Hey loves, so I recently did a snapchat takeover with a women's empowerment group called @girlsnightoutbds, started by a powerhouse @jalisiaboxill woman.
Sadly, I lost the snapchat video but I would still like to share with you, the written version of what I talked about. 

The topic I am going to discus is about being you, confidently you, without trying. I know it sounds a bit confusing, but what it really means is becoming in tune with yourself not only consciously but sub-consciously. A lot of us don’t realise it but we aren’t as confident in who we are as we would like to think. I’ve been struggling with this for some time now so instead of me only telling you what I think, I’m going to speak my truth. I read a lot of books and each one teaches me something different, this new one I’m currently reading made me realise I try way to hard to be myself. One of my biggest weaknesses is other fashion bloggers and designers. I find myself envying them, loving their style, wanting their clothes , mimicking creative processes that just aren't mine.

I first realised this, as I was doing a fashion sketch for a competition I was extremely excited about entering and as I started to draw what came to me, I found myself becoming unsatisfied with my work. So I picked my memory for the process I believed would help me create a stellar design. I thought of my friend’s process of theme building, what I'd learnt in school and eventually google had the answers I wanted as well and in return I lost myself. As I sat there, reasoning with myself on why I wanted to change my design so badly, why was I thinking about others and not what I wanted, I realised I wasn't confident in my skill. I had disregarded what I drew because I thought I needed to draw in the way that other people did but this wasn't new. I’d been doing it since school. It had been embedded in me since school. This is how you learn, this is how you do, do it this way, do it that way, no that way is wrong and this is who I became, a girl who didn't trust her skill. When I design, all I need is paper, a pen and a direction and I begin to go at it, my soul understands what I want to draw and together we create. Deep down, I know who I truly am as a designer and I believe deep down we all know who we are as individuals. Due to the fact that some part of me knows, I seldom edit my original sketch and years later I will still feel as passionate about that sketch as I did in the beginning. Aware of this, I understood that my process will never be theirs and I should never make their process mine.

I am learning to be who I truly am and riding my spirit of it's egotistical, envious and judgemental ways that I have been nurtured to accept. The women who have reached this part of their being are leaders, trendsetters, goal 'getters' and heroines. Our being is meant to be empowered, loved and accepted by us because a woman is humanity's background. No matter how small you think your role is on this earth, you are power.

Can you imagine what an inspiration a woman who knows her true self can be to young girls,her circle and this world? She is power.

When I seek to work on something within me, I tend to leap instead of crawl. I leap to the end, the end where I try to skip cold turkey and humility and immediately begin to think I’m already where I need to be. However, in reality life just doesn't work like that. You forget, you screw up, you get sad, you forget how beautiful you are, how unique your talents are and some days you wake up just not feeling confident. Life is a constant self empowerment lesson and every moment we remember to, we need to lift ourselves and others up.
Whenever I find myself becoming envious of a blogger's lifestyle or closet, I ask myself an empowering question that will shift my awareness from overthinking to reality.

For example:
1. 'In what way can I be productive right now so I can continue to build my empire?'

2. 'What makes my style unique?'

Now, it's very easy to turn these questions into discouraging questions, this is why I am very specific in the questions I ask myself.
Without completely changing the above questions, I will turn them into discouraging questions.

For example:
1. 'In what way can I be productive right now so I can build my empire so I won't be envious of hers?'
2. 'What makes my style more unique than hers?'

As I've began to empower myself and focus less on others, I found my style and designs becoming less try hard and the love for other bloggers rarely turns into envy. To appreciate and be inspired by is very different to being envious and the line between can be very thin, so it is very crucial you truly empower yourself instead of unconsciously discouraging yourself.
To unlearn everything negative society has taught me, everything negative I have taught myself will not happen at the snap of a finger. It will be a long and hard process and most days my ego won’t allow it with ease. I will have to break what I’ve been taught in order for me to flourish.

Jacket, top and skirt from local retail store, @attitudeboutique; shoes from Aldo
I really want to see us women confidently stay true to us and as cliche as it sounds, when we can do this, we will find ourselves connecting with one another in a way that’s soul deep. In a way we won’t have to explain but all across the world we’ll be able to empower, sympathise, love and connect with our sisters. 
To be confident, flawless and fearless is not impossible. It is already within each of us. We just need to understand that we are already are the power and have the power."

I just want to thank everyone for reading and I hope we all remember that we are Queens!

