Balmain X L’Oreal: Confidence

It’s no secret that the Balmain aesthetic is illustrious and coveted. As one of my favorite brands, I long to get my hands on an iconic jacket or dress. The price tag, however, assures that for now those pieces will remain dreams. But have no fear! Today, I have a little piece of the Balmain aesthetic in my hands and it’s only $14 a tube!

This newest collaboration brings 12 bold shades that emulate the “Balmain girl” and a price range more accessible to every girl. As soon as I saw the campaign shades released, I knew Confidence was the one I wanted. A shimmery nude rose gold, this color is gorgeous and perfect if you’re a rose gold addict like I am. The formula is creamy and I appreciate that the glitter isn’t gritty feeling. The smell is quite strong but not unpleasant, it kind of reminds me of baby oil gel so just be aware. Other than the shade, the packaging is my favorite feature. The tube isn’t quite rectangular, the interesting angles and the sleek black and gold give a glamorous feel. The closure has a groove the fit the top and bottom together and the “Balmain” across the tube is spelled out in the iconic font. It’s details like these that make me whole heartedly recommend this lipstick

Stay fly,

~Akilah

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Best Food in Nashville 2017

Recently, my dad brought home a copy of The Nashville Scene: Best of Nashville Edition. Since I’m a resident Nashville foodie, I thought it would be fun to tell whether I agree with the reader’s poll or not for a few categories.

Best Barbecue

Their Choice: Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint

My Choice: Martin’s

This place is the truth, I looove their brisket especially. Those long lines also tell you a lot about the quality of their food.

Best Burger

Their Choice: Burger Up

My Choice: M.L Rose

When I went here for my birthday with my aunt a couple of years ago, we were both doing elimination diets/detoxes so all we could really eat was the burger patty. But man was that patty good! Easily the most flavorful burger I’ve had. In terms of a normal burger with all the fixins’ I’d recommend Gabby’s. At Burger Up I’ve only had a specialty burger: their Oktoberfest burger, which was too salty but also lacking in flavor, their milkshakes however are bomb.

Best Brunch

Their Choice: Marchè Artisan Foods

My Choice: Marchè

I have dreams about this place. We went here on a rainy Sunday morning after church a couple of years ago. The quaint French decor immediately drew me in and then I fell in love with the food. My andouille sausage crepes were fluffy, and the dijon mustard was a lovely addition.

Best Cupcake

Their Choice: The Cupcake Collection

My Choice: The Cupcake Collection

You already know what it is! Cupcake collection is not only the best in Nashville, it’s the best in the entire country. I’ve met the owner Mignon; she’s so sweet and so are her cupcakes. The Strawberry Lemonade one is my favorite but it’s generally sold out so the Wedding Cake is also amazing.

Best Thai

Their Choice: The Smiling Elephant

My Choice: Thai Phooket

Even though I’ve never been to The Smiling Elephant I still wanted to do this category because I love Thai food. Thai Phooket has amazing green and red curry, Pad Thai, and bubble tea. It’s perfect for those who love authentic Thai food but they also have more mainstream Chinese food for pickier eaters (not my favorite thing but that’s another post). Anyway you should definitely go here.

Do you agree with my choices?

Stay fly,

~Akilah

Kpop Comebacks Review –September

Kpop comebacks were lit this month, so I thought it would be fun to review some that I watched/listened to and enjoyed. I’m evaluating the music videos in five categories: concept, aesthetics/cinematography, fashion/beauty, choreography, and song. I’ll be discussing my thoughts in each of these categories, giving a one to five rating in each one, and then granting an overall score out of a possible 25.
BAP: Honeymoon

Concept: This video sparked lots of questions for me as it refers to the concept. Why is Yongguk’s hand bleeding? Why is Zelo trapped in the dark while the other members are on the island? And what’s with the TV in the forest? If y’all have any answers to these questions or if you can direct me to a fan theory that does, definitely comment below. Anyway, I enjoyed the classy/elegant concept in this video. (3)

