Monthly Archives: February 2013

NYE at the Barclays Center: Coldplay and Jay-Z

“…Concert of the century. So. Excited!!!!!  Not sure who I’m more excited to see… my friends or the epic men… but this one might have to go to Jay Z and Coldplay. I’m Brooklyn born and bred” C.K.

“It’s like Christmas!” C.Y.

 “This concert was legend…wait for it….DARY!” K.S.

“…like we were in some bubble out there in Brooklyn surrounded by a group of people who got it; like we were inside a giant ball of ecstasy, receiving a great big hug from Chris Martin in the form of music and lights and confetti.” B.C.

“Oh my God. This concert is f*cking awesome” ~ H.Y.

“When did you guys get all these beers?” ~ T.S.

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In the days leading up to the concert, concert goers were buzzing at the prospect of seeing Jay-Z in his hometown of Brooklyn for New Year’s Eve. As the crowd started to swell outside of the Barclays Center, the crowd knew it was in for something great. There was a sense of camaraderie in the air. No pushing…no fighting…no cussing.

 

The group I was with looked up to the sign on our left. As we walk in, I smile at the guy that’s supposed to check my handbag. He looks me up and down. “Nice shoes.” He says as he waves me in.

As we walk into the arena, we were handed bracelets.  “What are these for?” we ask.

“Put them on. You’ll see”, we were told.

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As we walk in, we’re directed to our seats by the friendliest, most professional ushers ever. I look to my right and I see some of my friends that I haven’t seen in months. Turns out they had actually traded their tickets in for new ones so that they could sit closer to us. The air is electric. The crowd can’t wait for the show to begin. There are signs everywhere instructing the crowd on how to wear their bracelets and informed them that they would be part of the show.

The DJ plays a myriad of classic cuts to entertain the crowd before the show starts. We enjoy the music and dance along with the excited patrons, but the crowd was all too ready for the show at hand.

Suddenly, the lights go down, and the theme to Back to the Future started playing. Soon thereafter, Coldplay breaks into “Hurts Like Heaven” and every audience members’ bracelet lights up in sync with the music. The bracelets glow in the dark and the LED lights in them pulsate to the beat of the music. As one concert-goer remarked, “It was like I was inside a giant ball of ecstasy!”

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During “Lovers in Japan” they not only had the bracelets glowing, but confetti was swirling all around us, creating an amazing audio-visual memory for all in attendance.

After pretending the set was over, in true Coldplay fashion, Chris and the guys perform an encore on a tiny stage further back in the audience. You could tell the band really appreciated the fans and wanted to give a good show and show everyone a good time, no matter how much they paid for their tickets.

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After Coldplay’s set, the DJ played some more classic songs to keep the crowd stimulated, but then the lights went back down and it was show time once again.

Jay came out and launched into hit after hit. He went through his entire catalog of music from Reasonable Doubt to Watch The Throne.  “I Just Wanna Love U (Give It To Me)”, “Hard Knock Life”, “Where I’m From” “Big Pimpin’” He performed his verse from “Clique”. When the synth came in for “Young Forever” Chris Martin from Coldplay came out onto the stage to perform with Jay. Even though the people in my section didn’t even know each other, they were singing along, hi-fiving, and dancing with each other like they had been friends for years.  As an added bonus, we even caught a glimpse of Gwyneth Paltrow standing at what looked like a tiny bar by the stage. And Jay must have been in a generous mood, because he gave a bottle of Ace of Spades to a lucky couple in the front row.

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As we began the countdown for the New Year, Jay told the crowd that there was no place he’d rather be to perform on New Year’s than in his hometown of Brooklyn. Jay’s band was outstanding and when the ball dropped at midnight, his guitarist performed a guitar solo of “Auld Lang Syne” Jimi Hendrix’s style, while Chris Martin sang along.

After the ball dropped, Jay went right into “Run This Town” with the help of Chris; much to the delight of the crowd. He told the crowd that he wasn’t sure how he would top 2012 since it was the year of Blue (paying homage to his baby daughter Blue Ivy Carter). As we looked off to the side, we could see Gwyneth urging Apple and Moses to dance with Jay and their father, Chris.

