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Winter Freelancer Survival Guide

People hear freelance and instantly they think you have this crazy amazing life filled with light cameras and “action”.  There is that, but there is also waiting for checks and creating your own checks.  We have crazy schedules.  Some months I work a 2-3 week 10/12hr gigs while barely seeing my kids.  Bags under my eyes that’s not by Chanel. Sometimes weight loss or bad weight gain from eating poorly.  Other months I can have a whole two weeks off where I get to recoup and wait on my kids arrival from school with their favorite meals already plated with a smile. Keep in mind the week we don’t work there is currently no checks for that gap.You also have to keep in mind that invoices are sometimes  late so it’s never a definite date for the upcoming checks.

Seeing my kids for a few days after long weeks  is great, but after like three  days I’m like aight y’all cute but this stay at home Mom shit isn’t for me!  Unless you’re proactive  and aggressively working, depression will be all up in your  couch, comforters and sheets .  The Fall/Winter are especially hard for me because who wants to go out in the cold if you can just stay in bed and just take the  day off?  The down side to this way of thinking  is that one day can lead to two which leads to three.  That’s when we have time to count all the wrongs and be hard on ourselves.  So many days off yet you’re not making any money and you  still have bills.

The last year and a half I’ve come down with a routine for my days off to keep from losing  my flame and keeping money flowing. Below is my routine for surviving winter blues

Make a schedule 

There is typically a sense of how many days you’ll have off.  Instead of winging it make up a schedule of different ways you can be creative and stay active.  I write down a to do list every night to get my mind ready to work.  Making a  list is accountably and putting it out in the universe that I am ready and willing to work.

Make Your Bed

If you’re like me, you can not work from home or  bed on cold days.  I will fall asleep or scroll down social media for way too long.  Every morning after yelling at the kids to stop arguing and sending them off to school I make my bed. Once it’s made I am forced to follow through with my to do list and plans.

Plan your outfits

I personally don’t plan mine the night before. In the top shelf of my closet I already have my current Fall/Winter  go to’s  folded.  Both tops and bottoms.  They barely need ironing.  For footwear I have the same set up.  I do however think of what the temp will be like the coming day and what texture or color best compliments my mood.  Consider pulling the full outfit the night before or having a filled rack for the week .  Prep it every Sunday. If you look good you feel good and having your looks prepared saves you time and allows you to get to the paper quicker!

Leave Your House 

So you have a list and an outfit  planned. Cool. The hardest task is here. Leaving your house!  I pick a different cafe or Starbucks to work out of to keep the routine of leaving the house.  A little gas is worth my sanity.  A great space and decor stimulates my brain and keeps me creative.  Also something as simple as being around other working folks is fun and keeps me inspired.  You never know who you can meet and what can come from this next  encounter.

Create/Pitch

Don’t sit around waiting for a check. Get creative!  This could be a blog post, an event or a  test shoot with locals.  Start that holiday project you’ve been putting off.  Pitch to a brand you’ve always wanted to work with  or stop by that local boutique/shop that you’ve been eyeing on your way to work.

The more consistent and intentional I am about my schedule, the more motivated and upbeat I remain.

What do you do on your days off? How do stay creative during the cold season?

2 piece suit- Bobby From Boston

Blouse DVF

Earrings/Booties- TJMaxx

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The Wedding I Never Had

When I was packing for Paris I thought “You have to bring that vintage dress!”. The one I snagged from a thrift shop like 6-7 years ago just because.  I’ve never been to Paris and who knows when I’ll be back so when In Paris do the most!  I brought the biggest suitcase on wheels and was determined to fit 10 days( only was staying 7) worth of clothes and this big ass wedding dress in there. To  make enough space, I had an additional carry on for all 10 pairs of shoes because options people options.

