Ridgewood Market’s Cosmic Night Bazaar

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Photo by Amalia Queller

With its third anniversary this Saturday, Ridgewood Market, an artisan market is having a Cosmic Night Bazaar from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. The event highlights the work of local craftspeople from around the Ridgewood, Queens area.

Ridgewood Market started as the lovechild of Sarah Feldman, a native of Texas, who moved to New York in 2006 to attend The New School’s Parsons School of Design in Manhattan. After meeting her fiancé who lived in the Queens neighborhood, the jeweler, and vintage saleswoman fell in love with the town, moved there and created a network in 2011 for other creatives like herself called Ridgewood Social. You can learn about the group on its website RidgewoodSocial.com,  which promotes the small businesses in Ridgewood, the history of the region and its people.

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Photo by Sarah Feldman

Frustrated by the lack of opportunities for artisans, Feldman met with them and created Ridgewood Market.

In late 2012, I was selling my jewelry and vintage clothes at a local flea market. It was very slow and I met a few other vendors who wanted something more than a flea market in the neighborhood… so I brought up the idea of an artisan market. We had our first market in April of 2013…” said Feldman.

Today, the market has over 40 small businesses and vendors that sell everything from organic honey to handsewn clothes. This kid-friendly event will have live music and a 50/50 raffle with prizes. Djing the event is Dj TeeTunez. Some of the vendors at the event include Barbie Rodriguez, Jackie Reyes, and Amalia Queller.

Rodriguez, Reyes, and Queller didn’t plan to pursue artisanal work, but none of these women can imagine their lives without it.

For Reyes, 20, a self-taught cook and baker of Puerto Rican and Dominican descent, growing up cooking was something she did to live not live to do. It wasn’t until she started attending Queensborough Community College(she’s graduating next year with a teaching degree) that she spent her free time on weekends learning how to make food from Ayesha Curry, a YouTube and television star.

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Photo by Jackie Reyes

Seeing the joy that Curry had from cooking inspired Reyes, whose food became a hit with both friends and her family that they started to buy and promote it. Even though she considers her cooking a hobby while she tries to complete her degree, she has been successfully selling treats every weekend for parties and functions for the past five months and has a small but growing following on www.youtube.com/CookingWithJackie. From scratch, Reyes makes flan, chocolate covered strawberries and cake. She incorporates ingredients from her Puerto Rican and Dominican roots into her delicacies.

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Photo by Jackie Reyes

Amalia Queller, 23, a Hispanophone and former babysitter was always artistic as a youth, even though most of her family members were lawyers. Seeing her grandmother Judith crochet and learning how to knit like her mother Deborah became an outlet for her. For awhile she was in love with everything arts, but once she finished high school at Laguardia Performing Arts School, she was burnt out with making crafts and studied History at Hunter College.

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Not willing to just write about art, Queller turned down getting a Master’s degree at Hunter and other universities to reignite her passion of knitting. Knowing this may be her last chance to pursue her crafty side, Queller eased her way back into the craft by making gifts for friends and family.With their support, Queller knew she had to go into the business of making things full time.

If I had to cite another paper I would have to start crying,” said Queller.

Now she makes handmade onesies, bodysuits and shirts for newborns to five-years-olds that she paints herself. Being a fan of the go-to crafty e-commerce website, Etsy.com, Queller went from buying items there to selling her work in Spanish and English. Currently, Queller makes around $2000 a month for her knitwear.

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Photos by Amalia Queller

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Rodriguez, 42, and of Puerto Rican descent, used to be a CFO for a sign company in Ridgewood, but after the economic downturn, she was laid off. Sharing eight kids (now 5-26) with her husband, Rodriguez had to figure out another way to make a living. After meeting Feldman at a flea market and going to Artist Alley at New York Comic Con, she turned to dollmaking.

I grew up in a creative family,” said Rodriguez. My mother sewed, and my grandmother crocheted and made those Spanish dolls you would find in a  bathroom, so I decided to craft and make dolls” she added.

At first, she would buy little toys for her kids at Comic Con, but now she enjoys creating them for Ridgewood Market. Each doll she makes is one of a kind. Once she comes up with a new design, she paints in the faces for each doll and makes their clothes out of organic cotton, fleece, and flannel. For quality control, she lets her 5-year-old daughter play with the dolls. Whichever doll captures her daughter’s fancy is the one she sells to customers on Facebook (she also makes custom dolls). More than ever, she is thankful that she went back to her creative roots in her time of need and was able to start over.

I just can’t believe the freedom people have when they pursue their dreams,” said Rodriguez.

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Oscars Controversy and Fashion

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For the second consecutive year there was a lack of diversity at the Academy Awards, and at the red carpet, it showed. With few Latinas there to spice up what might as well be a fashion pre-show, the lead-up to the award ceremony felt like a dud.

With no nominations for Hispanics in any of the acting categories and few in behind the scenes work, this meant only a small number of Latinos got an invite.

The #OscarsSoWhite boycott and whitewashed nomination list resulted in only a handful of Latin superstars showing up to grace us with their presence at the red carpet.

