Essence Festival 2017

From June 29 till July 2, Essence Festival will take place for the 23rd time in New Orleans, Louisiana. Since its inception in 1994, this cultural celebration has offered more than just music. At Essence Fest you will be submerged into the arts, fashion, hair, makeup, entrepreneurship, food and culture, just to name a few categories represented.

Ticket options include, weekend passes, single nights and VIP all access. All tickets can be purchased from Ticketmaster. With prices ranging from $40 and up.

This year’s lineup includes performances from all musical genres such as all time greats Diana Ross and Chaka Khan, to R& B sensations John Legend, Mary J Blige and Jill Scott. Two of my favorite performers India Arie and Jazmine Sullivan will also be in the building. With over 75 performers you are guaranteed to hear music from someone that you love. To find the full lineup and schedule click here.

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Even if you do not plan on a purchasing a ticket for the actual music portion, you can download the free app for Android and IOS. This app will give you access to free events taking place over the weekend! These free events will include health/beauty demonstrations, exciting freebies, food tastings and much more.

If you are looking for something a little more enlightening, you can check out the Speaker’s Series. This showcase will take place the entire weekend and will give you the opportunity to hear from filmmakers, such as one of my favorites Ava DuVernay, a writer/director for films such as Selma and TV series Queen Sugar. From influencers dedicated to social change, athletes and more, you are definitely in store for an intellectual delight!

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Do not miss out! Head over to Essence for additional information and get ready for good cooking, music and fun!

Follow Maria Brown @mariabrownblog


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Nikki Reed and Ian Somerhalder celebrate Unlikely Heroes in Dallas

I was in for a treat this past Saturday, as I had the opportunity to interview one of Hollywood’s hottest couples Nikki Reed and Ian Somerhalder (who actually live in Atlanta). They had flown out to Dallas, TX to celebrate Unlikely Heroes, a non-profit dedicated to rescue girls from sex-trafficking.

First, let me eliminate any kind of rumors in regards of these two love birds having  any trouble in paradise. They were very affectionate with each other, holding hands, and cuddling up on one another, anyone was able to tell how much they were in love with each other.

Host Nikki Reed with Ian Somerhalder (Photo Credits: Peter Larsen / Getty Images)

Nikki wore a beautiful floral-patterned bohemian style gown with black suede Jimmy Choo stilettos. Her husband kept it simple yet stylish with a crisp white shirt, black jeans and a grey blazer.

Event Chair Kenyon and Katie Colemn, hostes Savanna Chrisley special guest Ian Somerhalder, Nikki Reed, CEO of UH Erica Greve and Hostess Anjejah Johnson (Photo Credits: Peter Larsen / Getty Images)

After a few shots on the red carpet they came over to me for the interview. Nikki explained that she met Erica Greve (founder and CEO of Unlikely Heroes) very organically on a mutual friend’s back patio, they instantly connected after Reed learned what Unlikely Heroes stood for. From that point forward unconditional support and love was born between two powerhouses. Reed and Somerhalder don’t only lend their names and faces to the organization but also get actively involved with the girls. They visited the  rescue homes, rode bikes with the girls, took them to get manicures done with the goal of building a relationship with them. When Ian and Nikki can’t physically be present they facetime the girls to show them that they are loved and cared about.

Rikki Reed with Husband Ian Somerhalder (Photo Credits: Demarcus Mitchell / The Breeze Life)

To my question of what the everyday person can do to support this cause Nikki responded instantly with “We need to talk about it”. Sex slavery is still a very uncomfortable topic, many believing this atrocity only happening overseas or somewhere else. But it is happening right now right here in the U.S. with Atlanta, New York, and Las Vegas being the largest hubs in our country emphasized The Vampire Diaries Star.

The power couple is very passionate about the cause, believes in Erica, her team and the infrastructure Unlikely Heroes is building to change the world. UH has grown tremendously in the past 5 years having established 4 rescue homes globally. There is also one here in Dallas and I encourage everyone to get involved with it!!!

