Romantic Getaway: Zannos Melathron, Greece

It’s officially spring, and summer isn’t too far behind. Let the travels begin.

Okay, maybe that’s not totally relevant, because my plan is to showcase these romantic getaways all year. So, for all you globetrotters, I’ll be sharing some places you might want to check out. If you’re not able to travel at the moment, think of it as travel inspiration. :)

Today’s feature is the Zannos Melathron, in Santorini, Greece.

The Scoop: Built in the 18th Century. Looks like a castle. Boasts of breathtaking views with stunning views of the Aegean Sea. Hotel grounds are totally inaccessible by vehicle – so, you and your love can really lose yourselves in each other. If you’d rather not walk up, donkeys await. :) If your couple profile reads sunset romances, labyrinths, unforgettable views, and rocky (literally) structures, this is the place for you.


Outside the facility  number  1


The rooms  number  7

The Restaurant (s)  number  16

Equipment  number  12

The Restaurant (s)  number  17

Visit the Zannos Melathron website for more information.

All images via Relais Chateux.

Young African Couple You Should Know #2: Achankeng Leke + Swaady Martin-Leke

When both you and your spouse are profiled by Forbes, as well as invited members of some of the biggest global organizations in the world, you’re officially a force to be reckoned with.

Meet Achakeng “Acha” Leke and Swaady Martin-Leke - a power couple, in every single sense of the word.

Acha Leke and Swaady Martin-Leke



As a former Director for Sub-Saharan Africa for global energy GIANT, General Electric (GE), as well as a co-acting CEO for one of GE’s South African subsidiaries, Swaady Martin-Leke is what you’d call a true corporate success and winner. However, not satisfied with her accomplishments in the corporate world, the Ivorian brilliant beauty decided to follow her passion and launched the first-of-its-kind luxury African brand, YSWARA, in 2011. Named by combining her name with a mythical creature from her grandmother’s village in Ivory Coast, YSWARA “creates beautiful contemporary lifestyle objects and accessories based on century-old African craftsmanship.” Unashamedly passionately Africa, Swaady’s mission with YSWARA is to “ preserve, safeguard, enhance and promote the extremely diverse and rich African craftsmanship, culture and history.” With products ranging from delicious teas, fragrant candles, stunning jewelry, and other offerings [all are handcrafted with African resources - by Africans from Africa], YSWARA is teaching the world that Africa is the QUEEN of luxury. [You have to check out YSWARA. Talk about African luxury. You'll fall in love. :) :)]

In 2012, Swaady was named one of the “20 Youngest Power Women in Africa” by Forbes, and was selected by the Africa Leadership Institute as an Archbishop Desmond Tutu Fellow.

Swaady Martin-Leke


As one of the most sought-after business consultants from Africa, Acha Leke is a partner at McKinsey & Company – one of the world’s largest management consulting firms. In less than 2 decades at the global conglomerate, Acha has made his presence felt. No stranger to setting trends, Acha was the first ever black valedictorian at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he received his undergraduate education. He is currently a director, leading McKinsey’s Lagos office – a location he helped establish. Not satisfied with his corporate success, the Cameroonian Acha decided to turn his deep passion for Africa and its future into action. Partnering with Ghanaian entrepreneur and educator, Fred Swaniker, Leke co-founded the African Leadership Academy in 2004. The co-ed Academy was created to “transform Africa by developing and supporting future  generations of African leaders.” ALA opened its doors in 2008. In addition, Leke co-founded the African Leadership Network (ALN) in 2010 – “the premier, elite and invitation-only community of young and dynamic new-generation leaders in Africa”. It currently has 1200 members from over 45 African countries.

In 2009, he was selected as a Global Young Leader by the World Economic Forum. In 2011, he was named one of the “10 Youngest Power Men in Africa” by Forbes. He also currently sits on the Africa Policy Advisory Board of Bono’s ONE organization.

