#ICONS (3)

Meet the lovely Ms. Latrice Staten!!


Black w/ white polka dot ruffle shirt by Sunny Leigh
Mustard mid-length skirt purchased at the Thrift Store
Patent Leather peep toe strappy 4″ heel Preview International
Jewelry: Oversized black button earrings
Black stone necklace, black bangle & pearl bracelet.
Hair & Make-up done by Latrice

Meet Latrice Staten! She was born in Carbondale, IL, and has lived in the Chicagoland area since she was 6 years old.

She’s been blessed with several gifts and talents. The ones that are most dear to her heart are assisting individuals with their personal and professional needs, and music. She has most recently had the opportunity to serve as the Special Assistant to the President of the Music Auxiliary of the National Baptist Convention of USA, INC.!

She is currently the Minister of Music at Calvary MB Church, where her passion of music and teaching are utilized the most. She has been blessed to have several opportunities to share the stage with many of Gospel’s greatest artists!

She is the most happiest when she’s around her family, close friends and her Miniature Daschaund Triniti.

Please join me in welcoming the beautiful and “sweet-spirited” Ms. Latrice Staten!


How Does This Thing Work?! (13)

Ever wonder how relationships work?

Ever ponder whether or not it’s even worth the risk of heartache?  Or even the potential of having/meeting the one true love of your life?  It’s definitely not an easy task to take on, and you have to be comfortable (or content, if that makes you feel better) w the fact that the RISK is EQUAL TO the potential REWARD…I mean you REALLY have to come to grips w that…

Well…I took a class, back in the Fall of 2010 at my church.  It was the first time that this course was offered for people who may be thinking of (and who had questions regarding) long-term relationships i.e. #MARRIAGE.  Since that is something I am considering in my future, I wanted to know WHY I was even considering such a covenant (even though a healthy marriage was on FULL DISPLAY in my home w my Parents).  The title of the class? “Before We Say I Do”, based off of a book written by Marvin A. McMickle.  This is the book that my Father uses for his couples going thru pre-marital counseling (my Father is a Pastor and a mighty good one).  The book talks about 7 Steps To A Healthy Marriage, and the Chapter Titles are Faith, Friendship, Frankness, Forgiveness, Fidelity, Finance, and Family (even if you do not desire marriage, this book is a GREAT read). The book goes into SERIOUS depth about all of those things, and even shows how all of them are connected.  In the course we watched movie snippets, had class exercises–some were men vs women lol–and we talked openly about our fears and what we were looking forward to in marriage.  There were plenty of single parties in the course…some engaged couples, even some couples ALREADY married, but looking to get a better understanding of how they could be better IN their marriage.  I later came to find out that some of the couples that were in the class parted ways.  And I just wondered if maybe they figured out (for themselves) that it just wasn’t worth the risk…?

One HUGE point that will ALWAYS stick out from that class is the fact that it will always be a challenge bringing two different households together.  Your mate was shaped by their families, or lack thereof, as were you.  However, you should come together and be in agreement on the MAJOR things (refer back to the 7 chapter titles above).  For example, if your significant other prefers to smoke his/her life away and hang out in the streets every chance he/she gets, and you are not interested in those things, problems will arise.  If BOTH of you are “shoppers” vs one being a shopper and one being a saver, or BOTH of you being tight wads w the funds, then oh yes indeedington…problems will arise LMAO.  If you are one w a strong work ethic, realizing the absolute truth of “if you don’t work, you don’t eat”, and your significant other can’t hold a job due to reasons such as “I don’t like people telling me what to do” (yet AINT STARTED ANRA-NARRY BUSINESS TO BRING IN REVENUE, but thinks he/she gives sound advice on HOW to move around in life), problems will arise.  Not saying that the two of you can’t have different views on things, but on the MAJOR things though?  Yeah…you’re gonna have a problem if those don’t mesh.  If you don’t like sports and he/she does, fine.  If you aren’t interested in sushi and he/she is, that’s fine.  If he/she thinks the idea of “money well spent” means how many times you buy up the bar at various clubs though…you get where I’m going w this.

