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Saturday, December 31, 2011

#HotTOPics11: #1 Fashion

Style Setter: Kate Middleton
Long gone were the days of First Ladies like Jackie O and Princess Diana. But after a long drought, the highest offices are getting major makeovers; Michelle Obama in the United States, Carla Bruni Sarkozy in France and now it's Britain turn. Kate Middleton's style has been coveted by women everywhere since her engagement to Prince William. So much so that it is now referred to as the Duchesse Effect. The 29 year old's style is classic, sober and feminine. On the wilder side of things she introduced the world to the fascinator. The outrageous head piece was quickly adopted by fashionistas worldwide. Her girl next door demeanor makes her relatable which is probably why so many women identify with her.

And then there was the dress. Middleton's wedding dress was the most anticipated dress of the year. The wait was worth it. She wore a stunning ivory and white gown by Sarah Burton. The gown had a hand-made lace bodice, full skirt and 2.7m train. Sarah Burton and her team's craftsmanship would have made Alexander McQueen proud.

Brighter Please!
Spring and Summer 2011 was all about color. The brighter and richer the hue, the better. We saw shades of red, magenta, turquoise, yellow and tangerine on dresses, skirts and denim alike. Even celebrities like Beyonce, rocked the bright hues from head to toe. Remember Beyonce displaying her cute baby bump in a tangerine stunner at the Grammy Awards? This trend was so much fun that it will follow us into 2012. We foresee designers debuting new colors for us to rock. Keeping our fingers crossed. I personally have many a yellow, pink, red, kelly green skirts and dresses that still have wear in them. Some of my favorite items were my red trousers, kelly green pencil skirt, magenta blazer and my hot pink skinny jeans.

Color Blocking
Speaking of skinny jeans, colored denim was everywhere and made it easy to wear the color block trend which was red hot this year. Designers like Jil Sander, Rachel Roy, Gucci and Prabal Gurung . Many stars rocked this trend on red carpet namely Tyra Banks, Iman, Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and a very pregnant Jessica Alba. They sported cute color combinations; purple with orange, yellow with turquoise and red and pink. Even Jessica Alba didn't shy away from it because of her belly. She pulled it off and so can you! Some of the color combinations may sound odd so if your are unsure about how to color block we suggest you start by sticking to the complementary colors on the color wheel. As long as the shades are crisp and complementary you are good to go. Another tip, wear nude heels they are clash proof, polished and are a great way to make your legs appear longer.

In the Wild: Animal Prints
From accessories to clothing animal prints were a 2011 staple. While this trend wasn't new by any means it attracted much attention. Snooki, Beyonce, Jennifer Hudson, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Miley Cirus and Kelly Roland were all seen wearing it. Lady Gaga's dress, Nicole's booties, Nicki Minaj's hair and Beyonce's scarf generated much chatter.

Animal prints look great head to toe but must be approached with caution. As fierce as it is it can easily bite you in the butt! Would not dare do it head to toe? Try rocking the pattern as a scarf, a purse or killer pumps. The pattern is so fierce that even in a pair of flats it will look hot. See our "Street Thread: Wild Things" to see how fashionistas from around the world have been doing it!

In 2012, think outside the box when it comes to your style!

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 30, 2011

#HotTOPics11: #2 Shockwave

REVOLUTIONS
In 2011, the most fascinating person was not a celebrity or a politician, it was the protestor! From Occupy Wall Street to Tunisia to Egypt to Libya people wanted change and they were not afraid to ask for it.

The Arab Spring

The waves of revolution which washed over the Arab world started in Tunisia where a 26 year old vegetable street vendor set himself on fire to protest the way he had been harassed by the corrupt Tunisian police force. He wasn't afraid to die and neither were his countrymen. In fact, this unfortunate incident set the entire country ablaze with outrage. The people started revolting against the government which had been oppressing them for decades. The pressure on the president was so intense that he fled after 2 decades of ruling.

From then, the Arab world was turned upside down. Two thirds of their population being under the age of 25 used all the tools that were at their disposal to make sure their message would be heard. Youtube, Facebook and Twitter were their weapons of choice. They expressed their anger to the entire world. They were willing to risk their lives to have a voice. The tools were so effective that the Egyptian president stepped down after only 18 days of protest. He is now on trial for corruption and the death of over 900 protestors.