Aesthetics/Cinematography: Scenery wise, this MV was probably the most stunning I’ve ever seen. I believe it was filmed on Jeju Island and I appreciate the move from a warehouse/garage/set that most groups tend to go for to an outdoor area. The aerial shots were killer and the editing was on point. (5)

Fashion/Beauty: Mullets reigned in this concept, and I have to say I am not a fan. I didn’t like the way Yongguk’s hair was styled at the table scene in the end but in the forest parts it was cool. Youngjae gets props for looking classy and not succumbing to the mullet pressure. And the all white end looks truly saved the day. (2)

Choreography: There was no dance at all in the MV, not even a head bop, but a couple of days later we received a lit dance practice. Jongup definitely came to slay this choreo with Michael Jackson-esque moves and he came mullet-less yay! The synchronicity is on point and the sweeping line dance move in the first chorus floors me every single time. Unfortunately, this video is an excellent example of a Kpop pet peeve of mine: unnecessary back-up dancers. All the members were trained in and are competent in dance. Why do we need extra people to muddy the waters? (4)

Song: With a breezy, chill feel, this song quickly became a current favorite of mine. The whistling at the beginning and the chord changes in the bridge are wonderful. Jongup’s vocal performance was flawless . I was also intrigued by the position of Yongguk’s rap, putting it at the end rather than in a verse was a nice touch. (5)

Total: 19

Pentagon –Like This

Concept: Parking lots and apples? I don’t really know but there seems to be pain and difficulty here, especially looking at the lyrics with the video. (2)

Aesthetics/Cinematography: I like the use of different locations and lighting techniques. Also E’Dawn’s car scene displayed excellent angles. (4)

Fashion/Beauty: Pentagon is a group where generally all the members look amazing in many concepts. Jinho with blonde hair worked and Yan An lived up to his status as official visual. Wooseok with a hat was a look, but underneath the hat his fluffy, shaggy hair cut irritates me to no end. Bangs don’t suit Yeo One well in my opinion but he rocked them considering. The real star in the visual department for me this comeback (and kind of every comeback) is Yuto da! His black parted hair is my favorite look of his so far, it really frames his face well and looks natural. (4)

Choreography: The amazingly talented Kino choreographed this dance and he killed it. In terms of choreography it’s probably my favorite of the September comebacks, yes, even over BTS’ DNA. Like This showcases a powerful yet graceful style that I admire. It’s nice to see such emotionally charged choreograpy like this (see what I did there). The use of slow motion at the bridge is masterfully done so it doesn’t seem cheesy. My absolute favorite move is the one in the chorus at “weonan dan hanaye becheul” it expertly shows all the emotion in that line through movement, so even before I looked up the English lyrics I could sense the desperation and determination. (5)

Song: This song is essentially about determination “Even if I fall and my knees bleed, I’ll keep on running like this.” It’s a beautiful message backed by a beautiful vocal performance. The line distribution is impeccable, especially for a ten member group and the ratio of rap to vocal doesn’t feel uneven at all. I especially love how the positioning of E’Dawn’s energetic rap breaks up the songs mellow feel. (5)

Total: 20

BTS –DNA

Concept: This concept is fun and bright but with enough of a hardcore feel. It’s perfectly and totally Bangtan. (4)

Aesthetics/Cinematography: The camera angles at the beginning of JK’s whistle, the use of shadow in the choreo scenes, and the vibrant colors make this MV pop. It’s an excellent example of gorgeous cinematography, all you artists need to get a pen and take a seat. (5)

Fashion/Beauty: Taehyung with gray hair, Jungkook with a part again, Yoongi somehow slaying powder blue, Jin’s black hair making an appearance, and Namjoon with rust colored hair made this a lit era. J-Hope’s color was nice but the bangs aren’t my favorite. Let me know if you want to sign my petition: Bring Back Hoseok’s Forehead. Jimin’s “noodle” hair looked rather strange to me even though it was poppin’ in Serendipity. In terms of fashion, Tae gets an award for best dressed but I love Kookie’s silk shirt and Yoongi’s tank and button down combo (which I recreated here). Honestly, all the looks were lit in this MV, even Hoseok’s jersey over sweatshirt look grew on me. (4)