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As a final tune, Jay performed the iconic “Empire State of Mind”. You could tell from the crowd’s reaction, that no matter where anyone was from, EVERYONE was from New York that night.

As all of the patrons filed out of the Barclays Center, we knew we had experienced something magical. One patron ever remarked that he wasn’t sure that there would ever be any New Year’s Eve concert that would top this one, but other artists were welcome to try.

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I was lucky enough to attend this once-in-a-lifetime event, and if I had it to do over, I wouldn’t have spent my New Year’s Eve any other way.

~ Tee

 

 

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My obsession with Afro Blue (Traces of Blue) continues

traces of blue

 

Hey everybody! So, I’ll make this post quick. I don’t normally pitch from this page, but I loved, loved, loved Afro Blue Vocal Band from this past season of The Sing Off. I think they did remarkably well, and, in my opinion (as well as the opinions of many others) they should have won the competition.

With that being said, wonder of wonder, miracle of miracles, they are working on a new project. They’re currently raising money to help fund their first EP. We can help, too. If you click this link, you’ll be taken to their fundraising page. If you all love them as much as I did, please help out. Give a little; give a lot, but they need our help and we need good music.  It’s a win-win situation!

In case you’re new to my blog and haven’t read my previous entries on Afro Blue or if you weren’t watching The Sing Off last season, take a look at the video below. This group is beyond amaze-balls!

In The Arms of the Angel

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This story is not about me, but is about how the events of December 14th, 2012 will forever affect not only me, but all of us in these United States. I got to work on December 14th of 2012, craving my morning coffee as I do most days, but when I sat down at my desk and logged into Twitter, things looked quite different, to say the least.

A friend who is a journalist for a local Connecticut newspaper posted a concerning, but seemingly innocuous tweet.

One shooter is dead at Newtown, Connecticut elementary school, school is now cleared of shooters.

“Thank God”, I thought to myself. “Thank God a shooter went to an elementary school and only shot himself. Think of how horrible it would have been had he shot others, and, God forbid, some students.”

But then the details began to emerge.

First we heard: 1 dead. Only the gunman. Then we heard: 2 dead; the gunman and the school’s principal was killed. But, by the end of the day, all innocence would be destroyed and we would learn that not only did 7 adults die in this senseless massacre, but 20 children died as well…children in kindergarten. 6-year olds; children that had their entire lives yet to live.

As the death toll began to rise on the 14th, I hoped, prayed even, that children wouldn’t be among the dead, but, somewhere inside of me, I knew that wasn’t the case. Turns out, I was right. 27 dead; 6 adults, the gunman, and…20 children. 20. No first dates, no proms, no graduations, no waiting for college acceptance letters with bated breath, no marriages. 20 lives ripped away from their families before they had even had the opportunity to really live. I cried for the families, I cried for the children. I cried for the teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary. I cried for the entire town. Tragedies such as this are always hard to cope with, but this one happened in practically in my back yard.

As details began to emerge about the shooter and his mental health, the political debates also began to emerge. Gun control or the lack thereof; Healthcare, Health Care reform, and the gaping holes in the mental health care system here in the US, the argument of people over the age of 18 being able to decide whether or not they wanted to take their meds; the very issue of civilians being able to purchase assault rifles. Almost instantly, my friends from other countries began to weigh in as well, mostly on gun control issues. All these conversations were important, and needed to be had, but all I could think about were those 20 children who saw the barrel of a gun instead of Christmas presents.  Children who had done nothing wrong, but somehow incurred the wrath of this deranged gunman. Children who had to see something that no-one should ever have to see, much less, a child.

I had to shut the door to my office, because, by 4:30pm, I was openly crying at my desk. No, I didn’t know these children or their families personally, no, didn’t have children of my own, but this massacre was unfathomable.  How could this happen? Why did this happen?

Many questions are still unanswered. We know the gunman’s mother was a teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary. We know she didn’t make it to work that day, because her son took her life that morning before he traveled to the school to take the lives of many others. We know that the mother was a gun enthusiast, who collected guns and brought her children to the gun range. We know that the gunman had a history of mental illness. We know that he was a child of divorce. We know that he shot and killed himself before the authorities could get to him. What we don’t know, is what motivated his murderous rampage.

