First Bronx Fashion Week 2014 At Andrew Freedman Home | Photos By Ebony Brown

2BronxFashionWeekByEbonyBrownFotojunkiThe “Boogie Down”¬†Bronx has¬†officially popped ¬†its Fashion Week cherry at the Andrew Freedman Home, September 5-7, 2014!¬†An electric and grand round of applause erupted in the Princess Ball Room,¬†on closing night¬†when one¬†model literally bent over backwards to¬†serve and deliver a great show.4_bronxfashionweekbyebonybrownfotojunki

Photo: Bronx Fashion Week Founder, Flora Montes (La Poetas), and her daughter, Stephanie Mateo.

Founder, creator¬†and history maker,¬†Flora Montes and her team were indeed¬†“the change” that they wanted to see in the Bronx, by establishing the first ever Bronx Fashion Week. As announced by Montes in closing remarks,¬†it was planned and¬†pursued year long – sacrifice included, with the final kinks literally¬†perfected overnight.


VH1’s Big Ang, in skinny jeans and chartreuse pumps, The Mob Wives¬†crew¬†and everyone in attendance¬†braved the heat like true¬†Bronx familia would – the support was infinite.¬†Opening night host, Mr. Jo Lance,¬†adorned with¬†a crown and all,¬†surprised many in attendance.¬†Sold out¬†to the point of¬†standing room only,¬†all designers, models, creative spirits and everyone who contributed to help Bronx Fashion Week be the huge success and ‘phenom’ that it¬†was, are not only¬†a part of history in the making, but also momentum for the next one!

Photo: ¬†Bronx Fashion Week Female Cover Model: Sundae Stewart [Thank you Dante Briggins for submitting her name¬†and congrats to you too for being Bronx Fashion Week’s Male Cover Model.]



Find more Bronx Fashion Week¬†photos on Twitter and Instagram¬†by searching the hashtags, #BronxFashionWeek #BXFW. For more information visit, www.bronxfashionweek.org. More Bronx Fashion Week 2014 ¬†photos to be posted soon! In the meanwhile let’s connect on twitter and instagram @fotojunki

To learn more about the Andrew Freedman Home and its ongoing events, such as the upcoming play, Black Wall Street, visit www.andrewfreedmancomplex.com. Note:  The Bronx Artist Documentary Project,  happening at the Andrew Freedman Home opens September 13th! More information can be found at www.bronxartistdocproject.org

Photo: Designer Alexander Acosta and model extraordinaire wearing one of his creations.


Photos by Ebony Brown @fotojunki


Style Redefine Magazine Launch Party Hosted by West Elm | A Success!


Photo by Ebony Brown | Kayla Lonergan, Miss Hudson Valley Teen 2014; Marisa Mariani, West Elm Scarsdale General Manager; Stephanie Bavolar, Miss Westchester Teen 2014 at Style Redefine Launch Party

Style Redefine Magazine’s launch party, hosted by West Elm Scarsdale this past August was a living testament of the¬†phrase, “Team Work, Makes the Dream Work.”¬†Founders Kay Starr¬†and Nicola¬†“Nikki” Haggins not only¬†shared the¬†culmination of their¬†hard work, but also some¬†heart felt, humble words with loyal supporters, family, friends, and folks who couldn’t be more proud. Miss Westchester Teen 2014, Stephanie Bavolar and Miss Hudson Valley Teen 2014, Kayla Lonergan, attended the event, alongside Style Redefine Magazine’s¬†inspiring cover girls.

Redefining style, serving as a¬†resource¬†for¬†inspiration and culture,¬†Style Redefine¬†Magazine (formerly, “High In Style Magazine”),¬†celebrates the journeys, goals and accomplishments of teens, tweens and established individuals. “Style is not only¬†what¬†you wear, but¬†is also in what you do, and how you carry yourself” says Nikki. Yes,¬†what’s stylish and beautiful on the outside is cool, but what motivates, inspires and drives people internally to pursue their goals and live their best life is paramount.

With another milestone underway, Style Redefine¬†Magazine is anticipating the¬†release its first print edition in January 2015. Currently, Nikki and Kay are collaborating with¬†William Sonoma’s, West Elm¬†Scarsdale store¬†to provide business development¬†oriented¬†workshops and empowerment¬†events,¬†in association with their newly announced business venture and brand,¬†Made In Westchester NY.


