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A.R. Smalls

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Ashley resides in the Washington, DC metropolitan area, better known as the DMV. She loves words, music, and spending time with her three boys. She encourages being yourself and loving whatever and whomever you love and remaining grounded. For her, that means being engulfed in creativity. Oh, and ice cream! She loves ice cream! Find her sharing music, recipes, and the many things she likes on Pinterest.

FTLOS Style: ‘Issa’ Summer Shoe Thing!

Gucci Blind For Love Espadrilles

Pick These Shoes for Summer 2017





It seems shoe design is following suit, going back-to-the-future. That is indeed okay. We enjoy new twists on retro themes. At least, I know I do. And, let’s not be naive; It’s pretty much #facts… that all women have a shoe problem. That means no problem, buying another pair just for a slight detail or color change. Every year many of us walk into the closet and realize there are way more shoes than the closet space can handle. The first thought is typically something to the effect of cleaning out the closet. Reality suggests that thought gets buried somewhere during the process of choosing the #KOTD (kicks-of-the-day) and heading out the door. Moreover, we understand there’s a whole lot to do during the summer season and we’ve got to get out that door swiftly!

With that being said, it’s a find time to deliver the trending shoe fashions and comfort for summer.  Shoes can truly make or break the outfit and sadly, there will be a lot of people that cannot pass the shoe test. My advice: Never trust a person with poor taste in shoes. Why spend all that time on the your outfit, hair, and makeup just to be a total turn-off at the toes?? I respect style in every right, but some things we cannot accept. On anoher note, I can’t wait to see how you lovelies style these trends… So, here’s to hoping you all can pass some stranger’s shoe test!



Gucci is Stepping All Over Summer

The luxury fashion house has come to reinvent our needs season after season and we love it! This summer, mules are in and Gucci is bringing the stylish comfort that we’re into. Mules are the epitome of relaxed sophistication, dating back to the 1700s. Honestly, I wasn’t a big fan of the slip on because I never understood how a shoe that slips off your foot was perfect for running errands. Now, that I’ve graduated into adulthood, I realize exactly how convenient these babies are, car-to-desk. A good shoe for day-to-day labor, a mule probably got

Honestly, I wasn’t a big fan of the slip on because I never understood how a shoe that slips off your foot was perfect for running errands. Now, that I’ve graduated into adulthood, I realize exactly how convenient these babies are, car-to-desk. A good shoe for day-to-day labor, a mule probably got its name for being just that – a mule. A shoe that’s withstood the test of a to-do list.

Even if Gucci isn’t quite your fit, take a look at the many options in mules that exist. If it’s not the mule you’re into….

Walk Your Talk with A Pair of Espadrilles!

Photo: Gucci Tian Espadrilles // Gucci.com

We all relish in the joys of our American culture and privilege, there’s something oh-so-American about borrowing from another. With that being said, it isn’t quite Summer 2017 without taking an exotic pair of Espadrilles for a spin at a festival. Summer evenings are meant for those romantic strolls or kicking back on a bench at a park. The style these shoes provide go right along with whatever you throw on for a relaxing evening on your feet. That sounds like an oxymoron, but it’s summertime, so you know what I mean. Whether you’ve been out on the town all day or simply want to look your best the Espadrille is the shoe. Find a pair with cute little straps to create a sweet-and-innocent look. Though, depending on how you pair the strappy version, you could very well make it sexy!


‘Flatforms’: Be hip and nostalgic at the same damn time.

Whether you’re old enough to remember or not, platform shoes used to be a really big deal and they’re yet again, a really big deal. Another contender for comfort, the “flatform” is the cross between a platform shoe and the casual flat. The best thing is that they put a twist on just about any outfit and don’t let the sole fool you, you could walk a mile in these babies!

Photo: Gucci Ballet flat with removable platform

If You’re Feeling Really Stylish, Get a Bootie…

Don’t just get any bootie, though. After all, it is summer. Don’t muck it up just because you’re allowed to cross the weather line. As we continue to blur the lines of the age-old fashion rules like wearing white before Labor Day, shoes are no exception to the change. Ladies, looking to switch up the sandal game this season may find these booties are peep-toe-permitting. So, don’t worry, you can preserve your pedicure.

Photo: Dolls Kill Glass Slipper Heel

The “glass slipper” or “Cinderella” trend is not only taking over but being taken to the next level. In other words, it’s likely to take all types of twists and turns before walking its way out of style. If worn right, I dare not call it tacky. I was able to find a few styles that may be eye-catching.


Last but Not Least…Sneak a peek at these Sneaks!

