Teas and Tangles / Carol's Daughter Brunch and Panel

What a true definition of Sunday-Funday I had this past weekend as myself, Reggie and our friend Curran from KingsRuleTogether travelled up to Newark to attend Blogger Janae Raquel's Teas and Tangles Brunch!  The wonderful Carol's Daughter crew sponsored the event, and Reggie and Curran were panelists in a discussion about natural hair, relationships, and fashion.  I was like a proud mama! hhaha!! I wish I took more photos...but scroll through the ones that I did get!  The below photo was taken by an awesome photographer, @joe_chea. Check out his new photo project, Naturally M.I.N.E on IG.


Teas + Tangles Brunch : I AM MY HAIR BLOG

Guess who's speaking on a panel, giving the males perspective on women who wear their natural hair?  Why... my supportive fiance @therealreggieb of course!  Come hang with us on Oct. 19 at Suite 53 in downtown Newark, N.J. for some good eats and even better discussion! Tickets are still on sale!

My Curl Confessions...*First Tag!*

A few days ago I was tagged (for the first time!) by one of my local Philadelphia blogging Curlfriends, Marisa of Organixlocs to participate in a little confessional concerning natural hair.
According to Marisa, "To keep the cycle going all I have to do is confess 10 things I do, or have done, to my natural kinks that are against the ‘rules’ or considered taboo in the natural hair community and tag 5 bloggers."

So lets get this party started, because I have a ton of things to confess that will hopefully help one or two of my readers in their natural hair journey!

1. I STILL have yet to do the "Big Chop."  Yes folks... shield your eyes and clutch those pearls... I could very well still have a few relaxed ends that I'm holding onto.... just kidding.  I definitely am fully natural now, but even when I was well into my journey...I'm talking 2 years in, I still refused to cut off my relaxed ends because of this sick attachment I had to my length (which wasn't even that long, in all honesty).   I never wore my hair in its natural curl pattern, so it never really mattered.  Now I know how important it is to SNIP SNIP SNIP! or you'll get hit with the Fairy Knot Fairy.

2.  I still NEVER wear my hair in its natural curl pattern.  Check out my latest article on Klassy-Kinks, where I discuss my reasons why. :)

3.  I don't let shampoo directly touch my scalp...EVER, and even the shampoo that I wash my actual curls with, is diluted with H20.  Why? I have yet to find a cleanser of any sort that works with my body chemistry.  For yearssss I have had dandruff issues, irritated scalp problems, etc. Now, I'm sure most of this was due to getting relaxers, however the issues continued far after I stopped chemically treating my hair.  One day I read somewhere online about the harshness of everyday shampoos, and soon after I devised my Honey at-home scalp treatment.  Its still a bumpy road at times, but my scalp overall is thriving!

4. Scarf-Barf.  I often fall asleep on the couch without wrapping my hair up in silky smoothness. Yeah, I get a good night sleep, but I wake up in the morning with dry crunchy hair that hates me.

5. I daydream about doing other people's hair in my mind.  I don't know if this is a curl confession, but I'm confessing that when I see a young girl on the street or anywhere... and their poor tresses are already so damaged, I just can't help but to visualize myself doing their hair.  ...treating it, sectioning it, washing it gently, detangling it by hand... showing them that their hair is beautiful if they know how to properly care for it.

6. I cant throw away products.  I have so many hair products that I've purchased or received via Curlbox and there all stacked up in my room in Walmart bins.

7. Sometimes I get angry when I cant work a knot out, and instead of clipping I just pull it out in frustration.  I regret it afterwards. lol.

8. I go to a Caucasian Hair Stylist.  It is definitely taboo in the natural hair world to go to a stylist that is not black... but lemme tell you...  My Stylist (who is a man too!) can hot comb and press the mess out of my hair, and it always, and I mean ALWAYS goes back to the original coil.  I go to him to get my curls straightened out once per year for the Christmas holiday, however he can do a lot more with kinky hair beyond that. Love ya Frank!!

9. Sometimes I leave deep conditioner on my hair for days... I even go to work with it in my hair (in a top puff style) 

10. My Fiance keeps my kitchen clean!  I use to have my dad do it, but now Reg has taken over.  Never ever does he "shape me up" ... just trims a little off so that the back of my hair doesn't look like an overgrown tropical garden on "Man Vs. Wild".

