Monday, October 31, 2011

The Hair Goes On ...

After a few weeks of wearing the La Jay wig, I'm back to wearing, *drum roll, please* my own hair.

No particular reason, just wanted a change. That, and I missed the feel of my own hair. The reactions to my wig have been great. Got lots of, "I like your hair," "awesome hair," and "love your hair like that," but it still took some getting used to.

My hair was so "big" that a lot of times, it would get stuck in branches and other stuff because since it wasn't my hair, I don't think I really knew how big it was. Was almost like it was another object slapped on top of my head. One day last week on a crowded elevator a white dude said, "Wow, that is some hair!" Wasn't sure what the hell he meant by that, but I took it as a compliment and said, "Yes, it is, thank you! and kept it moving.


Went clubbin' with the hubs to celebrate our 16th anniversary and he told me the next morning that I kept hitting him all night with my hair, LOL! Girls were laughing at us, but I was having a good time and didn't notice, nor did I care.

Today, I did a new wash-and-go technique and I'm proud to say I achieved 2nd day hair for, like, the first time EVA!

Here's what I did:

  1. Co-washed with Herbal Essence Hydration
  2. Sealed wet hair with Dax (yes, I said, Dax, HairNistas!)
  3. Applied Eco Styler with Argan oil
  4. At night, I put my hair in five or six stretchable hair bands and twisted with no product.
  5. Fluffed the next morning
This is big for me, because I've never, ever had 2nd day wash and gos. The Dax made my hair super soft and moisturized, an idea I got after reading it on I've used Vaseline to seal before, but I'm heavy handed at times and my hair can look dull if I'm not careful and apply too much.

Overall, I like it. Seems like the Dax stretched my hair a bit and I got less shrinkage. This morning. doing my hair was easy. I put a little gel on my bang, since I like it curly, fluffed, and I was done in less than 5 minutes.

I've never used Dax on my hair, so I was a bit skeptical. As a kid, my grandmother always used Ultra Sheen and Bergamont grease. My favorite conditioner is Silicon Mix -- which is chock full of mineral oil. And it does wonders on my hair. I figure my hair will tell me if grease is bad -- despite the doomsday warnings about crispy, dry, crunch hair from those in the anti-grease movement.

The real test will be using it on my daughters' hair, because it's only been a few years since I completely stopped using grease on their hair, in favor of moisturizers. You know, I'm all all about doing me and doing what works for me.

So far, so good. Think I'll see how many days I can wear it like this.

Oh, and about the wig. I'll probably still wear it _- heck, I may put it on tomorrow if it's a bad hair day -- but I'll probably only wear it for a week or so at a time. I'm due for a trim, so I'll probably get it professionally straightened in the next week or so.

Am I the only one who's scared to let a stylist go near my hair? I don't have a regular stylist, and to be quite honest with you, the only person who I trust 100% with my strands is the woman who did my hair for 15 years, since I was 12, back at home in Detroit. Unfortunately, I lost touch with her and don't know if she's even still in the business.

If you're out there, Dorothy, I miss you. She labored with me through all my hair iterations -- relaxed, natural, damaged from relaxers, cried with me when I lost a good 4-5 inches of hair when I didn't detangle it and wore it in a gelled ponytail for months when my kids were babies, refused to cut all of my hair off when I wanted to wear it short, asked me what the hell I was doing when I tried to get the curly look by wearing Creme of Nature shampoo (don't ask, but I didn't know about co-washing in the early 1990s, LOL)... You get the idea.

You were a "natural" stylist before natural stylists were in.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Hairtroversy Part II: Autumn Responds

 Natural hair blogs were on F-I-Y-A yesterday after Autumn, who is pregnant, wrote a blog about her husband threatening to leave because she wore her natural hair on

*Slowly puts down the knife*

Today, Autumn responded. 

We all went hard for Autumn, because many of us know how it feels to be rejected because of our choice of hair or hairstyle. It can be a straight mess on YouTube, hair forums or blogs when it comes to Black women and our hair.

That's how we do.

I, like many others, commented on both posts. I still feel the same, as I expressed in this post about Autumn, her husband and his dislike of her natural hair styles. I have to give it to Autumn, though, she put herself out there. And she reacted much calmer than I probably would have.

I was a bit miffed by her reaction post-blog, especially about people who lambasted her husband -- and her. She got tons, and I do mean tons, of criticism. But you'd have to be Ray Charles to not see this coming. I don't know how all of this went over with her husband. For all we know, maybe their over this issue.

Or, it could backfire: Putting their convo about such a sensitive topic out there might make stir up the disagreement between her husband all over again. Ultimately, it doesn't matter what I, bloggers or other commenters think:  This is between her and her husband. It's their marriage.