Born in Brooklyn, West Elm, a sister store to the Pottery Barn line of stores is essentially décor heaven for residential and commercial spaces, including some of your favorite television show sets. From furniture to final touches, including lighting, wall art, throw pillows, curtains, rugs and more, West Elm offers complimentary in-home design services to help your house feel more like home, or your office feel  more like a functional and aesthetically sound place to think, create, and ultimately work. Together, Style Redefine Magazine and West Elm Scarsdale are committed to serving the Westchester Community.


Photo by Ebony Brown | Style Redefine Magazine Launch Party Attendee, Sara Trowers, CEO of JUS BLEND [Natural, Raw, Cold-Press Juice]

styleredefineebonybrownfotojunkiFor contact information and to learn more about Style Redefine¬†Magazine, visit www.styleredefinemagazine.com.¬†To learn more about West Elm and its¬†incredible collections and products, often a result of seasonal¬†collaborations with¬†artisans worldwide, including local¬†artists of the Etsy community,¬†see the goods for yourself¬†at www.westelm.com,¬†or¬†visit your local store. West Elm in Westchester, NY is located at 678 East Post Road, Scarsdale NY 10583 (Vernon Hills Shopping Center),¬† the phone number is (914)¬†725 -3861 and the¬†hours are Mon-Sat. 10am – 7pm and Sunday 11am-6pm. They’re also on¬†Instagram and Facebook at @WestElmScarsdale and @WestElm.

Below¬†are a few snapshots from Style Redefine¬†Magazine’s Launch Party Event,¬†mostly captured with my iPhone. If using any of the photos below on¬†Instagram or Twitter¬†please show your support by crediting¬†@fotojunki.


Photos By: Ebony Brown @fotojunki | All Rights Reserved | The image below: West Elm Scarsdale in the Vernon Hills Shopping Center, courtesy Google Maps.



Home grown oregano, cut washed and ready to be added to my soup.

Growing Food At Home & A Lesson I Learned

I always imagined growing my own food. Pineapple wasn’t exactly what I had in mind to start, but it was a thoughtful gift from a friend so, I was up for the challenge. Growing this pineapple at home was supposed to defy all odds. Fortunately and unfortunately it was an epic failure. It still looked perky and green after three months, so I was hopeful that it would survive.  First, I repotted it, using a planter purchased at one of my favorite stores, West Elm.  Second, a friend picked up a bag of soil the size of Canada [it was ridiculously huge] from Home Depot and so, I was more than prepared to nurture my new, green, prickly baby. I did my best.

Do you believe that when we let something go, even if its a ‚Äúlittle something‚ÄĚ, that another thing (perhaps the “right” thing, or something better) shows up in its place, or in our life experience?

Although the pineapple died, my will to grow¬†my own food still¬†persisted. Fast forward, a couple of months later, I’m standing in the middle of¬†New York City’s ¬†‚ÄúGrowNYC‚ÄĚ GreenMarket, at one of its Bronx locations.¬†Prior to this,¬†I didn’t know they¬†traveled to the hood.¬†There were fresh greens and farm vendors¬†lined up¬†on an itty – bitty, side¬†street, off of the Grand Concourse, with produce pamphlets everywhere. The street was lit up with bright¬†royal¬†blue and white¬†food cart umbrellas, filled with¬†buzzing, busy, multi-cultural and lingual¬†folks below it,¬†reaching for produce, testing and pressing¬† fruits, while others were¬†running after children, who were¬†playing catch ball with whatever fruits and veggies that¬†they could get there little hands on.¬† I ended up purchasing two,¬†big bunches of Kale for¬†five bucks – one of the main ingredients for my morning green drinks.

Next up, I was on a mission for some¬†fresh¬†oregano; the unsung¬†super food. As¬†I was leaving the herb stand, I heard¬†a¬†voice saying, ‚ÄúCue me, Mees! Mees!‚ÄĚ, or¬†‚ÄúExcuse me,¬†Miss! Miss!‚Ä̬†with¬†a heavy¬†Spanish accent.¬†After¬†turning¬†around, he said ‚ÄúI bring more, its¬†de plant, ok?‚ÄĚ Excited, I said¬†‚ÄúYes, even better!”¬†From a¬†tray of ten,¬†I chose one, paid $4.00, brought it home, watered and windowed¬†it, talked high pitched,¬†baby talk to it while¬†occasionally pinching off some browning leaves.¬†After two weeks, I cut, washed, and¬†plucked the leaves off of the stem; finally adding my fresh oregano to a bowl of minestrone soup.¬†“Heaven,” was the word that came to mind, a place that my stomach and taste buds love to be.

