There’s an epidemic going on, and yet no one has recognized and addressed the elephant in the room. There’s a mass exodus of New Yorkers fleeing the city that never sleeps in search of a better quality of life. Just as quickly as transplants are finding their way to the city that claims “If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.” There’s a subset of New Yorkers in search of their “anywhere” outside of the five borough vicinity of New York City. People are escaping NYC for something new and it’s a common epidemic that no one seems to talk about, until now.
The irony that I recently participated in Ford’s unique pop-up event in the heart of Manhattan, doesn’t go unnoticed. The Ford Escape NYC experience was a 1-day activation inviting journalists and consumers the chance at problem solving highlighting the new features and benefits of 2017 Ford Escape.
Based on the ever-popular “Escape The Room” event concept, teams of four were challenged to learn about the 2017 Ford Escape and utilize features and benefits absorbed to solve puzzles, riddles and problems in order to escape to the next level of the game. Check out the recap video here.
It’s funny how a simple game can have you analyzing career decisions you’ve made in life. While this may be news to some (if we’re Facebook friends or you follow my shenanigans on Snapchat, you’re already well aware) – I’ve recently taken a career shift and have graduated into the next phase of my multimedia career by accepting an integrated marketing role in network television.
While this amazing experience has afforded me the opportunity to utilize my 10+ year broadcast marketing expertise on a largely valuable scale, it’s also afforded me the moment I’ve waited two years for, an escape from New York. Don’t get me wrong. My 6-year New York experience was an eye-opening and life-altering chapter in which I was forced to grow and become the woman I am today. I’ve traveled the world, made genuine life-long friendships and learned that you never want to intentionally eat a street hot dog. I’ve also learned that while New York offers world-class food and entertainment, it was lacking the quality of life experiences that I was now ready to live out for the remainder of my days.
Early morning commutes with hundreds of people on the subway was one of the leading factors behind my escape from New York. I’m all for building up communities, however my tolerance for roommates, shower sharing, NYC rats and roaches really made me question if I knew there was a better quality of life out there, why am I allowing myself to suffer? For the sake of saying I live in NYC? I don’t think so.
CHALLENGE ACCEPTED. LESSONS LEARNED.
So as the Escape The Room concept goes…you identify the problem and use what you’ve learned to find the solution. Once I realized that I my time in NYC was winding down, I made the decision to make the leap into a new career, happier commute and escape the city I called home for years.
Since my escape, I continue to stay connected to my NYC friends and family as well as visit on a monthly basis (for business – and as a friendly reminder as to why I left in the first place.) So what did Ford’s Escape New York experience mean for me? Other than a super cool activation experience / game affording me the opportunity to reconnect with friends, it’s also opened my eyes to the possibilities of stepping outside your comfort zone in order to grow into new levels and new possibilities.
Now that I’ve ‘leveled up” let’s see just where exactly this escape leads me six years from now. It’ll undoubtedly lead to new challenges that require problem-solving skills that I’ve learned throughout my journey, but I’ve never been more excited to use lessons learned to solve puzzles and problems in order to escape to the next level of this game called life.
Disclosure: I am a spokesperson for OLAY participating in the ESSENCE Festival Style & Beauty chat, while the talent appearance has been compensated all views expressed below are my own.
During Essence Festival in New Orleans, My Black is Beautiful celebrated 10 years of inspiring women of all ages to cultivate and celebrate our Black Girl Magic from the inside out. Utilizing beauty consultations, intimate conversations breaking beauty myths, I teamed up with Essence beauty editor Nykia Spradley and Dr. Thompson from OLAY to share tips, tricks and the science behind achieving naturally glowing skin for the summer.
For more than 60 years OLAY has delivered phenomenal products to celebrate and enhance generational beauty passed down from our grandmothers, mothers and now for us. Cultivating quality ingredients and formulas that enhance our skin and empower the idea that ‘Black Don’t Crack”. In addition to vitamins like B3, retinol and SPF, there’s a complex blueprint behind the science of creating beautiful skin and OLAY has cracked the code.
