0:00 CHALLENGE | My Sisters’ Keeper

I accepted the 0:00 Challenge from adashofmichaela.com with every intention to share my “good love” gone bad story. With some reflection, I realized that that story had its moment. I’ve worked hard to move forward with forgiveness, and rehashing it only gives it undeserved energy.

Ironically, it revealed that I’m still in a place of unforgiveness that has nothing to do with a man. While most women of color are celebrating one another, planning their next girls’ trip, and adjusting each others’ crowns, I feel alone. It hasn’t always been this way, and I constantly find myself trying to piece together where it went wrong.

I’m the woman who views images of sisterhood mixed with a sense of pride underlined with cynicism and envy. Crazy, right? I can no longer relate to those shared moments of carefree happiness with girlfriends.

Some of my earliest memories of sisterhood were of my mom and her clique. The girls’ nights, late laughter and gossip over the phone, and seeing them comfort one another in their darkest hours. As I entered my final years of high school, something shifted. My mom’s circle became much smaller, the frequent visits from my ‘aunties’ dwindled. To top it off, my mom began instilling in me that females can’t be trusted. To not keep a lot of girlfriends. I’m unsure if it was something that my mom was personally going through or if it was just that I became more conscious of the instability of friendships. It was high school…many of my friends from previous years dissipated as we entered adolescence.

When I began my studies at Florida A&M University, making friends and forming sisterhoods was something that I could not avoid. Dorms were not co-ed and we shared EVERYTHING. It felt amazing to once again share camaraderie with girls my age. We encouraged, supported and defended each other without a second thought. Not all of those friendships stayed together, but the majority of us stuck together even after graduating. We carried on our laughter, dating stories and gossip over a widespread of different area codes. It was only a couple of years ago that the last of these connections ceased to exist. It still hurts like hell.

In the past few years, my best friends barely call or answer when I call. Others only communicate through social media posts. The bonds are broken, yet I hold on to hope for many of them because that’s all I have left.

I’ve developed this awkward disposition when placed with a group of women. I’m unsure if they are truly looking to make friends or if they are only seeking to connect for an opportunity. I find it difficult to build friendships as an adult partially because of my mom’s voice in my head and due to the many attempts I’ve made that has only proved her right.

I take sisterhood seriously. I don’t care your racial background or social upbringing. I expect that any friendship among my girls should have a greater standard of loyalty than anything that we could ever have with a boyfriend/spouse. To add to it, I’m a new mother now. Some of my existing friends who have had children before me are nowhere to be found when I have mommy questions. Even my newly made mom friends don’t include me and my son in much of anything.

My mission to you, as a woman, is to build instead of tear each other down. Be mindful of the words you use with one another and the words you speak to others about one another. Make time for the late night laughter, nights out, and brunches. Reach out even if you have nothing to talk about. You’ll find something…that’s the fun of being a woman.

For those of you who share your wealth of sisterhood, continue to do it proudly. There are women like me who sees your images as hope and inspiration.

Be sure to visit adashofmichaela.com to check out other 0:00 Challenge testimonies!

With Love + Style,

Crystal Lariece

Elemental Style

via LoveTailsKC.com

It seems like zodiac signs and dating go hand-in-hand. For some, a potential mate’s sign can be a deal breaker before they even reach a first date. If you’re one of those people, this post may not be for you. I’m here to talk about that crucial first date and how your date’s sign may give a clue to what you should be wearing to make a lasting impression.

All twelve zodiac signs are divided into four elements of nature: Fire, Earth, Air, and Water. These elemental designations are believed to shed light on the personality traits of those born under a particular sign.

FIRE signs of the zodiac are Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius. People who fall under these signs are all about energy. For them, words are nothing without action behind it. Leading and taking action for things that they want is second nature to them. We’ve seen these characteristics shine through President Barack Obama (Leo) and Grammy award-winning artist, Chance the Rapper (Aries).

