Lifestyler Chronicles: Sabrina of Big Women : Big Love

Screen Shot 2014-11-03 at 11.09.30 PMLifestyler (N.) – One who styles Life; A person in search of self-fulfillment and happiness.

Big Women : Big Love’s Sabrina sat down with Circa 88 for a peek into her journey as a Lifestyler. Sabrina didn’t start off as the over-the-top personality we all know from Lifetime’s hit show Big Women : Big Love; in fact, she was quite the introvert. Find out how she broke out of her shell and stepped into her dreams.IMG_2562

C88: Sabrina! So glad you were able to sit down with us for a moment, let’s get right to it. If you could, tell us a little about yourself.

Sabrina: That’s such a loaded question! Surprisingly, a little bit about Sabrina is … growing up I was always really quiet (nothing like you’ll see on Big Women: Big Love.) I did a lot of sports and musical theatre. I was so shy, but I always wanted to be on stage. I was the girl who wanted to do everything! I had really good grades, and I wanted to go to medical school … then …

My senior year of high school, I woke up one day and I just didn’t want to do that anymore! I didn’t want to go to med school. I needed to do something artsy, something in fashion. I needed to share my creativity. After that, it’s like when you tell your parents you want to pursue something creative, they FREAK OUT; like saying “ but how are you gonna make money!?” So from that point forward I set out to pursue my passion, and prove to my family that I could do it.

C88: A lot of people aren’t familiar with the method behind your madness. They see this bubbly personality who’s really witty and full of life on the reality show Big Women: Big Love but –what was your reason for saying: YES I MUST DO THIS SHOW!

Sabrina: Sometimes you just know that it’s something you must do. I watch a lot of TV, and I’ve never seen anyone out there that reminds me of me. That means I completely had my own creative space. So I was completely sold by the fact that I would be in my own lane and the fact that this was a positive image for different women and young girls. I love that BWBL gives a positive image telling women and girls that you don’t have to look everyone else, you don’t have to act like everyone else, you can be yourself!

That’s actually the best part, these young girls finding me on social media to tell me, “You’re inspiring me to be myself!”

C88: One of your coined phrases is: EFF YOUR BEAUTY STANDARDS. What does that mean to you? 

Sabrina: Actually I can’t take all of the credit! I got that saying from plus-size model Tess Holliday. It’s completely a part of her branding, and I remember the first time I saw it! She had recently got signed and she acknowledged that she was different from all of the other plus models by basically saying, “Oh I know I’m bigger than the other models, but EFF your beauty standards!”

So when she said that I was like, “YES I agree 100%, screw your beauty standards!” Who are you to say you have to be skinny? Healthy is all that matters. You may not think I’m beautiful, but I think I’m beautiful; this is my standard, not yours.p11332573_b_h6_ab

C88: How do you feel about the new face of the plus size woman? We aren’t just big women –we are big women with sass. We don’t hide from our size –there’s an empowerment movement in the full figured community. What do you think about it?

Sabrina: If someone told me when I was 15 years old that in my future it would be fabulous to be a plus size woman, I would have been much more at ease growing up! The plus size community has come so far and we are so powerful. I’m so proud of us! It’s about time we’ve defended ourselves because the average woman is a size 14. I’m extremely proud that we are putting our foot down and getting the attention that we deserve.

C88: One thing that I am most proud of is that we have taken our plus size lifestyle and merge it into a career. If you had a chance to start your career again, what would you do differently?

Sabrina: I wouldn’t do anything differently. I feel that if I didn’t go through all of the good and really bad things that I went through I wouldn’t be the Sabrina I am today. Nothing happens by accident, we really just have to trust our process and know that things will work out.

I’m so glad I failed so many times, I’m glad I’ve got the scars to prove it and shed the tears, because it made me the strong woman I am right now.

C88: What was the lowest part of your career?

Sabrina: In my 20’s I really wanted to model. I showed up at a small model call at a store in the mall and I was basically denied entry into the competition. I walked in and the lady asked if she could help me. I told her I was there for the model call and she said, “Oh, No!”

I was really trying not to give up on my dreams but that entire week turned into weeks of me being down and out about why my career wasn’t going the way I planned it. Let’s just say, you can’t plan everything. I learned to be hopeful about change. I taught myself a bad day doesn’t mean a bad month or a bad life. So when bad things happen, and they will happen … just roll it off of your back and keep going.

C88: As a dreamer, what inspires and motivates you?

Sabrina: People motivate me; when I see people I love and care for accomplish something, I’m inspired. I really enjoy seeing others happy; it’s such an influential feeling. 

C88: Being an entrepreneur can be intimidating, how do you manage fear?

Sabrina: I manage my fear by acknowledging it. When I’m afraid, I have to face the fact that I’m afraid so that I can work my way through the process; because fear is a process. You can’t get over your fears until you realize that you’re actually afraid of something.

C88: If you could give one word of advice to our Lifestylers, what would it be?

