Love for Black Hair: Why It IS That Deep

I have the utmost respect women with long, highly textured hair. Long hair is a testament to hard work for all hair types but I know first-hand the unique challenges our hair can present.  Our hair is delicate, chronically dry and can be a bit daunting to manage. Yet, in spite of this, more and more women are growing their hair to previously unimaginable lengths!  Coming back from setbacks, staying committed to your regimen, and overcoming adversity (read: haters) can truly make ours a hair journey.
 
Think about the state of your hair as itgrows from the scalp. Our natural curls, coils and kinks prevent sebum (scalp’s natural oil) from easily traveling down the hair shaft which results in dry hair. Those with looser curl patterns have sebum to spare because the oil has no difficulty making it down the hair shaft. Dry hair + manipulation = breakage. If you further compromise your hair with chemical straightening, you’re dealing with protein AND moisture issues. Then there’s heat abuse, environmental issues, mechanical damage…I think you get my point.
 
Whether you’re natural or relaxed, people are going to offer their $0.02;  it’s your choice if you accept their deposit. You can take positive feedback to the bank but hurtful comments are like counterfeit bills: absolutely worthless. Trying something different can make others uncomfortable because it forces them to consider their own choices. Don’t let their insecurities rub off on you.
 
It’s not a question of these ladies having “good hair” or just the luck of the draw; it’s about dedication. 98% of the time, flourishing strands are a directresult of a well-planned regimen. There are exceptions where some women are able to enjoy long hair with minimal work but this isn’t the norm. Keeping your hair conditioned, scalp clean and implementing protective styling are a few ways to help your hair reach its peak. 
 
While the list of potential hair pitfalls seems never-ending, the number of women of color with considerable length is on the rise. I considered myself an anomaly because of my love obsession but then I realized that my sense of awe is totally justified. Black hair is amazing and so are the women that care for it.
 
Have you ever really considered the miracle that is black hair? Do you have to deal with unwanted commentary on your hair choices? How did you handle it? What is the most challenging aspect of your hair journey?

-Ms. Tai Nycole
 
Original post found here.
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Why Weave Checking is Fundamentally Wrong

Allow me to preface this post with the fact that asking me if my hair is “all mine” and then starting a conversation is the bestway to “weave check” me. We’ve opened up the lines of communi-cation, you’ve boosted my ego and I’ve (hopefully) dropped some knowledge on you that you can use moving forward.
 
It’s completelyunderstandable that truly amazing hair sometimes seems, well, unbeweavable (yes, I said that). Hell, I  can admit that I’ve glanced at a woman’s hair one too many times searching for tracks or lace. It’s not something I’m proud of but I’m sure I’m not the only one.
 
My issue is with women who weave check and then feel the need to “investigate”. At first, I found it flattering that someone would find my hair long or thick or shiny enough to be confused for a weave. I happily answered the “Is that a weave?” question honestly and thought we’d be able to move on. My blood began to simmer at the response, “No! It can’t be!” and then felt a hand unceremoniously stuck in my hair as if in search of the truth. What…what just happened here?
 
Why did you ask me if you were hell-bent on feeling for tracks, anyway? Common courtesy went out the window when you were feeling around my scalp! Secondly, you asking me a question and then calling me a liar means you question my integrity. If you’re bold enough to ask me if the hair on my head is mine, why wouldn’t I respond honestly? If I’m rocking a wig, I’m thefirst person to tell you it ain’t mine because I have no shame in my game. 
 
My biggest issue with weave checking, though, is the implication that black women having long hair is so far-fetched that our only resort is to add extensions. Good genes or a receipt are the only methods many of us believe are at our disposal to achieve long hair. How crazy is that?! We’ve bought into the hype that black hair “just doesn’t grow” so when someone accomplishes that task, we’re unable to process it. They’re an  outlier, not the norm.
 