**So how DOES it work?  You have to communicate; LISTEN; be honest about what you want; be straight forward about what you will and will not deal with; learn the definition of the word “compromise”; be supportive; show RESPECT…and while you’re doing all of things, don’t lose yourself during the process and pursuit of a healthy relationship. It’s always been ok to just be YOU…so why change what attracted them to you in the first place?  It’s scary to love someone, and allow yourself to be close to them…risky, yet rewarding; I’m all for it…

**–this paragraph in particular is also relative in platonic/familial relationships, not JUST intimate ones…#CLEVER huh?



#ICONS (2)

Meet the Blog Owner, Ms. Lauran A. Smith!


(Left): Pink off the shoulder top and denim inspired leggings by Exhiliration; brown furry wedged heel boots w suade laces by Aldo; hair by Kelly Jay of Chicago; jewelry by Tiffany and Co. and Gucci; nail polish by OPI, manicurist (Audria Dawne); eyebrows by Lauran

(Right): turquoise v-neck top by Hollister; itty bitty denim shorts by Mossimo; gold sandals by Armani Exchange; handbag by Aldo; watch and necklace by Gucci; hair and earrings by Kelly Jay of Chicago; nail polish by China Glaze, manicurist (Audria Dawne); eye shadow and brows by Lauran

I was born and raised in Memphis, TN and relocated to Chicago, IL w my Parents and two younger siblings at the age of twelve. I’m a graduate of Southern IL University-Carbondale w a Bachelor’s in English, a woman of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., a mentor w Big Brothers Big Sisters, a recording artist, and a hair product/mimosa/Starbucks junkie, to name a few! My eternal occupation is CEO of my PR Firm PRbyELLE77: “thELLEffect”, which specializes in all things relative to social media. My company was founded on the principle of making life a little bit easier for the busy business, in need of a social media presence! For more information on what PRbyELLE77 can do for you, please email us at PRbyELLE77@gmail.com and we will respond to you within 24 hours, if not sooner!

I am most passionate about family, love, writing, encouraging others, being a successful young business owner, volunteering my time, and singing. It is a beautiful thing when you can wake up every morning and be blessed enough to do the things that you love. Thanks for reading! It’s been my pleasure!


Lemme Just…(12)

…let you in on how good I feel.

Whenever I sit alone, I’m nestled by this feeling. I wake up in the morning smiling because of something I remember hearing. I can’t explain why it can stop me dead in my tracks and make me forget EVERYTHING I may have been doing. I cry because of it; I laugh because of it; I sing because of it; I LIVE because of it.

It was an instrumental piece in my Parents’ marriage, and it has brought comfort to crying babies. It COMPLETELY makes you escape from reality, and only makes you wonder why some things couldn’t all be this simple. Some people can tell by the look in my eyes, and others in the way that I walk. It’s especially different from anything that I’ve ever felt, and it’s the only thing that can take me through so many DIFFERENT emotions at one time…

My life has not been the same since I’ve been able to feel like this. I think to myself “I’m so INTO you”…and that warms my heart in such a way, just to even say it. I sometimes sit in my car and the feeling rushes over me instantly. I feel it even when I’m in the salon, on a plane, reading a book, watching Good Times, or even about to get my rest for the evening. It’s just CONSUMING, overwhelming, weakening…it won’t let go of me, and I’m not letting go of it. I wrestle w it because it feels so good. Something that feels THIS GOOD should really be a crime.

Only God could make something so beautiful…and I’m unashamedly and apologetically addicted. It’s like pieces of me are in the stars, and my epiphany?…is knowing that I’m soooooo gone. It’s soothing during a summer rain, it’s comfort when it’s cold outside, and I absolutely goooootta have it.

Nope…it’s not how I feel about #Sir (he is some kinda wonderful though)…

It’s what music does to me. Sir one day told me ‘you ARE music’. As long as music can make a person feel THIS good…I will certainly answer to that name…

(p.s.-if you paid attention, I dropped some song titles in this blog…see if you can pick them out!)



#ICONS (1)

May18th is the start of my Ordinary Fashion-Icon Series! And I’m excited to introduce to some and present to others:

Mr Brian Wesley Smith!