I may not agree with all of Autumn's responses, but if she likes it, I love it. No one wants to see a marriage go down because of hair; that's why I think commenters and bloggers reacted so personally to her post. But, you can't castigate those of us who weigh in with our opinions when a blog is posted like this.

It's gonna be controversial -- for sure. So buckle up and get ready.

The post forced me to think a lot about authenticity. I give Autumn a lot of credit. It wasn't an anonymous post; it had her real name and picture. And, I'm happy to say, that she still has her marriage. I put my story out there yesterday, describing my husbands' hair style preference and how we deal with it.

And, it forced me to think how I would react if my husband threatened to leave me over my hair.

Maybe I'm idealistic, but I just hope that we can all get past hair.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Hairtroversy: What Would You Do if Your Man Threatened to Leave You Over Your Natural Hair?

The natural hair community was in a tizzy on Tuesday about a post on about a natural whose husband threatened divorce because his pregnant wife wore her natural hair.


Mention natural hair, black women and black men in the same sentence -- heck, even the same paragraph -- and get ready to bring out yo' vaseline and snatch out your earrings. Bring the D-R-A-M-A and get ready for a fight! Like, getting beat to the white meat kind of fight!

Talk about somebody's hair and their man and it's almost like talking about your Momma. Those are fighting words.

I don't like to paraphrase, but here's what Autumn wrote:

"I don’t even know what to call this. But it happened – FOR REAL.

I’m married – 5+ years – to a wonderful husband and father. I’m pregnant – 5 months now – with my second child and I’m an emotional rollercoaster. I’ve been natural – almost 1 year – and, although it took some time for me to feel this way, I LOVE my curls.

The Drama:
My husband works from home and has watched our 2-yr old daughter from birth (SN: She has curls too and he washes and styles her hair very well during the week). About a month ago, he sent me a text at work saying we needed to talk when I got home. So, I come from work on my lunch break like I normally do. We decided to leave the house to run some errands. In the car, I asked him what he wanted to talk about. Then he said the six words that literally threw me into an immediate emotional breakdown: “WE NEED TO SPLIT UP.” Huh? What? Where is this coming from? Instant flood of tears and hyperventilating.

He never wanted me to go natural. He doesn’t like “nappy” hair. He likes straight hair. He felt that I had totally ignored his feelings by going natural in the first place, but the fact that I’ve stayed natural, despite his disdain, is even worse. It doesn’t matter that everyone else around us likes my hair. He is my husband and his opinion should matter most.

When he married me I had long, straight hair. He’s not attracted to me anymore because of my hair, and therefore he felt that the best solution was to split up, instead of being disgusted with the sight of me daily. But if I straighten my hair (it doesn’t have to be a relaxer), then everything will be ok and go back to normal. Blah, blah, blah. SN: Just the week before, his close friend’s wife chemically relaxed her hair after a year of being natural because she couldn’t stand the negative feedback from her husband.

Ok, ok, ok. He probably didn’t use those exact words. But I’m pregnant, so that’s what it sounded like. I emailed my boss from my phone and said I couldn’t come back to work for personal reasons. After running our errands, I dropped him and our daughter back off at the house and drove off to clear my mind. I won’t go into all the thoughts that led me to my next actions, but I will tell you what happened.

I LOVE THIS MAN. I CANNOT IMAGINE MY LIFE WITHOUT THIS MAN. I WILL NOT LOSE MY HUSBAND OVER HAIR. But I felt this was a deeper issue than hair, and I also felt that some information was missing from his little rant. So I went back home. I grabbed a pen and paper and went straight to our bedroom. I got in the bed under the covers and started writing. Right after I jotted down my last thought, he came in to check on me. He gave me a big hug, and waited for me to speak. Here’s what I wrote/said, and his answers.

I have more going for me than the hair on my head. YES YOU DO.

-I’m beautiful, intelligent, stylish, in shape, a good mother, I bring home bacon just like you, and I cook it too. YES I AGREE.

-I’m pregnant with your child, how dare you bring this to me right now. I FELT LIKE YOU WERE IGNORING HOW I FELT ABOUT YOUR HAIR.

-My hair is beautiful and *I* LOVE it, no matter what anyone else says. I KNOW.

-Our daughter’s hair is beautiful, are you going to request that she straighten her hair? NO, HER HAIR IS BEAUTIFUL.

-Is your friend’s wife a better woman than I am because she relaxed her hair for her husband to make HIM happy, even though she will be unhappy? YES, I FEEL THAT WAY. BUT SHE IS NOT MY WIFE AND I DO NOT WANT ANOTHER WOMAN.