Just like I mentioned in my article addressing my love for black hair, yes, it may be more challenging for us to grow our hair but it’s not impossible! There is a wealth of information at our fingertips in the form of textbooks, hair boards, blogs, and YouTube channels yet many of us are ignorant to the idea of healthy hair maintenance. This is one of the reasons why I talk hair care with women I meet. It’s not just  for my enjoyment but also to encourage and enlighten. If it were up to me, every black woman on the face of this earth would be on a healthy hair journey. 
 
I also want to address those on the receiving ends of weave checks. I know these situations can lie somewhere between hilarious and humiliating but take heart; it means you’re doing something (or a series of somethings) very right! Depending on who the weave checker is, you may have an opportunity to put a bug in this person’s ear about taking care of their hair. Being secretive about your regimen won’t hinder your progress so share the wealth! Someone put you on so, if the opportunity arises, you should try to do the same.
 
Have you ever been weave checked? Did you handle it graciously or fly off the handle? Be honest, this is a safe space! Why do you think women weave check you in the first place?

Original post found here.

Pretty Plants Even a Black Thumb Couldn’t Kill

If you’re like me, you love how amazing plants look, especially when they’re in full bloom. They do wonders to improve your mood and make any space look beautiful. The downside of plants, however, is the amount of maintenance to keep them looking lovely and lush. For those of us who love plants but have been cursed with a black thumb, these low-maintenance plants are sure to please!

When I think of cacti, I imagine a desert filled with prickly, dangerous, self-sufficient plants. The Hirts Salmon Christmas Cactus Plant ($9.99 on Amazon.com) trashes those theories easily. It usually blossoms around November so you can spend your holidays enjoying the beautiful blooms. This pretty plant doesn’t need as much sunlight or a well-heated environment like its prickly counterparts.

An amazing thing about flowers is that they are just as unique and beautiful as people! Why not introduce a pop of color to your home’s special space? The Lyndon Lyon Greenhouses King David African Violet ($15) is gorgeous and hardy. The plant prefers coolers temps and doesn’t need direct sunlight. Plus, it isn’t very thirsty and can be watered from above or below. How’s that for low-may?

Taking care of plants can be fun but worrying about catering to different climate conditions can be a little frustrating. The Hirts Silver Queen Chinese Evergreen Plant($7.99 on Amazon.com) doesn’t necessitate a lot of watering and can handle cooler temps pretty well. The plant grows fairly slow, so you have about a year before it has to be repotted.

All living things, both human and herbaceous alike, love the sun. Unfortunately, not all of us are blessed with sunny spaces to luxuriate in. The Hirts Jade Plant ($4.99 on Amazon.com) can thrive in a low-lit area, so even if you live on the dark side of the moon, this beauty is guaranteed to grow!

We all have the best of intentions when it comes to caring for plants, but sometimes watering them can completely slip your mind. If you’re in need of a reminder every now and then, the GivingPlants Potted Peacy Lily ($39.99 on Amazon.com) will begin drooping when it feels dehydrated. Talk about effective communication!

GIRL TALK TIME: Will you give any of these a try? Are you able to maintain greenery in your home? What’s your favorite plant?

Original post found here.

Girls Night Out Preview: Spring Into Action, Boston

While we haven’t had the worst winter weather-wise, it’ll still be great to enjoy some spring temps! With spring officially starting tomorrow, I’m nearly beside myself with excitement. What better way to welcome the season than by shopping and sipping atGirls Night Out Boston this week? My eyes are constantly being drawn to fun florals, so I’ve formed a list of my flowery faves!

Cold weather can be really depressing but spring is the perfect antidote! The Madison Avenue Accessories JUNE Earrings ($8.50) are a mix of fun and sophisticated. These earrings take looking blue to a whole ‘nother level.

Spring festivities will soon be in full swing so it’s super-important to look your best. The Mary Kay TimeWise Age-Fighting Eye Cream ($26) will help you look as alluring as ever. Your glow will say, “I’m stress-free and ready to party hard!”

Soft, supple skin is always key but during the spring and summer months, it becomes an absolutely necessity! Smooth LuLu Blossom’s Body Butter ($25) on thirsty skin and you’ll instantly impart moisture. No matter how much or how little you decide to show, your skin will definitely glow!

