Another R.I.P: Vibe Magazine Folds



Photo from Concrete Loop, Obama Magazine

As many people know, Vibe magazine, which was launched by Quincy Jones in 1993, shut down immediately on Tuesday.  There was a statement from Vibe Editor-in-Cheif Danyel Smith that was released  about the closing of the magazine:

On behalf the VIBE CONTENT staff (the best in this business), it is with great sadness, and with heads held high, that we leave the building today. We were assigning and editing a Michael Jackson tribute issue when we got the news. It’s a tragic week in overall, but as the doors of VIBE Media Group close, on the eve of the magazine’s sixteenth anniversary, it’s a sad day for music, for hip hop in particular, and for the millions of readers and users who have loved and who continue to love the VIBE brand. We thank you, we have served you with joy, pride and excellence, and we will miss you.

Danyel Smith
the former Chief Content Officer VIBE Media Group
& Editor in Chief, VIBE

And  this article by the New York times explains the history and the prominence of Vibe magazine over the years.

I’ll admit that I haven’t picked up an issue of Vibe magazine in a long time myself.  I found other sources for my urban music and gossip fixes online. However,  when I was younger, Vibe was definitely on my list of “must buy” magazines every month, and I was always anxious to read about what was going on in the urban music/gossip/fashion world.

As I got older, I started looking at other sources for my urban media fix and my interest in Vibe waned  I read a couple of issues of Vibe Vixen during its short tenure, but I wasn’t surprised when it folded.  I was used to magazines targeted towards  young, professional women of color such as Honey and Suede.

However, I never thought Vibe would fold.  I’d heard about the shortened hours of their staff and other cutbacks.   But I thought they’d stay around or worst case scenario, publish online only.

Now, as the New York Times also points out, the only large circulation magazines to represent the Hip-Hop  and R&B culture are The Source and XXL.   However, they didn’t have the same cross-over appeal as Vibe.

I think the gap that Vibe magazine will be leaving is huge for the artists, publishing industry and staff.  It is definitely a sign of changing times for print publishing.   Whether Quincy Jones buys the magazine back and puts the magazine online or not, the the state of the print magazine industry continues in its downward spiral with this latest casualty.

Film Inspiration: Eve’s Bayou

Eve's Bayou_

I’ve traveled through many states in the South in my youth, so when  it comes to vacation, there aren’t any places that I can think of that I would choose to visit.

However, there is one sure state that I would love to visit and perhaps live someday: Louisiana.

Watching the HBO series,  True Blood has only intensified my romanticism of the Louisiana culture and increased my desire to visit the state.  Yes, even if it is a show about brutal, blood sucking vampires.

But, the movie that started the fascination with Louisiana culture and cultivated a wish to retire to a swamp is Eve’s Bayou.   It’s a cult film that stars Samuel L Jackson, Lynn Whitfield, and a young  Jurnee Smollett.   Here is the synopsis of the movie as given by IMDB:

The story is set in 1962 Louisiana. The big Batiste family is headed by charming doctor Louis. Though he is married to beautiful Roz, he has a weakness for attractive women patients. One day Louis is flirting with married and sexy Metty Mereaux, not knowing that he is observed by his youngest idealistic daughter Eve, who is there by accident. Eve can not forget the incident which is traumatic for her naivete and shares a secret with older sister Cisely. Lies start to roll.

The movie is moving, thought-provoking and stirring.  I highly suggest running out and renting it at Blockbuster or Netflix it if you haven’t seen it already.

However, the fashion and style of the movie is also what always captivated me.  The costume designer is  Karyn Wagner, who has also served as costume designer for “The Notebook” and episodes of “Friday Night lights”.  For Eve’s Bayou, I’d say she did a great job of capturing the style of an affluent family in rural Louisiana in the early 60’s.

Now, whenever I watch Eve’s Bayou,  I’m always inspired to put on my Sunday best instead of throwing on a typical pair of jeans, T-shirt and flip flops.  Instead, I feel like I want to put on a pair of pearls, a nice floppy hat and a pair of white gloves.  Okay, maybe not the white gloves.

Eve's Bayou 2

Photos from Amazon, IMDB

And you can also see the trailer:

R.I.P to the King of Pop


Another post where I will veer off of the fashion/beauty talk for a second.  Yes, this is a tribute to Michael Jackson post.  I’d actually gone back and forth about writing a tribute post since others have eloquently written on this subject matter.   However, I thought it would be quite fitting since I can say that Michael Jackson was one of my first introductions to music.

I was born shortly after the release of Thriller and the now groundbreaking Motown 25th Anniversary show where Michael showcased his moonwalk for the 1st time.   Some of my earliest memories include me trying to imitate the dance at the end of the “Beat It” video–I never could get through “Thriller” until I was older.

When Bad came out, I was a little bit older and I remember my dad taping all of the music videos on his Betamax (we were old school) and him showing me how slick and smooth MJ was in “The Way You Make Me Feel” video.   Once again, I was in awe of the moves from the “Smooth Criminal” video.

