Walking Barefoot Down the Aisle

Almost three months ago, exactly one week before our eleventh-year anniversary, I married the love of my life. It was truly the most beautiful day of my life. It was everything I needed. It was everything I wouldn’t dare dream of as a child lost in the Haitian clouds. It was magical. 

On the day of the wedding, a mesmerizing storm lifted me from my sleep around six in the morning. I looked at the mountains, hidden from the sun, kissed by the dark, grey clouds, and I smiled. My ancestors were with me, celebrating before the festivities even started. I could feel them dancing underneath the deep dark clouds. As I get older, I no longer associate darkness with sadness, and so I knew that the dark morning was everything but somber. My great grandmother was crying, and  they were tears of joy. I knew that because that’s what I do, too, when I’m really happy. I cry. 

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Feeling Full...

In addition to being a full time student at the university, I served on the board of several on-campus organizations, worked three part-time jobs, and during the holiday season, I'd scour the student center website and craigslist for random gigs. During my freshman year, I found a dish-washing/serving opportunity at a wealthy family's home in a town near my campus on Thanksgiving. It offered $15-$20/hour just to help clear tables, wash dishes, and tidy the kitchen.

 I remember that day clearly because I'd never experience anything of the sort. It was my first time ever setting foot in a wealthy American home. It was the kind of home I read about when I was just an awkward, skinny, dreamer-girl in Haiti. The kind of home I thought I'd move into when the US called for me, not the one-bedroom apartment in Newark my parents, little brother, and I found refuge to during my early teenage years. The place that collected most of my tears.

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Polka Dot Knee High Socks and Oxfords

I remember elementary school vividly. Perhaps even more than high school and all of the new quirkiness I was starting to embrace about myself. I attended an all girls catholic school where we wore shiny Mary Jane shoes with crispy white doily socks laced with ribbons and ruffles. I didn't hate them, but I was always curious about the shoes the boys got to wear. I loved Sunday afternoons because after my school work, I'd polish my shoes just like I liked them, and I would lay my perfectly ironed uniform on a chair for easy reach in the morning.  At church, after my readings at Eglise Saint Pierre, I'd shyly stare at the boys' shoes.

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Pink on pink with a little fringe

I've been really into wearing trousers lately. It might be the whole turning thirty thing, ya know? I used to hate pants, but now a good comfortable pair is my go-to in the morning or in the evening for cocktail events. I'm probably just over buying so many pairs of tights and stockings during the cold weather seasons. Can we talk about wearing a pair of stockings once then having to discard them because they seem to always rip no matter how careful we are? I'm not even talking about the two-dollar kinds!

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Lost in Hotel Oloffson

At the table, the calm air danced around us. A cat brushed past Regine's ankles, and she froze. She's terrified of them I learned that day. I dug in my plate of akra (malanga fritters), and waved the server over for more pikliz (a condiment made of picked shredded cabbage and hot peppers that I can't live without.) I had a bottle of cold Prestige just a few inches away from my big plate of Haitian fritay. That afternoon was to be cherished for a long time.

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Fall floral and grey tones

I got this grey hat from my local hats store in Harlem about a week before my 30th birthday. I find pleasure in going in a men's shop to try on various hats. I always tip each hat to the side and stare at my profile for a little Paola drama. There's just something about buying things made for men, from men, that I love. I get this strange feeling of freedom and power. Is that weird?

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A long Kimono for Drama

 I love pieces that pull me, and seem to tell me that they belong in my closet for a very long time. Pieces that my daughter would love to borrow. And this trench kimono yelled that to me from all the way across the room. I swear it did. And then, when I got closer, it whispered sweet nothings in my ear, and the next thing I knew, I was folding it to take it home with me, where it clearly belonged.  

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Vintage Blazer with Pops of Color

I scored this Chanel vintage blazer at JBBORN, a second hand shop founded and operated by television hit series Born To Style, in Harlem right before it closed. When I tried it on, I loved the fit so much, I didn't even realize it was a Chanel piece. Double win! I kept it in my closet for a while. Why do I do this? I find a blazer. I get thrilled! I buy it, and then it sits there for a while...  Because I'm waiting on Michelle Obama to invite me out?