Shirt: Urban Behavior

Pants: Penguin

Bowtie (self-tie): Jos A. Bank

Belt: Burberry

Shoes: Tom’s

Watch: G-Shock by Casio

Brian was born in Memphis, TN. However, at the age of five, was raised in Chicago, IL upon a move w his Parents and two older siblings. Brian currently works as Minister of Music at his local church, and also works full time at a popular Chicago Dental Office!

Brian is most passionate about his gift of singing. He has been singing since the age of two, and his voice has been heard in productions such as La Amistad (Chicago), Dream Girls (Chicago), on various recording projects w artists such as JKwest and Cinque Cullar, and he was also a finalist on Sunday Best, Season Three!

Please join me in welcoming my First Fashion-Icon Mr Brian W Smith!


When Is It Too Much? (11)

Per my blog #3 lol, I am very much in tune w who I am and what works for me.  I am a “go against the grain” type of person anyways…so I’ve never been the type to copy/bite someone else’s style or ideas.  Yes I share similar views w my friends and family, but I am VERY different in the way I think and approach things. I’m a Twitter fanatic; I tweet ALL day long and into the evening (part of it is business related; there is a method to my madness), and some of the things that I see on my timeline frequently prompted this blog note actually…I’m just wondering…when is “it” (whatever “it” may be) too much?  I’ll tell you what I think.

Let’s go.

Welp…for starters let me throw out my disclaimer: If you are extra “churchy” or “super saved”, you may wanna bypass this next paragraph; how bout bypass this blog note itself.  I’m not against religion/spirituality/etc., because God IS my All and All, however I’m bout to hit on the subject soooooo…you’ve been warned.  You may proceed…oh and I do indeed make me up some words :O)!

At the end of the day, you can tweet or Instagram or FB about aaaaaaaaaaaaanything you want…that’s your social media page…but to be inundated w scripture, bashing others for sins (when you’ve neglected to pull that big dumb tree out of your own eye), saying what you will and won’t do, had it been you in someone else’s shoes?  Too much.  Are you aware that there is no sin on earth that weighs HEAVIER or LESS THAN another sin?  Me even #THINKING that someone is ugly, and then hearing about Joe Blow murdering Jack Black on the news is weighed the EXACT same.  To add, the eeeeeeeeeeeextra extra churchy ones are also (on MY timeline anyway) the ones seeking to be in a relationship most times…and BAD.  I’m not saying hide God or your belief in Him from anyone; but have you ever thought about how your super-saint-ism attitude might appear (to a potential mate) to be somewhat judgmental? NO ONE will come to you perfect; people have different levels of relationship w God (some may not have one AT ALL, then what), and you may be scaring someone off w the way YOU COME off…believe it or not, you being super churchy doesn’t make you perfect.  Please though…by all means, do you (blog #3); however just consider how you may sound.  Just be honest w yourself.  Yeeeeeeeaaah…it’s too much.

I love God on some for real face-in-the-floor-type-of-worshipping Him…in that, I get angry at Him sometimes–I’m honest w myself and Him.  I have expressed to Him how I am so hurt and angry about the death of my Mom; I have days when I am a “sailor” (feel me); I get discouraged about things sometimes; I cry out of frustration; I hurt when people that I love have said or done something to offend me; so there is absolutely no way that I will deny my true feelings.  God is good, most CERTAINLY.  That will never change; I’m not trying to convince a person to believe anything different.  I just know that I get beyond frustrated talking to a person who just cannot have a “conversation”.  I don’t want to be hit w a scripture every single time I turn around; I just want to talk.  For example, my Father is a Pastor.  Extra churchy people (or otherwise people living in a world of stereotypes) might think that any conversation that I have w him would have some type of “bible study” attached.  Nope.  My Daddy is a “Dad”; he understands me as his #only Daughter (I’m a brat, sue me), and he knows my hurts.  He accepts me completely–may not always be happy w the things that I do lol–but he wants nothing but the best for me.  I can have a conversation w him and God doesn’t even come up.  When we are talking about my hair (he asked about it this morning in our Starbucks) God didn’t come up in that conversation.  When talking about the NATO summit, or what he wants to do for Father’s Day, not one mention of God.  It doesn’t mean that he loves the Lord any less, but he ALSO knows that I, along w anyone else that he is having a conversation with, won’t have to be hit w scripture every second of every conversation.  And HE’S a Pastor; he gets it.  He is the perfect example of “just right” w that thing lbvs.