Before even booking my hotel I envisioned wearing this dress on a perfectly designed balcony overlooking the city. My room at Hotel  Bienvenue was perfect.  My view didn’t overlook the city, but the view to a greenery filled outdoor terrace was just as good for this over the top adult.  On this particular morning I woke up with what felt like a U-Hual  parked on the left side of my brain.  The kids of today call it a hangover.  The drinks and extra shots the night before with Rose and our new friends “Laurie”and “Tom” from New York was one of the best nights in Paris.  A night filled with laughter and unrehearsed dope chemistry.  I ruled out shooting this dress and made peace that it was a no go because there was no way Rose was going to make it for our 9:00am rendezvous to shoot on my last day here.  I was wrong. Rose came through and I had to pull it together. While putting on my dress and Rose getting B-role I felt some tears filling in my eyes. “Oh my goodness Rose I’m emotional sorry…I never had a wedding” . Writing this now I’m tearing up.  I got married 9 years ago on a cold Tuesday in November.  We went to city hall did the damn thing then went to work.  That was it.  I wore a royal blue with big green polka dot 80’s dress. Having a mini ceremony wasn’t priority with a constantly wheezing and asthmatic 9 month old while we both were  still adjusting to two kids and me  in college full time. Plus if I was going to have a ceremony it had to be right and not rushed.  I’ve been doing things my way for so long that a ceremony became a thing way down the to do list. As  the years passed it stayed at the bottom of to do’s and most times not even  a thought.  This day however I became emotional and I still can’t pinpoint why.  At that moment it hit me that this felt like the wedding I never had. I can say that putting on this dress made me feel like a princess, a beautiful moment in my adulthood and after talking it out with Rose- a reminder of how important a marriage to myself is.  As a Mother and a wife I’m split into a billion pieces over the years and daily looking to keep things sane, run a household and raise children. The well seems to come close to running  dry at times.  They need me, but if I’m not well then my supply of love and support of all sorts is low. I had to fill adult shoes since 16 and have poured into a relationship since then. This day reminded me that no marriage is good enough if we don’t pull through on commitments to ourselves, mental health and goals. We ask people all the time “How’s marriage?” or “When’s the wedding?” , but not enough “How are you doing?” or “How’s your goals and  mental health?”. I want to teach my daughter that marriage and a wedding is cool and all, but you can’t  give what you don’t have, darling.  It is so easy to lose ourselves and sometimes it takes a vintage dress in a  black and white photoshoot in Paris to realize your perspective has changed and evolution is on the rise. 

Cheers Vanessa! To the beginning of the most important  marriage and new season.

Photography: Rose

vintage wedding dress

Vintage boots

Lingerie from Marshalls

Earrings from TJMAXX

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A Princess In Paris

Location: Paris

Song : The Carters “Heard About US”

Mood: Pulls In Paris/ Keys to the city

Guys!!!!! Where do I begin?

Paris was a dream.  I’m typically a wordy person, but the last fews days when I think about Paris and asked about my trip all I can do is smile and  yell out “ahmazzzzing!” The 7 year old me and the 33 year old me became one.  Being able to do designer pulls and shoot in the dresses was out of this world.  Typically  fashion week for me the last few years means crazy lines,  delayed runway shows, packed presentations and rude PR encounters.  This first time Paris fashion week was a totally  different experience. I had one runway show and the rest was show room visits. I got to meet the designers, get to know them over water, coffee  and the finest chocolate while getting ins on how the collection came about.

It was at an appointment preview  that I met Sandra Mansour. Monroe had seen her collection in Paris  years ago and requested again while on route somewhere in an Uber.  This turned out to be a fave visit. Sandra was so passionate while describing the making of her garments.  It was refreshing to see the passion in her eyes and voice.  The Lebanese Switzerland raised designer shared how she is naturally a painter and how the two worlds become one when working on the collections. This engagement made the pieces that much more memorable because each piece has a unique creative process and a story.  After viewing the SS19 collection the showroom manager took me to see the current Autumn- Winter 2018 collection .  My eye balls jumped out of my head from all the luxurious  textures , colors and prints which is what I always naturally gravitate to.  After pulling and flirting with some dope floor length top coats my soul was snatched by this beautiful purple gown.  It was the dress that kept on giving.  First the purple, then the patches of velvet  shapes topped off with tiered voluminous sleeves. Wait for it….then the sheerness of the dress peeked through with the mini velvet polka dots. I mean talk about icing on the cake. like I mean.  I’m writing this in Starbuck right now and doing the most hand gestures  because even a million miles away  I can feel it and see this masterpiece. The perfect ending would have been a Prince picking me up in a Lamborghini, but clearly he didn’t get the memo that a Princess was in town. Tuh! The nerve of his Parisian ass!

