Every so often I wind up in a place or a situation where I wonder…whose life is this? And how did I get here?

I had that experience in Las Vegas recently, when I was flown in as a VIP attendee for the IT&LY Hairfashion “Hollywood Loves IT&LY” event at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. From the minute I landed in Vegas, I couldn’t stop marveling at the experience.

First of all – the Hard Rock Hotel. Wow. It’s a spectacle that managed to shock even me. As a woman who grew up in Trinidad and lived in Miami for years, I figured I’d seen all the half naked debauchery there was to behold thanks to Carnival and just everyday life on South Beach. But Rehab at the Hard Rock put everything in perspective. This is an overhead view of the pool during Rehab – and the view from my room!

WOWZA. Never have I ever seen so many dangerously drunk, barely clothed people. Lots of potential Ed Hardy brand ambassadors and aspiring reality television starlets here. Yikes. No wonder there’s a Tru TV show filmed here every week!

By contrast, the rest of the hotel was lovely and amazing. Really great restaurants (OMG Nobu is LIFECHANGING sushi. I’m officially obsessed). And everywhere you look, incredible rock and roll memorabilia. A jacket by Jimi Hendrix. Christina Aguilera’s chaps from the Dirrrty video. A full homage to late, great Sublime frontman Brad Nowell, including his high school report card and handwritten song lyrics. Amazing stuff.

As soon as I arrived, I was whisked off to Body English – the location of the ceremony that would be taking place that evening. Part of the experience for me, meant getting my hair done by some of IT&LY’s top stylists!

I have been wanting a change in hair color for a while now, and I couldn’t think of a better opportunity. Over a year ago, I’d done a box hair color at home and I was still sporting lighter ends and a definite stripe of grown-out naturally dark roots. I wanted something to make my overall color more uniform, while still making my kinky curls look shiny and vibrant. I wanted something done by an expert, that would make sure my natural hair texture remained intact.

See the handsome and talented man in the photo above? That’s IT&LY’s style director Amilcar Centeno. He is incredible. First we discussed hair color and he compared a bunch of color swatches to my hair and my skin. He reassured me completely that IT&LY haircolor wouldn’t damage or strip my hair – infused with coconut oil, they say its one of the most nurturing, gentle professional haircolors available. We chose a base color and a highlight – I wanted something a little red, a little blonde. When he settled on the perfect colors, Amilcar got to work!

After the haircolor, he got down to styling my hair. Reminscing about his upbringing in San Juan Puerto Rico, he told me that his grandmother would style hair just like he was doing to mine, except she used sugar water.

I promise to get a breakdown of the IT&LY Hairfashion products used to color and style my hair – just wanted to share this while it was still fresh!

Amilcar twisted my hair into individual coils, then dried my hair under a Gold N Hot hardtop dryer, and unfurled select curls. He used a heck of a lot of bobby pins, and then put my hair up into a dramatic yet edgy updo.

This is my finished look – dress by Igigi, purse by Aya Morrison, makeup by Linda Caselle, hair by Amilcar Centeno. BAM! At the end Amilcar named my new hairdo “Puffy and Biggie.” What do you think?

The whole time Amilcar was doing my hair, the preparations for the IT&LY Hairfashion show were going on around me. Everywhere I looked, there was a model being styled to perfection. Across from Amilcar and I, the amazing Pasquale Caselle styled models – and my friend in beauty blogging, Aly Walansky! His beautiful wife Linda Caselle did our makeup. They are an amazing, super talented couple and I LOVED spending time with both of them! What fun, genuine people!

Here’s the glamorous Amber Katz of Beauty Blogging Junkie, and the adorable Aly Walansky – post hair and makeup of course!

Here we are posing before entering the event. See my logo? YAY!!!!

The event was hosted by Bre Scullark of America’s Next Top Model fame – I am frickin heartbroken I didn’t get to take a photo with her. But we met and she was sweet as could be (and looks SO fly with her short hair!)

The models were stunning. The professionals behind IT&LY Hairfashion were some of the nicest, most genuine people I had the honor to meet. I mean…I spent a good 45 minutes chatting with the CEO about soul music, Phyllis Hyman and Teddy Pendergrass, before I even realized he was the CEO! He was that cool and down to earth. (trust and believe, not all CEOs are like that!)

The rest of my Las Vegas trip was spent poolside (yes, I NEEDED some R&R!), kickin it with my beauty blogger homettes Aly and Amber, and interviewing some TRULY amazing people. Please look out for a phenomenal interview post next.

Thanks so much to JMC PR and IT&LY Hairfashion for the outpouring of love and admiration. The feeling is truly mutual!

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LaWanda says:
October 6, 2010, 5:40 pm
What a fun trip. I was scared when I saw him doing your hair. But it looks fabulous. Great color and style for you. Cheers to your work and pioneering for all the hair and beauty bloggers
Jellytea says:
October 6, 2010, 5:49 pm
You look beautiful. I must try the "Puffy and Biggie" :) It's funny that he mentioned sugar water. My mom used used sugar water and coconut oil and coconut milk on me, I use it now, and I use it on my little one. Somethings just work. We have a running joke about the Hard Rock. Don't let the "hard rocks" bump you in the back and DON'T swim in the pool!
bella says:
October 6, 2010, 7:09 pm
Thank you so much!! I was scared too - I really do my best to stay chemical free but when it comes to color I do experiment cautiously. And this was done right, so YAY!
bella says:
October 6, 2010, 7:10 pm
LOL!!!! I definitely made sure that pool was clean before i went near it! Thank you =)
Dasheen Magazine says:
October 6, 2010, 8:21 pm
Where to begin... lol First off, you look marvelous in that color combo! I love purple and chartreuse together. That bag is the business. I think you rocked that style well. Kudos to the stylists who are unafraid to work with naturals. Happy that you got some R&R and looking forward to the interviews and goodies to come.
Linda and Pasquale Caselle says:
October 6, 2010, 8:42 pm
Patrice, it was such an honor for Pasquale and I to meet you as well. We had so much fun during the 3 show days. You looked fabulous!
pets says:
October 7, 2010, 8:53 am
Wow! hair and clothes look fabtabulous! That coiling of hair that was done (and his granny used to do it also) was also how our granny did mine and our Mom's and Aunts'. If she had been alive when you were small she would have done yours also BUT she didn't use sugar water - when you're here next ask Mom. You look so dishy and Las vegas sounds as if it was a dream come through. It's also mind blowing to see your logo so large! Keep up the great work and have a blast at your Miami event today! As with your many other fans I wish you only the best!
Amilcar Centeno says:
October 7, 2010, 12:35 pm
Great blog you have Bella, it was really nice work with you. I love the way you look with your new hair color.Our color line Aquar&ly brings to your hair more conditioning benefits and shine. For the spirals i applied Purity Design Glaze wich is part of our wet line for make them soft and shinny. Blessings!!!!!
TheCubicleChick says:
October 8, 2010, 11:02 pm
Wow, first off you look AMAZING! And your hair turned out fab! By the looks of things, there was fun to be had by all. But of course, you can't tell everything because what happens in Vegas....yeah, I know. So cliche'!
daniel keane says:
October 10, 2010, 1:37 pm
It was a gas meeting you and seeing those beautiful eyes and cheeks at our event. Can't wait until I have the next chance to chat with you.
Stylin' & Profilin' says:
October 14, 2010, 10:12 am
you all looked so pretty... sounds like this was loads of fun! and that clutch you're rocking, bella... WANT.IT.BADLY!!!
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