Brunch Attire: A Pop of Color


Here’s to awesome spur-of-the-moment photos. I hosted my quarterly Brown Skin Women Natural Hair Brunch this past Sunday and let my nails and heels decide on my outfit. And this is what became of it:

Of course the fit was made by yours truly. Heels are called “Uprise” by Snatch Shoes. Bottomless Mimosa’s, amazing food and great company.


It was a beautiful weekend indeed!

Hope you guys have a productive week! Until next time…




DIY Alert | Shawl, Vest or Bikini Cover Up

Who doesn’t love a fashionable creator friendly DIY!? Lately I’ve been wearing cute shawl/cover-ups to complete my outfits and decided to share the how-to.

Here are a few looks

(I’m on the right)


And worn as a bikini cover-up

And here is the quick 1 minute how to:

Happy creating and accessorizing!





The Truth About Passions…

It’s been a solid three weeks since I’ve blogged. While I advise I blog on a whim and post on an as-felt basis, my recent silence is stemmed from hurt. And growth. A journey of a necessary paradigm shift towards my personal evolution.

I’ve started four companies since 2009. I have an undying love for a field that pays my bills (Fashion Designer/Seamstress), a love for positively impacting the lives of those affected by Autism, advocating for self love, self-awareness and promoting the beauty/versatility in natural hair. While my journey may look spectacular and easy on the outside, the reality is FAR from the truth.

You see, not only does my lifestyle require great self discipline and responsibility, I have to face the unknown motives of others. People befriend me ALL OF THE TIME. Some who want me to succeed, fail, support me or just copy what I do for their own gain. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard “you’re my new best friend” I’d be a billionaire. While I welcome newcomers into my life (happily–I enjoy meeting with and making new connections/friendships). A few disloyal, selfish and negative experiences since December led to me taking time out for myself, to reflect, analyze and try to understand. Over the past few weeks, I’ve summed up a few things and am now compelled to share.


Passions evolve out of experiences. The bottom line here is you can not fake passion. As a result, the concept of “competition” has very little concern to me now. Anyone can start something, anything. Be it due to interest, curiosity, love or just to copy another’s original version. Let me tell you, passion is what will expose the true motive. If you’re looking to feel passionate about something before doing it, then you’re going to be looking for a long time. If you’re not passionate enough from the start, you’ll never persevere. I founded Hope 4 Autism, Inc. due my daughter being diagnosed with the disorder. I founded Brown Skin Women and this blog because I was raised poor, suffered from identity crisis and tried to disguise my natural being because I felt I didn’t fit in. I became a Fashion Designer & Seamstress after trying the normal route (going to college), only to have a child at 17 (and end with a dream deferred). So I taught myself how to sew, and fell so in love with the process. It became my driving force. I developed a love for these things over time, and a desire to live happily through them by doing and sharing. The good, bad and ugly truths.

My passions are stemmed from experience. Not convenience. Anyone who creates a copy of my originality will either succeed, or fail. Succeed because there’s passion. Fail because there’s no passion at all. Who am I to be upset another version comes along? Especially if like my own experiences, they know what the journey feels like? I did it. Someone else before me did it. I’m succeeding. Someone else before me succeeded. And I’m happy. Who am I to deny someone else happiness?

Such. Is. Life.

Do it with passion, or, not at all.

And I’m back to blogging my loves.

So…Until next time…XO



Made with Love (literally)…

About six months ago, a friend posted a pic of the most stunning LOVE earrings that I had to have. Sadly, she purchased them from an artist at a festival in Dallas, Texas. This morning I scrolled across a pair on Instagram, and the desire to own a pair struck. So I went searching I found none. Determined to have them and of course by complete habit…this happened:

I posted that pic on my Instagram (@carmenveal) as a peak. And less than one hour later…this happened


The ones I saw were wooden. Which worried me as I imagine them being on the heavy side. I have this fear of drooping earring holes, so I stay far away from any earring with weight. These babies are as light as a feather, and are flexible so when they hit my shoulder they bend slightly.

I love them so much, I decided to retail them. It’s been a while since I added new merchandise to my limited edition boutique on etsy (, so I added these lovely love earrings for only $20 per pair. Now I’m all dressed and ready to head out to run some errands. Wearing my new earrings which I adore.

Until next time,



Mardi Vaz Ticket Giveaway



I am so excited about this giveaway as it highlights an event (in Hartford, CT) I frequent, and absolutely LOVE! I’m excited to share this fabulous Mardi Vaz event is officially on my Art of Living Empowerment Tour preferred events. Not only will I be in attendance, I’ll also be modeling fabulous shoes for Snatch Shoes! I want you there to join in on the fun so, I’m giving away a pair of tickets for a lucky winner to attend with a friend. As a bonus, I’m throwing in one of these fancy mask I decorated by hand :-).


All you need to do is check out my Art of Living Tour by clicking here then comment on this post sharing your thoughts. You MUST leave your email address with the comment so I can contact you. And that’s it! Winner will be selected at random. This blog contest is specifically for a pair of tickets and the pictured mask. But be sure you follow me on Instagram, Twitter and like my Facebook fan page (all under @carmenveal). As I’ll do random Mardi-Vaz ticket giveaways on those outlets as well.

