11/22/2013

Giving Back Is Always In Fashion…

Well Divas and Divos, I know it’s been a minute since our last chat, but your girl has been busy, busy, busy and that is definitely a good thing. I have quite a few projects in the works, a few photo shoots for fashion and hair mags, plus my annual Christmas card is on the way. I promise to update you on everything very soon, but I have to share the news about one of my most important engagements which was being asked to speak to the young ladies who are currently incarcerated at the regional youth detention center in Atlanta, GA. I’d like to thank Glenda L. Cordy for inviting me.

Marlo and director cropped final

It’s no secret that I’m a woman with a past, some good and some not so much. However, I knew even as a foster child, even as a former inmate and even as a young woman who had the odds stacked against me – that I had great potential. I just had to encourage myself to pursue and achieve my goals no matter how difficult the challenges. And yes, the decision to succeed was completely mine to make.

While visiting the ladies at the detention center, I was able to really connect with them on many levels. It was an emotional time for me because I could relate to everything they had been through… foster care, parents who abused drugs, incarceration… I felt their pain, because it was also once my pain and I wanted them to know it was possible to make the pain stop. During the course of our conversation I was sure to let them know that they could have an amazing future if they used this time to focus on their goals and put this chapter of their lives behind them.

Marlo Hampton embracing a young girl at an Atlanta youth Detension Center final

When you’re in the middle of a crisis you often think you’re the only one suffering and no one understands how you feel or what you’re going thru. Honestly, that’s how my love of fashion began. It was my outlet and the way I validated myself when nothing seemed to be going right in my life. I didn’t self-destruct, I used the negative circumstances to my advantage and now I’m living my dreams and sharing my story with the hope that my testimony will inspire others to triumph over their circumstances.

Marlo Hampton speaking to the female population at an Atlanta youth Detension Center.

I know things may go wrong, and sometimes you may need to encourage yourself to live up to your potential but always remember that “You are the spotlight” no matter what hand you’re dealt in life. That’s why I thought to put this mantra on a T-shirt to be a constant reminder that we’re all stars with exceptional gifts, created to do great things! Join me in spreading this message. I’m going to make a limited number of these shirts available starting at midnight on Black Friday on my website www.simplymarlo.com. Just click on Marlo’s closet to get yours. They are my exclusive design and definitely a must for fellow fashionistas.

Spotlight

Never let anyone dim your light Divas and Divos. Step boldly into your greatness with both feet. It’s our time to shine. Ttys!

11/02/2013

Grateful...

Marlo alone

Divas and Divos... I had to give a double post this week. First, I want you all to know that I was honored to be a part of the wedding and will always be grateful for the opportunities I've been given by everyone who has ever been there for me. My goal is growth and like everyone else, I'm growing and doing better everyday. If I miss a step, I'll own it because the truth is, we're all works in progress, especially me.

Did you know that God made the sun over a million times bigger than the earth so there would be more than enough shine for everyone at the same time? My lil ole shadow isn't big enough to dim anyone's light and I would honestly never want to take the brightness that's meant for someone else. I know there's a plan and a place for me. I'm just in the process of finding my spot, not trying to steal someone else's. 

Just let me end with this, I wish everyone involved nothing but all the love their hearts can hold and all the best life has in store. Let's continue to move forward and let the good times roll!

Marlo and NeNe

 




10/28/2013

I'm the Lebron James of Bridesmaids!

Well Divas and Divos, we are about to discuss our swansong for As the Wedding Turns! But we have a lot to cover so get ready!

 

First I have to congratulate the bride and groom for making this commitment to each other, again. I’m sure it was a long road to get to this point and I am praying for their happily ever after. True love deserves it and those two are truly the epitome of true love. Now, let’s get into it shall we?