Peace and love,

Hey loves!
Below I just wrote a very brief piece about the pressures that comes along with a newfound knowledge of self. As my journey to personal success continues, I will try to keep you guys updated. I hope you enjoy this piece - love you all x.

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After awakening a part of me that I never understood, what held me back from growth and halted my opportunity for success, I've realised that not only has it been difficult, this road to success but it has led me through more emotions than TOM ever has.

As I began taking new risks, almost immediately after being awakened, I felt as though everything sought to take me back to a place of discouragement. Honestly, the will to not give up is a job, and every single day you have to encourage, motivate and enlighten yourself while maintaining sanity, happiness and a good vibe. Difficulty, has actually become such a mediocre description for how it's been.

Upon talking to myself - because I need so much convincing, I need to convince me for me to even be convinced - I remembered that there will always be that point between quitting and persevering where your resilience will be tested. I like to call it 'el diablo’. It's almost like that friend who is so easy to talk to because they encourage your bad decisions and enlighten your negativity. They even agree with your misconceptions of your capabilities and add more flame to the fire by discrediting the great potential of your character. You know that friend, also known as your mind, whom you've fought so hard to take back control from, yes that friend. However, through the acknowledgement and acceptance of their existence, perseverance can finally win that battle. Personally, it has always been when I can admit my nurture that I am able to overcome a struggle. When I can give it room to grieve, I always come back stronger and more willing. Yes, I have days where I want to do nothing but I also have moments where everything around me inspires my will and my drive cannot be stopped. Though those moments come and go, I believe they should be acknowledged and cherished as a reason to keep going, as a reminder that it is all possible. 
Powerful and important, these moments serve as your proof of your ability to persevere.

Photography @thedreamrealeli

The book that changed how I felt about not winning.
I entered the Miss Universe Barbados pageant 20 weeks ago, not knowing it would change my life forever and lead to me writing this article. I originally entered the pageant because my brother's friend encouraged me to do so. Though deterred by the idea of entering due to my assumption of what pageantry was, I decided to take the risk and so began my preparations to this great night.
From the moment we started the process of pageant training I began to love it; I did not think that I would, but I did, and as the weeks went by, my passion intensified for everything the organization was exposing us to. I did everything from, event appearances, etiquette classes, speech/interview sessions, motivational seminars, public relations, walking sessions and skin care lessons, to meeting Miss Universe Barbados titleholders. 
My pageant experience was one I'll forever cherish, because the girls and I were in a space we embraced, and around people we appreciated. To say we were treated with love is an understatement.
Gown by legend, Wayne Smith.
Upon raving about the pageant to my friend Dominique, we got to talking about some of the things I know I needed to work on, particularly for the pageant. I'd always loved reading fictional books and motivational articles but I never got into reading motivational books. This all changed when she mentioned the book, 'Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn' by John C. Maxwell. Without going into much detail, she said it changed her mindset. After her review, I was sold.
By this point, I was so determined to develop myself holistically for the pageant that I didn't hesitate to meet her so I could get the book in my hands. After I began reading, I found myself thinking, "I know this-why do
I need to read this book?", but knowing that was not the way to think because there is ALWAYS more to learn, I continued. 
It did not take me more than two pages to begin feeling silly. 
Sometimes feeling dumb is good because it shows you how much growing you need to do.
To sum up this book would be unjust, because on every single page there is a difference lesson to be learned. The book taught me how to fail the correct way. I know this sounds really strange, but let me explain. 
As children, we only appreciate the feeling of success. We live for it, we want to get an A+ and we want to be told good job when we do well. However, no one tells us that we will fail more than we will win and it is that, that we should be prepared for. 
I am using the word fail loosely because it is how we understand not winning. We think that failing is a sign to quit, but really it is an opportunity for you to analyze your mistakes, make adjustments to your method and try again. Sadly, like me, many of us we do not bounce back from our failures as we should. We either give up, or try again using the same techniques. 
Not only do we have the ability to try, change and succeed but we have the capacity to learn so much more from failing than winning. 
By this time, I was beginning to really want to win this pageant. I was placing all of my eggs in this basket and I knew that was a recipe for disaster. I remembered how I handled loss before and how heart wrenching it felt. I knew that I never wanted to feel like that ever again and this book was teaching me just how important 'losing' was. 
Since reading 'Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn', I found a new appreciation for my failed grades and projects, lack of sales on my clothing collection and failed launches of business ideas. 
Knowing why each semester my marks would remain consistently low, why my clothing would not sell and why some of my plans never happened was due to a lack of hope that I could actually try again and succeed.
Eventually, I began to adjust my concept of losing and turn it into an opportunity to be resilient and keep working at the things that challenged me. In my case, it may not be another pageant, but it will be learning to network and converse fluently. I am happy to say this pageant has engendered much needed growth in me and it has given birth to qualities that I am proud to get to know.

