I wrote my first ever blog post, 11 years ago this week. On August 13, 2006. A day like so many others turned into the day my life would change. One of our best friends came by and suggested I start a blog. Who could have dreamed that something that began so whimsically, as pure escape and expression, could become this? I couldn't have even imagined. We bought a domain and I started writing and teaching myself HTML. My first post went live on August 14 (screenshot here). 11 years ago this week I was trying to figure out this new world. Sometimes I still feel that way, like I'm figuring it out. So many of my peers have left the space and so much has changed, but I'm still here, still doing my thing, confident in my place and renewed in my purpose. Afrobella.com is still here to share beauty and spread love, to write and to amplify and to celebrate our beauty on our own terms. All shades of beautiful. All textures of beautiful. All sizes of beautiful. Thank you to anyone and everyone who has supported me in this continuing journey and evolving career. Happy bloggaversary, #afrobella 🍾
It's always nice to have beauty brands like @urbandecaycosmetics come to Chicago to host an event and introduce a product-- so often these events are stuck in NYC or LA, but we've got so many beauty lovers here in the Midwest! Tonight at @virginhotelschi a small group got up close and personal with the #nakedheat palette -- thanks for visiting us @urbandecaycosmetics (ps this jumpsuit is by @monifcplussizes and I've been waiting for the right time and place to wear it! Expect to see it again lol)
Today was FUN. Intentionally so, I needed a break from the world. So I visited the @shopzuvaa pop up! I tried on this glorious little dress by @myobioma and said hello to my friends @fantacelah and @akesestylelines and @ceeceesclosetnyc (see her gorgeous bag! Check out her whole line of accessories). I met the creator of @kreyolessence and was really impressed by the products and the intentional practice of giving back to Haiti in a sustainable way. And I said hi to @gabby3shabby -- she's so nice! Super fun self care Sunday day out. Great to see y'all @shopzuvaa
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This is my friend @mxbmia -- we met in 2002 when we both did our MFA in fiction at University of Miami! We have kept in touch throughout the years and once a year she visits Chicago! We walk all over the city, eat pizza, drink wine and catch all the way up. We talk about writing and life in general. It's one of my favorite summer rituals. Friday was our special day! We walked and talked for miles, bought jewelry (I got the necklace at Macy's for like 10 bucks) and visited her old stomping grounds from back in the day when she lived here. And then she headed off to catch her train. See you next year, my friend! #oldfriends#arethebestfriends
I wish I could let you smell this through the screen. I'm using this moisturizer by @farbotanicals so sparingly because it smells like beauty and luxury and I don't want it to ever end #indiebeauty#indiebrandlove
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Finally sharing this little cutie on Instagram! This is my sweet baby niece Thalia, daughter of my big brother @patrickegtt and @solomongrell my awesome sister in law! Thalia is almost 18 months old and such a little darling, so smart and curious and interested in the world. And she has the classic Grell family cheeks LOL! My big brother says he loves this photo because "...she has this look, a little intensity that shows keen interest that's ready to crack into a smile. I thought it was bemusement but Lisa showed me it's really curiosity more likely." I love her can't wait to see her and love her up! #myfamily#trinidadandtobago
Somehow Max is cuddling on two laps at the same time, and he seems quite pleased with this. Happy #internationalcatday little homie
Had a blast at the #moetmoment#moetmoments beats and bites dinner hosted by @Luvvie! Great to see so many of my Chicago friends and to enjoy a lovely meal with unexpected and delicious champagne pairings. Such a fun evening. Cheers and thanks for having us tonight, @moetusa 🥂🍾
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Today's blog post is about the most painful experience of my life -- the kidney stone that sent me to the ER on 8/5/16. It's been a little more than a year and I have learned a LOT. Basically, drink all the water. And I break down the rest on the blog. Cheers, to health!
In honor of #internationalcatday I'm sharing the first ever picture I took of Max! The story is on my blog -- in 2007 I answered the door for a neighbor and this stray lost kitten ran into my home and into my life. I literally took this photo for a Lost Cat flyer I made. And now in October we will celebrate a decade of kitty love! I never had a cat before Max and he truly made me a cat lover. Honestly if you have never had a cat love you, you may not get it. I have lots of friends and relatives who don't like cats and never had a good experience with them. I grew up with dogs. Never thought I would love a cat and never knew a cat could be such a loving, sweet, cuddly and fun pet to have until this guy ran into my house. Now Max is my furry bestie and I can't imagine life without him. If you're considering bringing a cat into your home, I recommend it. Adopt a stray and save a life, there are so many that need love! #cats_of_instagram#cats#straycat#adoptdontshop
These special #chicago@toms are pretty cute! Checking out their pop-up at #lollapalooza2017 -- they have lace up sneakers and sunglasses I've apparently been sleeping on. I still like their style and what they stand for! #tomsweekender
Last day of #lollapalooza2017 and I feel like a survivor. People love to hate #Lolla and I get why because it's a lot for real. It's not for everyone by any means but there is a magic here nevertheless, and I see it when I look up at the skyline. To have a fest of this scope and nature in the middle of a major city is pretty epic. It's been 4 days of fun and great music. No regrets!