-Are you willing to give up our love, sex, family, home, future plans… all because of my hair?! NO, NEVER.

My response was: Then I cannot, WILL NOT get a chemical relaxer. So what is your REAL problem?

His response was: Well, it’s just that all the “different” styles you have been doing have been “nappy” styles. Can you please do some straight styles, and do them more often?

Of course! Why didn’t you say that in the first place boy?!

Ever since then, we’ve been back in love like usual. He touches my “nappy” hair and tells me I’m beautiful. And I still haven’t done a straight style yet, although I do plan to keep my promise – to prevent another childish rant.

Turns out, he just did a really horrible job of expressing his feelings. And I did a really horrible job of acknowledging his feelings. We will not lose our love, our marriage, our life together… OVER HAIR." lit up! Many people who commented were single, but there were quite a few marrieds who commented -- including myself. Now, here's my story: Married 16 years, natural 95% of the time. My husband prefers straight hair over my curly hair.

There, I said it.

Is that enough to make him leave me? No, because he knows that it's my hair. For years, I was a pressed natural. Today, I wear curls 80% of the time (lately, I've been straightening once a month and wearing it that way for about a week.)

Like anything in our marriage, we compromise. I like wearing straight hair from time to time because wearing my curly hair tends to make it knot and tangled. Plus, I like to switch it up, I get bored easily, and I like to do length checks.

My husband supports me in my hair goals, even knows a little bit of the lingo, and will buy products for me if I ask him. My hair is just one part of me; not the entire part. My husband tells me I'm beautiful many times throughout the day.

Does he have hair issues? Yeah, but we all have at some point.

Is it something that we're working on in our relationship? Yes.

But we compromise. Sometimes I wear my hair straight, curly, in braidouts and twist outs.

Bottom line: I would have showed him the door if he threatened to leave me over hair, while I was pregnant, or at any other time.  I've got three kids and let me tell you, he might have gotten cut if he said that mess while I was pregnant -- and he knows it! Your hormones are so topsy turvy when you are pregnant. That's a convo that needs to take place at another time.

If there's one thing I know about being married, it's that things don't always stay the same. Husbands and wives gain weight, change their appearance. Men go bald, have thinning hair. Funny enough, I've hardly ever heard, even anecdotally, about a woman leaving her husband over bald/thinning hair.

Preferring natural hair doesn't have to be an issue, if the couple doesn't want it to be. If dude likes straight hair, there are many things you can do -- press/flat iron, straight wig/weave. I'm sorry, boo, but perming my hair is not one of them.

I do hope Autumn and her husband can work it out, for her marriage and her childrens' sake. I hope that his issue with her natural hair isn't an excuse for something else that he lacks in the marriage. Being married and black is, unfortunately, rare. Marriage is tough enough; why make hair an issue?


Posts about Black men and natural hair (especially those who dislike it) tend to get ugly real quick. And I can see why: We want our Black men to like us, all of us, from the roots of our nappy, kinky, coily, curly and wavy hair to the soles our feet.

Sometimes that happens, sometimes it doesn't.  I just want to call a time out. Let's keep it 100 shall we?

We may like natural hair now, but there was a time when it was largely frowned upon. There were ZERO blogs, T-shirts, forums and jewelry expressing the love for what grows out of our scalps. Just as we have learned to accept our natural hair, we have to give men the same "pass," if you will.

Many of them were raised by Black women. The same issues their Mommas had about their hair, they probably have, too, just like we do. Unfortunately, straight hair is still the "norm" -- even though that "norm" is changing based on this blog and countless others like, and others.

Still, I've yet to see a man leave because his woman has a perm, hey, but stranger things may happen.

Natural hair on Black men is still probably one of the last hair "taboos." How many men do you see rocking loose natural hair? Locks, maybe. But, overall, not a whole lot of natural men, because they have yet to undergo their natural hair revolution. They still get the side eye if they rock fros.

I do think the male natural hair revolution is coming, though.  I just want us to get past this "issue," just like many of us have gotten past, and continue to fight, for natural hair acceptance among our family members and friends.

What about you? What would you do if your husband/man approached you this way? Would you leave your man over your natural hair?

Leopard On Trend For Fall

If there's one item in my closet that I've got plenty of, it's animal print.

I'm wild for anything animal print, but leopard has a special place in my heart. My closet overfloweth with all things leopard -- I'm talking about shoes, skirts, dresses, earrings, dresses. When done correctly, leopard print is very chic, classic and timeless.