Acha Leke


For some extra icing on the cake, both Acha and Swaady were featured in March’s Forbes Africa‘s list of top 20 Africans from Francophone (French-speaking) countries making a difference in Africa. Yeah, both were featured in the same issue on the same list. How cool is that?!

Every year, Acha and Swaady travel to a new African city, in order to discover new cultures, histories, and traditions.

Talk about two-of-a-kind. If you’re not inspired by this couple, I have absolutely no idea what’s wrong with you. For their commitment to excellence, drive, and willingness to do something about the Africa they love (instead of just talking), the Lekes are a young African couple you have to know.

Just because this is stunning, here are Acha and Swaady at their December 2009 wedding in Johannesburg, South Africa, where they live. Photos by and from Jules Morgan

Swaady and Acha - Club Swaacha, Joburg

Swaady and Acha - Club Swaacha, Joburg

{Images: Swaady’s Facebook; Google; McKinsey & Company}

Because what’s LOVE. ‘n words without romance, here’s a quote from Swaady on the most treasured item she possesses.

I’m not attached to objects, except for my wedding ring, which speaks to my heart.”

- Swaady Martin-Leke

in South Africa’s Destiny magazine

*Editor’s Note: This article originally stated that Swaady was a child refugee. However, Swaady has let me know that this information is erroneous, but has been put out by some media organizations. Please note that she was never a child refugee.


Young African Couples You Should Know is an exclusive LOVE. ‘n words feature. It aims to showcase young, happily married African couples, mostly between (and including) the ages of 18 and 40. This feature is passionately curated to showcase the successful and joyful stories of young African couples across the globe to remind the world that real-life African love stories exist everyday. Featured couples are typically setting trends, impacting communities, showcasing excellence, and changing the world, either as a unit or respectively.

To suggest a Young African Couple for a feature, please email me at chioma dot onyewuchi at hotmail dot com with subject “Young African Couple You Should Know”.

52 Weeks of Romance Challenge: Week 14 – A Note for You

The 52 Weeks of Romance Challenge by Love. ‘n Words is a weekly Wednesday inspiration series that shares tips on how you can spice up your marriage with more love and romance. Designed exclusively for you, the goal is to make your marriage much more exciting, fun, and passionate. Let’s prove that injecting romance doesn’t have to be impractical or expensive. Join in here and on Twitter (@lovenwords) every Wednesday at 12 noon for a new challenge for the week. Use hashtag – #52WeeksofRomance.


 Surprise your spouse with a love note. Place one in the car, or write one on a steamy bathroom mirror.  


{Image  credit: We Heart It}

The Journey to Beautiful Series: Fatia Kasumu

The Journey to Beautiful Interview Series is a celebration of influential and inspiring African women across the globe. Its aim is to teach every woman to define beauty on her own terms, to live purposefully, to accept what makes her truly unique, and to fall in love with all of who she is.


NAME: Fatia Kasumu
AGE: 21

LOCATION: Pennsylvania, USA
WHY YOU HAVE TO KNOW HER: How self-assured were you at 21? If you’re like most people, you were still a little wet behind the ears, and not quite sure where you wanted to be. Not so for Fatia! This 21 year old is a truly gifted writer and multimedia journalist with a penchant for capturing audiovisual stories that stick. As the founder of FatiK Media, a boutique company that specializes in writing, editing, photography, and videography, Fatia is a budding media powerhouse. Currently working with Pennsylvania’s only African-American owned and operated radio station, 900 am WURD, she tells stories about people of the African Diaspora. Did I also mention that she has a killer radio voice? I mean, killer. From her smile to her work ethic, this beauty is a breath of fresh air.



My arms and my dimples! I love my broad shoulders ;) 


I am a very detail-oriented person. I love to dot “I’s” and cross “t’s” whenever I can. I love that I am an honest individual in every aspect of my life.