Choreography: We saw classic Bangtan with pelvic thrusts and head bopping, but we saw lots of fresh takes on the choreograpy. Taehyung did a sweet solo, Jin was the center in a dance scene (he’s come so far), and J-Hope slayed the ending. I love the part where they link hands in a formation and the ending “la, la” dance especially. (5)

Song: This song is so catchy. Everyone shines with JK slaying pre-chorous, Tae singing in his low register, Jimin’s breathy vocal coming through, and Jin’s sweet soft voice. Our rap line came with it too: J-Hope’s excited tone and Namjoon’s aggressive one contrast perfectly. Yoongi rapped a lot in this song and I couldn’t be happier, and there’s nothing more adorable than his pronunciation of “real love”. The bass line was poppin, especially in the second verse, and the whistling of the melody was an ingenious way to make sure that every single ARMY is hypnotized by this bop. One of my favorite things about older eras of Bangtan was Jungkook rapping and we got our golden maknae showing his gifts once again in this song, and no I didn’t forget about our Chim Chim because he slayed his rap too. I can’t forget that Namjoon and Yoongi co-wrote this song. I’m so proud, BTS fighting! (5)

Total: 23

I watched a lot of comebacks in September so if you want to see a part 2 featuring B1A4, EXO, Lay, and others comment down below. Also be sure to tell me your thoughts on these comebacks if you’ve seen them and if you haven’t tell me your favorite song release of September, Kpop or otherwise.
Stay fly,
~Akilah

DNA ~BTS (Bangtan Boys) Inspired Outfit // Suga

We’re now living in the DNA era and look around at how lucky we are to be alive right now! This MV is aesthetically, musically, and choreographically stunning. Inspiration hit me from every angle while watching this the 75+ times I’ve seen it since 5:09 a.m. On Monday September 18, 2017. One of the things I was struck by was Yoongi’s outfit in this comeback. Everyone’s been talking about the abundance of Gucci, Jimin’s sequined jacket, and Hoseok’s tiger sweater but Yoongi’s outfits aren’t getting enough love. The first look he sports in this MV is my focus for today. It’s simplicity is what makes it so amazing: a red and black striped tank, jeans, suspenders, and a white button down. Check out my take on this lewk!

Quotes from the Commonplace

A commonplace journal is a book where one writes quotes, sayings, or words that catch their fancy. Today I’ll be sharing a couple of my favorite book quotes that are in my commonplace journal.

“It does not do well to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that.” -Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

“Living by answers is a form of death. It’s only the questions that keep you living.” -Crispin the Cross of Lead

“Be suspicious of history that is written by the conquerors.” -Dead End in Norvelt

“A loss is inevitable, like snow in winter. True champions learn to dance through the storm.” –The Crossover

“It’ll be done when America at last defines itself by what she sees in her collective mirrors and not by what she sees in her imagined world of snow-white angels floating among the clouds of our lofty ideals. Until then, we’ll all be in the streets looking for where we belong.” -Riot

Stay fly,

~Akilah

Do you have a commonplace book? If so what’s in it?

Would You Rather ~Fashion Edition

Would You Rather is one of my favorite games so I’m stoked to play this fashion edition today. I got these questions from Popsugar Australia and I’m just going to answer them. Definitely tell me your answers in the comments.

Would you rather win a pair of designer shoes every month for a year? Or have 10 minutes to raid the Vogue fashion cupboard?

This is a difficult question right off the bat but I’d definitely choose Vogue closet. Ten minutes is really all I need to grab all the Balmain, Chloè, YSL, Off-White, and Alexander Wang I need. Plus I can get some designer shoes while I’m in there and get more variety.

Would you rather get 30 minutes to raid Olivia Palermo’s wardrobe? Or have Vogue stylist’s at your beck and call for a year?

Again I must choose Vogue. Since I want to be a stylist, I get so excited thinking about all I could glean from the creative minds at Vogue and all the networking connections a year could provide.

Would you rather lose a suitcase full of your favorite clothes? Or tear a hole in your designer handbag?

