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 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....

Monday Meditation

This week's Monday Meditation isn't about hair, but about life and how big we live it. From

I love my parents but most of my teachings were based out of fear. Don’t do this or that because this or that might happen. Follow this path because it’s safer or less risky.

I think it’s important to show caution, but it is more important to know your children, to not cut their inspiration or dreams with our own doubts, fears, and insecurities. We have to instill confidence and hope in them. We have to make them believers through our own actions.

-- Mery Vieira
Friday, June 12, 2009

Style Tutorial: Side-Part Puff

Remember Amel Larrieux's ill side-part ponytail back in the Groove Theory days?

It was my inspiration for yesterday (and today's) style. Enjoy.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Contest!!! First-Aid for Summer Frizz

Hey loves!

It's getting hot, and you know what that means: dry, frizzy curls. EEP! Luckily, the ladies over at have come up with a First Aid Kit for curls. The set includes HPO Happy Scalp, AG Split End Spa, Jessicurl Weekly Deep Conditioning Treatment in Citrus Lavender, Arbre de Vie Shea Hot Oil Treatment, and Curl Junkie Curl Rehab Moisturizing Hair Treatment.

The kit retails for about $70, but NaturallyCurly is giving it away to four lucky curlies who enter their contest. The rules are simple: just tell NaturallyCurly what's in your own personal First Aid Kit. You can submit responses on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook or CurlTalk. Check out the contest page for more info.

By the way... the winners of my earring contest will be getting their prizes this week. I know it's been a minute, but they're coming, I promise! :o)
Wednesday, June 10, 2009

No-Poo Jillipoo's Kick in the Curl

Ever get upset because a product didn't seem to work? Ever find yourself disappointed in a supposed "holy grail"? Ever wanted to throw out every single product you've ever bought? Well, No-Poo Jillipoo has a few words for you.

Get it together.

The curly blogger, also known as Botticelli Babe, has a great post up on why a lot of curlies end up despising products -- it's because we're using them wrong! From her post:
It's my contention that most of us are either not honest about our hair or we expect too much of products. Let's take a little quiz, shall we? Give yourself one point for every "yes" answer.

1. Do you mix or layer more than two products (yes, this includes leave-in)?
2. Have you ever used a product marketed for hair that was different than your own?
3. Are you especially frugal with application? Or especially generous?
4. Do you see photos of other people's hair and think it looks like yours, only to have a friend point out that it doesn't resemble your hair at all?
5. Do you drift in and out of the Curly Girl regimen, tossing in silicones willy nilly and using sulfate shampoos here and there?

If you got more than three points in that test, pour yourself a glass of water -- it's time for you to swallow a large and uncomfortable reality pill.
Jill goes on to list a number of reasons why your products may not be working well: using too many products ("Manufacturers have no idea that you use a conditioner, a leave-in, a gel, and a serum in conjunction with their product," Jill says), buying something that's not designed for your hair, using too much or too little product, or simply not being honest about what your hair will and won't do.

Jill gives number of tips to help you get out of the trap of product disappointment. In fact, I'm going to try one of her tips tonight (using a product alone to see what it does) with my SheaMoisture leave-in. Check out the entirety of Jill's post here.

The Coil Review: I LOVE It

This video has already shown up on a number of other blogs, but I just can't resist posting it here.

It's a YouTube promo for The Coil Review, which relaunches next month.

Even as I watched with the sound off, this thing made me cheese so hard, from ear to ear.

I LOVE it!!!
Tuesday, June 9, 2009

"I LOVE Your Hair."

A thought...

I remember being at a drugstore with a friend not too long ago. As we were walking out, another woman walked in -- a natural with the most perfect, drop-dead gorgeous 'fro of curls that I've ever seen in person. I had to tell her.

"Omigosh," I gushed. "Your hair is gorgeous!"

She beamed. "Thank you!" And then: "We're practically twins!"

We giggled and went our respective ways. And then I noticed something... my friend, who is relaxed, seemed to stand back, with a quizzical look on her face, during the exchange. It was almost as if we'd started speaking a foreign language in front of her. She seemed perplexed that I'd randomly approach someone like that.

It made me wonder later... As naturals, are we more open about supporting other women and their hair? I can't remember a time when any of my friends (or myself for that matter, when I had a perm long ago) stopped another woman to tell her how gorgeous and healthy her hair looked. We only remarked about a girl's hair if she had a trendy cut or superlong strands -- and we only really told her if we were feeling nice that day.

I'm not trying to start a natural vs. relaxed debate. I'm just wondering if, in the lifestyle of being a natural, something makes us more open, affirming and encouraging toward each other. It almost seems like have our own little culture, where it's not a big thing to simply say, "I love your hair."

...or do I just like giving compliments more than my friend does? ;-)

Your thoughts?
Monday, June 8, 2009

Bed Bath and Beyond: Beauty Emporium?

I don't know anyone who frequents Bed Bath and Beyond nearly as much as I do. And no, that's not because I have some addiction to shams and duvet covers. Last year, I discovered the BB&B actually has quite the extensive beauty department. I'm talking every makeup, body, and hair care brand that you find in the drugstore, and even some brands that you only find in salons and spas.

There's a store near my house, and also one near my job, and both stay full stocked with lipsticks, lotions and leave-ins. I've even found Giovanni, Mizani and CurlFriends products there. And it's quite incredible for anyone who walks into the store only expecting to see sheets.

Not only do they offer a wide product selection, but the prices are rather wallet-friendly. Products there are often a dollar or so cheaper than you would find in a drugstore, or even in Target. It's so bad now that I think BB&B is my new addiction. But I figure I can atone for it by telling you guys about the wonderfulness of it all.

Do you have your own surprise beauty spots? Tell us about them.


Hola chicas!

Sorry for the absence. I've been away for a little while, taking the chance to go home Pittsburgh, breathe, and clear my head. (I swear, as many jokes as people make about the 'Burgh, there's nothing like home). I'm back now, ready to get it rolling again. (But no, I STILL haven't found my charger. GRRRR!)

To that end, I'll leave you with some Monday Madness... enjoy. :o)

Monday, June 1, 2009

Monday Meditation

One woman on her decision to stop straightening:

"Some of my friends were like, 'Why are you suppressing your beauty?' and I was like, 'I'm not suppressing my beauty. My curly hair is pretty'... I think I stand with all the natural sisters as we're saying, 'Let's change the stereotype.' It's gotta be done."

-- Roomtobreathe07