To quote John Lennon, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”
Let me give you some backstory of what’s been happening with me. This week, I was scheduled to go to India with a team of people from Aveda, to see how their charity money is spent and where their inspiration comes from. It was going to be the trip of a lifetime. I was SO EXCITED TO GO. When I realized Blogalicious was going to be the same weekend as my India trip, I realized it’d be impossible to do both Blogalicious and India…so I had to turn down the opportunity to attend the Blogalicious conference this year.
And then came immigration issues, to ruin the plans. Because of just abysmal timing, I soon realized that my trip to India would remain just a dream. I was feeling quite dejected about it all, missing Blogalicious AND India at the same time. I was lowkey heartbroken. And then out of the blue I got a tweet, then a DM, and then an e mail, asking me to participate in a brand new event put together by the geniuses of Beautylish, called The Beauty Social.
In case you’re not familiar with this amazing site I sincerely encourage you to get familiar! Beautylish is an incredible resource for the beauty and makeup obsessed. There are reviews and how-tos and photos and it’s more than just a site, it’s a community where anyone into beauty can join and share their insight and inspiration. Click here to follow me, I just joined!
Beautylish hosted their first event this past weekend in Santa Monica at the beautiful Loews hotel. Titled The Beauty Social, it was a totally unique concept that was a complete success. Instead of creating the kind of conference where there’s an us-and-them kind of divide, the Beauty Social was all about breaking down those walls. This wasn’t a sale event for MUA’s to stock up their kits. This wasn’t an event where speakers lecture you and then disappear backstage. You were able to mix and mingle and chat and hang out with brand creators, bloggers, and vloggers, and makeup lovers in general!
A few, very select brands were stationed around the perimeter of the venue. The line STAYED deep at the CND Shellac Manicure station, I met the lovely ladies at the Benefit Brow Bar, I sampled the goodies at the Fresh Sugar Lip Bar, I watched the geniuses at work doing Temptu airbrushing, I got my foundation matched at the Cover FX booth (I fell in LOVE with Cover FX, lots more to come on this amazing brand here!) and then I stopped by the ladies from Sugarpill, because Sugarpill creatrix Amy (known on Twitter as Shrinkle) has been so sweet to me in the past and I had to say HI!
The Sugarpill girls are SO CUTE!
It’s impossible to capture in words, the magic of this weekend. I’m gonna break it down into beautiful bullet points of awesomeness, to try to even digest it all. Cause it’s ALOT.
— I was in LA so of course I had to go hang out with Felicia Leatherwood of the Loving Your Hair With Natural Care Workshop, my sister from another mister! Felicia took me out and about to see her Los Angeles, and I loved it!! I used to have an impression of LA, that it was an unfriendly city filled with uber glam people who think they’re really special all the time. And yes, that stereotype comes from somewhere, but I’m happy to report that everywhere I went in LA, I was greeted with love and warmth and friendly smiles! I fell in love with California all over again and I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to wanting to move there just a little bit. Southern California, you are lovely and I plan to be back to visit sooner rather than later!
— Amazing Los Angeles based professional makeup artist Nicole Evans came to do my makeup on both days of the event, and the response my makeup got — from a room full of makeup artists and beauty gurus, no less — was astounding!
Nicole, you’re a genius and SO talented and sweet and awesome. Here’s to big and bright things poppin’ in 2012!!
— It is so rare that I am invited to speak or participate in an event and I literally want to experience ALL OF IT. But that’s what happened at The Beauty Social, every last panel was incredible and I wanted to experience everything that was scheduled! For example, the first panel was Brand Stories: How Your Favorite Beauty Brands Got Big, and it featured the creators of Cover FX, Lorac (which is Carol spelled backwards, as in founder Carol Shaw), The Balm (LOVE their packaging!) and super fancy haircare line By Byron. That’s just the beginning. Every panel featured people at the top of their game, imparting the lessons that got them there. So. Inspiring.
