I moved to LA when I was 18, almost 11 years ago, from a small (population of 1,600!) town in Pennsylvania. I came here in search of sunshine and better opportunities. Rural Pennsylvania had its charm, but I always found myself wanting more diversity. My three siblings and I were 4 out of probably 15 non-white people in my entire 900-person high school. In addition to that, I wanted to be able to put on lipstick and high heels in my everyday life without having 20 people ask me “Why are you all dressed up?” or “Where are you going?” I came to LA on a field trip in 9th grade and immediately fell in love with the hustle and bustle of the city. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do here, but I knew getting out of my small town would certainly be a step in the right direction.
A year after moving to LA I lost 65 lbs. I have always struggled with my weight (and body image issues TBH), but these days I try not to be so self-critical. You can often find me cooking low-carb recipes on my IG stories. Cooking at home helps me to stay on track. I also love running and I did my first 10k last year. I hope that I can pick it back up now that quarantine is slowly lifting.
I worked in administrative roles in various offices for 4 and a half years before starting my blog. In fact, I kept wanting to start a blog but I made up a million excuses as to why it would be too hard since I had a full-time job. Then, in November of 2011, my brother James died unexpectedly. I’ve never felt such tremendous pain before. It was a nightmare that I couldn’t wake up from. How could he be gone at only 25? I felt like he had so much more life to live. After losing my brother, I was faced with the fact that life is so fleeting. You only get one chance to live it to the fullest. It made me re-evaluate everything. Why wasn’t I chasing my dreams? Why was I still making excuses about starting a blog?
In January 2012, two months after my brother’s death, I did it. I started A Keene Sense of Style! I told myself that I was going to chase my dreams of working in the fashion industry, because it was too late for him to chase his. On the “About Me” page of my blog, I wrote about how losing my brother so suddenly had inspired me to start my blog. When I sent it to my Dad to edit, he told me that he would prefer if I didn’t write that. It made me sad because I felt like I probably wouldn’t have started A Keene Sense of Style if it wasn’t for my brother’s passing. I would have kept making excuses, and putting it off. But when you see first-hand how short life is, it forces you to do all of the things you want to do, or at least try to. I respected my parents’ wishes back then because it was such a fresh wound, but now, I feel like it’s something that I want people to know about.
In 2018, I married my boyfriend of 8.5 years who is now my husband. He is the love of my life. Being in quarantine with him for the past 3 months has only made me realize how compatible we are. I have a 10 year old stepson, Ethan, and currently, my sweet nephew, Marion (my brother’s son), is with us too. It can sometimes get a little stinky being in a house full of boys, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. My husband and I are currently building our dream house in Manhattan Beach. It’s bittersweet because I love our house (and garden!) in Pasadena so much, but there’s just something so magical about the ocean. It makes my heart happy.
On my Instagram I share fashion, makeup, travel, entertaining, home decor – everything really! My favorite part about this job is creating content. Sometimes I can’t sleep because I have so many different ideas for photoshoots or outfit combinations. I love that it still gets me so excited 8 years later!
I am Trinidadian and Irish. I put that in my Instagram bio 6 years ago because I often got asked what my race was. My dad is from West Virginia, and my mom is from Tuna Puna (in Trinidad). This year, I launched the “Giving Back” section on my Instagram because I think it’s so important to help the people around me. Those initiatives have been some of my favorite projects of 2020.
I realize that there’s so much that I don’t share on Instagram, especially about my personal life. But back when I first started blogging in 2012 I remember being at a conference and hearing them say social media content should always be “light, bright and polite”. It made sense. When I read blogs it was so that I could escape from my everyday life and dream about fashion and travel. But just because I keep things light, doesn’t mean that I don’t have thoughts and opinions to share. These days people want influencers to speak up for the causes that they believe in, and I love that. I know that I have been slower to come around to sharing my “real and raw” self, but it’s something that I am working on. I still want my blog and Instagram to be a place where you can enjoy pretty pictures and fabulous outfits, but I’ll be sure to share more about myself too. If you ever have questions about me feel free to ask. I love connecting with you all one-on-one in comments and direct messages.
Sending a big, virtual hug who anyone who reads this very lengthy post! Sorry I am so long-winded.
Thanks so much for following along.