the show...

Anywho, let's do this best dressed list by starting with the most amazing couples, showing the Grammys Red Carpet lots of love: Robin Thicke and Paula Patton, John Legend and Christine Teigan, and Sean and Beyoncé Carter.

Next are the vixens. These ladies know exactly where to put the booby tape, and I'm so happy there were no wardrobe malfunctions. Go head y'all, Miss Giulliana Ransic, Alicia Keys, and Anna Kendrick.

And here are The Reclaimed all around best dressed. Though they were lots of beautiful and...unique looks Grammy night, there can only be 3 Best Dressed. The best part about these ladies is that they mostly flew under the radar, and I feel, still the show the way ladies do, in quiet and sophisticated ways. Here's to you, Miss Faith Evans, Ciara (yes, even preggo!) and Rita Ora.



Sunday, January 26, 2014

So Epic Chic: Designer Kicks

With both Dior and Chanel sending couture kicks down the runway recently, it would be impossible to ignore the coming trendfest of epic sneakers that have been or will be produced for the spring. So you can understand why I would be thrilled to find these pretty epic Coach high tops at my local thrift. With a little TLC these babies will be so ready for spring!

Here's how I would style them, simple, comfy, but definitely edgy.

So Epic Chic: Designer Kicks

Friday, January 24, 2014

Thrifty Tip #18: Develop a Love for Vintage

If you're going to be a successful thrifter, you are going to need to develop a sincere appreciation for vintage items. I absolutely adore vintage. I never feel more effortlessly cool than when I throw on my Black leather vintage motorcycle jacket (that's probably older than me) my Givenchy Pearl Posts, or strap on my 10+ year old Tag Heuer watch. There is something about an object that was crafted in a bygone time and is not only still around but is in food enough condition that it is sellable today makes me excited. 

Sure, it's nice when you see new things in the thrift or charity shop. Last week, I saw a Nooka Watch in the high end case of a thrift. (It was out of the budget though so it had to be left for another lucky customer). And I'm not saying go a buy as many of Grandma's thrifted sweaters as you can (unless the grandma is Anna Wintour, then yes buy everything of hers). But don't go to the thrift only looking for new stuff. When I find items with the tags still on them it is usually a rarity, hence why I get so excited. The majority of items at thrift stores are going to be vintage, so if you want to become a thrifter, then you're going to have to love older things.

There are many reasons to love vintage. One reason is there are usually different (and often better) materials and creation processes used in the products on vintage products. Real fibers and opposed to synthetic ones, hand stitching as opposed to mass machine production, and the list goes on. The fact that the thing is even in the thrift is a testament to its ability to survive multiple owners and the quality by which it was produced.

Another reason to love buying vintage is that it's very Eco friendly. Think about it, you are keeping beautiful and well made fashion out of landfills. Trendy and earth friendly!


Also, remember that fashion recycles itself. Remember the excitement around the wayfarer sunglasses a few years ago? Well if you found a vintage pair of Ray Ban Wayfarers at the thrift (for probably a fraction of what others would be paying for them new) you would not only have the originals while other just had the updated versions, you would have something unique and virtually one of a kind. 

Which leads me into the best part about vintage, which is (drumroll please) there is a minimal chance of someone having the same exact piece as you. Fashionistas rejoice! In the world we live in of mass produced pieces and where there is a 90% chance of going out and seeing someone with the same watch, scarf, shirt...or entire outfit (my eyes water and the prospect), buying vintage is a way of virtually eliminating the chance of someone else having your piece.
The benefits outweigh the losses on this one team. So how do you develop a love of vintage? What I do is find a style of something I like, then I high tail it to the thrift to find something similar there. Easy, simple and money saving!

Happy thrifting!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Influenster and the Jolly VoxBox

This humble blog will soon turn Six Months old. For six months I've shared my thoughts on everything from fashion and trends to God and contentment within one's self.

After the first month of blogging, a few good friends (hey Dominique and Will!) talked to me about potentially making this blogging experience a into a small business by finding sponsors. After all by then I was forming the great and supportive community of you super awesome people. So I said why not?

