The NComplete Project

Where pursuing a complete life is an ongoing project.


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NYC Happenings: WA-TAAH! Launches the “Taking Back the Streets Campaign”

Hey guys,

The streets are always buzzing here in NYC and there are tons of things happening in the city at any given time. So when I attend an inspiring event in support of a great cause, I definitely want to share it with you. Last Thursday, I was invited to a super cool event at Wallplay (a global art exhibition platform built to activate and document art campaigns and collaborations that don’t fit into a box). They provide physical and virtual space for exhibitions to launch and they’re hosting WAT-AAH!’s Taking Back the Streets art exhibition, which ends today. The campaign is in honor of Drink Up, an initiative of Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) and its honorary chair First Lady Michelle Obama, that encourages Americans to drink more water, more often.

These organizations are a perfect pairing because WAA-TAH! is a line of functional bottled water targeted to kids and teens. Rose Cameron who was alarmed by the fact that today’s generation of kids are predicted to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents largely due to childhood obesity, founded the company in 2008. Cameron, further inspired and challenged by her two sons who identified water to be “boring”, set to create WAT-AAH! with its screaming boy logo coupled with a mission “to be the first brand to make water relevant and cool to kids.” wat-aah-white Since its launch 6 years ago, WAT-AAH! has been successful in the marketplace and has been identified as “one of the fastest growing brands” in the beverage industry, ranking among the top 10 in its category. The “Taking Back the Streets” initiative is a national art campaign that intends to reclaim the space where kids live, by replacing the information and visual stimulation that bombards them every day with new messages about healthy hydration. The most powerful messages that connect to kids and teens are not only found in magazines or on social media and television, but in the streets. For the first time, street art is being harnessed to reach this most important demographic. (bevnet.com)

The exhibition features the work of 13 artists including Kenny Scharf, Shepard Fairey, Swoon, Maya Hayuk, Trey Speegle, Damien Mitchell, Metro Zu, Lichiban, Tony Concep, VESA, Damon Johnson, MENT, Smurfo and a special tribute to Keith Haring. Each artist will showcase an original piece of artwork inspired by WAT-AAH!’s iconic screaming boy logo, Drink Up’s water drop logo and/or communicate water in general; then these pieces will be transformed into label art for WAT-AAH!, creating a new series of limited edition WAT-AAH! bottles.

So I happily made my way to the gallery, with my camera in hand, to document the artistic deliciousness on display…

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The campaign initially kicked off on February 18th at the New Museum. FLOTUS was in attendance, engaging with kids, touring the exhibit with Rose and even autographed one of the artist’s paintings. She commended the initiative for its creativity and visibility. “You guys are going to make a huge, huge impact on the health of our nation,”.michelle-obama (A)NY-CW037_NYSCEN_G_20140221205452aphotos above by James Keivom of New York Daily News DSC_1022aDSC_1023 DSC_1024 DSC_1056 DSC_1068 DSC_1069 DSC_1070

I’m super excited about this initiative and psyched that I got a chance to see the exhibit. We were given bottles as parting gifts so I gave a few away and will be sure to continue to spread the word. We’re all working on keeping H2O at the forefront of our diets, because drinking enough water is not just a challenge for kids and teens but for adults too.

So let’s support the cause and drink SMART-AHH!, feel BETT-AAH!, and scream for water LOUD-AAH!wat_aah_logo-611x1024c

Love,

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10 documentary films you should see for Black History Month!…or any month :)

Hello Kings and Queens,

Today we’re talking documentaries and Black History Month. Documentary films are one of my favorite things; I rant & rave to all of my friends about the latest one I’ve watched or continuously go on and on about the movies on hulu.com. So, I’m spreading the wealth and composing a list of ten great films, on the site, that explore black culture in America and abroad. (there are two films listed that aren’t found on the site but you can certainly find them on dvd, links below). Enjoy!

*note: these films are not listed in any particular order so begin with whichever one you’d like and watch it tonight :)

1. The Black Power Mixtape by Goran Hugo Olson

2. Jean Michel Basquiat: Radiant Child by Tamra Davis 

3. White Wash  by Ted Woods

4. Marley by Kevin McDonald

5. 500 Years Later by Owen Alik Shahadah

6. Brooklyn Girls Fight Club by Courtney Carreras

7. Paul Robeson: Tribute to an Artist by Saul J. Turell

8. Fathers of the Sport by Xavier Mitchell

9. Marvin Gaye: Behind the Legend by Martin G. Baker

10. Mr. Untouchable by Marc Levin

…Oh wait, I just thought of another great film, so let’s make it eleven :)…

11. A Man’s Story by Varon Bonicos

I could go on forever haha…but be sure to drop some knowledge and let me know of any films, you’ve seen, that I should add to my queue…because knowledge is power :)