Most importantly, why should they, especially since they had so little to root for outside of Mexican director Alejandro G. Inarritu’s 12-time nominated film, The Revenant. A movie which had Native Americans in supporting and background roles, but mostly starred white actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy.

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However, here are the stars that did come and light up the red carpet:

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Newlywed Sofia Vergara who was a presenter at the ceremony stunned in a chic dark blue Marchesa gown.

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Argentine beauty Luciana Barroso stole Matt Damon’s heart and slayed on the red carpet.

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Native American star, Forest Goodluck didn’t have much luck in The Revenantbut he certainly knows how to rock a classic tux.

Some of the misses at the event included:

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Costa Rican actress and producer Giannina Facio‘s dress didn’t quite come together.

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Neither did t.v. personality Liz Hernandez‘s asymmetrical mesh dress.

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Married to a Latina – How She Inspires My Fashion Accessory Business

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Originally published in the May 2015 issue of LatinTRENDS Magazine

By Maria V. Luna

When Vaughn Johnson, owner of Flawnt Accessories, looks for inspiration, he finds it just a holler away. The company features bold statement pieces for the woman who is unafraid and daring. Who encourages Johnson’s striking selections? His Latina wife.

Tell us about your relationship.

We’ve been together for many, many years. If you ask her how long, when I’m in the room, she’ll look my way and say, “Boo, tell them how long,” because she doesn’t actually know how long it’s been. My relationship is built on, in my opinion, what keeps good relationships thriving, which is COMMUNICATION. We talk about everything no matter how difficult, how harsh, uneasy or funny. We’re not afraid to be us. They say opposites attract and that’s true. We’re not completely opposite but we are opposite in a lot of ways. We balance each other out and talk each other off the ledge. We don’t get tired of each other. We continue to enjoy each other and actually look forward to being together after all these years. We can be in two separate rooms in the house, but as long as we’re both in the house we’re good—just a holler away (she loves to holler).

What are some cultural differences between your family and your wife’s family?

Besides the obvious Black American and Latin American. Soul food and Latin food. Not much at all. They both believe family comes first. They both came from urban backgrounds. They both struggled coming up—no silver spoons or privileged upbringings.

What kind of lady is your wife?

She retained a lot of her Latin roots, or should I say culture, where she likes to take care of her family, believes in keeping a clean home (I say it’s O.C.D.),very giving and welcoming. There’s not a selfish bone in her body. And we can’t forget the heat. The fiery side. She will black out on you at the drop of a dime. She’s a great wife and a wonderful friend.

How did your Latina wife inspire your fashion accessory business?

She allowed me to use her as my canvas for creativity. She believes in my visions and 99% of the time she gets it. When I share with her things that I like and my thoughts on what would work with a particular accessory, she actually likes what I put together and says, “I would wear that.” I love her adventurous side with fashion. She’s not afraid to step out the box. She doesn’t conform to the norm or trends. She likes what she likes regardless of what anyone thinks, including me.

Johnson says through trial and error he’s learned so much about becoming an entrepreneur. Here, he shares 5 tips for anyone starting their own fashion accessory business.

  1. Start small. Use a template to create your website as opposed to a custom website just to get started. There are plenty of resources available now to create an online presence. To get your products out, you don’t have to spend alot of money.
  2. Don’t follow trends. You can include trendy things in your business, but don’t make that the core of your business because they come and go fast. Don’t be afraid to be different. Lead the new wave; don’t follow it with your products.
  3. Word of mouth is still one of the best ways to promote your business.
  4. Pay attention to what’s going on around you; what’s being worn by your target customer, color, size, length, etc.
  5. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Why did you buy this particular item? How much did you pay for it? Do you prefer to buy your accessories online or at a store?

What You Didn’t Know about Almudena Fernandez

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Spanish model Almudena Fernandez is not just a pretty face. She is an eco-activist, a businesswoman and The Climate Project Director of Ambassadors in Spain and Latin America. Her commitment to environmental projects helped her receive an invitation to President Barack Obama’s inauguration in Washington, D.C.

Fernandez is dedicated to eco-living in all aspects of life. In 2007, Fernandez invested money in a center in Madrid called Triball. The area once had dilapidated buildings and high prostitution rates, but is now being described as a bustling green version of New York’s Tribeca.

She also doesn’t wear her environmentalism on her sleeve, but more like her feet and shoulders. In 2009 she launched Sweet Rock Eco shoe line and later eco-friendly bags. The proceeds of her biodegradable bags go to fighting hunger in Africa. Fernandez has allowed Greenpeace to use her image to further bring awareness to protecting our oceans’ sea beds. She also supports Oceana in its efforts to stop offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

In 2008 she met Nobel Prize winner and former Vice President Al Gore and later became his spokesperson for environmental sustainability in Spain. Fernandez is the goodwill ambassador to Spain and Portugal’s incarnation of the Rock in Rio music festival, which uses clean and hybrid energy to power its seven days of  festivities.

Fernandez has been on the covers of Elle Spain and Woman Spain. She has worked with Lacoste, Givenchy and Hermes. She also signed a four year deal to be the face of Aqua flore.