Swimwear segment, wearing SugaApple Swim.
Let me just say this, disappointment is a natural feeling; I wish that I could have won, who would not want that? However, sometimes we are only able to be who we are at that given time, in that given moment and it is up to us to keep working on ourselves, for ourselves.  As you continue to learn, my best will get better and so will yours!

P.s. I am about to drop you guys the most cliche line ever but I finally really, understand what it means so I am going to use it!

"Always keep hope alive"

Peace and love,
Mel x.

GIRL, they don't now your worth; anything you want it's yours.

Top (L Train Vintage, NY), bottom and shoes (Buffalo Exchange, NY, obsessed with this place) ALL THRIFTED. 
Jewellery: Forever 21
Bag: Marshalls
Is it obvious pink is my favourite colour? Maybe not, but I have been craving a 'pink' shoot for a while now and well finding a pink wall in Barbados proved to be quite difficult (yes I'm back home, finally!). However, God is good and I found one! Hope you guys enjoy my blast of pink.

Peace and love,
Mel x.

"Say Yes to opportunities, say yes to travelling, say yes to different foods, say yes to adventure, say yes to life "
Finding myself...still finding myself, finding my style, figuring out my next move and recently a serious means of income. Perks of being 20! But let me tell you there is beauty in this process; in learning and living, completely with no regrets. I always knew the time where I would have to get my life together was coming but can I start next year? And can I add that there are so many things I really want to do before I even pursue a career I am going to do for 30 years. 
But someone I met recently (she's 20 but I guess some of us are more on track with life than the rest) told me to just focus on where the money is at right now and with that money I could pursue as much interests as I like. So simple but yet every bit of that advice was the key to my success.
But as you guys can maybe tell I am currently in a different country (NY), one so different and new to the place I call home, so much more diverse, fast paced and independent. It's almost as though everyone is constantly running out of time. Picture the movie 'In Time' and you will probably understand. 
I'm also running out of time to finish my summary so until next time, enjoy this post my loves!

Thrifted top & pants; Aldo hand jewelry; Nine West shoes

Photography by the best, Nathan Mack.

Thanks for viewing my loves,
Peace & Love, always

Mel x.

Coming into my own has been the most difficult part of my life thus far, figuring out who I am, what I like, what I what, where I want to be...I'm beginning to think that being 19 does that to a person, you know that midway point between being a teenager and an adult. Maybe if I think about it that way, I'll be a bit easier on myself when it comes to having the answers...because well I don't need to, yet.

For now, I'm just gonna flow with life, do new things, go to new places and focus on experiencing as much as I can.

A random impulse after exercising, a spontaneous photographer and a beautiful location, this shoot was beyond fun!

Wearing my Adidas sports bra; H&M pants & sneakers I stole from my mum.
Going again, see you soon..

''The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience'' 

- Eleanor Roosevelt

Photography: Amery Butcher

Thank you,
Love Mel
 Hey loves, so I know summer is over but honestly it's been way too hot here in Barbados for clothing lol, either way we have endless beach/pool weather so bikinis are still a must have. So this swimsuit I got from local store pulse is perfect.

 Necklace and bag from Pulze The Store (Instagram @pulzethestore)
Photography James Clarke (Instagram @alxdrjames)
Yes I know that I haven't talked about my current struggle and conquering strategy but I honestly didn't know what to write, so here are some quotes to help you guys and me understand..

“ Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards ” ~

Soren Kierkegaard

“ Getting lost is just another way of saying 'going exploring ”  ~

Justina Chen

Peace, stay true,
Love Mel
For a while I realised that I have been stuck in the same mentality, a corner flooded with comfort and static. Though yes, sometimes that may be okay  at some point you need to realise the importance of positive movement; movement which may not always be a game changer but in the end that movement can change the game.
I had stopped moving and doing for a long time, I had stopped myself from growing.