Everyone wants beautiful, healthy, radiant skin and it all starts from the inside out. Clean eating with emphasis on fresh fruits, vegetables and plenty of water is the key to unlocking younger looking skin. If you’re not a huge fan of drinking water, grab a water bottle infuser and add fresh strawberries, cucumbers or lemons for a refreshing splash of taste.
If you’re ready to upgrade your skin from the inside out, try pairing OLAY Regenerist Luminous Collection because its properties and ingredients really do enhance my skin by fading dark spots and giving me a beautiful, healthy looking glow. The Luminous Collection uses a Skin Brightening Complex which penetrates 10 layers deep into the skin’s surface to fade the appearance of dark spots. That’s some deep tissue moisturizing right there!
Olay’s #1 selling face cream – Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream – is enhanced with vitamins and skin firming properties to keep you looking ageless with the added bonus of SPF 30. Since Olay is committed to helping women make smart beauty decisions, it includes SPF in its facial moisturizers and body lotions for convenience.
I know we’re busy women with careers and children, but you must also wash your face daily (especially before bed), and moisturize. Don’t go to sleep with make up on! If you’re really on the run, Olay has made it easy to remove make up and wash your face with convenient micro-exfoliating wet cleansing cloths.
We all know the mantra “Black Don’t Crack” but now we can make sure we have flawless and ageless looking skin with a few changes in our diet and adding OLAY to your daily beauty routine for an easy skin fix. How do you keep your skin glowing all summer long? Share your thoughts below!
Disclaimer: I have partnered with Ford Motor Company and have been compensated to share my Ford Fusion and Essence Festival experience. All opinions are my own.
The 2016 Essence Festival has come to a close in New Orleans, ushering with it a vibrant trail of excitement to rival festivals of years past. There was no shortage of amazing performances, celebrity sightings and more. From Oprah, TD Jakes, Puff Daddy, Maxwell, Kenny Lattimore, the cast of “Power” and more – the Big Easy was filled with big fun all weekend long. Fueled by Ford Motor Company, this year makes my fifth Essence Festival Experience and like a fine wine, it only gets better with time.
Kenny Lattimore serenades the Ford fans during Sirius XM interview with Heart & Soul.
In celebration of and pushing entrepreneurs to “Go Further” in business and finances, Ford hosted panel discussions featuring need to know tips from new media trailblazers. I partnered with Tiffany Aliche of The Budgetnista to tackle the conversation of “Financial Preparedness” and getting your money right for business and beyond.
Christen of DivasandDorks, Tiffany Aliche of The Budgetnista and Comedienne Loni Love.
Moderated by Loni Love (The Real), we discussed tips on how to budget for the entrepreneurial leap and the importance of owning your credit blueprint. The forum was not only insightful and informative for guests, I learned applicable tips first hand from The Budgetnista and even shared super easy hacks to jumpstart and automate your money saving dreams starting today. (#AutoMakeThatMoney – more details coming soon.)
Ford Family Fun
For most, Essence Festival is an annual family reunion and the Ford experience is the epicenter of games, giveaways and family fun. It’s a great place for celebrity sightings and entertainment. Ford fans got a special surprise when renown relationship life coach and Ford Spokesperson Tony Gaskins explored the latest Ford vehicles on display. He posed for selfies and answered questions from fans and even checked out the all new 2017 Ford Fusion display. (Are you unstoppable? Check out an interview with Tony Gaskins here.)
Relationship expert Tony Gaskins poses with fans at Ford Essence Festival experience.
