Giving Props

Monday, September 4, 2006

For those of you that don't know, I'm trying to grow my hair out. I wore short hair for 10 years (throughout my 20s).

So part of my "new attitude" when I turned 30 was growing my hair. It was slow going for a long while and I felt the "scissor song" starting to play in my head, "cut it. cut it." So in part to combat that, I got braids in May. I wore them all summer. I must admit, that I loved them.

I was squeemish about what my hair might look like once I removed the braids. There are so many horror stories about hair loss that I was nervous. But I took hair vitamins, increased my water intake, and tried to watch what I ate. So this past Friday was d-day. I figured if there was something drastically wrong with my hair, that I'd have the entire holiday weekend to find a killer wig and have it styled for me...LOL.

I have also switched stylists. Some might think this is hair suicide at such a critical time in my hair growth. But I felt that I had to do. I love my previous stylist, but long hair (or in between hair) wasn't her forte. So after much angst, I decided to switch. And boy am I glad I did. Look at the results! My hair is thick, shiny, bouncy and full of life!!!! Thanks Maurice!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Life Imitates Fashion...

Friday, June 23, 2006

Finally, I've been able to translate a look from the magazines with clothes I currently When I saw this outfit in Lucky, I knew that I had some version of all the pieces. So I pulled them out and voila!!!! A wonderful outfit.

I don't know that I would actually wear this outfit, but being able to put it together made my day!

Hair Braiders: To License or Not to License?

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Taken from NiaOnline....

Should a braider have to show you a state license, or is braiding a cultural tradition that the government has no business regulating? NiaOnline tells you what you need to know about this topical issue

Hair braiding is a chemical-free hairstyle alternative that's increasingly popular with African-American women. A 2005 NiaOnline survey of Black women's hair-care habits suggests that more than two million of us may be opting for braids: Eight percent of survey respondents wear their hair braided, and another 8 percent wear their hair in twists or dreadlocks. But braids are more than another hairstyling option for us. The practice of hair braiding is also a major step on the ladder of entrepreneurship for countless women of color.

Yet even though we have been braiding hair in our homes for thousands of years, some states require hair braiders to have a cosmetology license. Others leave it up to the state cosmetology board, and still others require more-specific types of licenses. So the question remains, is it our God-given right to perform this centuries-old tradition passed down from our foremothers, or do unlicensed braiders put consumers at risk?

Valerie Bayham--a staff attorney for the Arlington, Virginia-based Institute for Justice, which describes itself as a "libertarian public-interest law firm"--says, "There is no justification [for taking] cosmetology courses. Most braiders learn how to braid when they're [children]. By the time they go to cosmetology school, they already know how to braid." The institute recently issued a study on braiding regulations across the country.

Becoming a licensed cosmetologist takes time (up to nine months) and money ($4,000 to $15,000). Moreover, you are required to take courses in areas such as chemical relaxing and permanent waves, which are unrelated to hair braiding. Bayham maintains that all licensing does is force braiders to go underground, where they can't expand their businesses or offer opportunities to other minority or immigrant women. For these reasons, among others, the Institute for Justice advocates abolishing licensing requirements nationwide.
Not all experts, however, agree.

Licensing May Be Necessary . . .

Diane Bailey, owner of Tendrils Hair Spa in Brooklyn, New York, and author of Natural Hair Care and Braiding (Milady; $56.95), is one such expert who believes that licensing of hair braiding is essential. "It's more than the art of braiding; it's about the science of hair care," says Bailey. "It's about sanitation, scalp disorders and diseases, cross contamination [the spreading of bacteria from one person to the next by the use of unsterilized tools], and a certain level of workmanship, proficiency, and customer service."

Bailey's argument is that if you are going to touch another person's body, then you should know something about the human body and hair growth. "We are at an epidemic with alopecia areata and traction alopecia, [which is] due to the tension and pulling of hair from braids," says Bailey about African-American women. "One of the reasons is improper application of synthetic hair. How are [unlicensed] braiders going to learn the proper technique?"

Bailey maintains that licensing can actually help braiders use their skills to get to the next level of entrepreneurship. In fact, it was a license that enabled one of Bailey's hair braiders to receive a green card and remain in the United States; she eventually opened her own hair salon. "Licensing not only gives hair braiders guidelines of proficiency to learn the fundamental craft points and biology of the body, but it also empowers and legitimizes," Bailey says.

. . . But What Type of License?

Currently, 10 states exempt braiders from cosmetology requirements. Instead, braiders must follow basic commonsense health guidelines, like placing combs in antiseptic solution and washing hands before combing hair. But is this enough to protect consumers? If manicurists, facialists, and massage therapists must be licensed, shouldn't hair braiders be, too?

