14 posts categorized "Musings"


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! 


What it's all about...

I am so excited to share with you the best weekend I have had in a long time. 



I was reunited with my girls, my Foster girls, and had the opportunity to talk with them, listen to them, hug them and be inspired by them. Each and every one of them was so courageous and strong.  The stories they shared were heartbreaking, the tears overflowing and my pride in their strength and perseverance, overwhelming. 


Joining me in spoiling the girls were so many wonderful ladies, all of them generous with their time and services and supportive of the girls.  There were notebooks, pajamas, jewelry, eye masks, skin care products, and of course glam sessions for each girl, hair, make-up and manicures.


Thank you, all of you young ladies, for reminding me what it's all about: that all that I have learned and all that I have gained is for me to share with you.  And thank you for the amazing team that made this day so successful!


Round II

I’m watching the debates tonight, nervous, anxious and looking for clues.  There are so many issues facing our country, but isn’t it interesting how you can just hear one thing that makes you really quiet, that makes you think and become concerned and it is the one thing that continues to have your focus?

For me, it is the role of government and the rights of women.  The thought of a future where the government can now make decisions for women, their bodies, their health and the direction of their lives.  This should always be a private decision, a family decision.  Many people who have benefited from this freedom are now the same ones who want to take it away for future generations.  I am going to stay focused tonight, knowing that a woman’s choice and her ability to have one, will guide my decisions on November 6. 


A Family Story Part III

Money has overshadowed my family.  Money given yesterday is forgotten about today.  There is never an effort by anyone to also help bring money in.  And so we are in a situation where a family of adult men and women finds itself without a single person with a job.  Only that it is my job to take care of everyone.

If you know me, you know how much I love my family, especially my nieces and nephews.  It was always standard and relied on in my family that I would plan and provide for my nieces and nephews' birthdays; that I would provide them with new clothes with every change of the season.  I have always spoiled them, loved them, given them. 

I wonder, when is it okay for me to take care of myself?  When do I get to enjoy the things I work for, the things I have earned?  I am not married, I do not have children, I only have myself and only myself to provide for my needs.  When will everyone feel they have gotten enough from Marlo?  When do I stop having the guilt?  When will they remember how much I have always done?

I miss my nieces and nephews, I feel sad that they sometimes get caught in the middle.  Family is where you should be able to find comfort - I will wait to find mine...Until then, God, my friends and of course fashion will do...


Why Glam It Up?


Of course you all know what Foster Care means to me - where I went at age 11, later finding a family that took me in and treated me as their own.  But I may not have talked about those experiences and why it still matters to me now.

It is hard to describe coming into a home with strangers and being a child, innocent, not in charge of yourself, and dependent on people you do not know.  As with me, it sometimes takes time to find the right Foster home.  It was only after the fourth one that I found a true home.  Not everyone takes in a child and is able to treat them as if they are their own.  I was sometimes treated as an outsider, at one home, I was not even allowed a house key.  And since you are often in Foster Care, for a brief period, you may not be taught the life lessons that you will need when you are on your own.

Foster care, can also be the first time that you feel truly loved and cared for - like having my foster mother come to school meetings and being there for me in every part of my life. 

I founded my Glam It Up series because I know what is missing in a young girl's life, when she is not with her own family, and I know how easy it can be to forget to believe in yourself and to dream.  As best I can, I want to try to fill in these gaps and help young girls dream. 

I can tell from all of your kind messages, that your hearts are in this as well and that you share the spirit of Glam It Up.  That too, inspires me...



Cinderella's Shoes

  Cinderella ShoesVia Instagram


These were my first pair of Louboutins.  A present, from a gentleman friend.  I had until then, mostly worn Stuart Weitzman.  Louboutins were still a dream.  But then he came with my golden slippers, and with them, a door to a new life.  He wanted me to look beautiful for our date that evening.  He wanted me, like Cinderella, to feel transformed.  So he bought these for me and life was never the same.  I will always love them, my first Louboutins, for they represent the future I did not yet know I had...


Arrie Mae

Women's History Month has come to a close; I wanted to end it with my grandmother's story.  She is my Foster grandmother, but to me she's just my grandmother.  She did everything for me, never treating me any different than if I were her blood.  She and my grandfather, bought me my first car, a burgundy Plymouth Laser, then a new Honda Civic.  Later, when she thought my then boyfriend and I might get married, they bought me my first house. 