Tearing a hole in one handbag doesn’t seem as catastrophic to me as losing a whole suitcase full of clothes. I prefer clothes to handbags anyway so I’d survive.

Would you rather work on and launch a successful collaboration with Isabel Marant? Or score 10 pieces from a designer of your choice?

I’d rather have the collaboration, because while I’d love to have 10 Balmain pieces, I see a collaboration with Isabel Marant as being fun but also providing me with a lot of career opportunities. Thus, in the long run that collab would pay off more.

Would you rather only shop online ever again? Or only shop in store ever again?

In store allllll the way! I don’t like to wait for my stuff to come in the mail and I need to try things on and feel textures when shopping.

Would you rather as of tomorrow only wear black and white? Or as of tomorrow only wear colors and prints?

Although I love colors and prints but I think it’d be easier for me to only wear black and white but I have to cheat a little and add gray because gray is life.

Would you rather wear heels forever or flats forever?

Not sure if sneakers are included in this or not but I could probably survive on only platform sneakers so I’d choose heels forever. Heels forever would allow me to wear wedges most of the time for comfort but still have the option to be fancy.

Would you rather spend have $4,000 to spend at Myer or $2,000 to spend at Chanel?

I didn’t know what Myer was at first but it appears to be an Australian online store. They don’t carry any brands I’m truly interested in so I’ll say Chanel. $2,000 is enough to cop an iconic crossbody.

Let me know in the comments which question you found the hardest.

Stay fly,

~Akilah

Kpop Convo

The week of June 11, 2017 will go down in History as the time I was introduced to a seized by Kpop. My friends and I traveled to a music production camp in Indiana but Never Ever expected to become Stuck in new fandoms. We met a new friend there who showed us videos. I was captivated by the Beautiful visuals and Dope dances, before I knew it I was All In. This post is basically a conversation about Kpop so I hope you Like It. My favorite songs, videos, groups, and dances are Limitless so we won’t get through all of them, at least Not Today, but I hope this serves as a Very Nice introduction.

I can’t begin to talk about Kpop without first mentioning Monsta X. They were the first group I stanned (supported, loved) and they’re still one of my favorites. Beautiful: the first song I liked, first dance I learned, first video I loved. Minhyuk was my first bias (favorite member) then I added Shownu and I.M. but basically, it’s the whole group. Monsta X is such a multi-talented septet: every single member can dance, sing, and rap not to mention they’re all visuals. Watching variety shows with them is quite rewarding because they seem to have so much fun together and are talented actors. I fully recommend Monsta X-Ray seasons 1-2. In terms of videos: if you’re new definitely check out the Beautiful and Stuck MVs. if you’re an OG Monbebe but are still looking for more check out Amen dance practice.

E-X-O! When I first watched Monster I honestly didn’t like EXO. I was really confused by the concept but the more I watched and researched the more I was captivated by the concept behind EXO. I don’t have all their storyline details together so I won’t explain it here (maybe a future blog post?) but you can see most of it in the Mama music video. SM Entertainment (EXO’s management company) is my favorite member of the “big three” (YG, JYP, and SM Entertainment). Their concept genius is out of this world, but concept genius isn’t everything. SM has a reputation of ill treatment and I hope that they treat their idols as individuals made in the image of God from now and into the future. In EXO my bias is Sehun (yehet!) and my bias wrecker is Lay (Yixing). If you’re looking for the coolest rap and set design check out Overdose. Or for a fun live performance check out Lotto. The Eve is my ultimate favorite: the dance, flawless; the song, beautiful; the lyrics, deep: “Weak lights are running, the moment the darkness flees we must wake up to this new morning.”

One semi-rookie group I can’t get enough of is KNK. Also known as Keunakeun which means great or to be great. KNK stands for K-pop kNocK as in “knocking on the door of Kpop.” I stumbled across their MV Knock and it’s become one of my favorite songs: it’s addictive and the dance is quite original. If a sweet love song is what you’re looking for, definitely check out Angel Heart for all the feels. KNK are such dorks they are always laughing hysterically and falling on the floor (don’t ask me why). My bias is Seungjun because he is good at everything: singing, dancing, rapping. On stage he looks so cold, model-y, and chic, like he doesn’t even need fans. Yet off-stage he acts like a 6’3″ 5 year-old. Youjin is my bias wrecker because vocals be fi, and he’s a graceful dancer. Honestly, they are sort of underrated so you should definitely check them out. They’re so silly and cuddly and I promise you’ll love them.