It’s funny because the non-physical traits I love the most are the ones I struggle with. Lol! Sometimes, being detail-oriented makes me forget about the “big picture” of things. I am a work in progress, and I always remember, at the end of the day ,no one is perfect. So, I tell myself to R-E-L-A-X at least twice a day.   


My father has been such a positive influence in my life. We are both similar in many ways. We are both perfectionists and, sometimes, stubborn. My father has always encouraged me to pursue my dreams and good is never good enough. This encouraged me as a child to think outside the box and be my biggest fan. I’d like to say the reason why I never succumbed to peer pressure during my college years is because my father instilled in me great self-confidence!  


My greatest fear is living with regrets. No bueno.


My greatest joys are the joys of my parents praying for me and reaping the fruits of whatever I do to succeed and provide for them one day. I also love my relationship with God. He’s the   


My greatest accomplishments are graduating from college, starting my own business and my faith journey.

Fatia Collage


I feel most beautiful when I exercise. As a former track sprinter, I love the freeing feeling exercise gives me.  


Beautiful” encompasses inner and outer beauty. Beauty is measured by what is in your soul and mind that also radiates to your outer beauty.  


As a Muslim woman I pray … A LOT!


My mother, my mentors,  Michelle Obama, Sheryl Sandberg, June Ambrose  


Stay updated with everything Fatia! Follow her here:


Twitter: @fatikmedia  




The Journey to Beautiful Series: Afua Rida

The Journey to Beautiful Interview Series is a celebration of influential and inspiring African women across the globe. Its aim is to teach every woman to define beauty on her own terms, to live purposefully, to accept what makes her truly unique, and to fall in love with all of who she is.


NAME: Afua Anyamesem Rida
AGE: 26

LOCATION: Accra, Ghana
WHY YOU HAVE TO KNOW HER: Afua Rida is taking the fashion styling world by storm – you just watch! A few years ago, this gorgeous talent and sweet spirit took a giant leap of faith when she decided to move back home to Ghana, after several years living and studying in Canada, to set up a world-class fashion styling company with her close friend, Supriya Wassiamal. With only a dream and a ridiculous amount of talent, determination, and hard work, House of Cramer was born. House of Cramer has become the go-to for fashion styling in Ghana. Afua (and co-founder, Supriya) are stylists for major Ghanaian celebrities like Becca and Efya; have worked with huge luxury fashion brands like Minna Evans and Christie Brown. [The latter just had the amazing honor of creating stage costumes for Beyonce & her dancers for the just concluded "Mrs. Carter" show.] In addition, the stylists have ongoing work with major Ghanaian television show, The Be Bold Show, creating distinct, exquisite looks for its hosts. With Afua’s stunning eye for detail and fashion acumen, it’s safe to say that the world is her oyster. In spite of the fact that she’s a total knockout beauty, in addition to all her business success, she is the sweetest, most humble person you’d ever meet. Now, that’s real beauty!




I am a child of God who loves her family and friends dearly; loves her country Ghana; and loves everything fashion.


I love my legs and my lips and my very big heart!! Hehehe


My heart and my attention to people’s feelings.


In my young years, it took me a while to accept my height. I was very timid, and it didn’t help that it attracted a lot of attention. Eventually as I grew older, up around when I graduated from undergrad, I began to see the beauty in being tall and in other traits that I had. Around that time, I began to gain confidence and intense love for myself. All this by the amazing grace of God, whose love is beyond anything I could have ever imagined.


I didn’t get to see my father a lot while growing up but, when I did, he made sure it was a fun time for my sister and I. He paid attention to the little things we loved, and always made sure that there was an abundant supply of it around. The most memorable moments were how he never failed to let us know how much he and God loved us.



My greatest fear is, at any point in time, failing to keep in mind that I can do anything with Christ by my side. Failing to be myself. Failing to push myself to my greatest potential. Giving others the wrong impression about myself. Yes, it is something I cannot control as people will always think as they please, but it is at the back of my mind.


