Allen Edmonds Opening at Harbor East

Style + Life + Fashion

Harbor East and Allen Edmonds today announced that the U.S. premium men’s shoe, clothing and accessories manufacturer will set up shop in Baltimore’s upscale retail district. Allen Edmonds will occupy approximately 1,300 square feet at 635 S. President Street in the former Starbucks space between th…

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Yesterday was a big day in our house. The print copies of my husband’s first book arrived.

He’ll tell you that technically I was published first, but as that book was an anthology to which I was merely a contributor, I see the publication of his novel as a much bigger achievement.

Of course I’m fretting about this. While playing the supportive wife, secretly I’ve managed to take self-doubt to a whole new level. I imagine my husband becoming a very successful author, and one day when he’s representing his urban fantasy series at a comic convention, he’ll be stricken with lust for a cosplay girl dressed as a demoness in a pleather bustier and horns. He’ll divorce me, the two will marry and live in a mansion, and when it’s my son’s week to come stay with me, the demoness will have to cajole him into packing his bag. “I know you’ll miss the swingin’ parties we have here, and I know your real mother is unsuccessful and very lame,” she’ll tell him, “but it’s only for a week, OK, sport? Chin up.”

The fact that I think young girls say “swingin’ parties” is probably evidence of my lameness.

Anyway, it was fitting—symbolic, even—that I too received a package yesterday. As I carried both packages inside, I remembered that it was Tuesday…WHICH MEANT THAT THIS PACKAGE MIGHT BE MY ELECTRONIC FOOT FILE!!!

Emotionally, I was like that pigeon in the Mo Willems books, jumping around and singing, “Foot file foot file foot file!” Why was I so excited? Because I have been waging a thirty-year war with my own calluses, and as I age, it’s becoming a war of attrition, with me caring less and less as my dead skin accumulates. Basically, I’m a poor exfoliator. When I was a kid, my feet callused and peeled so bad that my mom would rub Vaseline on them and cover them with cotton anklets. As an adult, I’ve tried cutting the hard skin off with a blade (dumb), getting regular pedicures (expensive and time-consuming), and using a pumice stone and lactic acid moisturizer (giant pain and not that effective).

In short, I believed I now had a weapon that would turn this war in my favor. Thanks to technology, my troubles were over. For $39.99 and a single click on Amazon, I would triumph.

I could already feel that rotating 360-degree extra-coarse sander “pulverizing” my calluses. I put it in quotes because that’s what the description said—“pulverize.” Few words are more satisfying, right? I prepared myself to rip open the box and proclaim with joy, “MY FOOTBLASTER!”

Then I realized the absurdity of the situation. Was this what I had become? My husband and I had started out as staffmates on the Wildcat’s Roar, our high school newspaper. Both of us had always longed to write and publish. Our journalism advisor had even given me a little blank book in which she had written, “Use this book to house your ideas. One of them will inspire a future bestseller!” And now, my husband was itching to open a box of his very own bookchildren, a project years in the making, while I was itching to open an electronic callus remover. Sorry, Ms. Elkins—I haven’t written a bestseller. But you may be pleased to know that I’m going to pulverize the fuck out of these calluses. Hear me maniacally laughing from amid a violent storm of dead skin particles.

As you might know, I have a complicated relationship with achievement, because achievement is intimately bound up with my sense of self-worth. My self-worth is conditional; I’m only as good as what I accomplish. When I’ve achieved ____, then I’ll feel validated.

Here’s a secret about people like me: We never feel validated. Because we always demand more of ourselves. Whenever ____ gets achieved, some other goal will rise up and take its place, and we’re scrambling again to prove we matter. I’m sure this phenomenon is tied to mortality and may even be more prevalent among those who tend toward existential angst. I’m not alone, I know. But I want it to stop.

When I get the email that says “This isn’t the right fit for our series,” I want to stop seeing these words:

This isn’t good enough.

You are not good enough.

You think people care what you have to say, but they don’t.

You think your boring, stupid, inconsequential life matters, but it doesn’t.

Every time I say that my voice matters, and there are people who want to hear, I can’t truly believe it. I mean, I might believe it for a little bit, but before long, the default takes over.

How insidious are depression and anxiety, with their lies. If worthlessness is what I feel by default, then that means I told myself I’m worthless enough times that I started feeling it. Worthlessness became automatic, like a song you somehow know the words to, even though you don’t remember learning.

I regret to say that the package didn’t contain my latest weapon in the War on Calluses. It was a talking hippo from Disney’s “The Lion Guard” that I’d ordered for Jack. When he heard the hippo say “Lion Guard defend!”, his face lit up. Which was pretty satisfying, I have to say—maybe even more satisfying than footblasting or book publishing.

Sometimes it’s about what makes other people happy. And you just have to be grateful that you’re there to watch.

I cannot WAIT for this motherfucker to arrive.

I cannot WAIT for this motherfucker to arrive.


p.s. Package update, a few days later: Talking hippo stopped working. Sent him back and ordered second hippo. Second hippo stopped working. Fuck that hippo.