And you can pair it with just about anything -- orange, red, mustard yellow (so hot right now), denim, black or brown. It truly is the "new" neutral.  And hey we all need to unleash our animal instinct every once in a while.

What I like the most about leopard print is that it is a classic design. Yeah, it might be on trend right now, but trust that leopard is one of the few fashion choices that will still be worn 50 years from now.

I love it when leopard is paired with new designs -- think leopard wedges, leopards platforms.

Here are a few of my leopard and animal print faves in shoes and clothing. Add these to your closet now!

Betsey Johnson Sophia - L, $129.95,

Poppie Jones Leopard Tongue Clutch, $34.95,  

Steve Madden Sarina-L, $129.95,

Leopard Print Scarf, $29.90,

Leopard Print Jacket, $25.90,

Sunday, October 23, 2011

First Lady Michelle Obama with Longer Hair

Earlier this week, a few photos were released featuring First Lady Michelle Obama with longer hair.

Clearly, her her hair has grown from the chic chin length cut she's known for, to near shoulder length now.

I think most Black women are fascinated with Mrs. Obama's  hair. From her sleek updos, to chic chignons and classic pulled back hair, it's clear that First Lady likes to do different things with her hair.

I've heard she was a natural, too, but of course, I can't confirm that. Stylist Johnny Wright does her tresses, and I've heard that she prefers flat ironed hair, as do Sasha and Malia. No matter what style, they are all classy.

I'd love to get an idea of the First Lady's regimen.  What do you think of First Lady's hair? If you were her stylist, how would you style her hair?

First Lady Michelle Obama in a chin length cut  -- Feb. 2009

First Lady Obama sporting longer hair -- Oct. 2011

Like This Look

I get my fashion inspiration from lots of things -- from the look stylists put together, models strutting the catwalk, ensembles worn by fashion bloggers, spreads in fashion magazines, to random folks walking down the street.

I'll put together the looks I like from time to time in this feature, Like This Look.

I like this look from, by blogger Folake. I really like how she puts together unconventional things, in different colors, and they all rock. I love the turquoise blue and the cut of the palazzo pants. And the yellow necklace makes the entire outfit pop. Folake knows how to wear color, prints and patterns.

I don't know if I could get away with some of the thing she tries, but what she wears looks good on her!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Have Naturals Gone Mainstream?

Naturals are popping up everywhere -- on national TV commercials, in magazines and now in America's top retailers.  I was in the sunglasses department at Wal-Mart the other day when I saw a large banner ad with a beautiful natural staring back at me.

Have naturals gone mainstream? I think so, but it depends. When it comes to advertising, it's a definite Y-E-S, with household names like Target, Allstate and PayPal using naturals in their advertising.

But, for everything else, not so much. In Atlanta, I see tons of naturals all day, every day. I'm not sure if it's the same everywhere else.

It's always a paradox. The creative powers that-be that control images and messaging on Madison Avenue just seem to love naturals. I'd like to think that it's because our kinks, coils and waves are unique and sets us apart from straight hair; natural hair is a unique identifier, because no strands are alike.


Natural hair in the media is so popular that there's even a blog dedicated to it --

Yet, for all the "love" we get on blogs, tweets and commercials, there is a very real resistance to our hair in every day life.  Often, it's a resistance to wearing our natural hair from the very same people who look like us -- our mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, friends, co-workers and even strangers on the street.

For the record, I'm a "Do you, Boo" type of girl:  Whether it's a perm, a weave or natural kinks, it's their hair and I won't be the one caring for it. Do what works for you! I don't give sideye to those with perms or straight hair.  There are many short, relaxed styles that are the business. I'm a sucker for a chic, closely cropped and freshly cut relaxed hair style.


To me, it's all about choices. Just like I don't want someone telling me to go get a perm, I can't tell someone else to be natural. The decision to go natural, even today with all of the products and information available, is still a highly personal one. When it comes to styling, it's a decision they have to be ready for.

Still, I'd like to think that, because folks today see more curly girls in commercials and in magazines that, maybe, must maybe, our perceptions about our hair will change. That we will become more accepting and comfortable as Black people about what grows out of our scalps.

Maybe it's too optimistic. I can only hope.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Is Heat Bad?

For years, I was a heat-trained natural. I was the queen of the press and curl and, later, the flat iron.

From my last touch up for my wedding in 1995 through 2008, I rarely wore my natural hair "out" if it wasn't straightened. Except for the two times when I texturized my hair after I chopped it off into a short do in 2006 and 2007, I wore it fried and laid to the side.

When my hair wasn't flat ironed, it was slicked back with gel and bunned. Sometimes, I wore my hair in a curly ponytail, but for the most part, I didn't rock my natural tresses. I don't know why, but maybe I thought I didn't have any options back then?

