Milan + Florence: Ciao Bella, Italy!

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Flying Above Milan

Life happened in Milan. We planned for a one-day pitstop in Italy’s shopping capital. Exiting the plane on the tarmac instead of the terminal is not cool when you’re being drenched by Bigfoot’s tear drops. Ciao bella, Milano!

We booked a one-night stay at a chain hotel. The cabbie cut me off as I read the name – he insisted that he knew the hotel. Unfortunately, the “Malpensa” part is key to distinguishing between the Hotel ibis Milano Malpensa and Hotel ibis Milano Centro. Unfortunately, we got half way to the wrong hotel. The 12 euro cab ride became 80 euro, but we settled on 40 euro. He played us – we charged it to the game.

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Streets of Milan

After settling in at the hotel we found our way to the train that would transport us to the heart of Milan. We are still unclear if we made it to the correct shopping sanctuary. Europeans tend to close up shop during the summer and flee from the tourists. Milan felt like a ghost town. Our short-lived shopping adventure ended at Sephora. My sister purchased a flat iron to lay her hair that clearly did not survive the hail of cats a dogs. FYI, I advised against straight hair for our 21 days in Europe.

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Santa Maria delle Grazie

After Milan we moved to Florence. Cue It Never Rains by Tony! Toni! Toné. Once again, Europe acknowledged our arrival with celebratory showers.Yes, we learned to dance in the rain.

We rented an apartment for our stay. Our luggage made like sponges and soaked up the water, which trickled through to the clothes. Thank you, baby Jesus, for the washer in our apartment.

Moving on… Florence is delicious and the views are serene and superb. I could live in Florence. Natives were welcoming and warm. Oh and the food, more please!

The rain cleared and we discovered the city by foot. At this point we were pros at navigating by map. Throughout our trip, I felt like a kid in a candy store. How amazing is European architecture? So freakin breathtaking and intricate.

My sweet spot for Florence (Italy) intensified because I could interpret the language. I flexed my Spanish knowledge to communicate, it’s similar to Italian.

Here is one of my fave memories from Florence. Shout out to my sister for capturing the moment.

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Rocksbox ‘It Girl’ Review

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Subscription box services are on the rise: funky socks, Japanese candy, dive bar t-shirts, nerd gear, soy candles, apocalypse kit thingamajigs – you name it, it is out there. RocksBox is a subscription service for jewelry junkies.

Unlike other subscription-based services, RocksBox allows subscribers to borrow items, then swap or buy them. Yes, that means you can rock the jewelry with no strings attached. For $19 a month, RocksBox offers unlimited access to its stash of jewels.

In exchange for sharing my experience with you, the powers that be invited me to try the service free for three months. To sweeten the deal, RocksBox provided a private code (kinkycurlsxoxo), so that you guys could enjoy one month FREE. I accepted the ‘It Girl’ invitation. During my subscription I shared the code via Instagram and Facebook, I hope you took advantage of the opportunity.

Within three months I received five RocksBox sets (see descriptions and gallery below). I approved of most pieces received, but I did not make a purchase. Based on the quality, items are overpriced even when considering the cost of convenience. However, the borrowing option is cool and allowed me to discover a buffet of designers.

PROS

Convenient, efficient, attractively packaged, free shipping both ways

CONS

Items overpriced for quality

Set #5

SET #1

Sophie Harper Pave Triangle Necklace $36

House of Harlow 1960 Tessellation Triangle Cluster Stud Set $24

Margaret Elizabeth Marquis Ring $92

SET #2

Sophie Harper Pave Circle Bracelet $43

Vanessa Mooney Layered Nuggets & Cylinder Necklace $78

Margaret Elizabeth Ophelia Cocktail Ring $118

SET #3

Slate Crystal Spike Earrings $30

Gorjana Crescent Shimmer Necklace $72

House of Harlow 1960 Howl Cuff $70

SET #4

Perry Street Jenna Necklace $51

Sophie Harper Pave Triangle Studs $28

Kendra Scott Haylee Ring $48

SET #5

Sophie Harper Pave Ball Studs $32

Perry Street Adrianna Necklace $51

Loren Hope Carly Bracelet in Brass $70.20

Beauty Review: Black Seaweed Peel Off Masque by 7th Heaven (formerly Montagne Jeunesse)

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Before launching into the product review, I should introduce you to my skin. Make-up artists love it, but they are not on the battlefield everyday.

All skin is NOT created equal. I learned that little nugget through trial and error (mostly error). Over washing, under washing, Ceptaphil, Proactive, Noxzema, Ambi, prescribed topical treatments… I did and tried it all.

