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!
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.
There’s just something sweet and sacred about the city of New Orleans, Lousiana. It’s been four years since I first made my way to NOLA and Ford has been there every step of the way! Remember way back when? I partnered with the Ford Escape and Essence.com to share my discovery of authentic cuisine and Cajun fun in the 4-part “Escape to New Orleans” series.
Since then, year-after-year I’ve experienced epic ESSENCE Fest moments, performances and local NOLA faire. From the shopping, museums and all the magical moments in between, an ESSENCE Festival experience should be on everyone’s bucket list. It’s 2016 and we’re back again with the 2017 Ford Fusion Hybrid on the Road To Essence Fest!
There’s so much more to New Orleans than Burbon Street and Beignets! There’s a rich history of culture that you can smell, see and taste around every corner. Over the past years, I’ve found a deep love and appreciation for a city that I would have never known if it wasn’t for the Essence Fest experience. Now I’m getting ready to take on my 5th year at ESSENCE Fest and I’m more excited than ever before!
All this week, I’m taking you behind the wheel on an epic ESSENCE Fest journey unlike any other. I’ll be sharing beauty and style tips for easy holiday travel, tips on navigating Essence Fest and NOLA like a pro and more – all powered by the 2017 Ford Fusion!
Check out my first impressions of the all new 2017 Ford Fusion Energi Titanium and see just why this hybrid sets the bar for style and sustainability!
During my recent 10-day stay in New Orleans for the 21st Annual Essence Festival – I got the chance to explore the city, culture, celebrities, home-grown entertainment and so much more! From new restaurants to hidden gem boutiques, New Orleans offered so much more than I’ve ever expected it to, even after visiting NOLA for the last five years, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the street style, gourmet delicacies and amazing architecture found around every corner.
If I had to narrow my summer style obsession down to one piece, it would definitely have to be the jumpsuit. It’s super-easy to wear, stylish and can practically be worn everywhere. Since I’m a tall girl, it’s sometimes challenging to find stylish jumpsuits that look good, feel good and fit good too! After searching all over, you can’t imagine where I’ve found my favorite jumpsuits, including this blue cutout number below…
After searching online and in stores, I finally found this beautifully fitting jumper from H&M. Offering just the right amount of style and sass, this jumpsuit is lined with small waist length cutouts and a sleek back zipper that can be office appropriate with a cardigan or street-chic appropriate worn as shown.
Blue Jumpsuit | HM.com | $59.99
Ford hosted a wonderful media dinner during ESSENCE Fest at Little Gem Saloon. The Little Gem Saloon is a historic restaurant and live music venue that dates back to 1904. The Little Gem Saloon offers a new century twist on a historic space that first introduced New Orleans’ jazz to the world. Located in the historic 400 block of South Rampart Street, the Little Gem Saloon is just steps the French Quarter and all the authentic and historic sights that New Orleans has to offer.
Perfect for foodies of all ages, The Little Gem Saloon offers a dining experience unlike any other in New Orleans. The Little Gem Saloon offers lunch, dinner and a true-to-its-roots Sunday jazz brunch, upstairs and downstairs bars with outside balcony seating, and live entertainment five days a week. During the Ford media dinner, guests indulged in southern soul food while mingling and enjoying the cool sounds of songstress Audra Day.
Smoked St. Louis cut ribs with a creole twist was #DivasAndForksAPPROVED
No NOLA meal is complete without Louisiana Gulf shrimp & southern style biscuits
New Orleans Moments
The media dinner, hosted by Ford’s Manager of Multicultural Marketing, Shawn Thompson introduced guests to singing sensation Audra Day – pairing awesome music food and entertainment all in one exciting night.
Photo credit: Chris Mitchell/Ty Alexander
I truly enjoyed celebrating Ford’s commitment to educating and empowering NOLA communities via breast cancer awareness and more at ESSENCE Festival. Check out how Ford continues to celebrate Essence Festival fans this year as the official automotive sponsor of the 21st Annual ESSENCE Festival in New Orleans here.
In today’s society, there’s no shortage of women who seek validation though beauty trends and societal standards. Tara Paige, the “Inner Glamorcist,” and author of “The Book Of G.L.A.M” wants to fix that. Kicking off Essence Fest weekend, Tara teamed up with Digital Sorority to host a FREE GLAM lounge in New Orleans. As an author, Tara is committed to empowering her readers to focus on the inner as well as outer glam. With the help of Kela, Ty and I – The G.L.A.M. Lounge is kicked off the 21st Annual Essence Festival experience, Thursday July 2nd at Magnolia Makeup Studios.