NeNe and sons wedding

 Was it me, or did Jen have a lot to say about me this episode? I mean, she doesn’t even know me other than what’s she’s heard and the short time we spent together as bridesmaids. Ya’ll have been with me every step of the way and every time I’ve been out of line, I’ve owned up to it, learned my lesson, apologized and moved on. Don’t you just hate it when a lone peanut from the peanut gallery gets ambitious and starts thinking it’s more than a nut?  She had much nerve offering my services to run around for NeNe, didn’t she hear, I was recruited for the role of Creative Director! I already had a job. Perhaps instead of shadowing NeNe she could have taken the initiative to handle some of the details for her….  Maybe NeNe only had confidence in the Lebron James of bridesmaids… Yes, that would be me! I’m just saying.

 

I have to say I was almost as nervous as the bride so sometimes my way of handling things wasn’t the best. Charge it to my head, not at all to my heart. Maybe NeNe was still upset with me from Cancun and that’s why she wasn’t taking my calls, but she had to know that I had her back. I could barely eat or sleep the days leading up to her big day because I truly wanted it to be all she hoped for and I took my role seriously, maybe too seriously! I have to say I was a bit peeved when I got to the dry cleaners to pick up the gown and it was already gone. I mean did she think I wasn’t going to do my job? No matter what, I would have guarded that dress with my life! I was very disappointed that she didn’t at least let me know that task was already done. Oh well, she did what she felt she had to do and now it’s water under the bridge.

  Me and NeNe

On a lighter note, wasn’t the moment when Greg and NeNe’s kids finally came together as one family beautiful? I’m a sucker for sentimental moments because I missed that in my life. People may call me selfish but I’ve been taking care of myself for a long time. Family is important and I’m just happy to see hers coming together the way she always wanted.

 

Anyhoo, I have to mention Greg’s bachelor party and that party bus. Divas & Divos in a word, it was ratchet! But Greg is used to strip clubs isn’t he??? (Side eye!) They did look like they were having a good time didn’t they and in the end he signed the pre-nup so I guess he gets a pass.

 

Well let’s get into the details of the big day? That pic of the ladies pre-makeup was a great idea, but if I’m not going to have my photo face on, can I at least let the camera capture my good side? And, a blind man could see my dress, with all the custom fittings did not custom fit! I honestly wasn’t trying to be extra when I insisted on seeing NeNe about it, this was her wedding and I’m sure she didn’t want my boobs hanging out in her photos. The truth is, I was nervous and wanted to be perfect. It probably wasn’t a good idea to bother her at that moment, but I just couldn’t think straight and didn’t want to assume anything.

 

But in the end it all came together didn’t it! The wedding singer was HOT!  And when the bridesmaids sauntered down the aisle in all their splendor you’d never be able to tell that there ever was drama between us. And when they opened those doors… The bride was a beautiful sight to behold. She glittered in her golden gown and watching Greg and the boys cry was definitely about to have me mess up my make-up.

 

The ceremony was stunning and Judge Mathis handled it with his usual swag!  Fantasia was a sweet surprise. That girl can sang!!!!!! The guest list was a great combination of who’s who in Hollywood and the ‘round the way crew. NeNe’s reunion with Kim was a nice shocker. I guess both women decided to finally let bygones be bygones.

 

NeNe’s reception dress was almost as magnificent as her wedding gown. We all had a great time, even me and Diana! (Didn’t see that coming did you? See what a little alcohol can do for you!) Did you like the shoes on the bed? Sexy right? Mmmmm Hmmmm. I had to help set the mood! Ya’ll know there ain’t nothing wrong with a little bump and grind between newlyweds! Lol!

 

Well, all in all, we had a great time. It was a beautiful day with beautiful people and I was honored to be in their company. So, this show is ending, but… wait for it…. Your girl is not done yet! You’ll be seeing Ms. Marlo again real soon! Stay tuned.

  The red bottoms

Muah!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10/23/2013

The dress had blue in it!

Hey Divas and Divos… We’re getting down to the wire in our As The Wedding Turns series!

Marlo cancun 1

Now this episode was all about Marlo not being a team player, but we’ll get back to that in a second.

 How’d you like my entrance? My short shorts were hot, right! It was Cancun, I had to represent! Look at me on waterskis! So much fun!