Sabrina: My biggest piece of advice I can give is to listen to your self. We get so caught up on what other people think to the point that we aren’t even doing what we love or what we care about; we’re doing what other’s think we should do. Live your life for you, because at the end of the day you have to live with every decision you’ve made.

C88: What makes you a Lifestyler?

Sabrina: I’m a lifestyler because I’ve spent my entire life becoming the woman I am today. I’ve followed my dreams and they’ve led to me being my own boss, enjoying an adventurous life in a field that I’ve always desired to be in. I’m growing, I’m a work in progress and I am creating the life of my dreams.

CLICK HERE to connect with Sabrina of Big Women : Big Love

Lifestyler Chronicles: Melissa Butler Of The Lip Bar

Screen Shot 2014-11-03 at 11.09.30 PMLifestyler (N.) – One who styles Life; A person in search of self-fulfillment and happiness.

It’s one thing to have an excellent paying job on Wall Street, and to be satisfied with corporate America; but it’s a major power move to defy the norm of society, and despite any paycheck and stability, step out on faith and quit your day job to build your own company from the ground up.

Meet Melissa Butler, founder of The Lip Bar. The Lip Bar is a cosmetic company that is uniquely different from any other beauty brand out there. It’s a custom lipstick experience that uses nature’s best ingredients for an all-natural potion that delivers the brightest and most pigmented shades there are!

I was privileged to sit down for a one-on-one chat with Melissa, and I must say, I truly admire the passion and drive she has. Her courage to believe in herself despite the craziness of Corporate America is what set her a part from the majority. Melissa gave Circa 88 and its Lifestyler’s a window to look into her game-changing career; so take a look … here’s what I found out.

blowing kiss melissa-2Melissa Butler, Founder of The Lip Bar

C88: Melissa! So glad you were able to sit down with us for a moment, let’s get right to it. If you could, tell us a little about yourself. 

MB: I’m from Detroit, I’m 28 officially but next year I’m going to turn 24 (laughs)! I went to school in Tallahassee, Florida… FAM U! Going to that university changed my life for the better… I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit growing up around cousins who own their own businesses; I’ve truly always been around go-getters. I ultimately knew I wanted to do my own thing, but it didn’t come into the works until after I graduated from college.

C88: Tell us about your company, The Lip Bar.

MB: The Lip Bar is a premiere cosmetic experience, I call it an experience because we put so much thought into everything from the packaging, formula, colors, to the experience you actually get when you receive the product at your front door. The reason for it even existing is to break down beauty walls! It’s entirely to tell women there’s no standard of beauty. We’re here to challenge every woman’s thought process.

We grow up with these ideas of what we need to be, especially in the black community. Like, “I need to be this complexion, this weight or my hair should be this texture.” Even with in the natural hair movement (which is awesome) people still want other people’s curls! That mentality fueled The Lip Bar. We exist to empower women to not conform to societies idea of what’s beautiful.

Another face of The Lip Bar is that we believe in responsibly made products. There are a ton of unnecessary chemicals in products today. Not only is it unhealthy for you but it’s also pointless. All of our products have organic Shea butter, organic castor oil, organic avocado oil and more. We try to be as natural as possible without compromising the boldness of the hue. We are truly guilt-free and good looks!

C88: A lot of people aren’t familiar with the method behind your madness; tell us a little about your story, Melissa.

MB: I went to school for business with a concentration in finance. My first thought was I have to work on Wall Street. I worked on Wall Street for about 4 years, but around the 1 ½ year mark I was like, “WHAT!? This is terrible! This is not what I have all these student loans for, to be pushing buttons to make sure that someone else’s business flows.” It wasn’t fulfilling, it wasn’t fun and after a while you’re not even thinking anymore, Corporate America is just a matter of –you learned how to do your task, and you’re risk free with a steady paycheck.

I was bored out of my mind, I wasn’t happy with the state of my life so I changed it. I had to ask myself what was the difference between my friends and I, and the difference was I spent more on quality products like soap! My friends bought packs of Dove soap for less that $5, while I spent $5 on one bar of soap. So I thought, if the soap I buy is so natural and hand crafted, then I can make it myself. As crazy as it sounds, that was the beginning stage of The Lip Bar.

I started making soap as a hobby, and then I decided soap would be my business. I would call it The Soap Bar, with cocktail inspired soaps! This means The Lip Bar is completely stolen from my first idea. So one day after making my soaps I called my supplier for pigments and she asked, “ Are you looking for soap pigments or lipstick pigments?” And it was like a light bulb moment went off in my head! From that moment I did my homework and researched everything I needed to know about this business. For nearly 9 months I made lipsticks in my kitchen … and at the end of February 2012 I launched The Lip Bar.

I’ve never been a makeup junkie, before The Lip Bar I had a ton of lipsticks because I’ve always loved lipstick. I didn’t start The Lip Bar because I was passionate about makeup, I started it because I’m passionate about empowering women, and the beauty industry gave me that platform. I want a woman to feel bold and empowered in my lipsticks.

C88: If you had a chance to start your career again, what would you do differently?

