Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Why I am Truly GRATEFUL!

Thanksgiving happens to be my favorite holiday of the year followed by the 4th of July. Family, food (both eating and cooking) and preparing for Christmas is fun for me. And it jump starts my holiday craft fair/pop up shop vending season with my line, Jypsea Leathergoods, where I get to meet my clients face-to-face and make new ones all while developing new friendships and professional relationships. All of this extroverted stuff that I love! Thanksgiving kicks it all off. 

But besides the busy-ness of the season, it is a good day to look around and reflect. Tonight my guy and I are headed to my mother's house in VA and meeting my siblings there with their spouses and children. I am thrilled to have the most important people to me under one roof, minus one. Sadly, this year my daughter goes to her dad, my ex-husband, for turkey. :( Nonetheless, I am grateful. I am grateful that she is healthy and happy and has a daddy who wouldn't dream of spending the holiday without her. I am grateful that my family gets to spend more time bonding with my sweetheart. I am grateful that my brothers- my day one best homies- are both healthy and strong and each the head of their own households with beautiful, supportive spouses and amazing children.
I have prepared my fave dishes: Seafood stuffed red snapper, Meca's Mean Greens, Fresh cranberry sauce, and a pitcher of Peach Sangria. 

I also have a DIY holiday project prepared to do with my nieces and nephews: Gold Pine Cone Garland. 

I never take for granted that we will have another opportunity to break bread together. So although I am hosting a pop up shop in Newark NJ on Black Friday, I am headed to VA tonight to enjoy Thanksgiving with my family just to return the very next day to meet and greet Black Friday shoppers, for whom I am also grateful for. Plus, there is one more month left in my current semester and I am one semester away from completing my Masters degree in Art (Design/Craft). 
Life is never perfect but it is very good, and for this I am truly grateful.
I am wishing you all health, prosperity and love this Thanksgiving. 

Gratefully your,
Terina Nicole 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

KISS Instawave Automatic Curler Review

As a woman with a head of hair and the mother of a little girl with even MO' hair, I am happy to be the guinea pig of any device that claims to make hair styling easier/faster. Even if the the gadget looks look it may not be for "our kinda hair," I'm willing to give it a try. Couldn't hurt, right?
Well, the KISS Instawave curls hair without you doing the work. You just slip the end of your hair on to the curler, press the button and it'll twirl it along the hot barrel for you. Let it sit wound around the barell for 3-10 seconds, tug gently downwards and voila! You've formed a perfect curl.
Or so that's the premise...
Here's a video: 

I used my daughter's head to test out the device. She has a head full of thick, luscious hair that could have used some taming so Miss J was just perfect...or so I thought.
Miss J's hair section & ready to curl.
I made several attempts to have the Instawave catch her hair and twirl it onto itself but to no avail. See my video here. It simply didn't work for us and the amount of smoke was worrisome. The device gets extremely hot (420 degrees), extremely fast. But it does automatically shut off in 90 minutes so no need to fret about burning down the house if you forget to turn it off when you rush out the door with your bouncy, fresh curls.

It claims to be easy to use from any angle and any hand....that anyone can use it and that length isn't a problem. Miss J has a ton of hair anyway, so maybe the matter is texture? I feel like there should be a clamp or something to hold the hair in pace while it twirls.

Besides it not working for us, the truth of the matter, I really don't understand the need it fills. Using one's own wrist to twirl a barrel hot curler is a simple task. I don't personally need anything to "twirl" my hair for me. Seems unnecessarily lazy, in my opinion.

I do wish it did work for us though just to see my princess with large, bouncing coils but because it did not, I gifted to a white girl friend whose hair texture is a lot more like the girl in the video.

