Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Decisions, Decisions

Awhile ago I shared with you guys that I was mulling over what to do next with the blog. I've finally decided to focus solely on the video aspect of hair blogging (or vlogging, if you will.)

That means not much more writing from me here on Highly Textured. I think my fellow bloggers will agree with me when I say the writing, formatting, finding and coding pictures takes A LOT of time. Going to video is simply SO much more efficient.

My YouTube channel is here: www.youtube.com/highlytextured

So thanks everyone who's been a loyal reader thus far. And don't hesitate to go through the archives (there's some good stuff in there!). I'm not completely abandoning this space, as I'll be posting my vids here. Just not as many words as before. :)

Love ya lots! (Oh, and if you have any questions or video suggestions, please, feel more than free to share!)

- V.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009

iCant Right Now.

As a person who spends her free time blogging about hair, I have to say...

...we have become WAY too obsessed with what other people do with their hair.

Live and let live. Discover, explore, experiment. Leave with what you like. And don't question someone else just because they like something different.

It's getting old. Seriously.

{end rant.]
Monday, September 28, 2009


'Sup guys?

I know, I know, it's been a while. But truth is, I've been rather uncreative with my hair as of late. Lol. Wash, condition, go ... repeat three days later.

I've also been mulling over what to do with this blog. I've been getting busier and busier, and yet the blog keeps getting more followers each day (my YouTube channel has 800 now! Wow!). What does that tell me...? It tells me that more and more women are going natural (two of my friends have chopped within the last month) and that they're looking for ways to care for their new hair.

So Highly Textured will be going back to basics, i.e. starting from scratch. Quick, easy posts on care, styling and products. The site is going to have a new look too. Meanwhile, all the older posts will be still be available in archives. So stayed tuned and stick around... we'll be back in just a moment. :-)
Saturday, September 12, 2009

Writers Gone Natural

Every day, whether it be on Facebook, Twitter, or just randomly surfing around the web, I see another woman who's gone natural. Some say it's a trend (and for a few girls, it may be just that), but I can't help but think it's becoming a growing lifestyle shift for scores of black women. It's exciting!

So imagine my delight when, in the space of a week, two of my favorite writers posted their natural hair stories on their blogs. The first is Erica Kennedy, author of Bling and the recently-released, fiercely-funny Feminista. (Buy both! Great reads.)

On her blog, she talks about getting used to her natural texture, and about wearing long, silky, clip-in hair for her author photo. An interesting tidbit:

"The third reason [for using the silky-hair picture] is, I will admit, that I felt it might be better to present an image that was more palatable to the mainstream chick literati since I already know I'm going to get shit for writing this un-chick litty chick lit, which Publisher's Weekly is calling 'bitch lit'."
Still, she made sure to post a pic of her TWA on the blog (as atonement for the silky pic. Lol).

The other writer who documented her hair journey is Aliya S. King, who's written for just about every major urban magazine and runs a blog that's a fantastic resource for aspiring writers. A pictorial of her hair - long, short, krinkly, curly and straight -- appears on Black Voices Hair Talk. She remembers the styles she wore when she was single, married, pregnant, and as a new mother, all the while trying to find something that was simple and looked good. She ends with a series of pics of her TWA, and writes:

"Am I happy with it? I’m not sure. I don’t have a forehead. I have an eighthead. And this cut just emphasizes my HUGE noggin. So hopefully, it’ll grow in and take a little attention away from the projector screen I’ve got going on up there.

But I do know I was out of Lynn’s chair in record time yesterday.

And when I woke up this morning, I felt like... me."
Make sure to check out both their blogs, and their work. Erica and Aliya are pretty friggin' fly.
Sunday, August 30, 2009

Time Magazine: "Why Michelle's Hair Matters"

After the blogosphere went all a-Twitter this week after Racialicious' questions about curls and the New York Times' explainer on black hair politics, I was amused to open this week's issue of Time and see Jenee Desmond-Harris' piece, "Why Michelle's Hair Matters."

The article -- again -- explains for a mainstream audience the weight of expectation and politics that we carry in our strands. And it makes mention -- again -- of "Good Hair," which, I suspect, is the reason all these articles and essays are coming out in the first place.

I find the most interesting parts of the article are the author's own reflections. Desmond-Harris shares:

Even though I'm biracial and should theoretically have half a share of hair angst, I've sacrificed endless Saturdays to the salon. It is unfathomable that I might ever leave my apartment with my hair in its truly natural state, unmoderated by heat or products. I once broke down at the airport when my gel was confiscated for exceeding the 3-oz. limit.