I saw my first wash and go in 2003 -- curly spirals that were so cute!

I asked the lady how she got her hair like that and she told me she used gel. I never thought my hair could do that -- and remember, this was before products like Miss Jessie's and Kinky Curly were mainstream -- even though I rocked a curly pony tail with gel dating back to the late 1990s.

So, I kept on rocking my presses. Since my shrinkage is a straight beast -- I'm talking from chin length to bra strap length when straightened -- I've always been told my hair "holds heat." I don't know what the hell that means; I assumed it meant that my hair straightened easily.

For me, presses done professionally get my hair straighter than a perm. Except for the two times when I texturized my hair after I cut all my hair off in 2006 and 2007, I've been sans perm.

Beat the Heat?

Fast forward to 2011, and there are so many naturals who swear off heat that at one point, even I thought heat was "bad." Heat damage may as well have been a four-letter word, judging by the ire it gets on forums and blogs.

Really, though?

Naturals swear off blow dryers like they're the plague -- even indirect heat.

While this may be very unpopular to say, let me be clear: I don't think heat is bad all the time.

I think it totally depends on your hair and how much you use heating tools. Sure, there are some naturals -- a minority, perhaps, but I don't have scientific evidence to back that up -- that can't use heat at all.

Flat ironed hair
And then there lies the rest of us: Our hair will probably do OK as long as we don't straighten it excessively. What constitutes excessive can vary by person, but I'd say flat ironing every 3-4 weeks, using temps no higher than 350 degrees and no excessive number of passes.

Do I like straightened hair? I do, and I've begun to incorporate straightening my hair once a month myself.

Do I have a few more split ends because of it? Probably so, but not major damage.

As my hair has gotten longer, I've experienced more knots and tangles. I'm talking about middle of the strand knots, which I've never had before. Stretching my hair by flat ironing it once a month --- or a blow dryer at the very least -- has helped me, surprisingly, retain length by cutting down tangles.

Flat twist on flat ironed hair

As much as I wear wash and go hairstyles, the gels, conditioners and constant moisture are taking their toll on my hair the longer it gets. I can't do the same things I did a year or even 6 months ago.

What do you think about heat? Is it bad or good for your hair?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Are Grease, Mineral Oil, Parabens and Silicones Really Bad For Your Hair?

If you're a new natural -- or even a natural who's been in the game for a minute -- you've probably heard the warnings about the use of grease, mineral oils, petroleum, silicones and parabens.You'd think that you were lacing your strands with cyanide, based upon the number of naturals who vehemently swear off these ingredients like it's the H1NI virus.

Mention that you're even thinking about using them, and it's almost like a come to Jesus meeting in a roomful of Wicca practitioners.

Usually, it goes something like this:

"You will RUIN your hair."
"Mineral oils block moisture."
"Silicone coats the hair strand."
Or, worse yet, your "Hair WON'T grow!"

Some naturals will do their damnest to convert you to the "other side."A recent post about mineral oils on, via Beauty Brains, got me to thinking: Are these ingredients really so bad? I'll be upfront with you: My absolute favorite deep conditioner is Silicon Mix -- and it's chock FULL of mineral oil.

It moisturizes my hair like no other, it's cheap for just $6, and it works like a charm every time. My hair absolutely loves it. And I love it as well as other Dominican products. Generally, I follow the "do you" regimen. If it works for you, then do it; damn what other naturals say, because they don't know your hair.

I know it's almost blasphemous, but I'll say it: I just don't believe that all the things that are supposed to be "bad" for our hair us, are really bad. One of the most popular products, Miss Jessie's, is full of mineral oils and petroleums.

Yet, some naturals swear by it and think nothing of slapping it on their heads. But those same naturals would never put mineral oil or petroleum on their hair. I'm not a big fan of Miss Jessie's, but it's not because of the ingredients, but rather, price.

We know how little mineral oils and petroleum costs. I just refuse to pay a premium price for non-premium products.

I'm of the same opinion about things like grease. Naturals douse their hair with every kind of exotic oil imaginable, but hardly anything, I've found, works as well for long-term moisturizing than good old fashioned grease on the hair -- not the scalp. Full disclosure: I use Vaseline to seal, olive oil for oil rinses, and coconut oil for my wash and gos.

I've tried pricey pressing oils and anti-humectant serums, but nothing, and I mean nothing, gives me a silky flat iron when I do it myself, like good old fashioned Crisco. I know naturals who read ingredients like stans, instantly throwing out anything with a paraben or "un-natural" ingredient.