Author Tara Page and Digital Sorority at The G.L.A.M Lounge experience in New Orleans.
Tara’s new book has her traveling the world empowering women and teaching 4 Requirements of Your G.L.A.M. SQUAD!
G-Give constructive criticism. You cannot have a team of people who only tell you what you want to hear. They have to tell you the hard stuff. Those weaknesses and blindspots that we don’t like to see in ourselves.
L-Like you. Yes. There is a difference. Your family pretty much loves you. But your glam squad has to be made up of people who not only love you…they LIKE you. They want to be around you. Your bad off day does not stop them from being in your life. They are rooting for you to be the best you can be.
Guests enjoyed makeovers, custom color applications, freebies and more!
A-Articulate your strengths, not just your weaknesses. You need people who can spot your strengths, your stellar traits that you don’t see in yourself and root for you as you play to your strengths.
M-Move you into action. They will not allow you to play small. They will not allow you to dim your light They will be there to pick you up when you are knocked down. They will move you into being your best and greatest self.
Check out Tara L. Page via her latest tv news segment here.
Tara Paige isn’t just an author of this insightful knowledge, she’s also a student as well. Once a single & depressed mom of five, she’s now happily married with 8 children and travels the world empowering and enriching the lives of women by asking one simple question. WHO’S ON YOUR G.L.A.M. Squad?
I can definitely shout to the world that the ladies of Digital Sorority (Kela and Ty) are apart of my G.L.A.M squad. They keep me sane, encourage me and support me unlike any other team a girl could ever imagine. So who’s in your G.L.A.M squad?
For more information about the author Tara L. Page and the new G.L.A.M movement, visit FixYourGlam.com today.
Disclosure: The following content has been sponsored by Colgate; however, all opinions shared and stated below are my own.
Did you know your smile is truly your best accessory? This weekend in New Orleans for the Essence Festival fans hundreds of thousands of fans of all ages flashed brilliant smiles at the Colgate Optic White experience inside the Ernst N. Morial Convention Center.
As one of the biggest weekends in New Orleans, Essence Fest was sure to #BringTheLove as well as bring the smiles all weekend long! As one of the key partners for the music, empowerment and entertainment festival Colgate shared a variety of engaging activations, panel discussions and more encouraging fans on their journey to better oral and overall health.
“This year, Colgate has the unique opportunity to engage consumers with two Colgate brands that resonate well with the African American consumer — Colgate Total and Colgate Optic White,” said Carla Kelly, General Manager, U.S. Multicultural Marketing, Colgate-Palmolive. “We are so excited,” she continued,“to be at the ESSENCE Festival — it’s an amazing opportunity to have personal interaction with our valued consumers around such important topics as health and wellness.”
From working out to stepping out, your Colgate Smile is the beginning of a better you. During the 2015 Essence Festival, fans were encouraged to experience Colgate Optic White and Colgate Total brands all weekend long for tips on health & wellness and discover from insight from Colgate Total Conversation ambassadors on how taking small steps can make a big difference!
The “Colgate Total Conversation” was the highlight of the experience as a daily interactive, thirty-minute discussion featuring fitness guru Shaun T, celebrity fitness trainer Mark Jenkins, oral care expert Dr. Catrise Austin and reality TV star Tanya Winfield, from NBC’s Biggest Loser. Covering health and wellness themes from oral care to fitness that affect the African American community.
Essence Fest Colgate fans then got the chance to attend an exclusive meet and greet event with fitness guru Shaun T in the Colgate Total Empower U suite. Fans got up close and personal with Shaun T and asked lifestyle and fitness advice, snapped selfies and more.
Throughout the 3-day festival, consumers were encouraged to visit the Colgate experience booth, where they had the chance to engage one-on-one with Colgate Ambassadors and experts and upload photos from the Optic White red carpet social media booth.
Festival fans received plenty of Colgate Total Daily Repair goodies to help them along their journey towards total oral health. Did you know that something as simple as using the right toothpaste can make a big difference to your overall health? Brushing with Colgate Total is one simple step you can incorporate into your daily routine to help keep your mouth healthy, but it also has a positive affect on your overall health too! Colgate Total Daily Repair helps repair early teeth and gum damage before you my know it even exists. It contains a multi-active formula that kills bacteria, freshness breath and whitens teeth all in one!