The naked avi pics…too much (yes this goes for guys too).  Think more of yourselves than to think you are actually attracting the “guy or girl of your dreams” w that naked mess going on; even if you aren’t trying to attract the “one”, it’s still too much.  Then you wanna get mad when you get the type of attention you get?  What’d you just post to twitter though…too much.  The discussion on whether same gender loving parties should be “allowed” to have the same freedoms that heterosexuals have…too much.  I was having a conversation w one of my PHrat brothers JUST YESTERDAY about this same topic; when you meet your Maker, you will have your own sins to answer for; why are you concerned about what someone else is doing?  I meeeeean and folks are MAD about it; chill out; it’s too much.  The ballers who still live at home, though…too much.  LOL of COURSE you can shop til you drop if you have no other responsibilities.  Ballers truly “ball out” when they have their own…stop it; too much.  I don’t know lol my timeline rocks though; but some people just do THEEEEE MOSTNESS (told yall I make up words), and every single person w a twitter/FB/Instagram/etc account has someone like that.  Whether you say it or not, you’re thinking “now you are doing too much”. Ha!

We have so many other things to worry about…there is too much unemployment, too much hunger, too much poverty, too much murder, too much rivalry for no reason…too much.  It’s never “too much” to help someone get a job, to feed a person, to educate a person/help someone get a trade so that they can have a better life, NEVER too much of that.  I would rather someone say stuff like “she supports small businesses in her community too much”, or “he talks about ending violence too much”…that even sounds stupid to say, but don’t ever be surprised at how some people think.  Again, tweet til your fingers fall off; because I most certainly will continue to get my tweet ON; I’m a writer; I will always have a lot to say.  I guess I just want you to really think about what #you allow others to perceive about you when you dish out certain things, alongside of the whole “perception is reality” piece.  I actually give a flip about people “making it” out here and getting their heart’s desires; don’t kill your character before you have the chance.



Tribute to My Queen…My Mama (10)

My Mother’s Day Celebrations are full of what you see below…looking at pictures, visiting her mausoleum, and just reflecting on the Mother that God gave to me.  And boy was she AWESOME…

You know how a person just knows you?  How something just “fits”?  You and your boo mesh well together; you and your best friend could talk for hours in your own made up language; you and your child (if you are a parent) have your own special time of play together.  Well…there is no other woman on this here earth–NOT ANYWHERE–that could have been my Mother. She knew me sooooooooooooo well…she could tell how I was feeling from an email I would send…even if I was trying to be chipper.  She knew what certain looks in my eyes meant, even if I tried to keep them covered.  She had a way w me that only she and I understood fully.

I have so many fond memories of my life and times w my Mom, and one of the things I will never forget was the way she put together my 30th Birthday Celebration.  It would appear that she created my “wedding reception”…almost like she knew she’d never see the day that I would become a Wife.  She made sure I had the perfect dress, paper invitations (no evites), plated dinner for my guests, two cakes, a wardrobe change, and last but certainly not least, my Daddy walking me into the room.  I had guests speak about me and what they learned from me, the evening was videotaped, my guests also did video messages to me, eeeeeeeverything resembled a wedding reception.  And it was in pure Barbara Fashion. We went back and forth about that party so much, and I almost didn’t want to have it. But I’m glad that I did; I realized what she was trying to do, and I didn’t fight her anymore…she knew that her time was short, and that she had to do SOMETHING to show me a glimpse of what my wedding day would be like (nope…Lauran will NOT be having the big, DUMB, stereotypical, First Daughter Wedding day…that’s for another blog LOL).

I am saddened by the fact that my future children will never get to smell her, hear her sing, hear her laugh, watch her play-fuss at me, just experience the essence of the First Queen that I’ve ever known.  But…because I am my Mother’s Child, I have a responsibility to them to be an example of a God-fearing, strong and nurturing Mother that my Mom actually groomed me to be, by being such an example.  She would be proud of the woman I have become.

