Brown Sparkles Too!

It’s Holiday Season again! All around the world people will be celebrating winter holidays like Pongal, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Thaipusam, and of course, bringing in the New Year (Jan 1st, 2015). If you’re searching for the perfect dress to show off your beautiful brown skin tone, what better way to sparkle than wear sequins!

Mindy Kaling – writer, comedian, star of her hit show The Mindy Project, and absolutely fabulous brown skinned fashionista embraces sequins as well as chunky jewelry and bright colors. Where many women of color will shy away from these kinds of bold moves, at Cinnamon Spirit we think you should be the shining star of the party!  Mindy agrees “I wear all of those things, because I like looking at it. It makes me feel happy and excited to wear it.” In the photo below, she wears a beautiful dress and skirt combination. This scene was from the Pilot Episode of The Mindy Project, and to be honest she looks gorgeous! I love that the kind of sequin pattern on top is so much different than the metallic embellishment on her skirt. From far away, it looks like a dress, but when you look closely we find that Mindy has connected the 60s disco-ball and the Victorian Era in the best of ways. While Mindy’s outfit does technically break the mixing-prints rule in fashion, it is a definitely haute look that I think any brown woman could pull off. sequin

Anouksha, 21 fashion blogger from the United Kingdom has found a way to glitter during finals week. Here, she wears a black bomber jacket from H&M, black stockings, and casual tan booties from MissGuided. Paired with her gorgeous vintage flapper, and stuffed bagpack, she get’s an A+ for style. SONY DSC

I found another stunning gold and black sequin dress from BeBe while looking for my own sequined New-Years-Me Dress. I can’t tell what is more radiant, the model’s deep brown skin or her dress. I’m too focused on how happy she looks while twirling around in it!

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So maybe, you’re working for the holidays. You can still bring your briefcase of glitter with you! Katerina L., a 27 year old from Voronezh, Russia wears her sequins subtly. This outfit is a perfect day to night outfit that can be worn at lunch with friends, and then again at office party. Her sweater is also from H&M and her skirt is from Mango. She and her skirt, look delicious.Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 6.21.45 PMMy personal favorite is an Etsy Legend worn by a beautiful Indian Model, Menaka Iyer. She is 23 and from Toronto, Canada. I’m sure once you see this dress, you’ll be dying to have it.  She wore this vintage, one of a kind dress to New York City for the first time. “I had my first mimosa in NYC – Dream come true!” Menaka says excitedly. Although I couldn’t find the dress’s link, I did find that her feather earrings are from Spring and her muted (but also black sparkly heels) are from Nine West. tumblr_ng8w2oIHJP1tg7w7jo1_1280Obviously not many of us can afford to splurge and spend thousands of dollars on a holiday dress (we’re too busy getting presents for our friends and family), so I’ve compiled a few under $50 options:

Lony Women’s Sequinned Party Dress ($39 from Overstock.com)
Shining Open Back Long Sleeve with Sequins Dress from RoseWe.com (only $33.80 with Free Shipping Worldwide!)

Stay tuned to see what sparkles I picked for my holiday dress! Stay warm this season my brown-skinned beauties!

UDD by Yuti Shah

If you are like me… you want to find those unique treasures that aren’t commonly found everywhere. When it comes to clothing, it is especially true. So when I was searching for Indian clothing, my niece introduced me to UDD.

As a supporter of vibrant colors and textures, I find Yuti Shah’s creations fascinating.

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Her ability to bring her original fine art to life in every day wear that brings a smile to the  people wearing it is contagious. I guess that is what I admire the most.

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Her depiction of animals in the forest …. wonder what this would look like as a mural.

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And then … the jewelry.

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For more information … follow them on Facebook or Pinterest.

The New Nude

I was doing my laundry the other day at the Laundromat – just the every-week routine of separating my darks, lights, whites, and delicates. As I stuffed my various underwear into my laundry bag, my essential nude bra dropped on the floor. As I reached to pick it up, a young lady about my age with red hair and fair, freckly, pink skin laughed and said “oh wow! I have the same bra!” After quickly regrouping I chuckled and said “everyone need’s a nude bra!” It hit me a few minutes after this incident that it was odd that she and I had the same colored bra when I am a totally different color than she is. Her essential nude bra and mine were the same shade of beige-tan when our skin colors definitely were not. I thought to myself, wouldn’t it be nice to have a nude bra that actually matched my skin?

