Living in NYC without family and working a hectic schedule in retail makes it difficult to stop and feel the love. So when my sister and mom told me they were coming up for a day to celebrate my birthday I was elated. It felt like forever since I have seen them and been embraced by their unconditional love. It was only a few hours drive from Washington, DC to Brooklyn, NY and so I was anxious counting down until I saw them. When they arrived I was at work so they met me down in soho. I took a lunch break the second they arrived and gave them a mini tour of soho and sent them off to lunch at one of favorite happy hour spots, The Cupping Room. Just that hour alone with them gave me enough energy to finish through the rest of my shift.
Later that night we met at my place and decided we would go to West Village for fun, just a 20-30 minute drive from my place. I got dressed while my mom and sister did their usual routine of inspecting my place and even brought a few new things spruce up the place. The Uber arrived and off we went to my Friday night birthday celebration.
First up, we head to Oppabar, a bar and karaoke joint with a cool ambience. Not to mention the fine ass dark skinned guy checking ID’s at the door. I read how the soy garlic wings are pretty major from there so I placed an order with fries. My sister got the calamari which was pretty tasty and my mom just munched from our plates. The bar was pretty good on the pockets with happy hour everyday, which we missed by the time we got there, and also special deals like $6 dollar patron shots. In celebration of my birthday, we had three rounds of patron shots with salt and lime.
I also had a cocktail drink that was made with gin called Herbal Aztec. I’m not a huge fan of alcohol but I guess the drink was good. It was strong but not too much. The bill came out and wasn’t too bad. We then decided it was time to dance. Speaking of which I didn’t find the karaoke at Oppabar nor was anyone there singing already so I didn’t take interest to inquire about it even though on the bar website, karaoke was advertised as a major deal every Friday and Saturday night.
The thing I’ve always loved about New York is that if you don’t know something there’s always a way to find out. We stop to take photos of course and after I ask another bar door man where can we go to dance. He suggested nearby Cafe Wha and off again we went. Cafe Wha, another cool spot, with a nice ambience and good vibes.
The place has live band performances and food and drinks. We were able to enjoy the show for just $15 dollars and we came at the perfect time just as the last show ended people cleared out and there was no line. As we went in the band was on break getting ready for the next set. This time my mom ordered fish tacos and raved how much more flavorful they were compared to the food at Oppabar. My sister ordered a strawberry martini and I in my true form ordered a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon. The show soon began and we were in for a treat. I do not remember the songs they performed but I do remember we all laughed, danced, and had the best night.
The service was great and they were so friendly. It felt like we were in one big house party. I’m glad I was able to show my family a good time in a short amount of time. They plan to come more often now that it was a successful first visit from them to me this time, usually the other way around. Which is significantly more of a hassle because I hate the long, and most of the time delayed bus travel via Greyhound from New York to DC.
The time we spent was so rejuvenating and refreshing. There is nothing like the unconditional love from family. I felt life breathed back into me, not that it ever left but I was beginning to feel tired. Seeing them was energizing and put the hustle all back into perspective. Why I was here in New York? That I was doing amazing and not a complete slack. I was a queen that came from queens and have the support of a lifetime. I can do anything with love the strongest drug.
I’m wearing a LBD by H&M which has a choker style and flared sleeves. The body is fitted so you can size up. I wore a vintage jacket passed down to me especially since the weather in New York finally feels like Fall it felt so right. I paired the dress with my Helmut Lang stretch leather boots to add coverage and class, not to mention how comfortable to walk in they are. I didn’t want to take away from my minimal look nor be mistaken for 12 for the one hundredth time so I slicked my hair back into a low bun and Whala! A 26th bday weekend lewk. #styledbymoi
Masculinity has not died. It is not frail nor weak but is resilient and strong. It exists and does not have to borrow from femininity in order to do so. It is equal but opposite and deserves its praise alike feminism. Virgil is a creative artist who has shown us that there are no limits to a creative career in the business of fashion. Whether a collaboration with another designer (see. Off White X Jimmy Choo) or picture this interior decorating your new home with one of Virgil’s Off White X IKEA collaboration home pieces.
No doubt Virgil has a creative taste and wants to make his mark all over the design industry. We can appreciate femininity but with his SS19 LV collection this certainly was a nod to masculinity. Another concept for Virgil’s collection was the timeless classic film, The Wiz of Oz. The designer’s message was to encourage creatives to follow the yellow brick road just as he did to find his success. The show was beautiful with models from all different ethnic backgrounds helming the runway.