Needless to say, herbs seem to be¬†the sensible starting point for growing¬†food in a small,¬†indoor¬†space such as an apartment; a pineapple ‚Äď not so much. If you have access to sun, water, and a window ceil, then you could grow your own oregano too.¬†Hey, you may even be able to grow a pineapple, or a few¬†given your location, luck and situation.¬†For now,¬†I’m¬†sticking to¬†herbs.¬†

You know what? I do believe that when we let go of something, it is indeed possible that something else (perhaps right for us, or better) will show up in its place, or in our life experience. We need only to be open to it.



This was the baby pineapple after I repotted it (using the Iris Speckled Planter by West Elm), it did so well, then months later, it began to yellow and call for pineapple heaven. So, I let it go.


My oregano plant purchased from the “GrowNYC” GreenMarket in the Bronx.

Cutting one, home grown, oregano stem to add to my soup.

Cutting one, oregano stem to add to my soup.

Home grown oregano, cut washed and ready to be added to my soup.

Home grown oregano, cut washed and ready to be added to my soup.


Home grown oregano, the perfect herbal addition to my minestrone soup!

All photos captured with my iPhone.

Health Benefits of Oregano & More  [Ie. Antifungal, Antibacterial, Anti-Inflammatory and more]
Health Benefits of Kale [Did you know that kale contains ALL the essential amino acids needed in the body?]
GrowNYC.org [New York City’s 5 Borough Farmer’s Market & more]
Find A GreenMarket near you [Greenmarket Co. is a service provided by GrowNYC.org]
WestElm.com¬† [Links to their¬†“planters” search page. I purchased the Iris Speckled Planter on promotion]



The Common Denominator In Your Relationships = You

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We are the COMMON DENOMINATOR in our¬†relationships¬†and life experiences. If those who are close to us,¬†¬†somehow collectively express¬†¬†similar thoughts about¬†our¬†actions¬†(pertaining to our behavior, or¬†habit)¬†¬†because they¬†recognize a pattern of a certain unhappiness, or stress, that seems to consistently¬†follow us,¬†then consider hearing them out, before shutting them down. Hold off on¬† assuming that they’re judging you.¬†Its possible that they only want¬†the best for you and could see something that you, or we may¬†not be able to see;¬†namely, ourselves from the outside¬†looking in.

Its important to¬†¬†do an honest, internal¬†survey of ourselves, including our habits and behavior, especially if we know that something isn’t quite working for us and¬†our stress levels. If someone is¬†bringing something to our attention about our behavior, habits, etc.,¬†¬†getting defensive is natural, but living in denial¬†is unfortunate.¬†We don’t have to become combative; listening should serve us well,¬†especially if they are people who we respect, or love.

Is it possible that everyone who’s telling you the same (not so great) thing about yourself is wrong? Sure, that’s possible, but what IF they’re a little bit right? Its a good thing to have folks in our life, who care enough about¬†us, or you¬†to reach out, ‘bring you back to earth’, and tell you about yourself, when you’ve become¬†consistently unhappy,¬†hard to be around,¬†irritable,¬†¬†negative, or even arrogant. If you’re in the habit of rejecting that kind of honesty or intervention, then how it will manifest is to be determined, but¬†may hurt you further – not them. Everyone isn’t always a “hater”, some folks truly mean well, and are only hoping to help you see something you may not have recognized otherwise.

After all is said and done, taking responsibility for your part in an experience, is almost always a step in the best direction. Listening, checking your own ego, bad habits and choices¬†are even better. Even though we all age, it doesn’t mean that we also mature, but the hope is that we do. Why not be more OPEN to the people who love, or care about us enough to tell¬†us ¬†the truth about ourselves?¬†Why not, do the unthinkable and embrace them even more for their courage, especially if you respect, or¬†love them too, and value¬†the connection that you share?

Love, Light & Peace

© Ebony Brown

P.S. After writing this blog post, I came across the image below in my Facebook newsfeed, and felt compelled to include it! Thanks for posting Sara J. Devlin! A quote by the Dalai Lama and imaging that appears to be credited to “My Renewed Mind”. Image Credit and Copyright remains with the originating source.





Bring Back Our Girls | 200+ Nigerian School Girls Abducted But Not Forgotten

bring-back-our-girls TWO HUNDRED AND SEVENTY SIX Nigerian girls abducted from school. I read it. I heard it. I still can’t believe it, but its true. Unacceptable for even ONE girl – two hundred and seventy six AND counting is mortifying. Stolen to be possibly violated, raped, sold into sex trafficking, slavery, or any part of it done in the name of religion is complete and utter failure on the part of who?¬† The Nigerian government as it pertains to having some sort of order in place to better secure school grounds? Any officials who might have been aware and said, or did nothing to stop it? Or we the people who are learning about it and may feel so far removed from it, or powerless that we do nothing about it?¬†What can we do?