But hey, don't just take my word for it, try it yourself. Get your own KISS Instawave here: or Target for $49.99.
*Sponsored post powered by Brandbacker*

Black Friday Launch of POP SHOP NEWARK

Now more than ever, it is time to support your own community. Shop local this Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and more throughout the year. Empower the businesses that IMPROVE, & SUPPORT the lives of those around them. 
at Gallery Aferro
73 Market St
Newark, NJ 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Mary J. Blige: London Sessions. Album Review

My relationship with Mary J. Blige is one of a devoted fan. I was in the 9th grade the first time I heard "Real Love." DJ Red Alert played it on Kiss FM and I stopped in my tracks. I couldn't wait to get to school the next day and tell my girls about this new sound...singing over a hard hip-hop track. They only looked at me like I was nuts. It made no sense to them....until they heard it for themselves on the radio. I can honestly say, Mary changed everything. My girls and I would go to my mom's bedroom, because she had this widest mirror on her dresser, and make dance routines to "What's the 411?" and "Real Love" and danced in that mirror together all school year.
Later, in my freshman year of college, "My Life" dropped. I hated it initially. I had just turned 18. I wasn't ready. But by the time I was 20, I was "grown" and that album was the soundtrack to my so-called pain. In my studio apartment alone, playing it non-stop day and night for the better part of a full year.

So you see, I love Mary's music on a personal level. I've seen her in concert and she's so raw and giving with her life experiences and the lessons she's learned.
Mary is my fly, older cousin in my head.
Seeing her spinning out of control and reading her crazy interviews over a decade ago didn't scar her image, for me I love her more knowing she has evolved, beautifully.

I listen to London Sessions with my history with Mary in mind. Her voice is seriously better than it has ever been now. Polished but still Mary.
Just like "My Life," this album took several listens for me to get into it. Mary recorded it on a whim in 3 weeks in London with some of London's best talent, including Sam Smith and Adele. I love Yonkers Mary...the rawness, the funk, the swagger. This album felt bleak and too slow in my first listen but she recorded the album with a global perspective in mind. It doesn't sound like Yonkers, but that's OK.
The first song I heard was on the radio a few weeks ago. I loved the sound immediately but the lyrics were diabolical to me...was she talking about domestic abuse? Someone punched her in the stomach? What is going on???? But again, I just needed to sit with it. It's so good now.

My favorite song thus far is the 1st track, "Therapy." "Doubt" is empowering and a positive anthem with a good melody. "When You're Gone" is sweet song for long term relationships. "My Love" and "Hard Long Look" are the party tracks....much of the album is rather slow though. Some would call it "mellow" but others would say it's a dreary as London weather.
I rate it 7 out of 10.
But you be the judge.

Get the album:
iTunes: MJLondonSessions

I participated in the Mary J Blige The London Sessions album review program as a member of bLink Marketing Network. I was provided a free album to review but all opinions are my own.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

'Tis the Season to Give! Giveaway

Free SWAG BAGS!!! This the season for GIVING! So I'm giving out swag bags. Each is worth approx. $75 full of jewelry, hair products, beauty products, leather accessories and more from indie brands and major brands like L'oreal! I get a ton of free stuff as a blogger and from amazing sponsors of my events. I am clearing my stash and GIVING it ALL AWAY! Purchase $50 or more at, in person at the Artisan Cafe in Richmond, VA , or when you see me at Pop-Up Shops during the holiday season and a swaggalicious swag bag is yours! *while supplies last*

Monday, October 27, 2014

Street Art Becomes Furniture in Isreal

I friggin' LOVE this!


Hello world,
I am a bit of a blogging hiatus and I'd like you to know why. I'm in my last year of grad school at New Jersey City University and because I'm attending full-time while juggling mommy duties and business, blogging just falls to the bottom of the to-do list.
Plus, I am getting my thesis research underway. I will be blogging that process though at my other blog:
I don't want to discuss the thesis much publicly at the moment but I will say that I will be focused partially on providing leather crafting to survivors of domestic violence as a community service and ultimately creating the foundation for a non-profit organization/community center I plan to open after graduation that will be built on the foundation of artists/designers/creative entrepreneurs teaching skills to the community through free workshops in an effort to provide skill-training and uplift those who desire the available resources. All of the details will be documented in the new blog. Follow it to see how The Dream BIGGER! Academy takes shape and how the thesis and the products developed from it will fit into the equation.
I am very excited about the next several months. I may pop in here once in the while but for the most part, keep up with new products at my website, And stay in touch via the social networks to the right.