After some research and discovered one of the best blogger opinion programs at Influenster. 

Now they aren't going to just send you stuff just because you sign up. I've been a member for a few months and I had to do some work. I put one of their badges on this site, answered some questions, reviewed items that I had already used to bolster my score up high enough to even be considered. 

Then in December of last year, I receive a notice of a survey being conducted. After taking the survey, it was determined that I, one of 15000 bloggers, sip rioters and other opinionated people, qualified for the Influenster VoxBox program, a program where Influenster in collaboration with other major companies send out complementary products for testing, tasting, but mostly to create lots of talking.

And after a week or so, I received it, the VoxBox. 

Inside I found a card and five different products to try. Some of these items may be familiar to you because few of these you have seen in the Beauty Bag segment. A few you've seen on the Twitter or the Instagram.

Here are the results of my painstaking tests and trials (the things I do because I love y'all!).

Rimmel Lip Lacquer:
This stuff is almost as good as the stuff I get from the department stores. It glides on smooth and gives just the right amount of shine without being gooey or sticky. B+

NYC HD Color Trio:
What a simple and easy palette to use (it had to have been with an eye make up novice such as I) and it's so small I can just toss it in my day bag and go. Reclaimed Grade: B

Duck Tape Mini Ducklings in Pink Zebra Print:
I looooooooove duck tape. This stuff is a great temporary fix to anything! And with all of the cool patterns and colors (like this zebra print) as well as the small size ( I mean c'mon how cute is this roll of tape?!) I've found more reasons to love this brand. Reclaimed Grade: A

Puffs Soft and Strong On the Go Pack:
I love any tissues that are soft enough to keep my nose happy but strong enough to catch whatever I sneeze out at 1000 mph. These also have lotion in them, keeping my nose soft and comfy as well. A staple for the day bag. Reclaimed Grade: A

Skinny Cow Divine Peanut Butter Filled Chocolates:
This is the only product I didn't like. I've heard so many good things about Skinny Cow. I've even tried their ice cream bars before, and those were delicious. But these weren't my cup of tea. I rarely like peanut butter coupled with my chocolate. Reclaimed Grade: C-

Thanks Influenster for the opportunity!

(All of these items were received complementary as a part of the Influester Jolly VoxBox Program.)

If your company is interested in advertising on the The Reclaimed, check out how in the "Advertise" section.

Mmm Mmm Missoni!

Hanging out with a few of my buds after some work and lunch at one of my fave spots is DEADLY apparently. 

From this pic, it doesn't look like this place would have anything good. But believe me, this is where I get my the majority of my high end designers. Let me explain:

Walking around the shop, chatting it up with my buds, goofing off. Something catches my eye on the hanger. I have to be honest, I'm in denial at first.

I knew what this was as soon as I saw it. The colors, the pattern, the softness of the fabric...it couldn't be. It just couldn't...could it? I investigate and...

It was!!! A M Missoni dress. 

In my size, in amazing condition, for $16. 

God loves me.

Missoni dresses can run anywhere between $400-$700, so to find one and it be in a size, shape and pattern you like? Now that's mm mm good. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

My Beauty Bag: Yep, Tissues.

Another item that I gladly carry around in my Beauty Bag, are the little packs of tissues. I know I know, that's not a cosmetic. True, but these are essential nonetheless, 
especially after this winter. My new faves? The Puffs Ultra Soft & Strong To Go Tissue Pack.

Loving this little tissue Pack. There is nothing worse than to be stuck out in the cold with a cold. And drippy noses are never cute. 

These guys however, are exactly what they say they are, gentle enough as to not irritate my nose after multiple face cleanings, but strong enough to hold all of the..yucky stuff that flies out mid sneeze. These guys really carried me through! Thanks puffs.

This product was received complementary through the Influenster program.

Thrifty Tip #17: Know What You Need, Discover What You Want

There is nothing wise about going shopping and not knowing what you need. To aimlessly peruse a store can be disasterous to your wallet and overloading to your closet. Before I go anywhere, whether the market, the beauty supply store, or the thrift, I go with a need in mind. 

