Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Signature Lookers Pt. 2: Crafting Your Look

As previously discussed, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about signature looks and how to define them. With that said, I thought it might be a good idea to talk about the questions I’ve been asking and how these questions have been helping me to define a signature look of my own.

Question #1: Whose style do I admire? Why?
Think about 3 or so celebrities whose style you admire most. Or maybe there are women in your daily life (family members, co-workers, friends, etc.) whose look, style, and image you admire. Think about what it is that draws you to them- this is your why.

Question #2: From the list you made in question 1, ask yourself who can you take style inspiration from?
I don’t necessarily like the idea of trying to look like or imitate someone else I prefer to think about how you can use someone else’s style inspiration to craft your own look and image.

Question #3: What is your archetype?
There’s been a lot of talk about archetypes in certain Facebook circles. If you’re unfamiliar with the term:

1. the original pattern or model from which all things of the same kind arecopied or on which they are based; a model or first form; prototype.
(in Jungian psychology) a collectively inherited unconscious idea,pattern of thought, image, etc., universally present in individualpsyches.

We’ve all seen and are familiar with various archetypes we just may not realize what they are exactly because they are so familiar to us. Are you a “girl next door” or a “bombshell”? Are you a “tomboy,” a “sophisticated intellectual,” or a “bohemian free-spirit.”  There are many, many, different archetypes out there. See if one fits you best and figure out why you’re drawn to it.

Question #4: Describe your look in a 3 to 7 word sentence.
Keep it simple. Based on the work and thought processes in the first 3 questions see if you can nail down your look in one sentence. When you make it too complicated you’ll get bogged down in the thought process. When you have a simple sentence or phrase you can carry it with you everywhere- like while you’re shopping for clothes or cosmetics that would most compliment your newly defined look. Kind of like a WWJD?

Question #5 BONUS: Do you have a signature?
I think once you've figured out the first 4 you’re on your way- this one is just extra credit, lol. Gwen Stefani and Taylor Swift have a signature red lip. Lisa Ray always wears white. Anna Wintour has worn the same bob for decades. Though born blonde Dita von Teese and Katy Perry both sport raven locks. I have a friend that doesn't ever wear pants, much less jeans. Is there something specific that you want to craft as unmistakably yours that when people see it they think of you? A lipstick or nail polish color? A hairstyle? A color or palette?

What are some things you’ve considered when developing a signature style or look.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Signature Lookers

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about signature looks and the people who have them.

One of my favorite artists, Gwen Stefani, recently came out with a new single and video for the song Baby Don't Lie from her upcoming album. Though this video is kind of a modern, fun, trippy take on The Wizard of Oz with lots of product placement, I couldn't help but notice how Gwen Stefani has still maintained her signature look- even twenty years later. I could immediately tell it was her and her brand.

For those of you who may not know Gwen Stefani originally debuted with her band No Doubt in the 90s.

The essence of a signature look is that it is signature to that person- when you see it you know its them or you immediately think of that person.  Over the years Stefani's styles have changed and she has embraced various trends but, her signature look has always remained the same.

This got me thinking, as someone trying to cultivate a signature look of her own. Stefani’s look is quite simple when you boil it down (though I’m sure MUCH work goes into maintaining it): platinum blonde hair, arched eyebrows, pale skin, playfully lacquered nails, and bright red lips. I’m not saying this is a look that everyone can or should aspire to have but what are some SIMPLE tweaks we can make in our wardrobe or beauty routine that will help us to develop a signature look? I really do think that if we focus on being consistent in one area (i.e. a particular lipstick or nail color) everything else will follow suit and fall into place.  

From the 90s. No Doubt's debut single "Just a Girl." 

Mama Gwen circa 2006

Stefani as part of the current (2014) panel of judge's for NBC's The Voice

For more perspective on Gwen Stefani's look check out this timeline from InStyle.

Who are some of your favorite celebs or people who have developed a signature look of their own?

For more reading on this idea and how BW can craft a signature look check out this post from veteran BWE blogger Khadija Nassif and her book The Sojourner’s Passport.

Pinterest has been a great tool in terms of visualizing and curating different styles and looks as well as helping to hone in on styles that you like or may be interested in trying.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Why BW Need The Rules

The Rules isn’t just a book its a lifestyle. The Rules aren’t simply a list of things to do when interacting with men, they are a way of life. Once you really learn them and start to apply them your perspective and the way you do things will change. And quite frankly, most BW could stand to learn and apply them. Here’s why.