I'm neither high maintenance nor superficial: I'm a black woman. My focus on hair feels like a birthright. It is my membership in an exclusive, historical club, with privileges, responsibilities, infighting and bylaws that are rewritten every decade.

Not once when I've seen an image of our First Lady has it been lost on me that she is also a member. I don't see just an easy, bouncy do. I see the fruits of a time-consuming effort to convey a carefully calculated image. In the next-day ponytail, I see a familiar defeat.

In the end, it's the same issue, same conclusions, just a different publication. On one hand, I enjoy seeing black women's issues showing up in newsprint and magazines. On the other hand, I wonder how we're going to move the conversation forward. We keep lamenting. We keep complaining. We keep resigning ourselves to external forces imposing their expecations on our hair.

When will we start exercising autonomy over our hair, and what -- whether curled, coiled, pressed or relaxed -- it means?
Saturday, August 29, 2009

Happy Birthday Mike!

The world's greatest entertainer would have been 51 years old today, and people around the globe are taking the opportunity to celebrate. Spike Lee is throwing a huge bash in Brooklyn later today (and he'll be on our show this morning to talk about it!).

Let's have a little celebration here on Highly Textured. What's your favorite Michael Jackson song, video or moment?

Oh, and to set the theme for the day, here's a little diddy to dance to in celebration....

Enjoy Yourself - The Jacksons
Friday, August 28, 2009

The Accidental Moisturizer

Hola chicas.

You know how everyone is on the search for that ever-elusive, yet oh-so-effective moisturizer. I may have just found mine. Well, created it. Unintentionally.

The ladies and I took a last-gasp-of-summer trip to the beach recently, and, knowing I'd be getting my strands wet in the tide, I brought along two favs in the product arsenal -- coconut oil and Aussie Moist conditioner. The oil was to protect my hair before I jumped into the waves, and the conditioner was around to moisturize and style the curls after I was done frolicking in the water.

But a strange thing happened in the sand. For some reason, I decided to mix the two together. In my palm, half oil, half Aussie. Rub together, and apply.

You would have thought I found a rainbow.

My hair instantly became incredibly soft. And a number of the curls that had fuzzed-out (you know what I mean) sprang back into happy, defined coils.

Oh man, what a discovery. Especially since my last (intentional) experiment didn't turn out so hot.

I don't know exactly what makes it work, but it certainly works for me. Since that trip to the beach, I've been using it as an all-over moisturizer between wash-n-go's. A note though -- it can build up over a few days. But that's nothing a simple co-wash can't take handle.

What about you? Have you discovered any concoctions that just made your hair sing?
Thursday, August 27, 2009

New York Times: "Black Hair, Still Tangled in Politics"

As the discussion around black women's hair grows around the blogosphere and now in the cinema, it was only a matter of time before the issues we seem chat about only in selected company made it to the mainstream print media.

Today's New York Times features a story by Catherine Saint Louis, exploring the tangled politics surrounding the hair of black women. Saint Louis writes:
In the face of cultural pressure, the thinking goes, conformists relax their hair, and rebels have the courage not to. In some corners, relaxing one’s hair is even seen as wishing to be white.

For some, the battle lines are drawn.

But in recent interviews, a number of people of color expressed a weariness with the debate. They asked, essentially: Why can’t hair just be hair? Must an Afro peg a woman as the political heir to Angela Davis? Is a fashionista who replicates the first lady’s clean-cut bob really being untrue to herself?
The article, for all intents and purposes, is essentially an explainer of all the discussions that we, as black women, have had for years, packaged for an audience who may very well be completely oblivious to the politics of black hair. But it also adds a layer to the conversation -- in these days, the choice to be natural or to straighten your hair isn't so cut-and-dry. Not every woman with a perm is trying to "look white." Not every sista with a coil is trying to be "down for the cause." There are times when I personally wonder, "Are we doing this to ourselves? No one else seems to care how black people wear their hair."

And while Saint Louis mentions the sheer ugliness thrown at Malia Obama when a picture of her twisted hair showed up on conservative blogs, I couldn't help but feel, well... indifferent. I do agree that it was disgusting the way some people hurled insults at a child, but personally, Internet bigots aren't the kind of people I want to impress anyway. (People with an insipid, hardline way of looking at the world do not concern me and don't affect my life path. But that's just me.) I will say that in my experience, any negative reaction to my natural locks (and there have been many) has been from within my own race. As Nia Long is quoted as saying in "Good Hair":

“There’s always a sort of pressure within the black community, like ‘Oh, if you have good hair, you’re prettier or better than the brown-skinned girl that wears an Afro or the dreads or the natural hairstyle.’ ”

Key words: 'Pressure within the black community.'