In heart wrenching situations such as this, we are often left with more questions than answers, but there are several shining beacons of hope. The city of Sandy Hook came together like never before. They are continuing to hold each other up, and are still working toward getting through this, one step at a time. Churches of various faiths have had their doors open and clergy members were and still are ready and willing to lend a hand, an ear, or a shoulder to cry on. The Hudson Valley Golden Retriever Club even sent several dogs down to help with the healing process, but this process will, no doubt, take months, if not years.

One sign in downtown Sandy Hook read “Love will get us through”. The lives of those affected by the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary will never be the same, that is for certain, but the outpouring of love, support and kindness can at least help restore their faith in humanity.

God bless those affected by this terrible event, and I will continue to keep them in my thoughts and prayers.

 

~ Tee

 

 

 

 

 

 

Something About Iggy

Amethyst Amelia Kelly, better known as Iggy Azalea, is one of hip hop’s newest rising stars. Born in New South Wales, Australia, Iggy has always had a love for hip hop and started rapping at the age of 14. She cites Tupac Shakur, Andre 3000, Missy Elliot and Eve as some of her greatest influences.

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In the Beginning

​At the age of 16, Iggy decided that if she wanted to make it as a rapper, she would have to move to the U.S. She told her mother she was going on vacation in Miami, but she had no intentions of returning to Australia.

I was there for two weeks when I called home and said, ‘I don’t want to come home yet. I want to stay longer.’ So I stayed another three weeks. I was there for like a month and then I called again and said, ‘I’m not coming back.

Putting In Work

​After spending a few months in Miami, Iggy decided to move on to Houston, Texas. Before moving to the US, Iggy had been in contact with Houston-based producer Mr. Lee, who’d heard some of Iggy’s work through her MySpace page. Once in Houston, Iggy said Mr. Lee taught her how to “rap like a girl”.

Houston is where I started getting good at rapping. I had to have someone tell me, “You’re still imitating what you think it’s supposed to be, but it doesn’t have to be that. Just be who you are and sound like a girl.”

Rapper Vs. Model

​After a few months in Houston, Iggy moved on to Atlanta where she attempted to pursue modeling as a way to pay for her burgeoning rap career. She sent photos to Elite Models but, despite being a size two, she was told she was needed to lose 4 inches off of her hips and two inches off of her thighs if she wanted them to represent her. In the end, Iggy chose not to purse modeling with Elite because she didn’t want to become so focused on losing weight and cause her rap career to suffer.

Interscope Comes Calling

​While in Atlanta, Iggy uploaded a music video to YouTube, piquing the interest of Neil Jacobson and George Robertson of Interscope Records. After attempting to contact her for several weeks, she finally flew out to L.A. to meet with them. Much to her dismay, they tried to mold her into a crossover artist. Determined to do things her way, Iggy initially decided not to work with Neil and George. After returning to Atlanta, she uploaded two freestyle videos to You Tube “Two Times” and “Hell of a Life”. After viewing the videos, Jacobson and Robertson finally got on board with Iggy’s vision. They told her they now understood what she was trying to do as an artist, and would allow her to have creative control of her image and sound. They have managed her career ever since.

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Looking Ahead

​Earlier in 2012, Iggy was featured on XXL’s Top 10 Freshman List, solidifying her spot as an artist to be reckoned with.  2012 continued to be a good year for the budding artist, as she joined forces with T.I. and became one of several artists on his Grand Hustle record label. This summer she released two singles “Murda Bizness” and “Flash”. Her debut album “The New Classic” is set to be released in 2013.

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First Date Fashion

A little nervous about making a great first impression? Worry no more. I’ve got you covered on the perfect outfits for that first date.

Whether you’re a man or woman, the prospect of a first date can often be high pressure. With so many thoughts going through your head, the last thing you should have to worry about is how you look. Your good friend Tee is here with advice on what to wear for a first date, from fine dining to bowling and everything in between.

