January 28, 2016

Living Life Profashionally: Thomas Baker

It's that time of the month my loves! Time to interview someone who is Living Life Profashionally! I believe that to Live Life Profashionally means to strike the balance of being professional and fantabulous. It means to carry yourself with class and to never stop reaching for your goals whatever they may be.  This month's interviewee is someone who is truly Living Life Profashionally. He has been relentlessly working towards his dream of becoming a photographer and is making it happen. I had the opportunity to interview Tom in his studio with Kanye blasting in the background. He has definitely been one of the coolest people I have had the pleasure of interviewing. Without further adieu, here is Tom Baker.
TPL: What inspired you to become a photographer?
Tom: I was never really inspired by one specific instance or thing. It was always just in me. My grandma used to take a lot of pictures and that was always cool to me. Even to this day, she has hundreds of photos around the crib.  

TPL: How old were you when you first picked up a camera? 
Tom: I don't remember, maybe 7? My grandma bought me a Polaroid camera and it was mad dope. But I broke it three days later.  

TPL: What/ who do you photograph?
Tom: I photograph anyone who I sense something unique in. I typically try to shy away from the "conventional" beautiful people because those are the ones who are being looked at all the time anyway. I like to shine the light on those who normally fly under the radar. Their stories are generally more appealing to me personally. Plus it's easier for me to vybe with them. Not that I don't connect well with the typical model type girls, but that's just not my field of interest. I think the best part of my art is being able to bring my visuals to life with anyone and not just who I'm "supposed to" create with.

TPL: Who is Tom?
Tom: I left him in high school. I'm Thomas. 

TPL: What does your art that you show the world say about you?
Thomas: The art that I show the world represents being a natural black person and being comfortable with that.  

TPL: Among your works, which is your favorite and why?
Thomas: Among all of the work that I've produced in the last few years, my favorite would have to be the series I did with the blue bath tub only because I created a video with that and it went exactly how I planned it. That mini project really showed me that I can come up with an idea and find someone to bring it to life and with that understanding, I strive to never stray from that mindset. The best part of that series isn't the fact that the photos are nice or that the video caught attention, it's the fact that I can constantly look at it and remember that I did what I wanted with it and succeeded so there's nothing that I can't do creatively if I put my all into it.   

TPL: Tell me about some projects you have in the works?
Thomas: Right now I'm working on Blackness Part  Two. Part One was all about self love and I debuted it on Valentine's Day at a little spot in Newark, New Jersey. The project itself included interviews with ten different women about insecurities they've gone through or are currently going through. I was blessed with the opportunity to photograph each insecurity or a symbol of the insecurity. One girl had a tumor on her spine and had this intense scar going down her back so she let me photograph that. Another girl used to cut herself on her thighs and arms and she let me photograph that. Another girl had a really big birthmark on her face that I had never noticed until she took her makeup off and let me photograph that. The whole concept was no makeup, no nothing, just all raw. It really helped a lot of people overcome different things they were going through. When I had the event, I played the documentary and people started crying. It was a dope experience. 

Part Two is going to include men as well as women. Instead of being self-love, it's going to be black love. There going to be a short film that will include dialogue and acting. It's going to be a 70s based love story but involve real issues that are currently happening. It'll be all about love and respecting the black man and woman. I'm also taking it on tour and will be collaborating with different artists including painters, musicians, etc. It's going to be an experience. I'll be in that so I'm really looking forward to it.   

TPL: What does it mean to Live Life Profashionally to you?
Thomas: I did think about that before the interview. Pro is for something and fashion is fashion. I'm not the most fashionable person but I feel like the wordplay is, you take your appearance and the way you present yourself very importantly. So, I guess that's what it is. 

TPL: So give me a run down of a day in the life of Thomas.
Thomas: Today I woke up, got my hair done, and came straight here to the studio. I don't eat breakfast. I'll be here all day. Normally I have a shoot set up so my makeup artist will come in and get the makeup done. The rest of the team comes in later and we'll do some behind the scene footage with music blasting. A normal day is this. I'm here just working. 

TPL: Do you miss college?
Tom: No. I don't like school and it was too expensive. People say that a degree provides you with some sort of security but there's no security in anything. You have to do what you have to do to get your own security. I made sure that when I was at Rutgers, I made an impact so that people knew me even when I left. 

TPL: Tell us about your next show.
Tom: January 29 is my next show. It's going to be in downtown Newark at this spot called, The Warehouse. It'll be hosted by a company called Vibes After Dark. It'll be an underground art show with mad singers, raw artists, performers and vendors. It'll be a nice appearance. 

TPL: What is your end goal?
Thomas: I don't have an end goal because I don't want to stop doing what I'm doing. I just want to keep doing this but do it on a grander scale.

I can not thank you enough for this interview, Thomas! You are truly an inspiration to every creative working towards their dreams. 