Attempting to be fashionable can often times mean foregoing comfort, but it doesn’t have to. This summer, you’re in luck because cute sneakers are totally – in. As I said before… Gucci is killing it – covering all of the spring/summer trends.

Photo: Gucci Ace Rose print sneaker with collapsable back // www.gucci.com
Photo: Gucci ‘Ace’ sneaker with removable patches // www.gucci.com
Photo: Gucci “Ace” Glitter Sneaker in Pink // www.gucci.com

Being realistic and all, I understand that we all cannot shop Gucci. It’s just not in the budget. Therefore, there are great brands out there making some affordable styles. Sneakers for ladies are continuing to make strides in design and this summer they’re taking bold steps! Sam Edelman has been a big name for a long time, but I feel the need to resuscitate the vibes with some of his latest work.

Photo: Sam Edelman “Leya” Faux Fur Floral Sneakers//www.nordstrom.com


Photo: Same Edelman “Leya” Faux Fur Sneaker in Soft Silver//www.nordstrom.com
Photo: Same Eelman “Leya” Faux Fur Sneaker in Dark Blue Denim // www.nordstrom.com

Whichever shoes you choose… Summer is a great time to replenish, splurge, and style. Clearly there’s so much to shop for that you don’t have to worry about having your style copied. While there’s no promise you won’t bumb into someone else with the same shoes, they just won’t wear them quite like you! Which style will you shop around for this season??  Leave a comment and share any exotic, cheap, and/or chic finds!

Which style will you shop around for this season??  Leave a comment and share any exotic, cheap, and/or chic finds!



From Tween to Twenty One: The Beautiful Zendaya Coleman

Zendaya on the cover of Vogue: July 2017 // Photo via Billboard.com

Beauty. Inspiration. Success. 

On her way to being iconic – if she isn’t already – Zendaya, is certainly making millennials look good. 

Oh, you don’t know who Zendaya is? Shame on you! I know you’re just kidding, but in case you need to brush up: This bold beauty has humble beginnings as a fashion model with major stores like Macy’s, Old Navy, and Sears. In 2010, she got her first big break with Nickelodeon, playing “Rocky Blue” on the hit show, Shake it Up and the star clutched a 2014 Teen Choice Award as the Candie’s Choice Style Icon. Then, in 2016, won the Kids’ Choice Award for Favorite Actress due to her performance in K.C. Undercover. Such a wonderful thing it is, to see a young woman become an international success!

Zendaya Coleman, now a woman, is moving on to bigger and better things – especially beyond the big screen. Sidenote: Have you checked out her shoe line, Daya by Zendaya, available at Nordstrom? You should! If you’re not yet sold, then you must  not know Zendaya is a fashion industry influencer. There’s sure to be a shoe to go with whatever is in your closet now, and the outfit on your wishlist. Might as well add the shoes, right!? Act fast and you might be able to catch a sale on select items, at Macy’s.We don’t mind if you tell them we sent you.

Show Me A Style She Can’t Slay…

There’s no denying the hard work that is obviously and rightfully paying off for ‘Daya. People may have a mouthful to say about this talented industry princess, but they must also admit that she’s doing everything right. Not many twenty-somethings can say they have the extensive list of credentials that this young woman has achieved. To add to the 29 film/TV credits listed on Zendaya’s IMDB profile, she also co-produced the hit TV series, K.C. Undercover, in which she played the starring role of K.C. Cooper. Zendaya has appeared on Entertainment Tonight, Extra, and Inside Edition. I would be finished gloating about this star I’ve never met if it wasn’t for just one more accolade I MUST mention: She’s even been transformed into the likes of a Barbie Doll; an accomplishment for the most trendsetting of the trendsetters. Therefore, I think it’s safe to say…

Zendaya Has Got the Juice!!

And she’s not shy about squeezing out her talents and good looks for us – or Vogue.

Zendaya Coleman on the cover of Vogue July 2017 // Photo by Mario Testino via Vogue.com

When you’re as talented as this young woman, inspiring young girls all over the world, and showing us all just how much self-love pays off, we can’t let that slide. Refinery29 couldn’t either when they listed Zendaya as a teen visionary.  Her elegance, undoubtedly, will only mature over the years. Her mark on the millennial world, the young adult world, and just the world, in general, will be talked about for generations to come. Everyone can’t be a Zendaya. We know that. However, you can most certainly be you and You can be great!

We strongly suggest picking up the July issue of Vogue and brush up on the self-assured, zealous human being that is Zendaya Coleman.  Be inspired by her accomplishments and motivated to start your chapter, now. Tomorrow isn’t promised to anyone, but as a young person, you have your entire future ahead of you. Now, go!… and change the world with Zendaya!





