Fall Fashion Essentials To Keep in Your Closet

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Fall has finally arrived! Living in Texas the cooler months don’t last too long so I’ve learned to invest in fall basics that are classic, light-weight and transitional. I’m all about versatility. I like items that can be mixed and matched, worn multiple ways, and styled differently each time. To spice up my fall wardrobe, I recently visited a local woman-owned fashion boutique, Dylan Wylde , for a few fall staples that are inexpensive and can be worn a few times- and that won’t go out of style.

I would best describe my style as sophisticated, yet sexy so when I saw this faux leather mini skirt I knew I had to have it. This mini skirt is just the right length which is rare to find for me being that I’m 5’8 and it really set the tone for my look. One of the things I love most about fall fashion is mixing textures. Turtlenecks, or in this case mock turtlenecks, are a great staple to keep in rotation because they are the foundation to layering effortlessly. Olive green is one of my favorite fall colors, so I knew I had to add this sleeveless top to the mix. It’s the perfect breathable fabric that is great while making moves during the day without breaking a sweat.

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4C6A9249Laying is key for fall and so is finding the right outwear pieces that can be dressed down or up, no matter the occasion. Leather moto jackets are an essential that pair effortlessly with almost anything and make me feel like a badass. I love the zipper details that add some edge to this jacket.

There is something so classic about black booties that can easily be worn with a dress, skirt or leggings. I have had these black booties for a few years from Zara and they remain a staple in my wardrobe. What I love about them is that they can be worn year round since they’re open toe and have mesh and leather details that provide versatility.

Wherever you’re headed this season do it with style, passion and purpose. Most importantly, do what works for you. I’ve got another fall look from Dylan Wylde coming your way, so keep your eyes peeled.

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What are your fall staples you like to keep in rotation? Comment below and let me know.

Photography: Cassandra J. Klepac

Living on Purpose and Leading an Intentional Life

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It’s so invigorating sitting at a table surrounded by fearless, bad-ass, creative and multi-talented women who are breaking barriers. Lately, I’ve been reminded the importance of living on purpose and being intentional, so it was only right that I lead the discussion with that topic at my  Queens & Conversation brunch. This past Sunday, I was joined by a group of inspiring women including Olivia, Karyn, Rekha, Ashton, Desiree, Rochelle, Donnet, TiyeSydney, Kara and Keisha. We met at Hanks, a woman-owned restaurant that is definitely Insta worthy, not to mention they just released a delicious brunch menu just in time for our gathering.

We had an enriching conversation that centered around the power of being intentional from creating opportunity for people that are underrepresented, owning our narrative, being aware of what we consume in our mind and bodies, what we’re sharing on social media, and consciously investing in our community. The more intentional we strive to become, the universe will align in our favor.

“Never underestimate the power of intention. Your thoughts, words and actions are the keys to your future.”

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What’s interesting is that most of the women didn’t know each other before this brunch, but once we began introducing ourselves and sharing our passions we immediately noticed how much we had in common. One of the beautiful aspects of hosting this experience that I enjoy most is bringing women together from a variety of backgrounds and industries to gather and grow through fellowship.

When I decided to create this brunch series a year ago, I knew that I wanted it to be an intimate experience where women could share their professional and personal experiences, while discussing ways we can collaborate to serve our community in a meaningful way. From intentionally hand-picking the guests to determining where we would gather, it is based off intention. I’m so grateful that I’m able to use my gifts to create opportunities for other women to be seen and reminded of their power.

As the year slowly comes to a close, I want to remind you that you still have time to finish strong. I encourage you to take advantage of the time you have and use it wisely. Prioritize what matters most and start working towards it. There is no better time than now. Live everyday with intention to learn something new about yourself and others, take on a new challenge that will bring you closer to your goals, surround yourself with those that bring out the best in you and encourage you to keep going.

Surround yourself with energy that takes you up. Be around people who make you feel good. They’ll help you manifest what you want. 

