Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Silent Killer

*Human Intonation Founder & Creative Director, Verneda Adele White pictured in Human Intonation black Respect Life tee

AIDS diagnoses for blacks are higher than the rates of any other race/ethnicity. The rate of AIDS diagnoses for black adults/adolescents were 10 times the rate for whites and nearly 3 times the rate for Hispanics. The rate of AIDS diagnoses for black women was 22 times the rate for white women.

  • The rate of AIDS diagnoses for black women is 22 times the rate for white women.

AIDS is the number one killer of black women between the ages of 25 and 34.

HUMAN INTONATION is dedicated to raising social awareness for today’s pertinent social & human rights issues through the creative element of fashion. HUMAN INTONATION hosted Women 2 Women HIV Roundtable Discussion, facilitator Dee Bailey (pictured next to me in red blazer) did a wonderful job in the flow of the conversations. I was blown away by the issues that were raised, but most importantly the goal of empowering Women of Colour to stop the spread of HIV and AIDS in this country. In the discussion, we came to a clear, and at times debatable points of ways to protect yourself every single time. You can be straight up- ask your partner when was the last time he was tested, and even demand that you see the "Quest Diagnostic" documents. Alongside communicating with your partner, its integral that you wear a condom each and every time of sexual contact. The question that then arised was, "how do you tell your boyfriend of 5 years that he must always wear a condom". This may create an issue of questioning infidelity. Your partner may start thinking you are stepping out on him, and honestly it can just be an awkward conversation for someone that you know is tested and safe. But according to one of the attendees, "Until you put a ring on it, you put a condom on it".

The conversation of HIV / AIDS should not only occur during World Aids Day or worse, finding out someone close to you has been infected, it needs to be spoken of frequently until Black Women are educated and empowered and stop being the main culprit of this sickness. We need to come together to start making an impact by developing this message. We can't depend on our churches to have this discussion because of the Christian views of waiting to engage in sexual activity until marriage, but lets face it that is not always the issue of people that are in church.

We all have a girlfriend who is loose or "sexually empowered" but lets face it after a certain age youre its not considered being a whore if you have sex often. I personally think it doesn't matter if youre 15- 25, or 50 if you are being sexually intimate and not protecting yourself that's a problem.

Before attending this roundtable, HIV / AIDS has never affected me or anyone else I know but actually this issue does affect me as a Black Women. For the first time I met someone that had HIV at this roundtable, it was strong...Im sure I've seen someone that was HIV positive on the subway, at the supermarket, but you truly never know until someone admits it. You can't tell someone is affected- just because you are pretty or handsome does not mean a damn thing. You must always protect yourself. The statistics are astounding.

In essence, you must continue this conversation now of HIV / AIDS with your friends, family, and circle of influence – talk to 5 to 10 people about it and challenge those ladies and men to talk to another 5 to 10 people. This is no longer taboo - Black women are affected every minute.

Items from HUMAN INTONATION ‘Stop HIV’ Collection (15% of the proceeds benefits Advocates for Youth – purchase Ladies Stop HIV deep-v tee at

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Scent that changed my life

I value and perceive all of the facets of Beauty on a high pedestal, but I can't help but lean towards the color segment in the beauty industry. Fragrance has been neglected in my arsenal. I have a tower (literally) of color cosmetics, and a Skin care and Hair product closet solely for these products but my fragrance bottles are thrown randomly in a mesh drawer. Mind you, I rarely purchase fragrance as its something that I receive complimentary (I can't help it!) Needless to say I decided to take a trip to Saks Fifth Avenue for the Friends and Family sale Friday evening. My intention was to try out Giorgio Armani Complexion products such as their concealers and foundations. I was not impressed but could not help but take notice to all of the fragrance counters and pop ups. I stopped at the Guerlain counter and a lovely saleswoman immediately began to assist me, I smellled and smelled until I could smell no more. I was over it by the 6th bottle. I felt defeated and told her "I'm just not into Guerlain scents" She was determined to change my opinion. She says, try this one, its my favorite, it's called "Gourmand Coquin, it's french and its inspiration is from food and the love of cuisine" I checked out the bottle, it was cute, but next to the other geometric and intricate designed bottles, it seemed drab. I sprayed the scent on the fragrance stick and held it to my nose. My olgafactory senses opened, then I inhaled again, attempting to figure out what are the notes in this bottle, I'm getting chocolate, but rose, and the elusive note was killing me.