Waterskiing
 So, what was up with the NeNe/Diana love pic? No, I didn’t have anything to do with it, but one eyebrow was raised. And truth be told, Diana does profess her love for NeNe so often that I’m not surprised she thought their romance should adorn the walls of NeNe’s house. I don’t care what anyone thinks, it was weird. Period!

 Now, back to the beach… Yes, I did say I didn’t wear the all blue dress because Diana wasn’t going to regulate my attire. And I was wearing blue, just not all blue… Marlo is going to be Marlo every day. Those women don’t really know me. They don’t know where I come from or what I’ve been through. My dress was not an anti-NeNe statement, it was a pro-Marlo decision, just like the thousands of other decisions I’ve had to make in my life over the years. Being “extra” and fashion forward saved me. It’s been my escape for as long as I can remember and I will not apologize for that. I’ll just say that while my dress choice was an act of rebellion against Diana to a small extent, it wasn’t really about her either and I surely didn’t mean to be disrespectful to the other ladies. But I get it, my decision made me look like I wasn’t playing nice in the sandbox or being a team player. That’s not how I want to be perceived, so I had to take a step back and see their point of view as well. I should have put my personal feelings aside for this occasion and going forward I’m going to have to do better. We are all growing, and I am too, so don’t judge me until you’ve walked a mile in my stilettos.

  The blueish dress

On another more positive note, wasn’t the backdrop of the beach in hues of blue beautiful? And so was the book of sentiments by the bridesmaids. I have to give credit where it’s due, Diana did a great job organizing that night and I commend her for it. (I’m not throwing any shade after this! Lol!)

  Blue night beach

Did you see me doing my thing as the Creative Director during the dress fittings? On the finale you’ll see my handiwork all through the wedding. Believe me, I earned my title ya’ll, and I helped make the ladies stand out in their dresses because yes, NeNe is the center of attention, but she chose nine beautiful women to stand up with her and put them in custom made couture – so she wanted us to shine too. We did not let her down. You’ll see for yourself next week.

 

Don’t forget to tune in! Smooches!

10/16/2013

Spill that tea!

Hey Divas and Divos… It’s been a whole week since we last checked in, did ya miss me? It’s time for the latest episode of As The Wedding Turns…

  Bridesmaids getting fitted for dresses and shoes

First, just let me say that Tony was one of NeNe’s best decisions yet! Although he delivered a low blow when he waylaid her garden venue plans, he is definitely the one to recreate her vision in the more suitable location for her tight timeframe. I’m sure the InterContinental doesn’t seem sexy now, but after he’s done working his magic, she’ll probably forget all about that garden. (At least I hope so…)

 

And did my girl do her thing giving the bridesmaids Louboutins or what? I know she wasn’t too happy with my comment about not liking peep toes, but as a shoe fashionista, I know what shoes flatter my feet. It was definitely not meant to be an act of ungratefulness. I just know what works for me and believe me, my shoe game is tight!

 

So, what was up with the mandatory Botox punishment? Not this girl! I’m not wrinkled enough for that yet! No ma’am! Their faces were frozen and painful for days, but not mine! No, no, no… Marlo don’t play that!

  Cropped ice packs

The big hat tea party was crazy wasn’t it? I know I didn’t have on a big hat, but the one I selected set me apart from the rest, don’t you think? I chose big bold color over big size because I’m a trendsetter, not a trend follower! And, I can admit when I’m not being on my best behavior. I shouldn’t have made that comment about Pat being a clown, that wasn’t very nice. But, in the photo I saw she was wearing an unflattering shade of red lipstick and had joined team Diana, (which means anti-Marlo!) so I just wasn’t about to smile and nod anymore. However, if you recall, I promised to take the high road and I did, with a toast and another truce. I also tried to make a quiet exit, but of course some people just weren’t going to allow that! At the end of the day, some things aren’t worth listening to and I wasn’t about to listen to the anti-Marlo rhetoric any more that day so exit I did, stage left!