Pete Marovich/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Lester Cohen/WireImage

CATCH HIS EYE:

Image | zimio.com

Men born under a fire sign are most compatible with a partner who falls under a water sign. Fire is most attracted to the sensitivity and passion that water awakens in them. All the signs that are within the fire element find it hard to resist women with confidence that takes pride in her appearance.

 

Rihanna (Pisces) exemplifies what a man of fire is looking for and she effortlessly reflects it in her style. For a dressier night out, choose a look that is feminine, yet edgy. Showing the right amount of skin has never hurt anyone. Just be careful to not choose a look that is too tight, too short, or too revealing . The goal is to exude confidence and passion, not easy and desperate.

Read On…

It Should All Be So Simple…

For three weeks now, I’ve been toggling back and forth with a post about summer style.
Introduction completed.
Even the first style “to-do” chosen and broken down.

BUT THEN I STOPPED.

I found myself staring at the cursor steadily blinking on the screen, as if urging me to “Come on already…”.

Yet, I had nothing to give on the subject.

How could I not have anything to say about style, when that’s who I am? That’s what this is supposed to be all about. Right?!

IT COULD ALL BE  SO SIMPLE…

While speaking with a close friend about affirmations and managing our thoughts and words I realized that I’ve denied myself the comfort of me for a very long time. It’s been a constant battle of accepting who I am versus who I was.

…AND WE BOTH END UP WITH SCARS.

Rejection, disappointments, and heartaches, hasn’t made me special…it’s made me human. It shows my resilience as a woman…and my value. Yet, past scars are still raised. Impatience has delayed their healing and the battle has seemed to have no end.

TELL ME WHO I HAVE TO BE…

By not recognizing my gift for what it is – a divine purpose – I’ve found myself doubting each step of my creative journey. Focusing heavily on recognition and applause of others, instead of celebrating the light that is ME.

SEE, NO ONE LOVES YOU MORE THAN ME, AND NO ONE EVER WILL.

I’m a woman of faith. There is no particular religion that I attest to, but I believe that God is real. Whenever I’ve been faced with the work of realigning with my truth, He has consistently focused my attention  in three specific ways: 1) scripture, 2) a person that I trust, and 3) music.

Scripture is always in my life in some way shape or form, but one scripture always signifies that my life is on the brink of a major reboot, Mark 11:23-24It was nearly a week ago that it resurfaced repetitively on my social media timelines. Then, came the call with my friend. Two nights ago, when I sat back at this computer to finalize the “summer style” post, a familiar song popped into my head. The moment the lyrics parted my lips, I was overcome with emotion.

Since its release in 1998, Lauryn Hills’ “Ex-Factor” has been my go to track for my break-ups-to-make ups. I was all of 14 years old at the time of its release. Nowhere near the woman that I am today. So, when I sang the first verse this go round, it meant something entirely different…and inspired this post.

It could all be so simple
But you’d rather make it hard
Loving you is like a battle
And we both end up with scars
Tell me, who I have to be
To get some reciprocity
No one loves you more than me
And no one ever will

-Lauryn Hill

The words reflect an internal conversation. A reminder of where passion and love always begins. I may not be the first to find a deeper message in this song. My  battle has clouded my understanding of my purpose. I’ve consistently felt disappointment in myself because of limits that I set upon myself based on what I felt would make others more receptive of my authenticity.

I am a writer that happens to love style among many other things. Writing is the art that God blessed me with. Style is a serious interest of mine, but it is not what this is all about. This is about inspiring others to be their authentic selves. This is about embracing your creative gift. This is about moving forward to love who’s been there through it all: YOU!

I challenge you to become familiar with the lyrics of this entire song (if you aren’t already) and sing it with your whole heart while staring in a mirror. It’s powerful. Every. Single. Word.

I’d love to hear if your perception changes. If not with this song, please share a song that you have found a more internal connection with.

I’m looking forward to talking with you!