Love always,

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Style Crush: Lupita Nyong’o

Hey lovebugs,

We’re two days away from Valentine’s day but I’m spreading the love early and gushing about crushes…style crushes! My first heart doodle goes to a fellow Brooklynite, Ms. Lupita Nyong’o. You might’ve heard of her haha. Her story is a huge inspiration and I’m in awe of her fearlessness. The passion she has for her craft is nothing short of amazing and she’s certainly showing up…She came, she saw, and she’s conquering! Lupita studied film and theatre studies at Hampshire College, worked on production for films, starred in the Kenyan series, Shuga; and directed her first documentary film, In My Genes, long before graduating with her M.F.A from the Yale School of Drama. Immediately after graduation, she was cast as Patsey in the critically acclaimed film, 12 Years a Slave (I know y’all saw that!). If you think that’s not enough, she signed on as one of the faces for the Miu Miu Spring ’14 campaign, not to mention all of fashion magazines she’s featured in. Whew! We’re tryna keep up haha. Her new film Non-Stop, starring Liam Neeson, is set to release on the 21st; and if you’re a Taken fan, like me, you’ll be there!

Christian-Louboutin-Paulina-Pump-Lupita-Nyongored carpet lupita3Lupita has taken her new found fame in stride and has appeared on all of the red carpets as the style maven to watch. Although she refrains from speaking about her styling process and personal stylist (details here); she clearly allows her fashion to have a voice. Her style is boldly colored, streamlined and sophisticated with a touch of sexy. Her perfectly fitted dresses and pointed pumps inspired my look today! I’m rockin’ a navy blue pencil dress from Zara and found these pointed “leopard” pumps from Aldo for a steal! Heyy! haha

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Lupita definitely loves color in her wardrobe but she also loves brights in her make up too! Her beauty looks always complement her rich chocolate complexion, something she mentions in a recently published interview for Glamour.com: “I love color. I’m enjoying trying all different shades. Makeup isn’t something I’ve worn a lot of in my life. So it’s good to work with someone like [makeup artist] Nick Barose, who is inspired by my complexion and knows how to work with it.” She enjoys deep purples and never backs down from a delicious lip color (like the plum I tried below) but she makes a point to say on record that make up alone does not make her feel beautiful, “If a girl wants to wear makeup to boost confidence, why not? [But] I’ve worked hard to feel beautiful in my natural skin. Personally, I don’t ever want to depend on makeup to feel beautiful.”

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So ladies and gents, let’s take note from Lupita and remember to always feel beautiful in our skin, boldly highlight our best attributes and fearlessly follow our passion :)

Love,

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The mane thing: The best natural detangler ever!

Hey supastars,

We’ve made it halfway through hump day so now the weekend countdown begins! I have quite a few new projects in the works that I’ll be sharing with you very soon, but for now I’m dropping a quick winter hair care post your way. This time of year can wreak havoc on natural tresses and dryness happens to be one of the main culprits. So to tackle breakage and save time, I wanted to find a way to detangle my curls and condition them at the same time…And yes indeed, I did! This recipe comes to us by way of blackgirllonghair.com. If you’re anything like me you’re constantly trying out new products and experimenting with recipes to find out what works. Well, Chinwe of Hair and Health threw us a bone and listed three easy-to-make deep conditioners that is sure to change up your conditioning regiment. I tried recipe number two which reads as follows:

2. For Detangling – Avocados, olive oil, shea butter, and apple cider vinegar

This homemade conditioner is lubricating, thick, and heavy, all of which give my kinks slip, moisture, and hang for detangling. The avocado’s meatiness and fatty acid content contribute to the effectiveness of this mixture.  Additionally, the fatty acids in the olive oil combined with the emollient properties of shea butter add even more lubrication and moisturizing benefits.  Lastly, the acidic pH of the apple cider vinegar helps to flatten the cuticles for easier detangling.  This conditioner is ideal for those with thick, dense hair and major shrinkage.

Ingredients:
1 overripe avocado (sliced)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup unrefined shea butter
2-3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar

Instructions:
Place the sliced avocado, unrefined shea butter, extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), and apple cider vinegar (ACV) into a blender. (There is no need to melt the shea butter ahead of time.)  Blend all the ingredients thoroughly and add more EVOO, if necessary, until the mixture reaches your desired consistency. When done, apply to the hair and let sit for 30-45 minutes under a shower cap. Detangle, rinse thoroughly, and style as usual.

click here for the other recipes…ingredients3here’s a pic of the ingredients I used, nothing fancy :)

I kid you not; I picked up the ingredients while at the grocery store, tried it for the first time and will forever use this method for major detangling jobs. My wide toothed comb slid through my coils like butta and when I rinsed, my hair was still moisturized from the olive oil.  So definitely try it, I promise you it works.

P.S. This post is about using natural ingredients in a recipe but if you don’t have the time to play mad scientist and throw things in a blender; another great conditioner/detangler is Tresemme’s split remedy, the slip is one of the best out there and it gets the job done.

Alright, so there it is, one of the “mane” things to try out today or any other day. Talk to you lata!

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Beauty Inspirations: Dolce & Gabbana Runway Make-Up!