One of the Arab dictators did not give up his position of power so easily, however. Muammar Gaddafi was convinced that his people loved him. He said: "They love me all. They will die to protect me, my people." The delusional dictator would soon realize his error. Eight months later, he was captured and killed.

Occupy Wall Street

Closer to home, Americans had their own sources of outrage: capitalism. With the economy at an all time low the people decided to take matters into their own hands. Thousands of people descended on Zuccotti Park in Manhattan and camped right outside of Wall Street's most affluent financial companies to 'Occupy Wall Street'. "The banks got bailed out, we got sold out.", they chanted. The protest which started peacefully soon turned violent and spread around the country and the world. Today, the future of the movement is unsure but the 99% remain and the cry for change is unaltered.

"The greatest revolution of our generation is the discovery that human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives"

- William James

FALL OF A TYRANT

Osama Bin Laden

The death that was by far the most celebrated in the United States this year was the death of the founder of militant Islamist organization al-Quaeda, Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden, better known as Osama bin Laden. Member of a wealthy family in Saudi Arabia, he devoted his life to Islam and terrorism, conducting attacks all over the world. And on September 11, 2001 the face of New York City would be changed forever.

America had never seen a hate crime of this magnitude come on its territory. And in May 2011, on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the tragedy, President Barack Obama announced that Osama bin Laden had been killed in a terrorist compound in Pakistan. After hearing this news a sigh of relief was released by the entire world.

"For over two decades, bin Laden has been al-Qaeda's leader and symbol and has continued to plot attacks against our country and our friends and our allies,... The death of bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation's effort to defeat al-Qaeda...his demise should be welcomed by all who believe in peace and human dignity." - President Barack Obama

Muammar Gaddafi

Muammar Gaddafi ruled over Libya with an iron fist from 1969 to 2011. He seized power through a military coup. He made his way to the highest office in Libya through violence and was reduced to the lowest position by the same means. In October 2011, after eight months of unrest in the country, he was captured by a rebel militia who beat him, paraded him in the streets and later shot him dead.

Kim Jong-il (born Yuri Irsennovich Kim)

The latest fall to mark 2011 is that of Kim Jong-il, the North Korean dictator. He ruled over North Korea since 1994, succeeding his father. He subjected his people to torture, repression and mass murder. In April 2009, he even demanded for the North Korean constitution to be amended to refer to him as "supreme leader". Other names he gave himself: dear leader, our father, the general and generalissimo to just name a few. On December 17, "Dear Leader" Kim Jong-il died of a suspected heart attack while traveling. He is succeeded by his youngest son Kim Jong-un whom many believe to be more strict than his father.

"Those who hate most fervently must have once loved deeply; those who want to deny the world must have once embraced what they now set on fire."

- Kurt Tucholsky

R.I.P. - You will be missed

Steve Jobs

There is so much to be said about Steve Jobs which is why his biography was the best selling book of 2011. Jobs' innovative mind captivated the world for years. He was born in 1955 in San Francisco and adopted from birth. He had a troubled childhood and dropped out of college because he did not see the purpose of it. He was right. He went on to co-founded Apple a company he ran with relentless innovation and provided the world with the products it wanted before it even knew it wanted them. He died on October 5 at age 56, loosing his eight year battle with pancreatic cancer.

Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor was a style icon and an accomplished movie star. After 70 years of acting, over 50 movies and, 8 marriages to 7 husbands she passed away in March. In spite of the admiration she received she was looking for one thing: love. Did she ever find it? We shall never know.

Amy Winehouse

At only 27 years old Amy Winehouse died of a drug overdose . The little lady with the big voice battled addictions to drugs and alcohol which became just as popular as her art.

It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.