Many naturals have tried the all-natural route -- some refer to it as the Curly Girl method -- that avoids parabens and silicones. Their hair has absolutely revolted, with dry, lackluster results. I'm not gonna get too scientific, but it seems that for while everyone says that things like silicones and mineral oil block moisture, but they were created in a lab to moisturize hair and skin.

Most of our mothers knew nothing about 90% of the popular natural hair care practices today: co-washes, heat damage, sealing, finger combing, low manipulation regimens and natural oils were foreign to many of them.

Yet, our hair grew like weeds, often with just a little Blue Magic and Royal Crown grease and ponytails. Look, I'm not saying that we shouldn't reexamine some of our hair care practices. All I'm saying is that the all-natural ingredient route isn't all what it's cracked up to be for everyone.
Do what works for your hair, because what works for one head may not work for another.

Your hair will tell you if a regimen or product is "good" or "bad."

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

HairTroversy: Is it More than Just 'Hair'?

There's a very real debate in the natural hair community between naturals vs. permies.

Just look at the comments on many blogs, Twitter updates, Facebook stats or even in our very own homes when it comes to textured hair.

Let's keep it real, HairNistas.


The "hate" comes from both sides of the hair fence.

Fresh from the "creamy crack," naturals flub their permed counterparts, questioning their so-called "Blackness" for chemically altering their tresses. Permies are no better, admonishing those with their natural roots to run a get a perm stat or believing their straightened hair is somehow better.

Both are misguided. And both show just how deep the hair pain is on both sides of the hair fence.

Many times, those lobbing the painful hair bombs are often those who we care about the most -- our mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, girlfriends, boyfriends and husbands -- which does nothing to ease the very painful sting that Black women feel daily for how we decide to wear our hair.

So, it didn't exactly surprise me when I heard about a club promoter in Atlanta -- a self described lover of natural hair -- offering $5-$10 discounts to naturals for a series of events centered around an HBCU football game and homecoming in Atlanta last month.

With the conflict between naturals and permies bubbling up in a virtual all-out hair war on Twittter, Facebook, blogs and in real-life, the promotion took some naturals aback. Some loved it, because for once, finally, a brother was showing us natural girls -- who, unfortunately are often the topic of disdain from the very same men who look like us -- some well-deserved love.

Others hated it, because, really, how do you know who is "natural" and who isn't? I'm rocking a flat ironed coif today; does that make me any less "natural"? What about those who protect their naturals under straight weaves or wigs? Do they count, too?

And wait, isn't all of this really divisive anyway, yet another way to pit black women against each other. Sounds eerily reminiscent of Spike Lee's 80s cult classic hit, "School Daze" mixed with a healthy dose of the "Good Hair" documentary by Chris Rock.


Blogs lit up, with sites from, to weighing in with news coverage and editorial commentary. The promoter, Joey Digital, later apologized for the hair dustup a few weeks before the events.

No word on how "successful" the discount proved; if anything, though, it did serve to boost publicity.
The events were a fundraiser for FAMU. Unfortunately, the only thing anyone could talk about was this natural hair debate; the event became overshadowed by the controversy, even though the promoter said natural hair was just one of many discounts that he offered on a Facebook page.

I get it.

Naturals are so often looked down upon by everyone else, that it feels good -- for once -- to get some love from your own. Though perhaps well intentioned, Digital's natural hair discounts only served to divide us even more.  

Permies, don't worry. It's not us vs. you, nor do most of us who wear our natural hair think that we are better. Heck, most of us have been permed up at some points in our lives. This way of thinking is no better than that "good" hair "bad" hair crap that has so wrongly permeated our culture and beliefs.

Whether you are braided up or locked, twisted up or braided out or your straight tresses are blowing in the wind, let's just show each other some hair love today.

Every day, naturals wear T-shirts and jewelry with unabashed pride for what grows out of our scalps. We say it's "just hair." But sometimes, I really wonder if we believe that ish or are we talking out of the sides of our necks?

Maybe it sounds good, but I sometimes question if we really believe it. There are many days when I wonder is it more than just hair?

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Garage Sale Haul

I get borderline obsessive when it comes to finding good deals.

I will scour websites, hunt down goods, and do what I need to do to look good -- on a budget.

Ya'll know I love to shop at thrift stores, but here's another love -- garage sales!

I absolutely love them! Summer is always prime garage sale season, but fall is also a good time, especially in the southeast. It's not too hot, and you can comfortably look without the heat.

This morning, I went out and got some good finds -- for about $15. I didn't have a whole lot of time, but I managed to find a pretty good community-wide subdivision garage sale. I frequent them, because they're more potential bang for the buck.

