The past two years that I’ve gone to New Orleans during Essence Festival have made me wonder why I wasn’t going sooner. If you live in or have ever visited the Big Easy, you’ll know that the city is filled with culture, delicious food, and some of the proudest and friendliest people I have ever come across. It’s the type of place where you don’t even want to blink in fear of missing something great.
Some of my blogging buddies LoveBrownSugar.com, LexiwiththeCurls.com, Jessica from GlamazonsBlog.com and I were all heading down to NOLA and since the best way to experience the city is with your best girls, we put together a #NOLACRAWL (sponsored by some of our favorite brands, SheaMoisture, Cover FX, and African Pride) which you could follow along on social media and our blogs to see where we go, the celebs we run into, the food we eat, and all the fun we have.
First stop: African Pride’s “Beauty & the Beat” Beauty Suite with a very special appearance by Kelly Price and taking us through hits from the 80s, 90s, and today was DJ Spinderella. Over 500 ladies made their way through scheduled appointments at the suite where they received mimosas, makeup applications, and tons of African Pride beauty swag. Also on hand were the creators of MadameYou.com, a new site that helps you document your hair history and interact with other ladies.
Spinderella (DJ) & Charlene Bastien-Dance (Strength of Nature Global Marketing Director)
Candace Mitchell (MadameYou.com)
So good to run into reader Veronica and her crew :)
Next stop: SheaMoisture Pop-Up Shop. You can read more about what we did and what we saw here.
After the pop-up we all headed back to our hotel to get primped for the night’s events. We had a mini SheaMoisture slumber party and used some of the products we picked up at the pop-up to primp. I used the African Black Soap Body Wash to help combat bacne—you know how it is when it’s all hot out. I may not get a ton of breakouts on my face, but they sure show up on my chest and back. I also used the SheaMoisture African Black Soap Bar on my face—typically black soap can be drying, but I like how the brand uses shea butter in it to add some moisture so it doesn’t strip the skin. Their African Black Soap got my skin really clean—it would be something I use 2-3 times a week for deep cleaning alternating with whatever regular cleanser I happen to be using.
Also no exaggeration, but ALL of the SheaMoisture body scrubs are good. I love how the granules are finely milled so it doesn’t feel like you’re bathing with jagged rocks and after using it your skin feels extremely pampered. They’re perfect to use before slipping into a summer dress and heading out or even if you decide to throw on your pajamas and stay in.
After primping we headed out to dinner and then for a quick stroll along Bourbon street for frozen hurricanes (one of the city’s most famous drinks) and we popped into a club to dance the night away. Yeah, no pictures of that…lol.
The next morning we headed over to Kirk Franklin‘s Gospel Brunch at the House of Blues. We were treated to a variety of foods including chicken and waffles, scrambled eggs, mimosas and more. I got all teary-eyed as they played “Eye is on the Sparrow” and texted my mom to tell her I love her (seriously, why such a sad song at breakfast? lol). Then a gospel band appeared on stage and things started to liven up. I spotted Kirk Franklin himself and stopped to take a pic. Shortly after he took the stage and gave a hilarious rendition of the “Sexual Chocolate” scene from Coming to America and then had us on our feet jamming to his hits from over the years. He ended the brunch telling us to hug a neighbor so we all ran around hugging each other (awww…lol). It was exactly what we needed to start the day. You can see Instagram videos of the morning here, here, and here.
Next stop: SheaMoisture Pop-Up again! You can see what went down and the celebs we spotted here.
I was a little sleepy so I headed back to the hotel for a cat nap, but soon after Lexi from LexiwiththeCurls.com and Adrienne from MeMyHairandtheCity.com woke me up to tell me to get dressed to head over to the Covergirl Queen Collection Queendom event hosted by Morris Chestnut.
OMG—it was SO much fun!!! The DJ played tons of NY music (I love the south, but sometimes a girl needs to hear some stuff from her hometown…lol) and there were SO many good looking guys in the crowd. I got to snag a pic with Mr. Chestnut himself :)
After getting all of the week’s cardio via dancing, we then headed over to Olivier’s for dinner. I had the catfish which was sooo good.
Christina and Jessica headed over to see Beyoncé (Lexi’s seeing her in Atlanta on Friday and I’m seeing her at the Made in America festival next month) so I took it easy and caught up on a little work and then headed for bed.
The next day Lexi, Adrienne, and I headed over for burger’s at Yo Mama’s (OMG SOOOOO good). They both had to head back home so I spent the rest of the day poolside with Jessica and Christina. Later in the day we headed over to Mr. B’s Bistro for their world famous BBQ shrimp (not so famous for me—it was a bit messy and not very filling for me, but everyone else loved).
For my last afternoon in NOLA, I did a ton of walking around and site-seeing. I mean, it’s such a gorgeous, colorful city and everything is so easily walkable particularly in the French Quarter. I made it down to the Louisiana State Museum, Café Du Monde, New Orleans Seafood & Bar (I had their thin fried catfish last year and it was soooo good I had to come back for more—but you know that thing when you have something once and think about it all the time and then you have it again and it’s not the same? yeah, that)
P.S. I picked up the July InStyle to spot Jessica on page 22!
Overall, I had a wonderful time. Highlights of course we’re all the jokes and partying with my girls and of course all the friendly men and women I came across in the city.
And most importantly—we need to talk about the makeup I took with me on the trip! I didn’t take a ton of stuff but I had some Cover FX essentials that helped me through the heat and humidity:
Cream Concealer: OMG—this stuff is amazing. The slight orange undertones in it is perfect for covering dark spots on my skin and for brightening my under eye area. I love it because it covers like a dream but doesn’t feel or look heavy and it lasts a ridiculously long time even in super humid New Orleans.
Blotting Powder: Loved this for touch-ups.
Illuminator in Moonlight: You know how I feel about cheek highlighters, so of course this was used profusely during my trip. I also love the Sunlight color, but I dropped it and most of the broken pieces fell on the floor :(
See swatches and more here.
And check us out on the Cover FX Show Us Your Match Pinterest board: