11.19.2014

Current Obsession: Diana Ross


So I tried to shoot an outfit post today but that was a total fail lol. Instead, I wanted to show you guys who I have been obsessing over for the last few months. Diana Ross' style in the 60s,70s, and 80s was beyond mesmerizing. Diana really embodies that diva aesthetic with her confidence and clever use of sequins and fur. Also, Diana Ross stars in one of my favorite films, Mahogany (1975), so you should definitely check that out. Below, I have placed plenty of my favorite pictures of her. In the comments, I would love to know what you think about Diana's style and what is inspiring you at the moment :)






Photos are found on dianaross.tumblr.com

11.01.2014

My Skincare Routine


All of my life I've had very dry skin. I don't have acne-prone skin but I will experience my fair share of pimples here and there. Also, I do have dark circles under my eyes and random dark spots on my cheeks. The products below are some of the things that I use on my face on a daily basis to help correct these problems. 

Every morning, I wash my face with Neutrogena Oil-Free Face Wash and it has helped minimize my breakouts.The salicylic acid in this wash  is the key ingredient to help target my stubborn acne. Every other night, I switch it up and wash my face with Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser. This cleanser is perfect for sensitive skin and is great for removing those last traces of make-up when wipes aren't enough.

Once or twice a week, I will use Freeman Facial Clay Mask and St.Ives Oatmeal Facial Scrub. Each of these products does an excellent job at clearing my pores and refreshing my skin. The St. Ives scrub is a great exfoilater while the Freeman mask is a great detoxifier. 

Every time I cleanse my face, I tone my face with Mario Badescu Glycolic Acid Toner. The toner helps fade my dark spots and prepares my face for my moisturizer. To moisturize my face, I use Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion. This lotion absorbs very quickly and does hydrate my dry skin.

If you have any recommendations please leave them in the comments :)

9.28.2014

Artist Spotlight: Marceau Willis



This is the first installment of my Artist Spotlight series. The purpose behind this post and future posts is to showcase more local and international artists who are passionate about their work and represent something much bigger than themselves. Today, I am featuring Marceau Willis. Above and below are pictures from her newest photo series. In italicized font, I have placed Marceau's words. Read below to learn more about her and her photography. 

Model: Maryam Hampton
MUA + Jewelry Stylist: Paulina Noble

"I'm a 26 year old female aspiring photographer shooting in Northwest Indiana and Chicago area. I've always been mesmerized by photography since I was a child.  I used to take pictures of my friends and family all the time. I guess I enjoyed being able to look back and relive the moments forever.  I studied Media Communications at Purdue University Calumet which was the closest major that was relevant to photography since my school didn't offer a specific program in that field. 
I'm currently developing a project titled, "The Red Lip Series" which will represent a diverse group of women in different shades and textures of red lipstick.  RED is a powerful color and to me it represents independence and a sense of boldness. I feel that each woman has a story and is unique in her own way, so being able to express this through lipstick is a fun way to show diversity.  Also, working and interacting with these women was definitely a positive experience.  I was able to see their individual talents come full force, and it's nice when people support you and want to participate in something you're creating".

Marceau Willis
Follow her on Tumblr and Instagram :)

9.01.2014

Three Books That Will Inspire You










 This summer I had a lot of time to reflect and think about a lot of things. I was feeling a little uninspired to do much of anything at the beginning of my summer vacation last May. This is why I choose to read a few books that would help uplift my spirit and motivate me. I listed three of them below and would love to know your thoughts about any of them if you've read them. Also,if you have any other reading suggestions let me know :)

Be The Miracle: 50 Lessons for Making the Impossible Possible 

This book is written by Regina Brett. I loved reading this book because Brett shared so many inspiring stories from individuals who found simple ways to make a big difference in themselves and in their community. All of those lessons taught me to jump outside of my comfort zone and give help to those who need it. Also, I learned how to focus on strengthening my inner peace and reducing my own anxiety by not letting others or myself influence me in negative ways. 