Flowing, fluttery fashion is starting to make an appearance as the weather improves. A floral frock, like Black Swan Closette’s Vandy Dress (SALE: $39), is a great piece to add to your arsenal. With the easy-breezy sleeves and keyhole back, you’ll be dressed to impress.

If floral prints aren’t your thing, consider a bit of flowery bling! The Ruby Parties Metal Flower Necklace Set ($32) embodies all the beauty of spring in an understated way. Throw these on to embrace your inner flower child.

GIRL TALK TIME: Do any of these pieces tickle your fancy? Is there a spring trend you can’t wait to rock? Will we see you at Girls Night Out Boston?

Original post found here.

Styles Under $50 to Transition into Spring

Blooming flowers and more daylight are just some of the heralds of spring. One thing that’s difficult to anticipate, however, is the weather. With 70-degree days and 45-Fahrenheit evenings, how do you dress for the season without overdressing or freezing? I’ve taken the liberty of compiling a few pieces to help you transition from winter to spring as painlessly as possible.

One difficult thing about making it through March is knowing which jacket to put on. A fur would be outrageous but going without a coat isn’t yet an option. The Mac & Jac Spring Boucle Jacket (SALE: $21.80 on 6pm.com) is the ulitmate compromise. The bright color and ¾ sleeves make it the perfect addition to your spring wardrobe while offering another protection against chillier nights.

Many consider baggage a bad thing but not when it’s draped on your shoulder! Why not get into the swing of spring with a new purse? The Zara Asymmetric Messenger Bag($29.90) comes in a pinkish hue that absolutely screams spring. A new season calls for a new bag (or three) so don’t short-change your style!

As temperatures continue to climb, so do our heel heights! Step into spring with the Charlotte Russe Zizgag-Inset Cutout Wedge Bootie ($40). Pair this perfect pink with heavy tights on a cold day or with a floral sundress when the weather permits!

If you always feel a bit warm but aren’t ready to go completely bare-armed, the Dorothy Perkins Beige Spot and Bow Cardigan (SALE: $29) is a lovely compromise. On especially chilly nights, layer it under another piece. The sweet gold bows and heart-shaped buttons epitomize spring flirtiness.

An easy piece to help transition from winter to spring is a great pair of jeans. They’re worn all year round and great for dressy or super-casual events. A perfect way to introduce the brightness of spring is with the Romeo & Juliet Couture Yellow Skinny Color Denim ($39.99 on Loehmanns.com). These will carry you from winter with a cute wedge, and well through warmer months with flats or a strappy sandal. The bold color will definitely make sure you get noticed, too!

GIRL TALK TIME: How do you feel about these trends? Is your wardrobe ready to bring in spring? Have you found any key transition pieces?

Original post found here.

Beer-Based Cocktails for St. Paddy’s Day Festivities

While imbibing beer in copious amounts is a natural part of St. Paddy’s Day, why not take an imaginative twist on the regular bottles and drafts today? Lucky for you, there are plenty of beer-based cocktails for you to consider from Celebrations.com!

Since the early bird catches the worm, start your buzz off bright and early. A Bloody Irishman makes the perfect breakfast cocktail and, with the Tabasco sauce, it’ll be the kick in the pants you need!

For a drink that’s equal part Irish and class, the Black Velvet is your sip of choice. With equal parts Guinness and champagne, you’ll feel equal parts sophisticated and sloshed.

While green beer may not be your cup of tea, it doesn’t mean you can’t fill your glass with other delicious drinks. Get even more recipes for Irish-themed drinks at Celebrations.com.

GIRL TALK TIME: What do you ladies think of these drinks? Would you try any of these? Do they fit in with you St. Paddy’s Day plans?

Original post found here.