My face is basically a oil refinery, in 24 hours it produces enough oil to fill a large tanker truck. As if managing oily skin is not a feat in itself, my skin has the nerve to be sensitive too.

Moving on to the masque… I washed my face, patted it dry with a towel, then applied the masque. Twenty minutes later I removed it to reveal a super clean face. I typically use toner morning and night, but I already felt my pores breathing, so I skipped it to prevent over drying. I finished with moisturizer.

While this product worked favorably for me, remember that all skin is NOT created equal. I did not experience irritation, so I would try this product again. This review is based on a single use. The 7th Heaven (formerly Montagne Jeunesse) peel off masque fell into my lap courtesy of Influenster.

Stuff You Might Like To Know

Scent: Fresh and natural

Consistency: Similar to aloe vera

Application: Easy, but messy due to consistency

Removal: Easy peasy, like peeling off Elmer’s glue

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Foodie: Sage Fried Chicken & Bacon Waffle Tower

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Sage Fried Chicken & Bacon Waffle Tower

Mouth-watering and hungrier than Will Smith in The Pursuit Of Happyness, I sat with fork and knife ready to demolish whatever arrived on a plate. My tastebuds were ready to meet this mouth-watering phenomenon called Sage Fried Chicken & Bacon Waffle Tower at Hash House A Go Go.

I convinced eight people that we had to eat at Hash House A Go Go. I sold the chicken and waffle tower, like Olivia Pope sells Fitz to the American people on Scandal. Four of five people seated at my table ordered the tower.

Whoa! Nice presentation and huge portions for the price. After waiting for an hour, we did not hesitate to dive in. Pause. How do you serve waffles without butter, Hash House A Go Go? Red flag! Butter is to waffles as sand is to the beach.

Verdict? This looks and sounds much better than it tastes. Bacon waffles sound unbelievable, right? My tastebuds were not impressed. The waffles were no tastier than those found in the frozen aisle at Ralph’s. The chicken? Crispy, golden, but pretty bland. I would take Roscoe’s over this any day of the week. I made an ass of myself by judging the book by its cover.

Hash House A Go Go

The Linq Hotel & Casino

3535 S. Las Vegas Blvd.

Las Vegas, NV 89109

Mon Style: White On Right

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Outfit Details

Semi Sheer Cotton Tee (I cut off the sleeves) – Forever 21

White Straight Leg Jeans – Target

Camo Calf Hair Belt – Gap

Tabacco T Strap Sandal  – Michael Kors

Disneyland + The Inside Job

At age nine, the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) kindly plucked me from my family and dumped me into the foster care system, that shook up my world. My life changed drastically at a young age, so I, in turn, harbored a little seed of unhappiness. Feeding off my anger and misunderstanding, that seed bloomed into a tree taller than Shaq. On nights I spent under blankets quietly crying “I want my mommy” and wishing she would swoop in like Wonder Woman and save me, I blamed DCFS for my pain. Eventually I transferred the blame to my parents, because – they brought me into this world.

Did I have a right to be unhappy? Of course! Whether or not my feelings are justified, I always have the right to feel how I want. However, regardless of the cards I am dealt, my feelings and response are my choice. Choosing to blame some one else is a waste of time.  I could sit cross-armed, lips poked out, and angry at the world, but guess what? The world would still go round. People move on and live their happy while you stew in your misery. I benefitted in no way by blaming others for my unhappiness. Not until I owned my feelings, plucked leaves, and broke branches did I find my happy. I cut down the unhappy tree and saved myself.

Happiness is an an inside job.

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Twice this year, I hung out at the self-proclaimed happiest place on Earth, Disneyland. In February I chased my seven-year-old niece around Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure. Kids are fearless. Hearing that she met the roller coaster height requirement ignited an explosion of joy (They let her slide a teeny bit, lol). Look at the terrified faces in the picture below, my niece is the one smiling and holding up the peace sign, she is a G. I figured she would love the Mad Tea Party, but she had zero interest in waiting in the line.

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Last weekend I went back to both parks, but this time with two of my best friends. Would you believe they refused to ride that The Hollywood Tower Hotel with me? Scaredy cats. Ironically, they made the Mad Tea Party a deal breaker.11138056_422523694582126_457293885_n

Waves of nostalgia carried me away as the magic of Disney twirled around me. I could not help reflecting on my journey. I am grateful for the ah ha moments that led to me understanding that happiness is an inside job.

The happiest place on earth is where you choose to share your happy. You are the life of your party. Always.

(Click images to enlarge)

Mon Style: Denim, Denim, Denim

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Denim Zip Bralet – Topshop

Oversized/Boyfriend Shirt – H&M

Long Sleeve Denim Shirt (around waist) – Forever 21

 Ripped Denim Boy Shorts – Hollister Co.