Quick outfit change for the evening Dress by Asos and Shoes by Lola Shoetique (Photo Credits: Chunte Foster)

The 4th Annual Recognizing Heroes Charity Benefit sponsored by Sumits Yoga Colleyville and sponsored by iHeart Media and KISS FM later on in the evening was beautiful yet very emotional. The stories shared in the ball room of the Ritz-Carlton in uptown Dallas were heartbreaking but also hopeful. I can’t imagine what these little girls have been through but I also admire their strength and resilience to survive. To read some of the incredible rescue stories click here. Dallas gave wholeheartedly as always and Jordin Sparks let the night end with an outstanding performance!

Jordin Sparks killing her performance (Photo Credits: Peter Larsen / Getty Images)

Please comment and share this post with your friends and following. We need to get this message out to FUCKING end SEX SLAVERY!!!


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Transitioning into Fall – Easy Style Tips

Even though it is still hot as hell in Texas it’s time to transition into the beautiful fall season. My must have’s are booties in the brown to nude color palette, rust colored dresses and tops as well as over-sized cardigans and button down shirts. As usual I try to use garments within a certain budget that can be mixed and matched in various ways.

1. Dig into your BOYFRIENDS’s closet


tblmc-17-2tblmc-2-3tblmc-4-3For this outfit I chose an over-sized boyfriend style denim button down with an over-sized beige cardigan on top. Both items are by Black Kaviar which are either available online or in-store at Guns & Roses Boutique in Downtown Dallas. My distressed boyfriend jeans are from Old Navy  and my booties are from Guess. I’m usually a minimalist when it comes to jewelry but choose a gold and pearled necklace as a statement piece. Outfit styled by CatrinaTheCreative.

2. Rust and Leather are IN



ONE Dress TWO completely different styles: Focus point of this outfit is the rust-colored body con dress, which I bought on sale for $5 at Charlotte Russe. The first look accentuates the dress with nude Aldo pumps a suede taupe jacket and a vintage nude clutch I bought from a flee market in Germany years ago. The second look is biker-chick inspired with a black faux leather jacket from Forever 21Forever 21, black Guess Stilettos and a tote bag from Black Kaviar.

All photos provided by: Demarcus Mitchell

Let me know your thoughts. Which outfit is your favorite?


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How to WOW Editors and Decision Makers

I don’t know how many emails I sent to buyers, editors, and other decision makers without receiving a response. Frustrated I started talking to people in my inner circle that held influential positions. After soaking up their recommendations and experiences my response rate sky-rocked and my clients were featured in major publications such as Harper’s Bazaar, Cosmo, E-News, Sports Illustrated and other. Here the key points I paid attention to:

  1. Time is Money: Editors and Dicision Makers have very little time to read emails until they move on to the overflow of messages landing in their inbox. Therefore you only have a few seconds to catch their attention and explain your argument. Keep intros short and get straight to the point (Who, What, When). Please don’t write a page long essay. No one will read that!!!
  2. Visuals: Ever heard the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words”? I start my pitch emails with a strong, high resolution and professional picture. For example when I’m contacting buyers I include our best-selling items at the top of my email.
  3. Emphasize: Highlight and/or write in bold the most important things you want your reader to take away. Not only makes this reading your email easier but your audience doesn’t have to spend much time taking notes if your pitch is of interest.
  4. Think for the reader: As mentioned in 1. time is limited! Be concrete and tell a story. Avoid throwing out generalization such as “I have this amazing product you have to write about” instead paint a picture why your product is amazing and attach a cool yet unique story to it. Every magazine wants to write about something they have never heard of before. Every store wants to carry items that will fly off the shelves.
  5. Do your Research: You need to know who you’re writing to, most articles include the author’s name so make sure you address the correct person in your email. Find out topics and deadlines. If you pitch a summer trend for a winter issue your email will be deleted right away. If you have a great story but submitted past the deadline you might have missed out on a great advertising opportuniy.

I hope this will help you guys. If you need anyone to look over your pitch feel free to send me an email


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