Footblaster still hasn’t arrived.



Style + Life + Fashion

Malaysian singer-songwriter, entrepreneur, and fashion designer, Yuna, was featured in Vogue Online. The feature focuses on Yuna’s upcoming album, Chapters, which is set for a May 20th release date via Verve Records. Read the feature here. “The Malaysian-born, LA-based singer-songwriter …

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Style Logs: Welcome Will W. Walker Jr.

Will W. Walker Jr. Photo: Olivia Obineme

Let me first start off by apologizing to the incredible readers of Strangers with Style! This blog post is approximately three months overdue, but I hope it’s well worth the wait!

When Double O (that’s what I call Olivia) approached me to participate in the Style Logs series, I was completely shocked and excited, but terrified and a bit self-conscious, all at once! I mean, seriously!

​Me, of all people? Write a blog about my own personal style?

​It dawned on me that my time spent blogging on Water-N-Oxygen and A Good Supply was a reflection of my take on the trends and brands that I thought were dope at the time, however, they were not a representation of my personal style. Then it hit me…do I even have a personal style? How could something so simple be so hard to answer?

Photo: Olivia Obineme

I wrestled with this question for the next few days! Low key, I wasn’t confident in the daily outfit choices that I made; I was constantly second-guessing my decisions as I got ready prepared during the week. I felt like I couldn’t be the flyest me that I knew I could be! Now that I’m writing this post I can’t help but laugh at my behavior at the time, but it made me realize that most people place a huge emphasis on their appearance. Even though I’m having a good laugh about this, it also puts into perspective how the fashion and personal care industries amass billions of dollars every year. Ultimately I realize that people want to look good! When you look good, you feel good; and when you feel good, your confidence is on KANYE.

Photo: Olivia Obineme

​Seriously, let me regain my focus and get back to this topic of style and if I possess any! To do so, I had to do my best Marty McFly impersonation and hop back into the DeLorean to when I first became “style conscious.” My first time becoming really style aware would have to be 1994! This was my first year at Warrensville Heights Middle School, which coincidentally was also my first year in public school. Prior to that, I’d spent my previous elementary school years in Catholic school where we wore a uniform for 5 days out of the week. The only gear I was worried about was sports gear for whichever football, basketball or baseball team I played for at the time. Needless to say, I got a crash course in fashion and style real quick, not to mention I didn’t understand the difference between the two, until years later. But I can honestly say this was the beginning of my passion for fashion and my flirtations with many styles!

Photo: Olivia Obineme

​I realize that I’m filled with many memories regarding the impact of fashion on my life! Some of these memories are good, bad and even hilarious, but they are experiences that ultimately had an impact on how I cultivated my style over the years. Make sure you stay tuned and set up your feeds to track Strangers with Style and the Style Logs as I dive into the development of my style and its evolution through the years!


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Loreal Root Cover Up – Beauty Tip

Style + Life + Fashion

Let’s have a realistic conversation about our hair and color system.  Personally, I am not 18 years old and have perfectly colored roots.  Over the last few years I have noticed a few strands that are not pleasing to the eye (smile.)  We can’t turn back the hands of time but we can definitely select a product that will benefit our beauty routine.

Loreal Root Cover Up

After reading Instyle Magazine I discovered that Loreal had a new product to help with this unsightly problem. The Loreal Root Coverup is said to cover up your roots in exactly 3 minutes.  It’s a temporary gray concealer and perfect for in-between salon visits.

Root Cover Up

The product comes in six different shades and it’s for all hair types.  It’s also stated to be lightweight, smudge proof, and peroxide free.  I’m looking forward to testing the product on my hair to hide a few discolored strands!

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Beyonce and Blue Ivy Carter – White House Easter Roll

Style + Life + Fashion

The Carter family attended yesterday’s White House Easter Roll in Washington D.C.  According to the photos, Jay Z, Beyonce, and Blue Ivy created a lot of media buzz.  Celebrities such as Monica and the cast from Blackish snapped pictures with the famous family.


Readers also shared their enthusiasm for Beyonce (as a mother) allowing Blue Ivy to participate in such a tradition.  In true fashion frenzy, Blue Ivy wore a white fur coat and cute bunny ears.  Beyonce was seen in a Marco De Vincenzo midi dress.


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Real Housewives of Potomac – Episode 9 Recap

Style + Life + Fashion

Birthday parties, graduation, and dating lessons were topics from last night’s episode of The Real Housewives of Potomac.  Robyn (still) can’t decide if she wants to move forward with her relationship to Juan Dixon.


Photo via Twitter

Karen shed a tear regarding her daughter leaving for college.  This showed a different side of the potomac housewife.  She’s also refusing to become involved with any drama surrounding Ashley, having no conversations about their friendship.FullSizeRender-96

Gizelle, Robyn, Katie and Ashley shared a “heated” chat about Michael Darby’s interaction with one of the other husbands.  It was assumed that he touched someone’s backside.  Ashley defended her husband and found their comments offensive.

A few additional conversations were also discussed about Robyn’s ethnicity.

FullSizeRender-97 IMG_3451

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