Until later.....

Stay blessed,
Terina Nicole

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Kehinde Wiley: An Economy of Grace

Astounding documentary of the work of one of the most respected and admired living artists as he pays homage to everyday people.

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Lifestyles of The Authentic & Creative: HUSTLE GUIDE

HUSTLE GUIDE is now available! This 50-page eBook is jammed packed with inspiration, sage advice and resources to make your dreams of creative entrepreneurship a reality from successful, creative dreamcatchers who are paving the way!
A compilation of interviews that I've conducted over 4 years here on LOTA-N-C with interior & fashion designers, fashion stylists, musicians, filmmakers and more. How do they make make a living following their passions? And how can you do the same? 50 pages jam-packed with sage advice and resources from successful creative entrepreneurs. 
Available now for $5.99. Grow, share and prosper!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Design Crush: Product Designer Stephen Burks

This NYC-based brother designs it all, and everything that I covet: furniture, lighting fixtures, vessels... all combining modern aesthetics with artisan handicrafts like weaving and crocheting. For someone like me, who has evolved from fashion design to handbag/shoe making to furniture and home goods design, while staying true to my craft as a leather artisan, I am simply in LOVE with his work. His collaborations with international luxury
brands Missoni, Roche Boboi, and Calligaris have made his work sought-after worldwide.


Keep up with this creative genius at his website:

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Peters Valley School of Craft

2 weeks ago, I spent approx. a week at Peters Valley School of Craft, located in Layton, NJ to learn to make wood furniture from scratch. Making furniture has been a natural progression from upcycling furniture and making home goods such as leather throw pillows and the such for me. The experience was comparable to going to an overnight summer camp in a far-away forest. My roommate came from 5 hrs away. I met people in the "dorm" they housed us in from California, Philly, Pittsburgh and allover NJ.
I was the only student of color there the week I attended but I hardly noticed. The vibe was very warm and welcoming. The class I took, Furniture With Momentum, only had 4 students but there were about. a half dozen classes happening on campus in disciplines such as metalsmithing, blacksmithing, textile design, glass bead making, photography, etc. 
The house I stayed in.

The class size was perfect for me. I expected there to be a gang of guys but instead there were 3 chicks (including myself) and just one guy. The instructors couldn't have been more thorough, supportive, helpful, professional, talented, or experienced. It was a real treat to learn from such veterans in the field!
The main instructor, John Sheridan, left his business in Cali for 2 weeks to teach 2 classes at Peters Valley. John is the owner of San Francisco Woodshop. He entertained us with stories of the furniture and interior design commissions he's done for the rich and famous in LA including the late Robin Williams who took his own life during my stay at Peters Valley.
The second instructor, who I worked primarily with, is Master Woodworker Jim Whitman. Check out Whitman Workshop to view his amazing work. Jim is the author of a book every furniture designer should own, The Woodworker's Studio Handbook. The instructors were both kind enough to autograph and gift a copy to me! #joy!
I wanted to make something for my man that he'd find useful so I made him a shelving unit/stand for his sneaker collection. It can display his top 3 pair at once and house his accessories on the upper shelve with compartments. It's made of Maple and Walnut woods. The other students made 3 tables and 2 stools. All of the pieces were SOOO original and cool. Considering that we started with a sketch, made a small cardboard mockup of the design and then drew the dimensions to scale on grid paper before cutting the wood, you can understand that it was an arduous process. Sawing, planing, sanding, gluing, nailing and the use of serious heavy-duty machinery lead to 10 hour days for the 4.5 days we were there.
Besides the workshop, the food was pretty decent and the activities were enjoyable, as well. Weekly, there is an art auction held plus a show & tell where the instructors of that week from each of the genres on site give a video presentation of their career's work. They really get the creme de la creme at Peter's Valley. I highly recommend it.
My classmates and instructors with our finished pieces
My stand for footwear
My man has put it to good use

Want to learn more about Peters Valley School of Craft? Visit their website at

Peters Valley School of Craft is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit corporation, founded in 1970 in partnership with the National Park Service to promote and encourage education and excellence in craft. From our humble beginnings as an artist colony to our recognition today as an internationally renowned center of fine craft, our presence in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area defines Peters Valley and the experience for our visitors, resident artists and students. 