I don't go anywhere without a plan. I know how much I'm willing to spend and exactly what I'm looking for. However I do leave room for the surprise item that might catch my eye, but I still plan for that.

A warmer pair of boots, a dress or a coat, a black purse, whatever it may be, know what you need and be firm about it. It's a little more tricky in a thrift store due to the fact that the thrift is usually an amalgamation of random accoutrements instead of, like other retail locations, neat and orderly with every size available. Still keep your focus on the need. If you need a black dress size 10, make sure that your focus and the 1st place you go is to the dress section.

Example: About 2 weeks ago, I found a gorg brown leather and snake skin Badgley Mischka tote bag at one of my spots. Tags still in it told me the bag was originally $475, the thrift was charging $75. But I was there to get a new hat and a pair of gloves, budgeting about $10 (which is generous for this particular spot). I had to turn it down. Don't you know when I recently stopped back by, the bag is still hanging there?! (I anticipate either a price drop or the right person coming in to buy.)

See what I mean? If I had bought the bag, I would have been way over budget for something I wanted as opposed to buying what I needed and leaving behind the want (that I may be able to eventually get a price I like!)

In contrast, I was at a different shop looking for a new sunglasses case (found a perfect authentic chanel case for under 4 bucks by the way!) and I found a gold bracelet that I now wear all the time, for a dollar. Within reason and well within my original budget of $6.

The moral of the story? A waste of money, whether $500 or $5 is a waste of money. And Reclaimed peeps don't ever want to waste. 

Stay Thrifty my friends!

Tricky Trend; Haute Hippie Sheers

Tricky Trend; Haute Hippie Sheers
Bad news, sheers aren't going anywhere. In fact they are going to be huge this coming spring. If you're like me, you are just throwing up in your mouth about having to endure seeing the undergarments of passerbys again all spring and probably all summer long. Jesus take the wheel.

Good news, it seems that the entire world is completely over seeing the sparkly, studded, floral bras of those misguided girls who actually thought that was a good look. Hallelujah.

Polyvore actually hosted a contest on how to wear this tricky trend and still look chic and ladylike, ie keeping your unmentionables unseen. Here was my submission. I loved this sheer blouse with the studded collar because it looks lined, so you can keep the sheer without the exposure. If you have an unlined shirt, the easiest thing to do is to buy a complementary tank top. For a bold statement, make the tank a bright color or fun pattern.

Here is a classy, yet comfortable (and reasonably priced) way to do sheers and studs. Enjoy my dears!

Shirts top
chiarafashion.co.uk

Black skinny jeans
bodycentral.com

Brown handbag
$25 - peacocks.co.uk

Beret hat
$8.21 - marksandspencer.com

Iphone case
jcpenney.com

Wooden home decor
$38 - skandium.com

Sowing Good, Reaping Good...ies

I am a strong believer in reaping and sowing, the concept of whatever you plant, that you will harvest. If you sow selfishness and apathy, that's what you will get back. In contrast, if you plant kindness and positivity, that is what you will harvest.

So after doing a little good with some friends, we decided to stop into one of my favorite thrift shops. I honestly just wanted to show them around, HONEST! I had really no intention of shopping, sort of...

Anyway, long story short, I was basically heading out the door, hands empty when I found this...
I would like to call this my Olivia Pope coat. A gorg wool trench coat. It's so well crafted. Who makes this beautiful piece?


Oh wow...ok. At $10? Well I guess you have to go home with me, sexy. 


Look at the detailing! The lapels button all the way up the neck to keep me warm! Oh man, I think I'm in love!
Even the pockets get a little bit of love. 

Looks like somewhere along the way, I sowed some style.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Whitenicious by Dencia; A Reflection

Hi, my name is Whitney.

And I have just come to grips with the fact that, within my own ethnicity, I am fairer skin toned.

