The Turn Up

“It’s not about going to a party. It’s life as a party.”

Diane Von Furstenberg

As the saying goes, “time flies when you’re having fun”…or is that the case here?

Five years ago, two best friends decided that it was time to set a new standard for the fashion, beauty, and art industries. We were tired of seeing fashion passed off as style, cookie cutter looks, and trends gone bad. The vision began on a much larger scale, and a blog was the furthest from our mind (more on that in this series). In our case, the time flew by because we have been trying to make sense of our own little plot twist. And sometimes the journey was far from fun!

Founders Ariel (Allen) Woodson + Crystal Lariece, circa 2013 Photography | Stehlik Fotos (Tampa, FL)

In the midst of it all, lessons have been learned, we’ve gained an extraordinary tribe, and most importantly, our mission has become a reality — we are inspiring and celebrating creative entrepreneurship. We have much to celebrate and we couldn’t imagine doing it with anyone else but YOU!


So, join us in our month long celebration of our five year milestone! Time to turn all the way UP — ISSA PARTY!

With Love + Style,

Crystal Lariece

Click the banner to check out our last series on Creative Entrepreneurship!

The Closer | Stay the Course

“Never give up on something that you can’t go a day without thinking about.”

-Winston Churchill

The mind of a creative entrepreneur is multi-dimensional. The aspirations that fill our heads are often, if not always, rooted in a deeper place than any book or formal education could tap into. We’re rooted in life experiences and passion unparalleled. So creating and maintaining a business that will continue to serve us, as well as, our audience must be made clear through planning each step along the way.

Having a clear and concise vision of what was to live beyond the launch was a huge lesson learned in the building of CHF. Too often our focus on the next thing happened as the NOW was reaching its end. Through trial and error, we found that it was imperative to have a plan in place if we wanted to fulfill our mission. Here are some of my key tips to staying the course:

Image |


CHF has always faced the challenge of not fitting in. Our mission, aesthetics, and voice are far from what you would find on a typical lifestyle and fashion blog. Although a challenge, not fitting in is what we’re most proud of. It’s easy to see what’s working for the majority of an industry and believe that you have to do exactly what “they” are doing to make a name for yourself. Remember: That idea that you are quick to emulate was once the radical in a world of normalcy. Enlightening an industry on a new way of thinking and doing is a greater feat then blending in to what already exists.


I am guilty of not taking the art of planning seriously. I’ve mentioned earlier in this series that I’ve only recently implemented formal planning into the growth of CHF. This tip seems like a no-brainer, but in today’s climate it is more attractive to skip the necessary work or seek out shortcuts. If you are at this point, here are a couple of things I’d wish you to consider:

Planning is more than time management Yes. It is a key element to planning. It also serves as a way to adjust with the times. For instance, you may set a clear perspective of what you wish to produce, but a shift in your industry or society as a whole may deem the idea antiquated or in need of refinement. Having a plan in place allows you to see the grander scheme of things. It allows adjustments to be made that will keep you ahead of the game and prevent setting yourself back.

There’s no wrong way No plan is created equal. Just as your vision is unique, so should your plan to bring it to reality. I personally have multiple planning tools. For my day-to-day and life planning I go to my Law of Attraction planner. For all things CHF, I have an editorial blogging calendar, social media content calendar, google calendar, and a human being to keep me engaged and on track. There’s no wrong way nor a limit to how you plan ahead.

“Remember, the idea that you are quick to emulate was once the radical in a world of normalcy.”


The trend in entrepreneurship has been to skip the bad stuff, the challenges, the misguided decisions, and all things ugly. To just share the successes of your journey is a disservice to your audience. It falsifies what it means to be and live as an entrepreneur. Look at every mistake made as a fresh start for yourself and for the struggling entrepreneur who may be watching. Being authentic in your ups and downs can change the course of how business is done. Effective change erupts in our mistakes.

I’ll leave you with this: Despite what the moment feels like, you are closer every day to living your dream. Stay the course, the journey is never over. It has its twist and turns, but the road is infinite. I encourage you to believe that all things are possible if and when you stay ready.

Thank you for being a part of the Unusual Business series. We can’t wait to share what’s next…



 “It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.”

Herman Melville

We all have ideas, right? The palm-sized conveniences that we worship daily are a tangible representation of one person’s idea. Taking a concept from thought to a product or business that shapes and inspires the world around you takes guts. It takes confidence, perseverance, and unusual character. Yet, today’s market of small businesses too often lack originality. How many of the brands that you follow are so similar in design, marketing, and even product selection that you can’t tell them apart? The numbers are staggering. You honestly cannot determine where the idea originated.

It is and has always been my vision for CHF to kill the noise of the duplicated madness and to inspire the next generation of unusual creatives and their businesses. What do I mean by unusual? The word unusual in this context is defined as remarkable or interesting because it is different from or better than others. It’s been an ambitious feat for me to want to, not only create a brand of unusual character, but to also inspire others to do the same. In fact, we’ve even slipped into the trappings of monotony and similarities. Well, thank God for lessons learned and redemption.


Over the course of the next 4 weeks, we will be embarking on a series that focuses on guiding and inspiring you to build your creative idea into a business of unusual character. Within the series, you will gain legal knowledge on protecting your brand the right way, learn the stories of entrepreneurs who are prime examples of unusual character, and so much more.

As always, on behalf of the entire CHF team, Thank You for continuing to rock with us. I hope that through this series you can execute your vision in a remarkable way!

With Love + Style,

Crystal Lariece

Check us out on Instagram to get the details of my full look!

Photography | Malik Akins of Haiasi Creations, Atlanta, GA
Styling | Rasheed Crawford

Best of 2017: With Love + Style | Full Circle

“With Love + Style” began as my way of signing off on the blog posts that I penned on style and fashion trends. Overtime, it evolved into what is now a series of personal inspiration posts in which I am able to be my most authentic self. This post originally debuted on the blog on June 13, 2017. 

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.


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.


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

Past Tense


2018 brings a clean slate to start things fresh and take bold chances. Truly, every day provides the same opportunity…but let’s stay in the spirit, shall we?

To say the least, my 2017 was mentally chaotic. But, as it drew to an end I began recognizing the blessing in the chaos. The year unmasked hurts, activated forgiveness, and propelled me forward. For the first 6-9 months of the year, my focus was on the past tense – the shoulda, coulda, woulda of every situation possible. A mindset that had the potential for a major setback.

Thankfully, I entered into the new year with a greater appreciation of the bigger picture. So, as we move into 2018, I want to send a big THANK YOU to 2017 and everything that it revealed about myself, the people who made the difference, and an awakening of a vision and purpose that is Cold Hard Fash.


Of course, if I go through a “glow up” so must the CHF brand. We turn 5 this year and as my co-founder (and best friend) has pointed out, “5 is when we start kindergarten. We are just learnin’!” Pretty cool analogy, right? This year starts completely different than any year prior. We’re much more organized, the vision is clear, and the team is stronger than ever. Our thirst to learn more about our readers and the industries we hope to influence is insatiable.

BUT, before we dive into the newness of it all. 2017 was one of the best years of content that we’ve had. Our stories were personal and reflective of our mission to support and celebrate creative ingenuity and entrepreneurship in the cultures of fashion, beauty, and the Arts. In honor of the past year, we have gathered 8 of our most read posts and will be sharing them over the next 4 weeks.

I believe that you’ll love what we have prepared for you.

Thank you 2017 and thank YOU for rocking with CHF!

With Love + Style,

Crystal Lariece

Here’s where to find my look:

Cropped Hoodie, K. House Clothing
Faux Leather Leggings,
Earrings, Abeille Creations