Mental Illness: Are You Avoiding the Voices in Your Head?


I’d be lying if I said I thought depression was real. That was 5 years ago, though. Now, I get it. Life can happen so fast that you barely get a chance to breathe. If I learned anything in science, I do remember that without breath, we die.

Some of us are built Ford tough and can take the blows of life with just a knick here and there. For others, every scuffle seems like war. I’ve also learned that in time, the mind and body can go through so many changes, which can make it unstable. Most of us refer to this as a chemical imbalance. Some struggle with this imbalance, never seeking help or knowing that it may be best to seek professional help. Personally, I empathize with those I know and those I don’t, who may be living with a mental illness or poor mental health.

Image Source; GettyImages

As the world turns, and we continue to procreate, we have to respect that people also evolve. Once upon a time, there was small pox. Now, not so much. We have a lot of mental health issues. If I could suggest anything: Don’t be in denial. Take the steps to educate yourself, because it might not be just one of those days.  Better yet, don’t let a bad day lead to long-term mental illness.

Get Familiar: Mental Health Illnesses

Alcoholism, substance abuse, and addictive behavior

Anxiety disorders

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

Autism spectrum disorders and pervasive developmental disorders


 Borderline personality disorder


Eating disorders

Post-traumatic stress disorder

Bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness)

Autism spectrum disorders ad pervasive developmental disorder


As I continue to mature in my womanhood – not that I’m a granny or anything! – I often look into the necessary precautions to take if I want to live life to the fullest. In addition to having my own ambitions, I have a full house of boys who are going to need me to be a dependable grandmother one day.

With that being said, I realize that we don’t just wake up one day, broken. Although, it seems that way. Take a second to think about how many consecutive good days you’ve had and how many consecutive bad days you’ve had. Think about the days you should have been more appreciative, but instead, you were just down right angry and pitiful. Be honest. When the bad days start outweighing the good, repetitively, it may be time to dig a little deeper. It may be time to answer the voice in your head or the void in your soul with a trip to your physician. While I do understand seeking professional help isn’t the first option for some, and may even feel shameful, it could improve your quality of life and your perspective on what you’re going through.

Image Source: Pixabay

This may be extreme, I know. You may not be so quick to tell someone you already know, your personal business – let alone a stranger. Self-help books may not be quite your thing, which is probably why you’re here. So, in addition to a therapist or psychiatrist, there are things you can do on your own, to jumpstart the process to a healthier mental state:


Seek Preventative Maintenance

You may consult with your doctor about what vaccines are best for you. Many preventative tests can be taken to avoid issues that may exacerbate your mental and emotional health condition. The list below is a good starting point to make sure you’ve been screened for the basics.

Blood Pressure



Hepatitis B & Hepatitis C


Pap and HPV

Sexually Transmitted Infections



Photo: Salmon Sashimi // Pixabay

Do More

Heading into the summer months can be bittersweet as we sometimes are unhappy with how we look in the glorious sunshine. We may not have that killer beach body, come June. It’s possible you might even be bogged down with work and unable to let your hair down as often for the summer. Regardless, these circumstances leading to negative thoughts are total “kill-joys”.

The goal here is to take the steps to improve your mental health and emotions. Healthy Eating – Choosing specific foods that aid in balancing the chemicals that affect mood and emotions as well as foods that create an uplifting feeling. It may seem crazy to hear when you’re used to eating carbs and sweets regularly and feel just fine, but healthy eating will create an internal Euphoria.

Physical Activity – a physical activity that accelerates the heart rate – increasing blood flow, can provide a physiological stress relief. Science has come a long way in helping us live longer, healthier lives. It’s about time we realize that running, swimming, and biking aren’t just for taking inches off our waist.

According to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, anxiety, depression and bad moods can be improved through exercise.

Do Less

Photo: Sweets //Pixabay

Indulging in Sugar and Carbohydrates. We all love our snacks. I love ice cream. I would practically die for it. All snacks are not created equal though. The carefully curated site, Eat This Not That, gives a great breakdown of foods that you may want to stay away from if you don’t want to be known as the “Negative Nancy.” I can’t say I’m surprised that canned soup or liquor made the list. However, seeing apple juice on the list of foods that can actually aid in anxiety is making me overthink some things.

As the article stated in PsychologyToday, a good start to a healthy mind is your nutrition. Although we may have missed the mark for May (mental health awareness month), its never to let to get into mental health. Getting your mind and body in check is crucial to vitality and success. Don’t drive yourself crazy. Don’t sell yourself short.

We are waiting for your inspiration!