I am looking forward to more show room appointments next season .  So was  I being dramatic for no reason or is this dress not poppin?!

Earrings- Thrifted

Dress and shoes courtesy of Sandra Mansour

Photographer: The ridiculous talented Rose L.

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Palace of opportunies

“Can’t believe we made it!”(Beyoncé voice)

To Paris that is.  For years I’ve been saying how I have to go to Paris and this country and that country.  I got  tired of wishing and hoping. Twas bout damn time I started doing what I said I would. After resting, eating and getting some  rest, we took day 2 by storm and like true creatives  went to shoot some looks.

Monroe has been to Paris at least 4 to 5 times already so I didn’t do too much of a to do list of things I wanted to do or places I want to eat. We are both foodies and I trust her taste. I’m not a tourist-y type of traveler.  I like to go where the wind takes me and just explore and chill.  After passing by the Eiffel tower Monroe suggested we visit Jardin du Palais-Royal and if you can’t tell….it was lit.  This vintage Valentino dress fit me like a glove and I felt like a regal baddie walking through my palace of opportunities . 

Strolling through here reminded me that life is for the living. Too often some of us wait for the “right time”  “right people” “right opportunity” to take a leap or start on a project and the truth is  time waits for no-one  ever.  There is never going to be an option of re-doing yesterday. Have the nerve to show up and the nerve to do what you say you’re going to do. Period!

Today on day 4 of my time in Paris I will be wondering the streets, people watching, reading and having mimosas

Keep up with my Paris shows and adventures in my Insta Stories

Dress: Vintage Valentino Bobby From Boston

Earrings: TJ Maxx

Photography: Rose Lazard

 

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My Beach Is Betta

When it’s too hot to wear real clothes you throw on your beach wear.  I know, I know. “But it’s a bathing suit” , but baby rules were made to be broken.  Okrrrrrrt?!(Cardi B voice)Wearing bathing suits with jeans is nothing new under the sun, but making it classy and a lewk isn’t something I see often.  When I purchase bathing suits I not only think about how it will look on the beach, but I also pick pieces that will look great with my signature summer a line skirt looks. I want my one pieces to be a lewk with some wide leg pants and scrappy sandals.  One that is so good that you won’t know its not a bodysuit unless I tell you. I purchased this bra from Target 2 years ago to go to Puerto Rico with my family.  The print got may attention so I grabbed it despite the fact that it was one size too small.  That’s how I get my fake Double D boobs because truth is Momma’s breast been the same size since high school I think.  My mother buys my bras so I’ll have to double check those facts, but I can guarantee they didn’t grow a full cup since then. You’ve been picking out your beachwear all wrong baby. Here’s  how you do it to ensure you are double dipping on that purchase and getting your pennies worth.   Below are the types of pieces to shop for in your stash or on Asos and target(only places I’ve purchasedShopping separates

Look for fun prints and color.  If the colors and prints are too intimidating then make sure there’s intricate details like straps, cut outs and sheer for some flava. You don’t  want to look like you are wearing a basic ass bathing suit top.  You reveal that on your time, not the bathing suit.  I personally don’t buy the matching bottom if it’s not exciting. Life is too  short to be matching your separates every Summer.