Now... who do I tag? 
You're it!

What's In Amani's Food? [Purina Sues Blue Buff/Pet Food Honesty Update]

About a week ago I received a text from a -very reliably source- containing some pretty disturbing news in it....

Now, if you are following Amani's cat journey to better health (just click on the overhead link, "Amani") you know that she follows a strict diet of Blue Buffalo food that is suppose to be completely Grain Free.  The food, FREEDOM by Blue Buffalo not only claims to be Grain-Free, it also claims to be free of Glutens and artificial preservatives.  Over the course of Amani's life she has ONLY eaten food by the Blue Buffalo brand, and I, as her overly devoted cat mother have trusted this company for many years as the leading source of proper nutrition for my feline friends.

Either way, I sadly post the following letter...This is not the original one I received, but one updated today. [from PetFoodHonesty.com]

UPDATE: May 12, 2014
Statement of Purina
Last week Purina filed a lawsuit detailing independent test results that show that Blue Buffalo is not being honest about the ingredients in many of their best-selling pet foods. 

We also posted a website, www.petfoodhonesty.com, so that the public can learn more about the issues in the case.

In light of public threats from Blue Buffalo to sue Purina (and even individuals at our company) for defamation, we have amended our complaint to ask the Missouri federal court to review our website and our public statements, and rule – as a matter of law – that they are not defamatory

We are confident in the test results, which show that Blue Buffalo products contain by-products, corn and grain – exactly the opposite of what Blue Buffalo is telling consumers.

Blue, a billion-dollar company that spent more than $50 million in advertising in 2013 attacking “big name manufacturers,” simply doesn’t like that the truth is getting out. We believe consumers deserve honesty, and we are not alone. Our lawsuit follows two separate decisions of the National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus recommending Blue Buffalo change advertising it found to be misleading and disparaging against competitors.

At Purina, we believe that honesty is the most important ingredient in the relationship between pet owners and pet food manufacturers. That is why we have filed this action, and that is why we believe the truth will prevail.

Now, whether you believe these allegations to be true or not, I know for sure, if you are a true lover of your pet, and animals alike, you will do some careful research into the topic.  I personally have chosen to suspend feeding Amani and foods from Blue Buffalo until the Purina lawsuit is completed.  Therefore I am off on the next quest to find a healthier alternative to the Blue Brand...  If anyone has any favorite natural cat foods that they stand by, please comment below.  Also, please keep in mind that Amani only likes Seafoods.  She refused to touch chicken for some reason. :)

Thank you all!

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30 Years of Wonderful

Yesterday I turned the BIG 3-0. I didn't know what to expect... I didn't feel any different...Yet, to be honest, I was and still am completely overwhelmed by the birthday love that was shown to me. COMPLETELY OVERWHELMED! From my parents who sang to me at 12 midnight, to my pastor who texted me in the early morning even though it was Easter Sunday, my sister and her husband who made my day full of laughter and fun, Twitter, IG, and FB shoutouts, my family and friends who's individual greetings/texts and specific gifts (great photos, homemade cake, special books!, love!) were genuine and just full of joy, to my number one man who did a ton of things, but the Starbucks he reluctantly purchased me after church made my day! I'm overwhelmed again! Tears tears tears! I love everyone truly!! Cheers to joining the 30 club! here here! (Jay-z better be right.)

5 Tips To Get You Through the Toughest Commute

 photo via madamenoire.com

As I sat fairly peacefully in my car on Friday evening, I reflected on my surroundings.  For about 7-8 minutes, my little Honda Accord and I calmly watched the old station wagon in front of us... Rectangular Villanova sticker on the bumper...a bunch of boxes in the back seat.  On our right side, a big Costco truck sat...while on the left, a young girl attempted to cruise slowly along, apply mascara, talk on her phone, and sip a can of diet coke at the same time.