What You May Have Missed: Met Gala 2017

Mandatory Credit: Photo by David Fisher/REX/Shutterstock (8770824ht) Rihanna The Costume Institute Benefit celebrating the opening of Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garcons: Art of the In-Between, Arrivals, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA - 01 May 2017

Well Folks, the #MetGala2017 was nothing short of an artistic cool kids night out. I could go into a huge spiel about how we miss the point of these grand shindigs, but you’ll be satiated to know that we have a section for inspiration! With that being said, we’ll go ahead and focus on both, the fashionable and the frivolous things of the evening. Every year the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art puts on a soiree of an event that is intended to honor art and designers. Attendees are valuable contributors and influencers of art, design, and fashion. Some gracing runways, others gracing big screens or your home screen. Regardless, of where they’ve been seen or what project they’ve been on, celebrities from all over attend the Met Gala.

Cool Kids Will Always Be Cool

An icon himself once sang a song about “all the girls standing in a line for the bathroom”. It seems celebrities in attendance at this year’s fundraiser took things back to the future. And by “back to the future”, I mean starting new precedents My guess is that it’s all in the spirit of grunge and an ode to skipping class – dare I say this event is that boring (Hopefully we’ll find out one day). Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Photo: Courtesy of Twitter/victuuris95


Versace Not-So-Much on the Floor

The Met Gala included no shortage of masterfully dressed men. Among the most notable: the Grammy-winning entertainment group, Migos. You may know them for that knew “Bad and Boujee” attitude you’ve adopted. If not, it’s definitely one of the first songs you turned on to get in the mood for spring. I dare you to lie. This is a team of talented guys who have lived up to the first hit that put their stylistic rap on the map: Versace. The influential rap group made the all black Versace Tuxedos look like nothing less than royalty and prestige; decked out in layers of gold and precious stones.  Without further ado:

migos-attend-met-gala-2017Image Credit: Vogue/REX/Shurtterstock

Definitely makes you want to get your diamond accessory game up. And, if you don’t have one, shame on you.

The Met Gala pays homage to the design and art worlds’ merge of excellence. This year’s honoree, Rei Kawakubo, loves the oddities, obscurities, subtleties, and all things fashion and art alike. We can admire the work of such a designer when we think about the pieces that intrigue us the most. Erring on the side of extreme and dull, everything about your outfit needs balance, right. Even the most absurd of fashion still has some thought behind it. However the 2017 Met Gala aimed to highlight the art in between those spaces.

NEW YORK, NY – MAY 01: Rihanna attends the “Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garcons: Art Of The In-Between” Costume Institute Gala at Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 1, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images) Image Source: HollywoodReporter


Trust that it is no coincidence Rei and the COMME des GARÇONS brand are being recognized and celebrated for this exhibition. The edginess that comes with this iconic woman has set a precedence for the fashion industry and it is amazing that we get to see such prominent artists such as Rihanna in her work. However, if the relationship to your culture or personal style isn’t evident enough and you need a quick catch up, Vogue can help.

Battle of the Sexes

Sometimes, it seems there must be this “vibe” of fashion. Ignoring those just trying to live outside the box, We at For the Love of Style magazine and Kamisol Style Consultancy know that some naturally live outside the box. For others, there’s the perfect congealing of femininity and masculinity that creates your personal elegant suave. The Met Gala pulls that together. Here are some of the looks from past and present that of there are those that embrace tradition.

Image source: Vogue/Getty Images

If, by chance, it’s been awhile since you’ve visited any exhibit or even thought outside the box, you can view more of Rei’s work. For the average citizen, you can freely view the exhibit open currently until September 4, 2017.

Quickly, Coachella Came and Conquered!


Coachella (pronounced koe-CHEL-uh) is one of the coolest mistakes you may ever hear that just so happens also to be a cool place in the dessert. Confused? Don’t worry, by the looks of the celebrated fashion from this festival in the dessert, the patrons there are too.

The Coachella Valley Music & Artis Festival is a major stop for festival fans everywhere. However, this year, things are looking a little different on all ends: talent, fashion, and people. Traditionally there is a melting pot of genres but never so much pop and hip-hop. Now the culture of hip-hop and pop is beginning to flourish a little more and inevitably imposing on Coachella. However, the festival has become largely popular with mainstream artists and their followings. To the vintage patrons, I dare to call them, Coachella has simply gone “Pop.” For some of us, that’s a great thing.

2017 Coachella was the place to be for the cool kids with an iconic outcast of headliners like Kendrick Lamar and Lady Gaga – both unique in their own right. With that said the eclectic crowd had outfits to impress even the most traditional festival goers.
While the Lifers most certainly broadened the Coachella fashion horizons, by putting a relaxed and generational twist on the denim and lace traditions, nevertheless, the vibe was certainly still very much so, Coachella. And we know that means Sunglasses, denim, and lace all over the place! That’s so typical though.

