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Style File News: My Grief is Beautiful

September 10, 2019

style-file1Hey everybody, it’s another edition of Style File News and today I want to talk a little bit about how we can get through grief after the loss of a spouse.

So, some of you may know I lost my husband July 2017.  It was a roller coaster of grief that came in waves.  I went through a series of emotions that was mostly full of anger and pain and I was mad at everyone.  I felt more hate than I had ever felt and I’m usually the one telling my daughter to never hate anyone in her life.  But when he died…that’s all I could do.  I hate my faith, I hated the ground I walked on the air I breathed.  What turned it around?  For starters I left California behind.  I moved two months after he passed.  I moved with my daughter, my granddaughter and her husband.  Life’s been different and certainly on a good uphill climb.

I started back with my photography and discovered something I had not discovered before and that’s taking my grief and my pain and turning it into something beautiful.  The first day he told me I looked beautiful was when he was sick and not long before he passed.  That was the first time in all the years we were together he ever told me that.  So I started taking a series of photographs to photolog my grief as I transformed myself into something I never knew could be possible.

Rene2The first of the series came during the first winter we had.  I poured out all of my makeup, I had purchased new eye makeup and decided I was going to do something different.  Finally come out of my comfort zone.  I allowed myself to be humbled which in turn comforted me.

Through my grief I learned a lot about myself.  My strengths, my weaknesses, what my pet peeves were, what my triggers were.  These are things I had not really focused on or had to focus on until he passed away.

Rene3The second photo of the series came when I was feeling saucy.  I wanted to showcase a different side of me.  One that I never really show outside of my own bedroom. 🙂 But it really opened me up to new experiences.  I especially like this photo because my hair has started to grow and it shows the length here.  And it’s fun playing with filters to get different looks that really bring out the best in a person.

But in the interim of things and as life continues to change from one year to the next, playing with filters is just that, playing with your true looks.  Getting away from the filters is something I wanted to do because I wanted to show myself in the trueness of my rediscovering myself.  And I know it’s hard for people who are reading this to think that I can turn something as tragic as losing my husband into something that says, “I am beautiful.”  No…what it says is my husband made it a point to tell me not to spend the rest of my life grieving for him.  He made it a point to tell me to get on with my life and live it to the fullest.  Travel.  Enjoy me.  Get involved with someone new if that’s what I wanted to do.  In the second year of his being gone I am starting to do just that.  Live my life to the fullest.  Enjoy being me.  Rediscover myself on a whole new level.  Do some travelling which I plan to in 2021.

Rene52Ok…so the third picture is one I think I am pretty happy with because it was taken around the time of my birthday.  It’s the coming of life.  Embracing this time in my life where I am finally comfortable with “me.”  I follow a lot of plus sized women pages and the photos I saw reminded of me a time where I truly loved who I was.  I loved the skin I’m in.  And my daughter pretty much told me that I had no reason not to be comfortable with myself.  So I took this picture to say I am still here.  I am still moving forward with my life. I am still rediscovering who I am and I am still redefining life as it is.  This is a picture that I would have not ordinarily taken but after hearing stories of other women who are weight challenged I started thinking, “why I am being so down myself?”  I am not a bad looking woman!  Why was I letting myself be torn down.

ReneThis last picture is another favorite.  It’s been said that people who knew my husband and I and my tragic loss, that in this picture, they can see a glow in me.   the glow that says I am starting to live.  Well…that…and the fact that I’ve discovered makeup like I’ve never discovered it before.  Plus my husband did not like a lot of makeup.  He told me several times that he wished I didn’t wear it, not even the little that I did.  I told him, “I’m sorry but I am not walking around looking like Plane Jane while you admire other women fixed up all nicely.”  That included dressing down from my usual style to meet him in the middle with jeans and T-shirts, which has never been me.  And the few times I did he was happier than a kid in a toy store for the first time.  I do not over do it with my makeup.  I wear just enough to wear I feel good…and I feel good about myself.

In closing, I hope you like these photos.  These past two years have been about growth, rediscovering life, and moving forward to embrace all that life has to offer.  Grief will consume you if you let.  People grieve for the loss of their loved one in many different ways.  Think about how your loved one would have wanted you to remember him/her and how they would have wanted you to move on with your life.