- George S. Patton, Jr.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

#HotTOPics11: #3 Fierce Beauty

Funky Nail Art/ Bold Nail Colors

This year, the manicure has been upgraded by multi-color, funky and fun designs. I was so obsessed with my nails at one time that I was getting a manicure twice a week. But right now my obsession is reaching its peak because 2011 is drawing to an end, but luckily this hot nail trend is not ending with it. It's only the beginning. Recently, one of my good friends suggested that we have a nail party; trust me ladies this will be replacing botox parties in 2012. The process is less painful and the results are much cuter.

Even celebrities like Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Fergie, and Rihanna have been sporting some pretty crazy manicures. Don’t think that only celebrities can pull off crazy nails – anyone can rock this look! However, it is hard for most people to create unique nail designs without making a mess. On that same note, however, professional nail art can be costly! Luckily, two of the top cosmetic brands, Sephora and OPI have paired up to make “Chic Prints for Nails” – stick-on nail art that lasts 5-7 days and looks like polish! So instead of just trying vibrant colors, you can now add your own personal touch by creating unique nail designs.

These super cool prints instantly add a touch of glam to your manicure. They allow you to customize your manicure with their favorite designs: anchor, stars, checkers, tiger, fishnet, chrome lace, black & gold geometric, or skulls. All you have to do is place the nail patch over your finger and use heat to apply the adhesive. They’re super easy to use and will definitely make your nails more eye-catching! So go into 2012 with boldness and confidence or at least start with your nail color!

Vibrant, Sexy, Colorful Makeup

Whether its a hot pink lip or jewel tone colored eyeshadow, 2011 was definitely the year of the bold and vibrant face! The Fall/Winter 2011-2012 runway shows featured lips in a big way. From Diane von Furstenberg and Yves Saint-Laurent, many designers opted to make lips stand out beautifully using lip makeup in shades that were vibrant and saturated. Some designers showed their collections on models whose pouts were gorgeous in shades from bright orange to bright red to burgundy and even to dark purple.

Vibrant eye makeup is another way that we saw this trend in 2011 and it did attract a lot of attention. DIY: To accomplish this look, first, create flawless skin with foundation and concealer. Then, apply your favorite bright colored eye shadow; try red, orange, blue or green. Line your upper lids with black eyeliner and coat lashes with two swipes of mascara. Your lips should be a nude shade as you want the eyes to really stand out.

If you want to be extra daring try both, bold lips and eyes. Be cautious though of clashing colors and achieving a clownish look by attempting this risk. It may be best to go to your local makeup counter to have them test this look out before you debut it in public. Regardless, vibrant colors on eyes or lips can be a fun look for a holiday event, NYE party, or a night out on the town. All eyes will be on you!

This aint your momma's bob

Women always go back and forth with choosing whether to opt for a long or short hairstyle, but this year was the year of the bob and there were no limits to how short, or wavy or messy it could be. The bob is a flattering haircut for most face shapes and with all of the variations anyone can find a bob that is just right for them. Celebrities like Diana Argon and Taraji P. Henson stepped up their sultry appeal with variations of this do.

Long gone are the days of the boring, prim and proper, perfectly coifed, not a hair out of place bob. In 2011, we saw women with angled bobs, colored, extra short and shoulder length bobs. There were no restrictions! We rocked what looked hot! This is just the beginning of this trend and the variations are constantly changing. So if you are feeling daring, take a leap and chop it off for 2012.

If you liked this post, you are in luck because in 2012 Beauty With A Conscience will be here to fulfill all your beauty needs.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

#HotTOPics11: #4 Causes

#Joplin – An EF5 tornado hit Joplin, Missouri on May 22. The tornado destroyed everything on its path including the hospital. With 161 dead, many injured and no hospital, the communities' future looked really desperate. The death toll included 7 students some who had just graduated from high school minutes before the tornado. Faced with all this adversity the Joplin people found a ray of hope when thousands of volunteers came to the state, hammers in hand ready to help. As homes are being built left and right and the high school reopened Joplin is finding it's way back.

#Pray4Japan – On March 11, Japan saw one of the most powerful earthquakes to ever be recorded in the world ravage it's territory. The earthquake triggered a tsunami which swept over the land with waves that reached heights up to 133ft. The earthquake was so powerful that it shifted the earth's axis between 10cm and 25cm. If that wasn't enough the disaster caused three reactors to meltdown in the Fukushima nuclear plant. The death tolls: over 15K dead, 6K injured and 4K missing.