Don’t let this conversation be one sided, Please comment about your favorite groups and leave some song suggestions to Save Me some trouble.

I left you a treat, comment if you find it!

Stay fly,

~Akilah

September Events I’m Fangirling Over

I’ve tried to publish this post twice already but due to technical difficulties it wouldn’t post properly. Anyway, there are a couple of things I’m excited about for September that I wanted to share.

BTS Comeback

BTS is one of my favorite kpop groups so I’m stoked that they’re new album “Her” releases on September 18th. I probably won’t buy the album but I’ll definitely stream the videos.

EXO Comeback

Another one of my fave kpop groups: EXO will release their repackaged album in September. I’m hoping that this will clear up some of the theories surrounding the EXOclipse concept.

Lecrae Album

I’ve been a Lecrae fan for a long time and I’ve been waiting for this album since Church Clothes 3. “All Things Together”, which comes out on September 22nd, also features Kierra Sheard, Tori Kelly, and others which intrigues me.

Lego Ninjago Movie

Moving on from music, the Lego Ninjago Movie comes out this month. I enjoyed the other lego movies and used to watch the Lego Ninjago series on Cartoon Network when I was younger, so I expect this movie to be hilarious and a bit nostalgic

Manolo: The Boy Who Made Shoes for Lizards

This fashion documentary about Manolo Blahnik features Anna Wintour and Andre Leon Talley whom I love and I don’t know much about the Manolo Blahnik story yet so this documentary should be perfect.

Karl Lagerfield X Vans

When I first saw an article about Karl Lagerfield for Vans I did a double take. I don’t really like Vans but I often like Karl Lagerfield’s aesthetic. So while I won’t be buying anything you’ll definitely be seeing some items on my Pinterest.

Balmain X L’Oreal

A designer collab that I will be buying from is Balmain for L’Oreal which I’ve been waiting for since May. Balmain is my fave RTW brand and I can’t wait to cop one of these pretty lipstick shades, especially since I was broke for Balmain X H&M lol.

Stay fly,

Akilah

What are you looking forward to?

Hamilton Book Tag

What could be better than history, hip-hop, and books? I’m so excited to be combining these things in the Hamilton Book Tag today. I randomly found it, it’s kinda old, and I wasn’t tagged but we’re gonna do it anyway! Also I don’t know who started this so I apologize for not giving them credit but if you’re reading this and you came up with it thank you. I did however find it on a blog called Cuddle Buggery. One more thing this post contains spoilers for The Hunger Games series.

Hamilton changed my life when I heard the soundtrack and if you haven’t heard it yet you need to give it a listen because ish lit. I admire Lin Manuel Miranda’s creativity and his vision for diversity. Having black and Latina people play the founding fathers is revolutionary and “the world will never be the same”. I could fangirl about Hamilton all day but I digress, let’s get into the tag!

The Room Where It Happens: A book world you would put yourself into

I’m definitely going to say Narnia from The Chronicles of Narnia because living in that magical world, meeting those mythical creatures, and walking with the magnificent Aslan would be amazing.

The Schuyler Sisters: An underrated female character

This book series in underrated as a whole but I think as a character Petra from The Calder Game is underrated, she’s so well developed as a side character and has a distinct personality.

My Shot: A character that goes after what they want and doesn’t let anything stop them

Sophia from Sophia’s War definitely went after what she wanted. That doesn’t mean I always agreed with her though…

Stay Alive: A character you wish was still alive

There are so many characters I wish were still alive but I’d definitely say Rue and Cinna from The Hunger Games. They were my favorite characters in the book and in the movie so I was devastated when they died *cries*.