Ari w me

One thing that describes my grandmother is her immeasurable strength.  I remember her at my grandfather's funeral: many of us somber or breaking down, but she was poised, her posture only projected strength.  Even in that moment, the sense of always being able to count on her, was strong.  There was never any question that if you needed her, she would be there and that she was at every moment still the backbone of the family. 

After the funeral, as everyone started to leave, services having come to an end, my grandmother stayed by my grandfather's side. They had purchased two spaces in a mausoleum, to be buried side by side. We expected her to leave with us, and for my grandfather to be placed, after we left.  But she would not leave his side until she was sure that he was placed exactly where they had planned.  Only then, when she was certain that he was taken care of, was her work complete..

Ari w bag

There are many things I can tell you about my grandmother.  She is 95, she is an Aquarius, she is a leader, she makes sound decisions, she is not wasteful - she even made her own clothes.  She is also the one you wanted to ride with if you were late for school - she would drop everything she was doing to make sure you got there fast and safe.  If you had an after school activity, she was always there - no questions asked.  My grandmother was a good wife, who has tremendous love for her family.  When my grandfather's sight failed him, she became his eyes.  She is patient. She is always understanding.

My grandmother has a quiet dignity, one that I hope to one day inherit.  She is an inspiration and she is my comfort.  She will forever have changed my life....





Old Bay & crab legs


Those of you who follow me on Twitter, will know one of the defining features of Marlo: my love for Old Bay Seasoning on everything, but particularly on crab.  The taste of it makes me feel comfort and joy and gratitude.  Valentino, Old Bay and crab legs - the perfect mix of moving forward but always keeping with me the comfort of home.  What is your favorite mix?


Story Telling...

  A688c95cViola Davis in Vera Wang (Via theYBF)


I know we all wanted it for Viola.  She brought to life this beautiful story about women and the incredible strength that we don't always know we have.  She made us feel the tragedies they faced and take pride in the dignity and unimaginable strength with which they endured.  We felt their triumph when they found their voice and stood up to adversity.

That just made my hair stand on end.  It made me reflect on the power of our voice and the tradition of story telling, especially in a time when doing so could have devastating consequences.  But story telling is our responsibility.  I know that I must tell my story to the young women who see in me hope, and through me dare to dream.  I owe to you the story of me and the ones that help me find my strength.  How timely then, as we are transitioning from Black to Women's History Month, that I have the opportunity to share it with you.

I wonder if you can guess who I will talk about first?!




Labels, Hair, Make-up, Joy

MARLO_HAMPTON-3Photo by Pamela Mougin


This past week has given me pause.  This week I was forced to confront darkness and its sometimes catastrophic outcomes.  What is the impact of loneliness, fear, sadness and yearning, and how does what is bottled up inside manifest itself?  I thought about coping, searching for the light anywhere you can find it and what that means for me.

Clothes is where it started, but pretty things of all kinds would soon take over as family, and a connection to them, became more and more fleeting.  Pretty hair would follow clothes, then furniture and eventually a pretty home.  My family, or rather, various members of it, would at different times fall into drug addiction, nieces and nephews would follow into the foster care system, and love, the true kind, the kind I had searched for my whole life, never came.  More and more I needed to fill the emptiness, and cars and trips and expensive food and labels would have to make up for having less. Clothes were my refuge, clothes were what I could have, clothes had to fill the void where a mother and a father, a loving home, and a family should have been.

Even today, on a bad day - and there are still quite many - when I need to fill myself up, when I need to smile and feel what real happiness could be like, I walk into my closet.  That’s when I perk up and I feel grateful, for I do have many blessings and I do have a place to go that is pretty, filled with pretty things that when I put them on, make me feel good.  That’s when I feel everything will be okay.  It is how I cope, and it is how I try to help others cope.  Sometimes feeling pretty can be all you have and if that is so, then that is what I want to give to them.

Clothes are important to me and they lie at the core of who I am.  But I know that there will come a day when I will have the most precious label of all, one I have searched for my whole life, the one I will be most proud of.  One day, I will have a family and I will speak about them glowingly, I will show them off and I will go to them when I want to smile.  I can’t wait to see this design...