 How do you grow when the comfort is so compelling?
 You acknowledge it and then you talk to someone about it. Me, I talked/talk about it to the one person in my life that understands the importance of doing, my boyfriend. As hardcore as he can be about the topic of my laziness and discomfort for things I should do, I need it. I need it so much.
At first it all sounded impossible, too uncomfortable, but as a professional planner, lol, I wrote it all down and I planned (much of it undone but I'll get there). The others, I dived right into with his words replaying over and over in my mind, landing me some opportunities I never before would have gotten. And as I saw that change in my position and felt that drive to seize chance, I slowly started to move (I still am actually). 
Rome wasn't built in a day beauties. 
Now this is my first actual swimsuit shoot, never saw myself doing this but I am always striving to get out of my comfort zone so I tend to test the discomfort by meticulously doing.
I am an impulsive planner, if you can help me understand that would be great!
Thanks to the very talented Tremayne of Gap Year Images because not only did I feel sexy but he made me look it too, aha!

Hat - Cave Shepherd; Swimsuit - Surf Shack; Chain and sunglasses - Bounah; Fur Coat - My collection 'Nouveau Renee'
Thank you guys for reading and continuously loving.

Love you, Mackman.
Peace always x

 Hey loves!
So before I actually began to care about what I put in my hair, I would use anything and I mean anything. But now well I have come to the point where even though I may or may not keep my hair short, I want it to be as healthy as dyed hair could possibly be.

Seeing that I have started investing in products that actually work, lol, it had to have been fate that an online hair store would contact me and let me know that they would now be shipping to the Caribbean, yay!

Okay so yes we have a gazillion hair stores down here and they do have some good stuff, but I have honestly never found 'the product' that doesn't work me too hard! 

If any of my local people know any let me know, feel more than free to comment below (I've got a 4B/4C texture).

Here is what makes https://myloux.com/ special - ordering/shipping process is supposed to be easy and well they definitely make sure that theirs is, I didn't even need to track the products; you can literally shop for products, via brand, need and hair type; they also carry various product lines, so if you think you can't find something, I am sure you can get it from them, plus they don't only cater to natural hair (other hair types need love too).

 I ordered the Shea Moisture, Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen Grow and Restore Masque and the Gorow and Restore Leaving Conditioner from the same JBCO line because my hair is dyed and holds little moisture.

The products came within 2 weeks of ordering in the box above. 

Of course I smelled it! It smells like coconut milk creme. 
Now note I have never used Shea Moisture's products before, but I had a lot of expectations cause I know a lot of people who love their products, some with my hair type too!

The leave in, which is supposed to soften, detangle, moisturise and nourish did just that but within a few hours, my hair went back to it's dry state. Definitely not suited for me.

This deep conditioning masque which restores strength and resilience to damaged, brittle hair or chemically processed hair, however left my hair feeling super soft, moisturised and strong (my hair is so brittle so achieving this was great), hopefully it grows it as well. Anyone with dry, brittle hair definitely needs to buy this product from loux.

The one thing I was extremely glad about, was my vibrant colour remaining...I always tend to lose the colour of my hair in a span of 2 washes so this was a relief.

Let me know what you guys think of myloux!
Love, Mel x.

Welcome back guys! 
So two weeks ago I, along with my former classmates showcased our portfolio collections at BMEX (Barbados Manufacturer's Exhibition). 
Now anyone that studies fashion design knows how absolutely amazing portfolio day feels! As you take your walk out on that stage, feeling nothing but relief, knowing that all your hard work paid off, you begin to reminisce on the tiresome nights, the feelings of doubt and the endless hours behind a machine and then you realise, it's all over. Though the moment came and went, I learnt a great lesson and as obvious as it may sound, I learnt that I should never give up, lol ridiculous I'm now learning this, I know. 
My collection, Nouveau Renee is based on the theory of self and inspired by my interpretation of the art nouveau art style if it were a form of fashion. Nouveau means new, something that is modern and fresh and I really wanted to portray this in my designs by giving a contemporary feel to the runway. I used my middle name, Renee to incorporate my theory of self.
 I have a love for risque, sexy and confident clothing and I really saw it important to represent this in my pieces.
However, the below post is just a stylised version of my collection where we wanted to show you guys how we would style some pieces from my collection

 V wearing 'Nouveau Renee' fur jacket and double split, hand cut skirt. 

 I'm wearing Nouveau Renee's all in one, leather neck collar and pants. My sheer jacket was made by me but it isn't a piece from my collection and somehow it suited so perfectly !

Thanks for viewing, stay blessed x.
Love, V x Lanie.