  Cropped, Marlo in red hat

Oh, but how I wish I could have been a fly on the wall when NeNe put the diva in her place! Yes, I know we are all a part of the problem because we should be ignoring our differences for her sake, but I truly feel like I didn’t start it. Diana decided she was NeNe’s self-appointed friend monitor and concluded that some of us were not worthy to breathe her air! I can be cool with anyone, believe me and I don’t need to be labeled as anyone’s super best friend. I’m confident in my skin and I am loyal to a fault. Friends come in all shapes, sizes and walks of life. To quote Ms. NeNe, “who died and made her president” of the bridesmaids and therefore better than the rest of us? It was just nice to see that NeNe realized that I wasn’t the root of the problem.

 

Well, I can tell ya’ll that somehow, someway we are going to get it together, but it’s gonna get hotter first! Muy caliente (much hotter) in Cancun!!!! I know ya’ll got my back right? Holla at ya girl and I will holla back.

 

See you next week. Smooches

10/09/2013

As the wedding turns...

Welcome back Divas and Divos to another episode of “As the wedding turns!” Let’s jump right in shall we?

 

First off, I want you all to know that I was truly committed to squashing anything with Diana that was going to be a hindrance to the wedding. I might have come across a little catty, especially when I was referring to her eyebrows, (which truly were arched unnaturally high for some reason!), but that was not my intention. It was just an observation that struck me as odd…

 

I also don’t think she looks like a security guard per se. However, she sure does act like one, especially when she’s guarding NeNe. I’m pretty sure our bride can take care of herself! She does not need any help. So, let’s see how long our truce lasts, but I’m not optimistic. (Side eye…)

 

Oh yes! I was definitely using my fashionista talents to help my girl select her invitations. She wants over the top, I know all about being over the top. Taking the role of “stand-in wedding planner” wasn’t what NeNe or I had in mind at the time, but since Tiffany didn’t show up, I was willing to do whatever I could since accessories and bling are my thing!

  I-dream-of-nene-season-1-gallery-episode-104-08

Speaking of the wedding planner, she was truly a disappointment and left a lot to be desired for me. How often does one get the opportunity to plan a million dollar wedding? One of the largest, most public, A-list weddings of the decade? I’m sure these don’t come a dime a dozen. Despite her self-proclaimed, impressive resume, had she done an amazing job with this event it could have taken her career to the next level. I don’t see how being M.I.A. for one of the most high profile brides on TV could bode well for her. In the end I guess it didn’t because NeNe hired Tony Conway instead! I bet his stock just climbed another point. Can you say… ching ching!

 

And… I was truly, truly honored that NeNe hired me to be her Creative Director. I’ve never had such a title before, but I have no doubt that I’m up to the task. Anything that requires big ideas, over the top fashion saavy, sparkle, bling, glam or just being EXTRA is right up my alley. In case you didn’t know, “Extra” is obviously my new name!

 

On a final note, the gathering at Cynthia’s house was a breath of fresh air. It was nice to finally break bread with the ladies in a drama free zone. Thank you Jesus!

  I-dream-of-nene-season-1-gallery-episode-104-21

Stay tuned til next week. It’s about to get really good!

10/02/2013

When drama calls, don't answer!

Well Divas and Divos, we’re back for another episode of drama, mayhem and me!

 This week’s show was full of all that and then some. First, Nene took the high road by insisting that Greg rights the wrongs that have kept his two families apart and I applaud her for that. She’s right. It makes no sense to start their lives over again with the same old issues from the past. Now we all know that family drama is here to stay… it happens in mine, I’m sure it happens in yours too, but communication can knock down walls and with Dr. Jeff’s help http://www.drjeffgardere.com, communicate they did! In the end, their family made progress – so, if they can do it, so can we.

 OK, back to the ladies/bridesmaids … Our trip to L.A. was meant to be a fun bonding session, but someone forgot to tell that to Diana! Now, before we get to that nitty gritty, let’s talk for a minute about my first love … FASHION!

 Did you see Baracci’s ideas for NeNe’s dress (it’s going to be spectacular) and those Ferragamo’s he was wearing? That man knows fashion – so I guess that does make him my type, (for fashion only – get your minds out of the gutter!) Lol!

