I love seeing the passage of time, and what effects it has on our lives. Flashback to 2007. At the time I lived in Miami and needed a logo for my relatively-new-but-gaining-popularity blog. And Shari Neal was an up and coming graphic designer in Chicago. Shari submitted the winning entry to the Afrobella logo contest, and is the designer of the amazing – dare I say, iconic logo you see right here on this blog today. And now I live in the same city as the winner of my Afrobella logo contest so many years ago!

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Shari and finding out what she’s been up to lately – she is SO amazing! Click here to check out her portfolio – she has worked on some amazing sites and done some truly inspiring work!

Now in addition to being a stellar designer of blogs and websites, Shari is adding teeshirt designer to her resume. Behold, Bon Bon Vie, her line of inspiring and bold tees for the fearless, fly and fashionable.

I touched base with Shari recently, and she explained the inspiration behind her latest designs!

“I always wanted to design tee shirts, but I just never sat down to do it until fairly recently. In the past I had done tee shirt designs for other people and I finally decided to do something for myself.

The name of the company comes from the T.S. Monk song Bon Bon Vie (Gimme The Good Life).”

” A friend of mine put me on to that song a few years ago and I’ve loved it ever since…and the lyrics of the song really spoke to me. Especially this part:

The man promised me a raise (I said who?)
Who’s gonna raise me when I’m dead?

Oh, I’m so tired of putting that clock every day (Working every day)
All day skatin’ on thin ice
Lord knows we could use a holiday, baby
Just the two of us would be so nice…”

I feel like those lyrics sometimes, as I’m sure a lot of people do. I like my job, but at the same time, I really want to truly be self-sufficient one day. It’s a really amazing feeling to have something you created (whether it be a blog, t-shirt business, whatever) do well and be able to sustain you financially.”

Yes INDEED. Bon Bon Vie is a beautiful new beginning for an immensely talented person, and I can’t wait to see this line grow and grow and GROW!

To celebrate the birth of Bon Bon Vie, Shari is offering an awesome giveaway for Afrobella readers – just in time for my bloggaversary week! YAY!!!

I’ve got THREE tees to give away. You can choose between the Reverse Brown Skin Lady tee, or the white Rep Chi tee. All you need to do is leave a comment below telling me which tee you want, and why!!

Comments will stay open until Friday, and then Shari and I will choose winners over the weekend. Good luck! And if you can’t wait another minute (or want another tee that I haven’t offered in this giveaway) check out Bon Bon Vie to get yourself a piece!