It doesn't mean the mainstream in totally absolved of alienating women who wear their natural coils. The Times article closes with an experience of one Howard alum (pictured above):
Shayna Y. Rudd, of Washington, wore a past-her-shoulders weave to have a better shot at the Miss America title. She said an adviser gave her two choices: imitate Beyoncé’s long luscious look or Jada Pinkett Smith’s flowing mane. “I couldn’t be who God wanted me to be,” Ms. Rudd, 24, said ruefully. “I didn’t win. My spirit was crushed.”

She has since sworn off relaxers and extensions; instead, she occasionally presses her tight-curled hair and slicks it into a bun, which is what she did earlier this month when she won the title Miss Black USA. (She bested 28 other contestants, only 3 of whom wore their hair natural.)

“Don’t buy into anyone else’s standard, set your own,” Ms. Rudd said.
And at the end of the day, after all the films and television reports and newspaper features about what we do to our hair -- it's up to you to have the last word.
Monday, August 10, 2009

We're Back!

Omigosh, I swear I ALWAYS forget how busy convention weeks are. I just returned from the NABJ convention in Tampa yesterday and I am exhausted. In a good way. I had a great time with all my journalism friends and came back rejuvenated. (Sleepy, but rejuvenated. Lol.)

How'd the hair hold up? Ugh... can we say humidity? It was ridiculous. Borderline oppressive. AND it rained every day at about 4:30 on the dot. The clouds would roll in and then WOOSH -- rain. That "convention blow-out" that I showed y'all in the last vid -- it was done five hours after I got off the plane. Lol! So I had to rethink my strategy and ended up doing a few updos for the rest of the week. Although I did try the blow-out one more time, that time making sure to stay out of the humidity and inside a climate-controlled environment at all times.

Another tidbit: I got a pass to see a screening of "Good Hair." Exciting, right! Except when you get lost on the way to a movie theater in a strange city. *le sigh* So by the time we arrived, there were no seats left. Luckily, the theater offered to let us see another flick for free, so we ran across the hall to watch "Julie and Julia." Very cute.

I will say this -- "Good Hair" got great reviews. My friends who saw it (because they got to the movie on time) said it was funny and thought-provoking. And it was a basis of great conversation in the group shuttle back to the airport the next day, between a TV reporter who regularly rocks weaves to appear on screen and a print reporter who was wearing her natural hair in long twists.

All in all, convention was a blast, as always. Whatever profession you're in, I STRONGLY suggest you joins its national organization and make friends. My NABJ friends are not only some of my best buddies, but also some of the best in the business, and I'm so glad to see them every year.

Next stop -- San Diego in 2010!
Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Going to Tampa....

Monday, August 3, 2009


Finding Blessed and Highly Textured just got a little bit easier.

You can now directly access the blog at HighlyTextured.com. Update your bookmarks and tell your friends. :-)

Thanks all!
Saturday, August 1, 2009

Highly Textured one of "YouTube's Best Hair Bloggers"!

Whoo hoo!

The lovely Afrobella is now also pulling double-duty as the hair blogger for AOL's BlackVoices.com. This past week, she posted a list of YouTube's Best Hair Bloggers -- and Highly Textured made the list!

Woot woot!

I'm really excited. I love Afrobella and honored that she included me. Go show her some love at the BlackVoices Hair Talk and at her own spot, Afrobella.com.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Giovanni and Kinky-Curly Don't Mix...

...at least, not in my spray bottle.

I keep a little red spray bottle handy at all times for whenever my curls need a mist of moisture. It's a simple mixture: Giovianni Direct leave-in conditioner and water. But this morning, I noticed it was going to be particularly humid today, and feared that my coils would turn into fluff. I figured I could prevent that with mist that also provided a little hold. In goes the Kinky-Curly Spiral Spritz. I dropped some into the spray bottle, shook it up, and when about my day.

Fast-forward about four hours later, while I'm sitting at my desk. I'm rummaging through my bag for my iPod when I pick up the spray bottle.

It's chunky inside.


I shook it up, thinking maybe it just need a good -- well, shake.

No luck. It's still chunky.


I don't know why the Giovanni and the Kinky-Curly don't like each other, but when the two liquids come together in a spray bottle, they make a solid. A lumpy, chunky, piece-y solid that floats on top of the water.

It's actually pretty gross.

*sigh* Take two.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Purple Hair, Puuu-urrrple Hair...

Here's something weird.

My hair is purple.