I didn't like this at first. I always wanted to be brown, reveling in my "summer skin", when the sun would bless me with between 2 to 4 shades of shimmering golden brown. Then I would curse the months after October, when those beautiful hues left me looking more like unbanked yellow cake batter waiting impatiently to get into the oven. In all seriousness, the actual dislike came when I discovered that the origins of my skin tone were traced back to the rape of one of my family's great matriarchs by a man of European decent, and the subsequent birth of a blue eyed, curly headed grandfather which led to a very fair toned mother, which led to me. 

You can see why I wouldn't like it.

But like I've said, I've come to grips with this now, figuring, I cant change it, and at this point in my life, I don't want to. Even though I don't like the situation that produced it, I'm choosing love the skin I'm in. I'm beautiful just the way my creator crafted me, and besides, of all the actual issues in life, my skin tone wouldn't be the one I would lose sleep over. 

So you can understand why this whole Whitenicious situation really confuses me. For those who don't know, Whitenicious is a skin whitening product supposedly for the removal of "dark spots". This product is endorsed by Dencia, a Nigerian-Cameroonian pop star, who not only I guess the dark spots she wanted removed was the one covering all over her body.

Please feast your eyes on this before and after photo. (Warning: You might find this disturbing.)

The one on the left is before and the one on the right is after...
Yep, this is Miss Dencia before the Whitenicious, and this is her after. 

I don't understand. She's a beautiful woman. Why? What? Huh?

She stands behind her product says on social media “S/0 to everyone supporting whitenicious & s/0 to those indirectly supporting but thinking they’re hating with PHD worthy Essays. #FreePress.”

Then I thought, Sure! I would endorse this product. After all who wants to be their natural hue? Why be brown when you can be fair? I mean forget gorgeous deep hued women of color like Naomi Campbell, Lupita Nyong'o, Iman, Lauren Hill, India Aire, Bethann Hardison, and Alek Wek to name a few among the millions of others. 

And you know what's even better than a woman from the motherland endorsing this product? The fact that it sold out within DAYS of it being released. Days. What does that say about the global mental state of the Black Female? What does that reveal about how women of color really feel about their own beauty? Do we really believe that light skin is the right skin? Do we actually think that an hue other than our God given skin tone would be be better? 

This can't be good. It's like we are bleaching our skin. Guarantee, let's say in a year or two, there is going to be one of those commercials for a big law firm doing a lawsuit for all the people who used this product and it had adverse affects. Something similar actually happened recently in Japan due to a skin whitening cream produced in Korea. 

It's the same with why we choose to "relax" our hair with products that cause blistering of the scalp, destruction of the hair, and have been proven to be carcinogenic. 

And for what? So that we can think we are actually beautiful while we destroy ourselves? When is it going to stop? 

When we make it stop. When we choose to stop buying into the lies that only long straight hair, narrow noses, and fair skin are the standard of beauty, stop supporting these products, look in the mirror and tell ourselves, every single day, that we were created in the image of God and God does not make garbage.

That's when it will stop.

These are just my thoughts, what do you think?

How To: City Layers

How To: City Layers
This winter has sucked. 

Royally sucked.

I mean if you're in school, and you're allowed snow days, more power to you. It's probably been awesome for you.

But for the rest of us who have had work days cut in half and had to trek back out into the blizzard you fought your way to work in, or have slipped and fallen because of an ice storm that your weather people thought was only going to be a light rain and had bruises to prove it, or were stuck in a city because your hometown airport closed because one of the air traffic controllers saw a flurry, you know what I'm talking about. As I'm writing this, Philly is getting pounded with at least 10" of snow, cutting my workday short.

Bummer.

At least you can look good. Here is a super cool way of layering without looking like a fluffy snowman. 

Stay warm (and fashionable) my friends.

VILA button shirt
$27 - vila.com

Jolie Moi oversized cardigan
$49 - houseoffraser.co.uk

Pea coat
llbean.com

S Oliver clothing
$11 - zalando.co.uk

H M zip bag
$49 - hm.com

2b frill scarf
2bstores.com