My greatest joys are when I see people happy around me, especially my mum. Laughter out of her gives me an amazing feeling. Also, young children have a way of making everything just beautiful!


I find great accomplishments in the smallest things I do: there are too many to list, but something as tiny as making someone smile. Looking at the bigger picture, moving back home to Ghana and setting up a fashion styling company I think will suit this question.



I feel most beautiful in the morning when I wake up. There seems to be a sense of peace within me. I am usually stripped down to the bare minimal; so, I get to really see me. No lipstick, no trendy clothes, no accessories, just me.


Beautiful, to me, is when one is utterly at peace with herself and her environment. It is loving your body just as it was given to you.


Having my quiet time with God everyday. Making sure I am surrounded by the right kind of people, who bring positivity and love into my life. Choosing the right friends to spend my leisure time with is a big thing for me as you can easily be influenced. I try to put the right kinds of food into my body, as a way of saying, “Thank you,” and “I love you!”


I have some awesome women in my family, like my older sister and my mom; but my younger sister, Hayet, just always continues to amaze me. She is fearless and brave and strong. She is confident and spreads her love wherever she goes. Liya Kebede is another symbol of strength and compassion. I admire her work as a model and everything she does for maternal health in her home country and beyond. Michelle Obama, Oprah, June Ambrose.


Stay updated with everything Afua & House of Cramer! Follow her here:


Facebook: House of Cramer

Instagram: @houseofcramer



“Sophisticated Talent”,”One-of-a-Kind Beauty” Lupita Nyong’o is Luxury Brand, LANCOME’s, 1st Black Beauty Ambassador

We’ve all called Lupita Nyong’o a stunning, sensational star. Representing countless young, black, and African women all over the globe, and reminding the world that dark skin is really exquisite, Lupita gracefully waltzed into all our hearts. We’ve fallen in love with her amazing acting abilities, but more than that, we’ve fallen in love with her because she’s relatable – because she believes that every little girl’s dreams are valid, and because she’s been on a wonderful “Journey to Beautiful”, learning to love and accept her skin and all the beauty it holds.

Today, luxury beauty brand, Lancome Paris, named Lupita Nyong’o their new beauty ambassador (or as they call it, ambassadress). In a move that makes her Lancome’s FIRST Black beauty ambassador in its over 75 years of existence (sad, right?), Lupita has just made brand history! Expect to see her in the luxury brand’s campaigns starting this summer.

Lupita Nyong'o Lancome Paris


Here’s what Lancome has to say about selecting Lupita, culled from PRNewsWire.

Maison Lancome is delighted to announce Academy Award® winning actress Lupita Nyong‘o as its new brand ambassadress.
With her instinctive and sophisticated talent and one of a kind beauty, both delicate and exuding strength, 31-year-old Lupita Nyong‘o has taken the world by storm. She received an Academy Award® in the category of “Best Supporting Actress” for her moving portrayal of Patsey in Steve McQueen’s acclaimed film 12 Years a Slave–making her the fourth Academy Award® winning Lancome ambassadress. Her performance also won her many other prestigious awards worldwide, including the Screen Actors Guild® Award, the Independent Spirit Award, NAACP Award, as well as the 2013 Hollywood Film Awards’ “New Hollywood Award.”
Lupita Nyong‘o, a recent graduate from the Yale School of Drama, has an eclectic artistic repertoire, having performed on stage as well as having directed the award-winning feature-length documentary, In My Genes, about the reality of living with albinism in Kenya. She was recently seen in the action thriller Non-Stop, opposite Liam Neeson and Julianne Moore. The Mexican-born, Kenyan actress is an outstanding example of a natural beauty. Confident and simply true to herself, she embraces life with freshness, citing happiness as the most attractive form of radiance.
“I am truly honored to join the Maison Lancome, a brand with such a prestigious history that I have always loved. I am particularly proud to represent its unique vision for women and the idea that beauty should not be dictated, but should instead be an expression of a woman’s freedom to be herself,” confided Lupita Nyong‘o. Joining Julia RobertsKate WinsletPenelope Cruz, and the recently appointed young actress Lily CollinsLupita Nyong‘o will be seen this summer in campaigns shot by star photographers Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott.
“Both talented and committed, true to her African beauty, and showing a great curiosity and open-mindedness in her career choices, Lupita is by essence the Lancome woman,” stated Francoise Lehmann, General Manager of Lancome International.“A strikingly beautiful and intelligent woman, serenely but strongly living her life her own way, Lupita has this special kind of aura both enlightening and deep.”
Xavier Vey, President of Lancome USA added, “Lupita’s authentic inner and outer beauty, her exquisite grace, and true confidence represent today’s modern woman.  Having Lupita as a Lancome ambassadress will help support our mission in the U.S. market which is to speak to all women.  Her rising star status is like a blooming rose; she is elegant and has an undeniable brilliance.”