Perhaps, but there are other considerations. Cosmetology training doesn't even cover the application of synthetic hair (or many other issues pertaining to African-American hair) that so concerns Bailey. This is just one reason she favors a mandatory natural-hair-care license for hair braiders instead of the broader cosmetology license that nine states require.

Such licensing, she argues, protects both consumers and braiders. "Two hundred years ago, a doctor didn't have to be licensed. Licensing keeps people in and keeps people out," explains Bailey, who was instrumental in developing a licensing curriculum for natural-hair care in New York, one of nine states (plus the District of Columbia) that require a specific braiding license. "If a client sues you or if they challenge you [because of] something you've done, how are you legitimized?"

Do you think that hair braiders should be licensed? Have you ever had a disastrous braiding experience? Share your comments below....

--Tonia Shakespeare is a Brooklyn, New York-based freelance writer

A Must-Have Product for Natural Nail Gals....

Sunday, January 22, 2006

On my weekly trips to Wal-Mart, I scour the aisles to see what "drugstore brand" beauty products I can find and try. I stumbled upon a pearl last night....literally!!!!!

For those of you that don't know, after 10 years of wearing acrylic nails, I soaked them off a few months and decided to nurture my natural nails. It hasn't been easy, but I must admit that right now my nails are looking pretty good. My main complaint is chipping polish. So I've basically resorted to wearing nail polish on the weekends, after my manicure appointments and for special events. This leaves me with plain-jane nails mostly during the week. Ocassionally, I wear clear polish, but even that chips or loses its high-gloss shine after a few days. But those days are now over thanks to a new product by Neutrogena.

Neutrogena Instant Nail Enhancer gives you a light natural sheen without the hassle or chipping (if applied correctly) of nail polish. It is not a high-gloss sheen, but is certainly an excellent option for weekday wear. The huge selling point for me is that it dries instantly. So in 30 seconds I have a nice manicured look. I have combined this product with my nail whitener and I have the look of a french manicure in about 2 minutes. I usually do this after I take my shower and apply lotion. It is now part of my morning routine. Some may think this is a little excessive, but if I look at my hands during the day and they look a mess, then I am not a happy camper!

Instant Nail Enhancer comes in two "shades": Pearl Sheen and Buff Sheen. I purchased the Pearl. Since I like the product, I'll go back for the Buff.

I adore the packaging!!!! I know carry this in my purse as well, just in case I want to touch it up before a meeting, lunch date or dinner. You can literally do this while sitting in traffic or at a stop light. I think someone should start packaging all nail polish this way.


  • Shake gently and apply sparingly (especially the Pearl). Usually one coat is sufficient. You may need two coats with the Buff.
  • You will need to apply it daily (especially with frequent hand-washing or immersion in water)
  • Once a week, use polish remover to remove excess and start over.

I think I paid around $5.99 for it at Wal-Mart. Prices range from $5.99 to $8.50. I wouldn't pay $8 for it, but $6 I can fathom.

The reviews on Makeup Alley have been mostly favorable, but there are a few people who either didn't like it or it didn't work for them. But for me, this product gets 4 stars!

Haute and Happiness!

10 Things to Do or Buy Before You Start a New Job (or With Your First Paycheck)

Saturday, January 7, 2006

I start a new job on Monday!!! Whoo hoo!!! I'm so least now I am.

I woke up this morning (Saturday) in a panic because I realize that there is stuff that I need to do and get before I begin work. So I'm sharing with you the list of 10 things I think you should do before you start work or with your first paycheck.