Instead of hoping that a single garage seller has what I want, I'd rather go to a community sale or block sale. These days, I don't need baby stuff like cribs, bedding and such because my kids are teens and tweens, so I'd much rather stake out adult stuff.

I love garage sales because the very same things I can find at a thrift store, are at garage sale for literally pennies on the dollar. Hey, charity is a good thing, but I'd like to avoid the markup, if at all possible.

I found a lot of cute goods, which I'll upload in a pic later when I combine them with the rest of my accessories.

American Eagle leather belt for 25 cents -- with a price tag of $38!

American Eagle ripped jeans - $2

J.Crew white linen shirt - $2

Jessica Simpson hobo bag - $3

Juicy Couture jacket -- $5

American Eagle tank -- $1

Here's how I do my shopping.

Arrive early. If you sleep in on Saturdays, this may not work for you. Competition is steep. Most sales begin at 8 or 9, and serious buyers get there before the sale starts. I've found that it's best to get there when the sales begin to find the best merchandise. I'll warn you, though, you can get the best "deals" at the end of the sale when sellers don't want to lug their items back into their home -- if you find anything left. Better yet, lots of communities have sales on Fridays, so if you're available then, get a rush on other buyers.

Have cash. You'll need cash -- plenty of it. Cash rules, and no, you can't use your debit card. I've never run into a seller with a credit card swipe machine or a Square or Intuit card reader. Carry small bills; no one wants to make change for a $50 or $100 unless you're buying appliances or electronics.

Be ready to buy on the spot. Did I say how much competition there is? There's a lot, so if you spot something, immediately pick it up. Better to not buy it than to let it stay there while you think about it and then someone else nabs it.

Negotiate. Unless you are getting a brand name at a steal or a completely new item, it's perfectly OK to haggle. In fact, sellers expect it. Generally, I offer a few bucks off the asking price. All the seller can do is say no.

Shop in upscale communities. Generally, folks with more disposable income have more of the things you want -- often at bargain prices. Not saying that people with less income don't have good things, but chances are, they may want too much for them. Many times, people with money to burn are just cleaning out their closets to make way for more stuff. Or, they never remember how much they spent for something and just want to get rid of it. Why not take advantage, especially when it's a win-win for everybody? I've found good fakes -- Louis Vuittons-- and even real ones, at a steal and vintage furs.

Have a plan and know what you are looking for. Generally, the day before, I check out community newspapers and sites like for garage sales. I really like sites like craigslist, because sellers often post pictures of the merchandise for sale.

I'll warn you: You will literally find everything at a sale -- 70s knick knacks, dusty printers and flat screens to fashionable finds. If you are the type of person that gets overwhelmed easily, this might not be for you. Have an idea of what you want, so that you'll be ready to get it when you spot it.

Here are a few tips:

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Ankle Boots: The Must-Have Boot for Fall

This year, is yet another season of ankle boots.

I love them and are glad they're enjoying a resurgence. Not quite mid-calf but definitely not over the knee, ankle boots are versatile to wear with just about anything you've got in your closet.

They just lend a certain funky edge to just about any outfit. This season, I'm loving all the embellished ankle boots -- stud-addorned wedges, chains, buckles and such. And don't forget wedges and leopard print.

Who doesn't want to drop $1,075 on a pair of drop dead gorgeous pair of Alexander McQueen boots in bright fuschia, no?

Alexander McQueen boots $1,075 on

If your feet aren't trying to wear a boot that costs as much as your car note, try these faves from or These retailers are a must for any HairNista because of their relatively affordable price points -- $100 buys you a decent pair; add some zeros to that figure for a fancy pair by Loubotin or Giuseppe Zanotti.

Lovin' these Giuseppes in bright blue!
Giuseppe Zanotti Booties in Cam Bleu --  $925 --

Otherwise, you may want to check these out if you're looking for cute boots that are more affordable:

DV by Dolce Vita Banya -- $119.95


Zigi Soho Jamie Boot -- $79.95

L.A.M.B. Nathan Bootie  -- $254.95 -- on


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Kanye Debuts Women's Clothing Line at Paris Fashion Week

Photo by Pascal Le Segretain for GETTY Images
The hip hop swaggu himself, Kanye West, dropped a clothing line for women -- DW by Kanye West-- named after his late mother, Donda West.

West has asked critics to take it easy on his runway debut, which was attended by fashion heavyweights Anna Wintour and celebs Ciara and Mark Kate and Ashley Olsen, among others. So far, DW has been met with mixed reviews.