Many of Us Don’t Know How To Date
Face it. Many BW are clueless about dating and vetting men for relationships and marriage. Many BW also have not had the opportunity to witness healthy, functional relationships. But NONE of this is your individual fault or failure! The people who should have had these conversations with you didn't or, were unavailable to do so. They may not have even thought it necessary to do so either. We may have heard the message "Don't have sex!" but nothing about how to navigate relationships with boys and men. We may have also been told to "Keep our heads in our books!" but nothing about how to mix, mingle, and socialize. None of us had control over the guidance (or lack there of) the adults in our lives gave us as children. What you can do now is recognize where you may be weak and find a way to be savvier and stronger and The Rules can help you do this. 

Also keep in mind that this is not limited to BW- if it were the dating and relationship self help industry wouldn't exist. 

All Of The Guess Work Is Gone
Follow The Rules and you won’t go wrong. A lot of people like to say that The Rules are about playing games with men. They’re not. They are about setting boundaries and having standards. The Rules gives you the tools to evaluate and vet men for relationships and eventually marriage- if that is what you desire. No more second guessing yourself or him, with The Rules you will know where you stand.

Also speaking from observation and experience, Rules Girls attract the best men! Quality men like women who are a challenge and are not easily available. They like women who have healthy boundaries, self esteem, and standards because they typically do too! This means he will be willing to bring his A-game to the table in courting you. Losers and laggards don't want to have to work- for anything! 

You'll Start To Spot Bullsh*t A Mile Away
The Rules have helped me to spot time wasters, email pen-pals, texters, players, cheapskates, lazy and selfish men, scam artists, boundary violators, MARRIED and otherwise unavailable men EARLY. There are certain behaviors that will signal the aforementioned red flags. You can completely avoid being caught up in an unhealthy, undesirable, or down right dangerous situation completely. Weed out the duds so you can stop wasting your precious time.

You Will Deal With A Whole Lot Less Drama & Mess
You may not have as many men in your life as you did before The Rules or that non-Rules Girls have but, you won’t have to deal with the drama and insecurities that come with non-committal and indifferent men. For some men the status quo works very well for them. DBRs don’t want more women doing The Rules because that means they’d have to change they way they behave. They’d like for you to continue to believe that The Rules are only for white or other groups of women. 

Less drama = less bitterness = a more positive attitude = more approachable to healthy men.

All that said, I am glad to see more BW being curious and asking questions about The Rules. I’m also glad to see more BW embracing them. I hope you will consider giving them a chance too.  

Sunday, April 20, 2014

How To Go Out Alone Without Being Alone

I go out by myself all of the time. Sometimes its awesome, sometimes it sucks. Its always hard in the beginning though. I live by the mantra: When you wait for other people sometimes you just end up waiting. So, go. Do. 

If I always felt the need to go somewhere with other people I'd hardly ever leave my home- much less the country (most of my international travel has been solo, see here and here). 

Sometimes when you want to have an experience you're just going to have to do it on your own. Some places or events are more pretentious then others. Sometimes you will meet many people sometimes you won't meet anyone.  You have to keep going until you feel comfortable no matter the situation and develop a means of mingling with others that works for you. 

My tips:

Confidence Is Key
I don't know how else to put it. Even if you completely lack confidence, fake it. Walk in with your head high like you own the place and that you belong there just like everyone else. 

Don't Latch
You may be at an event because someone invited you or because you know someone else there; don't be dependent on them to mingle with or to introduce you to other people. Don't attach yourself to their hip, be willing to separate and walk around and meet other people. It will be good for you and it will take the pressure off of them. 

Have A Drink But Don't Get Drunk
A cocktail can calm your nerves and lower your inhibitions making it easier to mingle with other people and break the ice.. So, have a drink if you need one to take the edge off. Don't get sloppy though- it is unattractive and will repel people from you.

Smile and Be Vulnerable
Smiling makes you more approachable. It also makes people curious about you- why are you so happy? Also be open to help or other people introducing you to their friends. Ask questions of someone more familiar with the organization, venue, or event. You may gain some intriguing insights that way.