Okay, not hot, shocking violet. And no, I didn't dye or color it. It's just something I've noticed since I've let my hair be its natural color. (Before this blog, it was colored in almost every shade of red, brown and black possible.) My hair is basically black, but in the sun, it shines purple.

It's so weird.

I noticed this, of all places, in the car. I had the sunroof open on a sunny day, and when I looked up in the rear-view mirror to change lanes, I saw a red-violet/magenta-y kind of color reflecting in my strands.

"My hair is purple," I said to my friend, who was riding in the passenger seat.

"What?" She likely thought I lost my mind.

"My hair is purple," I said again. "Look. It's reflecting in the sun."

My friend looked. "Omigosh," she said. "Your hair is purple."

It's the weirdest thing I've discovered about my hair thus far. And I have no idea where it comes from. I mean, on one hand, it's kind of cool, but on the other hand, I really want to know how I ended up with hair that reflects violet.

Why is my hair purple? The world may never know.

Have you discovered anything about your hair that's out-of-the-ordinary?
Friday, July 24, 2009

GREAT Hair Day! :-)

It's a fabulous way to start the morning.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Hair-Raiser of the Day

Never have I updated THREE times in one day, but I kinda have to today.

I'll preface this by sighing and saying... "Only on the internet."

Solange (inadvertently) caused a shockwave when pictures of her close crop hit the Internet today. I, like many hair, beauty, and entertainment bloggers, posted the picture. I knew readers would enjoy seeing a celeb rocking a cut so many women are contemplating. And You ladies had nothing but good things to say, much like the readers of Afrobella. But elsewhere in the digital universe... well, apparently, all hell broke loose.

Let's just say that blogosphere and Twitterverse had less than friendly things to say about Solange and her hair. And with every new comment, I couldn't help but think... "She didn't even ASK for this."

Folks are speculating whether she is "trying to make a statement," is "looking for attention" or is even "trying to be like Amber Rose." The only affirming comments have come from the natural hair circles.

For those with questions, here are some answers... on Solange's Twitter page she says, one) this hair isn't new, it's been cut for a few weeks; two) she's cut her hair like this TWICE before; and three) the photo was snapped while she was taking her son to school (which makes me question our whole celebrity-obsessed culture and wonder if I was complicit by posting the photo myself.)

If you take cue from her Twitter page, you'll see that she's quite annoyed (at best) by the whole thing. And I think she summed up the ridiculousness of the "controversy" as best as anyone could:

From @solangeknowles:

dont. need. your. attention. or. your. co-sign. i am #3. trending topic. before. IRAN. &. some of you cant even locate it on a map. its sad.

dont. want. a. edge. up. or a perm. because. im not trying. to make this "a style" or a statement.

i. just. wanted. to. be. free. from. the. bondage. that. black. women sometimes. put. on. themselves. with. hair.

this. phase. of. my. life. i. want to spend . the time. the energy. and the money. on something else. not in the hair salon.

im. not. mad. at . all of you. that have made your opinions known. and have sent negative. energy. my way. i expected this of you.

you. have. the right to have. an opinion.

ONLY reason i responded to this i have is because i was disappointed to see my name more talked about then #iranelection

we. gotta. do. better. people.

Not So Fast...

From D-Listed...

After she was spotted with her natural crop yesterday, Solange attended a party for Dita Von Teese with this fringe-y 'do. Afrobella shared the link on Twitter.


(An aside... I'm feeling the lip color.)

Solange Goes Bzzzzzzz...

From The Fashion Bomb:

I didn't think I'd see a Knowles sister with a close-crop (though Beyonce has been seen with natural crinks and curls when she's without her signature lace-fronts). What say you?
Wednesday, July 22, 2009

When Hair Makes Headlines

You gotta love when you make headlines for changing your hairstyle.

First Lady Michelle Obama switched it up yesterday when the White House hosted a country music concert in the East Room. The day included a morning workshop for students, and is the second in a series of arts and education programs that the first lady launched last month.

But of course, people couldn't ignore the hair.

On HuffingtonPost.com: "Michelle Obama Shows Off New 'Do"

From Us Magazine: "Michelle Obama Debuts Sleek New 'Do."

And on the Daily Mail: "Stylish Michelle Obama Shows Off Elegant New Bob." (This piece also has a cool pitctorial of Shelly's past hairstyles.)

The funny part is that it's unclear whether she even cut her hair. It's possible she just pulled it back... just like she did a few months ago when she visited the Department of Transportation. Everyone fell out of their seats thinking she'd made a date with some scissors. But really, she simply styled her hair away from her face.

