B A (Happily) Married Couple...

Psychology Today published a great article on "An Arrangement of Marriages" - the 7 types of marriages couples find themselves in after the vows are taken and the "I do's" are spoken. Well into our 30's, most of us still believe in the fairy tale, handsome prince, and the happily ever after. It may still be possible, but it's important to pay attention to the signs. Do you fall into any of these categories?

Type 1 - Devitalized marriage: 40 percent of couples. There is pervasive unhappiness with all relationship dimensions and considerable instability. Both partners have considered divorce . They are critical of each other's personality. Their marriage is strictly utilitarian. They tend to be younger, married a shorter time, and have a lower income than other couples. Many are minorities. More of them come from divorced homes, and more of them were previously divorced themselves. They stay together for lack of alternatives.

Type 2 - Financially focused: 11 percent of couples. These couples have conflict and are unhappy in their communication and the way conflicts are resolved. They are dissatisfied with the personal characteristics of their partner, and there may be bitter personal attacks. Their careers come before the relationship, and money or financial rewards hold them together. Their single relationship strength is financial management. A high number of husbands and wives in such utilitarian relationships have considered divorce.

Type 3 - Conflicted: 14 percent. They are dissatisfied in many facets of the relationship - personality issues, communication, conflict resolution, and sexuality - and they may avoid or fail to settle issues between them. Instead, they focus on and gain satisfaction from outside experiences such as leisure, the children, religious life. But a high percentage of both partners have considered divorce.

Type 4 - Traditional: 10 percent. They are moderately satisfied with many relationship elements, while their sexual relationship and the way they communicate are sources of distress. They are not as critical of each other's personality as Types 1, 2 and 3. Their strength lies in a satisfying religious life and good interaction with extended family and friends. The marriages are relatively stable. These couples tend to be older, married longer, white, and Protestant.

Type 5 - Balanced: 8 percent. They are moderately satisfied with most relationship areas, with real strengths in communication and problem-solving. The biggest problem is financial management. They have higher than average agreement on leisure, child-rearing, and sexuality. They place a high value on the nuclear family. Still, over a quarter have considered divorce.

Type 6 - Harmonious: 8 percent. They are highly satisfied with each other, the expression of affection, and their sexual life. But they are self-centered, viewing children as a burden and parenting as a source of distress. It may be that, when a problem develops in this family, it shows up in the child.

Type 7 - Vitalized: 9 percent. They are highly satisfied with almost every dimension of their relationship and get along well. They are personally integrated, have strong internal resources, and agree in most external areas. They develop difficulties but resolve them well. They are economically better off than most others, and tend to be older, married longer, white, Protestant. They tend to be in their first marriage and come from intact families.


B in the Spotlight...Chike Ozah

Give us your stats.
Name: Chike
Age: 31
Hometown: New Orleans, LA
Currently based: NY/LA
Profession: Director - Designer - Entrepreneur

How has creativity played a roll in your career path(s)?
Man, it has played the leading role in my career. I explore options in my career that give me 100% creative control because that's how important I feel creativity is. Now I'm not saying that I get 100% creative control all the time, but that's always the goal. As my career evolves I'm coming closer to achieving that goal.

NY or LA?
NY all day. I love the movement in New York and I'm constantly inspired by the streets, the people, the multitude of cultures, and the abundance of self expression that exists in the city.

Why did you the start Hot Air collection, and what's your role in the company?
Man, I was sitting around one day watching YouTube and I saw a time lapse clip of hundreds of balloons lifting towards the sky. The patterns on the balloons inspired me and I was like, wow those could translate well to clothing - after all, a hot air balloon is fabric just like a shirt. From there, I created a line of shirts and shared them with my boy, Bee Nyguen, who believed in the concept and brought it to his team Sound In Color, which was a music label at the time that was also dabbling in fashion. That's where another partner, Diego Carlin, got involved and took the brand far with his skills. Then Bee got his buddy Duke Wu involved, and he blessed us with the funding knowledge. Charlie Muff plays behind the scenes, and I'm about to blow his spot because you can't have a successful brand without Charlie...There are so many roles that make Hot Air a success, and I'm still not doing it justice. Without those key players, the line wouldn't be "soaring" the way it is. Just go to www.hotairbrand.com and you can find out who carries the collection.

Who are you designing for?
We design for the person that's not scared to try something new. For the person who loves attention.