The 10 Words that Can TOTALLY Transform Your Marriage


It’s April – and the weather is finally starting to warm up! It seems Spring is finally rearing its pretty head. Now that it’s spring, we’re all inundated with the need for freshness, cleansing, and renewal. So, I thought it would be wonderful to share a few simple words that can bring some renewal into your marriage and mine. These words are so simple, so ubiquitous, and so practical that you can say them every single day without working hard. In fact, you should say them everyday.

Here they are:

WE: “We” is a powerful marriage word, because it’s inclusive and shows togetherness. Instead of thinking of just one person at a time, it reminds every couple that you are both one unit! Instead of being selfish or exclusionary, it shows that each person is thinking of the other. Of course, it is important to also maintain a certain level of individuality, even in marriage, but using “We” more often will put you in the mindset of really thinking like a couple.

PLEASE, THANK YOU: Unfortunately, it seems that the ones we most love and are closest to are those who wind up being taken for granted. Because we expect them to be there for us no matter what, and have attained a great degree of comfort with them, we can fall into the habit of treating them in ways we wouldn’t treat others. We forget to be as polite to them as we would have been to strangers, and favors previously appreciated, are seen as routine. The simple words, “Please” and “Thank you”, are very simple ways to be polite and to show appreciation to your spouse.

I’M SORRY: Oh, the power of an apology – but oh, the difficulty of actually apologizing! Apologizing to your spouse when you’re wrong is, somehow, one of those things that winds up being easier said than done. Alas, it shouldn’t be! The thing to remember here is that having a joyful marriage is far more important than being right. This is a clear case of “losing the battle to win the war”. You might lose in the battle of “being right”, but believe me when I say that you are winning where it counts most: in keeping the peace and joy in your marriage. Saying, “I’m sorry”, is one of those things that gets better with practice. The more you say it, the easier it becomes to say – until you realize that it’s really not so difficult after all.

AMEN: It is my unabashed belief that a couple that prays together stays together. Getting together often to say a prayer, no matter how long or short, unites a couple in a fundamentally foundational way. Seeking the face of God together, and sharing your heart together is the most powerful thing you can do together. Think of your marriage as a triangle: as each person reaches up to God, both parties are drawn to each other. Happy praying!

I LOVE YOU: Of course, no list would be complete without including these 3 words. These words should be said in a marriage everyday, at all times, for every reason, and for no reason at all. It should be the bedrock of every marriage. Cheers to love!




Young African Couple You Should Know #1: Sandra + Isaac Babu-Boateng – Face2FaceAfrica

I am always excited by the fact that, through my blog, I can share wonderfully positive stories of African couples with happy and successful marriages – mostly because there are too many negative narratives out there in the world. Africa has a despicably HUGE domestic violence problem, and so many marriages are just “give me children” manage-manage marriages. However, there are African couples with amazing, happy and fulfilling marriages on the African continent and in the Diaspora. My goal is really to showcase some of the marriages (of everyday people and celebrities), because I want to give people hope that marriage can be fulfilling, sexy, romantic, purposeful and happy!