Looks like Ade Hassan, the founder of Nubian Skin, had the same idea. After years of not being able to find skin-color-appropriate nude underwear, she decided to empower women of all colors to redefine “nude”. In October 2014, she launched Nubian Skin , a line of lingerie and hosiery for women of darker complexions. She says “when you want to put on the perfect outfit – but your only option for tights is black, it completely ruins it…it’s incredibly frustrating.” This is why she created the line – to provide women of color personalized personals. With the help of Eunice W. Johnson and super model, Iman (founder and CEO of IMAN Cosmetics, Skincare and Fragrances for women of color) the first Nubian Skin store was launched in London, England.

What I love the most about Nubian Skin (besides the international shipping and moderate prices) are that these nude bras are more than just your everyday bras and underwear. These are the panties your granny wishes she wears! Sure, the basics for everyday wear are available, but the line also offers fabulous push-up and lace options as well. With names like “Cinnamon”, “Caramel”, “berry” and “Café Au Lait”, it’s hard not to drool over these fashions.

 

If you’re interested, which I’m sure you are, check out the site at https://www.nubianskin.com/ or connect with them on Facebook, Instagram, and/or Twitter.

Our definition of beauty …

At the turn of the 20th century, bronzed skin became the new fashion must-have. Coco Chanel famously got sunburn on a yachting trip, which spurred her acolytes to start spending more time in the sun. Doctors of the day began prescribing sun therapy, which was quickly adopted by the upper classes, as were outdoor sports.dark women

We believe the following have always been standards of beauty that will stand the test of time.

  1. The Happy Confident Smile: It doesn’t matter what you are wearing, how thin or thick you are, how tall or short you are, how rich or poor you are …. A smile that says you are happy with being who you are, tops our list.
  2. Sunshine Spirit: The ability to make others smile is someone with the Sunshine Spirit. This is a beautiful thing. It brings about a beautiful atmosphere of well being to those around you and cynosure to you.
  3. Being Fit: Will you be able to run if there were to be a zombie apocalypse? Human beings were meant to lead active lives. A healthy body leads to a healthy mind and less time at the doctor’s. Studies have shown that one’s skin glows from adrenalin, so we think this is all around beautiful.
  4. Neat clothes:  We think some energy spent on keeping your clothes straight (washed, mended, ironed) goes a long way in adding clarity to everything around you.
  5. Cleanliness : No matter how beautiful you are, if you haven’t showered and smell bad… forget it. You ain’t gonna be considered beautiful.

 

 

’tis the season to be brown!

The holidays are coming up, and i’m sure i’m not the only one looking forward to the Turkey, gingerbread cookies, and cranberry sauce! Oh and of course the being-surrounded-by-family-and-friends part is fun too.cooking

One dish that comes as a side to this season is always a serving of sweet potatoes. They come in pie form, melted among marshmallows, crispy wedges or condensed into soup form.  Whether you like sweet-potatoes or not, there’s no stopping these shape-shifting vegetables from entering your home on Thanksgiving. In light of the sweet potato’s inevitable upcoming appearance on your plate, I’ve decided to  write an article entirely about its skin enhancing benefits. I’m sure there are other ways to make your brown skin glow this season, but I can’t think of a better way to do that right now than eating a big heaping of sweet potato fries.

Jenné Claiborne from Sweet Potato Soul
Jenné Claiborne from Sweet Potato Soul

I first learned about the sweet potato’s skin enhancing benefits from an article on Everyday Health about ten foods that are actually good for your skin. Sweet Potatoes was one of them. When added to a healthy diet, sweet potatoes give you a boost of vitamin A. According to WebMD, people commonly take vitamin A as “treatments for acne and other skin conditions, including wrinkles” (1). After looking into this further, I found  Jenné Claiborne of Sweet Potato Soulan online vegan workshop that provides you with diet plans and so many delicious recipes, many of which are based on sweet potatoes. Jenné Claiborne has been featured in Reader’s Digest,  Vegetarian Times, Shape, and many other publications. She is a beautiful dark skinned woman who works in New York City as a professional chef. She creates recipes, videos, and spreads her passion for a healthy lifestyle. She is a certified holistic health counselor having earned her title from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in 2012.

Jenné says if you want beautiful skin – who doesn’t – it all must begin at your plate. She says you do not have to eat exotic “super-foods” to feel the beautification. In fact she reccomends sweet potatoes, broccoli, almonds, and avocados. She developed her love of sweet potatoes when she was growing up in Atlanta, Georgia. She considers them her soul food. On her website, she has numerous recipes dedicated to sweet potatos, some of which are listed below.