There is so much more to get out of Coachella such as the way it all gets put together and just how astonishing the prices can be on some of this style.

‘Chella – Celebrity Style!

Coachella isn’t just about the festival and the music. Coachella is also about the festive fashion – believe it or not. The fashion is part of the experience. There is no Coachella without discussing the ridiculous outfits you’ve spied with your little eye. It’s a guarantee that you don’t need to whip out your binoculars to see the sights as the outfit extraordinaire’s are everywhere.

What you may not expect is that outside of the actual musical headliners, there were some other more notable appearances at Coachella this year. Rihanna and Kehlani for example, came through the function just to enjoy it like the rest.

Check out Rihanna’s glittered out costume from weekend one (April 14-16):


Travis Scott came to catch some attention in the spring/summer in his Valentino camo jacket and those Gucci shoes with socks:

Image Source: UpScaleHype

The bold and beautiful Kehlani showed face – or maybe not so much face – and a little more cheek for weekend two (April 21-23). Perhaps a caption of  “Cheekie Chella” would be more fitting:

chilla chella

A post shared by Kehlani (@kehlani) on

There’s a place for everyone at Coachella but most of all there’s a place for your style, either low-budget, high-class, or couture, we’re sure you’ll find a photo to bomb at Coachella. Better yet, with everyone swarming to find some inspiration and elevation there are tons of festival-goers that simply become fans of each other. If you couldn’t make it to Coachella this year, don’t fret. Take away some inspiration for your spring/summer wardrobe and don’t worry, be ‘Chella.

Bowl-Cuts, Braids and Beach Waves – Spring ’17 Hair Trends Are Here!


Looking for the latest style for your spring/summer locs?! Look no further. Keep reading for our report on Springs/Summer 2017 hair trends!

Festivals are flaring and the trends are here. While spring vibes are at a high tide, tis the perfect time for beach hair and festivals by the water. A sea of colorful box braids, and fishtail braids, french braids, goddess braids – ANY braids – can be seen everywhere this season.

This spring, if you’re feeling polished but free and like a breeze flowing through your hair, go for the beach wave look:

Photo: Elle.com

There’s a great article here, on Harper’s Bazaar, about the best products to preserve your fresh-out-the-water look! If you’re into true hippy style, this hair goes great!

Hairstyles may come and go, but one thing that remains the same is the trending braid. There probably aren’t many women in the world that haven’t or wouldn’t benefit from the convenience, style, and poise of perfectly braided hair. This spring and summer, bet on seeing tons of braids in any style possible. Most abundantly, flowing from crowns every, are fishtail and colored box braids.

HOLLYWOOD, CA – FEBRUARY 12: TV personality Kandi Burruss attends Warner Music Group’s Annual GRAMMY Celebration at Milk Studios on February 12, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images for Fashion Media)

If you haven’t perfected just how to get this look, don’t fret. It doesn’t take long to Youtube or do it the old-fashioned way and look at a chart.

Understandably, if you are apart of this generation, you thrive on quick and convenient. In other words, you’ll watch that tutorial later and go with the traditional box braid. Add a twist with some color.

LOS ANGELES, CA – JANUARY 23: Actress Keke Palmer arrives at BET’s “The New Edition Story” premiere screening on January 23, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Maury Phillips/Getty Images for BET)

KeKe Palmer looks sophisticatedly poetic with her box braids formed into a high ponytail.

As you can see, braids certainly have their place for sophistication and free spirits. Take your pick this spring or try them all. I guarantee you’ll be so busy enjoying less hair hassle and more time that you’ll end up repeating your favorite.

Another way an old hairstyle trend is coming back to a new age is with the bob or the long bob, better known as the “lob” or “Ultra Bowl“. For the more sleek and sophisticated, try this retro style as seen on models around the globe.


The beautiful pearlescent bowl cut pictured above is a sleek update to the fashionable trend of pastel hair color and bold new cuts. If you are more on the daring side, don’t be afraid to go for a more modern look. Chop it all off if you have to (I did!). You’ve been wondering what to do with all that hair on your head this summer anyway, right? This could be the best style giving you the most convenience and edgy femininity.

If it’s not too late, keep some of that length and go for the sophisticated Jeremy Scott model look, below:

Photo: Elle.com

Whichever style you choose, choose wisely my female friends who encounter seasonal frizz. Braids may be the style to capitalize on in order to get versatility.

Let us know what looks you’re feeling for the spring! Are we feeling liberated this season ladies?!


Pucker Up for Spring!


