I love watching others incorporate bold leopard prints to their collection, observing  from a distance how transformative this pattern can be. Paired with black jeans, a leopard blazer for example, conveys both a dash of rock-n-roll flair and sophistication.

Yet, I’ve always been skeptical of intergrading leopard patterns in my own wardrobe. This is partly due to some entrenched trauma inherited during the 80s (think Milli Vanilli, Mr. T, Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, and the endless list of 80’s icon.) Sheesh!

I know without a doubt that those who like me lived through the 80s can relate (don’t pretend guys!) You know loud animal prints were the deal back in the days! But as someone whose fashion bent lies more towards a minimalist utilitarian style, nothing evokes more trauma than some bold animal prints!

Okay, but kidding aside, part of evolving is shedding your old skin and it is in this animal spirit (no pun attended) that I’ve decided to drop all of my antiquated bias and embrace new changes and I couldn’t be more happier to have taken that risk! And if can do it, so can you!

Cheers to risk taking!

xx, Kenza

 

 

 

photo credit: kenza-sounia johnson

  1. Blazer: Banana Republic 
  2. Jeans: Zara 
  3. Purse: Zara

 

Happy Monday earthlings!  So today, I’d like to address a myth I have seen circulating around for the longest. Have you seen the hashtag #frenchwomendontgetfat?   Well honey, I’m here to tell you that this is a myth and one that is toxic. I’m not here to throw shade at all my beautiful  fellow skinny french women, but this myth not only upholds a toxic reality but is one  women have been holding on to like a tight-fisted mother unwilling to let go her child. Well let me shatter some of these toxic beliefs for you and be the voice of long gone reason in a world where perfection drives young girls to develop low self-esteem. I am a French woman, a Parisian at that and have curves for days. I have struggled all my life with weight issues. As a Kid in Paris I used to be bullied for my weight, not being tall enough, and being chubby. This has led me to develop a low self-body esteem and a distorted self-image along with a slew of unhealthy issues: think self-deprecation, not feeling worthy enough, pretty enough…. Sadly, France has yet to embrace full-sized women in all of their glory. This is unfortunate and an entrenched belief French people have been clinging on for the longest.  I have created this blog to not only dismantle these archaic  beauty cannons that uphold patriarchy, but to show that French women come in all sizes, shapes and color.  Body self-positivity should not be limited to the US. France has a lot of work to do in this regard, but also realize that overcoming weight bias is a complicated dilemma for a country like France whose uncontested title of fashion capital of the world has built its reputation on embracing impossible beauty standard to uphold to.   So here I am to prove that differences are to be celebrated, embraced with no reservation.  I am French, Parisian, voluptuous 5’2 petite woman of color who is staunchly determined to smash the French woman skinny stereotype, spreading awareness while raising body positivity to inspire girls and women to come out their shells! So here is my new hashtag #curvyfrenchwomenrock

xx, Kenza

 

 

Photo credit: Kenza-Sounia Johnson

  1. Oversized white blouse: Banana Republic
  2. Sandals: Birkenstock 
  3. Optical: LA Eyeworks 

Hello earthlings! It’s been quiet some time since I’ve posted on this blog. To be brutally honest,  after my 2018 trip to Paris, I didn’t think I would be back here blogging again. So many things have poured into my life: good, bad, ugly, you name it! A lot of verbiage to say that life knocked me upside down in a major way. For starters: mid-life crisis, self-doubts, not being where I wanted to be in life or in my career; but I have come to realize that being too hard on myself serves me no purpose.

Striving for perfection is a hard undertaking, but striving for greatness in a city like Los Angeles where one’s individual worth largely rests on one’s success is down right agonizing. MY truth is that my life has been anything but an easy hand-out, but somehow, somewhat I am still here, I still stand, determined to put on my best meryl streep face on, and conquer this world one blog post at a time. So Cheers to New Beginnings, mes amis.

xx, Kenza

 

What’s up earthlings! So I headed to Le Marché de Saint-Denis and was so thrilled to be back there after many months.  For those of you into markets, think of grand central Market Downtown LA pre-renovation and pre-gentrification. It’s pretty much like GCML only way bigger.

Saint-Denis market is a Marché that boasts delicacies from all corners of the world. I love the multi-ethnic vibe of Saint-Denis with its vibrant Pan African community, people hailing from Algeria, Morroco, Tunisia, Senegal, Mali, Gana as well as from Haiti, Martinique, and Guadeloupe.

It is such an eclectic medieval town with an old-world feel nestled on the outskirts of Paris at the very end of line 13 which services Saint-Denis Basilique Station.  Those looking for a real Marché experience will not be disappointed. Produced are not only very fresh but also artisenal.  (no gmos, steroids, hormones) Anything can be found: from rare earthy spices hailing from distant locations like Madagascar, India and Cape Verde to North African Merguez, Fresh Turbo, cod, shark and sardines, plantains, couscous, baklavas, butternut squashes, Herbes de provence and so much more.

The hustle and bustle of working-class immigrants shuffling their feet through narrow streets with their shopping caddy trailing right behind, on a mission to buy food. There is a beauty about Saint-Denis and its people which is rarely showcased on national television. I feel that France’s image tends to only showcase the glossy side of its country but seeing and being on the pulse of everyday life is so important. For me at least, it is one of the top highlight of my trip and if you’re headed that way (which you should!), the Marché opens on Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

xx, Kenza

photography credit © kenza johnson

With only 5 days left in Paris, I headed out to Les Puces de Clignancourt flea market also known as Les Puces De Saint Ouen or “Les Puces,” a sprawling market recognized as the largest flea market in the world.  Today was an overwhelming day as I wanted to scour every nook and cranny and find something to take back home to Los Angeles. Alas, I was met by two obstacles: the rain and this damn baggage limit imposed by international custom–argh. You can only imagine my frustration. It’s like everything was calling my name. Though disappointed, I am that much more committed to head out to Paris again with empty suitcases and load-up on unique vintage finds. On a brighter side of things, I managed to get a beautiful carved Senegalese turtle and had fun negotiating down the price with a very nice Senegalese Vendor, and despite the heavy rain, I enjoyed window shopping and discovering unique artworks, contemporary as well as more historic gems. If you are visiting Paris, I highly recommend checking out this flea. Besides antiques, you can find tons of hand me down items, clothes, funky objects, old vinyl for you music heads out there. It’s diverse, nothing pompous, you’ll get a first-hand experience of what Paris feels like.  There are many bistros all around where you can stop, grab a bite, and get back to your shopping!

xx, Kenza

 

Photography credit © Kenza Johnson