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As my loyal readers know, I lost my job a couple a months ago, so lately everything I do is on a tight budget. So, when my birthday begin to approach I knew I had to find a fashionable outfit but not spend a lot of cash. Since my former job was in retail and I am person who loves clothes, my closet and dresser draws are full of clothing, so I knew had no problem in that department. My main issue is I always want something new, which I knew wasn't really an option for me. Then while scrolling through tumblr, and I came across this outfit Kelis was wearing. I thought it was the right combination of flirty and simple. So this was the look  inspired me.
I'm pretty good at doing things myself, plus i'm a DIY YouTube junkie, so I knew i'd find some kind of tutorial on how to make a Tulle skirt. The easiest, and quickest  method I found was the no sew method. I was only a few days away from my birthday, so I didn't want a long project.

 I'm a fan of bright colors, so when I saw the purple Tulle in the fabric store, it was love at first sight. I purchased 8 yards, of Tulle fabric at $1.25 a yard and one yard or elastic at 85 cents a yard. The total money spent on my outfit was $10.85 cents!!

Here's the video I used teach me the no sew method.




Under the tulle skirt I wore a black basic mini dress that I already owned, this was my lining so my underwear wouldn't show. It's usually pretty warm on my birthday, but this year it was cool and rainy, also, I didn't want my look to be too dainty so I went to a thrift store to find a cute motorcycle style jacket, but I had no luck. I remembered I already own a faux leather motorcycle vest, so I settled with that. I chose Royal blue platform pumps that I've  had for years, to add another pop of color. Then added some accessories to accent the outfit, and BAM, mission accomplished a stylish outfit for only ten bucks.

What I learned, making something new is all about re-purposing and bringing life to things you already have. A simple revamp by adding the DIY tulle skirt made a huge difference on my closet, my fashion confidence but a minimal difference on my wallet.






By Queen
Twitter: @TheQueenSpeaks_
Instagram: @TheQueenSpeaks_
I get a lot of questions about my accessories and the clothes I wear from my Instagram and Twitter followers. Among the many things I am Queen of, thrifting and finding affordable fashion pieces that still turn heads is something I am incredibly good at. I am heavy into the entrepreneurial spirit lately so, I decided to open an online thrift store!

The key to finding a great bargain, with thrifting or even in traditional stores is you have to have time. So, although you get something for a low price you have still payed with time. Instead of spending your whole day going through racks at the salvation army, why not find it all conveniently online? I take the time time finding great affordable peices for you to buy. I go to thrift stores, street festivals, consignment shops looking around for great in trend pieces, and nothing is priced over $20. Yes, everything on my website is $20 and under, how great is that?!

Here's a taste of what i'm selling! 

                                                                     

                                                                           

                                                                           


So far I have 30 items in stock, and will add pieces every week! Pleases visit my store, and tell me what you think flowerstospikes.storenvy.com (click link) Also, all Ms. Vixen readers get 20% off their purchase, just enter coupon code Ms Vixen at checkout.

By Queen
Twitter: @TheQueenSpeaks_
Instagram: @TheQueenSpeaks_

When you think of the color “nude,” what do you think of? Does it look something like this?

When you think of the color "nude," what do you think of? Does it look something like this?

How about this?

How about this?
This is a “nude” makeup palette from Bobbi Brown.

Or what about this?

Or what about this?
That’s a “nude” lip on Kim Kardashian.

The trouble is, all of these examples of “nude” are based on a Caucasian skin tone. This is what you get when you search for “nude”-colored clothing.

The trouble is, all of these examples of "nude" are based on a Caucasian skin tone. This is what you get when you search for "nude"-colored clothing.
Notice the dark-skinned woman wearing, uh, NUDE clothes.
Notice the dark-skinned woman wearing, uh, NUDE clothes.

That’s why the lingerie brand Nubian Skin decided to create a line of “nude” lingerie and hosiery for women of color.


Nubian Skin’s blog describes the struggle many women of color go through trying to find a nude garment to wear under a sheer blouse. “My nude isn’t the nude I see in shops,” wrote the company’s intern Mary on their blog.