 Oh, and did you hear that all the ladies are wearing white? Mmmm Hmmmm, White! Can’t wait to design my dress, I look great in white!

Marlo blog #3 pics dinner

Ok, so back to dinner with the ladies. Once again, I was under attack by NeNe’s self-appointed “best friend in the whole wide world,” Diana.

 Why this woman has a bug up her butt for me, I’ll never know. The accusations she made against me with her self-righteousness, as if her glass house was not in jeopardy of being stoned were crazy and most of all uncalled for!

 Didn’t we agree to a pinkie truce for NeNe’s sake?

How dare she come at me like that again, especially since her personal life is far from being squeaky clean, (side eye… watch out for the skeletons falling out of her closet!). All of the people NeNe chose to be in her wedding have meant something special to her at some point in her life. It doesn’t matter if she’s known them her whole life, or just a few years, she made her choices, so we should all respect that – and most of us do…

 The fact that I’m not the only one who thinks this woman is territorial and possessive, (in a not so healthy way) also speaks volumes. Unfortunately, reaching this revelation at our dinner was sad. This time was meant to bring us together as we prepare to celebrate NeNe’s nuptials. We were supposed to be there for NeNe! It was meant to be a time for celebration. Somebody please get that memo to Diana! And don’t forget to tell her that NeNe is a person, not a possession.

 Personally, I’m glad I once again took the high road and didn’t completely lose it when she called me those ugly names. Ya’ll know I’m from the hood, don’t let the weave and Louboutins fool you! I knew I was there to support NeNe and that stayed at the forefront of my mind the whole time. Diana needs to get a life and some more friends… (And maybe a man of her own! I’m just saying…)

 Till next week. Muah!

Marlo blog #3 drinks

 

09/25/2013

“I am the spotlight!”

Hey Divas & Divos! Did you check out tonight’s episode? Whoo hoo! Let the games begin!

Let me ask you something; and I really want to hear from you guys. Why is it that women, particularly black women, tend to tear each other down instead of understanding that there’s enough room at the top for all of us? I personally have learned that no one needs to lose, so I can win. I’m confident in who I am, thus my comment that “I am the spotlight!” That doesn’t mean I’m the only one who can shine and I sure didn’t mean to take anything away from Nene or her special day. I’m just saying … can’t we all just get along and shine?

Marlo ...blog 3

Tonight’s episode was a clear example of female un-bonding and I was very disappointed by Diana’s comment that I was an opportunist. However, I do realize there is an opportunity for all of us to do better and that’s what I’m committed to!

I’m not sure what her whole, “I knew you longer Nene and these girls, (me in particular) don’t deserve to be in your life …” spiel was all about, but I do understand her loyalty, especially since she shared that she doesn’t have any family. And, I really appreciated the way Nene handled it. She was both fair and sensitive to everyone’s position. More importantly, she made sure her friends/bridesmaids understood that we all hold a special place in her life for whatever reason which is why she chose us. It truly isn’t about us and our drama, but Nene and this new chapter in her life. Kudos to her for that!

We all have a journey to walk and if it was easy, we’d all be walking it while wearing our five inch Louboutins, comfortably and without a care in the world. But that’s not the reality, so let’s lift each other up because if you’re a real opportunist, you would wake up every day knowing you have a chance to be better than you were yesterday and if we take advantage of it, we can all be winners in the end.

I truly do love where I am at this stage of life and want to see my whole fam, and yes, that means you too my loves, reach their goals. Catty isn’t cute, so I’m seeking my personal best in all aspects of life, and I wish the same for you.  

Til next week …

09/19/2013

I Dream of Nene: The Wedding

My girl is back!  I tuned into “I Dream of NeNe: The Wedding” last night and loved every second of it.  It’s not that often that you have a second chance at love and my girl, NeNe has just that.  NeNe keeps it real and we all can learn from her.

Marlo-Hampton-and-NeNe-Leakes-Hang-Out-in-LA-1370530665

As one of her bridesmaids, I was up close; but it’s not until you sit down, reflect and see the show that you can truly appreciate the whole reunion of Greg and NeNe.  There’s so much more to come, and you bet I’ll be watching as this love story continues to unfold.