Our facilities, nestled amid the fields, forests and streams of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, were once the charming and leafy farm village of Bevans. Through adaptive reuse, these historic buildings now serve as a gathering place for a thriving community of artists and environmentalists, thinkers and changers of the world. The link between the natural and man-made splendor of our environment exemplifies of our commitment to being stewards of the Park.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Erica Jones, CEO (CrafterExtraOrdinaire) of The Crop Shop

Erica Jones is one of my real life heroes. Despite her petite size, she has the vision and heart of a giant. The NJ-based, Rutgers University graduate landed a sweet, high paying job for a Fortune 500 company in NYC after graduation but eventually walked away from it to follow her dreams. It was a simple enough dream of being able to be a mother to her young child while earning a living doing work she loves. So she took her savings and opened a scrapbooking boutique in the hip and happening town Hoboken, NJ. Business took off and she had the luxury of creating a healthy work/life balance. Dream come true, right? Well, not exactly...
When Hurricane Sandy hit, her business was completely and utterly demolished. Totally destroyed. Did she close the door on her dreams and go crawling back to Corporate America, though? Absolutely not! Erica Jones rebuilt The Crop Shop and is now, after 5 years running a successful business, on the verge of expansion. She is terribly modest and her interview below may disguise the fact that she's a super hero but don't let her modesty fool you.
Erica Jones ROCKS.

My name is Erica Jones and I am the Owner of The Crop Shop located in Hoboken, NJ. 
WHAT DO YOU CREATE? I would consider myself a multi-media artist. I love to work on canvases and in journals, but I also find myself creating a lot of functional pieces too, such as tables, chairs, and bookcases. I’m probably more of a crafty carpenter!
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED ON YOUR CREATIVE PATH? I began taking pottery classes at the age of 7 years old. I made vases and plates that my mother still has to this day! I’m pretty sure that was my only structured instruction. I just continued to work on my craft because it was a source of comfort and relaxation to me. Around my college years, I began getting into scrapbooking, which was the inspiration for starting my own scrapbooking business. I opened TCS in December 2009, first starting as a scrapbook studio, and then transforming to an all around Arts & Crafts studio a couple years later. 
WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO CREATE? I am inspired by all things beautiful and different… oh, and the color turquoise! I love experimenting with different mediums and I am usually inspired by the desire to have things on display within my own home or a determination to use a material or medium I have never used before. 
HOW HAVE YOU BEEN ABLE TO MAKE A LIVING BY BEING YOUR AUTHENTIC, CREATIVE SELF? I make my living by inspiring and teaching others to love the creative process too. I teach classes and run workshops, hoping to inspire the next generation of artists and creators! 

WHAT NEW PROJECTS ARE YOU WORKING ON? I am currently expanding my studio to become an Art CafĂ©, a place where people can convene and create in the same space. 
HOW CAN PEOPLE FIND & SUPPORT YOUR WORK? TCS can be found online at, on FB at on Twitter at or by visiting us at 720 Monroe Street, Hoboken,NJ 07030.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Donate: Get Season 2 of "For Colored Boys" Produced

Season 1 of the award winning web series, For Colored Boys, was a TREMENDOUS SUCCESS! 
Because of its Indiegogo supporters, this series had an exciting year that included screening for major networks and media companies; winning awards; screening at colleges and universities; garnering major media attention and press; casting incredible new talent and, most importantly, creating independent content that sparks dialogue about critical issues faced by underrepresented communities who need this media most.
Season 2 is now underway and director Stacey Muhammad is reaching out to the community to continue showcasing this important body of work. 