Burn: The most heartbreaking ending to a relationship you’ve ever read

I have a rather uncoventional answer for this question but I would say the relationships in The Scarlett Letter are so heartbreaking. This is rather expected because the whole book is about adultery and shame but once you read it you’ll realize that it isn’t the relationships you might expect that are most heartbreaking.

You’ll Be Back: The sassiest villain

The Mysterious Benedict Society was one of my favorite series when I was about 11 or 12 (it’s still amazing btw). And the villain is so savage and hillarious, I won’t tell you who it is but if you’ve read the book you know. Everyone in this book is lowkey sassy though which why I love it.

The Reynolds Pamphlet: A book with a twist you didn’t see coming

I’ve read a lot of books with twists but one that definitely stuck out was Traitor’s Gate by Avi, thiisss boooook! It destroyed my life with it’s web of intrigue and lies, so many lies!

Non-Stop: A series you marathoned

I don’t really marathon series anymore but when I was younger I marathoned The Left Behind Kids series (i didn’t finish them though because they’re a lot of them) but I read a good 50-60 of them in about two months.

Satisfied: Favorite book with multiple POVs

Satisfied is one of favorite Hamilton songs and one of my favorite books with multiple points of view is Copper Sun by Sharon M. Draper. This story is beautiful and shows how two seemingly different lives have parallels.

Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story: A book/series you feel like will be remembered throughout history

Little Women is such a timeless story and it already showed it’s longevity by lastng this long. I think the sisterhood between the March sisters will never expire.

Helpless: A relationship you were pulling for from the very start

I was definitley rooted for Matt and Love from The Boy in the Black Suit from the very beginning, they have such a sweet relationship and this book is funny but also deep.

Ten Duel Commandments: Favorite fight scene

I honestly don’t really like reading fight scenes, they usually seem to drag and the descriptions never quite thrill me but I did like a scene in The False Prince (series) it was quite dramatic.

Say No To This: A guilty pleasure read

I don’t have one because all books/articles/etc that I feel like I shouldn’t read I don’t.

What Comes Next: A book/series you wish had more books

I would love it if The Other Half of My Heart by Sundee T. Fraizer had a sequel because I’d love to see the main characters in another setting after the duration of the book.

Right Hand Man: BroTP

A BroTP is a spin on OTP (one true pairing or a relationship you root for) only this time it’s not a romantic relationship. I’d say Logan and Philip from CandyMakers for this one because they were hilarious.

What’d I Miss: A book/series you were late to reading

Ummm Harry Potter because I’ve only readl the first one…

Wait For It: A book that was worth waiting for

I’m gonna change this up a bit and say a book that I currently can’t wait for and that is Dear Martin by Nic Stone. It’s been hyped by my favorite authors and the synopsis sounds amazing. It comes out in October and “I’m gonna wait for it, I’m willing to wait for it.”

Stay fly,

~Akilah

What book are you currently waiting for!


Back to School Lookbook 2017

Even though it’s a bit late I’m ecstatic to bring this lookbook to you for back to school. Many of these pieces are from my Goodwill Haul were I was styled by Porsche Pope. Mrs. Porsche did an excellent job and I had fun further styling these pieces.

Dress: Maurice’s via Goodwill | Leggings: Hanes Store | Boots: Off Broadway | Watch: Claire’s (gift)

Top: Gap via Goodwill | Jeans: American Eagle via Goodwill | Purse: Danielle Nicole via Goodwill | Shoes: Converse

Top: Forever 21 via Goodwill | Skirt: Goodwill | Shoes: Off Broadway


Top: Lauren Conrad via Goodwill | Shorts: Gap via Goodwill | Shoes: Rack Room Shoes | Necklace: Charming Charlie


Top: Meijer | Jeans: Aeropstale via Goodwill | Shoes: Converse | Watch: Claire’s (gift)


Top: Loft via Goodwill | Pants: Dillard’s (gift) | Shoes: Off Broadway

Dress: Mossimo via Goodwill | Shoes: Rack Room Shoes |Purse: Goodwill


Dress: Rue 21 via Goodwill | Shoes: Converse | Bracelet: Charming Charlie

Stay fly,

~Akilah