Don’t get it twisted! That little burst of a breeze you feel and that warm beam of sunshine is absolutely positively Spring breaking through! Why not meet that warm sunray half way with a new color in your clutch, from Mauridi Cosmetics Vegan Lip Color!


Although we’re warming up, makeup and beauty trends are still hanging tough in the coolness of fall. This spring is holding onto the gothic colors of fall/winter with matte lipsticks still effortlessly adored and gracing soup-coolers, everywhere.

Mauridi Cosmetic got the memo on go-to colors for the spring. Therefore, if you’re looking to add to your collection for spring, Mauridi Cosmetic continues to make available the following lipsticks and more, for your luscious day-to-day endeavors:

Vegan Lip Color
A dull face and a bright red lip will go a long way this spring season.







These vegan matte cream lipsticks are antioxidant-rich and infused with Vitamin E and Vanilla extract. Get those lips conditioned for the spring! Mauridi Cosmetic is making sure you have no excuses.

Now, I’m not sure about you but I don’t have an abundance of vegan makeup in my repertoire, but I have the space to try! Won’t you highlight your look with a lip line that shows off your lips while protecting the skin they’re in?!


You can find your suitable and lovely shades of Mauridi Cosmetic’s Creme Lipstick here.


Designer and Producer Devin J. Ricks Isn’t Apologizing!

Devin J. Ricks stands in front of the poster for the opening of his film "Love Cycle: Beautiful Mistake"
Devin Ricks in No More Apologies snapback hat and tee.

In life, many obstacles and situations can deter you from the goal and prevent you from ever reaching the finish line. However, always looking on the bright side, I’d have to say there lies a blessing in being young. That blessing is being able to recover from your mistakes in time to still enjoy the fruits of your labor. Even better: getting to share those lessons with those coming up after you as they look up to you as one of the “greats.”

I had an opportunity to catch up with a pretty fly guy who’s looking to place his name among the greats behind the big screen. He had a ton to share about his path within the media industry and life; confirming wrong turns, and bad deals don’t have to result in a halt of your momentum.  

Maybe you’ve seen him or most certainly his work? I’m talking about the young, stylish, handsome, and most of all – talented, Devin J. Ricks AKA “Fly Guy.”  This 20-something, Baltimore native is making moves nationally, while simultaneously putting his city on the map.


Devin J. Ricks stands with his parents at the opening of his film “Love Cycle: Beautiful Mistake”

Coming up in Baltimore, Devin always had a thing for being in front of the camera, or behind it. His mother and father were extremely influential in his interest by allowing him to create home videos and sharing the experience. His father bought him his first studio editing software in middle school. He tells, “I had other family members that would come over… we would have family gatherings, and they would request my latest production. My family and I would do little skits like [the show] ‘In Living Color.'” Devin names his mom as one of his biggest motivations because she gave up her modeling and acting career to pursue motherhood. Every parent sacrifices, but not every child appreciates it or shows their gratitude. In Devin’s case, he can’t wait to put his beautifully aging mother in front of the lens again.

After graduating from Western School of Technology in Baltimore, Devin went on to Morgan State University (MSU), where he could let his love for cinematography unfurl. At that time, Devin J. Ricks Productions was spawned. Over his matriculation at MSU Devin produced hundreds of videos clips, some of which chronicling his adventures in college and the lifestyles and events of his fellow Morganites. Football games, homecoming concerts and reality TV segments are housed via his Facebook group entitled: Dev TV

As a young person breaking into the industry, one would think you have a lot less to risk or better said – nothing to lose. I beg to differ. There’s always your soul, and I’d say that’s a pretty pricey cost. While it’s not easy to stay true to one’s self in this industry, that’s just not a cost that Devin is willing to pay.  

 His advice is to “find some type of sanctuary to keep your mind away from the social media…”

Like most, Devin has a strong family and spiritual foundation. “You have to have a strong head and foundation to stay solid and make sure you’re not compromising yourself,” he says.

No More Apologies Yellow & Royal Tee

Last year, the “Fly Guy” created his own clothing line, entitled “No More Apologies” under his “The DJR Experience” brand that promotes all the things Devin loves in his lifestyle. The clothing label is the result of a hashtag he used on social media, after the completion of his latest project. As you progress through life and your career, you’ll most likely have to acknowledge the seasons in your life and the people in them. As the seasons pass, so do the people. As Devin stated, “I had to cut people off and leave people behind.” There’s nothing wrong with that when people bring toxicity to your life. “Stop apologizing for doing what you have to do,” says the young, but wise man. 

Devin “Fly Guy” Ricks in No More Apologies jersey and fitted cap.