Dinner at a 5 Star Restaurant

Ladies:  The LBD never goes out of style, so you can’t go wrong in that regard. Make sure to stay on trend by adding a pop of color, whether you add a colorful pair of shoes or a handbag in a bright, juicy hue. Keep jewelry simple; think diamond or pearl studs and chandelier earrings. Although the statement necklace is hot this season, I would avoid it for this occasion. Elegant simplicity is always best at a fine dining restaurant. You don’t want the clanging of your jewelry to overpower your conversation!

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Men: Dressing for this sort of date will usually be easier for you. Jackets, and occasionally ties are a requirement at most high-end restaurants. Given the warm weather we’ve had lately, I suggest jackets and slacks in light materials such as silk, wool crepe, linen and cotton. Whether or not you wear a full suit or choose to do separates is up to you. Being that this is spring going into summer, there are numerous colors you can choose from, but depending on how traditional the restaurant is you may want to stick to darker colors for your suits, slacks, and sport coats. A crisp button down or polo shirt is always in order and unless otherwise specified, you can go with or without a tie. Dress shoes and loafers will do nicely, whether you chose to wear a full suit, or mix it up. Jewelry should be kept to a minimum; I would limit it to a watch, at most.

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Bowling Alley Date

Probably one of the most casual of all first dates, this one is probably the easiest to dress for. The only wild card will be if you’re going to your local bowling alley versus hitting up a spot like Lucky Strike. (See Dinner and a Movie for Lucky Strike tips)

Ladies: Cute graphic t-shirts, tank tops, jeans, and shorts are all okay for this date. Don’t pay TOO much attention to your shoes since you’ll be wearing those AWESOME bowling alley shows, but bring a pair that’s easy to slip into after bowling. Honestly, there’s not a whole lot you can’t wear to the bowling alley, but I’d avoid too short shorts, tube tops, and heels for obvious reasons.

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Men: Like with the ladies, feel free to pull out graphic tees, shorts and jeans. Sneakers are a good shoe choice, but, as with the ladies, don’t focus too much on the shoe, since you’ll be wearing bowling shoes for the majority of the night. You can also throw on a hat, if that’s your style.

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Picnic Lunch

Dress for this type of date calls for casual wear, whether it’s bohemian, preppy, or sporty. The key is to wear light fabrics so you don’t look sweaty if it gets too warm outside.

Ladies: You’ll be sitting on the ground, so you don’t want something too short or too tight. Shorts, sundresses, maxi dresses, floral, gingham, seersucker, wedge sandals, flats; it’s all up to you and your style personality. If you’re a hat person, a straw fedora or floppy sun hat will help to complete the look. Jewelry, in this case, is also up to you. My handbag pick for an outdoor adventure would be a large tote; you’ll have somewhere to stash your jacket or cardigan if it gets chilly.

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Men: Polo shirts, linen pants, and anything seersucker, or cotton. You’re going to be outside, so you don’t want to wear anything too heavy. Throw on a pair of aviator sunglasses to complete the look.

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Dinner and a Movie

The dinner and a movie date is more casual for both men and women, but not as casual as the bowling date. The key is finding the balance because if this date goes well, it can turn into a drink or two at a bar, so you want an outfit that is appropriate in several settings.

Ladies: I’m going to put a little bit of a spin on “What to Wear” for this one. For this particular date, you can basically wear whatever you want (a dress, jeans, heels, flats, a cute top) but the key thing you’ll want to wear is a memorable FRAGRANCE. You’ll be sitting next to him in the movie theater, not talking, but you still want him to be thinking about you. Fresh and fruity or sweet and floral are the way to go. You won’t overpower him, but he’ll remember how you smelled when he goes home that night.

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Men: Whether you choose jeans with a dress shirt, or button down, a V-Neck T-Shirt and a Blazer or a cashmere hoodie, you can’t go wrong. Plus, if all goes well, you’ll be able to lend her your jacket if she gets cold during the movie (You’ll get major points for that!)

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A final word of advice to the ladies: The great Edith Head once said, “Your dress should be tight enough to show that you’re a woman, but loose enough to show that you’re a lady.” The last thing you want to do is go out there in your freakum dress and get em girl heels on the very first date. You have GOT to leave something to the imagination and give him a reason to call you for a second date.

