Six questions to ask yourself in the fitting room

image

What’s your go to stop when you’re looking for something cute at the last minute? This past weekend I had a fashion emergency. I had nothing to wear! I know, I know but still I hated everything in my closet this weekend. I recently moved from the northwest side of Chicago to the south side, so my regular go to spot for a fashion emergency isn’t in close proximity at all. I went to three stores. Nothing was calling my name in the first two stores, so I went to Rainbow. I haven’t been there since high school. No I’m not going to say how many years it’s been since I’ve been out of high school because I’m getting up in my 20’s. Anyway, I found a ruffled short black sleeve top with a creme quilted detail in the center. It was cute, it made me feel like I was in my twenties and the price was right.
image

The key to buying at affordable clothing stores like Rainbow is looking at the quality and the cut of the fabric. If it looks poorly made don’t buy it. Try it on. I can not stress how important it is to try clothes on. Everyone looks different in clothes because of the shape  of your body and the cut of the design.

Here are 6 essential questions to ask yourself when you’re in the dressing room:

  • Feel your fabric, is it thick or thin?
  • Does the fabric have stretch or is it fitted?
  • Once you try on the clothing, how does it make you feel?
  • Are you comfortable?
  • Do I need this?
  • Is it worth the cost?

Makeup for beautiful Brown Girls!

image

I love makeup and beating my face every now and then. I’m no makeup artist, but I hope in the near future I will be able to go to beauty school to learn how to do makeup professionally. There are a million YouTube videos of thousands of people doing makeup tutorials using high price brands like MAC, Urban Decay, NARS, Bobbi Brown, Makeup Forever and the list goes on. What’s a girl to do when she can’t spend $50 on her foundation and $75 on an eye palette? I’m glad you asked!
image

My makeup bag is filled with a mix of name brand products and drug store buys. I use Maybelline, Smashbox, E.l.f, MAC, Revlon and NYX. My skin can go from medium brown to a rich chocolate color in the summer. I haven’t tried Shea Moisture’s new cosmetic line yet, but I do know they have a variety of shades in their foundation cremes and press powders. Lancome has also extended their foundation shades since Lupita became their brand ambassador.

No matter what skin tone you have, everyone should have a summer foundation and a winter foundation. In between seasons when my skin tone is transitioning from light to dark or vice versus I mix the shades to give me the perfect match for my skin. Now I wouldn’t recommend mixing two different brands of foundation. There is a chemistry behind these creams and I don’t want anyone breaking out in a rash.
image

For my foundations I use Maybelline’s FIT me! press powder in mocha, their Dream liquid mousse airbrush finish in caramel dark 2 and dark 3, and in the summer I use Maybelline’s  Dream Pure BB 8-n-1 Beauty balm. The BB cream is perfect for the summer and I set it with the press powder. In the past I’ve used Black Radiance and Black Opal.

Over the years I’ve found that if you properly apply your makeup, you’ll look like a million bucks with or without the brand names. It’s okay to have a few key staples and gradually grow your makeup set as you go . Just don’t break the bank for the sake of beauty.

image

P.S. If you’re not use to wearing makeup and you want to start, I encourage you to start with a BB cream, mascara and lipstick or gloss. This is makeup 101 and the best way to get comfortable applying and wearing makeup.

Cocoa Boricua? Fashion & Beauty for people like me!

image

What does Cocoa Boricua have to do with fashion and beauty? I get side eyed all the time when I tell people the name of my blog. Some think I’m doing the most or picking one ethnicity over the other, and that’s not the case at all. I decided to name my blog The Cocoa Boricua because that’s who I am.

Growing up in Humboldt Park in Chicago the majority of the people are Puerto Rican with a small community of Blacks that live in Humboldt and Wicker Park. In elementary school sometimes I was the only Black girl with kinky curly natural hair in a room filled with Spanish speaking, pale and tan silky wavy hair kids. Some of my teachers and classmates were mean and prejudice just because of the color of my skin and the texture of my ponytails.  I struggled with self esteem growing up in elementary,  but when I got to high school I became resilient. As a little girl I thought I needed to have silky smooth hair, a petite shape, light skin and speak Spanish to be considered beautiful and a part of the community. As a child I wrote in journals and loved looking in magazines. There wasn’t anyone who looked like me in Seventeen or Teen Vogue in the nineties.

image

I was the first Black and Puerto Rican child to both my maternal and paternal families. Even though I look like both sides of my family (because they are all of African descent); no one was struggling with finding and identifying themselves with two ethnicities. No one was throwing around the term Afro-Latino in the nineties. No one in my life at least. It wasn’t until I got to college and started researching things on my own that I found out the truth about Africans in Latin America during the slave trade. We can thank Henry Louis Gates Jr. and his documentaries about being Black in the Americas.

Even without the knowledge and a representation of someone who identified and looked like me in mainstream media,  I enjoyed and lived for magazines as a little girl. I still do! My aunts kept Essence, Ebony and Jet magazines in the house and they still do. I loved looking through the glossies (magazines) and admiring the brown girls dressed to the nines, but guess what? Not many were natural and there wasn’t a plus size or full figured section back then. We have those things now and I’m grateful for the inclusion. However, there’s still many people who are ignorant of the fact that people like me exist.

That’s why I created this blog. I want to encourage the people who look like me  (natural, brown, plus size, intelligent and fabulous) to see their own beauty. I’m here to be the woman I needed to see and hear from when I was growing up. That’s why I named the blog The Cocoa Boricua.  People need to know and see the beautiful Black Puerto Rican.