By brushing with Colgate Total toothpaste twice daily, you can improve your gum health in as little as four weeks. Colgate Total toothpaste is approved by the FDA to help prevent gingivitis, the most common form of gum disease. Brand ambassadors shared the love and smiles with festival fans while empowering consumers with helpful tips and Colgate Total travel kits filled with goodies to keep up healthy habits while on the road and beyond.
The Essence Fest Colgate experience wouldn’t be complete without a quick photo opp of bright Optic White smiles with tv personality Tai Beauchamp. The Colgate Total experience went out with a bang, featuring “Style Sunday with Tai Beauchamp”. The exclusive meet and greet with inspirational style expert Tai Beauchamp, of TLC’s Dare to Wear kept the convention center fun buzzing! Tai Beauchamp met with fans of all ages on the #BrilliantSmile red carpet offering beauty and style tips, including her stylish secrets to ensure that “your smile is your best accessory.”
Thanks to Colgate Optic White and Colgate Total, more than 500,000 Essence Festival fans received a total health experience that will affect their overall health and encourage healthy smiles from the inside out!
Disclaimer: The content below including WalMart giftcard giveaway has been brought to you by P&G. However, all opinions shared below are my own.
Anytime I prepare for an upcoming trip, I always find myself feeling a little more adventurous than usual. There’s just something about re-creating yourself in a new space, it’s like being an artist and vacationing in a new city is your blank canvas. As I prepare for my fourth Essence Festival in New Orleans, I’m excited to debut a new bolder, brighter do’ and usher in my experiment with a little extra color all summer long!
I definitely don’t believe in a face full of makeup in the sweltering heat of summer (New Orleans will average 92-degrees days all week long) – but I do believe that little pops of smudge free color can go a very long way. Recently, I’ve been anxious to experiment with adding bright blues, greens and purples into my beauty mix. From lash-enhancing mascaras to eye-popping bright liners – My summer beauty mantra is “Less is more!” My summer color arsenal is filled with a variety of mascaras and colorful pencils that will create and summer-time fun look in 10mins or less!
When experimenting with color, it’s never a good idea to grab expensive department store brands first. That’s why I make Walmart my one-stop shop for beauty buys that won’t break the bank! Walmart helps you save on beauty items that you love and that keep you looking your best. Walmart provides products, such as those from CoverGirl and Olay, that help you feel beautiful. Find beauty items from P&G brands like Olay and CoverGirl at your Walmart’s everyday low prices.
CoverGirl LashBlast Volume Mascara is designed to max out each and every lash, leaving you with the ultimate big-lash look. Who has time to fumble with falsies, glue and extensions when you want to get out and go? With LashBlast Volume Mascara’s patented volume-boosting hypoallergenic formula, you can achieve the perfect, big, bold lash look with only a few brush strokes.
Every girl loves a great cat eye, however, creating the perfect shape starts with the perfect pencil. CoverGirl Perfect Point Plus Eyeliner pencil is self-sharpening and glides on easily so you get the perfect line every time. It includes a smudger tip and IT’S WATER RESISTANT! (Hello? The best way to beat the heat is with sweat-proof makeup!) With colors like chestnut, plum and midnight blue, CoverGirl Perfect Point Plus Eyeliner pencils gives you the control and versatility that you want, at a price that you can afford.
And with unbeatable prices that you can only find at Walmart, why wouldn’t you want to upgrade your summer beauty routine with a little color? How would you like to upgrade your beauty closet with a variety of bold colors from CoverGirl®?
Enter to win a mix of your favorite CoverGirl prize pack from Walmart (Value $25) below.
Brace yourself. ESSENCE FEST is coming! ESSENCE Festival is going digital…and I’m excited for the fourth year in a row to be apart of it all! Watch ‘Live from the ESSENCE Festival’ digital shows come to life as an all-access digital and social media experience for fans featuring 24 hours daily of streaming video, as well as real-time newsroom and social media reporting across ESSENCE platforms Essence.com, EssenceFestival.com and YouTube.
In addition, ‘ESSENCE Live’ powered by Samsung will stream a one-hour special each day from Center Stage on the floor of the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center; featuring celebrity guest segments, musical performances, live audience games and interaction, and much more. Each night, select musical performances will be live streamed from Superdome stages.