While we cannot save the world and all of its problems, it is possible to contribute and support those who are attempting to do so. Marching, or picketing isn’t the only way to gain visibility, or national attention. The more who are aware and willing to share the information that they have via their social networks, the greater the possibility and pressure created for mass media to investigate and broadcast important, trending stories, such as this one.

The hashtag #BringBackOurGirls has mobilized international action, pushing those in power with resources to take note and ACT now. As the hashtag activism continues on,¬† the U.S. military is flying over Nigeria (with their permission) in search of the girls.¬† While I am hoping for the best, there is skepticism out there that the price Nigeria will pay for accepting outside help is some form of vulnerability to the not so publicized, alleged, hidden, imperialist agendas and interests of the international communities flocking to their aide given Nigeria’s economic growth.

There’s so¬† much work to be done here, work that extends beyond prayer, but definitely includes it. If we’re humble,¬† we’d count our blessings everyday. If we’re committed to growing, we’d work to be better than we were yesterday as an individual, as a family, as a friend, as a business, as an educational, or health institution, as a community, as a country, as a government, a continent, as a planet! There will be certain things in which we may feel initially powerless, and this could be exactly that. In any case, let’s hope for best and do whatever we can to be supportive in our own way.

If any of those girls were your daughter, or child, what would you do?

More About This Story:
ALGEZEERA: http://alj.am/1iPkUw9 |U.S. Military Flying Planes Over Nigeria to Find Missing Girls
REUTERS: http://reut.rs/1sJPLNI | Nigeria Signals Readiness To Talk To Boko Haram Rebels
ABC NEWS: http://abcn.ws/1mS9hZk | What We Know About The Kidnapped Nigerian Girls
CNN: http://cnn.it/1qzQW4A | Amnesty: Nigeria Warned of Boko Haram Raid At Girls School Failed To Act
CNN: http://cnn.it/RMv32p | Scared But Alive: Video Purports To Show Abducted Nigerian Girls
BBC: http://bbc.in/1nJKxzh | Nigeria Kidnapped Girls ‘Shown in Boko Haram Video’




[Image Credit In Post: Unknown. Copyright remains with originating image creator/source.]

[Image Credit On Home Page: Courtesty¬†¬© Pierre Holtz | UNICEF] | I’ve never been to Africa, but when I go, I hope to capture as beautiful of a shot as Pierre Holtz has done.]

2014-02-23 22.17.39 HDR

The Train Ride

2014-02-23 22.17.39 HDR


Snowy and cold, I boarded a Metro North Train with four grocery bags. Two in each hand. They’re freezing, heavy, and my fingers are about to fall off.¬† After a quick scan for an empty seat, floors wet, with newspaper slush all over the place, I see one – a three ‘seater’ and sit right on the aisle, where I’m being slapped with passing jackets, purses and stuff that people are carrying as they try to settle in. A deep sigh of relief, I sit back into my seat, and gesture to put the heaviest bag, in the middle seat next to me, but in it, is a big, blue, overstuffed, stubborn book bag belonging to the woman sitting on the other side of it, in the window seat.

“Excuse me” I say, and she ignores me, making absolutely no effort scoot her bag over, not even a little bit. She only put her arm on it, as if to protect it, and so, our conversation went a little something like this:

Me: Hello mam. Excuse me? Could we share this middle seat, and could you move your bag over just a little bit, so I can put my bag down too, please?

Her: [silence…she looks in my direction, but not at me, and turns her head]

Me: [silence…I release the bag in my other hand and just as I’m about to scoot her bag over she tersely says…]

Her: My Bag is HERE.

Me: Mam, I’m carrying grocery bags, four of them and this one is really heavy, could we please share this middle seat, half and half?

Her: […she looks in my direction again, not at me, but this time with a dirty look]

Me: How many fares did you pay?

Her: [Irritated, she looks in my direction, throwing my question back at me with a heavy Spanish accent…] How many fares did YOU pay? One. I paid the same as you!

Me: Ok then, we paid the same, so could you move your bag over, so that I can use this middle seat too? Can we share it?