It's amusing. And it's one of the few times where I want to say, "Geez, people... it's just hair."
Monday, July 20, 2009

The Pincurl Experiment.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Why Wait?

Last week I featured a pretty fly and funky style from AmberMag.com -- sideswept curls adorned with a rhinestone pin.

The consenus was that the style was, in fact, pretty fierce. Some of the commenters said they were looking forward to trying it... but only when their hair had grown long enough.

My question... why wait?!

The beauty of natural hairstyles is that they're open to interpretation. There's no rule that says you have to have shoulder length curls to do a sideswept 'do. There's no law that says you can only wear headbands with a TWA. So don't limit yourself or your hair!

If you see a style you like, find a way to put your own spin on it. Even if you have a little 'fro, you can recreate the side-swept look with cornrows or flat twists on one side of the head, while letting the rest of coils spring free. If you hair is medium-length, keep the twists going so they fall over the side (like my friend Talia did here).

I like to adapt styles on the regular! For instance, I've always loved the look of roller-set locs, but I clearly don't have locs of my own. But no matter, I wanted to try the look -- so I did two-strand twists and put those babies on Flexirods. The next day I was greeted at work with rave reviews.

Point is... there's not pre-requisite for being creative. Your hair doesn't have to be a certain length, color or texture to pull off something fly. So don't be afraid to try out and adapt styles. All it takes is a little creativity and inventiveness, and before your know it, you'll have a signature fly style to call your own.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Veronica's Style Arsenal

Every curly girl worth her coil knows she needs to have a cache of tools on hand to pull off her signature styles. I have a collection of pins, bands and combs that I call my Style Arsenal. It all sits to the right of my bedroom dresser, making for easy access, especially when I'm on the go.

This particular selection of tools allows me pull off any style I can think of before heading out the door. And it ensures, at the very least, that I never have a bad hair day. (You can check out the YouTube version of this post here.)


A spray bottle is key to keeping hair hydrated while styling. Filled with water or the right mixture of products (mine has water and Giovanni Direct leave-in), the spray bottle becomes a KEY aid in styling hair. It's better than using most commercial styling sprays, because they can dry quickly and leave flakes or build-up on the hair. Moistening hair with your own personalized mixture of water and conditioner will make it easier to detangle, braid and style.


A wide-toothed comb detangles hair, making it easier to braid, cornrow or flat-twist for a style. Start at the ends of the hair and work your way up when combing.

The tail on the end of a rat-tail comb is useful for making parts without tangling the hair. I DO NOT use the rat-tail comb for any reason other than parting. My hair will cry out in anguish if I try.


Skinny headbands are one of the most versatile tools to have. You can do puffs, ponytails and updos -- all with a simple band. Use them as they are to simply pull hair off the face, or double one up to form puffs and ponytails. It's insanely easier than trying to bobby-pin an entire head of hair into place. But don't count out pins just yet...


Bobby pins are key in allowing you to add detail to your style.

Small bobby pins hold small sections of hair in place. If you want to hold down an individual braid or secure a flat-twist, these are indispensible.

I've never used a roller pins to pin down rollers, but I have an arsenal of them to pin down my hair. They secure medium to large sections of hair.

Curved wrap pins are the unsung heroes of the hair pin world -- they're larger than bobby and roller pins and are capable of holding a lot of hair in place. They're particularly effective on thick and textured hair. Criss-cross two of these (or two of any kind of pins) for secure holding power.

So there you have it ladies... the simple tools in my personal styling arsenal. What about you? What do you rely to create cool styles with your hair?
Monday, July 13, 2009

Work It.

Another fly hair style, as seen on AmberMag.com.

I'm in love with this, especially since I was planning to try a similar style this week. The rhinestone barrette just sets it off.

What do you think? How would you put your spin on this style?

Message in the Music: History

Jamie Foxx said it at the BET Awards:

"Did we miss it? Did I miss something?"

He was talking about grief many of us felt when Michael Jackson passed away last month. Not only were we stricken by his sudden death, but we were also hit with guilt, feeling we missed an opportunity to really appreciate MJ's musical genius while he was still on this earth.

That's why it was hard for a lot of people (at least me) to listen to his music after news broke. How did I not notice how great this was? How did I miss the message he was trying to send? Some of us are still feeling it.

Two weeks later, my sadness has been replaced comfort and contentment. Through all his troubles, Michael was able to speak to the world, leave an incredible musical legacy and still smile through it all. (That smile, y'all, I tell ya...) And as I've been "digging through the crates," so to speak, I've discovered a lot of messages that I overlooked in my 26 years of listening to Jackson music.