Consider Having A Distraction Device
A smartphone can be great here. When they're a lull in the party or you don't have anyone in particular to talk to pull out your phone- check your emails, Tweets, or check in on Facebook- lol. It will give you something to do instead of sitting around looking anxious or bored. Of course, don't rely on it or spend the entire night on your phone it won't invite people to talk to you. 

Practice Makes Perfect
Go and go and go until it feels comfortable to you. Until you've developed your own rhythm and way of mingling and socializing that works for you. 

Its true that you are much more approachable alone than with a group. Its not easy going out alone so, people will either be curious about you or they'll want to connect you with others. They might even admire your self-assuredness. When you're with a group everyone knows (or assumes) what your deal is. Its worth trying at least once or twice and I hope my tips can help.  

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Book Review: How To Be Irresistible to White Men

I have now made 3 attempts at reading the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I keep getting distracted by other books! Its pathetic. I will finish it though!

Over the Christmas holiday I was approached by Lisa Marble, the author of How To Be Irresistible to White Men: Interracial Dating Secrets of Asian Women Black Women Who Swirl Should Know . She asked me to read and review her book.

I originally had no intention of reading this book. I loathe the idea that BW have to be something other than who they are in order to achieve their romantic goals. However, since Lisa approached, I figured why not- its no real sweat off my back. I also made it clear to her that I would operate under full disclosure with my readers and be 100% honest with my thoughts on the book.

As I previously stated I do not like the idea of telling BW that they need to be someone else or imitate other women in order to win. I feel that we just have not learned how to effectively leverage what we already have in order to get what we want- and that’s precisely what this book does, encourages BW to use what they already have strategically. Marble isn’t telling BW to be more like AW, instead she’s suggesting incorporating strategies AW have used successfully to their benefit. Her advice really isn’t that much different from what Evia Moore, Faith Dow, and Eugenia Berg have offered on their respective blogs. I learned some new tricks too. Some of Marble’s strategies include:

  • Moving to a better, target rich, neighborhood and how to afford it
  • How to enhance your online dating profiles so that you make it loud and clear- without explicitly stating- that you are interested in white men
  • How to be intentional in your dating and socializing

I felt that Marble relied too much on stereotypes and generalities (granted its a short book) about BW and Feminists in particular. Most BW do not loudly proclaim Feminism they shun it. Also, there are many feminine feminists. Feminists also able find husbands left and right- despite the men who complain about them. I am also somewhat uncomfortable with making WM “the prize”; however, society has thus conditioned women to believe that men and the title of wife are the ultimate prize so I can’t fault Lisa for capitalizing on that.  

This book reads very quickly- I finished it in about 2 hours with some distractions. So I can get back to my original schedule! It is a short and effective read ideal for young and/or college age women; however, I think all BW could learn something from this book.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Book Review: The New Rules of Attraction by Arden Leigh

Okay so maybe I'm only in semi-blog retirement.

Let me just say that I'm a Rules Girl and I thoroughly enjoyed The New Rules of Attraction (TNROA) by Arden Leigh.

This past summer there was a bit of a kerfuffle between author of TNROA Arden Leigh and The Rules girls Ellen Fein and Sherry Schneider, see here, here, and here for more background and context. Needless to say this little dust-up made me curious about the book TNROA.

Though I do practice The Rules and know that they do work I want to make it clear that I am NOT a certified Rules coach like India Kang or Vanessa Taylor. I have not worked extensively with Ellen and Sherry so, perhaps my take on this subject may be a bit different. 

TNROA is a well very well written and sophisticated book which should come as no surprise considering that Leigh is a professional writer and poet. I especially enjoyed parts one and two of TNROA and found many takeaways that a Rules girl could apply to her love life. TNROA also reminded me of one of my favorite blogsites-

The first part of TNROA was like an extended CUAO (Creature Unlike Any Other) chapter. From her work as a dominatrix Leigh has a unique perspective on attraction and how appearance, image, and branding interplay. Leigh goes into great detail about how to create a "calling card" so to speak that is specific and unique to you:  

  • Be mindful of your image and what it is telling the world. Choose colors, shapes, textures and fabrics that are best suited for your image, look, and body type. I like that Leigh is an advocate for bright colors and "standing out" from the crowd. The Rules girls advise an all black uniform which I don't necessarily agree with- especially for women of color. All black on AA women especially is boring and tends to blend us too much into the background- we need vibrant colors. See Solange Knowles and her signature color yellow. 
  • Engage all of the senses as part of your seduction package. Go beyond appearance alone. How does your skin (and hair) feel to the touch? How do you sound when you talk? Do you have a signature scent?
  • Maintain quality and interesting conversation with a man so that he will be open to talking about himself (information you can later use) and engaged. In the age of Facebook and the mobile phone we all could all put more thought into this area.