DW on the runway -- Photo by Giovanni Giannoni on
AP called DW "sophisticated" and Women's Wear Daily dubbed DW "neither triumph nor train wreck" and "high-end streetwear." I guess that's a compliment? No word where DW will be sold, but finally a hip hop-inspired, couture line for women! I can't wait to see it.

The buzz on Paris runways was a bit more receptive, with the Spring 2012 collection featuring edgy and sophisticated bold cut outs and lots of my favorite material -- leather -- as well as lush fur stoles and collars (PETA, it ain't)!

The hip hop inspiration was evident on the runway: models donned gold nameplate necklaces, rocked giant fur backpacks, and sizzled in bare back designs and belly button plunging necklines.  The Paris debut featured about two dozen pieces -- dresses, pants, jackets and such.

Really, did you expect anything less from Ye? Surely, you know that nothing he produces will every be boring.

West is such a risk taker when it comes to fashion that you know his thumbprint is all on his line and you know it will be H-O-T! Say what you want about Kanye, but he goes out of his way to do the most with everything he does.

What's clear is that Kanye was involved in every step of the process, from picking fabrics to hiring designers, to make his vision come to life. This is a game changer. It will be interesting to see who rocks DW, and I can't wait to see the rest of his collection. Kanye is known for mixing it up -- after all, he's been known to wear red skinny jeans, colorful women's shirts and just about anything else.

Photo by Giovani Giannoni

Usually, when hip hop artists launch a clothing line, it's usually like, *yawn* um ... OK. What hip hop artist doesn't have or used to have, a clothing line?  Unless you are Sean Combs or Russell Simmons or Jay Z/Damon Dash, no hip hop clothing line has been uber successful.

Besides Kimora Lee Simmons' Baby Phat spin off following her ex-husband's sale of Phat Farm, Combs is one of the few rappers still in the game -- and doing well, mind you. I get so tired of hip hop artists launching little more than denim, hoodies and T-shirts and just slapping their name on a line of clothing -- with no or very little creative direction -- and then claiming they have a "collection."

You'd have to be blind not to see through that, and that's why many of the lines fizzle and fade out so quickly. (Remember G-Unit's clothing line, Em's line or even P. Miller clothing)? It's well known that hip hop fashion tastes change overnight. Young hip hop heads have fashion ADD and don't stay focused on a particular line for more than 5 minutes at a time and are then are quickly on to the next one.

And, it will also be interesting to see which of West's hip hop brethren follows in his footsteps.

Really, now, most hip hop heads older than 25 have grown up. We've outgrown denim that hangs off your ass. We want grown up clothing with some modified hip hop swagg that's still edgy, raw AND professional.

You know, that we can rock during our grown up 9-to-5s.

What do you think of DW by Kanye West? Hot or Not?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Five Words: Buy The Stella McCartney Dress!

I first saw this Stella McCartney dress on Good Morning America last week and nearly spit out my oatmeal.


It was so friggin' gorgeous. I mean like, stop dead traffic gorgeous. How can you not like it? GMA dubbed it the "miracle" dress, and I'd have to agree. If you're looking for a traditional sheath dress, forget it. This is not the one.

This dress from McCartney's Fall 2011 collection is definitely more trendy. Really, it's a fresh take on a modern classic. First worn by Kate Winslet at the 68th Annual Venice Film Festival last month, the dress is now sold out.

But that hasn't stopped celebs from La La Anthony Kim K to Liv Tyler from wearing the frock. 

It's an absolute must-have for curvy girls, and I think it looks best on girls that have ample curves. Yet, if you've always wanted an hourglass, but don't quite have it, look no further than this dress. This dress can give you what your momma didn't.

It features contouring and color blocking for illusion at its best. With contrasting, strategically placed shades of off white, black and and beige, it lifts the girls, cinches in your waist to make it appear two sizes smaller (who doesn't want that?), elongates your torso, and makes your hips appear curvier. (Hello, Jessica Rabbit!)

It makes you look slim and curvy at the same time. You must, must, must rock this with major attitude, as it's definitely form fitting. Throw on a pair of Spanx, if you need them, and do the damn thang! I hope this dress marks the return -- at least in Hollywood -- of the acknowledgement of the curvy woman. Most women aren't a size 0. We've got curves and we're proud of them!

At $1,600, this dress is a hefty price tag. I'm all about doing it cheaper. Check out this replica in black and plum from Asos for less than $80. Can't beat it.

What do you think of the miracle dress?

Sunday, October 2, 2011


How do you like what I call my "Joan" hair  a.k.a the La Jay? After wearing it on Friday, it just became ... too much. I cut off a a good 3-4 inches. And, the wig is still pinned down with bobby pins.

I call this my version of "Joan" hair -- full and thick. What do you think?