Fun Facts

  • Fernandez is the founder of the non-profit Kind Surf
  • Her modeling career began with the Supermodel of the World contest by Elle Spain
  • She prefers photo shoots to cat walks
  • She listens to music before a photo shoot to get in character
  • She was in the reality show “Supermodelo”, a show based on “America’s Top Model,” in 2006

By Naeisha Rose

View complete celebrity profile section: http://bit.ly/1OIZF0p

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Park Lane Celebrity Stylist launches ‘Galeria of Jewels’

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Reflect a life that’s glitz and glam with designs from Galeria of Jewels celebrity jewelry stylist, Rachel Brisita-Torres of Park Lane.

Where your style shows off your ‘Sass & Success!’

Inspired by the divas of fashion, celebrity icons, Eva Longoria, Jennifer Lopez, Thelma Hayek and many more, Rachel’s ‘Galeria of Jewels’ has evolved to become the Celebrity hot spot of Gems in NJ. Where from coast to coast fashionistas sought and have found the most sexiest jewelry at most affordable prices.

I don’t know about you, but I give this fashionista 5 STARS *****

So many amazing pieces, watch out 5th Ave in NYC, the hottest jewels are in Jersey!

The Curvaceous & Exotic Denise Bidot Graces the cover of LatinTRENDS Magazine!

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by Deyanira Martinez

Denise Bidot, the curvaceous and exotic Latin model who is changing fashion industry standards of beauty is the cover of the February issue of LatinTRENDS!

This top model, single mother and actress, made history last year at the prestigious New York Fashion Week when, for the first time, a plus-size model closed two of the most important runway shows.

Bidot feels satisfied that she has been able to open doors for women with curves and Latinas. “I understand that there is a diversity of sizes and you can be beautiful no matter what looks you have or how much you weigh. You don’t have to apologize for your weight or compromise who you are to meet the traditional standards,” says Denise. Today she is a top model on major fashion shows of the world proudly wearing her curves, her exuberant size 14, creating awareness, acceptance and empowering women along the way.
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Denise opens up and talks candidly with our correspondent Deyanira Martinez about her dreams, her daughter and the limitless potential in her future. Check the entire interview in our February issue of LatinTRENDS magazine!

Undercover Curl Lover

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My hair tells stories. It speaks of Latinidad, and femininity and seduction. It does what it wants and I obey.

That is except when I give presentations, or when I host events or conduct face-to-face interviews with celebrities. I think about what I am saying—without saying a word—when I go naturally curly or flat-ironed straight.

The “Love Your Curls” film by Dove makes me question the message I am sending my nieces and my future children as well. It’s easy to say that my hair is not political or racial or even a topic of discussion. But it is. One of my nieces looks at her curls with disdain. Her mother and I try to give her a sense of Curl Pride, telling her that her curls are gorgeous and point excitedly at curly hair girls in magazines. But when I set off for my next meeting or interview, hair unraveled and disguised, I see that the message I am sending my niece is tangled up.

And maybe it’s not at all as serious as I make it out to be. I just want my niece to love her hair. I know I love mine. But am I being an undercover curl lover?

#Loveyourcurls

Fashion Starlette brings Eye Candy Sass to Sabado Gigante

Yas Gonzalez Experta de Moda

This Cuban American fashionista has a keen eye for colors and contrasts. She is what I would call the ‘Latina Fashion Police.’ So move over, Kathy Griffen here comes Yas Gonzalez. Don’t let her sweetheart appearance fool you! On Sabado Gigante, Yas made her debut illustrating the importance of self confidence with sass, politely emphasizing the importance of “Do’s” and the “Do not even think about it, of being in-style.”

Let’s be real, Miami is the heart of viewing bodacious buff men and babies with the Jlo booty. But its not all about the shape, its about the colors. Yas new collection of swimwear ” Black and White”, focuses on the use of colors that make you want to say “YUMMM!” Colors that bring out that twinkle to your eye, like when you see your favorite pair of stilettos through a window on 5th Ave, or when you devour your favorite piece of chocolate. Where you can’t have just one. Her designs makes you want to say “Yes! Give me one of everything!”

“During my studies in fashion design, I started to launch my own line of swimwear. I did four collections that captivated the attention of buyers and large chain stores purchasers. That’s when I decided to look into how to go about massively producing , distributing and selling my swimwear. My brand has been embraced the biggest fashion buyers in the industry. ” Yas said.

Before becoming one herself, Yas became inspired by the most prominent stylists in the world. Carolina Herrera, Oscar de la Renta, Alexander McQueen and Christian Louboutin. Entertainers also played a big role in creating her eccentric designs. Who wouldn’t want to see these icons in some sexy swimwear? Ricky Martin, Jennifer Lopez with her new rumored arm-candy, William Levy. Uh! Yeah, that’s a topic for another day.

[PHOTOS] LatinTrends Fashion Recap of the AMAs 2014

Fashion at the 2014 American Music Awards was right on point.

High Slit Dresses‘ ruled the carpet last night.

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Best Hair: Zendaya Coleman
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Best Less Is More Look: Taylor Swift (She had no accessories or heavy makeup but still stood out.)
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Classiest Look: Selena Gomez
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Best Overall Look: Jennifer Lopez
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