Leather Sybil Ankle Boots – Aldo

Mon Style: Petals + Polka Dots

Colorful petals and playful polka dots are the perfect pair to welcome Spring, it’s peeking around the corner.

Mixing prints can be tricky. Here are a few tips to help you create a playful and polished look…

  • Choose your colors. Similar colors and palettes compliment your patterns and pull the look together.

The black & white in my dress is repeated in my shoes. They compliment each other.

  • Pick your patterns. If the first pattern is complex, go simple with the second. Try to stick two patterns, it’s easy to go overboard when you’re having fun mixing prints.

With the colorful floral pattern and cross back, the dress is the star here. I went with a effortless, playful and comfy shoe that accents the dress.

  • Play with size. Use large and small patterns to avoid prints clashing and/or hypnotizing yourself while looking in the mirror.

The flowers/petals in my dress are larger than the print on the shoes. The patterns are not in competition with each other.

Have fun creating your look. Below are my deets.

The Deets

Flower Print Cross Back Dress – Boutique

Polka Dot Tennis Shoes – Forever 21

Leather Wrap Bracelet w/ Message – Dillon Rogers

Hugs, 

Roshell

The Finale: Good-Bye 20s Part I

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Jan. 18, 2015 (30th Birthday) in San Francisco, CA

Kicking and screaming is how I imagined leaving my twenties. I turned twenty-one four times and twenty-five twice. Celebrating twenty-nine umpteen times seemed imminent.

On Instagram I overused #twentysomething in attempt to suck twenty-something dry. Why though? Is being twenty-something really that great?

Let’s take a brief tour through my twenties. Short, petite, fresh-faced, naive, smarter than most people I knew, and mature for my age… that’s how I entered my twenties. I knew everything, thus ready to take the world by storm. The motto: Can’t tell me nothing!

At twenty-two, I rented a fire engine-red convertible mustang for my birthday extravaganza that rolled Thursday thru Monday. Yolo! I spent a day or two shopping with my brother and then bestie. More than thirty people celebrated with me on Saturday at my dinner party. My costume for the dinner included: Tri-color hair, this (Bebe), that (Juicy Couture), and the other (Hudson). Total cost for the costume? More than $350. Feeling like a baller? Priceless.

The early years were filled with more poor choices that equaled a boatload of mistakes including: losing myself, insecurity, financial ruin, heart-break, depression. My confidence went from 100 to 0 real quick! Unaware, I entered the mid-twenties disheveled, lost, bent, and almost broken. “Single Black female addicted to retail, and well…” I lived that retro Kanye music, like All Falls Down.

As the twenties flew by, I learned that I knew almost nothing I thought I knew. If you’re not there yet, just wait on it. Unlearning a relearning is easier said than done, but so necessary. If we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change. That’s one of my all-time fave quotes.

My life begged for change. The last quarter of my twenties a light bulb came on and I began saying farewell to people, things, and [insert noun] that I allowed to disturb my happiness and stunt my growth. I chucked up the deuces to people before then, but it rarely included forgiveness. Forgiving others and ourselves is necessary to move forward. Listen to Get it Together by India Arie to get a better understanding of this chapter.

To be continued…

dineLA Birthday sushi at Sugarfish

What’s that number one Birthday month? January! Go Roshell, it’s your Birthday! I exhale song lyrics, occasionally at inappropriate moments. Such is life.

January ended but I am still celebrating my birthday. It is not everyday that a girl crosses the border to thirty.

My foodie friends treated me to dinner at Sugarfish. The Universe knows that I’m a foodie, so it makes sure that dineLA Restaurant Week falls in my birth month.

“Thirty is delicious,” that’s my slogan for the year. I chose to conquer the ambitious dineLA menu (see below) option at Sugarfish. My love of sushi increased as each mouth-watering piece melted in my mouth. Sugarfish serves one dish at time, which builds the anticipation.

Cue the AT&T commercial. We want more! I impatiently awaited each piece of deliciousness. My top 3 plates were:

  • albacore and salmon sushi
  • yellowtail, halibut and scallop sushi
  • crab handroll

I tumbled out the door filled to the brim. Next time I’ll order a slightly smaller portion and not be such a glutton.

Dinner Menu (dineLA Restaurant Week)

Edamame starter

Salmon sashimi

2 pieces of albacore sushi

2 pieces of salmon sushi

2 pieces of yellowtail sushi

2 pieces of halibut sushi

2 pieces of large scallop sushi

1 toro handroll

1 crab handroll

1 lobster handroll