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Fall Uniform: Mini skirt, turtle neck, ankle boots

Block heeled ankle boots are a must have. They're comfortable, versatile, and accentuate legs with the right amount of height. I wear them with jeans, cropped trousers, mini or midi skirts. They're simply a necessary. I've compiled a list of nine eye-catching ankle boots starting at $129 that will compliment pretty much any outfit your heart desires.

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Up the hills of Petion-Ville- A photo journal

Up the hills in Petion-Ville, I zigzagged through Place St. Pierre, hunting for familiar things. Ah yes! Asterix, the bookstore, I remember that place. It got me in so much trouble as a child. I used to escape in the aisles, sitting on the floor with a pop magazine on my lap. I remember reading about Jennifer Aniston and other celebrities whose work I'd never even heard of. They all seemed so far away. In a land I'd never reach. I'd spend hours there, then later to be met by my mother's belt at home. She thought I used to sneak around to meet boys. And no matter how many times I told her I was terrified of them, I'd be punished either way because I made my little brother wait. Instead of picking him up from school on time, I went to small bookshop to escape. 

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Casual stroll with men's inspired loafers

You know what I love about transition weather? I find it pretty darn cool that I can wear fall colors without all the layering, which means I can still stroll about town showing off my ankles and hand accessories. YAAAAASSS. I've been feel super casual lately by playing with basics, loose jeans, and adding a statement shoe or stacking up bold rings! 

As you know, I'm a comfort lover so mom and boyfriend jeans are my go-to when it comes to denim. I like it loose, baby! Another thing... I'm obsessed with men's inspired shoes. It's not even funny anymore. I don't care what's on trend or not, if I come across a pair that make my heart sing, I grab it! These metallic babes pulled at my heart strings...

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Portraits of my mother

My mother turned 51 this year. As part of her birthday gift, I told her I wanted photograph her. The thought came to me on the bus from Vermont one random morning. I called her immediately with the idea, and I could tell she was just as excited as I was. I wanted to make her feel beautiful and special, and I figured this would be a great way to connect.

We planned to meet one afternoon after I was done at the office. I grabbed my makeup "kit" from the bedroom, set it on the kitchen counter, and went to work. While doing her makeup, I felt this strong connection between us. Like my great grandmother was watching us, smiling. 

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In love with flirty rompers

Short rompers do not only lengthen the body, but they accentuate the legs. They're super comfortable, gorgeous and fit pretty much any body type. I absolutely love their versatility. You can wear them with long blazers, leather jackets, jean jackets, oversized sweaters, and they're just as flattering and ridiculously cute.

I've compiled a list of 10 short rompers I'm absolutely loving at the moment that would make perfect transition-to-fall outfits. Throw on some ankle boots, suede mules, or thigh high boots, and you're good to go!

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Girls, Champagne and Bathrobes

This past weekend was a dream. I celebrated my bachelorette party with eight amazing friends from different stages of my life who all came together to plan a beautiful evening that led to a two day event.  I couldn't help but feel full that night. Full of love. Full of light. Full of gratitude. Full of life. 

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Why not size up?!

The older I get the more I realize how much I love to wear clothes that don't really cling to my body. I'm not sure if it's because of my body type. I've always been tall, thin with an athletic built. My body literally goes up and down, there is NO curve. Nada. But it's ok, I've come to terms with that. I've accepted it. And you know what? I even love it! When I go shopping, I love to size up, especially when it comes to shirt dresses.

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Easy Breezy Boho

My favorite kind of clothing is easy, breezy, and flowy. They're easier to wear, especially during the heatwave. I actually don't mind the heat much, even when sweat runs down from the center of my boobs, or I can spot sweat bubbles right above my top lip. It's all good! When it's overwhelmingly hot, I don't find myself rushing too much. I walk taking longer, slower strides, and I stop more to admire my surrounding. Just another excuse to daydream on my way to and from work, you know? And so I wear lightweight flowy dresses whenever I can.

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D and the Sunflower Garden

I met a man outside of a garden on a small street in Harlem yesterday. Let's call him "D". He bent down, pulled out a bag of cat food and made a careful spread on two paper plates, then slid them underneath the fence. He patiently waited as multiple cats appeared from the flowers, rocks, and all kinds of little nooks to attend the feast. Earlier, I noticed when he walk past me from where I was standing, but I was focused on the bee buzzing all over the sunflower I was trying to photograph. 

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