Hey loves,

Today is a be-you-tiful day despite the winter chill! We’re inspired by the Dolce & Gabbana’s Fall/Winter ’13 runway beauty looks! The legendary Pat McGrath is the makeup guru behind this look and as creative director for Procter & Gamble she sets the tone for beauty trends on runways all over the world. Her cosmetic roster goes on forever so we can imagine that she uses some of the best products on the market and this look, although classic, requires quite a few. I’ve simplified the list to just 6 items that you beauties probably already have in your make up bag!21skin-600

dolce-and-gabbana-fall-2013-08elle-dolce-gabbana-fall-2013-rtw-get the lookZ DSC_0539xThis is a quick and easy way to glam things up! Apply your foundation and concealer as you would normally then line your eye with Urban Decay’s 24/7 Glide-on Pencil. I use the deepest black which is called Perversion, it’s totally sumdgeable so have fun and experiment a bit. Be sure to draw in your winged corners to achieve the cat eye and finish your lashes with Loreal’s Voluminous Mascara in carbon black. Line and fill in your lips with just a touch of Mac’s lip pencil in cherry; don’t apply too much because then your lip color will have too much of a red undertone. Finally coat and mix in the liner with a layer or two of Revlon’s Super Lustrous Creme Lipstick in Va Va Violet (I love saying that name haha!) to achieve the deep crimson shade…that’s it! You should look fab, like you’re ready to step out on a Dolce & Gabanna runway!


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Autumn/Winter Trend Countdown: Color Blocking! *flower petals & sequins edition*

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Bonjour loves,

Winter is setting in, here in NY, and the snow is beginning to fall; but we’re staying warm by injecting a little joy into an otherwise icy cold Wednesday. Let’s dive into autumn/winter trends and have fun with color blocking! I love experimenting with this trend because it’s stylish and full of personality. The secret to rocking a color blocked look, is that there’s no secret at all… no strict rules apply so it’s easy. Your final fabulous effect depends on the amount of contrast or non-contrast you’re going for.

Let’s begin by referring to the standard color wheel: (I posted both the PTS (primary, tertiary, & secondary) wheel and the name wheel below so it’s easier to visualize). I studied fine arts in college and the color wheel was our go-to guide for mixing paint colors, so it’s a great place to start if you haven’t color blocked before.

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1. For a monochromatic look pair colors adjacent to each other, they’re in the same family but different shades (i.e. blue and blue-green; green and yellow-green; violet and red-violet, etc.) It’s super chic and sophisticated!monochromatic-1024x548

2. For ultimate contrast try colors directly across from one another (i.e. yellow and violet; blue and orange, red and green, etc.) It’s a daring statement and you’re sure to stand out!June-Ambrose

3. For bold whimsical looks try colors that form right (90 degree) angles on the wheel (i.e. yellow and red-orange; blue and yellow-green *my combo pictured above*; red-violet and orange, etc.) Colors that form a T (i.e. blue, orange, and violet-red; yellow, violet, and red-orange; yellow, blue-green, and red-orange, etc.) and colors that form an X (i.e. orange, blue, violet-red, and yellow… violet, blue-green, and red-orange, etc.)

Oh and let’s not forget our neutrals: brown, black, white and blue denim are fail proof when it comes to coordinating color blocked looks and can be paired with virtually any color on the wheel. Trying a neutral with a bold pop of color is a great way to reinvent your favorite pieces in your closet!

So get out there and color block! You’re gonna look fabulous!


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NComplete Project #3: My unplanned graphic t-shirt line!

Hey guys!

Yes I know, I’ve been MIA and haven’t posted for a few months…but I’m back and here to stay! I’ve been working on several projects and keeping busy so I have lots to share with you. This first project began with me shopping online for cool t-shirts that celebrate naturally curly hair. There’s tons to choose from but I didn’t have much luck finding graphics that were conceptually driven and artistic, so I saw an opportunity to create some :)…and out of that, “The Tee Movement” was born. The initial working name was Cool, Calm & Coiled, a play on the phrase cool, calm and collected, but I quickly realized that my designs carry a message much deeper than just loving your hair…that Aha moment dawned on me at our soft launch in Harlem. My good friend Assu and I held it at our brownstone and it was a success, everyone loved the concept! *see photos below* The champagne was flowing; the food…dee-lish, but it wasn’t until I noticed a room filled with beautiful people of all races, engaging and inspired, that I fully understood the true purpose of the line. My designs should serve as a voice for self empowerment and represent a celebration of diversity. We’re not just glorifying all hair textures but we’re encouraging the world to see the beauty in all of our differences.  The Tee Movement is bringing people together through creative expression and culturally inspired design…we’re empowering our communities, one t-shirt at a time :)

I’m super excited to share the new site with you guys, so check it out!  theteemovement.com

Huge thanks to my co-host, Assu, for making the launch happen and to Alfonso, Azebe and Carmen for jumping in and helping out with the last minute set-up; it wouldn’t have come together without you guys! Shout out to our spoken word artist Carnegie Kid and certainly a gracious thank you to everyone that came out to support, I love you!

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