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BGLH Style: Paola in New York

Avatar • Jul 4, 2013

paola8

Introduce yourself!
P:
My name is Paola, and I’m from the beautiful island of Haiti. I consider myself an ambassador of my country in everything that I do. If I could live in any other city other than New York, it would have to be Paris. I like to live a spontaneous and care-free life. That doesn’t mean that I don’t care about what is happening around me. I’m always very aware, and I try to be as thoughtful about any situation or the person next to me as possible. I’m a lifestyle blogger because I couldn’t choose between fashion, hair, food, travel, or NYC adventures, so I incorporate them all in my blog. I enjoy hula-hooping, great food, and frolicking through the concrete jungle and beyond. My life is an adventure, and I can say that most of the positive things that have happened to me was because I took a chance. So I leap!

What is your style philosophy?
P:
My style philosophy is anything I can afford and make it look like it’s worth more. I like to be as comfortable as possible, which means that little dress better have some breathing room. I wear short shorts and and skirts, but I have to make sure that I’m confident enough to step out of the house with them on. If you feel confident and comfortable in what you’re wearing, you will look radiant no matter what. I love colors. Even if I don’t wear colors on my clothes, I wear them on my lips. My lips are usually my favorite accessories. That’s right ladies, bright lips are accessories. I don’t buy most trendy things, but I pick up a few things that I really like. I like to mix old and new stuff. I’m a vintage lover, and I love second-hand shopping. I like a good hat with a good story behind it.

How would you describe your sense of style?
P:
Easy, laid-back, colorful, fun, and sometimes sexy.

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What is your process of deciding what to wear in the morning?
P:
I put on random items together without thinking about it. Or if I know I want to wear a hat or head wrap, I make sure everything is centered around that. I love head accessories. They’re just too fun.

What are the three favorite things in your closet?
P:
1- My vintage Dior hat. I bought that from a vintage shop in Connecticut. I wore it to Dinner En Blanc, and apparently the woman who owned it before me was this fabulous socialite who threw giant parties all the time, and for her husband’s 50th birthday, she wore it in a giant cake with a blazer and underwear! Isn’t that just bad ass?

2- This classic all red Diane von Furstenberg dress I scored at a consignment store in Vermont two years ago. It’s just a classic. It’s knee length, and when I wear it, I feel like lady.

3- Any one of my head wraps. I get the African fabrics in Harlem, and no one can tell me a word when I wear them.

What are some of your favorite shops/websites for clothes, shoes and accessories?
P:
I’m a very frugal shopper. I shop mainly in  online flash sale stores (ideeli.com), thrift stores (Rena reborn, Buffalo Exchange, etc), and department stores (Loehmanns, TJ Maxx). Recently, I’ve been very conscious about shopping small, so I will shell a few more bucks to support some local NYC boutiques, including Bebe Noir in Harlem. I’ve gotten a few (trendy) items from Zara, Nasty Gal, and ASOS, but they’re not my main shopping websites. I think everything looks the same from these stores, and they can be a bit of a rip off.

How long have you been natural?
P:
For a while! I first cut it really short, like to my scalp when I was in high school my junior year, and that was the the talk of the school. Then in college, I relaxed my hair again for a few years, and cut it all back my junior year. I haven’t relaxed my hair since. It’s so much fun and rewarding to be a natural gal. Dance party in the rain, anyone!? My hair is not long because I cut it a lot, and for a while I kept it in a short boy’s cut. I’m also not one of those “naturals” with an elaborate routine that includes a nightly regimen (which I should) nor a weekly deep conditioning session (and I should!). I’ve been trying to get myself to get into more protective styling. It’s like I know what to do, but with my crazy schedule, and love of wearing the afro out too often keeps me from going forward.

How and why did you transition into natural hair?
P:
I didn’t transition. I just cut it because I wanted to. I saw a photo of my mother when she was younger, and she was just beautiful. I loved the short afro look on women from old photographs, so I decided it was time. It was really a style thing for me, and at that time, there were really no other girls with afro natural hair at my school, but one. And she already had long hair. So it was kind of a big deal. We all know how mean high school students can be. At first all of the girls were like, “I can’t believe you did this!” I would hear whispers as I walked by and occasional snickers. Of course the words, “Bald head!” were shouted a lot. And after a while, the guys were like, “You’re actually cute with your bald head.” Then people started to accept the look and me. So, I started getting compliments left and right, but that was after all of the mean stuff.