If you’re struggling with grief after the loss of a loved one.  Let me talk to you about helping you find comfort through photography.  Contact at today to discuss the many ways your life can be transformed.  This may not work for everyone but through today’s modern times there are different avenues and platforms that are provided for us to grab hold of and find some sort of relief.   I’m here for you.

Updated 9/11/19

What’s New: Savvy Hair Studio Changes to Savvy Hair 101

August 15, 2019

Hey everybody out there….first I want to say thank you to everyone who has been stopping by the blog and reading all my blog posts.  And special shout out to all the ladies who are still reading my post about the Clairol Textures & Tones hair coloring system.  That post has been one of my most popular posts  to date.  If you have not signed up to receive the monthly newsletter I am still working on you can send your email over to be put on the email list.  I am expecting to have it ready to roll by the first of the year now that I can concentrate on it more so now that my daughter’s wedding is done.  And by the way she looked really beautiful and my son in law looked very handsome.  Thank you to everyone who came out to celebrate with us and everyone who helped us put it together.

Ok- let’s get into today’s blog post.

So, today I just want to talk about a little bit about what’s new with AtStudio5.  I changed the Savvy Hair Studio page to Savvy Hair 101 specifically because it actually promotes a lot of tips, suggestions, and recommendations to maintaining health hair, what to do if hair is damaged or has experienced extreme breakage, important information to maintaining a relaxer and other valuable information I believe women would find healthy.  The updated page name is active and ready for you to jump on over and take a look at any updated information that may be beneficial to your hair care needs.

Next up~~

Black Hair Essence:  If you have not visited Black Hair Essence, I invite you to do so.  This blog is catered to women of color who are going through all phases of their hair care, hair journeys, and are looking for tips, suggestions, help, and advice for their hair.  While at first I thought it to be the main blog going forward, I decided to keep Savvy Hair Studio 101 as a good hair resource because I’ve gotten so many reviews on that page that it would be a shame to drop it.  So Savvy Hair Studio 101 will continue and Black Hair ?Essence will be catered to women of color.  Emails are always welcome so if you have general questions, concerns about your hair care regimen, or anything hair related and you feel I can help answer your question the email address is

Ok…so that’s all I have to today.  Keep checking back for more up to the minute news on what’s going on with AtStudio5.

Updated 09/09/19

Style File News: RAW Artists Arise Showcase Featuring Rejeana Black

July 19, 2019


Hey everyone out there, this week in Style File News, I am featuring a young lady who is not only beautiful, but is an amazingly talented photographer whom I have the pleasure of having her and her mom a strong part of our family.

We had the pleasure of her taking engagement photos when we got to see her back in 2017 when my daughter, granddaughter and her fiance flew out to visit.

If you enjoy photography and you support young and upcoming photographers and artists alike, here is an event you sure don’t want to miss.  I try to support all of the good things our young people are doing in life that is positive, because if you think about it, they could be involved in so much worse.

Put July 24, 2019 on your calendar and be sure you do not miss this event featuring Rejeana Violet Black.  I am only sorry I can’t be there to see her show, but I wanted to make sure I do a huge shout out to her.

So, click on over to the RAW Artists Arise Showcase Featuring Rejeana Violet Black page for more information on this event and for ticket information.  The showcase will be in beautiful Orange County at the Mansion Costa Mesa at 7:00 pm.  Don’t wait!  Get your tickets today!


Beauty: Makeup Arsenal For Beginners Women of Color Over 50

July 18, 2019

Hey everyone out there!!! How is everyone doing during the summer season?  It’s been a while since my last post so I thought I’d start with a post for the beautiful women of color who are over 50 and is looking to make a change in their life by adding makeup to their daily routine or just to try it out to see if it’s for you.  Let’s get right to it!

FB_IMG_1508643878150Turning 50 is not the end of the world.  I know when I turned 50 (picture to the right) two years ago, I had a whole new look that shocked a lot people who knew me well enough to know that I had stepped completely out of my comfort zone.  And in the picture shown here, I just had on eyeliner, a lip liner under lip gloss.  Talk about real simple!