A final word of advice for the guys: Ladies will look at your shoes and your nails, not necessarily in that order. Make sure your nails are clean, neat and trimmed, and be sure that your shoes are nice because women gauge your attention to detail based on these qualifiers. You never get a second chance to make a first impression.

I hope this has helped you with your fashion choices, but of all the fashion advice I have given today, this next piece of advice is the most important. When choosing what to wear on a first date there is really only one rule: Be yourself. No matter what you’re wearing, remember to be confident and genuine. Those are the most fashionable accessories you can wear and they never go out of style.

Men’s 2012 Spring/Summer Fashion

Just like the ladies version, last winter I wrote an article on men’s spring and summer fashions. Stay tuned for this year’s article coming soon!

Okay, Fellas. Don’t feel left out. I know I wrote about what the ladies should have on this spring and summer, but I’ve got the inside scoop on what items you all should be wearing as well. There’s nothing sexier to a woman than a well-dressed man, so here are my picks to make sure you look dapper all season.

Suit Up

In the world of high fashion, the past few seasons have been all about slim-cut suits for men. Well this season, slim pants and fitted jackets are getting phased out, and designers are returning to boxier cuts. Jackets are getting longer and pants are getting looser, but at the same time, with some designs, the pants are getting shorter. That’s right, fellas, some designers are encouraging you to show a little skin…in the ankle region. Although grey, black and navy blue will forever be staples, for spring into summer, suits are showing up in electric blues and checkered patterns as well.

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Man vs. Wild

Much like ladies fashion this season, mens fashion is going back to nature. Tribal and animal prints, camouflage shorts, safari jackets and eco-conscious accessories are showing up all over the runway and beyond. Usher, Justin Bieber and Carmelo Anthony have been seen rocking YSL’s Mohave leopard sneakers and Meek Mill has been spotted wearing Duckie’s Confetti leopard hoodie. For the fashionably adventurous gent, McKenzie Liautaud designs boast eco-friendly bowties, neckties, and pocket squares from recycled fabrics, metals, and swarovski crystals.

 Men's Camo Jacket

 

Graphic Content

Graphic print t-shirts are still going strong for Spring/Summer 2012. Belchez, a somewhat underground designer out of Harlem, designed these graphic-print shirts. Givenchy’s Birds of Paradise t-shirt has been seen on Waka Flocka Flame and Theophilus London. Graphic print t-shirts are great because of their versatility. They can be combined with jeans, shorts, and even blazers or summer suits. Feel free to mix it up with this trend.

 Graphic Tee

​Prep School​

Taking a page from the 1980’s classic book “The Official Preppy Handbook”, everything preppy is in this summer. Take the summer’s hottest hues, such as pastels, bright primary colors, oranges, mint greens and bright blues and apply them to polo shirts, button ups, shorts and pants, in both prints and solids. Fedoras in light summer materials are also around for another summer. Can you feel the summer breeze yet?

Prep Fashion

 

A Man’s Right to Shoes

The great thing about men’s shoe fashions this season is the sheer breadth of choices.
Loafers, oxfords, sneakers, deck shoes, the possibilities are endless. Bright colors and interesting textures are also a plus. Kanye West and Drake have both been spotted wearing Balenciaga’s Arena Sneakers. The only rule for this trend is “If the shoes fits, wear it.”

Balenciaga stadium sneakers

 

 

 

Women’s 2012 Spring/Summer Fashion

This is an article I wrote last winter right before it got warm. Enjoy and keep an eye out for the 2013 Spring/Summer Fashion Guide!

 

Given the past few warm days we’ve had lately, it’s beginning to look a lot like summer. Gone are the coats, boots, and winter hats, and here come the sandals, sundresses, shorts and skirts. I know this winter wasn’t too wintry, but nonetheless, I’ve missed spring and summer and I know you all have too. To prepare for you for those hot summer days and warm summer nights right around the corner, I’ve compiled a list of summer fashion trends you’ll want to look out for. The beauty of this season’s trends is that there is such a variety of colors, styles and materials, that I guarantee there is there something for everyone.