So now I share them here with you guys. Even if you weren't a Jackson fan, there is always something can be garnered from the lyrics. Enjoy. :-)

He got kicked in the back
He say that he needed that
He hot willed in the face
Keep daring to motivate
He say one day you will see
His place in world history
He dares to be recognized
The fires deep in his eyes....

Don't let no one get you down
Keep movin' on higher ground
Keep flying until
You are the king of the hill
No force of nature can break
Your will to self motivate
She say this face that you see
Is destined for history....

Every day create your history
Every path you take you're leaving your legacy
Every soldier dies in his glory
Every legend tells of conquest and liberty
Every day create your history
Every page you turn you're writing your legacy
Every hero dreams of chivalry
Every child should sing together in harmony

History - Michael Jackson
Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Smile, though your heart is aching

Smile, even though it's breaking

When there are clouds in the sky

You'll get by...

If you smile

With your fear and sorrow

Smile, and maybe tomorrow

You'll find that life is still worthwhile

If you just...

Light up your face with gladness

Hide every trace of sadness

Although a tear may be ever so near

That's the time you must keep on trying

Smile, what's the use of crying

You'll find that life is still worthwile

If you just...
Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Star Style: Teyana Taylor's White Party Look

Teyana Taylor rocked this look at Diddy's annual White Party. It's kind of fauxhawk-ponytail hybrid, and it's hot.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Highly Textured Featured on Texture Playground

Hey friends!

Cool news... I've been featured on one of my favorite natural blogs, Texture Playground. Fleurzty was kind enough to have me answer a few questions about blogging for her "Who's Who?" series. Check it out by clicking here.

And thanks, Fleurzty! :-)
Friday, July 3, 2009

I Say It's My Birthday...!

I'm celebrating my 26th today, YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!!!

It's only 11 a.m., and I've already gotten a cake, a singing card, a dancing e-card, a bouquet of sunflowers and a huge brownie in the shape of a "V." (Thanks, friends, co-workers and roomies!) Oh, and also a text message from my brother saying "Happy 52nd"... hardy har har.

Each time I celebrate a birthday, I like to celebrate life itself, because it's so fleeting and such a blessing. Last year, I lost a dear friend the day before my 25th. This year, I lost one of my personal icons a week before my 26th. So I say to you, friends and readers, never take your days on this earth for granted. Every day with sunshine is another day to celebrate.

And now, for some b-day body-shaking... :o)

Shake Your Body - The Jacksons
Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Back Again... With Happy Lips :-)

Hey chicas,

I know it's been a minute, but this past week has truly been a sad one, with the passing of someone that was so important in all of our lives -- especially mine. But I'm back now, with "Off The Wall" in constant rotation in my iPod, smiling and happy again. Peace is a wonderful thing.

Anywhoo, I needed to tell you about a little gem of a find I picked up in Target the other day. My lips have been EXTREMELY DRY since I misplaced my pot of Neutrogena Honey Rescue Lip Balm. I mean, just dreadful. But when I went to pick up a replacement pot, I found out -- my precious Honey Rescue is discontinued.




Are you serious?! My world has been turned topsy-turvy and worst of all, my LIPS ARE DRY! It's unacceptable. Simply unacceptable.

Luckily, a little fairy whispered in my ear and made me pick up Milani's tiny $4 tube of Crystal Gloss for Lips. And finally, my kisser is returning to normal. It doesn't give the same intense nourishment of Honey Rescue (which forever will be the prototype), but it gives better moisture than most other glosses that just sit on top of the lips, even if they're cracked. (Don't you hate that? It's so gross.)

I picked up a tube in Whisper, and it gives my lips a great, baby pink shine without looking washed out. There are a bunch of other shades, and I've read that "Serendipity" is supposed to be a decent dupe for MAC's "Oh Baby."

What about you? Have you found any replacements for discontinued favorites?
Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Moment I Fell In Love.

I was four or five when Mom accompanied me to the Bad Tour at the Civic Arena in Pittsburgh. So I only remember two things from that night:

One: The "Thriller" set scared the cupcakes out of me.

Two: I decided "Heartbreak Hotel" was the best song ever.

This was the moment I fell in love.

On A Lighter Note....

Of all the music I've listened to and all the videos I've watched these past three days, this one brings me the most joy.

See if it does the same for you.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Have You Seen....?

I can't really talk about hair now. Why?

Because I feel like my childhood's been snatched away.