MB: I would have gotten experience from the beauty industry. I would have taken free internships, job opportunities, or studied under beauty mavens.  I would have gotten a little more real life experience. It would have helped me capture an audience quicker as well as focus on my brand more. The Lip Bar(L To R) Purple Rain, Bourbon Blues, and Cosmo from www.thelipbar.com

C88: Your collections for The Lip Bar are so detailed and creative. What inspired you? 

MB: My business background benefited me in this area. The reality is, this is a very saturated market, which means lipsticks are everywhere. What really made my product stand out is by telling a story and selling an experience. Like TOMS (shoe company), you don’t buy shoes from TOMS because they are cute; they’re ugly as hell! But it’s the story, and emotion that comes along with the product; you believe you’re impacting someone else’s life that’s less fortunate than you.

Same thing with Whole Foods, you don’t go in Whole Foods because it’s a cute grocery store, you shop there because it makes you feel like you’re making healthier choices the minute you walk in the door.

With The Lip Bar I decided to base it off of cocktails because coming from the work force, happy hour was the time of the day we all looked forward to. We couldn’t wait to get off of work and let our guard down over a nice cocktail. It was everyone’s escape to those old college days. Naming the lipstick collections after cocktails and punching them with bright colors brings that experience to life within the beauty industry. I wanted people to feel that same happy hour energy in their lipstick.

C88: Being an entrepreneur can be intimidating, how do you manage fear?

MB: Truthfully, everyday is scary but that can be a powerful moment if you allow it to be, especially if tap into your inner peace and pursue your dreams despite your fear. In addition to that you have to find your inner hustle. Just keep doing it, don’t stop. When it doesn’t work, try something different. You have to believe in your brand and even if it doesn’t work, it just means you’re not presenting it right. You can’t get wrapped up in your failures or your successes because both will make you stagnant. Just remember to keep going.

C88: If you could give one word of advice to our Lifestylers, what would it be?

MB: I have two, trust and focus! You really have to trust yourself. Ultimately you have to be passionate about what you are doing and trust your vision or else you’ll begin to follow what everyone else wants for you, then you’ll stop listening to yourself.

And that goes hand-in-hand with Focus. You can’t chase two rabbits at once. You have to pick one thing, be good at it, master it and then move on to your next idea.

C88: What makes you a Lifestyler?

MB: What makes me a Lifestyler is the fact that I don’t get hung up on validation from other people. I constantly strive to find my own inner peace and happiness. That’s my biggest thing in terms of being a Lifestyler.

To stay connected with Melissa Butler and her phenomenal company, The Lip Bar, visit: www.thelipbar.com 

Follow The Lip Bar on Instagram: @TheLipBar

Follow Melissa on Instagram: @MelissaRButler

Birthday Candles & Pink Tulle

Of course I’m still celebrating my birthday. Life is so sweet –why not savor the moment? This outfit post is a little different, everything was custom made or vintage finds so I won’t be able to “tag” the items for shopping but I hope you’re inspired by the outfit. Yes, plus size gals can wear tulle, too! I hope you enjoy my birthday suit.p5p2p3 p6p4 Xo, Triena

Peg Pants & Lace

Screen Shot 2014-05-20 at 5.58.30 PMabcdHad to take on a few business meetings today and decided to lose the blazer for some fresh air! Loved the simplicity of the satin-poly blend with my oversized camisole and peg pants. The lace pumps sparked the perfect amount of fiminenity while giving me lasting comfort to knock out a few important tasks. Style Details Below.

Talk Tuesday

Screen Shot 2014-05-05 at 3.14.30 AMAll of our life we have been taught to have our own. The question is have we taken independency too far? Independency is a great attribute to have; but when it questions the status of your relationship or could be the reason you aren’t in a relationship, there may be a few things to consider.

You’re a boss, you’ve always been a self-motivated, focused individual. You can think for yourself, you march to the beat of your own drum. Any and everything that you want or need, you’ve got it handled. Could that be what’s wrong with your relationship? Are you wearing the pants? He may feel inferior to you. Better yet, are you the reason you’re single?

Gents: When do you want to be needed in your relationship? When are you needed too much? How independent is too independent?

Ladies: How do you find a balance in being the boss but still letting your man take the lead?

My Personal Story I am very strong-willed, I know what I like, don’t like, will tolerate and more, especially with business. I know how to find a balance of being the boss and needing my boyfriend. I always need him, and I always include him. I think for the both of us, as does he. Instead of being inferior to him or he being inferior to me, we have a healthy balance where we value you each other’s opinions, beliefs, differences, etc. He leads, I follow, I lead, he follows… we’re equal, and both bosses. I’ve learned, it’s best to be considerate of each others best ‘accents’ in a relationship, because it makes the relationship run smoother. Highlighting areas in which you are good at offers points of leadership in relationships. A minor example, H is excellent with finances, he leads in that area of our relationship. I’m great at planning, I lead in that area. It’s all about balance; when you have balance, someone is always needed.

Xo, Triena

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