What is your signature hairstyle?
P:
I spritz the hair with water, add some leave-in, seal with coconut oil, take a headband (which is really just silk fabric), pull the hair back, and hello “high puff”! That’s what I do most of the time. Or I wear an awesome African head wrap. I love those!

Describe your styling regimen over the course of the month.
P:
What styling regimen? Look above. I also like to do bantu knots, and if I’m not too busy, I twist my hair in giant twists at night. I’m getting better at the flat two strand twists although they still look questionable. I also usually twist my hair right after I wash it with my Knot Today leave-in with a mixture of oils and aloe vera gel. Being natural is easy. It’s a matter of what your goal is.

Any parting words?
P:
Very often, I see ladies who just want their hair to be jut like another’s. Your hair is yours, grow to love it. Your curls don’t have to be just as loose as the next for it to be beautiful. Nor does it have to be just a long as the next for you to be a foxy lady. Obviously, it’s great to take care of your hair and your body. And if you want to grow your hair, do it, but have fun. Live life! And the whole point of being natural (at least to me) is to be more independent with your hair. So come on out, don’t be afraid of the naps! I also notice a lot of women who are natural care for their bodies more than they did before. They start eating healthier, and exercising, and that makes me happy. Another thing that I enjoy is when I see another natural woman at an event or on the train, and she smiles at me immediately. It’s kind of like we have a sisterly bond, and we don’t even know each other. Afro girls unite!

Is there a blog/webpage where we can find you?
P:
You can certainly find me on http://findingpaola.com. Looks like I’m pretty easy to find.
http://facebook.com/findingpaola
http://twitter.com/findingpaola
http://instagram.com/findingpaola

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About Rinny

Texan by birth, Los Angeleno by situation. Lover of Tame Impala and Shoegaze music. Comedian by trade. Macaroni and Cheese connoisseur by appetite.

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Toni
Toni
7 years ago

I enjoyed reading this and viewing your great fashion sense. Your sparkling personality really shines through in your writing.

April
April
7 years ago

Hello! You just have a beautiful face and such elegant style 🙂 Would you mind sharing with me where in Harlem you go to get your African fabrics please? I’m taking up sewing and I can’t find any good online resources and my classes are starting soon lol.

Afrinaturality
Afrinaturality
7 years ago
Reply to  April

I’m not from New York, but I am just making a statement that where possible, please support black businesses that are selling African fabrics. Over here in London, it is now becoming the norm that every other people than African are selling our own fabrics. Let us take ownership of our own and not be controlled or excluded from markets where we as black people are the majority spenders.

PAOLA
7 years ago
Reply to  April

Hello! Thank you very much for your kind words. I get my head wraps from African markets and small African stores in Harlem. I just pick out a yard of the fabric of my choice, tell them I want it cut in half and then have the two ends sewn back together to have a longer wrap. Sometimes I don’t have them cut it, but they’re not as manageable or multifunctional. Hope that helped! Check out this post: http://findingpaola.com/2012/09/09/harlem-shopping-kaarta-imports-african-fabrics/

A
A
7 years ago

Paola, I love your name. It fits you so well. I love your approach to life and fashion. I especially love the low-back yellow dress and patterned pants.

PAOLA
7 years ago
Reply to  A

Ahhh! Muchas gracias!

Redseouls
Redseouls
7 years ago

Lovely girl with lovely hair! I love your blog!

AnonyChick
AnonyChick
7 years ago

Omg, I LOVE your style! It looks so effortless and chic.

Oh, yeah, I’m not Haitian, but SAK PASE! 🙂

Rosalie
7 years ago

When I saw the first picture I thought, “I know her!” lol I actually don’t but you’re a friend in my head through 4Aces. Love your style.

PAOLA
7 years ago
Reply to  Rosalie

Thanks Rosalie! The 4aces are my friends and just fabulous women all around. Abby got me into blogging.

And to everyone else, thank you so much for all the love! It’s appreciated!

Jax
Jax
7 years ago

Stunning!!

ema
ema
7 years ago

beautiful girl.

steel magnolia
steel magnolia
7 years ago

Very pretty. She looks a lot like Jill Marie Jones from “Girlfriends”.

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