They say that what you see is what you know that you can become. So, for all those who have been inundated with stories of miserable, violent marriages rife with abuse and infidelity, I’m trying to provide an alternative – and show them that happiness in marriage is, indeed, possible. That’s what I’m trying to do here!

Now, here’s a young African couple you should know: Sandra (née Appiah) and Isaac Babu-Boateng. 


In 2011, Sandra Appiah and Isaac Babu-Boateng, both Ghanaian, decided to launch their company, Face2FaceAfrica, because they were tired of the negative stories that were told about Africa. Determined to show that the continent was about more than just poverty, disease, and foreign aid, they set out on a mission to create a world-class company that would tell a new story of Africa: one of diversity, progress, and modernity. Their mission was simple: Rebrand Africa! In just 3 short years, they have achieved amazing feats – creating stellar events like the FACE List Awards; the mixer for professionals, I Am A Professional Africa [IAAPA]; a print magazine; and a daily blog.

They have been featured in Forbes [lauded as one of the 30 under 30 African entrepreneurs], Black Enterprise,, Ebony, and The Grio – among others.

More than just partners in business, Isaac and Sandra are now partners in marriage and parenting. The young couple quietly got married in 2013, and now have an adorable baby girl named Isabelle.

Sandra and Isaac Babu-Boateng prove that love and business can absolutely mix. :)

Find Face2FaceAfrica on Facebook.

52 Weeks of Romance Challenge: Week 13 – Totally Focused on You

The 52 Weeks of Romance Challenge by Love. ‘n Words is a weekly Wednesday inspiration series that shares tips on how you can spice up your marriage with more love and romance. Designed exclusively for you, the goal is to make your marriage much more exciting, fun, and passionate. Let’s prove that injecting romance doesn’t have to be impractical or expensive. Join in here and on Twitter (@lovenwords) every Wednesday at 12 noon for a new challenge for the week. Use hashtag – #52WeeksofRomance.



 photo black-couple_zps09fda650.jpg

 Be attentive to your spouse this week. Put down the devices when having a conversation. Turn the TV off and just talk.  


{Image  credit: For Harriet}

The Journey to Beautiful Series: Erica Lasan

The Journey to Beautiful Interview Series is a celebration of influential and inspiring African women across the globe. Its aim is to teach every woman to define beauty on her own terms, to live purposefully, to accept what makes her truly unique, and to fall in love with all of who she is.


NAME: Erica Lasan
AGE: 26

WHY YOU HAVE TO KNOW HER: The question isn’t what Erica Lasan can do. The question is what can’t Erica Lasan do. Let me count the ways she has talent in every bone of her body. When she’s not creating INCREDIBLE, one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces for her jewelry line, QuÉrica Jewelry by Erica Lasan, she’s a killer video host, who does the most relatable, fun interviews. [You can see her video and hosting reel via her YouTube channel, QuEricaTV. As if that wasn't enough, she's also a stellar writer and reporter who has interviewed huge names like Venus Williams and Russell Simmons. Still think she's not human? There's more! This. girl. can. singgggg. What makes her even more amazing than all the things she can do is that she has the sweetest, most free spirit in the world. Her heart is just as big as her many talents. Her mantra, "Live Rich" couldn't be a more perfect description of the way she lives her life. Let me be the one to tell you that you better remember her name because, one day soon, you'll say I told you so.

Erica Lasan 6

I am an independent spirit, a lover of love (probably the most hopeFUL romantic you’ll ever meet), and the ultimate optimist.   I’m a Nigerian-American, but also a world citizen who embraces the idea of difference and other cultures.  I’m an enthusiast of creativity and the arts.  I’m a sister, daughter, fiancée, and a friend.