We all were on different journey's but seemingly shared one commonality... our evening commute into the city.  ...Often called, the "reverse commute," describing those that live in the city, and work in the suburbs.  I have been a member of the "reverse commute club" for about 7 years now, and I must say, it doesn't get all that much easier, but it does get more tolerable if you administer a few different trips and tips that I've discovered along my slow .5 miles per hour commute through life. Preparing for anything, always makes the task at hand SEEM easier. :)\

1. Create a Demand Calendar:  Prep for your commute by entering specific dates into your phone calendar.  I, for example take a route home into South Philly, where all of the ball parks and stadiums are.  My Demand Calendar usually lists each Philadelphia home game for Baseball and Hockey .  These are the main sports I pay attention to. After realizing that many of those driving along side of me wore Flyer's Jersey's or Phillies' caps.  The light when off in my head!... I'm stuck in traffic with specific people that usually are not on the road at this time.  Now, when I know that its "game day" I plan to leave work 1/2 earlier or later, to avoid game attendees.  To the contrary, when I know that there is a holiday or day when the Philadelphia public schools are closed, I can expect a smoother commute, minus school buses and extra cars.

2.  Pack a Snack: Packing a snack and bottle of water is vital for any long commute.  You may not be hungry when you get in your ride, but 1/2 way through, your stomach will  probably start rumbling.  Have a mini bag of almonds, pretzels, or any of your favorite treats, to get you through.

3. Subscribe to AudioBooks: I am an avid reader, so this is one of my favorite things to do while on my long commute.  Audio Books is an online library that one would pay a monthly subscription too.  You then download the phone app and instantly have access to many titles of audio books.  I've "read" a zillion books from using this service.  It not only passes the time well, but I almost look forward to getting in my car so I can get back into my novel of the moment! It's relaxing and captures my attention until I reach my destination!

4. Make that call that you never seem to have time to make (HANDSFREE of COURSE!): I tend  to make calls to people in my life that deserve a lengthy convo. Considering I can't talk to people while on the job, and when I get home I really just want to shut my brain off and watch TV, I sometimes use my 1 hour plus time on the road to devote a conversation to them.  After chatting for even 1/2 hour I usually tend to feel better and not as stressed.  Talking to loved ones, laughing with a long distance girlfriend, or even getting a short conference call out of the way takes weight off of my shoulders, and I'm sure it will do the same for you!  My only disclaimer is, DO NOT fiddle hardcore with your phone while on the road... ie: texting, using your hands to hold the phone, etc. 

5. Do a Short Cut search:  I've taken my specific route so many times that I know exactly when to drive in the right lane, vs the left lane to avoid bumper to bumper traffic.  I know that if I dip off at a specific exit, I can bypass even more traffic by driving through a small town, loping around, and entering the highway again on the next exit.  This is extremely important, because it will save you so much time.  Although it may seem like everyone on the road is use to this commute.... this is not true.  Many folks, are like the sports team attendees.  They don't know the short cuts or roundabouts.  It is up to you to learn them, and outsmart those newbie drivers!  Pretty soon you'll have a system down and willl be able to avoid high traffic locations.

BONUS: Listen to your local news radio!  Being in Philadelphia I listen to KYW, which gives me traffic updates on the "twos".  ie: :02, :12, :22, :32, :42, :52 after every hour, every day ...the news tells you where the traffic jams, accidents, disabled vehicles, and/or contraction patches are.

Do you have a long commute?  If so, what are your tips on making the time go a bit more easy?


Curlbox: Beautiful Textures Moisture Butter Review

Happy Saturday!

I just wanted to do a review today on a product I received within my February Curlbox.  For those of you that don't know, Curlbox is a monthly service that delivers a box full of hair products, geared towards those of us with natural hair... kinks, zigs, zags, and curls alike.  I've been able to test a variety of brands since first subscribing to Curlbox, and have happily found many products that are now staples in my hair regimen.  View My Hair Closet by clicking HERE

I'm extremely excited about finding the below product because its filled an empty space in a part of my hair regimen that is vital! Moisturizing! 

...Now, I'm not talking about conditioning - deep or leave-in- ...I'm talking about, good ole fashion juice to satisfy my parched strands.  Check my find out below...

So. contrary to what I just said... BeautifulTextures Moisture Butter, is not a juice.  Its really doesn't have the consistency of a butter either, like one would think.  (I think of Body Butters from the Body Shop, which has a much smoother texture)  The substance of this product is a bit looser...not watery though.  It does glides on nicely, however which helps with usage.

How do I take care of my hair's health using BT Moisture Butter?

