Step Up Step Out and Shine book tour: Chicago Stop

When I saw my twitter cousin, Africa Miranda was coming back to Chicago for her book tour I knew I had to go! Africa has always been a kind, beautiful spirit every time I encountered her whether it be online or In real life.  If you are new to the force that is Africa you can find out more here! (You are welcome)


The event took place at the UIC Forum and was hosted by the Chance Program at UIC which allows students to have numerous opportunities to grow their passions  WHILE in school. The hosts were current students and they had so many great questions for Africa on her book and just overall gems.


If you have ever been to Africa’s events, page or site you know how beautifully curated it is, so her event was no different.  Bright colors, fresh flowers, and just an overall great atmosphere!


Event Takeaways:

1. Everything will not be perfect AND that’s okay. Africa talked about always wanting and making things perfect and once she realized that things won’t always work how you want it to you have to keep it moving!

2. Do not let people put their own self-doubts on you.  (You shouldn’t travel alone, work that job, cut your hair etc.) Follow your own path!

3. Step out of your comfort zone. You ever wonder why shit don’t shake? Because you are comfortable! Step out and Do it, whatever it is!

4. Everyone has a story, don’t be afraid to share yours! Africa wrote her book to share her story and help others so they won’t go through the stuff that she did. Also, a lot of times people are afraid to be transparent because of judgment, however without being open, you don’t heal!


Africa Inspires me not only because she literally does everything I want to do and she does it well, but she also inspires me because in her book she is real about her journey. No fluffy sugar-coated writing but truth and wisdom. That is appreciated. If you want to purchase Step up, Step Out and Shine you can go here.

What ways are you being transparent in your life? Tell me and let’s talk about it!

XOXO, Arella

Chicago Ideas Week: The recap


Chicago Ideas Week is an amazing collaboration of ideas, talks, and labs about important topics that matter! Whether its politics, reform, music, and fashion Chicago Ideas week covers all aspects! This is my first time attending (Last year I was sick). The panel I attended was about music and how it created culture and influence culture.

One of the artists who drew a mural related to the panel!
Panel from L-R, A-Trak, Dave 1, DJ White Shadow, Joan Morgan and Andrew Barber of Fake shore drive.

Each panelist had unique stories but they all had one thing in common, they both worked with, around and in tune with Music! Each panelist also talked about how the music they listened to as a kid influenced them as an adult.

Each panelist took the time to talk about what helped them navigate the music industry and going to that next level!

DJ White Shadow talked about his Journey from small town to working with Lady Gaga and how being kind got him where he is.  Shadow was very big on the impression you leave and how you treat people. I personally thought this was great because you don’t hear that advice very often!

Joan Morgan coined the term Hip-hop Feminism.

Joan Morgan, an amazingly bold and beautiful soul talked on women in Hip Hop and how as women in the industry you have to be on point! Morgan discussed how important it is to keep your craft up and to stay immersed in the culture!

A-Trak and Dave1 talked about the influence music had on their sound and fashion.

Two nerdy boys from Canadian were influenced by the soul sound and the hip-hop waves. Both brothers talked about how music made them wear certain clothing, speak a certain way and influenced their creativity.  Each panelist brought a unique perspective and helpful insight into not only the everchanging music climate but also how to stay relevant in a whirlwind of new sound and new information.

Event Take-Aways

Be a good person! (I know so cliché right? Every panelist said this over and over and it worked for them, It for sure is worth a try! 

Never stop learning!

Embrace what is you and only you!

Music is a creative outlet that can influence the masses, use it wisely! 

Keep at it! (Dave of Chromeo  stated that he was a late bloomer, having gone to Grad school to realize he really wanted to do music)

Be on time and walk in the room like an underqualified white male. (This is what Joan Morgan left us with, can we say Mic Drop? )  A word. A lesson. A message all in one! 

How has music influenced you culturally? Let’s chat!

For more about Chicago Ideas Week and how you can get involved next year click here!

XOXO, Arella

Chicago Ideas Week

Coming up next week is a great forum for discussion, talks, hands-on activities and ideas being shared amongst many different people and platforms!


Chicago Ideas Week challenges us to get to know new faces and solve the problems that not only influence Chicago but also the world.  Join me next week and take advantage of all things  Chicago Ideas Week!

Tickets are still available, here!

If you are going let me know in the comments!

XOXO, Arella

Red Dresses and Heels

Finding a good dress is hard and making sure the fit is right is also important! For me, a Bardot style dress shows off just enough without being too much! I found this cute red dress from River Island and paired it with a fun pearl detailed black pump.


You can always swap out a red dress for another dress in another bold color like yellow, royal blue and add a cool heel to make it stand out!


Here are a few alternative dresses that you can still achieve my look for a very affordable remix. Also, let’s give a shoutout to the beautiful Kenwood Neighborhood for the beautiful background, located in Hyde Park this is one of my favorite places in the city!

Dress 2

Dress 1

Alternate Shoe 1

Alternate Shoe 2

If you try this look out let me know and show me how you styled it!

Make-up: Amber Birch;

Photos: @mrsescottmua


Love &Happiness


On November 24th,2017 my family and friends came together to surprise me for my 30th birthday! My actual birthday wasn’t until December 7th, but they still managed to get me! EVERYONE knows that I’ve always wanted a surprise party and I never got it. My family didn’t know that I was in the research process of putting it together myself! (When I want something, I do it)

My Mommy!


My sister was the one who got me to the venue by telling me that I was helping her with a photo job and that I needed to dress up? I was like why do I have to dress up if it’s your event? I was lowkey pissed that I really had to dress up. We get to the venue, and all my family and friends were there, and my mom had put this thing altogether! (Mommy is the real MVP) I was shocked, overwhelmed and full of Joy!


Good Times,Good Friends




My bestie traveled to sing happy birthday to me!


My sister who was in charge of getting me to the Venue!
Amber and Bri, Amber made this dope frame!
Cousin Love!


Mrs. Manning and I!
Wobble anyone? lol



This picture looks like I am really doing something! #can’tdance





My beautiful Aunt and my fave Uncle!
Me watching my video made by my amazing best friend and her dad! I was so shocked by all the pictures!


Real tears.


Photos by: Billy of Nfocus photo Chicago

Balloons: Paris 312

Venue: T’mari

Party Favors: Amber Birch; email:

XOXO Arella