If you were a fan, it's likely because you fell in love with him as a kid. If you're like my dad, you were amazed to see a little brown kid with a wide nose and perfect afro -- someone who looked like you -- singing and dancing on TV. You boogied to "Dancing Machine" at your high school dances, and "Thriller" was the soundtrack of your college years.

Or maybe you're like me. Maybe you were a child transfixed by the "Bad" video. You escaped to another world when you watched "Moonwalker" and "Captain EO." You learned the choreography to "Remember The Time," and tried to do the lean from "Smooth Criminal" without falling over. You were amazed at the people who cried and passed out at his concerts. And even though his skin was a bit, well, lighter, more so than anyone else you knew, it didn't bother you one bit.

No matter what end of the spectrum you fell on, Michael Jackson was one thing: Magic.

Which is why it's so hard to comprehend these last few days. Intellectually, we know every human is mortal. But the child in us wants to believe that the magic will never die.

It's been a weird combination of comfort and torture in listening to the songs and watching the videos. One one hand, it takes you to a memory of a happier time, bringing a favorite dance move back to your limbs. But on the other hand, it reminds you that time will always move forward, and that you can never go back. You can never relive those happy, amazing days.

We can't go back to that magical childhood -- the childhood that gave you every reason, dream, believe and imagine. And yet now, we're trying so desperately to hold on.

And that's why it hurts so bad.

Have you seen my childhood?

I'm searching for that wonder in my youth

Like fantastical stories to share

The dreams I would dare

Watch me fly....

We love you, Michael.
Thursday, June 25, 2009

Nothing to Say...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

All I Need Is One Jar

A few posts back I linked to No-Poo Jillipoo's blog about why your hair products may not be working. One tip she offered was to use one product at a time -- instead of applying them on top of each other -- to get a sense of how a formulation really works on your hair.

I found it to be sound advice, and decided to start trying out the products in my hair drawer -- one at a time.

The first experiment was with my SheaMoisture leave-in conditioner. The results? Meh. But I have to keep in mind that my fat twists were still pretty wet when I took them down. So I need to try it out again, allowing my hair to dry more completely before trying to assess the results.

My second experiment -- the Lustrasilk Olive Oil Cholesterol Conditioner. Can we say *ding ding ding!*? You saw the results of that one in Friday's post. Still, I only got about three good days out of it before my hair started drying up. But I figure it's a solid option to keep in my hair drawer.

Have you discovered that you can use a certain product on its own and get great results? What works for your curls?
Monday, June 22, 2009

Monday Meditation

A bumper sticker above a co-worker's office door:

"Commit random kindness and senseless acts of beauty!"

Remember... be beautiful! :o)
Friday, June 19, 2009

Good Hair Day!

I couldn't end the week without tell you guys that I've had GRRRRREAT hair these last few days. As part of my "One-Product Trials" (something I still have to tell you guys about), I used the Lustrasilk Olive Oil Cholesterol Conditioner for my wash-n-go the other night.

I washed, deep conditioned, and then applied the cholesterol in sections. It was late, so I loosely twisted my hair in four buns and pinned them down, leaving the hair so slowly dry over night. The next morning, I took down the buns, flipped myself over the bed (so my hair would hang upside down) and blow-dried with a diffuser.

Can I tell you how my curls are POPPED?! Whaaaaat?! The conditioner left my hair bouny, boingy and soft, and my slightly acrobatic approach to blow drying gave me much needed volume at the crown. My hair looked GOOD, and some of my peeps at work noticed too, so you know I was extra amped.

So, all that to say... sometimes you don't need a whole parade of products. Sometimes just the right one will do.

More about the "One-Product Trials" after the weekend. Until then, I'll leave you with some happy hair pics (from Day 2). :o)

Friday Randomness

Someone wrote this comment on one of my favorite relationship blogs (the topic was women altering their appearance for men), and I just HAD to share it here:
An (ex)friend had posted on her Facebook status: "If you aren't or have never worn weave, your future is doomed!!!" I thought she was joking -- how could a college-educated women be so foolish about something so shallow, but I guess Jay-Z said it best: "You can pay for school, but you can't buy class..."

Anyways, I posted back that I had worn my hair with and without weave, natural and permed, short as a man and half way down my back...and that I HAD to disagree with her....

I added: "And if your future depends on if you wear weave or not, you were probably doomed from the beginning anyways..."

45 seconds later I was removed from her friends list."
It's Friday, y'all! Enjoy your weekend! :o)
Thursday, June 18, 2009

Sisterhood of the Spiraling Strands: Jessica

Don't you hate her? I try to, but she's so sweet, I can't bring myself to do it. :o) I met Jessica about three years ago at my first NABJ conference. Learn more about her below.