In the media industry, you have to be vigilant of who you’re networking with. People are not always who they say they are. Sometimes they want more than what they’re telling you. As “They” say, “read the fine print,” or better yet, “read between the lines.” Devin took a walk, not too far, back down Memory Lane to describe a recent industry experience. He had high hopes that an A&R representative of a well-known music and movie label would be able to put him in contact with the right people. Of course, this would bring in more projects, more brand awareness, and more money. “…With all the communication and contracts coming together there would always be roadblocks and organizational changes…”, he recalls. The blessing is that he didn’t let that one bad experience spoil his ambition. He used it as motivation to head to the West Coast to broaden his horizons.

Persistence and hard work will always move you closer to your goals. If your goal is anything like Devin’s you probably want to make it big. California is a great place to expand your brand and get to know big names in the music and film industries. Devin had an opportunity to run into famous producers such as Doreen Spicer, (whose credits include The Proud Family and Martin) and Preston Whitmore (This Christmas, 2007) that he can now call mentors and influencers of his expertise. Devin also met the Baltimore native, David E. Talbert (Baggage Claim, 2013 and Almost Christmas, 2016). Now, Devin didn’t just bump into these remarkable people by chance. It took hard work, lessons learned, persistence, and staying humble.

Speaking of humble beginnings, back home, Devin also had the opportunity to meet industry greats right in his own neighborhood, including Sheldon Candis, who wrote and produced Luv (2012), which features Common and Meagan Good, as well as John Singleton, who wrote and directed Boyz in the Hood (1991). If you’re into other greats from the area, you might be satiated in the fact that both Doreen and David both attended Morgan State University, Devin’s alma mater.

Devin J. Ricks stands in front of the poster for the opening of his film “Love Cycle: Beautiful Mistake”

Now, he’s in the midst of new deals, and we can look forward to bigger and better projects and product releases from Devin J. Ricks Productions and The DJR Experience.


Keep pushing Devin! We can’t wait to see more from you on the runway and on the big screen. Better yet, we know you’ll see us first. …He cosigns, ”Yea man!!, I see everything!”…

For the Love of Style thanks you for being young and inspirational!


Meet the Woman Behind the Words: Epiphany


Name: Epiphany

Art: Spoken Word

Birthday: September 30 – Libra

Favorite Color: Green

Favorite Song:“I Get Out” by Lauryn Hill

Influencer: Sarah Jakes Roberts

Affirmation to Live By: “You are Worthy. You are capable.”


Spoken word artist epiphany
Spoken word artist Epiphany

It’s only right to have an opportunity to get to know the spoken word artist, Epiphany. She embodies a woman who has overcome and is continuing to mature as she excels through her journey of life. Talking to her makes you want to get deeper and For the Love of Style Magazine had an opportunity to scratch the surface of a young queen that is cultivating the community through her talents.



When hearing her voice, it is easy to get lost in the empathy, and flood of emotions that fill her words.   Every phrase protrudes strength, courage, and wisdom. The gravelly voice coming through the phone reminds me of Mary J. Blige; the type of voice that’s filled simultaneously with joy and pain but inviting. I envision Epiphany smiling on the other end, as she should. She’s a light in this dark world. 


She concedes to having communication issues and struggling with getting her emotions across the right way, but there was no notion of an issue as Epiphany flowed gracefully and confidently throughout our talk. She admits to being vulnerable and truly keeps it real when speaking to youth. “I’ve learned to recognize when I’m talking to someone’s logic and when I’m talking to their emotions,” She says. Epiphany effortlessly adapts, as working with the juvenile justice system and different youth groups in the community has taught her that, these young people don’t want to hear sugar-coated lectures. Then again, what young person does? Furthermore, she emphasizes there’s no use in being complacent with the things you have not yet to achieve when you can roll up your sleeves and make your dreams come true. Before life can be taken by the reigns, we have to come to terms with our individual truths. Getting your truths out and dealing with it is something Epiphany practices regularly and encourages among her audience.


After binge watching her Youtube videos,  undoubtedly, the ear recognizes that only passion resonates from Epiphany’s poetry.  Just listening to one of her spoken-word pieces titled, “Soldier,” Epiphany leaves us with a relentless urge to lift someone else’s spirit. Often we talk with someone and leave the conversation with the ambition to advance ourselves and make strides toward our personal dreams. However, Epiphany made me want to find my own “it factor” and do whatever “it” may be, for the culture’s sake…immediately!