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Sasha-Shae says:
August 16, 2010, 10:41 am
I'd love the Brown Skin Lady tee, because I absolutely love it and believe it represents me well. I am brown skinned chica with a little twist of funky goodness and that Bon Bon Vie tee should belong to me! Lol I just want it, looks super comfy too!
Dee says:
August 16, 2010, 10:45 am
I would like to have the Brown Skin Lady tee for my sister. My sister is finally starting to embrace her mocha colored skin and I think this shirt would look really cute on her
TiffanyF says:
August 16, 2010, 10:45 am
This is such a great giveaway! I'm a total tee fanatic! I love wearing them to work with a sleek pencil skirt & then pairing them with jeans & a cardi on the weekend! In my eyes, you can never have too many cute statement tees! P.S. Congrats on your Bloggiversary! I absolutely love your site! Keep up the good work!
prettygirl3 says:
August 16, 2010, 10:45 am
I would rock the Brown Skin Lady tee. It has an old school feel to it that I really like. :-)
Raven says:
August 16, 2010, 10:46 am
I like both - I know that's a cop out, but both tees appeal to me. I like the brown skin lady tee because you just don't see that often (if at all) - messages stating the simple, obvious fact that you're a (fly) brown girl (ahem...lady). Since I am from the Chi, who could resist a tee shirt with an in your face Chicago flag -reppin' all the way?
TiffanyF says:
August 16, 2010, 10:47 am
Oh, & I'd love the Brown Skin Lady tee! (Ooops!)
Daree says:
August 16, 2010, 10:48 am
Hi Patrice, I actually just emailed Shari yesterday asking when the regular Brown Lady tee would be back in stock, so I'd like the reverse one if I win. Perfect timing!
anjolcake says:
August 16, 2010, 10:52 am
I would love the Brown Skin Lady Tee so I can rep for us brown skin beauties!
Shari says:
August 16, 2010, 10:52 am
Good luck everyone! Loving what I'm reading so far :)
Brenesha says:
August 16, 2010, 10:59 am
The Rep Chi Tee is so me!!!! It's white and has a crisp look! It is very stylish and just has that Old Skool feel to it.
MrsSaditty says:
August 16, 2010, 10:59 am
I must have the Brown Skin Lady Tee. Wearing it will be a loud and proud affirmation of who I am and who I love being!
sheka says:
August 16, 2010, 11:01 am
Dear AfroBella, I am extremely excited about this giveaway. I have been eyeing the Brown Skin Lady Tee since the day I big chopped. lol. I would truly love to win this t-shirt and wear it with pride throughout the rest of my Natural journey and someday hand it down to my younger sister who is in the transitioning journey. A little gift from one AfroBella to another...let the cycle continue!
Melissa Hunter-Davis says:
August 16, 2010, 11:03 am
I would love to rock the Brown Skin Lady tee. I am a proud woman of African ancestry who is teaching her daughter that brown is beautiful. This tee will reinforce this concept for my cocoa colored angel.
Grace says:
August 16, 2010, 11:09 am
earth, sun, sky, that glimmer in my eye naturally brown, essentially me i belong in that beautiful brown skin lady tee... and it belongs on me :-) Lovin' all things afrobella Grace
alesha williams boyd says:
August 16, 2010, 11:10 am
"You know what some people put themselves through to look just like you?... We're not dealin with the European standard of beauty tonight. Turn off the TV and put the magazine away In the mirror tell me what you see See the evidence of divine presence..." - "brown skin lady," Black Star repping happy, proud brown-skinned ladies all my life...would be nice to have a tee that spells it out for those who still don't get it :)
Kir Pope says:
August 16, 2010, 11:15 am
I need that shirt! It would look so good on me! I'll have to buy a few to hand out to my friends and family as well!! : )
Dee Dee says:
August 16, 2010, 11:16 am
Wow awesome tees! I would L-O-V-E the "Rep Chi" tee because I absolutely love Chicago and always have. Chicago has been tremendously good to me since I've moved here and I would love to rep it on a tee. I also like the touch of Chicago's flag on the tee--very cool!
Lioness says:
August 16, 2010, 11:18 am
Why the Reverse Brown Skin Lady Tee? It's simple really, it's the perfect way to bring what's in my head to reality. (there is is often a disconnect between the two lol). My Mom is white and my Dad is black and I ended up on the lighter end of the spectrum. In my head, I see myself as this beautiful browner skinned woman when in reality I am beautiful fairer skinned woman. With the Reverse Brown Skin Lady Tee, everyone will get to see me as I see myself. Yeah!
