Design Essentials’ Big Easy Style Lounge

I had the wonderful opportunity to attend Design Essentials‘ invitation-only event during Essence Fest this year. Tucked away in a private area of the W New Orleans, guests had the opportunity to try and take home products from their line. I am always searching for natural product lines to try and review (coming later!) and they do not disappoint! A big shout-out to Yodi of Yodi International (pictured far right) for her patience and fun, easy-going manner in sharing professional tips to achieve curly and straight style in New Orleans’ humidity!

Ledisi and the Design Essentials® Style Team. From L to R Sheena of Loc Oasis; Ledisi; Anika Robertson, Design Essentials® Marketing Coordinator; and Yodi of Yodi International.

Ledisi and the Design Essentials® Style Team. From L to R Sheena of Loc Oasis; Ledisi; Anika Robertson, Design Essentials® Marketing Coordinator; and Yodi of Yodi International.

 *above photo credit: Courtesy of Design Essentials®. 

I’ve seen Ledisi perform when I lived in San Francisco and she was always great! I missed the chance to meet her in such an intimate setting, though I did see another artist drop by:

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Attendees also got the chance to receive beauty services and deluxe samples from brow expert Joi Mebane of The Look By Joiluxury body butters from Jones & Rose and anti-aging pampering pillowcases from Morning Glamour. These woman-owned businesses really delivered with service and style! I must confess…I’m a little partial to the mini-massage I received…can’t imagine why…

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Can’t wait to review all these goodies! 

EssesnceFest: Day 3

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!

Many attend on Sunday because of the stellar Gospel lineup of singers and preachers. I was there – early – to get the viewpoint of what an average attendee goes through in the Convention Center. Personally, I’ve tried to get into the My Black Is Beautiful exhibit for years and it’s either too crowded or all the appointment slots are taken. This year, I was getting in, Hell or high water. I’ll talk about that experience later…

Lines. That was my day – lines. All the major sponsors: Ford, Walmart, Verizon, State Farm, Cola-Cola, etc. had lines upon lines to get whatever freebie they had. The personalized Coke bottle was so popular the wait was easily two hours. Getting Ford swag went quickly; the line to test-drive was as painful as the local DMV. Walmart’s money booth was slow and clumsily run, while hawking their prepaid cards so the purchaser can jump the line or get closer access to free (Walmart-hosted) speakers and artists. I didn’t have the stamina for all of these wait times. The concrete floor is brutal for standing!

The exhibit for the James Brown biopic “Get On Up” was short, swift and fun, like most of the late great artist’s songs. The #YesWeCode hackathon was ending, and Disney fans of all ages were queueing up for blinged-out mouse ears and pics.

I spent the day in here and was happy to head home with a bag of goodies. They were hard-earned, lemme tell you.

Essence Fest 2014: Day 2

My day really consisted of one event – the #NOLACrawl Style Suite, sponsored by Ford. There’s a long list of hosts and additional sponsors which will be detailed in a separate post.

I knew the Convention Center would be a madhouse and every featured speaker I wanted to see were scheduled at the same time as the outside events I attended. Since I’d never attended any events on Sunday, it was a fine time to call it quits early and come back the next day.

Essence Fest 2014: Day 1

Doing what you love doesn’t feel like work. Whoever said that lied! These past 3 days required planning and stamina. However, persevered, met lovely people and discovered new products to try out and share the findings with you.

I was lucky enough to attend two events: Design Essentials and Eden Body Works. I will write about each product line individually in subsequent posts; this is really about EssenceFest as a whole.

These events are not just marketing showcases, but a great way to find out about body, skin and hair care by experts I person. Both events were lovely and their teams were the epitome of grace under pressure.

I popped over to the day party hosted by Carol’s Daughter , which was on the other side of the French Quarter. Between the walking and the heat (!), I couldn’t bear the thought of going into the Convention Center. I checked out the cute-as-a-button pop-up shop by Shea Moisture. There weren’t enough cocktails to soothe my aching feet, so this day was officially done.

Team Natural: Cantu Leave-In Cream

Kids, I thought it was true love. A thick, creamy leave-in that’s so great you can sleep in it? Wow. I didn’t risk ruining pillows, but did apply for eight hours. When I rinsed. I was left with looser, longer, healthier-looking curls and coils. To boost the moisturizer, I added 3 tablespoons of coconut oil to the mixture. As I glanced at the jar, my heart sank when I read those dreaded two words in their ingredients list:

Mineral Oil.

Why is it so hard to find a great product without petrolatum or mineral oil? Cantu offers a new natural line, but the removal of the mineral oil won’t hurt the success of this otherwise wonderful conditioner. And, it’s not outrageously priced, either.


Sunday, Sun Day!

i hope everyone is enjoying the official start of summer this weekend. Memorial Day usually signals being outdoors: family gatherings, graduations, backyard BBQs and last but certainly not least, remembering the fallen. I like to revisit this because skin cancer rates keep rising, even though we are a more educated consumer. Please check out my previous post regarding sunscreens and time in the sun. It’s a good reminder for all of us.

New(ish) sunscreens I like:

Shiseido’s Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion+


Neutrogena’s Ultra Sheer® Dry-Touch Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 85