Girls Night Out Washington, D.C. Preview: Green & Bear It

With both spring and St. Paddy’s Day creeping up on the calendar, it’s no wonder that everyone is going gaga for green. Since Girls Night Out Washington, D.C. is springinginto action starting tomorrow, we’re barely able to contain our excitement! If you’re searching for a few pieces to help you transition between seasons then you’re definitely in, er, luck. Feast your eyes on what we’ve found!

What spring wardrobe can be considered complete without a green dress? This J. Herrera’s One Arm Dress ($39.99) is sultry and seasonal all at once. With a color this vibrant and a cut this cool, you’re a guaranteed show-stopper.

A Girls Night Out calls for a fab purse to carry all your stuff. Style Dezigns’ Fashion Clutch (price by contacting vendor via website) in this green-and-gold design is the perfect combo of a springy color and a flashier evening-appropriate one.

Warm weather automatically invites more socializing and, you’ve guessed it, more parties! If you’re thinking of hosting your own affair, why not feature Tastefully Simple’s Giddyup Guacamole Mix ($7.49)? It’s quick, tasty and sure to delight your guests.

A sun dress is a prereq for spring/summer. Charmed Boutique’s Ya Day Dress ($39.99) comes in a lovely pale green that will make you feel as delicate as a flower. The ruffles on the bodice add the perfect touch of femininity.

What lady doesn’t appreciate unique, custom-made jewelry? Yania Creations’ Green Cluster Green Amethyst and Gold Filled Earrings ($46 on etsy.com) are dainty and eye-catching. You’ll feel playful and sweet in these lovely teardrop earrings.

GIRL TALK TIME: Do any of these pieces tickle your fancy? Are you excited about attending Girls Night Out Washington, D.C.?

Original post found here.

Dress Like Your Favorite Literary Heroine

The adage is that “art imitates life” but it’s hard not to imitate fashionable women; even those found in literature. Our favorite heroines aren’t just memorable because of what they did, but also what they wore while doing it. In honor of International Women’s Day (today), I’ve listed a few of my favorite fashionable and fearless fictional females and how you can look just as fab!

While we may not have hours to spend (read: waste), we can still look as amazing as Holly Golightly. The effortless elegance she achieved in Breakfast at Tiffany’s is just an LBD away. Victoria’s Secret Sleeveless Squareneck Jersey Dress ($69.50) is the peak of chic. Simply throw on Croft & Barrows Silver Tone Simulated Pearl Long Necklace & Stud Earring Set (SALE: $11 on Kohls.com) and you’ll be ready for a night on the town.

Gone With the Wind is arguably one of the best romances of all time and the saucy Scarlett O’Hara in the movie version just adds to its greatness. What better way to blowpeople away than by gussying up like a Southern belle? While you may not attend a cotillion any time soon, you can still look just as fabulous. Pair the ASOS Bandeau Summer Dress with Bubble Hem ($44.76) with Call It Spring’s Mudra (SALE: $42.99 on Zappos.com) and you’ll look hotter than “great balls of fire!”

Between being caught amongst non-human lovers and moonlighting at Merlotte’s, True Blood‘s Sookie Stackhouse has a lot on her plate. Yet, even with all that drama, she’s still able to look breathtaking at all times! To pull off Sookie’s sultry, yet innocent style the B. Darlin Floral Poplin Dress with Belt ($40 on JCPenney.com) is fang-tastic! To tone the style down a bit, pair the dress with the Apt. 9 Shirred Cropped Cardigan (SALE: $24 on Kohls.com).

Poor first impressions can do irreparable damage to a relationship which is what nearly happened to Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.Her sharp wit didn’t sit well with most people at the time due to her sex and social standing, but she still managed to marry rich! Dress the part of a classy countrywoman with the Dorothy Perkins Beige Net Lace Dress ($44).

For many of us, a bad day is forgetting our lunch in the fridge, but Katniss Everdeen experiences that on a whole new level in The Hunger Games. Clearly, the odds are in her favor because she defends her life ferociously while still remaining fashionable. Achieve her edgy look (sans bow and arrow) with Forever 21’s Zipper Leatherette Jacket($37.80) and the Modcloth Time and Time Again Boots ($49.99). She’s barely legal but is still one of the most fearless females in literature!