“Despite the reality that women of color have the same needs as all women when it comes to lingerie and hosiery (and spend the same of their hard-earned money), the industry simply doesn’t cater to us,” she continued.

“So, I thought, it’s time to rethink the definition of nude.”

Mary said she believes there are tons of parallels in the makeup industry.



“It took Eunice W. Johnson to create Fashion Fair Cosmetics in 1973 for black women to really have an adequate choice in finding makeup colors to suit them. In the 1990s and 2000s, mainstream brands began to realize the value of providing to women of color, and despite the billions we spend on make up each year, there are still brands that have chosen not to provide an offering for us.”

The line will be available for purchase in October via the Nubian Skin site.



She hopes that the brand’s mission will encourage others to rethink “nude.”



“It’s an uphill battle, but every revolution starts somewhere.”


Header Image via blog.nubianskin.com/
As I continue on this journey of finding my lifetime the homey, (that’s how I refer to my future husband) I can’t help but look back to where I have been on this romantic love journey. I, like many woman have had great men in my life, and losers who I  often wish never existed. I also have noticed, many women like to sum up events in our lives both good and bad to lessons learned. I do this with every experience in my life, big or small. One lesson that currently stands out in my thoughts is, I once was in love with a man who hated me. Whom would at any opportunity find ways to shoot me down, make me feel small. My personality, and what I assume people love about me he would always down play. I pride myself in having a pretty high self esteem, I never care much if i'm liked by others, or care about peoples perception of me. I go about life pretty fearless, always trying new things; not ashamed of my mistakes (believe me, there are many) and even with all my mess I hold my head high. He hated that about me, and tried everything possible to kill that in me.

While in this relationship I couldn't understand why my heart would want a man who in the four years we were in each other lives, could barely give me a compliment, and if he did it would come out of his mouth, flung at me, with his mouth skewed as if it was a pulled tooth. Often telling me i'm just okay, when I would tell him of something great I did within my day. I remember us once being in a bathroom after a night of partying, we’re both drunk and high, me pouring out my heart,  telling him how much I love him, and how horrible he makes me fell. I remember saying to him “You can’t even do anything as simple as tell me I look nice.” His reply a very nonchalant and uncaring “‘cause you already know that, why should I say it. People tell you you’re great all the time, you hear it enough.” I sat in that bathroom (we were naked in the tub, don’t ask) looked in his eyes and that’s the first time I recognized it. There was a fiery look jarring back at me, not of passion, but of rage. This man hates me, and he wants to destroy me. I hadn't realized while living through it, but I was in an emotionally abusive relationship.

I should have left the situation then, but I had not yet felt done with it. I knew it was bad for me, knew he was toxic and knew it would end horribly, but I also knew that I wouldn't leave the situation completely until something inside of me told me I was done. Him and I had parted ways many times throughout the years, but I always made my way back. He was fun, accepted parts of me I thought at that time no other man would. Also I’d been such a horrible girlfriend, and woman to so many men in my life I thought this was all I deserved so I foolishly accepted it. Treating men as if they  were disposable in order to protect myself from the heartbreak I saw many women around me go through. I've often tried to figure out why I would share space with a man I knew hated me. That I knew wanted to tear me down. Was I torturing myself, making myself go through pain on purpose? I've yet to conclude the why, but I have concluded the lesson.

It was with him that I learned, love isn't draining or exhausting, it’s fulfilling and awakens you. Love is great and I should love someone unafraid, and wholesomely but never will I let the love I have for someone else continually make me question the love I have for myself. When we finally parted ways permanently, he told me to get over myself, as if I had no right to be angry that he hurt me. No ownership in his actions, because in his mind, I thought way to highly of  myself and once again needed to be knocked down. I was so angry with that response I threw my phone, then thought to myself, I will never get over myself, I am head over heels in love with me, and will always be. That’s what he always knew about me and wanted to die. He hated that I loved me, because he didn't love himself.

