Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Gucci Mane: A Tale of Redemption, Love and the Greatest Comeback of All Time

I want to preface this post by saying I'm not a connoisseur of Gucci Mane, but over the past year I have developed an appreciation for him as an artist and for being the ultimate comeback kid. I don't discuss artists that often as its not really my lane, but I've felt compelled to right this piece for quite sometime. 

Many of you know Radric Davis, aka Gucci Mane, for being a pioneer of trap music. You don't have to be an Atlantan to understand his contribution to the industry and appreciate his rap style. For the better part of a decade he has dominated the charts with hits like Wasted & I Think I love Her and rose to international acclaim. 

Photo via Gucci's Instagram @laflare1017

Now, it's no secret that in the music industry, drugs, alcohol and excess trap many artists. Gucci Mane was not immune. Over the years he was involved in many run-ins with the law and ultimately went to federal prison for over 2 years on a gun charge. I'm not going to even attempt to scratch the surface of that as there are far too many details that aren't pertinent to this particular story. 

Prior to going away, he had amassed such and impressive catalogue of music that he remained relevant by continuously releasing new music while incarcerated. This was the beginning of the redemption. He made over a million dollars while in jail and when he was released on May 26, 2016 he recorded & released the single "First Day Out of the Feds." 

"In 12 hours this single had over 900,000 streams on SoundCloud and surpassed 1 million in the first 24 hours. (Gary Suarez, Forbes Contributor)"  Although I was familiar with his music, this is when my true appreciation began. When this artist who had spent the better part of his career marred in controversy was gracing the pages of Forbes online, how could you not take notice?

Photo Via Forbes Online

As time passed, photos emerged of a noticeably thinner Gucci whose demeanor appeared to be more calm and focused. Behind every great man is a strong woman, and his longtime leading lady Keyshia Ka'oir has been by his side through it all. She also isn't riding the coat tails of her man, but has amassed a very lucrative fitness and beauty empire. 


Photos via Gucci's Instagram @laflare1017

Watching  the evolution of Gucci has been inspiring to say the least. Over the past year his once prominent facial tattoos have faded away, a gold grill has been replace with rows of pearly whites, and his style is the perfect balance of designer whimsy meets street chic. It's so refreshing to see his new life play out on social media. "The Wopsters"  are living life on their own terms and smiling all the way to the bank. 


Photo via Gucci's Instagram @laflare1017
The tale of Gucci Mane is endearing. No matter what you've done or been through, you can find redemption. By focusing on your purpose and surrounding yourself with people who believe in you, anything is possible. Throughout it all, Gucci has remained true to himself as an artist and is now using the pitfalls of his past as the stepping stones to his promising future.  

Congratulations Gucci & Keyshia! I'll definitely save the date 10/17/17 to see your wedding air on BET!


Photos via Keyshia's instagram @keyshiakaoir


xo-


Parker S. 

Saturday, June 3, 2017

A Fashionable Tribute

Happy Saturday! If you follow me on instagram, then you may remember a beautiful black & red floral skirt I wore to SCADFash a couple of weeks ago. However, that was not my first time wearing the skirt. Of all the pieces I have commissioned my designer pal Shang Coleman to make, this one was the important. He usually is designing something for me to cover fashion week or stun on the red carpet, but this particular skirt was designed to be a tribute to a very special woman.





As you're aware, I have been MIA for a while. Over the past year, my grandmother had been in declining health and family comes first. I started and stopped so many blog posts over the last year, but could never find the words to complete them. After fighting a good fight, my grandmother passed away on April 11, 2017.  We were very close and losing her has been one of greatest heartbreaks of my life.  She taught me so much about entertaining and style and how to be a strong woman. Even when she felt the worst, she always managed to keep her hair brushed an put on her signature red lipstick.

Whenever I would visit her, I would always polish her nails, red of course, and talk about the latest fashion trends and styles. If I happened to have new clothes in the car, I would always put them on and give her an impromptu fashion show. Therefore when it came time to decide what to wear to her funeral, I immediately knew I wanted to honor her and her fashionable past. I gave Shang a call and gave him some direction for the amazing piece of fabric that I found in LA last year and he created the most perfect skirt ever in 2 days. The inspiration was the retro glam, Dior Fresh Look era of the 1940s, but with a modern flare. 