Original post found here.

Green Food Guaranteed to Make You Feel Good

While you may have had the best of intentions, it’s possible you may not have stuck to that “less brownies” resolution you made back in January. Since spring is marching closer—bringing us one step closer to bikini season—and St. Patrick’s Day is soon, it only seems appropriate to get healthy with good-for-ya green foods!

Healthy eating doesn’t always have to be such a formal affair. KraftRecipes.com’s Chicken and Avocado Wraps are perfect for a laid-back lunch. To make it even more low-cal, try substituting ranch for your favorite low-fat dressing!

A fresh, filling meal in 30 minutes? Yes, please! Fish fans will enjoy this delicious, nutritious meal. FoodNetwork.com’s Tilapia with Green Beans recipe is a delightful departure from your ol’, unhealthy green bean casserole.

Remember Mom telling you to eat your spinach? With this dish, you may not be so reluctant. AllRecipes.com’s Pasta with Spinach Pesto Sauce is a low-fat, low-sodium alternative to run-of-the-mill spaghetti. The recipe calls for bacon bits to add crunch and flavor.

If you’re not the biggest fan of plain salad, why not add some Southwestern flava? KraftRecipes.com’s recipe for Southwest-Style Steak Salad beefs up your classic salad with steak, corn on the cob and tortilla chips. Want a little extra heat? Add salsa to your mix.

When you’re short on time but still want to make a healthy food choice, vegetables are always a safe bet. FoodNetwork.com’s Celery Gratin is a 10-minute dish that can either serve as the entrée or a great side dish.

GIRL TALK TIME: What do you think of these recipes? What’s your go-to healthy dish?

Original post found here.

Crazy Celeb Shoes and Real-Life Alternatives

While our eyes may turn to the red carpet for fashion-forward footwear, some celeb styles can be a tad too daring for normal wear. Fashion is fun because it’s like being able to wear art…but too much creativity can appear chaotic. They say you don’t know a person until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes, but with some of these styles, I don’t see how they could even walk a block! If you want to strut your stuff without spending big bucks, these styles are for you.

Jordin Sparks’ look is definitely complete, even if her heel isn’t. While these wedges aren’t the craziest I’ve seen, the $800 price tag would definitely drive you mad! The Coconuts by Matisse Women’s Lyla Espadrille (SALE: $45.47 on Amazon.com) is sure to keep you smiling from ear to ear.

Salma Hayek is arguably one of the most lovely and talented women in Hollywood but these shoes are definitely a, er, misstep. With the contrasting materials, beadwork and animal print (???), there’s definitely a lot going on. To take advantage of a much simpler twist on her look, consider the C Label Dainty-2 ($39.99 on 6pm.com). Theses babies keep the overall shape, but nix the mixed embellishments!

Lady Gaga was first seen rocking the heel-less look and it seems that many a starlet is following in her footsteps. Lucy Liu manages to make these T-strap sandals look like they were made for walkin’. While these are definitely show-stoppers, they certainly aren’t for everyone. For the less adventurous, the SM Women’s Wade Canvas Wedge Sandal($49.95 on DSW.com) is a classic espadrille that keeps the T-strap band.

Some women prefer heels to flats but even die-hard fashionistas will have to steelthemselves to rock Katy Perry’s look. The molded silver heel screams fashion but may also make your tootsies scream…. For a less painful, gravity-defying look, the Not RatedWomen’s Gaga Wedge Sandal (as low as $39.97 on Endless.com) is edgy but also closer to terra firma.

Khloe definitely kills it in these chainlink-esque platform oxfords, but that many chains can be daunting for mere mortals like ourselves. Embrace your inner rockstar with the Journee Collection Chain Trim High Heel Bootie ($49.99 on Target.com). The round toe will make your feet look petite which is always a plus!

GIRL TALK TIME: What do you think of these celeb styles? Would you wear any of these shoes? Could you see yourself rocking the celeb shoe or the alternative?

Original post found here.