Here are some questions you might want answered:

Q. What is the Art of Living Empowerment tour all about?
A: The Art of Living Empowerment tour’s mission is to empower, inspire and motivate individuals to live as conscious creators of their lives and businesses. Throughout my journey of Founding/Owning four companies since 2009, I have discovered the importance in self-branding. I have successfully reached the five year mark of business ownership and am ready to share my experiences with others. My goal is support and empower 100 individuals throughout the life of the tour.

Q: What is this event and Vaz all about?
A: VAz Feminine Fabulous Fun ~ A Night of Shopping, Pampering, Socializing & Entertainment right here for one night in Hartford, CT! This event in particular is themed Mardi Vaz, New Orleans style. Visit Vaz’s website here.

Q: When and where is the event?
A: Thursday March 20th 4-9pm at the stunning Society room located 95 Pratt Street downtown Hartford, CT.

Q: When does the contest end?
A: Friday March 14th at midnight. Winner will be announced on Saturday 3/15 via email.

Q: What if I don’t want my email publicized?
A: I’ll need to be able to contact you so please do. Once the contest closes, I will disable all comments so your info isn’t sitting around.


That’s all to it! Good luck :-).



Giveaway Alert | Eye Mask (closed)


I’m hosting my very first giveaway featuring the above displayed heating/cooling eye mask that I made (retails at $10 in my shop). This is my first giveaway and I’m a bit nervous. I REALLY want this giveaway to be fun for you and myself. That, and I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so my nervousness is 100% made up in my head. At any rate, this eye mask feels SO amazing when warmed up. Seriously. I’m not tooting my own horn here. You’ll love it.

20140214-073025.jpgWhat’s the purpose?

For many of you who’ve been following my work, you know I’ve been designing and making clothing since May of 2009. Throughout 2013 the struggle of losing love for what was once a passion took control. That and realizing I made a TON of mistakes with my first company since it’s inception (that has taught me a lot). So I closed my online store and re-branded my company into a virtual sewing studio called Sew So Much. To help me transition as smoothly as possible and help you get acquainted with my changes I’m highlighting:  My new Sew So Much virtual sewing studio and this here all new Pretty Prim and Proper blog. So, I’m rewarding you for your love, patience and support throughout the process!

Why this item for the giveaway?

To highlight a trendy phase I had gone through: “team-no-sleep”. One that played a leading role in my decision to no longer offer clothing design service and open Sew So Much instead. I used to follow the “vampire life” trend (one of many reasons why I successfully failed with my first business). I’d stay up all night, working. My friend Rob would always question my sanity, “when do you sleep”. He would stress the importance of sleeping and I’d totally ignore him. Until I realized he was right. I’d stay up late to work. Only, it was unproductive work. I’d be distracted because everyone else was awake. Texting, calling, scrolling social media all whilst yawning. I was half-assing my work. Not to mention being exhausted all day the next day. I discovered I wasn’t a functioning insomniac (self diagnosed), I was unfocused. I began to prioritize sleep. Knocking out by 10 and starting my work day at 5am. My phone never rings. Everyone is either sleeping or getting ready for their day. As a result, I don’t want to bother them and they don’t bother me. A light bulb went off. Golden. I now prioritize sleep and feel you should (at least try to) as well. The eye mask is for, well, sleep. It relates :).

What’s so special about this eye mask?

They’re awesome, I made them, and they can be warmed or frozen for extra comfort at night.

When will you choose a winner?

I’ll choose two winners in fact. The giveaway begins Friday 2/14/14 and ends on Saturday 2/22/14.

How will you choose the winners?

A lottery system using a platform called Rafflecopter will shuffle through all the entries and select at random. Winner must reside in the US.

When will you announce and ship?

Winners will be notified via email on 2/22. They will have until 2/24 to reply before the reselection process begins. After confirmed, I will ship gift to the winners. Easy enough!?

What about the rest of us non-winners?

(1) You can purchase my heating/cooling mask at my temporary store for $15.99 (includes shipping). Buy here or at and click shop. Once they are sold out they will not be replenished. (2) You will have a chance to win other awesome prizes coming soon, and (3) you become a subscriber to this fancy, fun and informative Pretty Prim and Proper blog. It inspires stylish living and entertaining. What’s not to love about that!?

What do I need to do to enter?

  1. Read this blog post in its entirety. Really, you’ve already done most of the reading.
  2. Subscribe to this blog (skip to step 3 if you are already a subscriber).
  3. Leave a comment on this blog post below sharing how affective (or ineffective) sleep applies to you.
  4. Click the pretty reddish pink link that says “giveaway” to be redirected to this giveaway’s host platform. It will ask you to do the above listed Steps 1 and 2 so be sure you subscribe and comment before clicking the link. Additional steps listed are optional. They just increase your points which ultimately increases your chance of winning. That’s it! Here is the pretty reddish pink link to click —> giveaway

Best of luck to you and remember, try to get some rest at night– your body will thank you for it. This is coming from a work-a-holic who owns and runs four companies!

Until next time…XO 😉