My favorite physical features are my dark skin, my hair, my teeth, and my eyes.  It took me a while to appreciate 3 out of  4 of those things.  You can probably guess which! LOL


The non-physical traits that I love most about myself are my personality and my ability to see the “sunny side to every situation”.  I believe in positivity and its power and ability to impact the way we live out lives.  I choose to be optimistic because nothing good EVER comes from dwelling on the negative.  The more good energy you put out the more good energy and blessings you receive- and in all forms: through good friends, good family, and overall health and peace of mind.
I love the fact that I am driven by the idea of love and happiness, because without the idea of love (in all of its forms), we really wouldn't have anything to live for or work towards.
Personality-wise, I just like the fact that I am able to have conversations with people.  I feel like you can learn a lot about yourself through the conversations you have with others.


I've come to realize that beauty shows itself in confidence.  The more comfortable and confident I've become with myself, my physical attributes, my mind, my opinions, and way of thinking, the more people recognize my “beauty”— but I really feel like it’s not so much about realizing beauty as much as it is them realizing me: my confidence, individuality, and my unique character.

Erica Lasan 4_Lovenwords


Funny enough, the physical traits I've struggled to accept are some of the ones mentioned above (as the ones I love most).  Up until after graduating from college (around the age of 21), I never really appreciated the beauty of being a dark-skinned girl.  Growing up, I was teased about my deep chocolate complexion and called all types of names— by other black girls!  Crazy, I know! And it didn't help that I was first-generation American, with my parents being from Nigeria.  That, in itself, brought on a whole other dimension to the teasing and name-calling.   I guess I really started to embrace the beauty of the deep brown hue a little after I started dating my (now) fiancé, Nick, back in college.  I’d never really been the one to chase after the attention and validation of males, but Nick always made a point to tell me how beautiful and sexy he thought I was—without me ever having to say or ask anything.  At first, it was a little hard for me to hear it, because I’d never really looked at, or thought of myself as either of those things.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, I didn't think I was ugly, but sexy???  C’mon!  Lol. The more I've grown into myself, the more I've come to see myself the way he sees me, and apparently I guess others see it too.  What’s funny, is that I've come to realize that beauty shows itself in confidence.  The more comfortable and confident I've become with myself, my physical attributes, my mind, my opinions, and way of thinking, the more people recognize my “beauty”— but I really feel like it’s not so much about realizing beauty as much as it is them realizing me: my confidence, individuality, and my unique character.

As far as my hair, well that had always been a struggle for me to accept as well.   I NEVER wore my natural hair out [but it wasn't] until my senior year of high school that I had a relaxer.   At 17, I got my first relaxer for Senior Prom.   Prior to my Senior Prom, I really just thought of my hair as my hair.  There really wasn’t much I could do with it, and I felt like I couldn’t really manage to wear it out naturally, so I always had it braided.   When it wasn’t braided, I continued to relax it throughout college.  After graduation (at the age of 22) I’d been experimenting with different haircuts, and they kept getting shorter and shorter.   One random day, I decided I wanted to see what I would look like without any hair at all— so I cut it all off.  I carried the low-cut Caesar look for a little over 2 years.  It was a hit!  So liberating, classy, and easy to manage.  For once I didn’t have to fiddle with or be defined by my hair.  And everyone I came across seemed to love it too.   Once I started to think about growing my hair out, again I began to struggle with the idea of how I would take care of it and style it.  I started to miss the low-cost low-maintenance of  my boy cut, a couple of months after I started to let it grow, and I never knew what to do with it until something magical happened… YOUTUBE!  My best friend Sheryl introduced me to the world of YouTube and Natural Hair tutorials— and my world was forever changed.  The women on these pages had LONG, THICK, HEALTHY hair.  They embraced it and loved it, and in return, their hair loved them back.  I’d never seen such big healthy Afros be manipulated into soft beautiful bouncy curls (and without the use of heat!), and I’d never seen so many black girls with such long hair.  I was hooked.   Since then thanks to the teachings of Naptural85 and other YouTube Naturalistas, I’ve taken to wearing my natural Afro out nine months out of the year and I love it!  I wear my hair as an accessory and an extension to my style and personality, and with a little over 2.5 years my hair is already past my shoulders.  The only time I really braid my hair now, it when I need a break from doing it, or when I’m going on vacation.  ;o)

