Paul R. Giunta/FilmMagic
This article originally appeared on ESSENCE.com.
ESSENCE is celebrating the phenomenal artist that is Erykah Badu at our 8th Annual Black Women in Music event during Grammy week.
One of contemporary music’s most important artists, Badu has made her mark on the industry and inspired countless artists from the moment she stepped on the scene with her debut album, Baduizm, in 1997. From “On and On” to “Next Lifetime,” Baduizm was filled with hit after hit – which have now become classics. Badu won two Grammy’s for the classic album.
“From the time that she first hit the scene we all fell in love with the genius that is Erykah Badu,” said ESSENCE Editor-in-Chief Vanessa De Luca. “It is only fitting that we honor the accomplishments of our neo-soul queen whose remarkable artistry still moves us twenty years later. We congratulate Erykah on her incredible career, as well as all of this year’s GRAMMY nominees who share their amazing gifts with the world.”
Established in 2010, ESSENCE ‘s Black Women in Music celebrates the achievements on Black women in the industry. Previous honorees include Jill Scott, Andra Day, Solange, Mary J. Blige, Kelly Rowland and Janelle Monaé.
The event, held the week of the Grammys, will take place Thursday, February 9 in Los Angeles. The evening will also feature a performance from Roc Nation artist Tiwa Savage and salute this year’s Grammy nominees.
It’s a celebration of Black women and Black girl magic.
Written by: Ilka Harrigan
Originally published by The COCO Magazine
It’s Good to be You
The thing that makes a garden beautiful is the individuality of each flower, from its color, shape, size to its height and most of all its confidence. I know you have flipped through the pages of a magazine from time to time and wondered what tips and tricks celebrities use to look their best, well the cat is out the bag, and simply dressing for your body type makes all the difference. “What is my body type?” You may ask. Well wonder no more; your body type is the best one there is; learning how to dress for your body type and embracing your unique features is the first step to looking and feeling your best, the key is to become familiar with and accept your proportions. Appreciating your body does not mean that everything about you is Barbie perfect; it simply means that you have made a decision to embrace your body.
No matter your body shape, wearing baggy clothing can be unattractive when it does not accentuate your figure, in fact it cries out no effort but if you must wear one baggy item be sure to create a balance by wearing a form fitting item. For example pair a peasant blouse with a skinny jeans and heels for an elongated look.
If you’ve got the legs that would put Mocko Jumbies to shame by all means show them off! Draw attention to your legs with shorts or a mini skirt and stylish heels. For a more conservative look invest in textured/patterned leggings, allow the leggings to be the main focus of your wardrobe by keeping the rest of your outfit simple.
With curvy women like Beyonce, Tyra Banks and Queen Latifah at the forefront these days, it may be hard to keep up sometimes. Remember to pay close attention to the fit of your clothing, buy tops that emphasize your narrow waist or curvy bust but stay away from shirts that tend to create the delusion of extra volume; consider belted tops or wrap-styled tops. Avoid pants with belts, pockets and details around the hips and rear to be sure that you do not ruin the balance of your curves, also consider dark jeans that allow you to appear slimmer.
Women sometimes we feel bloated or bulky and it is perfectly fine, or you may not have reached your five pound weight loss goal in time for that event, it has happened to all of us. If you are interested in dressing slimmer be sure to address undergarments. If you select the right undergarments they can shave pounds off of your frame mainly by addressing your posture. To streamline your silhouette use graphic pieces in moderation; vertical prints lengthens and slims your figure while small repetitive prints distract the eye and minimizes any bulges. Many women share a misconception that once uncomfortable with their body it is best to use tons of fabric to cover it up. Instead of doing that it is best to highlight your favorite features, start with pieces that work well on your figure and tweak as needed.
Another problem area that we are all familiar with is the arms. Yes working with models and photographers has opened my eyes to the arm issue, no matter your shape or weight we all suffer from this problem from time to time. Firstly it is important to be conscious of the placement of your arms, arms that lay flat against the side may appear thicker as opposed to when on the hips or holding your purse away from your body. To disguise less-than-toned arms wear non fitted three-quarter-length sleeves, ensure that your sleeves end at least 2inches before or after your elbow for a slim look. Wearing a distraction piece like a large statement necklace that creates a “V” effect across the chest draws the eyes away from the arms and to the center of your body. While these tips and tricks may help for the short time it is best to focus on your arms when you hit the gym so that they gradually become slimmer.
Remember before revamping your wardrobe and getting dress for that spectacular event or day out with friends it is important to know and understand your body, what looks great on it and what does not. Do not rely on what is in trend but what is the best style for you; we all have different body types although there may appear to be similarities our body like our finger prints are unique in every sense. Your waist lengths and sizes, lengths of the legs and arms, size of your chest and shape of your buttocks as well as the thickness of your legs and thighs are all important to consider when getting dress to highlight your favorite features.