What are most people surprised to learn about you?
Ha, is that a trick question? I really don't know. I have so many sides to me, so I guess it depends on how you meet me. If you meet me a little tipsy you might be be surprised to know I'm actually kinda of shy. If you meet me in the midst of an intellectual conversation, you might be surprised to learn I'm quite goofy. If you meet me in goofy mode, you will be surprised to know that I'm very spiritual and interested in the endless bounds of understanding and challenging my spirituality.

Any tips for a young person looking to express themselves when challenged by resources?
Yes - ask a lot of questions. Don't be scared to ask. There are too many resources available via the Internet to not be able to find out an answer to something. The road ahead is going to be very tough, so just embrace that, march ahead and never look back. And never worry about how long the road is.

What's next for you and Hot Air?
I'm working on a network called Creative Control with my directing partner, Coodie. It's an online network that will take television and "Urban" content to another level. For Hot Air, we're going to keep pushing the limits and explore new ideas. We have an incredible Spring 2010 collection coming out.

If you could "B" anything, what would it be?
B Creative...Creative Control, 'nuff said


B Loved: Origins Youthtopia

Here it is - the latest and greatest beauty product that deserves all my love and even more of your attention. Origins Youthtopia Firming Eye Cream is the MOST effective product we've discovered to reduce the under eye puffies. Use it day and night, and watch your face transform - literally. Go in-store (or to the Origins counter at your local department store), and try the one-eye test. Within 1 minute, you'll see the difference between the eye that's been blessed with Youthopia, and the eye that's begging for a solution. There may not be a fountain of youth, but this must-have product allows the masses to keep the dream going a little longer. Try it!


B Trendy: Carnal Desires - Animal Print Shoes

Eve wearing leopard platform heels

No matter where you look, fierce animal prints, furs, and embellishments (faux or real) are creeping their way onto the best-heeled ladies in the industry. Oddly enough, animal-print shoes can be worn as a "neutral", but also add that special touch to basic black, or any monochromatic outfit. Find your perfect pair this Fall, and make a roaring statement! Take a look at a few of our favorites below. B-Tip: Don't go extra bargain basement on these. Cheapo animal prints look like gremlins in the daylight.


B Reviewed: Nice Matin

Nice Matin
201 West 79th St., New York, NY

The hunt for the best brunch spot in NYC is still on...Pre-basketball "Keep It Simple" revelations (see previous post), we made a stop at Nice Matin on the Upper West Side. Just steps from the famous Sarabeth's - known for it's ALWAYS perfect brunch, and 45 minute wait times, Nice Matin is visually appetizing, and promises a French Mediterranean fare that should be able to hold it's own. So did it?

The outdoor dining experience was superb! Rather than throwing bows with neighbors on the left and right, the tables were well-spaced, and the awning providing just the right amount to shade without taking over the sun rays. As for the food - the preparation was truly French with rich flavors shining through. Most importantly, the options were completely authentic to the region and spiced with fresh herbs (think: lamb sausage scrambled eggs, and orange buttermilk french toast). Plus, the coffee was on point! Definitely check it out the next time you want to get away with a simply prepared, but elegant brunch that pays homage to the French Riviera.


B-Noted: Keep It Simple

This weekend I had a profound experience in the most basic setting. A basketball court on the Upper West Side in New York City. After a leisurely brunch, I walked over to a nearby court on 76th St. where a few of my guys were playing their usual weekend pick-up games.

My friends aren't slouches, so physical fitness is no stranger, but to see my boys get together, sweat it out, and talk shit, was simply beautiful. By day, they are media executives, bankers, video directors, and beyond, and they spend their "9-5" doing things they love...for the most part. They don't, however, get to choose who they do it with. Somehow, the notion of these men taking 3 hours for themselves to come together, let out some physical aggression and bond over a ball, is what life is all about. Choices.

Like many cities, NYC has a way of pulling you in a million directions - brunch, sale in Soho, gym, pop into the office to catch up on a proposal, hit the Yankees game, then a comedy show with your cousin who came into town, and then, oh yea, let me see if this chick wants to meet up for a drink? All in one day!

But getting it all in and "chasing" a day just isn't that satisfying when you have nothing to savor. As a personal offender of making weekend lists, and double/triple booking, I learned a great lesson this weekend. Find a happy place. Be selfish with my time and choices. And, most importantly keep it simple.