Maybe you can incorporate one of these into your Thanksgiving meal this year:
1. Sweet Potato Burgers with Green Tahini - feeling all-american? try this twist on the traditional beef burger.
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2. Sweet Potato Hummus with Fennel Seeds and Smoked Salt - maybe you want to add some mediterranean into your Thanksgiving, just make sure to bring the drinks to match, Opa!

3. Creamy Sweet Potato Portabella Pasta – Nothing says Thanksgiving like a big Italian family. Maybe you can squeeze in room at your table for a sweet potato, or a few.

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Have a Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! Remember to stay radiant and be thankful for your gorgeous brown skin!

(As a reminder, we are not doctors here at Cinnamon Spirit. Therefore we do NOT recommend starting any treatment without consulting an appropriate medical professional first. )

Take back your time

This months’s Money magazine had an interesting article on the typical hours a full-time worker spent in the office in America. 50 to 60 hours per week.  I’ve always asserted that one does not have to work these long hours if we are productive during our work hours.

Hope these tips help you showcase your talent at work and put time back in your pocket.

  1. Get your priorities straight: Tackle the most difficult task first. Starting with quick and easy tasks may be tempting but fear of the unknown can delay you getting the main task done and therefore you may end up working late. Try working on it for 30 minutes and going to an easier task for breathers.
  2. Showcase your skills: Tools such as Toggl will help keep you organized and stay on top of all your tasks and projects. They often have reporting capability so you can see how much time you spent on projects as well as step by step details on your progress. This should help with show-casing your talent to and productivity at your next review or daily scrum meeting.
  3. Plug productivity leaks: Turn off email/chat/social media until your break or after work. Smart phones can make you feel compelled to respond to friends and family. Let them know they should call you the old fashioned way if it was urgent. If you need convincing, track the time you spend on messaging and social media.
  4. Learn to prioritize your company email: Checking your email once every 30 minutes should suffice. Learn your email tool well enough to mark it for follow-up. Although it is tempting to respond immediately, not every email requires that, unless you are holding up someone else’s work day.
  5. Follow through: Communication is key to any job because it manages expectations and helps everyone be more prepared. Once you have your 8 hour work day done, communicate your  progress and state of affairs to a stake holder, to make sure the ultimate goal is still on target. If doing this everyday is not appreciated, try to negotiate a twice or three times a week approach.
  6. Take back your time: Be productive and happy doing an honest job for 8 hours and leave! The time you spend with your family, your hobby or interests outside of work, helps you recharge, rejuvenate and recognize how enjoyable work really is.

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Icon of the Hour: Lupita Nyong’o

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A scene from Lupita’s breakout film, 12 Years a Slave.

Written by : I. Ella Noor

Happy Wednesday everyone! If you haven’t seen 12 Years a Slave yet, consider it your homework assignment for the week. Whether you watch it to immerse yourself in some American history or for the heart-touching story of a black man’s kidnapping into slavery, there’s one character who will undoubtedly captivate you. Lupita Nyong’o, the radiant woman whom this post is about, plays Patsey, a 23 year old slave who becomes subject to her master’s disgusting commands. Patsey endures whipping, sexual misconduct, and some of the worst forms of degradation by her master and remains in the hearts of the audience long after the ending credits. Lupita’s performance as Patsey was so commendable that it earned her an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress! This breakout film has earned her more than just a few awards (about 30 in fact); the spotlight is on this brown-beauty all over Hollywood and here at Cinnamon Spirit.

Lupita1Lupita Nyong’o (now 30 years old) graduated Yale Drama School only after playing Patsey in 12 Years a Slave. She was cast three weeks before graduation and insists she had “imposter’s syndrome” until she actually landed in Louisiana. She and her parents are of Kenyan descent although she was born in Mexico City, Mexico in 1983.  At the time of Lupita’s birth, her parents were politically exiled and unable to return to Kenya. Therefore, her parents paved their own way – her mother became a leader of the Africa Cancer Foundation! Before Yale, she attended Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts and earned her bachelors degree in film in 2003.

Lupita's all-white outfit on Ellen
Lupita’s all-white outfit on Ellen

In an interview with Ellen Degeneres (2/21/14) Lupita enters wearing a fabulous minimalist, all white double breasted vest and shorts outfit and subtle earrings. She is immediately greeted by the host and the audience; and her humble personality shines right on through. She says she had never even seen her face on The New Yorker or any other of the numerous magazines she’s been featured in. Lupita is thrilled to be kick starting her acting career as she looks forward to the Oscar Awards coming up.