Chinye says:
August 16, 2010, 11:19 am
Hey! I didn't know Shari created your logo. I definitely have to agree that it's pretty epic and brandworthy. I met Shari once at BGLH's first ever meet-up last August. She really is super sweet! I would love to win one of the Brown Skin Lady tee-shirts! I'm a Blackstar fan and that song is one of my favorites, along with respiration.
zenzele says:
August 16, 2010, 11:24 am
I would love the Brown Skin Lady tee! I've never been to Chi-town, but I would love to visit one day!!
arsha says:
August 16, 2010, 11:27 am
i love the reverse tee! i was actually planning on buying it, but since afrobella started this contest, i figured i'd give it a shot. i'll cross my fingers! lol.
Love Is Dope says:
August 16, 2010, 11:30 am
I would love to have the Brown Skin Lady tee! The Blackstar song of the same name is one of my favs and well, I'm a brown skin lady! Even when my summer bronze fades, I still like to rep. :) Where's my coco butter...
Nadia says:
August 16, 2010, 11:44 am
I would like this shirt because it reminds me of my aunt who when I was younger would say that we both had that peanut butter skin! I thought my aunt was prettier than Halle Berry so to hear her say that, made me appreciate my pretty brown skin that much more.
Angelina says:
August 16, 2010, 11:51 am
I like the Brown Skin Lady shirt and I would love to win it! Thanks for the giveaway :)
BlackBetty says:
August 16, 2010, 11:52 am
I think the shirts are fly but I'll have to pass since they are screened on American Apparel shirts and I'm so not a fan of their products. I hope everyone who owns or wins on wears it with the utmost pride.
Jonna aka Monchhichi says:
August 16, 2010, 12:16 pm
I would love to rock the Brown Skin Lady t-shirt. I love the color, the retro feel, and I love what it says. I love being brown, and I'm a laaaady!!!
Kelly says:
August 16, 2010, 12:31 pm
Loving the t-shirts that reflect who I am. Bravo to all the designers designing t-shirts for every "afrobella". I would love to have the Brown Skin Lady shirt because though having been called "yellow" all my life, I've always thought of myself as a Brown Skin bella. I have an incredibly beautiful chocolate brown 10 y.o. daughter who I'm trying to teach that her natural beauty - with those kink-curly locks and gorgeous brown skin - is a force with which to be reckoned. Her seeing me in this shirt would be a great way to reinforce that.
Selina Rodgers says:
August 16, 2010, 12:45 pm
I love the brown skin lady tee!!!!!!
Berryblack says:
August 16, 2010, 12:56 pm
When I saw the pic of the woman with the gorgeous hair wearing The Brown Skin Lady tee, I had to click on it---I didn't even know what the article was about but I was hoping the tee would be featured. I love proud, natural tees. I hope to add it to my collection. Great giveaway, Bella!
Katrina Samuels says:
August 16, 2010, 12:57 pm
Love, Love, Love the Brown Skin Lady Tee! Truly Iconic. Thanks for the opportunity.
Lesa Desert RN says:
August 16, 2010, 1:29 pm
I love the "Rep Chi" shirt. I did not live in the city proper, but grew up in Maywood/Broadview. I've been in AZ for 12 years and the first thing people ask me when they meet me is, "Where you from? You don't dress, act, or sound like you're from here (Tucson or Phoenix)." I tell them that I'm from Chicago and always say, "Alright, the Chi." So, winning the shirt will allow me to answer their question without speaking a word!
Kat says:
August 16, 2010, 2:30 pm
May I have the Brown Skin Lady tee, please? Ever since I bought that "Don't Ask to Touch my Hair" shirt from thedirtyartist.com, I've been seeking tees that express my mane pride. Thanks for the opportunity!
Moni says:
August 16, 2010, 2:56 pm
The Brown Skin Lady is the one for me! BROWN SKIN, YOU KNOW I LOVE YOU BROWN SKIN..(ok, that's India.Arie, but he, same message! LOL! : ) Great story! Here's to the good life! Long live BON BON VIE! I love it!
Atiya says:
August 16, 2010, 3:24 pm
I love both shirts but I am in love with the reverse brown skin tee! It feels like it represents for all the light skin folks like myself. :) We're all beautiful brown skin ladies, no matter what shade of brown we are in!
Natalie says:
August 16, 2010, 3:42 pm