I write about many of my life experiences because it helps me heal. It also helps me show other people they aren't going through these situations alone. So, although I've never been in a physically abusive relationship, I fully understand the mental constraints that come with being abused. The battles in your mind, wondering why you aren't good enough, and why you don't measure up to their level of wants. As cliche as it sounds, its them, not you. The second I realized that completely, I was able to walk away, and save myself from his mental torture. So even though I fell in love with a man who hated me, I loved myself enough to keep that chapter of my life in the past tense when he decided to leave.

Header art work by Creative Stasis of  ArtByCreativeStasis.com

By Queen
Twitter: @TheQueenSpeaks_
Instagram: @TheQueenSpeaks_
                                                      
There are presently many new ways to get news and entertainment; long gone are the days where radio, television and newspaper are the only source for media. We now have people creating their own blogs, using YouTube, micro blogging platforms such as Twitter and social networks like Facebook. All current ways many people get entertainment and media information without having to depend on the traditional forms that used to be the only way to do so. The latest media platform gaining momentum is pod-casting, and I have been doing it for a while with my co-host J. Our show Tea with Queen and J. is now at it's 10th episode and growing! 

We're both single women, living in New York City trying to figure this thing called life out. Sharing our experiences as well as keeping our listeners, up to date on current events, pop-culture and other things that many may not consider popular by the main stream standards, yet we know needs to be heard, all while we drink tea! This is our platform to do so. With topics about varying from  Marrissa Alexander case in Florida, how to pick the right condom, J.'s obsession with Puerto Rico, and my personal beef with badly done eyebrows. We really talk about it all!

I'm sure you have seen many pictures of J. on our Ms. Vixen's Instagram, she's my friend in real life, has written for Ms. Vixen about online dating I Hate your Online Dating Profile, which is hilarious. Get to know J. and follow her on Twitter @JaniciaF and Instagram @JaniciaF.

Get into Tea with Queen and J. podcast. Its available for free on iTunes or listen to us on Soundcloud. Drink up!




By Queen
Instagram: @TheQueenSpeaks_
                                                                                                                                                               
                                                                                




Lauryn Hill has released a self-described "sketch" of her song "Black Rage," which she has dedicated to the people fighting for racial equality in Ferguson, Missouri. "An old sketch of 'Black Rage,' done in my living room," the singer wrote on her website of the tune that dates back to at least 2012. "Strange, the course of things. Peace for MO."

The song itself is a lo-fi recording with acoustic guitar, shaking percussion and the sounds of children talking in the background. Hill sings the melody to "My Favorite Things," from Rodgers and Hammerstein's The Sound of Music, but she has changed the lyrics – posted on her website – to ones describing the many factors that inspire "black rage."

"I use the performance platform as an opportunity to express the energy of that moment, and the intention behind it," she said of the song at the time. "I've been a long-standing rebel against the stale, over-commoditization. As artists, we have an opportunity to help the public evolve, raise consciousness and awareness, teach, heal, enlighten and inspire in ways the democratic process may not be able to touch. So we keep it moving."

(Stephen J. Cohen/Getty Images)

(Source)
We all know Chrisette Michele from putting out great soulful music, her amazing range and melodic tone that comes out of her mouth as if its her regular way of speech. She has grown gracefully and has come into her own comfortable style, which includes her fashion, her art, and her presentation of all things Chrisette. Her blog Rich Hipster embodies all of these elements and come together into this great mosaic of talent. She's currently working on many projects, so I was excited she had time for this interview. Her current music project Lyricist Opus, putting together Rich Hipster, staring on the current season of R&B Diva's LA, and much more, we had many things to talk about.


 Queen What kind of experience do you want your visitors to have on RichHipster.biz?
Chrisette Michelle I want them to feel kinda like it's a little bit of a getaway, like they've joined a squad of happy nerds, people who aren't afraid to laugh and smile a little bit. I know that there's a lot of different places you can go on the internet, with Rich Hipster, I want people to feel rich, rich in their hearts, rich in their culture as well.