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Official Instagram: instagram.com/lupitanyongo

Some fun facts about Lupita Nyong’o:
1. She loves Scandal – Lupita even says that some of her style is copied from fellow dark-skinned darling, Kerry Washington.
2. She wanted to be an actress after watching Stephen Spielberg’s The Color Purple.
3. She once had a horrible braiding experience in New York – therefore she learned how to do it herself. She can cornrow, box braid, and more!

Below is a photo of Lupita Nyong is in a stunning gown by Gucci at the annual SAG Awards (1/18). Her eye make-up speaks for itself. I am personally obsessed with the gold and blue making her features pop.

Lupita Nyong'o at the SAG Awards in Gucci
Lupita Nyong’o at the SAG Awards in Gucci

Get the look for less!

Just $19.60 at JC Penny!
Just $19.60 at JC Penny!
John Lewis True Decadence Maxi Dress (£44.00)
John Lewis True Decadence Maxi Dress (£44.00)

Today, Cinnamon Spirit would like to introduce a new team member: Miss Ishra Ella Noor

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I love coffee so much no wonder I work at Starbucks! This is me at Hummingbird Cafe in Christchurch, New Zealand on a study abroad program

 

Name: Ishra Ella Noor, “Ella”
Age: 21 years
Heritage: Indian
Occupation: Full time student studying Environmental Geoscience and Political Science at Purdue University and Barista at Starbucks

Why did you decide to join the Cinnamon Spirit team? Cinnamon Spirit finally highlights a beautiful asset that I’ve known exists my whole life – dark skin. As soon as I heard about this initiative I just knew I had to be a part of it.

How would you like to help Cinnamon Spirit?
I’ll be routinely posting tips and tricks for beauty, fashion, recipes, and tailoring them specifically to highlight the beauty of dark-skinned women. After all, the fact that we can actually pull off mustard-yellow is a feat on its own.

 Who are some of your style icons? In terms of fashion, I have to say I’m a huge fan of Giuliana Rancic. I love how classy she is but still has a razor sharp edge to her style, and a killer smile to sport around with that dark golden skin matches every outfit.

Plans for the future? “I really want to help people. I’d love to incorporate what I’ve been studying in college to do this. I would love to pursue Natural Disaster Recovery or Hazard Mitigation. I’d also be really excited to have my own art gallery one day!”

Welcome aboard, Ella! We’re glad to have you here at Cinnamon Spirit!

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Exercising outdoors is always better than in the gym, at least in my opinion. I feel like a mouse on a wheel on a treadmill! (Maui, Hawaiian Islands)
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I love what I study because it gives me the ability to see parts of the world that most people won’t even know exist. (Sunset Volcano, Arizona, USA)
One of my favorite moments, on the Athabasca Glacier in BC!

 

Her smile is the bomb!

Introducing Ashwini.

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Finding one’s style can be a fascinating journey.

We hope everyone has fun with it like Ashwini.

The simple beauty spots on her chin, the bangles, the big bindi on her forehead… they are all traditional styles that she brings together beautifully.

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It’s her glorious smile that adds ten fold to her clothing, hair and jewelry. 

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10 Fashion tips for our men!

1. Short sleeved shirts and ties do not go together : The NASA control room look may come back in the future but it is not happening right now. This look is a definite no no for business.

2. Own a two button jacket that fits well: This is a must have for work and semi casual occasions. Remember to button up at all times other than when you are seated.cinnamon-spirit-two-button-jacket

3. Bow ties plus a shot of confidence: We are for this traditional look but in today’s world you need a shot of confidence to pull this off. Ladies do like bow ties

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4. Match your tie with the width of your lapel: If your lapel is wide, go for a wider ties and vice-versa if narrow. Mixing a narrow tie with a wide lapel is a no no.

5. Your belt should match your shoes in color and texture : When buying shoes, consider investing in matching belts. Mixing these colors can be tricky, unless you are planing on wearing something funky for fun.

6. Big baggie pants make you look short: Do not wear them unless you want to look shorter

7. Trousers should be long enough: They should be long enough so they cover the top of your shoes and do not expose your socks. It’s only when you are seated, should your socks be visible.

8. Socks should match your pants: When buying pants, try to match your socks to pants in other hues. That way, when you remove your shoes or are seated, your socks blend with your pants and don’t break up the ensemble.

9. Ties should reach your belt buckle: It has become more common for men to wear ties longer than the belt buckle but this is the most desirable length. Anything shorter would seem sloppy.

10. Properly knotted ties have a dimple in the middle: Try the different kinds of tie knots such as the Four-hand-knot, Windsor-knot or the Pratt knot. Depending on what you prefer, they can range in width.

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