Iron Woman

Top designers showing at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week utilized metallics on everything from handbags to shorts, and everything in between. Guiseppe Zanotti’s heel less sandals in varying metallics have been seen on everyone from Christina Milian and Keri Hilson to Nicole Ritchie and Amber Rose. If the metallic look is a little too heavy for you to handle, there are subtle ways to incorporate it into your wardrobe, such as metal-cap detailing on shoes.

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The Block is Hot

It looks like the color-blocking trend isn’t going anywhere and is carrying on into Spring/Summer 2012 in a major way. Primary colors, fun, fruity hues or jewel tones are the way to go. You can use the “color wheel” method to pick colors that complement each other, or you can be a rebel and mix and match how you want.

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Wild Kingdom

Another fashion trend this season is “Nature”, whether we’re referring to eco-collections, prints inspired by nature, or even the four natural elements. This trend is alive, wild, and kicking in python, cheetah, or tropical prints, and eco-friendly materials. H&M has a line out for Spring/Summer 2012 called “The Conscious Collection” which uses organic cotton and other sustainable materials. Guiseppe Zanotti’s python kicks have been seen on both Cassie and Angela Simmons and Alicia Keyes rocked Prada’s Flame wedges while attending The Met Ball afterparty. So whether you’re an Au Naturale girl who’s trying to get her wardrobe to go green, or you’re a wild child who wants to conquer her urban jungle, these styles are right up your alley.

HM natural clothes

Put Some Pep in your Step

Carried over from Oscar Season, the peplum look was all over the runway for spring and summer. Long dresses, short dresses, and tops…even swimwear!  This silhouette is almost universally flattering, and available in a variety of shades, materials, and lengths.

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Pretty Girl Rock

Mint greens, pinks, purples, and blues can make you feel like a kid in a candy store. For those who aren’t bold enough to rock the bright color-blocking trend, fear not! The designers at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week showed a number of designs in these light and airy hues. Pretty as a picture!

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Spotting Fakes

No matter what city you live in, if you want to find knock-off merchandise, your search won’t be too hard. From New York to LA and everywhere in between, knock-offs are a dime a dozen. Now, it’s one thing if you are purposely setting out to find a fake, but it’s quite another if you think you’re getting a good deal on authentic merchandise and end up with a knock off. Your friendly fashion specialist Tee is here to teach you how to spot a fake.

RolexRolex

The name Rolex is synonymous with luxury. These timepieces may have a price point of anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000 a pop. Rolex has a wide array of watch styles, but for the sake of this article, we’ll just focus on the Oyster Rolex Datejust. Getting one at $1,000 could be an amazing deal, but here are some surefire steps to use to make sure you don’t get burned.

  • ​Perpetual motion second hand: This is probably the most well-known way to spot a fake Rolex. Does your second hand tick or does it move in a sweeping fashion. If it’s ticking, it’s not a Rolex.
  • Screws versus pins: Are the links in your watch smooth (denoting pins) or not (denoting screws)? If the links are connected with pins, you might be getting screwed…literally.
  • Band Weight:  Does the watch feel light and hollow? If so, don’t buy it. It’s totally a fake.
  • Sapphire crystal face versus a regular glass face:  This can be tested by putting a few drops of water on the face of the watch. Does it pool? If not, your Rolex is a knock-off.
  • Clear backs: If you can see through the back of your Rolex, it isn’t an original. Some clear backs were made in the 1930s, but they weren’t made available to the public.

Louis VuittonAudrey Hepburn

Another name that evokes a feeling of luxury, the Louis Vuitton speedy bag has been a staple in many a fashionista’s closet. Created in 1965 at the behest of Audrey Hepburn (The 60s version of Carrie Bradshaw), this handbag became an instant classic and went down in fashion history as a go-to hand bag. But since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, in no time, fake versions of the classic handbag were popping up everywhere. Here are the top ways to tell if your LV Speedy 25 is a fake.