  1. Whiten your teeth. Do this 7-10 days before you start. Flashing a mega-watt smile to a new employer will do wonders for your confidence and melt a potential sourpuss. I live by Crest Whitening Strips. The newer formulas show results in 3 days with full results in 7.
  2. Professionally groom your brows. Get your eyebrows professionally groomed...puhleez!!! The unibrow went out with Andre the Giant. Get a proportionate and symmetrical shape will help you keep them groomed afterwards.
  3. New style or cut. Nothing says, "Look out career world, here I come!" like a new style or cut. I'm not necessarily talking about anything so drastic that your new employer requires ID before they let you in to your new office, but certainly a pick-me-up that frames your face well and is easy to maintain. The first paycheck may be a time to splurge by going to that plush salon that you've been eyeing and getting a cut by their master stylist (if you know and are pleased with his work).
  4. Manicure. Well-groomed hands are a must. Even if you cannot afford a professional manicure, make sure your nails are clean and neat. If you don't like color, swipe clear polish or buff them to a natural shine.
  5. Purchase Duplicate toiletries. I keep duplicate toiletries in a decorative box in my office. In it I have wipes, toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, feminine products, deodorant, hand sanitizer, lip balm or gloss, blot papers, mini bottles of Bath & Body Works Body Splash, etc.
  6. Purchase scented plug-ins. My office has no windows and is TINY! So it has the propensity to get a stale smell. Buying plug-ins will keep your office (or cubicle) fresh. Don't forget to replace them periodically
  7. Pick out, purchase or burn CDs for work. Just about every work environment allows you to play your music. I would suggest leaving the rap, heavy metal and any music with explicit lyrics for your car or at home. My personal preferences are Jazzyfatnastees, Miles Davis, Coletrain, Bird Parker, Leela James, Amel Larrieux and pretty-much any neo-soul artist. The list is endless. If you have a private office space, you may have more latitude in your musical selection. But keep in mind unexpected (and often also unwanted) visitors.
  8. Perfect your work make-up routine. I rarely wore makeup during the week before getting this job. I usually rolled out of bed and went to class. The only time I tend to spend a lot of time on my makeup because I am going somewhere special like church or out with friends. So I spent one night getting my makeup routine down to about 5 minutes or less. My foundation is a must, but I've pared down the rest of my routine. This usually means only one shadow (if any), eyeliner is optional, but LOTS AND LOTS of mascara (2 coats) is a must (especially if no eyeliner). Oh Baby Gloss is usually my lip color of preference most days (goes with everything). But I'll experiment with other colors as time permits. I'm beginning to really like Sapalicious (by MAC also).
  9. Get a good night's sleep. Nothing refreshes you more and makes you ready to conquer the world than a good night's sleep. Also try to avoid sleeping in on the weekends (but no one said you couldn't take a mid-afternoon nap...:).
  10. Eat or drink something nutritious. I know there are some people who don't (or can't) eat breakfast. But drinking something (like juice or a smoothie) will give you some energy and nutrition in the morning. Now this is VIRGIN....spiking it doesn't! Although I know some of our jobs will drive us to drink.

I'm sure there are other things that you can and probably should feel free to add comments!

Haute and Happiness!

Going Natural in the New Year

Friday, January 6, 2006

Got this article from Nia Online

Going Natural in the New YearNiaOnline's editor-in-chief shares how she made the switch from relaxed to natural; plus, expert tips for making your own transition.

December 1999 saw the close of the old millennium, the end of the 20th century, and the end of 27 straight years of relaxed hair for me.

I was the Fabulaxer Queen, with long, straight, swinging tresses, thanks to the Hair Styling by Joseph salon in New York City. I hadn't seen more than a glimpse of my natural roots since the spring of 1973, when I walked into my third-grade class at Juanita Elementary School in Oxnard, California, and my classmates exclaimed that my smooth, old-fashioned pageboy made me look just like the teacher, Mrs. Sims.

Thereafter, my hair took to relaxing very well, and grew long easily. I got lots of compliments on my "good" hair from the less savvy. Whenever the nappy "kitchen" in the back of my neck did peek through, I felt embarrassed and insecure.

December of 1999 saw the close of a relationship I had with a human rights activist--a true Black prince. He was a brave man who focused his efforts on saving Africans in need and combating racism, but nonetheless prized his girlfriend's long, European-style hair. However, I had fallen out of love with my swinging locks, and actually felt weighed down by them. I observed the growing bald patches from decades of continuous chemical abuse, suffered from a dried-out and itchy scalp, and noticed that the "kitchen" was reasserting itself with a vengeance.
Whenever I had suggested to my Black prince that I was ready for a change and wanted to cut out the perm, he would say, "Naw, don't do that! Your hair is beautiful. People will treat you differently if you go natural. Some in the business world will reject you."

Still, I fantasized about what was going on underneath the relaxer. I didn't even remember what my natural curl pattern looked like. I began to feel as if the relaxer were hiding the real me and that any compliments I got on my beauty were based on a pretense. I wondered if the world would accept my natural beauty. Finally free of my Black prince's objections, I decided to find out.

I entered the new millennium with my head shorn and natural. I was shocked by what I saw, and then pleasantly surprised. Thus began a love affair with my hair. I couldn't stop running my fingers through my kinky mane. (In fact, as I write this, I am absentmindedly twirling one of my twisted locks around my left index finger, something I rarely felt compelled to do with straightened hair.)

To my delight, I could now go for a run in the park without fear of "sweating out my do." I walked in the rain with confidence, knowing that my hair could not "revert" back any further. In fact, I walked everywhere with more confidence, knowing that if I did receive any appreciative glances, they were for the real me.

I can't say I always look as "polished" or smooth as I did during the Fabulaxer days, but I can say that the transition hasn't hurt me one iota--in the workplace or in my social life. Having worked in many different environments--from small, Black-owned firms to Fortune 500 companies, and even a defense contractor--I'm pretty sure I'm a good judge of how my appearance can affect me.