It’s only right that you get as close to the action as anyone else, right? That’s why I’ve called in reinforcements and have teamed up with my girls to bring you the exclusive Digital Sorority ESSENCE Fest experience!
We’ll be capturing all of the entertainment, style and substance of the Festival with wall-to-wall coverage all weekend long. Join myself (@DivasandDorks), and co-founders Kela Walker (@KelaWalker) and Ty Alexander (@GorgeousInGrey) as we get into all the ESSENCE Fest fun, host a bevy of event experiences and share amazing giveaways! Follow #DSEssenceFest for up-to-the-minute highlights and behind-the-scenes access to the artists, performers, speakers and influencers in attendance through videos, photo galleries and exclusive celebrity interviews all week long!
Digital Sorority will be on the ground and on the air via Instagram, Twitter, Periscope and Snapchat bringing you all the fun from the festival to the concerts and beyond!
Are you heading to New Orleans? Join in the fun by following @DigitalSorority and get social using #DSEssenceFest today!
You can’t mention then 20th Anniversary ESSENCE Festival without mentioning Ford Motor Company. The automaker took over New Orleans throughout the entire ESSENCE Fest weekend!
As the automotive-exclusive sponsor for the sixth-consecutive year, Ford activated on-site at the Earnest N. Memorial Convention Center providing fun giveaways including the chance to win the keys to the all-new 2015 Ford Mustang in addition to continuing its support of breast cancer awareness within the community.
As a premiere sponsor of the weekend, Ford partnered with SiriusXM Satellite radio for a live broadcast with celebrities all weekend long. Ford also took R&B Songstress Sevyn Streeter on a road to ESSENCE Fest journey celebrating her birthday weekend with dinner and a live streamed power-packed performance from the ESSENCE Festival Ford Superlounge.
If that wasn’t enough, Ford’s philanthropic arm was in full swing donating $20,000 to ESSENCE Communications for local community use, a million-dollar donation to the African American Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC and a 2015 Ford Mustang giveaway to an ESSENCE Fest attendee.
This past weekend, I got the chance to get behind the wheel of the 2014 Ford Mustang in New Orleans, check out my ride and drive experience below.
Discover more of how Ford celebrates ESSENCE Festival all weekend long below…
photos by Chris Mitchell / CME 3000 / DivasandDorks
Verizon Wireless Impacts And Empowers Essence Festival With Lance Gross And Regina Hall #VZWEssenceFestJuly 7th, 2014 by Christen
Did you miss out on one of the biggest 4th of July experiences this weekend? Each year, people from across the globe descend upon in New Orleans to see some of the biggest names in the music, empowerment and entertainment at one of the biggest and longest running festivals in the United States. ESSENCE Festival 2014 has barely come to a end but the impactful performances, influences and celebrity moments will be remembered forever!
Now in its 20th year, the event has grown to be more than a series of concerts and performances. It is an opportunity for the thousands who attend to connect with each other and their passions. The ESSENCE Festival also provides an opportunity for Verizon to connect with the community and power the passion of festival attendees. Hundreds of thousands came to New Orleans, Lousiana for the 20th Annual Essence Festival sponsored by Verizon Wireless and got the opportunity to meet and greet celebrities such as R&B songstress Jazmine Sullivan, R&B crooner Kem, Actress Sanaa Lathan, Regina Hall, Lance Gross and many more!
In addition to a star-studded celebrity experience, Verizon Wireless also showcased the power of Verizon’s network with the community by showing how individuals can transform their lives through technology & more. Representatives from Verizon’s HR team were at the ESSENCE Festival hiring talented and driven individuals who share their values of leveraging technology to create a better world. Verizon empowered girls between the ages of 12 and 17 years old to help address teen dating violence. They hosted the loveisrespect hackathon competition in New Orleans, an event that teaches software design and promotes healthy relationships in partnership with Black Girls Code and Break the Cycle.
I got the chance to sit down with Verizon Wireless celebrity partners Lance Gross and Regina Hall to discuss their favorite Essence Festival moments, must have apps and more at the historic Dooky Chase restaurant in New Orleans. Discover what makes their partnership with Verizon Wireless special and more #VZWEssenceFest moments below.
Photos via Chris Mitchell / CME 3000
For more on how ESSENCE Festival celebrated it’s 20th Anniversary with Verizon Wireless, visit VerizonWireless.com.