My Ford family kept the family reunion fun kept it moving all weekend long. Whether you’re running into old friends from high school or hometowns or getting reacquainted with new friends, the Ford booth was the epicenter and the Essence Festival experience. It was the perfect spot to reconviene after performances or meeting point to gather before heading out for New Orleans fun. Personally, it was a great chance for me to catch up with my dad and show him what this year’s Ford/Essence Festival partnership entailed. (Plus reconnecting in a city that defines our family name is always a huge WIN). Of course, it was only right that we chronicled the moment with plenty of selfies and entered for a chance to win cool prizes like Fitbit fitness trackers, HD cameras and more. (Did I forget to mention that I won this cool HD sticky cam?)
One of the many things I appreciate about Ford is that they fuse a variety of experiences that empower guests of all ages and backgrounds at Essence Fest. From entrepreneurs to retirees and everyone in between aren’t only entertained, but they’re empowered with tools that can impact their families, communities, businesses and more. In addition to Ford’s Warriors in Pink initiative raising money and awareness for cancer research, Ford awarded lucky Essence Fest fans a chance to win the all new 2017 Ford Fusion!
From celebrity guests to community empowerment, Ford is committed to representing for Essence Fest fans and once again I’m proud to be apart of this unforgettable experience. Did you check out Ford at this year’s Essence Festival? What did you think? Share your comments or tweets us at @DivasandDorks using the hashtag #MyFordFam
Want to learn more about my spectacular drive in the 2017 Ford Fusion? Discover what drives the festival fun on the Road To Essence Fest! Looking for pricing? Or details on how to schedule a 2017 Ford Fusion test drive of your own? Discover the all new 2017 Ford Fusion Energi Titanium edition online at Ford.com and get social on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram today!
Making a great film requires a skillset of great storytelling, magic and an eye for style. Finding the right look that conveys an emotion, sense or feeling not only helps tell the film’s story but costuming can make or break the success of a film, period. In film as in real life, playing the part is only half the challenge, the other half consists of dressing the part and becoming the living embodiment of the character – a job that seasoned costume designers like Ruth E. Carter knows all too well.
During the 2016 American Black Film Festival – Harlem’s Fashion Row hosted a panel discussion with acclaimed costume designer, Ruth E. Carter (Roots, Selma, Lee Daniel’s The Butler, Sparkle, Malcolm X) to discuss the collaborative process of planning wardrobe for a film, and its powerful impact on the story.
Presented by Prudential, this unique perspective spotlighted just how influential style and design is in film and storytelling. Moderated by Brandice Henderson-Daniel, Founder Harlem’s Fashion Row – guests witnessed the stories behind the design from Ruth E. Carter as well as inspirations behind her illustrious career in film.
Ruth E. Carter & Brandice Henderson-Daniel discussing Hollywood insider costume secrets.
In celebration of Ruth E. Carter’s career, Harlem’s Fashion Row emerging designer – Fe Noel previewed her design presentation reflective of Ms. Ruth’s work and legacy in film. With designs that spanned decades and beyond, Fe Noel shared her vision of designs once inspired by Ms. Carter’s career with a fresh approach that only Fe Noel can do.
Fe Noel shares her inspiration behind her collection presentation.
Ruth E. Carter and Fe Noel share a designer moment at ABFF.
With celebs like Mary J. Blige, Jordin Sparks & Tracy Ellis Ross fans of her collections, Fe Noel has established a brand and career designing unique pieces for the trendsetter in all of us. Fe Noel is more than a designer and fashion collection, it’s a conceptual lifestyle brand that embodies personal style and sensibility. Defined by simple silhouettes, plunging necklines and quality fabrics, each design exudes an innovative mix of sensibility and sensuality.
Take a closer look at the Ruth E. Carter inspired collection and ABFF fashion presentation by Fe Noel below.
Disclaimer: This editorial content above has been provided and compensated in part by Harlem’s Fashion Row, however; all opinions shared by author are her own.
Cartoon Network and co-host Google welcomed Made with Code, Mayor of East Point Jannquell Peters and Black Girls Code at Turner in Atlanta for a special event launching GIF: The Powerpuff Girls. The event and coding activity are part of the collaboration between the companies with a mission of combining their entertainment and tech expertise to bring the power of creative coding to kids in every community, at every income level and in every demographic group.
