Le Sape

The Le Sape outshine women’s fashion by far.

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In the Congo, circa today, a mixture of Congolese and French fashion collide creating a dynamic group of couture men called the Le Sape, short for Société des Ambianceurs et des Personnes Élégantes, or the Society of Tastemakers and Elegant People. Men blend neon colours with classic styles; blend the oppressor with the oppressed.  This is not only a fashion statement for them.  It is a way of life where etiquette and ethics dominate the threads more than the brand.  Mind you, there are rules to follow regarding colour and shape of the whole ensemble.  Le Sape, no doubt, knows how drink a cup of tea with more refinery than a French magistrate or a debutante.

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They are contrasting high-class with poverty, not something unknown in third world countries or cultures who invent their own fashion sense despite the surroundings, but Le Sape are unique in their own right.  Non-violent with strong religious convictions, Le Sape embody a fashion forward group with advanced thinking; an amalgam of what Africa is today.

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Perhaps if you still aren’t familiar with them, I’m sure that a review of the famous Solange Knowles video “Losing You” will spark a memory (director Melina Matsoukas) where she parades down Cape Town in couture from head to toe while basking amongst Le Sape.

http://pitchfork.com/news/48029-watch-solange-knowles-gets-down-in-cape-town-in-video-for-new-single-losing-you/

old skool hip hop=new skool dope

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Women in any of the following-whether separate, together, or a mixture-demand power and respect:

flannels, cut-offs made from boyfriend’s or brother’s jeans, combat boots, wide-legged or tuxedo pants, heavy jewelry-aka multiple rings or earrings, letterman jackets, sweatshirts-favored hoodies, gold chains, and pastel hair or any manic panic shade.

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These are not simple symbols of the 90s, but symbols of masculine power that, once again, women today are adopting as their own.  However, to wear them is not enough.  The real key to the success of these items is a take-no-shit attitude.  Without it you are just rocking a look and not representing the package as such.  Gowone then, be a bad bitch; make them all bow down.

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Shades of Cool

Lana Del Rey’s new single “Shades of Cool” is the perfect antidote to summer heat. It captures the moments typical of summer that aren’t present in the bold, primary-color advertisements for sunscreen or drinks or Memorial Day sales. These types of picture perfect and playful moments seem to be better suited to an upbeat Michael Jackson song such as “Love Never Felt So Good” or the ever-popular “You Make My Dreams Come True” by Hall & Oates. “Shades of Cool” captures somewhat different sensations: the colors of languid dusks and evenings, of nighttime driving on winding roads to secluded beaches, and of watching storybook moons become bright and clear as the heat fades away into cooler air and endless space. These are the moments when some of the best conversations are held, the best books are read, and the best skies are viewed. These are some of the most enjoyable moments of summer.

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There’s a number of factors that lets Del Rey encapsulate this type of atmosphere. One of them is her ability to traverse both lower and higher pitch registers. This enables her to create two basic modes for this song: her verses are in mostly an E-flat minor key area with lower register pitches and are backed by minimal guitar and bass lines, simple drum fill, and possibly a celeste or marimba. This creates a mysterious, smoky atmosphere that can invoke uncertainty, sadness, and regret within the listener. Her chorus, on the other hand, is in a G-flat major mode and contains more upper register notes, which incite happiness and positivity in listeners. Part of the reason this song is so rewarding to listen to is because of the contrast between verse and chorus. We as listeners wait out the minor verses and are rewarded with the major chorus—some listeners even liken the rewarding feeling they get when hitting the transition into the chorus with flying or soaring sensations.

Shades of Cool” is part of the soundtrack to this summer’s wicked times.

The 411 On Yoga 101

 Contributing Writer: Renee Simpson

Yoga Collage

Yoga has gone way mainstream.  There seem to be as many ideas about what yoga is as there are methods.  To some, yoga is about excercise and that’s an end in itself.  To others, yoga is a means to an end; a spiritual practice to ready onself for meditation.  For me, a New Yorker on the constant quest for an optimally healthy body and a decent boyfriend, yoga beautifully responds to both of these needs. Whatever yoga means to you, I have this to say: if you haven’t tried it, please do try it, if you have tried it and dropped it, please do consider picking it back up again, and if you have a yoga practice, awesome, spread the word, spread the Love, and keep spreading your arms for a nice, deep stretch.