— The co-founder of Too Faced, Jerrod Blandino, is HYSTERICAL. So funny. So sassy. So sharp! LOVED his panel, and if Jerrod ever got a show on TV showing the behind the scenes of his life? It would be must see TV. I told him when we met, he needs to write a book and have a special, very raunchy episode of Oprah’s Master Class, STAT. And his makeup is to DIE for. I’m entranced by their primers!
— I got to see some old friends and meet some new ones, and say thank you in person to old friends I hadn’t previously met in person. Erika of Makeup Bag is as gorgeous as ever, Annie of Bellasugar is SO sweet, gentle, smart and wonderful and I was so happy to finally meet her.
The absolutely stunning Folake of Stylepantry came to meet me briefly between panels — and brought her beautiful family with her!! She is even more gorgeous in person (if that’s even possible) and I LOVED meeting her. And she loved meeting me — read her blog about it here! She is everything dot edu and I can’t wait to spend more time with her on my next trip to LA (and yes there will be a trip soon – I loved it that much!)
I clicked so instantly with the people behind the scenes of Beautylish, it was like being welcomed into a new family. Everybody behind the scenes was considerate, kind, fun, and professional Let me tell y’all about my PANEL — Brown Girl Beauty – Uncensored!
The whole weekend, everyone kept coming up to me and saying things like, “your panel’s gonna be the best panel.” “OMG I can’t wait for your panel!” etcetera, etcetera. Expectations were high. And we MORE than delivered. I can’t even fully express how awesome we were together.
First of all, Dre Brown and Nyssa Green are phenomenal women and not only were we blessed to meet, I believe we were MEANT to meet. Dre is a superstar. Her aura is so big and bright and beautiful! And Nyssa is just that soul sister you feel like you’ve known forever — despite being a powerhouse who runs her own agency! Jeffrey Paul is incredible, wise, generous, kind – an amazing man. And Sean Cameron may just be the coolest guy I’ve ever had the pleasure to spend time with — so laid back and stylish and effortlessly COOL. Words escape me. We were a force to be reckoned with. During AND after the panel, we were bathed with love from the crowd and bombarded with photos on the step and repeat. It’s a powerful feeling, the feeling of knowing you were meant to experience something. And this weekend felt like fate, in the most fabulous way possible. We came as friends, we left as family.
Not only did our panel have big time buzz, but two of my celebrity friends (OMG I have celebrity friends! That sounds crazy!) came to see the panel. The super sweet and always vivacious Kim Coles came out to show love — LOVE HER!!!
We have such a warm sisterhood between us. Kim is just good people down to the core and I love being in her presence!
The other star I was blessed to spend time with and become more friendly with is the incredible Jody Watley. Let me tell you how this happened.
The night before I was swept away with a very small group of incredible beauty bloggers and vloggers for an evening of cocktails and light bites at phenomenal makeup artist Billy B‘s home. If you’re not familiar with Billy B — get familiar. The man is legendary.
And he is so sweet and down to earth and regular despite the amazing career he has had. What an incredible guy!
As I walked up the stairs to enter his beautifully decorated house, someone said “Hello, Afrobella!” And MUCH to my surprise, it was legendary singer JODY WATLEY. Jody is EVERYTHING, y’all. We became online friends through Twitter and Facebook, but meeting her was such an incredible full circle moment for my life as a lifelong fan who grew up listening to her music, and looking up to Jody as a beauty icon. Being greeted so with such warmth and familiarity by one of my beauty icons was a highlight of my whole year. Please click here to read her blog post about meeting me. I swear, magic was in the air! The next day Jody came out to The Beauty Social to support our Brown Girl Beauty panel and to support Billy B, and of course she was inundated by fans requesting photos with her. Through it all, Jody is gracious and sweet and approachable and NICE.
And she STILL SLAYS! Cannot wait to see her again. Thank you for being so amazing, Jody!
Even though I was in Los Angeles for less than three days, it was a JAM PACKED weekend of amazing blessings. All I can say is thank you Nils, thank you Elena, thank you Dre, and thank you Beautylish for putting together such a wonderful event and making me a part of it. I can’t wait till the next thing!!