#GiveWater

"Water Changes Everything." We could not have said it any better. Charity: Water has been tackling the #WaterCrisis for 5 years now and has given clean drinking water to 2 million people thus far. Watch their video. It explains the #WaterCrisis and it's implications perfectly.

To learn more and get involved #FF these Twitterers: @charitywater @generositywater.

#HumanTrafficking

While most think that slavery ended over a century ago, people are still being traded daily all around the world. Even today women and girls are being sold through #SexTrafficking. Children are forced to work in unimaginable conditions. Men and women are being abducted, killed and robbed of their organs. This is all happening today. There are over 27 million modern day slaves and some are right under our noses. Human trafficking is everywhere, even in the United States but there is hope. In 2011, many organizations have been actively working to rescue, treat and rehabilitate the victims.

To learn more and get involved #FF some of our favorite Twitterers: @TheA21Campaign @Freetheslaves @IJMHQ @TrafficInPeople @RestoreNYC @Lighthousethai @theBlindProject @FreedomForth

#FeedSomalia

The cause that shocked the world the most this year has to be the Somalia Famine. The images associated with this crisis are horrific. Seeing women, children and men reduced to fighting over food, having to flee their country, abandoning their homes and being put into refugee camps is heartbreaking. The famine which is affecting 13 million Africans is still going on right now with no real sustainable solution. The famine caused by a severe drought reminds us again that water changes everything. #PrayForRain #PrayForSomalia

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

#HotTOPics 11: #5 Drama!

What is it about scandals and train wrecks that fascinate us so much? Is it that we want to see a disaster unfold right before our eyes? Do we secretly desire to witness a person who seems to have it all, loose it all? Well if that is the case we surely got our fair share in 2011, starting with the infamous Kardashian wedding. In August 2011, Kim Kardashian said “I do!” to NBA player Kris Humphries. The question they should have asked immediately after was: “For how long?” And the survey says: “72 days”. This very public family feud was what many believe to be a major publicity stunt and one of the biggest wastes of time of 2011. Whatever it was we are happy it is staying in 2011 and will hopefully not follow us into 2012 although the divorce is not yet final.

Another star struggling to keep her commitments is Lindsay Lohan. We are light years away from the Lindsay we once knew. Remember the movie Mean Girls? Today, the cute freckled red head who looked so innocent can't seem to keep herself out of trouble. Over the years she's accumulated quite a rap sheet with many run-ins with the law for D.U.I. and her latest offense: theft. In spite of all her mistakes however, she is making strides towards bettering herself. She turned down many offers to host New Years parties in an effort to clean up her party girl image.

“I am on a drug. It’s called Charlie Sheen.” Sheen said in an interview. This countdown would not be complete without the scandalous Charlie Sheen. Drugs, womanizing, cursing, you name it, he did it all this year and he did it excessively. The Two and a Half Men star went into a downhill spiral which led to his termination from the very popular show. His replacement: Ashton Kutcher - let's not talk about him and his drama.

"Mistakes are a part of being human. Appreciate your mistakes for what they are: precious life lessons that can only be learned the hard way. unless it's a fatal mistake, which, at least, others can learn from."

- Al Franken

What can we learn from this?

Instead of watching these celebrities to satisfy our voyeurism let’s use them as examples that no one is above this universal law: “Whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.” Sow carefully in 2012!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Day 12: #12daysofGIVING -Through the Eyes Of Hope

Thornton Wilder once said: "Money is like manure; it's not worth a thing unless it's spread around encouraging young things to grow." Through the Eyes Of Hope Project (TEOH) is this quote in action. This non-profit organization based in Rwanda, encourages Rwandan orphans to photograph the world through their eyes. They provide them with photography classes and encourage their creativity by exhibiting their work in different venues throughout the world. This December it's New York's turn.

