BACK TO BUSINESS

 “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.

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

Past Tense

WE MADE IT!

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.

THE CHF DIFFERENCE

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
Editor-in-Chief


Here’s where to find my look:

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

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…