Much love

Alexandra

 

 

 

 

Boss Up Season: Seizing Your Moment & Living with Intention

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Last week I traveled to New York to kick off Fashion Week with NaturallyCurly. As you may know, I’m a full-time editor there where I edit and write articles about all things curly, partner with haircare brands to showcase their latest products and feature visionaries who are leading the textured hair community. Each year NaturallyCurly hosts, Texture on the Runway  and this year was beyond the biggest one yet. From having over 900 attendees to Amara Le Negra co-hosting the show, the event was nothing short of amazing. Being that it was my second year attending/working it, I knew I wanted to make this experience memorable by being intentional in all that I did. From getting my hair done by Tara to staying  a few days after to explore New York, I made sure that it was out of pure intention.

With pure intention comes pure opportunity.

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When I started working at NaturallyCurly two years ago, my main role was to edit articles and manage contributors. Being that I was new to the team, I didn’t want to step on anyone’s toes and at times I found myself dimming my light to make others feel comfortable. As time went on, I was asked to be a part of video projects, but I was so afraid of speaking on camera that I cringed at the thought of doing so. Over the past several months, my role as an editor has expanded. I’ve challenged myself to conquer my fears and take on new projects such as being a part of video campaigns, covering live events and interviewing people on camera and leading meaningful conversations in person. All of this lead me to being prepared for moments like the picture above where I had the chance to go backstage at the Cushnie show to interview the lead hairstylist, Ursula Stephen. In case you don’t know, Ursula is the Queen of hair! She has worked with celebrity faves such as Rihanna, Zendaya, Serena Williams and many more. Having the opportunity to meet her was confirmation that everything that I’ve been challenging myself to do was preparation for unforgettable moments like these. To be in a room full of boss women who are dominating their industry and walking in their purpose was a reminder that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be and it all started with intention and being confident within my ability to show up and own my greatness.

Direct experience is the only valid confirmation.

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Once work was done, I made it a point to explore New York and I stayed at a cute and cozy Airbnb in Woodside to get the real New York experience. If you follow me on Instagram you know that I’ve been prioritizing my health and wellness and it truly has been the best investment I’ve ever made. Earlier this year one of my writers featured a Latina woman who is changing the fitness industry for people of color, Samantha Ortiz. She is the founder of the Triple Threat Boot Camp in Brooklyn and was named the best fitness instructor of NYC in 2017. She invited me and my friend Kiana to attend her class during our visit and of course I had to take her up on her offer. As we walked into the beautiful fitness studio and heard the music bumping from the speakers, I was immediately inspired by the energy in the room. It was the toughest workout I’ve done, but it was well worth it. It was so amazing to be led by a woman who is truly invested in changing people’s lives through fitness. I’m glad I was able to finally meet her and witness her passion in person.

Show up for yourself in ways that no one else can.

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As my NY trip came to a close I wanted to be sure to be intentional with every minute and I spent the day surrounded by beautiful fearless women at the Fanm Djanm brunch. I met the founder of Fanm Djanm, Paola Mathe, a few months ago in Austin for a shoot and I’m extremely inspired by her creativity, passion and boldness. She has attended NYFW several times and this year she wanted to be more intentional by bringing women together for an intimate brunch. She hosted an exclusive brunch at the Refinery Hotel in Manhattan and it was filled with good vibes and great conversation. I believe there’s so much power by gathering women in an intimate space to share our experiences, lessons and celebrate one another because when one wins, we all win!

Be around the light bringers, the magic makers, the world shifters and the game changers. They’ll challenge you, break you open, uplift you and elevate you to rise to the occasion. Your association determine your destination.

New York can be daunting, chaotic and exhausting, but it’s a reminder that we have the power to create a meaningful life everyday that we’re alive, so make it count. Be intentional with the time you have. Seize the moment and be present in all that you do. I encourage you to conquer your doubts, insecurities and fears. Challenge yourself every chance you get to become better and learn something new. Practice discipline and remain to your purpose. Make your vision so clear that your fears become irrelevant. Trust your intuition and own your greatness. Show up for yourself and watch God work.

Much love and many blessings

Alexandra

 

 

 

 

SisterlyLove Celebration

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This past weekend I visited Corpus Christi, TX for a much needed girls trip with my family, filled with lots of love, dancing, endless memories and fellowship. I was raised in a family that is founded on unconditional love, vows to show their support in every way possible and always puts family first and that’s why I cherish my family so much.

“My family is not only my foundation, but my motivation.”