This Hawt Shop post will focus on some of the methods of yoga. For an exposition on the philosophy of yoga, here’s a thorough treatment and an enlightening read:

 

Light on Yoga

You Feel Amazing Just Reading It!

In my own practice, I’ve found it important to learn about different yoga methods because I believe finding your method (even if it’s about combining different methods) is a key to developing your practice and sticking with it.  Like many, I got my start with the well publicized, nation-wide available Bikram Yoga method.

Bikram Yoga

All Bikram Yoga is hot, but not all hot yoga is Bikram.  As this method is likely the best known, because of the heat, the rigors of the practice, and the magnamity of Bikram Choudhury (the founder) who is quite litigious in defending his copyrighted method of 26 asanas (poses), in 105+ degree heat, for a set 90 minutes.  Wherever you go, the method is always the same.  If you would like to try this method, it is recommended that you drink at least two liters of water, stop eating at least two hours before class, dress skimpily, and a word of advice from me based on personal experience – there is no need to push yourself into a pose, just move with your breath and let your body enjoy the detox.  As my own yoga practice evolved, I found that Bikram was not right for me because I did not want the same routine each class.  I like the unexpected, even in yoga.

 

Vinyasa Yoga

This is a flow method, unlike Bikram where you stop and switch from one pose to another.  No two Vinyasa classes will likely be the exact same as there are a variety of different asanas (poses) that the instructor will sequence out for the class (often spontaneously).  Classes range from 60-90 minutes and some studios offer Hot Vinyasa.  As a means of warming up the body, early on in every Vinyasa class you will be sent into a sequence of Downward Dog (lower right photo) – Plank – (upper left) – Chaturanga (upper right) – Upward Facing Dog (lower left, sometimes it will be interchanged with the Cobra pose, not shown).   This sequence may occur on it’s own, or as a part of the extended series known as Sun Salutations.  Vinyasa Yoga is great for strengthening.  After my first 10 classes I found myself able to do push-ups as part of my own pre-class warm up.  That’s miraculous because push-ups are something I used to watch other people do as I involuntarily made squishy-yikes-that-looks-painful faces.

 

Vinyasa

The Sequence of: Down Ward Dog – Plank – Chaturanga – Upward Facing Dog (and/or Cobra, not shown)

 

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Sun Salutation Sequence

 

Iyengar Yoga

The author of Light on Yoga (above) developed this method.  One of it’s hallmarks is the use of props – bolsters, blocks, belts – to further help to align the body.  In my opinion, this method is a must try.  In my first Iyengar Yoga class, we were instructed to grab hold of belts, which were fastened securely to the wall, and then hang ourselves upside down.  What’s great is that if you do not have a headstand practice, Iyengar Yoga can get you upside down in no time flat. This method includes a lot of instruction and time is taken for each set-up.  In this way, it’s very different from the rigor of switching between Bikram asanas and the flow of Vinyasa.  I personally found this method to have deeply opened up my chest, because of the use of belts to assist with stretching.  The slower pace of the class also helped me to develop my confidence in my own body.

 

Iyengar Use This One

Whot?! Yeah, This Is You, First Class. It’s Dope.

 

Yin Yoga

I.Love.Yin.Yoga.Full Stop.

Yin Yoga, opposite of Yang Yoga (the above methods are more Yang), is about deep conditioning of the fascia (connective tissues that make up approximately 30%  of our muscles).  I see it as a great practice to include with other more Yang (doing) practices.  The trademark of Yin Yoga is that poses are held for longer periods than in other methods, usually 3-5 minutes. This method can be practiced in heat, depending on whether a studio offers Hot Yin.  It requires less effort than the more Yang methods and is deeply relaxing.  Yin Yoga is not as common as the other methods, so if you do not have a local studio that offers Yin, check out Restorative Yoga, Gentle Yoga, or a Yoga Intro class.  Yoga teachers (outside of Bikram Yoga) tend to be receptive to taking requests, so you could try requesting that one of the poses in the practice be held for a few minutes.   In the alternative, take a Yin class on youtube if you can’t find one by you.