Makeup is one of those things that’s either a hit or it’s a complete miss.  I have been watching lots of makeup tutorials on YouTube over the past five months and have just recently come across a couple I thought were pretty good.  By pretty good, I mean they spent more time talking about the process and the products they use than spending time trying to be too cute about it.

After all of the tutorials I have watched I came to the conclusion that none of them stopped to note that if you’re new to wearing makeup or you want to step it up in having a more polished and professional look there are products you need to arm yourself with, which I call “The Makeup Arsenal.”  Let’s understand, first of all, that women of color follow a completely different process to putting on their makeup than women in other cultures this is because of our dark to medium light, to light skin.  However, in all the videos I’ve watched their process for applying the makeup is generally the same methods with slight variances.

In this post I am going to talk about what I have come to believe the steps to applying makeup for the woman of color over 50.

You want to start with a clean face.  It’s like you’re about to paint a masterpiece work of art and you are starting with a clean canvas.  Well…this is your face.  The cleaner the better.

How I Clean My Face:  When I have them on hand I use facial wipes to start off when I’m cleaning my face.  After I have gone over my face completely with  my facial wipes I use my peach scrub exfoliating facial cleanser.  I like this particular one because it really cleanses my face, removes any dead skin, helps with breakouts I may have had, and is just a good addition to using the facial wipes.  I don’t put too much oils on my face when i am about to apply makeup.  If I do, I use a tiny bit because my skin is already oily so I don’t need too much.

You can use other cleansers that works best for your skin including moisturizers.  I personally don’t use a moisturizer because I have not quite found one that I liked.  However, I just received a new sample in the mail of a new product Este Lauder has put out that I requested, so I am excited to try it out and see how it works, however it says on the box to use it at night after using the serum, so I guess I will be buying some to use as a dual facial cleanser.  Keep in mind, too, that you want to make sure you remember to start your makeup process with a clean face.

What should you have in your makeup arsenal?  In the past few months I have — piece by piece — updating my makeup to have created a good collection of products to create a polished and professional look.  Now, I am going on 52 next month so as I journey back down this experimental road of makeup, it was important to me to ensure I have everything or almost everything I needed to achieve the look I’m looking for.

Suggested products to have in your makeup arsenal:

  • Primer:  This is ideal for having that smooth finished look.  I have never tried primer until last week when I was doing a test run to see if I could create the look I wanted.
  • Liquid Foundation:  I’m a Maybelline girl who loves the Fit Me! brand and use two shades that I really like, but have grown more attached to the 375 shade which is the Java shade.  I really like that shade. I also use the SuperStay Foundation Stick 362 which is the Deep Bronze.  I like the SuperStay Foundation Stick because it is designed for normal to oily skin.  And I can use a loose or pressed powder for oil control. I’ll talk about that as we go along.
  • Loose and Pressed Powder:  The Fit Me! has a wide assortment of pressed powders that you can choose from.  I personally like the pressed powders for ease of handling.  This can be your next to last step before applying the setting powder when you are about to finish your look.
  • Setting Powder:  My daughter thinks this is a step that not really necessary because it can add up to 15 to 20 minutes to applying your makeup, so this step is purely optional.  But if you want to do it and do it the way it’s done, then consider a translucent powder that is used at the conclusion of your applying your makeup.  You can cake it on areas where you feel are the most needed like under your eyes forehead and chin areas.
  • Contouring and highlighting:  I have not purchased any products for contouring and highlighting as of yet.  But in all the videos I’ve watched all the ladies swear by it.  If you are considering adding these two steps to your new makeup routine, email me at and tell me what you’re looking for and I will research some products that best fits what you’re looking fore.
  • Eyebrows and Eye Shadows:  Here’s where it gets fun!  Maybelline has a wide assortment of colors to choose from as far as eye shadows are considered.  You want to make sure you use an eye shadow base that allows you extended wear after you apply your eye shadow.  Practice blending tips and tricks to get the look you’re looking for.  During my research into how to apply makeup and the steps to follow, everyone starts with their eyebrows and works everything else around their eyebrows.  I think with applying eye shadow, you can either start after the eyebrows or after you’ve applied your foundation and powders.  I will provide more information on how to do that and the best route to take.