Of course I didn't display excitement to the saleswoman, didn't want her to think that she won my seal of approval just yet. So I just walked away from her without looking back and got an opinon from a fellow Beauty lover. She thought it was wonderful, I KNEW it was wonderful and walked back to the saleswomen and said, "It smells amazing".

This scent is not remeniscent, it doesn't remind me of anything in the past such as my mother getting dressed for a party back in the 80s, or listening to jazz in Washington DC, as my other perfumes, this one didn't spark any past memories because this scent is my future. I even told my friends, "this will be the scent that I have on at my wedding".

As I considered this very important purchase, she tells me, its 10% off which is wonderful, but she then says its $250. WHATTTTT?!! I mean, beautiful scent or not, I am not spending $250 on a bottle of amazing, heartwarming, scentsational elixir called Gourmand Coquin.

But its two days later and I'm posting about it.....What should I do?! and what if....gasp....Guerlain decides to discontinue it.
To buy or not to buy

By the way, the official notes of Gourmand Coquin are black pepper, rose, rum, chocolate.

*images courtesy of Perfume Shrine

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

It's Been Too Long....

I think it's been nearly two months since I last posted on this thing. When life happens, well, you've gotta live! I've been busy living life, and that's all there is to it. I am currently in my last year of graduate school and looking to pursue a Doctoral or MD program. I'm on the hustle. So while Portia has been chronicling her job search stories, I'm trying to chronicle my application, thesis, and professional netowrking experiences. It has been somewhat challenging to balance both the academic and social realm, however, I am more than a conqueror and I've been rather successful in my conquest.

The Thesis: I chose to look at perceptions of obesity amongst public health students and the implications it has for future health policy and public health initiatives. I'm currently going through the University's IRB processs, and that is an experience in of itself. Thank God for a wonderful advisor and benefactors who have aided me along the way. The key to a successful thesis project is establishing realistic deadlines and measurable outcomes. The goal for September: survey roll out to study participants.... I'll let you know how that goes

DrPH or MD?: That is the question. I attended a career workshop this past weekend, and one of the things the keynote speaker told me was that I am confused about my long-term goals. I am equally concerned about Prevention and Treatment; however, I'm debating where my impact will be most felt. I'm simultaneously applying to DrPH, Post-Bacc, and Medical school programs. One thing is for sure: my purpose lies in the medical field.

Professional Networking: I've kinda become lapse in this regard. I don't attend many happy hours these days and I haven't attended a conference in a while. The CBC conference in this week, so I may try to hit up a couple of events. Afterall, it was at last year's CBC that I learned of the opportunity to be a contributor to Empower News Magazine. There are some upcoming Health Reform Conferences and Hearings that I may try to attend, so that's also great. OOOO and my professors this semester are bomb! One of my professors is the former Public Health Commissioner of Massachusetts and the other one is a figurehead in the field of Public Health. I'm trying to be the best student possible :)

Case in Point: Don't Burn Your Bridges; Surround yourself with those who can take you to the next level

Friday, September 4, 2009

Fab Event: Answer the Call

On Monday, rapper Jay-Z held a press conference announcing his 9/11 benefit concert, "Answer the Call." The concert takes place on 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance at Madison Square Garden. All proceeds from ticket sales will benefit the New York Police and Fire Widows' and Children's Benefit Fund All tickets are $50 and go on sale September 8th at 9am for Citibank cardholders and the general public at noon. I would definitely recommend using your lunch break to find tickets on Ticket Master; they're going to go fast! New York is only a Bolt Bus ride away but if you can't make it, concert sponsor Fuse is streaming the concert live on their website.

Wale: Chillin'

Fab Friday video! I'm surprised I haven't posted this one yet. Its always great to see a hometown artist break into the mainstream with a hit single. DC's own Wale has done just that, with some help from Lady Gaga. Look for Wale as one of the house bands during the VMAs next week.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

My new approach to job searching cont..