Oh. My. Goodness. I was just looking at the Bon Vie website last night, and the "Brown Skin Lady" tee is the exact one I wanted. So excited to see this giveaway! I want the brown skin lady tee. We brown skin ladies are truly beautiful -- no matter our shade. So I penned this little poem to celebrate all that we are: Brown skin ladies got heart Got soul With earth’s warm fire Shut up in her bones Sweet like HONEY With a MOCHA twist Working PEANUT BUTTER thighs Pumping EBONY fists Shaking CAPPUCCINO hips Wiggling SEPIA toes Wiping VANILLA brows Crinkling CINNAMON noses Lifting strong COFFEE arms Waiving ESPRESSO hands Crunching tight CHAI abs Standing tall and TAN Raising CARAMEL babies Loving MAHOGANY men Building a CHOCOLATE nation Living life like it’s GOLDEN Brown skin ladies got heart Got soul With earth’s warm fire Shut up in her bones © 2010
jess says:
August 16, 2010, 3:54 pm
I would like the reverse brown skin tee. So I can wear it to the corporate office with my skirt, high heels and afro....sure will!
Jaquisha says:
August 16, 2010, 4:07 pm
I woud love the brown skin lady shirt. I am so proud to be a brown skin lady. I always say I like the shade of my skin, it's like a fresh penny. lol!
Skeeta says:
August 16, 2010, 5:30 pm
I LOVE the brown skin lady shirt. The words are so simple and obvious... yes, I'm brown skin and a lady. But thats what makes it awesome because the shirt SAYS SO MUCH more than the words written on it. ;o)
Ky G says:
August 16, 2010, 7:09 pm
I'd love the "Rep Chi" tee because I'm originally from Chicago and recently moved to a mid-sized city in Missouri and I'm always repping Chi here missing the F-O-O-D!
tahmeka says:
August 16, 2010, 9:31 pm
I would love the Rep Chi tee. I'm not from there but it's one of my dreams to live there. I think the shirt would be motivation for me to make moves to get there!
Denise M. says:
August 16, 2010, 10:34 pm
I'd love the reverse Brown Skin Lady Tee, because it describes me perfectly!
Rasheedah says:
August 17, 2010, 5:31 am
I am a natural brown skinned American lady living in Southwestern Turkey with my husband and son. You don't see many people who look like me (recently traded my large curly fro for dreads) walking around in our small city. For a little while, I became self-conscious of all the attention my skin and hair was earning me while doing simple tasks like grocery shopping or stopping at the hospital for a check-up but my New Years Resolution was that if I am gonna stand out, I am gonna not give a damn and be damn proud of it. I cannot change who I am and wouldn't want to, so why let people's curiosity ruin my mood. The Brown Skin Lady t-shirt represents my reaffirmation to be comfortable in my own skin no matter where I am or how much I stand out and to help my little Afro-Turkish baby to do the same
La Lionne says:
August 17, 2010, 6:28 am
Syd says:
August 17, 2010, 7:02 am
I would love the reverse brown skin lady tee because I love it, and I already have the original tee! Shari's design is awesome. Everyone should buy one. Viva Bob Bon Vie! And... It's like hearing your own theme song when you wear the t. Who doesn't hear Mos and Kweli..."Bown skin lady?"
Living Fly on a Dime says:
August 17, 2010, 10:37 am
The Brown Skin Lady tee is my fave because, well,...I'm a brown skin lady.
Jennae @ Green Your Decor says:
August 17, 2010, 2:32 pm
I found the Bon Bon Vie website a few weeks ago, and I was immediately drawn to the Brown Skin Lady tee. For one, it looks exactly like something I would wear and is totally my style, but secondly, it is an homage to one of my favorite reggae songs: Brown Skin by Richie Spice :)
NappturallyStephers says:
August 17, 2010, 2:41 pm
Reversed Brown Skin Lady tee is my fave...been loving my brown skin more and more everyday, since India Arie stepped on the scene and rep'd for us brown girls! Happy Bloggaversary, Afrobella!!! :)
Nutmeg says:
August 17, 2010, 4:29 pm
Hey Afrobella! Congrats to both you and Shari for reaching these milestones. I'd love the "Rep Chi" t-shirt 'cuz that's exactly what I do...maybe I'll run into you while I'm rocking it!
SoFrolushes says:
August 17, 2010, 5:07 pm
she is definitely talented. If I knew about her sooner I could have used her for my main blog. But I do have others. Her work looks really good on her site.
Johari says:
August 17, 2010, 7:42 pm
Congrats! I find the Brown Skin Lady tee inspirational. All the work, time & effort that goes on the inside, just simple style on the outside. Special kudos to Jess' & Rahsheedah's comments!
Neatha says:
August 17, 2010, 8:20 pm
I want a Brown Skin lady tee because where I am at there is only a handful of color. Most are mix and say they are hispanic, white, or whatever. This shirt would be saying hey this is who I am, this is me, accept it and move on!