One Piece 

Not every one piece is cut the same so try them on to make sure it’s flattering. The ones with the high cut sides(like the Bay Watch girl lifeguards) cinches the waist and gives an hour glass frame. They look flattering with high waisted jeans and skirts.  Stay away from ruffles or tiered styles past the navel. You will end up with a confused look trying to stuff additional fabric into your bottoms.  Fabric quality is also very  important because there is no break on the eyes  like a two piece. If it looks cheap there is no finessing it. If it looks like a mess and falling apart on the hanger then skip it. Lastly make sure you are comfortable with the support it gives to the bust, because an exposed bra isn’t  ladylike .In April I wore this same top to walk around Miami Beach. A blazer and some heels took it from beach to roof top dining.My two recent bathing suit purchases are this  red one piece and this  white one

Check out this page of one piece bathing suit from Asos which pretty much sums up all the ones that transition into outfits except for the three  “Frankies Bikinis ” ones which has crocheted too much going on! Happy shopping and feel free to ask additional questions below-I got you playa.

Fit

Thrifted silk vintage blazer($2.00 at Salvation Army 🙋🏾‍♀️😜)

Cinq á Sept skirt via TjMaxx store

Windsor Store heels

Target bathing suit bra( 2 years old)

TJMaxx earrings

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Daddy Issues

Tapping into it..

Two weeks ago in my Instagram stories for Fathers Day I shared how growing up without a father has affected me the last few years compared to barely caring my whole life.  At least I thought.  I don’t know if it’s seeing the heart throbbing and deep connection my daughter has with my husband or that I realized how important their presence is period.  I think it’s both and then some.  While I shared this on Fathers Day it actually wasn’t the first time I’d tap into these feelings.

It was actually a few months ago. I sat straight up in bed and thought  “I have daddy issues”.  You would have thought I came up with some serious invention or something.  Shit made me sit right up. I called my girlfriend Marsha like “Giiiiirrrrrrrrrl I have daddy issues!”  to which she replied calmly ” yeah….”. As if to say yeah girl like a lot of us fatherless women do.  The last few years I’ve picked up on outlooks from women who grew up with fathers and those who didn’t. For example, my girlfriends who grew up with fathers who were positive role models and good to their mothers were extra picky about the men they dated and was willing to go a long period of time without being in a relationship until the man met their expectations. There was no gray area.  Either you did or you didn’t meet the standards. Period. They also still believed that there were good men out there where as me and some friends  who  grew up with grandfathers, uncles and fathers with cheating and manipulative ways always heard “Men Ain shit!” and believed it for the most part. Most recently I had this discussion with a friend who said her father’s absence made her work twice as hard so that she would never need to depend on man and gave her a no bullshit tolerance for them.

The meeting….

I met him at 15 in Brooklyn after asking my mother to find him for me. I explained to my mother that me wanting to meet him is not a reflection  of how she did as a parent but instead because I needed to know the other half of me. He gave the wrong number for us to meet later that day, but we found him on Nostrand Avenue playing cards in the basement of a rundown Haitian restaurant. “Where have you been ?” I asked while he adjusted  my tee shirt to close the gap between my bare stomach and Brazilian low ride jeans. He replied that he’s sent gifts for me to the same apartment that he once lived in with us.  He also confirmed he had other children who’s life he’s actively in.  So yes if you’re wondering he was given a chance to share his story, restart and rebuild with me. Clearly he chose not to. Imagine how annoyed I am even thinking about this man 18 years later. Like why the fuck do you care Vanessa?!   Because, how I  end up doesn’t give him and will never give him a pass to being absent and the older I get the more I see how much this absense affected both me and my mother. A seed planted is a seed planted…good or bad.

The women who grew up with fathers have such admiration  for their fathers and a child like glow about them when speaking of them. While you can still be great without a father, their presence and knowledge could help with life, lessons and love. When I started dating my husband in highschool I didn’t have a man to run to and share some thoughts and experiences with.  Someone to reassure me this is a man’s way of thinking or it’s immaturity and this too shall pass.  Heck my husband didn’t grow up with a father to tell him what feelings and actions a man should have . We have to figure it out in a lot of trial and error.  Yes women with great fathers can still experience these trial and errors, but they have a guide. Fatherless Daughters have to work twice as hard to figure  that shit out.