B Inspired: Usher - Modern Rat Pack

Usher at his Vegas Magazine (July/August '09) cover party at the Palms Hotel in Las Vegas

I think we can all agree that a single Usher, is a much sexier Usher. Now that our favorite R&B crooner officially has his swag back, let's pay tribute to his impeccable styling, just right accessories, and classic lines. Usher manages to keep it fresh without straying too far from his signature look in masculine flannel, with a sophisticated fit. You have to admire this artist for not succumbing to the need for constant re-invention, just to stay relevant. That goes for his music, and his style.

Simmons Jewelry Co. Green Bracelet - $125; Urban Outfitters Aubaine Boxing Gloves Necklace; Kohl's Relic Bottle-Opener Leather Belt - $25; American Eagle Herringbone Vest - $30; Gap Lightweight Flannel - $45; Timex Sport Luxury Chronograph - $150; Bailey Barr Fedora - $88; Heritage 1981 Lewis Straight Jean - $35


B quoted...

"Who gon' check me, boo?"
~ Sheree Whitfield, Bravo's
The Real Housewives of Atlanta

Get yours and do you. Who gon' check you boo?


B Lovd: Katana - Robata & Sushi Bar (L.A.)

8439 W Sunset Blvd
West Hollywood, CA
(323) 650-8585

It's time for the West Coast to get a little more loving, and I have a lot to give. Katana gets an easy A+ on food, service, ambiance, and proximity to anywhere you would want to be in West Hollywood on a Friday night.

This Japanese Robata and Sushi Bar offers small plates for the diner who wants to keep it light with sashimi or a few rolls, but it also caters to someone who wants something a little heartier. (Robata is a method of cooking on a Bincho charcoal grill, which apparently leads to perfectly seared meats - love!) I recommend the Rock Shrimp Tempura, and the Short Ribs.

This is L.A., so Katana did not disappoint when it comes to the "pretty people". The crowd was good-looking, in-shape, and the model/actresses were definitely in effect at the hostess stand. And of course, a celeb and ball player or two were in the house.

The icing on the Molten Chocolate Cake our superb server comped for us, was the view. Katana has a sizable open dining terrace with a view of Sunset Blvd. and the comings and goings at the Mondrian across the street. So charming. So L.A.


B In the Know: Bob Herbert on Race Relations

New York Times Op-Ed columnist Bob Herbert has been more than expressive about his views regarding the case of "mistaken identity" with Harvard professor, Henry Louis Gates. Take a peek at a few excerpts from his recent columns to see what he has to say about the where the responsibility lies in this situation where "cooler heads" should have had a bit more sensitivity training.

"Anger Has Its Place" (7/31/09) Excerpt:
You can yell at a cop in America. This is not Iran.  And if some people don’t like what you’re saying, too bad...Black people are constantly being stopped, searched, harassed, publicly humiliated, assaulted, arrested and sometimes killed by police officers in this country for no good reason. Read more...

"Innocence Is No Defense" (8/3/09) Excerpt:
The arrest last month of Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. did not occur in a vacuum...it was the latest in a series of troubling incidents that have left law-abiding members of the Harvard community feeling as though they were unfairly targeted and humiliated because of their race. Read more...


B Trendy: Pyramid Studs

Mandy Moore wearing Pyramid stud earrings

Every girl has an inner "rocker chick" she's dying to unleash, and this popular fashion trend makes it ultra-easy to get that edge you want, without crossing the line. Pyramid studs are popping up everywhere, and you can get in on the action at a price point that won't bust the bank. Go for strong look or opt for contrast and toughen up a soft floral like Mandy. Warning: Too many studs in too many places will end up looking more "biker babe" than "rocker chic".

Girl Props Sunglasses w/ Pyramid Studs - $10.00
Betsey Johnson Deborah Wedge - $163.00

Rare Black Wrap Dress - $118

Rachel Leigh Pyramid Stud Dangles - $42.00

Bebe Pyramid Studded Belt - $49.00

Arden B Studded Cropped Moto Jacket - $68.00

Silence & Noise Studded Skirt - $30.00
Tory Burch Studded Messenger Bag - $575

Brette Sandler "Jackie" - $85.00

Charlotte Russe Pyramid Stud Bracelet - $4.oo

Blank Skinny Jean - $72.00


B quoted...

“I've gone through a lot of trial and error to find what works and what doesn't, ... With that comes an understanding of how to offer the same opportunities to other artists.” ~ Usher Raymond IV