Finish your look up with eyelashes, mascara, eyeliner, and a setting spray.  These are options you can finish your look up, especially if you’re in the experimenting stage to determine if this is something you want to pursue long term, just trying it out, or you realize you just don’t have the time or patience to do this on a regular basis or even for a special occasion.

Other products to look at are Cover Girl who has great eye shadow color pallets, the Katy Kat lip gloss line which I love; Loreal has great shades of lipsticks, and Clinique has great shades of lipsticks but are pricey at $18 a tube at Ulta.  These are my favorite and suggested brands but you can pick and choose what you like and what your budget allows you to buy.

NewLookHere is my finished look from last week and I went through my third round of experimenting with my makeup for work.  This look took me all of twenty minutes to apply.  It’s a combination of my Fit Me! foundation, pressed powder, eyeliner, and lipstick.

I like this look as my day-to-day wear because it’s quick and it’s simple.  Now if it were for a special occasion, it would have taken me about an hour.  When I did my makeup experimentation #2, it took me almost an hour to apply because I had the foundation, pressed powder, eye shadow base and eye shadows, eyebrow pencil, mascara, liquid and retractable eyeliner, lipstick, and a very curious 2-year old granddaughter. 🙂

I can honestly say that in the last three to five months of building up my makeup arsenal, I have spent well over $100 if not more.  And that included mostly name brand products I know works well with my skin.  I have some drug store products mostly lipsticks like Wet-N-Wild and some others, but use them sparingly to avoid any skin irritations.  You have to be careful of this as you build your own makeup arsenal.

So, this is what I have in my makeup arsenal as a woman over 50.  Getting older is not the end of the world.  In fact, this is when life really begins. What’s in your makeup arsenal?  If you’re new to wearing makeup and you are a woman over 50, and you would like some suggestions on what to buy and where to buy, and what you think will work for you, email me at  I’d love to hear from you.

Thanks for reading!

Style File News: CSULB Campus Couture Fashion Show

May 6, 2019



Hello Everyone….This week in Style File News I wanted to feature a wonderful young lady whom I have had the pleasure of welcoming her and her mom into our family not that many years ago.

Rejeana has not only blossomed into a beautiful young lady, but has also become a talented photographer whose work is becoming well talked about.

Rejeana Save the Date 5.10.19This month, if you’re in Long Beach, CA, join her at the at Cal State University of Long Beach for the CSULB Campus Couture Fashion Show on May 10, 2019 at 7:00 pm.

The show will be debuting the senior designers of the fashion department. This is sure to be an event you don’t want to miss.  Tickets can be purchased at the box office or online.

Save the Date, May 10, 2019.


Updated 05/06/19

Announcement: Welcoming Lawrence E. Nettles, Jr to AtStudio5

April 17, 2019

There are a lot of new things that are going to be happening at AtStudio5.  Because the year started out so well with reaching new milestones that are set to take the brand to new heights, I wanted to go one step further in moving the brand to the forefront of the fashion industry.

I want to introduce Lawrence E. Nettles, Jr.  He will be working with me as the Director of Fashion Events, Entertainment & Community Resources.  He will be in charge assisting various aspects of building the brand to include promoting events, securing entertainment for events, communications, and serving in a marketing capacity to promote the brand to prospective clients and sponsors.

I am happy to have him as part of the team.  I believe he will be a strong asset and voice in the overall success of the company.  He brings an experience of creativity that will be a dynamic addition to the company.  Join me in welcoming him to the team.  Picture to follow.

Fashion: New York Fashion Week

March 23, 2019

New York’s fashion week is coming September 6 – 14.  There are opportunities available to attend, participate, be in the on the press, and even volunteer but it also depends on how much effort you’re willing to put in to being a part of this spectacular event.  Bottom line….it depends on your connections in the industry, the whose who, and who you know.

I read there is an $80 application fee, however, it does not guarantee you entrance into the shows.  And even if you are approved, you still have to get a designer consideration that will get you in.  There are open-to-the-public shows and you can see the shows online.  So, in retrospect it depends on how much effort and how much work you’re willing do to not miss it.

I will be creating signature piece as part of my white collection in hopes of being considered for the fashion week experience.  I will be looking for someone to volunteer their time and experience to helping me create the piece on paper.  Wish me luck!

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