  • Stitching: This will be as close to perfect as stitching can get. Even the number of stitches will be the same from bag to bag
  • Symmetry: The bag will be almost completely symmetrical if you are measuring from the middle of the bag to either side. If it is not, you most likely have a fake.
  • Upside-down printing:  One side will be face up and one side will be upside-down print due to LV using one continuous piece of leather, no splicing is allowed. The integrity of the logo depends on this.
  • Brown canvas lining: The Speedy 25 will only ever have canvas lining and one pocket on the inside. It will not say “Louis Vuitton”, “Made in France” or have any other writing on the inside. It will also never have a zipper on the inside. If your bag does, it isn’t authentic.
  • D-ring inside: Your LV Speedy 25 should always have a d-ring on the inside. No exceptions.

Ray-Ban WayfarersMJ Ray Bans

Ray-Ban has been making quality eyewear for over 80 years. And with great popularity comes great knock-offs. The wayfarer might be the most duplicated eye-wear in history, second only to Ray-Ban Aviators. Here is how you can tell if you are getting taken advantage of when purchasing Ray-Ban Wayfarers .

  • Luxoticca engraved logo: Luxoticca is the parent company that manufactures these shades. If there isn’t a Luxoticca logo, or if it appears to be painted as opposed to engraved, someone is probably trying to pull the wool over your eyes
  • Engraving on the right lens:  If you look at your glasses and the Ray-Ban logo is located above the hinge, you might be getting great a good deal. If the engraving is below the hinge, you could be learning an expensive lesson.
  • Lens labeling: The label on the lens should be made of shiny gold foil and be perfectly centered. It also shouldn’t be a regular “sticker” but the kind that adheres due to static electricity.
  • High-quality metal hinges: The authentic Wayfarers will have large, well-made metal hinges. If the ones you are looking at are small or look like they are painted metal or plastic, you should pass on them because they most likely are knock-offs
  • Ray-Ban signature nose pads: To me, this is the greatest test of an authentic pair of Ray-Bans versus a fake pair. Most purveyors of fake merchandise won’t even bother with this step, but since Ray-Ban is a quality product, they will pay attention to this detail. If you look closely at the nose pads, you will see a Ray-Ban signature on the inside. If you don’t see that, you are either A) about to purchase a knock-off, or B) the glasses were well-worn before you got them. Either way, you should be able to negotiate pricing. (Or not buy them at all because who wants used sunglasses?)

These are my tips on sniffing out a knock-off. In the more general sense, another way to tell if the merchandise you are thinking of buying is fake is the reaction of the seller. Does he or she get offended or upset when you ask probing questions? Do they attempt to rush the sale? Do they try to convince you that their merchandise is real without offering you any real qualifiers? If any of these situations apply, the seller isn’t a quality representative, and they are probably selling something that you definitely shouldn’t be buying. An honest 3rd party sales rep will understand your need to gather information and should actually appreciate and welcome your questions.  Never allow yourself to feel rushed into a sale and don’t let the seller make you feel like your questions aren’t valid. At the end of the day, it’s your hard-earned money that you’re spending and if you’re searching for authenticity at a discount, you need to make sure you don’t get taken for a ride.

2012-2013 Winter Reading List

As the temperatures continue to drop, curling up with a great book is sounding more and more appealing. I’ve compiled a reading list that is sure to turn up the heat, make you think, and entertain you during those chilly afternoons and evenings.

 ImageAmerican Ghost – James Owens 

Set in small-town Florida, American Ghost is a story that many small southern towns share. A black man is killed by a lynch mob in 1938 and the ripple effect of his murder still makes waves in present day. Although the townspeople have attempted for years to cover up any evidence of this event, a curious anthropology student from Miami uncovers their stormy secret. His discovery starts a firestorm of anger, hurt, and betrayal, not only for the families involved, but for him and the daughter of a Pentecostal preacher he falls in love with during his research of the town’s past. American Ghost is a classic American ghost story that will continue to haunt you long after you’ve read the final chapter.