With Love + Style,

Crystal Lariece

 

Editor’s Letter | Summer 2017

By the time you’re reading this, you’ve already know we did not come to play.

Cold Hard Fash Magazine has returned bright, shiny and new for the Summer 2017 Issue. If you’re anything like me, you’ve already gotten to know our cover feature, Artist, Fahamu Pecou and perused our Style Editorial featuring yours truly. I hope that you love what we’ve done with the place. 🙂

To give you a little background on this issue, you’re currently experiencing our Summer’s theme of A Creative’s Renaissance. Throughout the summer, ColdHardFash.com and within this issue of CHF Magazine, we are exploring the new age of Creatives. Highlighting the lives, styles, and professions of creative millennials and those who inspire them.

And, if you haven’t noticed, we’re doing it all while going through a rebirth of our own.

So, kick back and prepare yourself. We’re only just getting started!

With Love + Style,

 

 

 

 

 

 

Return to Table of Contents

With Love + Style | Full Circle

What birthed this brand in 2013, is now the day-to-day tempo of a full-time mother who birthed her first child nearly one year ago.

Create…Nurture…Lead…

It is my mantra as I re-emerge in my purpose in style and art media.

Can you hear it? Can you feel it?

Photography | Clifford L. Johnson  Makeup | Nigaa Nikhol Henderson Styling | Rasheed Crawford

In November of 2015, I made a decision to step away from Cold Hard Fash and focus on the forthcoming arrival of my son, Kevin. At the time I was less than 3 months into my pregnancy and overly stressed with the managing of the blog. I’d simply become disenchanted. In my eyes, it had become everything my business partner and I vowed it would never be. Our vision to highlight style and art in an authentic way transformed into an obsession of our social media content. An issue that is much too familiar for today’s entrepreneurs. As such, I found myself penning, accepting, and publishing blog content that did not differ much from what was already out there. It resulted in no notable engagement on social media and we only drifted further from the heart of our existence: the blog.

As a leader I allowed this ship to drift off course. A realization that I not only had to accept, but also forgive myself for.

BECOMING A MOTHER CHANGED IT ALL.

There is something magical that happens when your ‘Mommy’ switch is turned on. I’m not sure if it’s the superhuman-like strength exerted during birth or the ultimate test of patience and contentment you find within the months leading up to it. Whether one or a combination of it all, I am a greater entrepreneur for it.

Since transitioning into a “Mompreneur”, my drive is unparalleled. This drive powered me to take on the challenge of redesigning the website myself, planning and executing some of our most artistically infused content for the blog and CHF Magazine, and bravely deciding what and who were necessary for this new chapter of the brand.

August 2016, post baby ‘style-n-shoot’ with Clifford L. Johnson shot 2 months after Kevin’s arrival. It was at this moment when I felt myself awaken again creatively.

Full Circle.

Today, I have a clearer sense of where Cold Hard Fash lives in this digital world and can acknowledge that I have more freedom, than I once believed, to do things exactly how I choose. I’ve arrived right back where we started.

Ambitious and confident in the brand’s successes, as well as its missteps.

That’s what being Mommy has given me. Seeing the fearless, carefree spirit of my baby boy (and he is ALL BOY lol) is a constant reminder that that which is most fulfilling is the freedom to fly. To dream bigger than what I see in the moment and test every limit that my mind or others may put on me. That is the charge that I want to leave with you today. Cold Hard Fash is a reflection of me and our team.

We are risk-takers. We are BOLD. We live, create, and love on our terms only.

Whether you are a mother, father or neither I encourage you to do the same. Find the thing, the person, the place that pushes you to a new level of strength and vision to get what has already filled your heart.

And if your closest friends and family never get it, FINE. Believe me, there is an army of Creatives who have your back.

I can guarantee that you’ll find some of the best, right here, at Cold Hard Fash.

Thank you for checking in. Until next time…

With Love + Style,

Crystal Lariece