Erica Lasan 1_Lovenwords


My father has influenced the way I see myself by teaching me that I am capable of doing anything, and by teaching me to know my worth, hold myself in high regard, and never allow myself to be taken advantage of.   My father is an entrepreneur.  He left his corporate job while I was in high school to pursue his dream of publishing his own magazine, EXCELLENCE MAGAZINE.  That took courage, ambition, a lot of spunk, ideas, and the resistance to settle for the ordinary.  I admire him for that.  I think that’s probably where I get a part of my entrepreneurial spirit.  I don’t ever want to look back on life and say I wasted my life working for someone else doing something I didn’t believe in or love.  I want to create and inspire others, while being inspired by others and my father has always influenced me by encouraging me to work towards those things that make me happiest.


Some of my greatest fears are of failure—or the fear of failure keeping me from at least trying to pursue the things that I want most.  As mentioned above, working a 9-5 for someone else and doing something that I don’t enjoy or believe in solely for a pay check.  The loss of any of my closest loved ones.  Getting older, or dying without having my dreams being realized.  I guess mainly, not leaving some kind legacy.


My greatest joys are free, and I have them in abundance: LOVE, family, friends, health, the ability to communicate, move and think for myself, and the promise of the future.  With all of these things, you have the base to attain anything and everything else you would want from life.  I NEVER take for granted how blessed I am to have my circle.  I am a very very blessed girl.


My greatest accomplishment so far, I think, would have to be the fact that I haven’t given up yet.  Lol.  I’m nowhere near where I want to be and, sometimes, it gets so hard to try to create your own lane and go against the grain, that all you want to do is give up.  And with some of the life changes that I have had in the past year, the fact that I am still trying and still smiling is an accomplishment in itself.

Outside of this, I would say teaming up with some of the people and companies that I have in the past year, doing different Street fairs and Festivals like AfroPunk – that was pretty huge for me.  Continuing to create and actually sell my jewelry,  growing QuÉricaTV— putting together my 4 web-shows and developing some for other magazines and another online network (I don’t want to say which yet, but stay tuned for that!).

If I’m being completely honest, I would say that every accomplishment, thus far, has been my greatest accomplishment because each one gives way to another, and every single one of them matters.  Now, when I get my own talk show… then well, we’ll call that a SUPER special greatest accomplishment! LOL

Erica Collage 1


In private.  I feel most beautiful laying next to my guy.

…Or when a complete stranger pays me a random compliment.  That’ll put a smile on anyone’s face!  :)


I would define my own version of “beautiful” as being confident in anything and everything that you are—all of the traits and characteristics that make you, you. Essentially, I would say living in your own truth, being happy, and sharing your light and happiness with others.  And being kind to others as well; you can be a beautiful person with an ugly personality—and that trumps all.


Happiness!  As long as you are happy—happy with yourself, who you are, the people you surround yourself with, and you recognize all of your blessings, you will stay  beautiful.  Happiness encompasses confidence, blessings, kindness, and anything else you can think of— it can be contagious and spreads like wildfire.


My mom Henrietta; my sisters, Beverly and Christine.  My mentors: Aracelly Diaz, Harriette Cole, Dani Stahl, Betty Irabor.   My friends: Sheryl Gauntlett, Loraimy Rodriguez, Sunnie Bridges, Kendra Strouf, Katie King, Ashley Johnson, Joy Adaeze, Shana Teel, the editor/creator of this blog, Chioma Obii-Obioha…

Seriously, the list could go on forever.  Basically, all the people (women and men alike) that I call true friends.  Their “beauty” drives and inspires me everyday!

Erica Lasan 7_Lovenwords

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