Written by Ilka Harrigan
Originally published by The COCO Magazine
I’ve wanted to take a solo trip for a long time; I believe I was inspired by Beyonce Knowles with her year off from work spent travelling around the world. Maybe my year won’t be exactly like Beyonce’s but I’ve incorporated a few days of travel from time to time in my busy schedule.
Taking a trip can be very healing but travelling solo can be a form of meditation with a triple delight of anticipation, moments and memories; it is less stressful, a time for introspection, relaxation and self-discovery. It allows for freedom and total control of a few days in your life.
I found myself sitting at the window seat and anticipating the completion of an eight hour trip; it was my iPod, a few books and I. It was a chance to get away from the norm, and have some alone time to reflect; I was heading to the tiny Caribbean island of Anguilla. I spent most if not all my mornings walking through a garden of tropical flowers and my afternoons sitting on the rocks while watching the waves dance. The independence of planning and vacationing alone allowed me to experience my vacation just the way I wanted to. I made a conscious choice to take random trips in between semesters. I was a full time student, a designer and worked part time; I found that these relaxing trips helped to rejuvenate me and they always ended with me feeling like I was ready to take on the world.
It is reality that we are sometimes overwhelmed by the daily stresses of life. It is important that we create a balance in life and dedicate some time out of each year to self-exploration and relaxation; surprisingly enough a large number of full time employees do not take annual vacations. This means that the average full time employee works approximately 260-262 days out of a year; the remaining days are weekends and holidays that we use to catch up on work, sleep, errands and thinking about creating fun experiences. According to a study conducted by Harris Interactive for JetBlue Airways, 57 percent of Americans will end the year without using their vacation days. Of those 57 percent the majority will allow 75 percent of the vacation they earned to go to waste. Escaping the stresses of daily living can have a beneficial effect on our overall well being, careers as well as personal and social lives.
You might argue that you can use your vacation days and spend that time at home which is true but be mindful that where you spend your time influences your state of mind. I’m sure you can identify with this once you realize that you can relax only in some rooms, or places. Escaping to a place of relaxation can evoke creativity and promote productivity by allowing us to reconnect with ourselves. Subconsciously we live to please others, well guess what you don’t have to worry much about that when travelling alone; this sounds intense but there won’t be a group of people debating on where to go first, and what to eat. Pleasing yourself first is not a selfish concept, it is only after you have tended to your wants and needs can you address the needs and wants of others. Take the challenge and give yourself a break this year, you’ll thank me later.
March 8, 2013
Issue: The COCO Magazine SVG
Declared the 2008 Next Generation Designer and the Culture & Fashion Award Winner of the Inaugural Islands of the World Fashion Week; Tamiko Browne combines her sense of fashion, creativity and her dedication to environmental improvement to execute a brand of luxury swimwear.
Self taught designer Tamiko Browne, in a few words said a whole lot about her designs "My style features the contrast of warm and cool tones against your skin. Exotic wild prints and trims create a glamorous oasis. Rich colors, textures, opulence, fine detailing and superb exclusive designs define the Tami B Style".
ILKA: How long have you been creating collections and how old were you when you
professionally constructed your FIRST garment/swimsuit?
Tamiko: My first collection was created in 2009, I was 33 years old.
ILKA: Please explain to our readers how and when you discovered your passion for designing.
Tamiko: I had started attending a lot of fashion events that sparked my interest. I also could not find that perfect swimsuit that was fashionable and eco friendly. It was in that moment that the Tami B line was created.
ILKA: Please explain to our readers how Tami B Designs incorporates an innovative approach to the modern bikini.
Tamiko: In any business one must have an innovative approach to their work. Tami B Designs strives to incorporate new environmentally Eco textiles using modern technology to turn rare and revered oldworld fibers into new and appealing high-end fabrics. Our Label is made by proving that it's possible to produce luxurious, sensuous Swim & Resort Wear in ways that are non-toxic, ethical and sustainable.
ILKA: What do you use to create the vision for your collection(s)? In other words, what motivates/inspires you?
Tamiko: Every day I look to the unspoiled, pristine nature of St. Vincent’s north coast as a backdrop to accentuate the exotic tropical tones of my swimwear line. The waters of the Caribbean, picturesque sunsets, the movement of Island life combined with the spirituality of its culture are all tools used for the development of the Tami B style. The Tami B style is a carnival of colors from lush forest greens to warm sunshine yellows. From glimmering gold highlights, core shimmering plain colors, to botanical influences with a mixing of textures, colors, and different fabrics, my collection achieves some unexpected effects.