The exhibit is being held through the end of the year at Bourbon Coffee, a Rwandan owned coffee shop which has been dubbed the Rwandan Starbucks. The show features the children's newest work. What a great opportunity for New Yorkers to get involved. While you get your caffeine fix, help a child pay for school and get adequate food. All proceeds from the photos on display at Bourbon Coffee will benefit the TEOH Project. Since the project was started, over $5000 was raised to build a photo studio for the kids in Rwanda. This is more than a charity, it is a social enterprise that let's these children help themselves by empowering them through the art of photography. Postcards and photos can be purchased at the show. They will make the perfect gift for anyone on your list!

This Christmas help a young thing grow!

For more information on TEOH visit their website: TEOH

BOURBON COFFEE 43 W 14th Street New York City, NY - 10011 Phone: 212-675-5552 www.bourboncoffeeusa.com

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Day 10: #12daysofGIVING - Kiehls + The Koons Family Institute

Every child should have the right to a normal childhood. Unfortunately many children are deprived of it because of malicious individuals who kidnap, abuse and kill innocent children. Jeff Koons knows this reality only too well. His first son was abducted. In the wake of those events the world-renowned artist co-founded The Koons Family Institute on International Law & Policy in partnership with the International Center for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC). The work they've started has become crucial to insure the safety of children all around the world.

To support this cause Kiehls created a limited- edition Crème de Corps Holiday Collection featuring the iconic balloon flower artwork by Jeff Koons. This could make a great gift for any woman in your life. Even your hard to please aunt will love this rich crème the corps especially in the cold months ahead.

For more information on the cause: The Koons Family Institute
For more information on the artist: Jeff Koons
For more #giftsthatgiveback: Kiehls

Monday, December 19, 2011

Day 8: #12daysofGIVING - Heart of Haiti

On January 12, 2010 Haiti was hit with a 7.0 magnitude earthquake which killed hundreds of thousands in just 35 seconds. Those who survived the disaster were left with no homes, no food, no water and no hope. And then Heart of Haiti came along. Heart of Haiti in partnership with Haitian artists and American designers created opportunities for Haitian craftsmanship to be recognized around the world. Thanks to the beautiful products being sold at Macy's many Haitian artisans have a good source of income and restored hope for the future.

Become an advocate for Haiti, this country which was once called the Pearl of the Antilles by showing your better half how much you care. Give her the Heart of the Goddess Pendant by Heart of Haiti as a symbol of your love. This metal pendant was handcrafted by an Haitian artisan in La Croix des Bouquet, Haiti (see video). This gift will not only be special because it came from you but also because it will help an artist provide a better life for his family. This gift can be one of the many presents you will shower your sweetheart with.

We also love Rachel Roy's designs for the cause.
Flying solo this Christmas? Heart of Haiti has an extensive collection of jewelry and home décor items that will be sure to please the other special people in your life.

Heart of Haiti, Macy's and Rachel Roy are SO Fashion With A Conscience!
For more information on Heart of Haiti visit their tumblr: Heart of Haiti
For more #giftsthatgiveback shopping ideas visit: Macy's and Rachel Roy.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Day 6: #12daysofGIVING - Juicy Couture + St. Jude's

Imagine a child in dire need of medical care being turned away from a hospital because of his parents inability to pay. Such cruelty is unimaginable and it happens everyday, but not at St Jude's Children's Research Hospital. They specialize in pediatric catastrophic diseases research and treatment. By doing so they are changing lives and giving hope. They seek to cure and enhance their patients quality of life as well as share knowledge to advance treatment of ill children worldwide. St. Jude's mission is one we can all get behind.

Join St. Jude's efforts by selecting this Juicy Couture Key Fob for your favorite cousin perhaps. The key fob customized for St. Jude's hospital features the organization's endearing logo, a rose and disc charms. Having a sick child is extremely stressful and costly for parents. Help alleviate that stress by purchasing this piece for someone you love. You can also secretly gift one to yourself! We know you want to and it will help put a smile on a child's face. Now what could be a better Christmas present than that?