Women who are forced and given no choice to be “Strong” can turn bitter. For years I considered my mother strong for wearing  both the pants and skirt only to realize as an adult it must not have always felt that way for her. I stopped telling her Happy Fathers Day for a role she wasn’t born or signed up to play. We need to replace “You’re so  strong” with “how are you?” and  “What do you need?”. My grandfather who had many many children and baby mothers has come around more consistently the last 10 years and I can see the difference it’s made with my mother. She’s been more vulnerable and finds comfort in saying she’s going to  call her father. It’s like the little girl in her is happy and the “Strong” woman in her can take a break.

Closure 

So I ask myself now what?
You tapped into these feelings, he’s still not here. Now what?.  Nothing.  I addressed them instead of putting it off for what it’s not and that’s how I heal. Me accomplishing my goals isn’t a pass for his absence. His absence is also not a reason to shame away from this topic or not teach my kids how important vulnerability is. While I get annoyed with giving even half a fuck and him none I still owe it to myself to heal and deal with it.  So yes women who marry great fathers still need their fathers.

Fatherless or not, please share your experiences with or without your father.  I still get fuzzy hearing and seeing women love up on their fathers.

Fit

Bandeau top Tribes Of Joseph

Men’s Suit thrifted

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Dine Out Mami

If you watch my IG stories or even watch my food highlights you know that I love to eat and sometimes enjoy cooking. Outside of small vacations with the kids my favorite thing to do in the Summer is dress up and dine out.  It’s the  way I grew up bonding with my family as a kid and now a preferred pastime with my own family and friends.  Just like Love we need food so why not make it memorable and feel good(Ha that’s a nice line) Anyways here are some favorite restaurants  that I’ve had on repeat lately and how I dress. This outfit was worn to dinner at Del Frisco, reservations for two.

Brunch

  The Farmers Daughter Easton, MA

I was introduced to Farmers Daughter a few years ago by someone and been glued there since.  The name matches the decor and the food.  Fresh squeezed orange juice, wooden tables and drinks served in mason jars.  Like a moment. I pretty much tried the whole menu at this point.

What I’ve had…

Benedict

toasted challah, poached farm eggs, fran’s sweet tomato jam, chive hollandaise

Chicken & Waffle Benedict

chive, cheddar & corn waffle, bacon jam, buttermilk brined crispy chicken, local maple, poached farm eggs, chive hollandaise

Dress Code: Whatever I want. People pretty much wear anything from jeans to Sunday best looks.   I typically wear whatever I have on or pieces that reflect the mood which is usually yoga pants, hoodies and jeans, mules or sneakers.

Earls Kitchen + Bar

Ive been here about twice, once for dinner and this past Sunday  for brunch.  I preferred Sundays  brunch and $5 mimosas over last months dinner. The setting is pretty dope and both visits were memorable because of the glass ceilings and outdoor patio.

What I’ve had…

Del Frisco Eagles

My husband took the entire family here for my 30th birthday a few years ago and since then it’s been my go to for quality and hefty steak.  The other day I had the Prime Ribeye medium well (because the Haitian in me can’t do running blood of any kind) with some Spanish red wine .  I start off with their crab cake which was like 90% fresh crab meat(Rare these days and best I’ve ever had)

What I’ve had…

16 oz. 53

Dress Code:  Fun, sexy and flirty.  The views are so good so why not match it’s fly?! Last week I wore this outfit for a dinner for two.

Holly Crab–  Alllston MA

So ummmm….I’m obsessed with seafood and will only eat it where it’s just as good as I can make it or better.  This is better and a fave spot for our family date nights.

What I’ve had…

Snow Crab & Shrimp 3x Spicy Holly Crab sauce(don’t do this level if you don’t do spicy)

Dress Code: Clothes you don’t mind getting red stains and butter on!

Now for this LEWK….

DVF top (Diane Von furstenberg)

Zara skirt (two months ago)

Sophia Webster (few years old)

Purse- Vintage Salvatore Ferragamo

Earrings- TJ Maxx.