As I close, due to the influx of tears that continue to fall as I type, I have to say:

God, I truly thank You for seeing fit for me to have such a wonderful example of a Mom. You knew, before I was formed, what I needed and WHO I needed to mold me into a Queen.  I thank you for not giving me a neglectful set of Parents.  I have been blessed beyond measure w the woman that only THIS woman can call Mom.  You are my everything, God, and because of your love, I still feel her around me.  She is always in my thoughts; not a day goes by that I don’t think about her, and not one day ends without me thinking about how blessed SHE is to be w You.  Thank You for my Mom.
Please send her my love and tell her that I miss her..



31 Day Challenge! Are You Ready? (9)

This came to me when I was looking at my calender, lining up my models for my “Ordinary Fashion-Icon of the Week” Series (go to http://www.thellexpress.com/ for more info on submission).

At any rate, how bout a 31 Day Challenge?  Who’s up for doing something kind and/or otherwise “out of your ordinary routine” for the next 31 days?  I love the Photo A Day Challenge that I participate in on my Instagram account, however my challenge will be more than photos; it will be “action”.

You can certainly pull my blog up from your mobile devices, but if you’d like for me to send you this challenge via email, shoot me over an email requesting same to: PRbyELLE77@gmail.com and I will gladly forward the challenge to you.  Have fun!  As always, starting EVERY SINGLE DAY off w prayer/bible study/worship of some kind will work wonders for your day…that is a given; no need for me to list that as part of the challenge.

May9: Send a silly text to your closest friend
May10: Drink water as your ONLY beverage for the ENTIRE DAY
May11: Before going out, call a friend/sibling/parent/etc and ask them how their day was today
May12: (depending on what time you start your Saturday), find your favorite quote and send it to twitter
May13: Besides wishing your Mother a Happy Mother’s Day, send up a prayer for those who never knew their Moms, have no relationship w their Moms, or those who have lost their Moms
May14: Exchange a pleasantry w a co-worker
May15: HAND WRITE (yes lol) a letter to someone special and tell them how they make you feel
May16: Smile at and speak to a baby! If you don’t see one, ask someone close to you how their kid is doing
May17: Eat fruit as your only snack
May18: Wear something blue, take a picture of it and post to twitter
May19: Cook a hearty breakfast
May20: Tell one of the leaders in your church (your Pastor, Ministry Leader, Sunday School teacher) just how much you appreciate their leadership–this will motivate them
May21: Exchange a pleasantry w a co-worker
May22: Post to twitter, w a hashtag of #WORDOFTHEDAY, a new word that you’ve added to your vocab
May23: Listen to some soothing music and tell us who the artist is via twitter
May24: Report about something positive that happened to you so far this week (either something someone did, or something you did for another person)
May25: Take a pic of your beverage of choice
May26: Take a pic of how you look first thing in the morning (lol I BET yall won’t do it)
May27: Call someone close to you and SING/RAP the verse to your favorite song to them, and hang up the phone lmao don’t even say hello, just start singing/rapping
May28: MEMORIAL DAY!! Tell us what’s on your plate!!!
May29: Exchange a pleasantry w a coworker
May30: Share w us something positive you read, and post it or a link to find it on twitter
May31: Eat ice cream
June1: Congratulate someone on an achievement (perfect time to do this…it’s graduation time for a lot of people!)
June2: Watch an old tv show (i.e. GOOD TIMES, I Love Lucy lol) and laugh OUT LOUD
June3: Go and speak to an elderly person/ask them how their day is going
June4: Exchange a pleasantry w a co-worker
June5: Wear something black, take a picture of it and post it to twitter
June6: Ask your mgmt person how your performance has been over a 30-day period
June7: Pass along employment information to someone looking for a job
June8: When you get home from your work day, stop and sit for approximately 5 minutes in TOTAL silence and reflect on your week
June9: Do something to give back to your community i.e. patronize a community business, donate to a cause, etc

*items in bold are dates symbolizing the “start” of a work week…positive encounters will work wonders for a person’s day*

Thanks for participating!



Could YOU be the next feature in "Ordinary Fashion-Icon of the Week"?? FIND OUT!!