My cousin Constance Staten recently started a Christian non-profit organization dedicated to the spiritual growth and empowerment of women, called SisterlyLove Celebration. She was inspired to create this organization to remind women of their power and purpose, strengthen and celebrate diversity and encourage growth in their journey with God. What’s so beautiful about this organization is that it’s a place for my family to bond, build and create new memories for generations to come.

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During our trip we shared unforgettable memories singing our favorite songs on karaoke, danced until our feet hurt, walked the beach and relaxed under the sunset, poured into each other and hosted a panel on the future of dating where we discussed self-love, love vs. infatuation, healing, faith and sisterhood. There were so many gems dropped and meaningful experiences shared that I wanted to share them with you to be a reminder for you a long your journey.

Self-love: Give yourself love, give yourself attention, give yourself time, give yourself power and give yourself to you. The more you believe in yourself and practice who you want to become, God will position you exactly where you need to be. It first starts with you. Reclaim your power and always be aware of your value. Respect yourself and show others how you prefer to be treated with love and compassion. The more you love yourself, the less you seek validation and approval from others. Set boundaries, be clear on your expectations and focus on being a powerful source from within. The better you love yourself, the better others learn to love you. Show them the way.

Sisterhood: Find your tribe of sisters who uplift you, encourage you to stay the course when you feel lost, and offer guidance and support without judgement. Sisterhood is a special and sacred bond that is honest and empowering. Remind them of their magic so that they don’t feel the need to look for those characteristics in a potential spouse. Check in on your sisters, lean into them, let them know how much you love and appreciate them, remind them how proud of them you are, shower them with love and check them when they need it because that’s what sisters are for.

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Healing: In order to serve others, you first have to sort through your own mess. Healing comes in waves, lean in your truth, acknowledge your experiences and let go of what no longer serves you. Doing the work is what facilitates healing. In order to mend, we have to show up for ourselves in ways no one else can. Give yourself permission to heal and forgive yourself and others in order to grow. The very moment you allow what happened to you to strengthen you, you win. Choose victory over being a victim. Rise up and conquer from within.

Faith: At the end of the day, all you need is hope and strength. Hope that it will get better and strength to hold on until it does, because it always does. Walking authentically in your light will lead you in the right direction. Trust that your journey is yours & it doesn’t have to mirror anyone else’s path. God is aligning the right people, ideas, places and opportunities in your life. All you need to do is be ready to experience them when they come. Choose faith over fear and God’s favor will put you in positions hustling can’t.

Love vs infatuation: With everything at the touch of our finger tips it’s easy to get infatuated with someone and become obsessed with how they look on the internet. But sis don’t let their looks fool you, dig deeper. Get to know them, their passions, their family, their goals and their relationship with God. That will tell you much more than any photoshopped image on social media. Love is an action not a word. Falling in love is easy, but choosing to stand in it, even through adversity, shifts, and change is the hardwork that isn’t picture perfect. Love requires practice, patience, understanding and partnership. Choose a love that is rooted in God, faith, friendship and commitment. Love is learned and it unconditional.

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Much love from my family to yours,

Alexandra

 

You Don’t Have to Have it All Figured Out to Move Forward

 

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Two weeks ago, I hosted Queens & Conversation, college edition at St. Genevieve. We talked about the importance of intentional networking, knowing your worth and negotiating pay, choosing faith over fear, prioritizing self-care and leaning on others and knowing that you don’t have to do it alone. As I get older, the power of sisterhood is something I appreciate more and more. I’m forever grateful to gather women and empower them to live a limitless life because we are so much stronger together! Thank you to these beautiful young women for joining me and sharing your passions and goals – God has so much in store for you and I can’t wait to witness it.

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This brunch was very special because I didn’t have any knowledge of what life after college would look like for me. I didn’t have a mentor sharing advice, had no job or interviews setup, so I wanted to be sure to pay it forward and share my experiences with these women as they stepped out into the real world. I’ve been out of college for three years and there is so much I wish I had known about transitioning into adulthood. With graduation around the corner, I wanted to share my biggest lessons to hopefully help make your transition smoother and more intentional.