And when “Dangerous” came out, my dad bought two cassette tapes–one for me and one for him, because he knew we wouldn’t share.  I played that tape out until it was broken.   The  music videos, like “Black or White” and “Remember the Time” were full scale productions and the premieres were treated as such.   We’d be abuzz in class the day after the premiere  about seeing the videos and how cool this move or that move was.

And I still liked his later music from his HIStory and Invincible album.   Plus, his Off the Wall album and Jackson 5 songs were always mainstays in the home.  I’d listen to my mom’s “Off the Wall” record and dance by myself in my room as if I were at a disco on a Friday night.  Good times, indeed.

Last night, I went with a couple of friends to a small memorial at Johnson Publishing Company, the home of Ebony and Jet magazine.  It was a small group, but there was singing and Johnson Publishing hung their Ebony and Jet poster-sized covers in their windows:

MJ Memorial 1MJ memorial 3MJ Memorial 8

So I will not only bid adieu to Michael Jackson, but to a part of my childhood that I  will always remember from listening to his music.  From trying to pop-lock in my yard with my friends to anxiously waiting for his video premieres.   I’m  glad that I grew up in that generation to know what good pop music really, truly is.  I can look back fondly of those memories of his music and the influence it had on me.

R.I.P Michael.

Trace Magazine: Black Girls Rule


The newest issue of Trace magazine with Arlenis Sosa is out and I immediately went to the Trace website and downloaded the issue.   I’ve given up on finding the issue in Chicago since every local bookstore and newsstand told me that they no longer carry it.  One newsstand owner told me that the publication had been shut down and I was crushed.  Well, I’m glad to see it wasn’t the case, so as far as I’m concerned, a PDF will suffice.

I have always, and will always have a a soft spot for Trace magazine since I appreciate their transcultural theme and their edgy editorials.  While American Vogue and other mainstream fashion magazines feature a woman of color on their magazines sporadically, the Trace Black Girls Rule issue alone reinforces a positive image of women of color in the spotlight.

This Black Girls Rule issue features Sosa, discusses how she went from a being a student in the Dominican Republic to top model after being featured in Italian Vogue’s All Black issue.   Her photos are simply stunning:

Arlenis Sosa 1Arlenis Sosa 2Arlenis Sosa 3Arlenis Sosa 4

There was also a feature on former top model from the 90’s Brandi Quinones, who had a very successful career in the early to mid 90’s.   Supposedly, after becoming a bit too familiar with the party scene amongst the fashion insiders, she faded out of the spotlight.  However,she is set for a comeback and the article gives her side of the story and reintroduces her to a new fashion generation.   Here are some pictures of Quinones during the 90’s:

BRANDI QUINONES 1994bbrandi35ftmzuvAnd here are the pictures from Trace:


Overall, I thought it was a good issue.  And  I’d definitely say the magazine is worth a click to download the PDF.  If you are not familiar with Trace magazine or haven’t heard of it, I’d definitely encourage you to give it a try.  The subject matter and photography is always interesting, edgy and you won’t necessarily find the same people featured in your mainstream mag.  Plus, it’s a free PDF.  And who doesn’t like that these days?

Trace cover photo from Trace website; all other photos from The Fashion Spot.

Another one bites the dust

Branquinho RunwayVeronique Branquinho F2009 RTW

I know I’m a bit late on this since it was announced in late May that Veronique Branquinho would be closing down her shop and forced to liquidate due to the current recession.  I’d written about  Branquinho’s work in a previous post and noted that she was always under the radar when it came to the fashion world.

However, Branquinho was meticulous in her attention to detail and was a pro when it came to her use of fabrics.   She was one of the designers that I said I’d buy a piece from their line once I “made it”, because I knew that it would last forever in its stylish form.

Plus, her shoes were always on point:

Branquinho ShoesBranquinho Shoes 2

Now, it’s one less designer I’ll be looking  for in the stream of Fashion Week photos and reading the runway report on  Not that I ever got the feeling that she was the highlight of their reviews, anyway.   As for what’s next for Ms. Branquinho, she  will likely focus her time as the artistic director of Belgian leather-goods brand Delvaux.

So as we bid adieu to another talented designer who had the goods, but couldn’t stay afloat during these economic times, I leave with this video from of her Paris 2008 Fall runway show.

Check out those threads

If there is one facial feature that I always strive for perfection then it’d be the eyebrows.

I’m a part of the school of thought that believes the appearance and shape of the brows transform the rest of your face and raggedy brows just aren’t a good look.

Plus, I’ve got something of a wonky left brow that leaves estheticians puzzled when I walk in and they spend countless minutes trying to tame the wild brow.   The hair sticks straight up and no amount of coaxing can make the hair conform.

I have friends that pluck their own brows, but I never could quite get the arch I wanted with plucking.  In high school, I’d get my brows overly waxed  into a pencil-thin arch that was so laughingly unrealistic that I cringe when I look back at my pictures.  .

One day, I was reading an article in Vogue magazine about eyebrow threading.  I’d never heard of threading before, but I was desperately trying to find a new, inexpensive avenue for finding the perfect arch.  What further piqued my interest was that the author tried a salon here in Chicago, Dilshad’s Hair Design, and said the cost for a perfect arch would be $5.