Her: [My words fly and crash into her invisible doors – ears wide shut. She is loud silence, but the faint sound of railroad tracks, breaks the tension. She takes out her phone and starts playing a slot machine game, a loud one]

Me: [My mind speeds off in fast forward mode, snatching the phone and stomping it into a million, wet pieces with pleasure. Snapping out of that thought, with a deep breath, I said to her…] Do you think its right to act like this?

Her: [Totally appalled and even disgusted that I’m still talking to her, she says…] Its my bag, oh my God! [Rolling her eyes, and muttering something Spanish under her breath. She continued to play her game]

Me: [In the calmest voice (after some quiet, repetitive “woosahs”), I said…] Mam, Why would a beautiful woman such as yourself, act so immature? What I asked for is simple, common courtesy stuff. Older people always speak about how the younger generation is so disrespectful and here you are completely acting as if you’re not a grown adult, And saying “Oh my God” is supposed do what? God doesn’t like ugly and that’s exactly what your behavior is right now. [My phone rang and at this point, my heavy bag is partially on top of hers and partially on my lap]

Her: [Continues to play the game]

Me: [Currently on the phone, I explain the situation to the person on the other end and conclude with, “I think she may not like Black people, or something, its as if she’s disgusted that I even sat next to her. I wasn’t rude at all, and still with her seeing me struggle with these bags, and us paying the same fair, she hasn’t moved her bag, let me shut up and get off the phone. Maybe she’s racist and hates black people, not me specifically, but just black people in general, I shouldn’t take it personal, I’ll talk to you later, I’m being rude, talking about this with her here, next to me.” So, I hung up the phone. My train stop was next. My face is utter heartbreak and I am deep-breath, offended, out of words, restless. I begin to gather my things.]

Her: [She turns to me with softened eyes, and say…] I’m sorry.

Me: Ok. [I stand up, and start putting my bags onto my wrists, but on top of the coat, for some relief]

Her: [She grabs me, the arm that has all the bags on it already, and she say’s] Mommy!!! I’m so, so, so sorry! Oh my God, please forgive me! [She said as if she’s seen a ghost]

Me: [I’m stunned, but warmed in that moment] I forgive you. Its OK.

Her: [All of a sudden, and desperate for my forgiveness, she seemed surprised, but thankful, and smiled.]

Me: [I smiled back and stepped off the train, bumping a few people in aisle seats, on my way out, these bags had a mind of their own, and home was on my mind]

[Photo Credit: Ebony Brown (c) 2014]


Stop Trying To Change Her/Him

ebonybrownfotojunkibyAlexAllenPeople will not, and should not BE, who YOU want them to be, live how you want them to live, do what you want them to do, everyone is an individual.¬† They’re not YOU, him, her, or “them”. If you are an adult trying to control, change, adjust, tweak, shape, or mold another ADULT’S ways, then you probably need some fixing yourself, or love, lots of love, some healthy self love, and probably a dose of self respect too.

If you NEED someone else to change in order for you to feel more happy, or comfortable in your life, then consider that you are possibly running away from something that you’re not quite dealing with as best as you could. That, it really may be something about yourself that you don’t like, and you’re possibly dealing with it, by trying to change that thing in someone else.

What happy and humble human would put their undying efforts into trying to change a person that they love, or guilt them into being anything other than what they are? Beautifully imperfect, I’d like to believe that most of us are a work in progress.¬† People learn and grow at their own pace, sometimes SPACE is better than all the words, or gestures allegedly intended to help. Intention is one thing, but reality is another. You could MEAN well, but if it isn’t received well, then what difference are you making in someone’s life? How do you know for sure that you’re helping?

If you’ve ever felt your soul draining right out of you, taking with it years of your life, because someone isn’t acting “right” and you’re trying to get them to see the light, or be “better”, then I’m talking to you, as well as those who are on the receiving end, constantly being told to change. Every situation is different and of course there are exceptions. The thing is, if you want something, or someone better, then go in the direction of YOUR desired “better” (whatever that is for you), or simply choose to love more, rather than focus on what you don’t like, need, or want. If you’re on the receiving end of what feels like someone trying to change something about you, (including something that you and others actually have come to accept, or respect) then stay strong and humble – just live your life. Who was born to please everyone? Exactly. No one!

The people who were meant to be in your life, will be in your life and those who weren’t will fade, just like that. Learn the lesson of whatever the experience has brought you. Just be YOU. The real you. Who else could you possibly be? To love someone unconditionally may be hard at times, but its not impossible. Please folks, lets focus on what is possible, or what we can make possible. Its always best to start with ourselves, and the decisions that we make. If you love someone, stop trying to change them, love them better, support them, or let them go.





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