Be sure to check out Thomas' Instagram and Twitter for more of his art. Schedule a shoot with him at Sharp Image Studios, located in Barrington, New Jersey through email, samohtvisuals@gmail.com. And as always, Stay Profashional! xoxo


January 21, 2016

Winter Glow

The battle for healthy, glowing skin has begun. Don't let winter win my loves! I take my skin very seriously and believe in a healthy glow without any makeup. Here are my winter essentials to retain that winter glow:

Dove Sensitive Skin Body Wash | $5.49
You have to think about moisture in every step of your beauty routine. This body wash is gentle and works for normal to dry or oily skin. It cleanses without leaving my skin feeling dry or with any residue.

Coconut Oil | $5.99
My life has changed since I started moisturizing with coconut oil. I know you have heard about this little gem. Your skin needs more moisture during the winter months and this magical oil gets the job done. The natural soothing nature of the oil leaves my skin feeling soft without any irritation.  

Neutrogena Fresh Foaming Cleanser | $4.99
I am in love with this face wash! It works for normal to oily or combination skin annd removes makeup. It never dries out my skin or leaves any reside.

Neutrogena Deep Clean Invigorating Foaming Scrub | $6.99
Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate! It's important to get rid of dead skin cells especially in the winter. Gently scrubbing away the dead skin cells allows for more moisture to get in. This face scrub is invigorating yet mild and always leaves my face feeling refreshed.  

Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisture SPF 15 | $8.99
People seem to forget about an SPF when shopping for moisturizers. Although it is winter you still need to protect your skin from UV rays during the day. This moisturizer isn't too thick on my skin and retains moisture throughout the day.    
Dead Sea Essentials Sugar-Salt Spa Scrub | $11.99
Once again, exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate! As you can see, I take this very seriously lol. I am a huge fan of this sugar-salt scrub. I rub it into damp skin and rinse it off in the shower leaving my skin smoother than a baby's bottom. Also, this one doesn't break the bank like some other body scrubs on the market.

As I stated earlier, I take my skin very seriously lol. I try to keep my routine as simple as possible and hope this little guide is helpful! How are you retaining your skin's glow this winter? Comment and let me know! Stay profashional and stay warm my loves! xoxo

January 14, 2016

Sweater Weather

It is officially Winter my loves. I am not a fan of the blistering cold, teary eyes and dry skin but I love a great sweater!
Today I decided to face the elements in a chunky cable knit turtleneck sweater paired with some distressed denim. I threw on my gold zippered suede booties to dress up the look a bit and because I love a great pair of booties. For accessories, I kept it pretty simple, as always, with my leather Fossil watch. This coat is definitely one of my new favorites! I love the over sized box shape and have been able to dress it up or down which is always lovely.
I have to thank the lovely Aria for the photography. Be sure to check out her work on Twitter @ariawillphoto.

Stay Profashional and stay warm, my loves! xoxo

Coat - H&M
Sweater - H&M
Jeans - Levi's
Booties - Nine West
Watch - Fossil

January 05, 2016

Fashion Vision Board

It's time for my annual style revamp! New year, blog layout, new style! Last year I decided to create a list of Style Goals and this year I have decided to go with a fashion vision board.
A vision board is a collage of text and images that illustrate a certain mood, theme or idea. I created a goals vision board at the beginning of last semester and now want to translate the idea from academics to fashion.

Step One: Reflect, reflect, reflect!
Reflect on your current style to figure out what's working and what's not. This past year, I definitely invested in more accessories but I could do better. I still want to add a more soft and refined element to my style as you can see from the pieces in my vision board.

Step Two: Summarize your goal.
Now that you have an idea of the direction you want to go in, think of a simple statement to summarize your goal. My mother always likes to tell me that I am not at school to participate in a fashion show (which is somewhat false) but to get an education. What better quote than "You can never be overdressed or overeducated" by Oscar Wilde?? This has always been my favorite quote and I even have it hanging in my dorm room. It's a constant reminder that one can be educated and slay at all times.

Step Three: Find the right words and images.
You should have some specifics in mind when creating your fashion vision board so you know what to look for and what to get rid of in your closet. I included a picture of Lupita N'yongo because her signature looks are built upon bold colors and clean lines and because she's absolutely fantabulous. I have also included the words "you" and "clean" because I want to have an overall look that is classic and loved by me. Always wear something because you like it, not because it is liked.

Step Four: Put it all together!
Here comes the fun part! I decided to make my vision board on the computer (you can use Photoshop, Gimp or Polyvore to achieve this) but feel free to pull out some magazines and poster board. The more personalized, the better! I had a great time making mine and I'm sure you will too.

So, what do you think? Make a vision board of your own and comment with the link! Happy 2016 my loves and Stay Profashional! xoxo


January 01, 2016


Wishing you and your loved ones a very Happy New Year! Now is the time to reflect, learn and create intentions rooted in self-love. Claim 2016 as your year. I know I am. Stay Profashional, my loves! xoxo
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