Another week of searching continues! Even though I really don't like sitting at the computer job searching, I feel compelled to because I don't want to miss out on any great opportunities. But instead of logging onto a website and searching for hours, sign-up to have emails sent to you based on the type of jobs you're looking for. I signed-up on Idealist for jobs that are categorized under "youth, event planning, social media, public relations", and everyday I get an email with jobs that match my key words. It saves me a lot of time and narrows my search down to 13 - 15 jobs a day that align with my interests and strengths. I also don't waste my time applying to every job that's emailed to me; I focus on the 2 or 3 that are good match and where I can make significant contributes to the company. Don't get discouraged in your search!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Digital Girl: Jamie Foxx, Drake, Kayne West and The Dream

Fab Friday video! Jamie Foxx is a very talented man and he doesn't disappoint with this single. I like the song much more than I like the video. But they are kind of cute, all four of them trying to look cool dancing in the video.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Get the Look: Ciara shows off her amazing legs

Ms. Cici looks great in this body hugging ensemble. I like the black and white combo, but I would also try wearing a bright orange or yellow tank top under the leather jacket. And add a few bangles on both wrists. Get the look and make it your own:

Express, White pencil skirt; $45

Forever 21, Black cami; $2.50
These camis are only $2.50, get a few in different colors and layer away!

Target, Faux leather jacket; $29.99

Alloy, Anne Michelle patent pumps; $9.99
Yes, these pumps are only $9.99. Alloy is having a serious sale on shoes and most of them are $14.99 and under.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

My new approach to job searching cont..

Yes, another week of searching has come upon me. I've been reading a lot of articles about landing that dream job and most of the advice falls into one category; be bold! If you really want a position at a company,boldly let me them know. Start a "Hire Me" blog, if you don't like writing then make a Youtube video explaining why they should hire you, call HR and ask to speak to the hiring manager, write a Facebook Note explaining why you're a perfect fit for the position, and I even read in Glamour this month that a woman screen printed her resume on her t-shirt. I like it; do what you have to do to get noticed. But a word of caution, don't slid from the realm of driven to annoying. Show them you're passionate, but don't call the CEO everyday leaving messages. Don't get discouraged in your search!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Fall's Beauty Must Haves

Summer is slowly but surely drifting away and Fall is approaching. I am anticipating the cooler weather, drapey fashionable knits, the darker shades of the city, and most importantly: Fall's cosmetic trends. Fall 2009 Cosmetic collections are currently being released and below are my picks for the hottest shades to have in your makeup clutch. There's a bit of something good in each cosmetic collection. My theme for this time around: Fall in line for the best liner and Fall in love with a dark pout. Check out Nars fall collection below. The top haves in this collection is Brumes Eyeshadow Duo and Fast Ride lipstick. I rocked a wicked smokey eye last week and while the Fast Ride shade appears dark, it applies smooth and has a stain like finish. Eyeshadow duos are $32, Single Eyeshadow is $22, Nail Polish is $16, and Lipstick is $24

Another great fall collection is by
Sue Devitt Beauty. The beautiful Hydrating Marine Minerals Destination Palette in Serengeti ($37.50) , and Magazine and Celebrity must have Eye Intensifier Pencils in Kenya and Tanzania ($22.00) and Luxury Lash Mascara in Black Widow Black Chocolate ($22) so delish. This is perfect, summer is all about the bronze but fall is about the woodsy, seductive browns. Check out this Serengeti Smokey Eye.

I absolutely adore Laura Mercier "Fresco Collection". Inspired by the nature-like colors found in Italian Fresco paintings, Laura Mercier introduces her
Fresco Collection. Eyes are soft and diffused, layered in earth toned shades of Satinee Crème Eye Colour with a pop of teal for accent. Crème Cheek Colour Pots in Sienna Sunset and Soft Apricot enhance the cheeks with a hint of creamy colour and tinted, soft-focus loose powder. Lips complete the look in rich autumnal hues with Laura's perfect artist palette, Lip Watercolours; containing a prepping lip balm and six pigment saturated stains. Welcome Fall looking ethereal, feminine, imperfectly beautiful.