Tammy says:
August 18, 2010, 8:29 am
I read the other emails and they are so poetic and creative so I just decided to say that "I just simply would love to have one". The reverse brown skin lady tee would be perfect.
K. Rock says:
August 18, 2010, 12:43 pm
I would love that!! I like the reverse brown skin lady shirt. Thanks for the chance!
Rachel says:
August 18, 2010, 2:04 pm
I stumbled across BonBonVie's site a few weeks ago and have been coveting the "Brown Skin Lady" Ts for a minute. I have had a minor crush on MosDef since I was 15 and first saw him on "The Cosby Mysteries"--yes, dorky and a throwback, but girl, it's true! lol Anyway, flash forward to 2002 when I was played the BlackStar song "Brown Skin Lady" for the first time by now wonderful now-hubby (who's skin is not brown, btw). Everytime I hear this song my fly-ness quotient increases and I think of how uniquely beautiful all brown-skinned women are. I totally hope I win this giveaway, but if not, I'm sure one of these days I'll scrape together the dough and buy one anyway!! Love you Afrobella--thanks for such a great site!
Priss says:
August 18, 2010, 6:06 pm
I must first say that I thoroughly enjoy your blog! This t-logo is what I have been looking for! I would love to have one, as it speaks volumes in a subtle way all while embodying fashion and creativity. Thank you for sharing with us the creative mind responsible for your website logo. Truth be told, your website logo was the very first thing that caught my eye. It’s as if Afrobella whispered, “Welcome girlfriend, why don’t you join us and stay a while.” Excellent job! P.S. I just discovered the Afroblla tee and will be ordering soon. Afrobella is diva-vicious!
Priss says:
August 18, 2010, 6:12 pm
I must first say that I thoroughly enjoy your blog! This t-logo is what I have been looking for! (Reverse Brown Skin Lady Tee) I would love to have one, as it speaks volumes in a subtle way all while embodying fashion and creativity. Thank you for sharing with us the creative mind responsible for your website logo. Truth be told, the fierce website logo was the very first thing that caught my eye. It’s as if Afrobella whispered, “Welcome girlfriend, why don’t you join us and stay a while.” Excellent job! P.S. I just discovered the Afroblla tee and will be ordering soon. Afrobella is diva-vicious!
Miss Moon says:
August 18, 2010, 10:28 pm
I am totally in love with the reverse brown skin lady tee... I am trying to lose weight and I know that the possibility of rocking that tee proudly would be all the motivation I need!!!
Muzi says:
August 19, 2010, 12:05 am
Being Chicago born and raised but living in Indy, Rep Chi is a must.
Jaleesa says:
August 19, 2010, 4:37 am
I would like the Rep Chi tee! I'll be starting med school in Chicago and would love to have a tee!
Oto says:
August 19, 2010, 5:18 am
The Reverse Brown skin Lady tee..... I've never been one to speak up about my insecurities but since I have gone natural (Feb 2010) I definitely have embraced all i have to offer this awesome world. So much so, that I recently graduated from nursing school despite all the obstacles!!! i have gained so much confidence and insight that the brown Skin tee whould just bee the icing on the cake to celebrate how wonderful 2010 is/has been for me.(chocolate cake that is!!!) plus my 30th bday is next week!!!
Mels says:
August 19, 2010, 11:24 am
I heart the Rep chi shirts. Can you add some sparkle to the shirt. That would make it hotter. I also like the yellow brown skinned lady. I think I would loook better in that one and people wouldn't notice that i'm less brown than the shirt.
iammme says:
August 19, 2010, 5:33 pm
hi bella- i would definitely love to rep that brown skin lady tee. i definitely remember bon bon vie from back in the day, it was one of my favorite songs. i am a 45-year-old lady who transitioned, big chopped, and now i am rocking a baa. i would definitely love to be seen out and about in that brown skin lady tee. thanks!
InnaLeigh says:
August 20, 2010, 1:23 pm
Bon Bon Vie's style is so eclectic, funky and urban....It really represents so many aspects of Black women in many ways. That's why I would love to have the "Brown Skin Lady" tee, because it is all of that and more...And I feel that it would fit my style and personality to a 'tee'. Blessings and love!
Too Chic times TWO says:
September 30, 2011, 4:22 pm
I already have one but I wear it so much I need anther one!!!!!!!lol! I get soooo many compliments on my "Brown skin Lady"
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