The event’s special guests, forty five teenage girls from Black Girls Code, were greeted by female executives from Cartoon Network and Google, including Christina Miller, president and general manager for Cartoon Network, Adult Swim and Boomerang; Katie Krentz, Senior Director, Comedy Animation Development, Cartoon Network; Lilyn Hester, Public Affairs Manager for Google; Google Engineer Monica Renneke; and Mayor Peters. Each woman reaffirmed the importance of coding as an essential language to fulfill your goals and dreams, and encouraged the girls to continue to explore their creativity through coding.
“This day is exactly why we at Cartoon Network committed ourselves to encouraging kids to explore coding and the intersection of creativity and technology,” said Christina Miller, President and General Manager of Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, and Boomerang, during the event. “We know how important this is, and that is why we want to be part of the community who helps all kids learn the language of coding to build their futures – and frankly – all of our futures.”
As one of the entertainment industry’s preeminent ceremonies, leading up to the Academy Awards, ESSENCE and Lincoln honored African-American women who are pushing the limits, raising the bar and breaking through barriers in both film and television with the ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood award luncheon.
Honoree Debbie Allen, Chris Rock alongside Lincoln’s multicultural communications manager Raj Register and Michelle Eubanks from ESSENCE share a moment before the luncheon begins.
“Grey’s Anatomy” “Scandal” and “How To Get Away With Murder” producer Shonda Rhimes arrived in a daisy-inspired dress, with matching golden-hued shoes to match.
Zendaya served on the scene and introducing honorees in a burgundy Thakoon silk dot robe and jumpsuit, pairing it with some white pumps.
Nicole Ari Parker and Boris Kodjoe posed and served up a hot dish of black love on the red carpet.
Held at the famed Beverly Wilshire Hotel – this year’s theme “The Power of our Presence” celebrated some of the most extraordinary African-American women in film and television.
Kelly Rowland stunned the red carpet in a beautiful blouse and buttery colored pants.
Erica Campbell styled beautifully in a scuba-styled ensemble.
Actress Garcelle Beauvais graced the red carpet and added to the celebration of black excellence above and beyond.
[Flashback Friday] 5th Annual Essence Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon Presented by Lincoln
Honorees included powerhouse actress Tracee Ellis Ross (Fierce & Fearless Award); multi-talented producer, director and actress Debbie Allen (Legend Award); and entertainment attorney Nina Shaw (Lincoln Power Award).
Powerhouse Entertainment Attorney – Nina Shaw.
The 2016 ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood Awards will air Saturday, February 27 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on OWN. Want to get behind the scenes looks at more celebs, fashion and fun? Follow @DivasandDorks on Instagram and Snapchat to see some of my favorite moments. Also get social with Lincoln and @EssenceMag and follow all the selfies, instavideos and more via #BlackWomenInHollywood today!
Lady Gaga wasn’t the only star on stage during the tribute to David Bowie at the Grammys on Monday night, there was another star powering the David Bowie experience – Intel. As the hashtag #INTELinMusic ahead of the medley of the late British music icon’s hits hinted, Intel enabled the projections and other digital pyrotechnics (including live CGI or animation for a liquid version of Bowie’s iconic Aladdin Sane thunderbolt, along with robotics and a hologram of the ever-changing Bowie). The wizardry helped Gaga channel her idol, who died last month at 69 from cancer.
Haus of Gaga, worked with Intel to create a futuristic show, including a hologram of Bowie himself and accompaniment from a piano with three robot arms. They also made “digital makeup” that tracks Gaga’s facial movements in order to project Bowie’s looks through the years onto her face in a single performance. The ring on her finger directed the LED wall behind her so she could direct the visuals live through the motions of her hands and wrists. A major concern for Gaga was making sure the performance felt seamless, so that viewers wouldn’t be taken out of the experience. For Bowie, technology “always existed as another instrument in his symphony,” without distracting anyone from pure wonder.