Age 25
Freelance Journalist/
Grad Student
Brooklyn, NY
(photo by Richard Loussaint)

Describe the fabulousness of your hair.

I have a head of semi soft, blackish (yet red in the sun) pencil-width curls that at times touch the nape of my neck and at other times reach my back. They're defined when I first wash and style, but then, through out the week, they expand to a frizzy fro'.

What's your favorite thing about your hair?
I like that I only have to wash it once a week (maybe I shouldn't be broadcasting that). And there is no maintenance involved. When I used to have straight hair, I would spend at least an hour every day touching up the roots and ends. Now I just...well I wake up and that's about it.

What's your favorite product to use? Why is it great?
In the past I used Miss Jessie's curly pudding. But then I got with it and realized that I wasn't balling like that and had to stop. Now I use Eco Styler Alcohol Free Protein Gel (the brown one). It has the same effect as Miss Jessies but for 1/25 of the price. I use natural shampoo and lots of conditioner in the shower. Then once I get out I put some olive oil in my hair. Then I put on the gel, which helps hold the curl, and let it dry.

What's your favorite style to rock?
Mmmm. I beem really unoriginal lately and just doing the down doo. I am in dire need of some new styles though.

How long have you been natural? And how did you get there?
Wow. I think it has been four or five years now. I had a Japanese perm for a year (called thermal reconditioning). My hair was really long but the only way to get the perm out was to cut it all off. People said I was crazy and couldn't believe I would do that. But I was ready to embrace what god gave me. There was no stopping me from discovering my true beauty.

How would you describe your hair's personality?
Good question. My hair has multiple personality disorder. It literally looks different everyday. Right after I wash it is stiff and flat, and the curls are very defined. Then after a couple days it poofs out and starts to get frizzy, but there is still a lille bit of curl. By day four and five it is way poofed out and very frizzy, but in a funky way. By day six and seven it is one big poof and it starts locking up. Then it's time for a w-a-s-h!

What have you learned about yourself or your hair?
That I looked better this way all along and I wish I would have embraced my natural beauty a long time ago. But you live and you learn.

What has surprised you most?
That if you never straighten your natural hair your curls will look SO much better and be more defined. It also eliminates a lot of frizz.

What are you still trying to learn?
Where I can get a decent haircut without getting my locks effed up. I live in Brooklyn. Holla at me if you know!

And finally, tell us your favorite part about being natural. :o)
There are so many things (not being afraid of the rain). But I definitely love the comradery I have with other natural haired girls. There is a certain understanding there and it usually warrants an acknowledgment and a smile.

Jessica with the rest of the SquareRootz crew (photo by Richard Loussaint)

A reasonable-enough hiding place.

Blow-dryer + afro pick = big ass hair.

Jessica is one of the founders of SquareRootz, a lifestyle and media web site based in New York. Check out SquareRootz.net for more.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Tutorial: Flat-Twist Updo

Done for last week's Ledisi concert. It's almost summer, y'all! :o)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Catalog Curlies: Charlotte Russe

I've noticed that some of the flyest textured hair can be found in ads, catalogs and online stores.

Take this girl from the Charlotte Russe site. I don't know who she is, but the pic makes me all kinds of excited about summer... and hair.

Guess it did its job, huh?
Monday, June 15, 2009

A Thought: "All That Hair!"

I know naturals talk a lot about envying other women's hair, and how you should love your own. But is it a bad thing when you start to envy... your own hair?

I guess I should explain. I've found myself coveting my hair from a few years back. Like, I get this kind of "darn it!" feeling when I'm looking at old pictures.

Miami, 2005

Christmas, 2006

Alpha Phi Omega event, 2006 (HUGE hair)

Night in Philly, 2006

The layered bob of January '08...

...which translated into the curly crop.

Now, I have to say I loved the short cut bob. But the blunt cut eventually grew out and simply looked strange on my textured hair, so I had it layered six months later. And then I took the scissors to my head again in January, just before I started this blog, to get rid of the dyed ends that had grown out. And now I'm due for another trim, because it turns out that the self-cut left my ends horribly uneven. (Note to self: Some things I should just leave to a professional. Lol.) Of course now, when my hair is relatively short, I find all these styling options for big curly hair! The nerve!

It really doesn't bother me -- okay, it does juuuuust a little bit. I'd be lying if I said didn't wish to have my hair back so I could make these great, full styles that I keep seeing nowadays. But clearly obsessing over length is counterproductive, because we all know that hair thrives best when it's simply left alone.

Still... that said... I want my hair back.

*sigh* If I leave it, it will come....