 ImageNYPD Red James Patterson

For those of you into crime novels, James Patterson doesn’t disappoint in NYPD Red. As the Hollywood elite make their yearly trek to NYC for various film festivals, someone in the shadows in none to pleased. Detective Zach Jordan is a member of a special task force called NYPD Red; created to protect the rich and fabulous in New York City. He and his team are called on the case when a high-powered producer drops dead at breakfast. It seems someone is obsessed with those in the film-making industry and is slowly and systematically killing them one by one. As the Hollywood glitterati drop like flies, Zach Jordan and his partner Kylie race to find the killer before he strikes again. Just like an episode of Law and Order; NYPD Red will keep you engaged until the very end; predictable or not.

ImageThe Casual Vacancy – J.K. Rowling

The author of the famed Harry Potter series has made her foray into fiction for adults in The Casual Vacancy. Billed as a tragic-comedy, The Casual Vacancy looks at both political and social themes in a serious, but somehow comedic manner.  This story is centered around a small parish in England called Pagford and its political goings-on. After the parish councillor of Pagford dies in the parking lot of his local golf course, the town erupts into madness trying to fill his political seat. As those who desire to be elected make their intentions known, the accusations begin to fly, courtesy of the kids of the would-be elected officials and the parish coucil’s message board. Accusations range from rape, drug use, prostitution and even molestation. The Casual Vacancy will make you laugh while simultaneously making you think about serious social issues that pervade today’s society.

ImageFifty Shades Darker/ Fifty Shades Freed – E.L. James

 Everyone’s favorite BDSM team is back for not one, but TWO books. If you  read the first book, Fifty Shades of Grey, SPOILER ALERT! DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER! All clear? Okay, let’s proceed. The main characters really begin to trust each other in Fifty Shades Darker, and you begin to learn a bit more about Christian Grey’s hidden past. In Fifty Shades Freed, we get to the conclusion of this steamy trilogy as Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele REALLY begin to explore themselves and each other, and start to understand the essence of control, role reversal and in the end, true love.

Celebrity Fashion: How Far is Too Far?

Style and fashion have reached new boundaries in music. Self expression or publicity?

Variety is the spice of life and “they” say no publicity is bad publicity, but sometimes you have to wonder:  Are our favorite artists pushing the envelope with their hair, style of dress and live shows simply to remain relevant or are they simply expressing themselves through fashion? How far is too far?

​When you think of an artist with interesting fashion sense, Lady Gaga is usually on that list. Even with something as small as an appearance at an awards show, she always has on something quirky or interesting, and it gets the people talking; from local news outlets to high end fashion magazines. It seemed the more she was talked about, the more intricate and experimental her clothing choices became. As her clothing choices changed, so did her live performances and appearances. We all remember the infamous “Meat Dress” and who could forget the “Born This Way” performance, where she emerged from an egg? Some people think Lady Gaga has gone too far, but she still has millions of adoring fans who identify with her. They love her clothing choices, headpieces and performances and they will forever call her “Mother Monster”

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Nicki Minaj is another artist people think of when it comes to interesting outfits and performances. First it was the colored wigs and your run-of-the-mill outfits. Next came the Bride-of-Frankenstein hair, multicolored leggings, polka dotted rain boots, and candy-colored fur coats. By the time we arrived at Nicki’s 2012 Grammy performance, she was decked out in a red Versace hooded cape. Her performance of “Roman Holiday” that night had critics and fans alike talking about it for weeks after it was over. Some people say Nicki has gone too far with the wigs, outfits and strange performances, but all those things have done wonders for her career. She is now the face of Pepsi and when her “Now In A Moment” commercial premiered she got a reported seven figures for it.

Image Ever the chameleon, Katy Perry has been known to change both her music style and her hair color on demand. She’s even been known to change her hair DURING a performance. Perhaps not considered as over-the-top as Nicki or Gaga, Katy HAS been known to wearing interesting themed outfits in concerts and on red carpets While she certainly hasn’t gotten as much press as Nicki or Gaga, she has gotten her fair share of “She’s gone too far” comments based on her themed outfits.

Her most controversial moment came when the Children’s Television Workshop chose not to air her appearance with Elmo on Sesame Street because some parents felt she was showing too much cleavage. Katy’s then fiancé Russell Brand later tweeted, “Today’s Sesame Street will NOT be brought to you by the number 34 or the letter D.” Too far? You be the judge.

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