Beginning Friday May18, I will be entering ordinary, yet stylish people into an “Ordinary Fashion-Icon of the Week” series!

The posts will be placed on THIS blog site: www.thELLExpress.wordpress.com EACH Friday, and it will feature Icons displaying their fashion independence. We all know that celebrities get their fair share of exposure w photos/fashion choices/etc, but I want to make YOU feel special and feature your own personal style!

If you know you are fashion-savvy, and would like for the world to get a glimpse at your personal style, please forward to me via email at PRbyELLE77@gmail.com :

A full length photo of you, showing your outfit from head to toe

A full description of your outfit (i.e. ruffled blouse, tailored suit w cuff links, spiked clutch bag, distressed denim…you get the idea lol)

Your name/Occupation/Where you are from/What you are most passionate about

I will send you an email letting you know the exact date I will be using your photo; at which time, you can tell your friends to go to the site for your own personal debut! Everyone deserves a positive light! What better way than to shine in your own personal fashion sense! Reminder emails will be sent to the icons, letting them know that their fashion debut date is fastly approaching!

*Please Ma’am, Please Sir: Absolutely NO naked or otherwise offensive photos, as they will not be submitted to the blog; all photos are subject to approval prior to submission*

Good Luck!



I don’t really dig sports all THAT much, so this isn’t a blog about any recent injuries (prayers out to those who are dealing w injuries though…).  I’m talking about the injuries we have that either life has provided, or the ones we give ourselves.  Yep…even you are injured.

Let’s get to it.

FOR EXAMPLE…I am “injured” or “wounded”…not from any past relationships or anything like that (those wounds have since healed), but my heart has a slight “tear/rip”.  For those who are not truly familiar w me, my Mom passed away January 22, 2009 from a cancer called Multiple Myeloma.  She actually outlived the actual life expectancy OF the disease, but God called her on home…it was just painful to watch such a vibrant being lose all strength.  This is my heart’s tear.  (wait…lemme do this right quick…)

DISCLAIMER: I am in NO WAY looking for any sympathy; however the world needs to know that not ALL injuries are PHYSICAL in nature.

(back to original thought) Ok.  The “injury” that my heart has sustained is the loss of my Parent.  My Mother; the woman who carried me for nine months, endured 27 hours of labor to bring me here, and loved me unconditionally.  Dealing w her passing is a DAILY struggle, and in all honesty, this is one of those wounds that won’t ever FULLY close…feel me?  Grief is one hell of a road trip…

You may not have this same type of scar; this is an injury that “life” provided to me and my family.  And it’s actually ok. But this doesn’t qualify as an injury that was self-inflicted; oooooooooooooh let’s step over into that room…

What about the person in your life, whether it be friends/family members/WHOEVER, who is truly “no good”?  Not all relationships that are bad for us will be the boyfriend/girlfriend type stuff…think about the “toxins” that you allow into your space…if someone is always “slick” jabbing you, but always ending it w a “just kidding”…watch out.  SOME of those people are genuinely your peeps, and are just kidding…but there are those who will secretly seek to sabotage your success.  Your circle should be small; the circle of people who you share your dreams/goals w should be EVEN SMALLER.  Keeping “toxins” around you due to feelings of obligation, or because you have history w them?  SELF-INFLICTED WOUNDS.  There is no logical reason that a person who brings about harm and discord should be allowed to remain in your space. Their constant presence only reopens or KEEPS open your own SELF-INFLICTED WOUND…don’t you love yourself? Sooooo pouring salt into a paper cut, for example, actually “feels good” to you? Ha!

I don’t knooooooooooooooow…if you constantly reflected on WHO is in your circle, and what they bring to your life, you’d have to honestly ask “is this to my benefit or detriment?”.  It’s really time out for assuming that certain affiliations will bring about perfect relationships; stop buying proverbial “band-aids”; you’re “wasting money”, and your self-inflicted wound will never heal, because you cause the pain to “self”. Life’s injuries don’t have to kill you; just care enough about yourself to understand that some things just aren’t your fault.  Some injuries are unavoidable…what are you doing about the ones that ARE?