  1. Credit is key: Just because you’re making money, doesn’t mean you need to spend it. Believe me, I know how good it feels to secure your first full-time job, but try your best to create a financial plan that works for you and stick to it. My first two years after graduation I did freelance work which involved helping small businesses and local organizations with their pr, marketing and branding strategies, plus worked events as a brand ambassador. I roughly made $20K a year my first two years post college. I look back and have no idea how I made it through, but God made a way. It taught me the importance of saving and building my credit. Having good credit is essential for leasing a car, apartment, furniture, and so much more so protect it. I recently got a credit karma account to monitor my credit and it’s a huge help to get free access to my credit report and track my credit score.
  2. Network with a purpose: I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, it’s not what you know, but who you know. This is so true! I understand networking isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and can be dreadful at times, but if you do it with a purpose you’ll find it to be more successful. It’s important to build a network of professionals you can learn from and grow with. Depending on where you live, there are several networking events, workshops and happy hours for young professionals, but remember you don’t have to be at every event. Use eventbrite and Facebook to find events that interest you and challenge yourself to attend one per week. Ask yourself what do you want to get out of this event? Who do you want to meet? Bring your business cards and encourage yourself to connect with at least 3 people. You never know who’s watching, assume everyone is. Own the room and be confident.
  3. Self-care is essential for your sanity: I never understood the importance of a morning routine or self-care for that matter, until I worked from home and my life had little to no structure. In order to protect my peace I quickly found that it was essential to set boundaries and be intentional with my time. Whether you choose to meditate, pray, stretch, go for a run/walk, or journal be sure to create a morning routine that sets the tone for your day. Self-care is truly how you take your power back. Even throughout the day when you feel overwhelmed or under pressure, pause, take a moment to go outside and take three 3 deep breaths to refocus. Remember, self-care doesn’t have to be an hour or cost money, but make it a priority to invest in yourself. You’re worth it.
  4. Know your worth and negotiate like a boss: Before any interview, research the company and the desired roles salary. Recognize your strengths and know the value you bring, regardless if you have direct work experience. Don’t undervalue your transferrable skills, there are many skills that are transferrable such as being a part of the student council, leading projects and volunteering. Don’t be afraid to ask for more, be confident, explain why you’re with it and watch what happens.
  5. You don’t have to do it alone: Even though, you’re capable of doing it all, you don’t have to. There are so many people that are rooting for you and willing to help if you ask. Reach out to your community, friends, family and co-workers if you’re needing support. Asking for help is a sign of strength. Get out of your own way and make room for others to join you a long your journey. Team work makes the dream work.

Congrats to all the college graduates and continue to lead with love in all that you do. Take life as it comes and embrace every shift because change is the only constant in life.  Go at your own pace and honor the process.

With love,

Founder & CEO

Alexandra

 

 

 

Self-care is How You Take Your Power Back

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I’m still in awe of how fast this year went by. I’m even more in awe of how much happened this year. Lawd. This has been a hell of a year. To be honest, 2017 was mentally challenging, emotionally draining and filled with countless acts of terror and hate, yet it still provided growth and opportunity for lessons. As I reflect over the year, there’s a few lessons I learned I’d like to share. Even when you feel like the world has let you down, remember who you are and what you stand for. Be gentle with yourself, you’re evolving even on the days you don’t feel like it. Healing comes in waves. To whom much is given, much is required. Rest. Reset. Climb on.

“When life feels like it’s trying to break you, don’t focus on your problems. Focus on your blessings. Take a moment to be thankful for everything you’ve gotten through. You’ve prevailed. You’re blessed & highly favored Queen.”

Yesterday I hosted my last Queens & Conversation brunch of 2017 at Caroline Restaurant with Brenda, Riley, Ishia, Mica, Angela and Alexis. Being that this was a tough for year us all, I wanted to utilize this time to be transparent, vulnerable and supportive. I felt it was important to focus less on what we endured and more on what we learned and overcame. We each shared one thing we learned about ourselves this year which included life lessons such as: Remember, our timing and God’s timing are not the same – trust the process; You are much stronger than you think – believe in yourself ; Offer yourself the same forgiveness you give others – you are deserving;  Listen to your body and give yourself permission to heal, grieve and push forward.

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It’s interesting because most of the women didn’t know each other before this brunch, but once we began sharing our stories and experiences we immediately noticed how much we had in common. That’s one of the most beautiful parts of this experience I enjoy most is bringing women together from a variety of backgrounds and interests to gather and grow through fellowship.