His debut collection featured relaxed tailored suits in all the colors of the rainbow, military inspired chest bags, and even astronomical capes along with accessories and knits that meshed well with his consumer’s taste. There was the perfect mix of menswear sartorial looks and sporty luxe that any man would appreciate. We’re sure to see a NBA athlete running the town or a Hollywood actor or two on the red carpet in one of Virgil’s Louis Vuitton numbers.
We absolutely adore all the colors of the rainbow and his collection was a friendly reminder that there are heterosexual men who enjoy the art and beauty of fashion.
We have come so far and of course Newton’s Third Law supported they try to push us back. Now, We celebrate blackness! It’s like a Black Renaissance. In the grand scheme of it all, it is a beautiful moment but as living proof I have got to keep it real. I am so damn OVER the “I love blackness when its easy on the eyes” idea. I say idea because it is a false narrative and cannot exist in this way. In fact it is dangerous. Even sad that it mostly comes from our men.
Recently, Charlamagne from the Breakfast Club radio show, was under fire for a thoughtless comment he made about rape culture concerning he and his wife’s relationship. He apologized and said he would think more about the bigger picture before he speaks or something to that extent. He even called his wife and put her on speaker phone during the show just to have her testify. I can’t.
Just a couple Saturdays back, the Curly Girl Collective held their annual natural hair festival, CurlFest, in Brooklyn, NY at Prospect Park. It was nothing short of amazing #BlackGirlMagic filled with love, positive vibes and good energy. I don’t care what anyone says, get a group of natural hair back girls together and its nothing but compliments, big laughs, and all around a good time (don’t forget our brown sugar and shea butter sweetness smell that fills the air). The Breakfast Club hosted the founders of the Curly Girl Collective and Curlfest on the radio show the day before in NYC. During the show, Charlamagne yet again opened his big mouth without thinking. He made a comment about him not liking natural hair when its a small bush, he likes when its a big one.
One outside of the culture might possibly get away with personal preference, but I doubt it. So as a full fledged natural curly girl, what Charlamagne said does not fly and I’ll tell you why. Lets dissect the issue. Now just recently, black girls going back to their natural hair and wearing it that way has been a phenom. It’s empowering and beautiful and so many other things all at once that varies from each natural hair girl one to another. It is not an easy process especially when you are brave enough to do the Big Chop. Then once you realize what you’ve done, you have to care for your new found glory.
What they don’t tell you is how frustrating it can be. Learning what products work best when all your life you’ve used chemicals and products that weren’t for you and now you have so many options to choose from but they still aren’t necessarily for you either. The key is finding what your hair needs and doing just that on a routine basis. Natural hair helps with discipline. Its a sticktoitness that forces you to look yourself in the mirror and tear down all the lies and see beauty in you. Your hair becomes a product of you so you have to remember that its your crown and your duty.
I could go on forever about the beauty of the natural hair journey. It is so complex and profound, but it exists and I am sure will do wonderful without my further appreciation. So back to the the subject matter. Charlamagne was dead wrong for what he said. He had every opportunity to celebrate black women and the natural hair movement but instead he chose to make sure he got his one comment of disapproval in for the interview and that spoke volumes. First of all, what he said was completely unnecessary and unrelated to the topic they were on. This negative emotion is just one way that Black men choose to exert their insecurities onto women especially ones who are on their way to complete self acceptance and happiness. The things we say are a reflection of ourselves so I don’t blame Charlamagne’s bald head ass, but I do know that he is not the only one. It is not okay.
There is no room for negative opinions in the natural hair community. For so many years, black girl natural hair was ridiculed. Now girls all colors jocking our style and spreading the culture. Check Kim Kardashian or Kylie Jenner and see how they rock black girl style fresh off the runway and make money off it too. Times have changed and the hashtag #curlfest on your social media will be just a hint of the simple fact. The hope is that one day every girl every where will find joy in the body and skin that was given to her. Women all colors shapes and sizes are beautiful queens. The rooted epiphany will always be that individuality is what makes us beautiful and comparison is just a thief of joy. So whether I choose my itty bitty fro, whether I take time and make my hair real big, whether I rock straight back corn rows, my natural true beauty lies within and exudes to my outer surfaces. You have no right to tell me what you like in me. I know it’s just a glimpse into your sadness but that is not my issue. As a friend Travis once told me for all the haters, “Tupperware, you can have it!”
Let me just say I am completely comfy in my skin. Sometimes I may not feel as beautiful as the day before but I always come back to me. If this happens to you too then we’re not alone and I hope that you always come back to you. If you have not found your inner beauty and search for it everywhere but within, I suggest that you start there. You can always email or contact me on IG @styledbycsbnyc via dm if you need an ear to listen and help. I cannot promise that it is easy but I can promise you that you are worth it.
Celebrate the unconventional beauty in the universe!