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Upside down & Bloated

Happy Tuesday Sugars!

It’s appears that mother nature can’t make up her mind lately so I’ve had to get creative for Sprinter(Spring and Winter)

Like if I have to layer one more time I’m going to have a meltdown! Sprinter calls for creativeness so that’s what I’ve had to do more of lately. I had a baby shower to go to a few weeks ago and didn’t feel like dressing up, but was definitely not going to wear this basic as sweater and try to make it into a lewk. Nah!So I turned that bitch upside down and baby you couldn’t tell me this wasn’t a designer off the shoulder sweater. You should have seen how excited I was to tell the story each time someone complimented my look. I was like “Guuuuuurl it’s an H&M sweater turned upside down!” *dramatic hand gestures and all” The moooost I know.Being bloated on the other hand is more like every other damn week it seems. My go to for my disrespectful fanny pack around hat time is some good ole high waisted pants. Like you get to be bloated but look like your waist is still small. No Midol please! I found these at MadeWell and now they are on sale for $59.99 😩🤦🏾‍♀️

A cinched waist and they make your booty look good! Giiiiiiirl go get you a pair! And no this ain’t sponsored.

These poppin ass heels are Betsey Johnson

A friend of mine Stephanie posted them in her stories and next thing I knew I was hitting send on that Venmo like my life depended on it.

Now I’m off to appointments with the kid and Therapy! What y’all up to on his beautiful day?

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Self Care

Two years ago I did a post on Self Care and talked about what that meant to me and how I practiced it. You will still catch me doing weekly bath bombs and biweekly spa visits, but since the last post a few things have been added

Journaling

I’m pretty sure Journaling is just a fancier word than diary for adults. You couldn’t pay me to write in a diary as a kid or a teen, but journaling as an adult is therapeutic as heck. It literally feels like with every word I’m releasing whatever it is that’s bothering me that day or noticing a shift in mood and seeing change through each entry. Sometimes I accidentally fall on an old page and think “Look at you making progress V!”

Therapy

Although my dreams of sitting on a pink velvet or leopard couch didn’t come true, I’m seeing a therapist and loving it. Having a spouse, friends and loved ones to speak to is cool, but it doesn’t always mean they are qualified to help you with all things or can do so without a bias feedback. Seeing a specialist means I’m paying you for your time so there’s no “girl you’ll be alright” quick responses or “let me call you back!”. It’s routine, accountability and progress check all in one visit.

Looking your best

My mother told us growing up “You don’t have to look like your problems!” We were always raised to look our best when stepping out, but this statement to me also means to look like a victor not a victim. It’s means putting a little effort whether it be steaming your clothes instead of just throwing something on. It means not looking like your to do list. My first pick me up after prayer in the morning is always getting dressed or simply looking put together even on days when I’m not feeling my best. Try it if you must, but it’s hard to be slumped with a good statement piece or a bold lip!

Company you keep

Let me start off by saying that the thoughts we keep is Company. Lately I’ve had to edit my thoughts a lot and work on breathing techniques to keep me from thinking or creating a bigger problem than I actually have. Second I’ve had to check patterns and feelings to realize that I’d been holding on to relationships that no longer served me or made me feel good. Reality was that the insanity was my new norm because I allowed it to be. It took util my 30’s to really see that the company you keep will either add or subtract to your life and journey. We want what we want and sometimes think we have a way of changing people to better fit our lives and plans. Found myself thinking “God if only this person just didn’t do this or did it my way” . It’s like no Vanessa it was a misfit and not even instructions could have made that friendship work. Lastly I had to be honest that I was at fault sometimes and that maybe I wasn’t what they needed. Not a fun experience , but ya know growing pains.

Outfit

* Thrifted linen blazer

* H&M boyfriend jeans

*Gucci mules

How do you self care lately?

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A vibe

Top: New Zara

Boots : New Zara(Currently on sale in stores)

Pants: old Zara buy

Coat: thrifted

waist beads: www.shopiccon.com

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