  • Best Web Series at the Ocktober Film Festival 
  • Official Selection Pan African Film Festival Official Selection 
  • American Black Film Festival Official Selection 
  • Brooklyn Arts Council Film Festival

Featuring Emmy Award winner actor Charles Dutton.
Not to mention all of the amazing PERKS! Tickets to the screenings. Skype chat with the director about starting your own web-series. Wrap Party invitation, t-shirts, and even dinner with the executive producer and director!
It's am amazing cause. Make a difference today. DONATE.

Fashion ReDesign Birthday Parties and Deck Design Workshops

Are you in NYC or North Jersey and have a 'tween or teenager have a birthday coming up? Show him/her that you're the COOLEST parent ever and book a Fashion ReDesign Birthday Party at The Crop Shop! (Hosted by me) Your child and his/her 9 besties will explore how to transform everyday items into fashionable accessories and garments.

Activities may include:
• Upcycle Market Bag
• Gemmed Wooden Clutch
• Fabric-Covered Bangles
• Leather Earrings
• Studded/Chain Zipper Bracelets
• Recycled Denim Bib Necklaces
• Floral Sandals/Chain-Trimmed Boots
• Upcycled Sweater Totes
Book your emerging fashion designer's party at today!

And for skaters (adults, 'tweens and teens), they will LOVE you for enrolling them in THIS class:

Students will learn techniques to create personalized artwork on skateboards.  They will learn how to mix paints, create stencils using the tape masking method, and learn how to protect their artwork with protective coatings. The completed skateboard is intended to be used as a work of art, however, they will be functional decks and their safety lies at the sole discretion of the handler. All materials and tools are included in class fee. While an artistic inclination is helpful, it is not necessary and no artistic experience is required to succeed in this class. Class in taught by industrial designer Keith Kirkland.

Register now at Spaces are limited.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

= Space : Newark, NJ's Sharespace & Incubator

=SPACE (also known as EQUAL SPACE) is a brand new sharespace & incubator that will be a magnet for creatives, techies & entrepreneurs of NJ, providing access to resources, co-working space & opportunities. 
Located at 89 Market St, downtown Newark, NJ, = SPACE strives to create a unique culture filled with  positive vibes. =SPACE will provide resources for startups, coaching for tech companies and a wealth of intellectuals to bounce ideas off. The next wave in Newark's enterprises will be born within these walls and will have access to the positive culture of its parent company MEDINA = CITI.
If you are an entrepreneur in need of space to work, conduct meetings or an environment for networking and collaboration, this is it! Features include indoor mini golf, wifi & internet, Socialisto coffee, yummy treats, and of course, office space and conference tables. Daily, weekly, and monthly plans are available.

So what are you waiting for? Claim YOUR space today at Connect on Facebook!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Summer Read: Mo' Meta Blues by ?uestlove Book Review

Mo' Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove

by Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson, Ben Greenman
I'm a die hard fan of The Roots. I feel in love with their sound in 1994 when I moved to Philly to enter my freshman year in college at The Arts Institute of Philadelphia. A fellow student introduced me to Do You Want More? and it was like time and space stopped. I listened to the entire album in one sitting. It was like the first time I heard A Tribe Called Quest. I was open on the I Left My Wallet in El Segundo video while my friends were confused as to why. I just know dopeness when I hear/see it and The Roots were the truth. So of course, I couldn't pass up this autobiographical account from the group's co-founder and most famous member.  For years I crushed Tariq. You couldn't tell me he wasn't staring ay me the entire night in 2000 when I saw them perform from the front row at Tabernacle in ATL. In my humble opinion, he is by far the best emcee currently rhyming. But let's focus on the book...
?uestlove wrote from the viewpoint of a music connoisseur and I say that with no exaggeration.  To the extent that I almost felt annoyed with his tireless obsession with it. No one can REALLY know and love music to this extent that I can no longer understand what the heck they're rambling about, can they? I thought I appreciated music and had a broad palate. Nope, he put me to shame by the first chapter. But he grew up in his father's doo-wop band, attended a prestigious school of the arts for high school and, being a true introvert, he'd rather play his classic records than play with children in his neighborhood when he was growing up.
The book is a rich legacy of the neo-soul movement; he talks about the Jill Scotts, Music Soulchilds, and D'angelos of the world. The book is also a testament to determination despite what may appear to be the face of failure.  It's a funny account of fame (or lack thereof) with stories about Prince and Eddie Murphy and his other more famous homies. And it's a story of growth, development, struggle, success, following dreams, and staying true to your vision. If you loved Jay-Z's Decoded, you'll likely love this too.
Two thumbs up.