For more information on St. Jude's and their work visit their website: St Jude's

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Day 4: #12daysofGIVING - TOMS

In 2006, Blake Mycoskie created Toms Shoes and revolutionized the footwear industry. In fact, he wanted his business to be founded on giving and so he pioneered the One for One™ model. The One for One™ model is simple. For every item purchased from Toms, the company gives a new pair of shoes to a child in need. In places where children play, go to school and do their chores sometimes walking for miles barefoot, what Mycoskie started is no small feat. The first shoe drop was made in 2006 in Argentina with 10,000 shoes and since then Toms has provided over 1 million pairs to children all over the world. The product line which started with a classic shoe has expanded to clothing and modern eyewear. Toms products are über cool and can make the perfect #giftsthatgivesback for your stylish brother or sister.

WHY WALK IN TOMS?

We could tell you but we'd rather show you!

They have a ton of other styles to choose from.

We also love TOMS eyewear
For more gift ideas visit their website: TOMS

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Day 3: #12daysofGIVING

Today is Day 3 of #12daysofGIVING. This suggestion is a perfect fit. Check it out on Excess Chatter.
Cheers!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Day 2: #12daysofGIVING

When we think about hunger countries like Somalia, India and Ethiopia come to mind. But hunger and malnutrition prey on everyone even Americans. FEED is a nonprofit organization that creates products that help feed the world. It was founded by Lauren Bush in 2006 and has provided over 66 million school meals to children all around the world, 46,000 nutrition supplements and has reached over 13,000 American children. And the numbers keep rising.

What FEED is doing is much more than feeding kids. They are allowing children to be children again. They are helping them focus in school, giving them the opportunity to work their way out of the poverty they were born in. They are restoring hope and investing in the betterment of the communities they serve.

WHY BUY PRODUCTS THAT FEED?

- Hunger is No. 1 on the list of the World's Top 10 health risks*
- 1 in 7 people go to bed hungry every night*
- Hunger and malnutrition kill more people than aids, malaria, and tuberculosis combined*
- 65% of the world's hungry live in only 7 countries around the world*
- Because you can!

Each FEED Guatemala Bag will provide 15 school meals through the UN World Food Programme (WFP). The FEED Guatemala Bag is handmade in Guatemala by Nest, a nonprofit organization that empowers artist and artisans around the world, using traditional Ikat fabrics. This could be the perfect gift for your socially and fashionably conscious best girlfriend. It is environmentally friendly and will make a great carryall bag for strolling around on the weekends.

MORE COLORWAYS

For more gift ideas visit their website: FEED

*World Food Programme's Facts Blast; Nov. 2010. Taken from Feed website.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Day 1: #12daysofGIVING

Our first recommendation for #giftsthatgiveback is ready. See Excess Chatter's review. We are sure you are going to love it!
Hint: dive in!

12 Days of Giving

Aside from birthdays, Christmas has to be the most selfish celebration of the year. However if one was to go back to the actual origin of the holiday, they would realize that it was meant to be the opposite. Think about it. Christmas came to be because God gave his only son to the world. Everyone who had come to see baby Jesus was so joyful that they gave him gifts to celebrate his arrival. The tradition of gift giving was meant to be enjoyable and focused on the recipient of the present. But today it's become more selfish and stressful.

"How did we get here?" one might ask. That's easy. We live in a consumer driven society where more is always more: more presents, more expensive, more technologically advanced, more, more, more for me! Children are trained from a very young age to want: everything. Even those who do not have children have had the opportunity to witness the "I want this toy now" temper tantrum. Children and adults alike manipulate their loved ones to get just the gifts they want. They are doing it as we speak!

So with only 12 days of shopping left before Christmas, we (Excess Chatter and F.W.A.C.) thought it would be fun to feature gifts that are as cute and desirable as they are good for the soul. These 12 #giftsthatgiveback are special because they take the focus off of ourselves and revert it onto people who are in need. They can change the face of the world we live in. A world where so many go without clean water, food and clothing. Let's make this Christmas truly meaningful by giving gifts that give life.

Join us on Twitter @FashionWACNY and Facebook to get some extras and make your suggestions! Use the hashtags #giftsthatgiveback #12daysofGIVING and #L2G

Let's Live 2 Give!

Just a thought...

"For beautiful eyes, look for the good in other; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone."

- Audrey Hepburn

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