 

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So Many Layers of Awesome Happening Here

Plus Sized Yoga

It hurts my heart that the category “Plus Size” even exists, because we are all One Size – Immeasurable, Infinite Energy.   Plus Sized Yoga, however, does perfectly illustrate that Yoga is not about thinness or size. Yoga happens on the physical level of muscles and the energetic level of Spirit.  We all have muscles, we all have Spirit, and for this reason, anyone can do yoga. Yoga is all inclusive, like the Universe we live in.

 

Plus Sized Yoga Collage

 

 

Hawtshop shoes paired with drinks

drink up; legs crossed or not

Get your cowboy pimp on-

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A night on the old range, or at least the proverbial one, tickling your fancy? Pick up these shit kickers, pair them with black tight denim and suspenders, and maybe extra-round, black glasses; then get to stepping. versatile enough to hit the city streets for miles of art gallery gazing or bar hoping and versatile enough to hit a rural landscape for some country road walking or billiards sharking.

Pair with:
⦁ beer in a can
⦁ whiskey in a flask
⦁ shots of tequila

 

Get your inner bitch on-

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Wanna feel powerful? Skip the hard stuff and jump into a pair of these. Tall enough to dominate the crowds and some men, these boots can conjure feelings of might and spite. In a mini or some faux-leather, punk rock leggings these stilettos add curves to just the right places.
Pair with:
⦁ vodka and lime
⦁ any new trendy drink
⦁ vodka with a cherry

 

Get your walk on-

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When Nancy Sinatra sang her smokey lines “these boots were made for walking” she was talking about these sons of bitches. Fancy enough to pair with a floral dress, yet casual enough for high-waisted, boyfriend jeans and a crop top these boots will get many miles out of anyone’s closet. The chunky, wooden heel gives just enough natural sentiment a girl just might feel like a hitting an outdoor concert.
Pair with:
⦁ bottled beer
⦁ all wines
⦁ gin and juice

 

Get your childhood on-

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Who doesn’t want to step back in time? For women, shoes are a great way to metamorphosis into our past images; with these-reverse hopscotch to a space of lemonade and teddy bears galore. Soft pointed-toe in pastel pairs with the patent-leather black straps that scream nostalgia.
Pair with:
⦁ peppermint schnapps
⦁ peach schnapps
⦁ boone hill farms

 

Get your 1990’s on-

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Retro is all the rage. And no shoe embodies that more than these grunge platforms that remind one of those derelict fashion senses of the 90s. With a pair of worn-in cut-offs scribbled with band names or lyrics, a barely buttoned flannel, a wool cap, and the pieces-de-resistance of greasy hair and a nose piercing, a flash to the past is what’s in order.
Pair with:
⦁ jagermeister
⦁ beer in red plastic cups
⦁ sangria

 

Tupac, The Illest Prophet

Contributing Writer: Renee Simpson

Only God Can Judge Me

I believe we are spiritual beings having human experiences.  I also believe Tupac knew this.  When I look at his life, I mostly see Tupac the man, but when I hear his words, I think of Tupac the spiritual sage. I followed his life so closely I sometimes felt like a remote stalker, but since I’m a Writer, I prefer to consider myself one of his informal biographers.  He was never a rapper to me; he was more other worldly from the jump.  I have always considered Tupac a Prophet who spread the Word, just in the particular form of Rap.

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In a 1988 interview, when he was 17 years old and beautifully idealistic despite his mother being an actual crack-head, Tupac had this to say about creating equal opportunity: “I think adults should go through school again. Rich people should live like poor people, and poor people should live like rich people, and it should change every week.” The healing spiritual advice that This Too Shall Pass, is fully evident in Tupac’s idea.  If we were all rich for a week, then poor for a week, there really wouldn’t be a rich or poor socio-economic status anymore because the richness would constantly pass, as would the poverty.