Needless to say, we got to a point in the conversation where I couldn’t help but wonder how so much wisdom came from this young woman. Epiphany pronounced, a lot of her inspiration comes from seeing the beauty in every experience and interaction that we have within the span of our lifetime. She began to explain that “Soldier” was written to the tune of an untimely suicide. Depression is a huge elephant in the room of our society. Healthline reports approximately 121 million people suffer from depression and women are twice as likely to experience symptoms of depression.  Some of us know exactly how deeply that despair can be rooted. Some of us can only fathom. Epiphany uses her craft to bridge the realms of emotion and logic, by internalizing a friend’s pain after her mother commits suicide. “I could only imagine everything she was going through – dealing with that and being pregnant. Your emotions are just all over the place”, she says. In the midst of it all, Epiphany was there with a spoken word of encouragement. The type of emotional push to put the fire under your feet. Epiphany’s delivery is firm, and her rawness is reasonable. There’s unquestionably no shame in her game. “I’m taking the same steps that I’m encouraging everyone else to take. I’m in therapy.” She says. Epiphany talks about having a go-to person:


“She’s not connected to me in any other way except through these sessions; this helps keep me balanced and helps to strengthen my perspective of my life’s experiences.  She helps me to safely navigate through my emotions and my logic and encourages me to give equal care to both these vital parts of who I am.”


Clearing the energy and creating safe spaces is exactly what Epiphany aspires to do in the youth around her. An absolute influencer in the Washington, D.C.,

metropolitan area,  Epiphany has a gift to inspire and ignite while sowing back into the young people in Southern Maryland and surrounding communities. She believes that sharing her experiences with those she speaks to within the juvenile justice system in Waldorf, MD. is her greatest tool. Being sincere in sharing vulnerable things about herself eases the tension of judgment and fear among the youth and allows them to find safety in expressing themselves. Epiphany explains, ” I ask them how they want to express themselves and I assure them there’s no pressure to conform.” She continues, “I tell them, there is no right or wrong way to express yourself, you just do it. Most youth find it easier to participate when there’s no pressure to conform”. It’s only if the desire to flourish already exists that Epiphany helps sharpen the vision.


Photo: Mural in progress by Tri County Youth Services Bureau with Epiphany’s direction.



Her vision is clear, and her heart is set on helping establish and adjust the vision of the next generation and impacting her own. Epiphany is the humble beginnings of a woman sharing her journey and uplifting those traveling through theirs.


When she’s not writing her own masterpieces, she’s listening to some of her favorites: Lauryn Hill and Sarah Jakes Roberts. Not an avid reader, she is a fan of the Audible app. Epiphany spends a lot of time listening to TD Jakes,  one of her favorite authors and is currently listening to one of his latest books, Instinct.


From the life experiences to how she radiates her inner joy, I can assure you there is an innate wealth achieved by getting to know this woman. We could go on, but the experience is much better sold than told. Epiphany will be traveling with The Speak Life Tour to revitalize art culture in the youth as well as motivating their audience to generally being great.



Closing out the Winter Well: Fashion. Classic. Urban. Givenchy

(Givenchy, 2017)

It’s no wonder rappers are wearing dresses. Givenchy is making the statement loud and clear: Go long or go home. Offering up a healthy heaping of modern and trippy the fashion house flooded the runway with new looks, which are assuredly a sign of the times.


A street style once again graces the runway for the Givenchy men’s Fall-Winter 2017 collection, but it’s classic and signature all at once. I don’t doubt that a lot of young men will be turning to this fashion house for inspiration for their #OOTD.

Givenchy Pre Collection Fall Winter 2017 Mens Parka
Image Source


Fashion has, for a long time, repeated history. Lately, we’ve seen the fashion world revisit the 70s, 80s and even the 90s. While we’ve seen chokers and grunge make a major comeback, how could we ever let go of flared pants, lace or velvet? Givenchy’s latest collection boasts the best of these decades, with a twist. Better yet it’s like you traveled back in time and went in your parent’s high school closet (or maybe even your own) and hyperventilated your way back into time. When you woke up, enlightened from the past with an untouchable sense of style. Taking textile to new ready-to-wear heights, yup, that’s Givenchy’s Fall Collection. Nothing but Fashion.




(Givenchy, 2017)

Nothing beats the nostalgia that adorns these pieces. I’m sure these clothes were cut to the beat of the Disco. The monochromatic look never looked so sleek. You must see how trendy these solids look, coupled with a long trench coat.




Image Source: www.givenchy.com



Remember all of those kids who grew up on Nickelodeon? Remember 90s grunge? Well, they’re all grown up now and making a whole new statement.

As this is just the pre-collection, I wouldn’t mind holding my breath for the rest. I’m sure what’s to come will be breathtaking.

I don’t mind a longer stretch of winter, but I can’t wait to see what the spring collections will hold.