For the funeral I paired the look with my trusty Fashion to Figure peplum, a black fascinator and red fringe sandals. 






The interesting thing about fashion is that it has power. The power to transform, the power to excite, but for me it has the power to heal. Wearing this skirt for my grandmother gave me a renewed since of purpose. Seeing her body deteriorate and ultimately looking at the shell that was left made me realize that I have a lot more living to do. I have many more lives to impact with my gift.  She showed me that life really is what you make it and that you have a choice everyday to live it or waste it. I didn't realize how much time I had been wasting until her time here ended. In death, she taught me the true meaning of life and for that I will am forever grateful. 

Even though it's hard for me not to be able to call her or go and polish her nails, in her words, "I'm going to look as good as I can for as long as I can and look bad when I can't do any better." I love you Katie Lee Parker Simmons, and thank you for everything. 


xo-

Parker S.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

#FTFSwim

Happy June! How has everyone been doing? I know it's been a while, but I'll catch you up on what my whereabouts a little later in an attempt to keep this post lighthearted. With summer being just around the corner, I thought I would kick off the month with you guys talking about the fabulous new swimwear collection from Fashion To Figure. The collection launched last month and it is 1000% fabulous! The day the collection hit the store, I was there to give them a try.


Of course I had already level 5 stalked the collection online and had determined these were the pieces I had to have.  After playing dress up for a bit, I decided on the Santa Maria Floral Bikini top with the  black bikini bottom. I also purchased the Santa Cruz Halter top with a coral bikini bottom. Both of the suits were perfect for my Dominican Republic trip, and boy did they make a splash (no pun intended).

Santa Cruz Halter


Santa Maria Floral Bikini Top

On a side note, the beach was absolutely beautiful and right on time. I really needed to time to decompress and process some major life events. Like I said, I'll share those things with you in due time. Back to suits... Obviously, I have very large breasts and the suits offered lots of support without feeling too constricting. I felt like the girls stayed in place nicely and the briefs fit true to size. They didn't feel to tight or cut into my skin. 






If you're looking for some great swimwear that won't break the bank, I definitely recommend checking out the new FTF Swim Collection. They have already added a few new pieces and of course they are already on the way to my house, lol! Happy Shopping!

xoxo-

Parker S. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

A Tribute to Bishop Eddie Lee Long

Editors Note: This post was written on Sunday, January 15, 2017 in the sanctuary of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church. 


Today I mourn the death of a man that meant the world to me. Although our interactions were not plentiful, the times we did have together were always meaningful. Though the latter part of his legacy was marred by controversy, none of it negated all of the good he did. Bishop Eddie Long was a larger than life man with an even greater heart and spirit. The first day I stepped into New Birth, I knew I was home. After several encounters with The Bishop, there was no doubt in my mind that he was a man truly after God's own heart. The spiritual covering that he brought into my life was always inspiring. Not a single time that I stepped into NBMBC, did I not receive a word that spoke to my heart and state of being.

I was reflecting with a friend this past week, that being received by Bishop Eddie Long on the day I joined NBMBC was one of the top 3 spiritual moments I have ever experienced in my entire life. The care that he took when he greeted me and the kindness that radiated from his smile is something that I will always carry with me.

So, as I sit here, on the day you departed in the place where it all began, staring at an empty podium that I will never again see you behind, I am receiving this word directly from you. With every death there comes a "New Birth"... a new spirit, a new body, a restoration of  "life" and a chance to truly be free. For those who are left behind it's a second chance, a time to hit the reset button and another opportunity to get it right. We get a chance to not reflect on what we have lost, but what we have gained. We get another day to embrace our purpose, and another chance to walk in our destiny. With that comes the realization that although the cycle of life feels like a desolate road at times, it is really the pathway to a higher level of consciousness unsurpassed by reason. It's a chance to leave our impression on the world so that when our time here is done, the cycle of a “new birth” will be continued in those that loved us.


God Bless You Bishop Eddie Long and thank you for your contribution to the world!

xoxo-
 
Parker S.

Bishop Eddie L. Long
May 12, 1953- January 15, 2017
(Photo Courtesy of CRJ Media Group Inc.)