Intel has a two-year deal with the GRAMMYS and will create another tech showstopper at next year’s ceremony. Intel’s press release called the performance the “First of a Multiyear Partnership Designed to Showcase How Intel Technology Inside Enables Amazing Music Experiences Outside”. In collaboration with Intel technologists and Lady Gaga’s creative team, specialized hardware powered by Intel® Xeon®, Intel® Core™ and Pentium® processors provided the requisite high performance to choreograph the lighting, audio and projection systems in perfect harmony with Lady Gaga.
Watch the entire awe-inspiring GRAMMY tribute performance below:
What did you think about Lady Gaga’s performance? What were your favorite GRAMMY moments of the night? Share your #INTELinMusic thoughts below!
There comes a time in a woman’s life where she becomes more excited about placement settings and home design aesthetics than shopping sprees and designer shoes. I’ll admit, my latest obsessions have evolved from curating personal style to (dare I say it) designing intimate events with (and for) family and friends. And if there’s one person you can depend on having inspiration for designing experiences you’ll love, it’s Martha Stewart.
From the kitchen to home life and even planning my future wedding, following Martha Stewart, has inspired me to step up my design game in every area of my life. That’s why I’m so excited to meet the mother of style, the duchess of design – Martha Stewart at Macy’s. Join Macy’s in welcoming Martha Stewart at a special signing of her new book “Martha Stewart Weddings, Ideas & Inspiration”. Learn tips for planning the big day, and with any Martha Stewart Wedding book purchase of $60, you’ll get a chance to meet her and have your book signed*!
Celebrating 20 years of the design debut of Martha Stewart Weddings in 1995, it has been the premier resource for couples looking to plan and personalize their big day. From the engagement to the day itself, every detail is covered. You can learn what goes into making a “Martha” wedding, which includes dreaming up a cohesive theme and color palette, as well as finding a dress and suit, registering for gifts, enjoying showers and bachelor(ette) parties, hiring vendors, choosing the flowers and cake, and orchestrating a sweet send-off for the evening.
This year has already proven to be a year of transition, from work, relationships and the fact that I’m moving into a new home has me in a design-frame-of-mind all day, everyday. Whether you’re planning a wedding for yourself, a friend, client, or even looking for designer ideas for a new home, office or work space – this book is a must-have – and who better to get advice from than Martha Stewart?! I’ll see you Thursday, January 28th at Macy’s Herald Square (New York) at 6pm. For more information on this free event, find more details here.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Everywhere Agency; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.
In it’s first-ever partnership with Intel, Time Inc.’s ESSENCE, PEOPLE and PEOPLE EN ESPAÑOL presented the inaugural “Women Who Spark” Awards honoring female trailblazers at the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) on January 7, 2016.
Women Who Spark Awards Honorees Alba Colon, Dr. Telle Whitney, Shantell Martin and Kimberly Bryant
This powerful first-time collaboration—combining the forces of ESSENCE, PEOPLE and PEOPLE en ESPAÑOL—provides a diverse platform with broad reach to celebrate four extraordinary trailblazers from around the world, women whose work has broken gender barriers and inspired today’s high-tech evolution.
Held in the OMD Oasis, the CES Thought Leadership Center created by media agency OMD, at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas, the invite-only event recognized notable female honorees for their outstanding achievements in technology: Alba Colon – Chevrolet Racing Program Manager, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Kimberly Bryant – CEO, Black Girls Code, Telle Whitney – CEO and President, Anita Borg Institute, and Shantell Martin – Visual Artist. United States Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith gave opening remarks for the event.
President of Intel Foundation and Director of Corporate Affairs for Intel Rosalind L. Hudnell
Honoree Shantell Martin speaks during the Women Who Spark Awards
U.S. Chief Technology Officer Megan J. Smith speaks during the Women Who Spark Awards
“Innovative women have always been trailblazers in science and tech, but so often they are left out of history or are missing in our day-to-day media,” said United States Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith. “In order to fully realize our country’s potential, it’s critical to celebrate all of our innovation heroes. Congratulations to this year’s ‘Women Who Spark’ award winners and the organizers—ESSENCE, PEOPLE and PEOPLE en ESPAÑOL—who are working to bring this needed and rightful visibility.”