 Next week is interesting, fabulous and so much more …

 Stay tuned!

09/02/2013

Hawaiian Vacation

Helloooooo my loves! I’m back!!!!! Did you miss me? Yes, I absolutely did miss all of you and we have so much to catch up on. Of course I’ve been taking care of business during our hiatus, building my brand, working with the kids (You know Marlo loves the kids!), traveling and of course keeping up with what’s going on in the life of my first love, FASHION of course. (Who did you think I was referring to?)

I have so much to share, so let me start with my first trip to Hawaii. OMG, when I first arrived I was awestruck by the natural beauty of the island and the people, although for a minute I thought I had mistakenly landed in China! Why? Because the people I met and saw seemed to be from Shanghai instead of Polynesia, but I digress…

Anyhoo… I had the opportunity to visit some amazing places like the birth home of our beloved President Barack Obama. He grew up in a charming old duplex surrounded by the beautiful flora and bougainvillea native to the island. It was truly amazing to see that great history was made from such humble beginnings. It must have been sweet to grow up in Hawaii… No wonder he’s so laid back. 

Marlo Food Truck

So of course I had to also visit some of his favorite eateries. If you get a chance to go, you have to dine at Alan Wong’s restaurant. The short ribs of beef are to die for! I mean it, they were so tender, juicy and succulent I can still taste and smell them right now. They are a must try, believe me!

Yes, I did go to a local luau, and yes it was a tourist trap! Plus the food wasn’t anything to write home about. (Actually it was just shy of nasty, but that’s not nice is it?)… The pig that was roasted on an open pit was too salty and the noodles drowned in mayo was downright disgusting! There’s no other way to describe it. However, the entertainment was amazing, so I guess it was worth the experience even if the food left a lot to be desired.

 And can you believe it; I went Parasailing at 1000 feet all by myself!!!!! I kept screaming for someone to get me down, all while talking to the Lord until I realized that no one could hear me, (except the Lord of course). After a while I realized that I was flying or getting as close to it as possible and serenity fell over me that I cannot explain. Looking down at the beautiful aqua blue and turquoise water and stunning white and pink sand beaches just put into perspective that this was an experience I should relish not fear. Once I decided to just “go with it,” there was no place else I would rather be in that moment. With the warm sun on my face and the cool trade winds blowing through my hair, it was a time like no other. I recommend it for everyone. Just try it – at least once. It’s worth being a line item on your bucket list. Actually, put it on the list a couple times, so you can take a few trips. That’s just how much there is to see and do like a trip to the Spitting Cave, and Turtle Bay Resort or Laniakea Beach where you can romp with the sea turtles. Oh and I can’t forget to mention Makapu’u Lookout.

Marlo parasailing

If you’re looking for a great place to chill for cocktails and hors d'oeuvres while drinking in the gorgeous Hawaiian sunset, you have to go to the Halakalani Resort. It was absolutely breathtaking and a must see even if you don’t stay there.

Now if you’re one of those folks who need something familiar to have a good time, then you can’t go wrong with dinner at Nobu. Who doesn’t like Nobu?

I know you are just dying for me to tell you about the shopping, but it wasn’t over the top for me, and you all know I’m a shopping connoisseur.  “It was nice.” They had all my favorite designers, but it definitely wasn’t as exciting as a trip to Fifth Ave in New York or a stroll down the boulevard in Milan. Souvenirs are the way to go here, if you absolutely must buy something. You can definitely find some unique local accessories that will really compliment your summer style – you might even get lucky with a one-of-a-kind find, and that alone makes the trip worth it – at least it will for my true fashionistas.

  Marlo with Tour Guide

And don’t let me forget to mention my tour guide, Will, who was a real doll! He made sure I saw and experienced the best Hawaii had to offer. He was pretty popular with his infectious smile and warm personality, so if you go looking for a tour guide (and there are many!) ask for Will, maybe, just maybe you’ll get the right one and tell him Marlo sent you!