Needless to say, I made the trek across town and went to Dilshad’s very soon after.  There was pain and discomfort, but the arch was great.  Two weeks later, my brows were thicker with a great arch.   The total cost for this was $7, with tip.

Now, I’ve been getting my brows threaded for about 5 years and I’ve yet to have a bad threading job as I’ve had with waxing or plucking.  I suppose it’s all a matter of preference, but the threading is a bit more painful than waxing in my opinion, but the results are great.  Threading is able to grab hair at the root so that there are no strays left behind.

Here is a picture of my freshly threaded eyebrows while out on Saturday night:


I guess it’s more like eyebrow, since you don’t get to see most of the other side, but I thought this would be a good example nontheless.  I especially wanted to highlight this particular brow because it’s my “wonky” brow.   It’s not the best job in the world since the arch is usually a bit higher and more defined when I go to my usual lady, but I think they will grow out nicely.

If you haven’t tried threading yet, I’d definitely say give it a go.   It’s cheap, effective, and the results last way longer than that I’ve experienced with waxing or plucking.

Feeling adventurous?  You can try to thread your own eyebrows, too!  See Eily311’s awesome how-to video on threading below:

Clandestine Travels

Montreal Header

I’m going to veer off  the fashion and beauty talk here for a second and share another budding passion of mine: travel.  Although, I suppose I haven’t really been anywhere to brag about.  However, traveling is becoming a major interest and if I could spend the rest of my career days traveling to different locations every rip,  I’d gladly do it.

When it came time for me to plan a trip for myself, I already knew a few things: I would be traveling alone; I would only be able to leave for a long weekend; and it had to be somewhere out of the United States.   Not even sunny Puerto Rico would entice me.   So what place would satisfy all of those prerequisites?

I picked Montreal, Quebec Canada.

Yes, I know it’s not some majorly exotic location.  Plus, I admit, I didn’t know much about Montreal, except what I could piece together from travel guides, informative blogs and websites like   And I’m not even close to being fluent in French.  I know English is spoken in Montreal,  but I would have liked to have been a bit more conversational in French when speaking to the locals.

But I couldn’t let that stop me if I was determined to use my vacation time and go.  I applied for and received my passport, booked my travel plans and got out of dodge.

What I Did:

When you travel, you have so many ideas and places that you want to see, especially when you are visiting for the first time.  I didn’t have an itinerary, but my plan was to just get lost walking around the city.

Well, the plan would have worked perfectly if it hadn’t rained most of the time I was there.  Not that I’m complaining, but it’s kind of hard to be comfortable sight-seeing in cold, rainy weather.   Where I did manage to stake out by foot and the Metro was the Rue St- Denis.  I’d asked the concierge where I should go for sight-seeing and he suggested that the street would suit me just fine and he was right.  I spent hours upon countless hours walking into every boutique and specialty shop that I passed.   And I’d go into a warm cafe and grab a beverage whenever the rain really began to beat down.

After tiring of the rain and getting soaking wet (even with an umbrella), I found refuge in the Underground City.   To say you can get lost as a first timer is an understatement.   I was able to access Zara, DKNY, Club Monaco, Simons and many more stores and eateries without ever having to consider going out to battle the cold.

What I Ate:

I knew that I could get some great food in Montreal, with the vast array of restaurants and different types of foods.   Crepes were a must have for breakfast, because I knew they were much more common in a “fast food” setting than would be in Chicago.  Also, I definitely made sure to get a smoked meat sandwich from Reuben’s, which I attacked after a long day in the rain.  I wanted to go to Schwartz’s deli for the meat, as I’ve heard that it was the number one choice for many, but I never made it to Saint Laurent Boulevard.  Either way, the smoked meat sandwich from Reuben’s was delicious:

Smoked Meat Sandwich

Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of the before and only remembered after.

Where I Shopped:

I was staying pretty  close to what I would take is the shopping mecca in Montreal, Rue  St-Catherine.   So,  I was only a couple of blocks from the famous  Ogilvy department store, who’s  beauty counter is wonderfully stocked with just about any brand you can imagine.  People told me that I had to visit Simons, so I made sure to stop in, but I had to leave due to some serious heavy crowding.


Toward the end of the day, my jeans were soaking wet from all of the walking and I’d planned on wearing them back on the plane the next day.   Cleaning service in my hotel was closed on Sundays, so I had to find somewhere fairly inexpensive and close to buy a new pair of jeans from.  Where do I end up?  Urban Outfitters.

Urban outfitters

What I wanted to See (but didn’t):

One location immediately comes to mind: Old Montreal.  I hoped I would be able to make it to Old Montreal during my rained-out tour, but time wouldn’t allow for it.  I also never made it to the Latin Quarter, though I’ve been told that I was pretty close if I’d hopped back on the Metro for a couple more stops.

Hopefully, I can visit Montreal again sometime soon and have a better plan mapped out.  I can vaguely identify some of the streets and the Metro is much easier to navigate than I’d thought as a foreigner.  Overall, this trip did serve it’s purpose: I went on my first trip out of the country.  I traveled alone.  And I was able to be  as unrestrained and spontaneous as I’d liked.

I couldn’t have asked for much more.