It’s my dream to be the actual girl in the magazine, on the TV, in the front row seat of the fashion show working on behalf of all the people who identify with me. That’s why it’s The Cocoa Boricua.

image

Style it! Flirty Girl Punk

image

I’m getting so excited about Latino Fashion Week and Dangerous Curves Ahead Fashion Show! I love to style my outfits way in advance for any event. I’m sure you can tell I’m a girly girl. My signature colors are classic black and white with a pop of pink or red.

When I’m going to fashion shows I want to look the part and also be comfortable.  It’s so important to be comfortable while you’re at any event. Wearing too tight of a shoe or tight pants that cut your stomach when you’re sitting down will have you hurting, upset and you won’t be in the mood to talk to anyone. Trust me you don’t want to be remembered as the mean fat girl with fabulous sequins shorts. In the summer I wear dresses, rompers, and jumpsuits all day every day.  So when the weather cools down I start with sets. I love peplum tops! They make me feel like a lady, paired with a printed jogger gives the look a casual feel. Wedges and booties are more comfortable than a pump or stiletto to me. The pink moto jacket makes the outfit complete with a flirty edgy look.

Do you love this look? The top is from ASOS Curve, the joggers are from Torrid, the pink moto jacket is from SimplyBe and the wedge booties are from ALDO.

Transform your dreams!

It’s Tuesday and every Tuesday I see hundreds of transformation pictures. I love how the entire world abides by an editorial calendar. Every Monday is motivating and man crush Monday. Tuesday is transformation. Wednesday is woman crush. Thursday is the notorious throwback and Friday is flashback? I’m not sure about Friday but you get the point.

Have you ever despised transformation Tuesday because you felt like you haven’t transformed? I think we’ve all been there before. I know you see the pictures of people showing  their weight-loss, their new wardrobe and new sense of style or how some protein powder has changed their already defined biceps. No shade. This post isn’t about that.

For the past year my friend Niehla talked about her dream of moving to Los Angeles. For an entire year she reminded everyone in her life that she would move to LA. In every conversation, every single day, every week, every month all year-long some how she talked about LA. If you’re wondering if she got on people’s nerves talking about her move, she probably did.  In the beginning she didn’t know when she was going to move or how she would move, but she had it set in her mind that she was going. Not only that but she created vision boards and decorated inspiring quotes to remind herself of her dream.  She had bumps along the road but homegirl never let anything or anyone get in her way of moving. Niehla prayed and planned and guess what? Yesterday she arrived in LA and she’s unpacking as I’m writing this post! She spoke her dreams into a reality.

Three days before she moved to LA she was in New York for New York Fashion Week doing makeup for several runway shows. She’s the celebrity makeup artist that did Denise Bidot’s makeup for the Serena Williams show.  Watching her dreams come true has been marvelous and inspiring to me. Her journey to LA has made me realize that transformation Tuesday doesn’t only have to be about losing weight or getting a magical facial that closed all of your pores. Again no shade.  She reminded me that transforming can be about making whatever dream you have come true.

 

Denise-Bidot-NYFW-NiehlaO-MUA-2014

Denise+Bidot+Serena+Williams+Signature+Statement+pqV9JWzmVBkl

 

Beyond Exceptional Latino Fashion Week 2014

October is Chicago’s most fashionable season. Latino Fashion Week is back! This year the Beyond Exceptional fashion shows will start on October 1, through October 5 and will be held at Block Thirty Seven.

image

Last year was my first year attending and I loved the high fashion. I’m so excited about this year’s Love Your Curves Runway on Thursday, October 2. I can’t wait to see the curvy and plus size women work the runway!

I’m so glad to announce I’m a social media partner with Latino Fashion Week this year. I’ll be giving away tickets to 5 winners this week. Each ticket winner will be able to take one friend.

Here’s the contest rules:

image

Here’s some pictures from last year’s Latino Fashion Week.

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

Flawless! The best mistake I’ve ever made

image

Over three years ago I chopped off my relaxed hair and went natural. My big chop wasn’t planned. My bff took down my crochets (interlocks, whatever you want to call them) after I had got off work one night. My only assignment was to comb my hair before I washed and conditioned. Well, I didn’t and my relaxed ends turned into dreads. There was no conditioner in the world that was going to untangle those things. I got the kitchen scissors and chopped those suckers out! It was liberating and exciting.

It was the best mistake I’ve made ever. Honestly it was. I know I’m Not My Hair by India Arie. Trust me I have been through many tragic moments. Relaxer, dye, braids, hair cut disasters, burns and much more. It always grew back but I damaged it over and over with relaxer and dye. For three straight years my hair has been the healthiest it has ever been, plus the longest it’s been since I was in first grade when I got my first relaxer.

I’ve been to so many natural hair events and met some awesome people. My style and perspective on living a healthy life has changed drastically. I started to watch what I eat and consume. Working at Whole Foods my last semester in college changed my outlook on the food industry, but it wasn’t until this year that I decided to stop eating meat. My mom and my sister joined me and with their support the transition has been smooth.

As one of my uncles said I’m the healthiest fat girl he knows! Lol! I eat well! I walk and when I can I workout. I fell off the wagon but once I get myself together I will be back in the gym.

The last three years have been amazing and fabulous. If I hadn’t cut my hair, I probably wouldn’t have this blog. Being natural has shaped me into becoming the woman I am today. I see the beauty in myself and I feel so free. I’ve learned how to love myself inside and out, and I’ve been blessed to encourage other people to go outside the norm. This journey has been such a blessing! I’m so grateful. Who would have thought a hair cut could change everything?
image