We also shined a light on the importance of self-care and how vital it is especially as women because we’re constantly loving, supporting, nurturing and giving to others that we forget to provide that same care for ourselves. I encourage you to take your power back and make yourself a priority. Do what you love. Surround yourself around those that feed your soul, help you grow and make you happy. You are worthy.

Much love & many blessings

Founder & CEO

Alexandra

Here’s What You Need to Start Your Business

Queens-Hotel-4Starting your own business can be an exciting and rewarding experience doing what you love. There are many advantages in entrepreneurship such as having a flexible schedule, being your own boss and getting paid to do what you’re passionate about. Before you quit your 9-5 and dive into entrepreneurship, there are a few things that I wish I knew two years ago when I created Queens Conquer, that I’d like to share with you before you take the plunge and create your business.

Start Where You Are, Use What You Have

One of the hardest parts of starting a business is getting started! It can be very overwhelming having what seemslike a million ideas in your mind and not sure where to start. Before doubt and fear creep in and convince you otherwise, take a moment and write down your thoughts. Write down your business plan and how you envision providing value for others. Ask yourself questions such as, “What problems will you solve? Who are you serving? How will you stand out from others in your industry?” Once, you can define these things you can move forward knowing the why of your business and what you’re working with moving forward.

Invest in Yourself

There are several things needed in order to start a business and one of the essentials is taking care of the legalities to protect you and your business. Once you decide on a name, do thorough research to be sure no one else is using that name.

Tip: Namechk is a great resource to use to check to see what’s available across different domains and social media platforms.

Register your business under a Doing Business As aka DBA name. Not all states require a DBA, but most do if you’re a sole proprietor and want to use another name rather than your real name or have an existing Limited Liability Company (LLC). Forming an LLC, is crucial to keep your personal assets separate from your business liabilities. With technology being at the touch of our fingertips, anyone can copy your logo, so invest in your brand and trademark your logo, not just in your state, but across the country to be safe. Also, be sure to copyright your products, workbooks, software, etc.

Tip: Create a business account and keep your business expenses separate from your personal expenses. Here’s a few apps to help you keep your finances organized, track mileage, invoices and more: Mint, Quick Books & Fresh Books.

Queens-Hotel-19-2Tell Your Story

Once you’ve chosen your name and taken care of the legalities, create a website to tell everyone what you offer and how you can help them! First, you want to purchase your domain, then create a website. If you have no HTML experience, you can create a template site from SquarespaceWix,  or WordPress to get started than can add custom features later. Start with one page at a time, write out your thoughts and add images to help tell your story. Be sure to update your site frequently with new blog posts, products, even updating your about page. This will all help to increase engagement and SEO. You can also integrate your social media on your website to connect with your community consistently.

Tip: To create digital and physical content Canva is a great tool to use for things such as e-mail newsletters, flyers, social media posts etc. 

Secure The Bag

Now that you have a website, how do you get people to visit and purchase your products or services? Give yourself a monthly marketing budget that you strictly use for marketing purposes. Even if it’s $50, start small and promote your business to reach more people. This may include boosted social media posts, business cards, or photography and video services. These are all tax write-offs for your business, so know that it’s worth it in the end! Find out tax deductions for small businesses here

Tip: Utilize online marketing services such as  Google AdWords and Facebook & Instagram Ads to build brand awareness and leverage your social networks. Facebook & Instagram business tools are great features to take advantage of if you’d like more information on these tools comment below or e-mail me.

These are some things I learned in the beginning of my entrepreneur journey, that I hope help you. The biggest thing I struggled with was my business finances and taxes, so I definitely encourage to utilize those finance apps and also reach out to a CPA in your area.

Know that the first couple years you will invest a lot of time, energy and money in your business. You will make mistakes, fail, and learn what does and does not work for your business. The motivation will come and go, but remember why you started. Remember, you can’t do it all. Remember, to rest, not quit. Remember, to carve out time for your priorities. Remember, that consistency triumphs perfection.

I hope you find this helpful. What did you wish you knew before you started your business? Anything you’re struggling with related to your business? Comment below so I can help.

Much love & many blessings

Founder & CEO

Alexandra Wilson

Outfit Details: 

Jumpsuit: BCBGen

Shoes: Vince Camuto

Necklace: Zara

MUA: Cassie Yvette

Photography by: CJK

*I originally published this article on Naturallcurly in support of #smallbusinessmonth, with a few edits*