What about you: As we begin a new year, have you contemplated a change in your hairstyle? According to a study by Pantene Relaxed & Natural, two-thirds of African-American women have chemically relaxed hair, and 28 percent of "relaxed" women plan to go natural within the next year. The top reasons we wear our hair natural, according to the study, are that we think the style is healthier (72 percent), it's less expensive to maintain (61 percent), and we are in love with our natural hair texture (40 percent).

Making the transition from relaxed to natural can be a traumatic process, and I have watched more than one friend fret over how much new growth to allow before cutting out the perm altogether. The in-between stage can be awkward, and not everyone is willing to cut her hair length down to an inch, as I did.

"The easiest way to make a transition is to cut all of the relaxed hair out," advises Tippi Shorter, a hairstylist and member of Pantene's Relaxed & Natural Academy of Science & Style. "If you're like me and not ready for such a drastic change, you can go into braids or a weave . . . preferably a curly one because it will help you become acclimated to your new desired texture." (Don't get too attached to the weave. You're going natural, remember?)

If you aren't ready to cut and aren't into extensions, you can wear curly styles such as a spiral or straw set while your perm grows out, says Shorter. "If your natural texture is more wave than curl, then I recommend roller or rod sets," she adds. Whatever you do, make sure you keep your hair moisturized. For more advice about making the transition, take a look at the previous NiaOnline articles "Be a Natural-Hair Woman" and "Natural Hair Goes to Work" (just in case you are worried about how your coworkers will react to the new look).

Haute and Happiness!

Make the Most of Your Hair Salon Time

Monday, January 2, 2006

As a kid, there was nothing worse for me than sitting under the hair dryer at the hair salon. I used to think of any reason to come out. However, my scheming and plotting only resulted in my incredibly thick hair still being wet when my hairstylist checked—much to my chagrin.

However, I now love my time under the hair dryer and entire salon experience. In fact, I am writing this as I sit under the dryer, listening to my iPod. Don’t think I’m weird or that the heat is making me delirious. But my 3 hours at the hair salon are some of the most meaningful time in my week. I’ve mastered how to best make use of a potential time waster.

I’ve seen my fair share of frustrated, bored and impatient people in the hair salon. Honestly, I’ve been that person too. We absentmindedly flip through year-old issues of Jet, Ebony and hairstyling magazines. However, this is no longer the case for me. As I’m ushered between the shampoo bowl, my stylist’s chair and the dryer, I usually accomplish some of my best and most important work. My time at the salon is about more than personal grooming; it is a time of personal, relational and spiritual development.

The best way to stay prepared for salon time is to have a tote dedicated to it. I am always looking for a reason to buy a new bag (smile). As magazines, articles or other materials come across your path; put them in your bag. That way you always have something to do or read when you go to the salon. Then on salon day, just put the bag in the car…and you are all set! Here are 10 things you should have in your tote at all times:

10 things to put in your salon tote

  1. Stationery (notecards, stamps, letterhead, etc.)
  2. Pens and highlighters (different colors)
  3. Books
  4. Magazines or articles
  5. Personal CD player (with earphones), iPod or MP3 player
  6. Notebook or Journal
  7. Planner, calendar or PDA
  8. Calculator
  9. Address book
  10. Nail care items (file, polish, cuticle oil, etc.)

I truly began to appreciate my salon time while I was in college recently. After spending so much reading textbooks and writing papers, I wanted a reprieve. At first, I would take my schoolwork to the salon to catch up on things, but I realized that I deserved to take a break. So I decided to only bring things that were not related to school with me to the salon. And this revolutionized my salon visits. I no longer dreaded sitting under the dryer or even having to wait (a reasonable amount of time). I just whipped out something to do from my salon tote, and I was good. I didn’t feel like I was wasting time at all. Wondering what you can do while at the salon? Here are some suggestions:

11 activities you can do while at the salon:

  1. Write thank you notes or other handwritten correspondence
  2. Listen to music, inspirational messages or books on CD, iPod or on an MP3 player
  3. Plan your week, weekend, a trip, an event, etc.
  4. Make phone calls
  5. Write
  6. Read books and/or magazines (that you bring)
  7. Balance checkbook
  8. Clean purse or wallet
  9. Organize receipts
  10. Clip and organize coupons
  11. Give yourself a mini-manicure or freshen your top coat

Try these techniques for one salon visit; I think you will find that it makes a difference. You will walk out of the salon looking great and feeling great because you have accomplished some things while in the salon.

Hairstyles: 01.01.06

Sunday, January 1, 2006

Short: The all over flips and longer front makes this style edgy and modern....



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