Monday, July 28, 2014

So You Wanna Date a Model? RECAP

Playing cupid has never been so FUN!
If you remember a couple of weeks ago I posted that I was searching for a nice guy to take my model friend out who was having bad luck in the romance department of her otherwise awesome life (see the post here).
I was soon surprised to discover that although men LOVE to ogle models and claim to want a successful woman, most are intimidated about the idea of approaching one. The post got lots of hits but very few applicants, to my dismay and confusion but my man broke it down for me like this: the AVERAGE guy isn't confident enough in himself to go for a woman of this caliber because he doesn't feel he has much to offer her.
Hence, the problem that many a progressive, fly girl faces.So what's a girl to do? STAY FLY AND KEEP PROGRESSING! The dude who finds your grind sexy because it matches his grind will come along, trust me.

So, getting back to our covergirl; professional model/designer/makeup artist Pietra of Retrochic Beauty. She was very clear about her type of guy: clean cut, young professional with great manners, solid work ethic, confidence, and is a man of his word. If he just so happens to be at least 6 feet tall with John Legends' good looks, that would be icing on the cake.
Well, I'm happy to report that I did deliver this and more!


Enter Lorenzo aka Zo Brown of Motivational Speaker and Development Coach, he is an ambitious, tall, clean-cut, worldly, educated and John-Legend-esque attractive. He graciously took on the quest to have a casual, fun night out with my friend with no hesitations. And not only did he arrive on time but the brother had a luscious bouquet of lilies because he read in the original post that Pietra adores them.  
Nice touch!

I had them meet at The Crop Shop for Date Night, which is an evening of Paint-Your-Own-Pottery (PYOP) among other couples in a mellow setting with wine and candlelight that occurs monthly at this Hoboken arts/crafts boutique.They did a special activity called "bubble plates" that required blowing glaze through a straw to create a "bubble" design effect on the face of the plates that look stunning once fired in the kiln. It was totally hilarious and a lot of fun. Both were great sports about it.

Pietra: As for first impressions, I was surprised by the flowers and immediately thought he was cute. When he smiled, he totally looked like John Legend! And he's tall with facial hair. I LOVE that! I like that I didn't feel nervous with him. It felt like I was talking to an old friend, we even shared a few jokes. We have similar levels of education: he has his Master's and I'm finishing mine now. We have similar interests and work ethics. It was so nice to have a "no-pressure" date. I would like to see him again. Actually, we are texting now about going to the beach together!

Zo: My first impression of Pietra is that she's a true "entrepreneurial go-getter," which I can definitely appreciate. We do plan to get to know each other more, particularly in the business sense. I believe we can make some things happen! 
Making bubble plates
Zo and P chatted all night

A bubble plate before it is glazed and fired

Pietra's finished bubble plate

Zo & Pietra are all smiles. :)

To Zo's surprise, I was sitting only a table away throughout their date on my own date. :) It happened to be my birthday so I invited my man and my closest friends to join my private little PYOP celebration. I got a bird's eye view of Pietra and Zo's interaction and I was impressed to see how naturally they related. They talked and laughed all night. 
My  job is done here friends. Never give up! Good things are always possible when you give them a chance.

Meca xoxo