This book is written by Austin Kleon. The book is such an easy read with great visuals and gives valuable advice on how to put yourself and your work out there for the world to see. Kleon gives great tips on how to network effectively with people on the internet and IRL. I learned that there is really a great payoff to being dedicated to your craft and sharing your experiences with others. Also, I learned that all artists have high points and low points on our journey to success. The most important message in this book is to be patient with the process of creating  great work and knowing  that great things and people will eventually come to you because of it.

#GIRLBOSS

This book is written by Sophia Amoruso. Amoruso aka the CEO of Nasty Gal gives great advice to young professionals especially women about how to empower themselves and how to succeed in life and in business. She mainly wrote about how unconventional her life was growing up and how hard she worked to get to where she is now.  In addition to that, she lets the readers know some of her greatest mistakes and how she overcame them. I learned that you can't always find your dream job but you can always create one. Also, I learned that life is way too short so you should always go after what you want because that's what a "Girl Boss" is supposed to do.

8.26.2014

No Tomorrow














While I was shooting these photos, I had no idea that I was standing in the middle of the Cancer Survivors' Garden in my city. The beautiful garden is definitely one of Chicago's hidden gems and is located at 445 East Randolph Street. Several people in my family have been diagnosed with cancer in the past few years so being at a place like this at random was comforting yet eerie for me. The huge packs of birds flying back and forth while we were staking these pictures stirred those eerie feelings even further. Anyway, this location was more than perfect for an outfit like this with limited color.

If you can't already tell from my past outfit posts, my personal style over the last 6 months has definitely been simplified. A breezy t-shirt,blouse and comfy jeans are my go-to pieces along with practical footwear lately. Claire Marshall,one of my favorite YouTubers, has definitely played a big part in that change. In my opinion,she's one of the few people who can t-shirts and jeans look sophisticated. I admire people like Claire who can make every outfit they're own and that's what I plan on doing from now on.

Photos by Alexandra Castro

Necklace H&M
Watch Urban Outfitters
Waverly Blouse Aritzia
Jeans Zara
Sandals Topshop

*Check out Aritzia's #FallForUs gallery and you might see a familiar face ;)

8.23.2014

One More Time




It's about that time of year,where summer is almost over and fall is soon on the horizon. This time of year was always awkward for me because I could never find great transitional outfits for the season change until now. Now, I am equipped to put together more comfortable and stylish outfits of those extremely warm days in September and October thanks to a few pieces I just bought. One of them being this jacket I found at LOFT and this tank top from Aritzia. Both are really lightweight and extremely versatile and can be worn all year long with the right layering and paired with trousers or jeans. I would to know your thoughts on outfits like this and your own tips for the summer-to-fall transition period.

Photos by Alexandra Castro

Jacket LOFT
Liene Tank Aritzia
Shoes Converse

8.09.2014

Style Icon: Elvira Hancock










If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you would already know that I'm slowly but surely picking up photography again. I've been on hiatus for several months and now I'm finally ready to learn and experiment. For this photo shoot, I really wanted to have fun and take a chance on building it around one of my favorite style icons, Elvira Hancock. Elvira was played by a young Michelle Pfeiffer in the movie Scarface(1983).  The film follows the perils of a Tony Montana, a Cuban refugee turned drug lord, in the thriving city of Miami during the early 1980s. The movie is legendary and there are so many great elements but one thing that can not be ignored was Elvira's attitude and style.

My heart just smiles when Elvira repeated calls Tony out on his crap. "Hey, Jose. Who, why, when, and how I f*ck is none of your business, okay?" is one of my favorite quotes from her. Even though she was a "trophy wife", she still stood up for herself and refused to treated with disrespect. Other than having a bad cocaine addiction, I think she embodies everything I want myself and other women to be: fabulous and resilient.

Last, I would like to thank everyone who was involved in this shoot for making my vision come to life. If you liked this post and want more like it please let me know in the comments. Also, if you have any photo/tech advice link those down below as well :)

Photographer: Carmen Henry
Hair/MUA: Angelica Ruiz
Model: Casey Burwell