Prices available (
Last and certainly not least is MAC COSMETICS. Artist, Richard Phillips created the inspiration for this collection. Racy, hyper-glam images revved-up in a modern take on vintage magazine pages, transformed into a super-vixen collection of colour for eyes, lips and cheeks. Paint it bigger-than-life with style and sensuality. MAC always satisfies my love for Colour and Fall 2009 is magnificent. My faves out of their collection are the Eyeshadow Palettes and Lipstick.
Check out the video for the collection on their website:

Eyeshadow x 4 ($36) In The Gallery (purple) Photo Realism(green) Notoriety (orange)
Lipstick in Lovin It ($14)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Fab Sale: District Sample Sale

Fashion meets compassion at one of DC's best sales of the season on September 16th. The District Sample Sale brings together 20 of DC's best boutiques to sell their end-of-the-season clothes at (extremely) wallet-friendly prices. Fall 2009 stores include Wink, Urban Chic, Sugar, and many more. DSS has taken place in the Spring and Fall since 2007 and is a completely volunteer run event. The best part about DSS; 100% of the proceeds benefit a different charity each sale. The Fall 2009 beneficiary is Rachael's Women's Center, a daytime shelter for homeless women in DC. RWC has a great Street Outreach program where outreach workers work to develop trusting relationships with people living on the streets. Their efforts help bring people that are usually hesitant to visit the shelter to come in for shelter, a warm meal, and several other services. Tickets start at $40, please support DSS because helping an amazing nonprofit like RWC is one of the best excuses to go shopping! If you have any questions, please contact DSS at:


Fab Event: Fashion Night Out

The global celebration of Fashion comes to NYC on September 10th. What a great way to kick-off fashion week! The city will be buzzing with millions of visitors and during FNO over 700 clothing stores and designers across all boroughs will stay open until 11pm, so people can shop, shop, shop. Vogue, the Council of Fashion Designers, and New York & Co have combined their efforts to get the American consumer shopping again.

There are several ways to get involved with FNO, you can buy an official t-shirt at any of the participating retailers: 40% of the proceeds will benefit the National September 11 Memorial and Museum. There will also be a city-wide clothing drive: All clothing will be donated to the NYC AIDS Fund whom will then distribute to 24 AIDS-focused charities in the city. And lastly, my favorite thing to do, volunteer! They're going to need a lot of volunteers to help with a clothing drive that big, if your interested:

Jay-Z, Rihanna, & Kayne West: Run This Town

Fab Friday videos! Run This Town is Jay-Z's second single from The Blueprint III. The beat is really great and Kayne's also comes correct on any track he makes an apperance on. We all know I love love love Rihanna and her voice is quite interesting on this one. Let's just say, no one can sing like her. But over all, the video is pretty fantastic. Love the all black everything.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Do younger men approach you?

He's a cutie, but he's also a young one

I look young, but I know I don't look like a teenager anymore. However, this doesn't seem to stop the 16 - 18 year-old group from trying to talk to me when I'm out during the day. They pretty much all say the same thing, "Hi, what's your name? Can I get your number?" I just laugh them off when they tell me they're 17 or 18 years-old. I think younger guys try to talk to us because they have no fear. They're at the age where they don't really care if women pay any attention to their wooing because they can move on to the next girl. I wonder if older men lack this fearlessness because they seem more hesitant to approach women with that "young care-free" attitude. I'm not sure if they're looking for something more serious or if they're just afraid of getting their feelings hurt. Well guys, I say you have to get over that and think back to your younger days. Just take a chance and say, "Hi, what's your name?", it just might work next time.

My new approach to job searching cont...

I'm still on the hunt for a new career path and thinking of more ways to step-up my job search. This week, I'm thinking of ways to use alumni connections. Do you pay a membership fee for your college alumni service? If you do, then make the most use of your resources during your job search. If you find a position you're really interested in, search your alumni directory to see if an alum works at the company you're interested in. Email the person before you apply for the job and ask them about the organization's culture and the type of employees they look for. I'm sure they'll be more than willing to talk to you, especially if you went to a school with lots of pride like my alma mater UNC. They might even be able to give you the hiring manager's contact information or forward your resume to the right person. Don't get discouraged in your search!