Looking for more breaking news, recap and more at CES 2016? Visit DivasandDorks.com all week long and even connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and more today! You don’t want to miss the action from the largest tech trade show in the world – it’s CES 2016!
It’s always been an experience I’ve wanted to scratch off my bucket list for some time now. Who wouldn’t want to grab their best girlfriend and go on a cross-country road trip in an amazing car?
Over the course of several weeks, Chevrolet’s hosted media influencers and journalists on a drive throughout the 48 US contagious states. Driving behind the wheel of the 2016 Chevy Camaro, we were encouraged to #FindNewRoads and discover points of innovation throughout the country. We visited landmarks and discovered the roads less traveled during our drive from New Orleans, LA to Dallas, TX (with plenty of exhilarating & unforgettable moments to spare!)
Check out a few of my favorite moments from our cross country Camaro drive in search to #FindNewRoads below!
Crescent City Connection
If you’re familiar with the Denzel Washington flick “Deja Vu” chances are, you’ve seen the iconic twin cantilever bridges that carry U.S. Route 90 Business over the Mississippi River in New Orleans before. Formerly known as the Greater New Orleans Bridge (GNO) – it’s the widest and most heavily traveled bridge on the lower Mississippi; instrumental with the Hurricane Katrina evacuations in 2005.
The 2016 Chevrolet Camaro and the Crescent City Connection – two iconic symbols of mobility and strength all rolled into one #FindNewRoads moment.
Mardi Gras World
What’s the next best thing to visiting New Orleans during Mardi Gras? Taking a trip to one of the happiest places on earth – Mardi Gras World. We were looking for a real, behind-the-scenes look at New Orleans Mardi Gras and boy did we find it!
At Mardi Gras World, guides take the mask off Mardi Gras with an all-access Mardi Gras tour, winding through the massive studio where these magnificent floats are built from the ground up. Guests learn about the history of this unique and festive tradition and go beyond its reputation to get a deeper understanding of the real Mardi Gras.
One monkey don’t stop no show: The massive Mardi Gras World experience is a MUST during your next New Orleans visit. Make sure you bring plenty of camera storage because there are plenty of picture perfect moments you’ll want to capture during your visit.
Bayou Dinning And Aligator Bites
After a 15-mile drive outside of New Orleans, we stumbled upon the beauty and bounty of the Restaurant des Familles. Nestled along the waterway home to alligators, turtles, egrets and other wildlife (Bayou des Familles) – we were in search of authentic Cajun and Creole bites and the Alligator Stuffed Mushrooms with Alligator Sauce Piquant more than delivered.
Good Eats: We enjoyed the best of the best from the Restaurant de Familles including the grilled Shrimp & Grits with jalapeno-cheddar grits with scratch gravy, Caesar Salad and Catfish strips.
The Alligator Stuffed Mushrooms with Alligator Sauce Piquant was amazing – and the views of alligators just a few feet away were even better.
Swamp Tour Through Gator Country
I’ve never been in an airboat before, let alone on a tour through the swamps of the bayou. So of course finding the road less traveled lead us to the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve. Trained guides escorted us into the murky waters of Louisiana swamps where we came face to face with the beauty and beasts of nature.
Driving The 2016 Camaro
The 2016 Camaro more than handled the road, it commanded it. Driving from New Orleans to Dallas as a Camaro road warrior was beyond amazing. As the most efficient and powerful Camaro SS ever it’s equipped with improved handling, performance, technology and kept heads turning throughout the entire drive.
Discover where the 2016 Camaro SS is headed next! Keep up with all the spectacular sights and see how others #FindNewRoads by visiting FindNewRoadsTrip.com