But how did Tupac go from a young idealistic education reformer to Thug Life? In his own words, from an interview after his first album, “Comin outta New York, I never learned the Game, then I went to Baltimore and I didn’t learn the Game, no one ever took the time to teach me the Game, then I went to Oakland and I learned the Game…. The Game is motherfuckin’ free, but shit, we just need to make some money off it.”

Being that Tupac’s life started with a family in the Panther Party, it makes sense that he was destined to become a Prophet, it’s just that he came up in the Rap World. For who he was, for the spirit he had, every avenue of fame was open to him; he could have been the dynamic leader of a Church, or a radical professor at Brown, but he happened to come up in Hip Hop because he was street, and that’s where he found his opportunity and made the most of it.

He wasn’t only a prophet, but a feminist. Tupac taught me something about male perspective on women and sex, to paraphrase: act like a hoe, get treated like a hoe, act like a lady, get treated like a lady.  Yes, he tapped mad ass, as a part of Hip Hop life, and he did have that run-in with rape charges (and was found not guilty of course) but he still laid down some of the most female supportive tracks in Hip Hop history, “Dear Mama,” “Brenda’s Got a Baby,” and “Keep Ya Head Up.”  The lyrics reveal Tupac’s genuine compassion and understanding for the web of disadvantage in which women, especially poor women, are often enmeshed in a patriarchal society.

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Tupac, the man, may be gone, but his spirit and his words, are everlasting.

To Infinity

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sexy Little Wildflower

Flowers are hitting hard this season from shoes to bikini’s whether they are floral  prints  or full blown flowered headpieces, flowers is a hot fashion trend that will be around for awhile especially with summer heating up!  There are so many beautiful prints to choose from in  many different color schemes, like  corals and purples or  classic black and white. Floral prints can sometimes come off  as a little intimidating for some due to the overall busy look they have, but when  worn correctly there is no need to fear looking too over the top.  Here’s how to bloom into style effortlessly:

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1.  Keep in mind while you may see these prints worn head to toe, less is always an option.  Try starting off with something simple like a pair of floral heels, scarf, or small purse.  This simple addition to your outfit can speak volumes.  It shows simplicity at it’s best with a fashion forward spin.
2 Incorporate floral bling to your outfit:  There are many choices out there as far as fashion jewelry  when it comes to this trend.  Floral statement necklaces, and rings or even studs are great options for  adding a little garden flare to your look.
3.  Floral head pieces: I absolutely love these, they come in different colors, and sizes so you can  mix an match your look.  This has a very hippie vibe to it, but this look can easily be spiced up when worn with the right outfit.  For instance pairing a flower headpiece with a chic blazer and shorts, while  adding a beautiful hue to your lips can create a perfectly playful yet sexy look.  Make sure you choose a color that complements  your hair color, skin tone and eyes to accentuate your beauty as a whole.
4. Go for the bold floral look: If you’re the type of woman who’s not afraid to dive right into trends and take them to the next level then go ahead and grab those all floral blazers, dresses, shorts and bikinis.  You’re bound to get heads turning with a floral on floral outfit.  The best way to pull this off is to have the confidence to do it, these prints are made with a lots of colors and movement that allow you many options when it comes to matching shoes, bags, make up and jewelry.

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A surprisingly popular floral accessory that’s become a must have is a floral snap back. These hats have come a long way  from simply representing sports team logos.  While many women have already been rocking  snap backs the fact that they are  now available in these bold floral prints have opened doors for more women to be willing to wearing them.  These are naturally more feminine as they are easily able to be matched with an array of styles, such as rompers, dresses, and skirts, versus  the traditional snap back that tends to work better with a more casual look like jeans and a t-shirt.

Get with the trend and become a walking wildflower by checking out these online retailers:

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