Q What mood will your next project Lyricist Opus have?
C Oh my God, do you want to know a secret? This is seriously top secret, I was hanging out in a coffee shop in Brooklyn and I had this big weird book out, that this lady made for me and I just started writing stuff down. I told my mom about this idea,  I said mom, I want this idea to be connected to a blog. Start a blog and then connect this music to it; and then I called another friend and said I wanted to connect it to the  T-shirt line then all of a sudden I have this lifestyle piece. I think it had a lot to do with the place I was living in. I was in Williamsburg Brooklyn for a year, I had fallen in love with that community and atmosphere, the whole vintage store, nerdy glasses, the shoes. Just the fun, what I call rich hipster vibe, and  I decided that everything I created from that day on was gonna come from this place because that was the first time that I felt at home. So, what you're getting right now is home. . . .when you find your truth I think that the mid set just comes with it, and Rich Hipster is my truth, it's the first time that i'm not afraid, the first time I  am being really brave, fist time I'm kinda showing you everything about myself.

Q What was your inspiration for The Lyricist's Opus
C Long Story short-First of all go to RichHipster.biz everybody, and check out the making of Super Chris  its one of the first pieces from Lyricist Opus, I wanted to see higher strings, I wanted to see horns, I wanted to have a live piano player on a grand piano. I love machines, I love programmed music but I also love live instrumentation. So, I knew that the record label would not pay for that, I knew that they wouldn't take out a hundred thousand dollar budget or five hundred thousand budget, which is what i'm use to when i'm making my albums, to make something with live instrumentation. so I decide to use the platform I had on R&B Divas LA to show what it looks like when  musicians come into the studio and create. It was really exciting for me to show that there are brown skin girls who have a liking and taste and education in the music business, and music in general and show people what it looks like. This is more of a documentary experience, this is more of a, what music looks like experience, than it is an album project, but it's also real music. I really can't wait for everybody to feel it, and to see it when they see the ballerinas dancing in the videos.


Q What inspires you to make music that inspires me?
C Surroundings, different places like the beach, cities like Paris, people, people watching. You know, Just the atmosphere, scenery. I'm very stimulated by visuals, you know, traveling seeing different things and people, the water, clouds. Those things inspire me, that's my gospel, nature.

Q Reality TV. . . one way it's hindered your brand, and one way it has excelled your brand?
Vulnerability is who I've been since I walked into this industry, I've never been afraid to be scared in front of you guys, never been afraid to tell you when I was nervous I've always voiced these things, and I think that people honor that. So the reason I don't think reality TV has hindered my brand is because I think you guys are used to me being honest. One thing it did which was a pro. . . .seeing me honest in person and these faces I would make when telling the truth might have helped you understand that I mean the things that i'm saying when i'm afraid, or when I'm nervous or excited. . . . .it's been really a positive and i'm really grateful for the opportunity. 


Q How do you deal with negativity and not be easily offended 
C Oh gosh, I'm very sensitive. I would say as far as negative comments go they don't really bother me, but my mother always told me if something bothers you to your core, there's some introspective that needs to take place there. If some body says [no one has said this]' oh girl you too big' or something like that and it really hurts me maybe I need to take a look in the mirror and see if I like my body, maybe there is something I need to change about how I eat, or exercise. Am I healthy? Am I treating my body, they way it should be treated, with the most respect? Why did that comment bother me so much? A lot of times you'll see I still respond to peoples comments in a positive light. Like, if someone leaves a comment "Chrisette I can see your spanks underneath your dress" and i'll  say "Oh my God you can, I'll never do that again girl!" As opposed to being defensive all the time, maybe they just have a very harsh way of helping you know. . . . I look a lot better when I react to things in a positive light. You want to talk to me negative, you're giving me an opportunity to be positive 

Q You promote women's positivity, what happened in your life that made you want to take an active role in that?
C I'm Kind of stuck in that role, my mom was an activist, when I was a kid she would take in all different kinds of people from battered women to children, we had an eight bedroom house, she refused to let any of those rooms to go to waste, she only had three kids. There were always children or mothers living in those rooms, So, I guess I kinda just took on her calling, you know. She kinda passed the baton, and I kinda have no choice but to be just like my mom, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, it's kinda just what I learned growing up.