ILKA: Your designs are definitely breathtaking! What garment have you created that would be considered "outside the box" fashion for most people?
Tamiko: That would have to be my Islands of the World Award Winning Cultural piece
entitled, "Garifuna Goddess"; which was a swimsuit woven from straw/copia.
ILKA: The Garifuna Goddess bathing suit was one of my favorite pieces. As the designer do you have a design that resonates with you? In other words your favorite item created?
Tamiko: I would not say that I have a favorite; as each piece speaks to me in its own unique way.
ILKA: If you could leave one piece of fashion advice to our readers what would it
Tamiko: Don’t be shy about asking for help from smart people who have done it before. You would be surprised how many people out there are more than willing to help new designers and entrepreneurs. This expert advice is extremely valuable; we all know we can learn from each
other: The first step in creating a successful brand would be knowing that you
have a product that is special and knowing who your target audience is. Do your
homework and research like mad; know who your customer is and what that customer can afford, who your competitors are and why customers would buy this product from you
and not a competitor. Be focused.
"I definitely would consider myself a "Coco Woman". Being able to know and understand myself so implicitly that my intuition, decisions and inner knowing flow effortlessly from within to graceful expression of my fashion in the world outside of me, expressing such confidence and belief in myself find my fashion designs; that others believe in them too."
Prince on music, life, and ego, in 11 quotes
1) "Movies are real! Music is real! It affects people, it's real. … The other night I went to a club and I watched a DJ control an entire room. Even politicians can't do that."
2) "The most important thing is to be true to yourself, but I also like danger. That's what's missing from pop music today. There's no excitement or mystery."
Source: Los Angeles Times (1982)
3) "The key to longevity is to learn every aspect of music that you can."
Source: The View (2010)
4) "All people care about nowadays is getting paid, so they try to do just what the audience wants them to do. I'd rather give people what they need rather than just what they want."
Source: Los Angeles Times (1982)
5) "Like books and black lives, albums still matter."
Source: The Guardian (2015)
6) "I don't want to get up on a soapbox. My view of the world, you can debate that forever. But I'm a musician. That's what I do. And I also am music. Come to the show for that."
Source: The Guardian (2011)
7) "Everyone has their own experience. That's why we are here, to go through our experience, to learn, to go down those paths and eventually you may have gone down so many paths and learned so much that you don't have to come back again."
Source: NME (1996)
8) "I had a massive ego [at youth]. Massive. But that's not such a bad thing. Because at least you're aspiring to be something, you consider yourself great because you want to be great."
Source: NME (1996)
9) "No child is bad from the beginning. They just imitate their atmosphere."
Source: "Sexuality" lyrics
10) "When I became a symbol, all the writers were cracking funnies, but I was the one laughing. I knew I'd be here today, feeling each new album is my first."
Source: Newsweek (2004)
11) "Yeah, everybody's got a bomb, we could all die any day. But before I'll let that happen, I'll dance my life away."
Source: "1999" lyrics
There is something about what accessories do to an outfit that I love; I enjoy telling stories through jewelry and with the same token adding a touch of glam to outfits. If I could be an accessory of choice, I’d definitely be a necklace; I admire necklaces because they are usually the piece of jewelry that is seen first.
The old adage “Less is more” no longer holds true for jewelry, trend setters are now keeping outfits simple and layering with pieces of jewelry. There is something about the right piece of jewelry that catches the eye. Admit it ladies there is nothing that brings a smile to your face and an excitement to your wardrobe like a big bright ring, chunky necklace or an oversized colorful bangle. Is there such a thing as too much? Well not if you follow the rules and pile them on correctly. Remember to tone it down and keep your jewelry simple when your clothes have a lot going on. This season it is all about the big and the bold, it’s a good excuse to give life to your outfits; we’re seeing a lot more layering, bib necklaces, large pendants, rings with large stones and oversized funky bangles.
Author: Ilka Harrigan
We live in a society that puts food at the center of all events and celebrations but there is one meal that we are most likely to forget and that is breakfast. Skipping breakfast should not be an option.
According to a recent survey conducted by the NPD, a leading marketing research company; NPD’s Morning MealScape 2011 study revealed that one out of ten or thirty-one million Americans start the day without eating breakfast. The most appealing benefit to eating a hearty breakfast is that it boosts your metabolism and thus helps to burn more calories throughout the day. Eating breakfast tells the body that there will be plenty calories consumed throughout the day but skipping breakfast is a sign that the body’s survival mechanism will kick and it will conserve calories rather than burn them. Eating breakfast within an hour or two after you wake ensures optimal performance. In the event that you may not feel well eating a whole meal early in the morning, try eating a light meal in increments.