Leigh also emphasizes the importance of maintaining your mystery and some distance, knowing when to pull back, having your own life, and not being completely dependent or desperate for a man's attention or overly excited about the prospect of a relationship. She also gives very practical advice about sex. 

Thirdly, you also still do not have to make the first move- fellow Rules girls! You can have men come to you by cultivating an environment suitable to the men you want to attract. Leigh has great advice on how to extend and maintain an adequate social circle in order to expose yourself to the greatest number of people. For example, if you want to meet a fitness buff start (or join) a running club. This positions you as an outgoing authority figure on the subject and will bring potential targets to you without it seeming as if you are trying to meet a man. It's not that much different from this advice

I wasn't too fond of the book's latter parts. I didn't particularly agree with all of the advice about initiating and maintaining communication or, on approaching men or, her take on how to build momentum in a relationship. What Leigh describes is A LOT of work and firmly puts the woman in the driver's seat. Women must remember that they way you start is the way you'll finish; therefore, if you start the relationship doing all of the work you will most likely be the one to continue doing all of the work. FOREVER. Leigh even acknowledges this to a degree in this interview. Even so, and even in these later chapters there were still bits and pieces of useful information. 

Of course your approach to dating and relationships will depend on your comfort zone and what your ultimate goals are. what your ultimate relationship goal is. 

You can follow Arden on Twitter at @ardensirens.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Re-Writing Our History

If you haven't noticed I've somewhat retired from this blog. I feel that it is time, for everyone, to move on. I also feel that I've pretty much said everything that can be said on this subject. My long time readers will also note that I make it a point to NOT discuss black men on this forum. They aren't part of this equation. However, I have noticed a relatively recent, disturbing trend that I cannot ignore. 

I want to talk about what I'm observing because I want to make it known and I want others to be cognizant of it when they see it happening. This way people cannot say that they didn't know or weren't warned. This is too important to just pass off. When people can control and manipulate the narrative of YOUR history they can control your future and deny your present.  

I will not name or link back to any of the guilty parties because I do not want to give them any more undeserved shine. If you've been on social media for any amount of time you already know who it is that I am talking about. There is a small, but vocal, contingent of DBR and misogynistic African American males that are attempting to re-write the history of the African American woman in this country. They will claim things like:

  • BW were not raped during slavery. Instead they willingly went along with Massa's sexual proclivities for social and economic gain. The newly popular Bed-Wench stereotype. Also see the Harriet Tubman Sex Tape- Google it yourselves. I've asked people who assert this claim to provide historical evidence of this- as opposed to just talking recklessly. If this were accurate historians and academics would have documented it and it would be easy to reference and point to various documentation, research papers, etc. When asked I've been met with immediate deflection. 
  • The reason for the many mixed race "blacks", mulattoes, and light skinned black people is because BW willingly choose white men during segregation. Rarely, some BW were able to establish relationships and even marriages with WM during that time but most had very little say in the matter. 
  • BW took up Feminism with a fervor that no other woman in America did! Oh really? Yes, there were and are still black women feminists; but lets be real the Feminist movement of the 60s was largely a WW's movement as BW were already doing- out of necessity- what WW were fighting to do. This stems from the idea that Feminism is reason for the downfall of the black family in America.

Among other things. 

This is all happening for a reason. These men do not like that their power over BW is waning. They do not want to continue to see the prime resource that they still control- BW's time, energy, and money- going elsewhere or demanding some form of reciprocity in return. Without you they would have nothing and they know it. They know that even though they may put them on a pedestal, other races of women are not going to be down, working, protesting, and marching on their behalf the way BW historically have. They need the narrative to be that BW were never really down for the BM and the black family to begin with.  They need people to see BW in a certain light in order to validate their failures, dysfunctions, and choices. They need BW to feel guilty in order to continue the gravy train.    

Do not ignore this or pass it off to the side as we've done in the past. Call it out when you see it and correct it when need be. Whoever controls the past also controls the future.  

"If you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it, and you will even come to believe it yourself."