Q What piece of advice would you give to empower women
C Don't be afraid to not to get what you don't have be afraid not to experience what you do have, I think we get so overwhelmed with getting everything that we forget to experience what we're experiencing right then and there. I kept wondering when I was going to get married, when I was gonna have a ring. I might not have a singing career 'cause if I was so into making sure I sat in the front row at basketball games, making sure I was at the hottest clubs in NYC, to meet this, or that celebrity in hopes that he might sweep me off my feet. I have to experience and be excited about what I am doing, because the funny thing about experiencing what you are in is that God adds the increase, so if you just sow into the seed that he's already given to you, he'll just add the increase, You'll say  'Oh my god I can't believe this is happening'. I say this at least once a day

Who are your mentors, how did you find them
C Gosh! I have so many right now, India Arie is one of them we started out signed at the same label but she came out to see me perform,  by mistake she didn't even  know I was going to be there at an open mic night, and she took me on tour with her, and she's been my mentor ever since. Iyanla Vanzant is another person that I speak to often and get advice from, Pattie Labelle, Lionel Riche. These are people that I've met along the way, back stage and they decided to give me their phone number and I've kept in touch, they have been very helpful in my life.

By Queen
Twitter: @TheQueenSpeaks_
Instagram: @TheQueenSpeaks_


I wrote in an earlier post about how losing my job has created an opportunity for me to be in more control of my time. That I can fully jump into the many things I've always wanted to and I was excited about that. The problem is that since I make my own schedule and and have complete control of my time I realize I have no knowledge on how to manage it. None, I've lived a life where my schedules were created by other entities, be it school, or work. Never have I completely made my life's daily schedule, and some days I feel like I'm wasting very valuable time. So, I decided to teach myself time management, I started using these tips from Entrepreneur.com I found online Saturday, and so far I'm making progress

*via www.entrepreneur.com
Practice the following techniques to become the master of your own time:
  1. Carry a schedule and record all your thoughts, conversations and activities for a week. This will help you understand how much you can get done during the course of a day and where your precious moments are going. You'll see how much time is actually spent producing results and how much time is wasted on unproductive thoughts, conversations and actions.
  2. Any activity or conversation that's important to your success should have a time assigned to it. To-do lists get longer and longer to the point where they're unworkable. Appointment books work. Schedule appointments with yourself and create time blocks for high-priority thoughts, conversations, and actions. Schedule when they will begin and end. Have the discipline to keep these appointments.
  3. Plan to spend at least 50 percent of your time engaged in the thoughts, activities and conversations that produce most of your results.
  4. Schedule time for interruptions. Plan time to be pulled away from what you're doing. Take, for instance, the concept of having "office hours." Isn't "office hours" another way of saying "planned interruptions?"
  5. Take the first 30 minutes of every day to plan your day. Don't start your day until you complete your time plan. The most important time of your day is the time you schedule to schedule time.
  6. Take five minutes before every call and task to decide what result you want to attain. This will help you know what success looks like before you start. And it will also slow time down. Take five minutes after each call and activity to determine whether your desired result was achieved. If not, what was missing? How do you put what's missing in your next call or activity?
  7. Put up a "Do not disturb" sign when you absolutely have to get work done.
  8. Practice not answering the phone just because it's ringing and e-mails just because they show up. Disconnect instant messaging. Don't instantly give people your attention unless it's absolutely crucial in your business to offer an immediate human response. Instead, schedule a time to answer email and return phone calls.
  9. Block out other distractions like Facebook and other forms of social media unless you use these tools to generate business.
  10. Remember that it's impossible to get everything done. Also remember that odds are good that 20 percent of your thoughts, conversations and activities produce 80 percent of your results.


Header art work by Creative Stasis of  ArtByCreativeStasis.com


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