I follow the "Moisturize and Seal" Method which just means I keep my curls moisturized by first applying a water based product (BeautifulTextures...first ingredient always should be H20) and then applying an oil or oil based product, coating the strands from root to tip, concentrating on the edges.  I generally like to use coconut oil, as it is one of the only oils that coats as well as penetrate the hair shaft.  It is important to "Seal" your hair strands with oil, as this will keep all of the moisture within your hair for a longer amount of time. 

How do I produce hair styles using BT Moisture Butter?

80% of the time, my hair is set in small-medium sized Two Strand Twists.  Wearing my hair in a curly style is a treat that I only do when I'm going to a special event or need to take photos for something.  Flat ironing my hair only occurs once per year, generally around Christmas time.

Either way, I've tried a variety of setting lotions to make my Two Strand Twists neat. (I've listed these favorites on my product favorites page as well)... but BT Moisture Butter really works well.
On the package there are actual directions on the many ways you can use this product and what you can mix it with, to expand its usage as well.

For Two Strand Twists, simply section your hair off into the desired size, dip the tip of your finger into the butter (forcing you to only use a small amount) and smooth this amount from the top of the hair strand to the tip.  Then, proceed to twisting.  Your twist will be neat, smooth, and well moisturized.

If you decided to wear a twist out, my experience shows that your hair (mine is a mixture of tight coils and waves...) will remained defined.  Overall I'm happy with this product and definitely recommend it!

What moisturizers/moisturizing methods do you use to keep your curls, kinks, and twists tight? let me know by commenting below!

Happy Hair Journey!

StyleSkinny's De-tangling Regimen

I consider myself a pro when it comes to stretching out styles, but because I care about the health of my hair more than the presentation, I like to wash, condition, and steam weekly, even if that means getting rid of a perfectly good style earlier than its natural demise. Many people have different wash schedules, and this is totally fine.  However, in my travels and studying, I've learned that hair naturally sheds an average of 100 strands DAILY.  All of these loose strands, tangled into the attached strands, along with everyday dirt and dust, and occasional fuzzies from my knit scarves make it almost necessary to wash my hair weekly. 

This leads me to the purpose of this post. DE-TANGLING!
 De-tangling to me is like an art... its something that you need to practice, get a pattern down, pick your best tools and products etc. and furthermore, it can't be rushed.  Proper de-tangling is one of the most important processes in your hair regimen. You must remove those shed hairs and separate the strands to prevent knots and breakage.  Afro hair tends to be fragile by nature so proper gentle handling of the hair is imperative to prevent mechanical breakage from improper manipulation.  
Read ahead to see the steps that I take to produce a head of knot-less curls and kinks!

Start with a water based de-tangling spray.  Suave De-tangling Spray for Kids has been my go to for yearssss.  It's super gentle and smells like Apples.:) As you can see in the photos, I grab a clump of dry hair out of my puff, and saturate it. It may take you longer, but doing this process in small sections is easier and a better method.  Sometimes I clip my hair into 6 sections as well, as my hair is super thick.  

The next thing to do is begin to separate the strands.  I exercise two methods.  
1. Finger De-tangling 2. KimmayTube's Harp method.   
Finger De-tangling just means that I do not use any tools.  I do not place a comb or brush of any kind in my hair.  I do it all by hand as I like to feel each strand, in order to catch knots.  Gently working out knots with my fingers, and cutting them out if necessary is the correct way, vs. ripping the hair apart.  (If you view hair under a microscope after ripping it, you will be able to see the beginnings of frayed edges.  A good clean cut with sheers prohibits split ends in your future)

Kimmaytube's harp method uses the motion of playing a harp to separate strands a few at a time.   Gently "plucking" each strand of hair to separate it from the next. Click HERE for a link to the video explaining this method. 

Next, apply a cream based de-tangular product.  During this session I used LUVNaturals "Don't Be So Clingy." (pictured above) But I also love to use, "Kinky Curly Knot Today" (pictured below). LUVNaturals is Kimmaytube's (Kim Love) new line of products which can be purchased at www.LuvNaturals.com.  (They ship super fast!)  I've placed a penny next to the mini glob of product I use, so you can see how much is used per section of hair. Now, gently finger de-tangle a bit more.
Lastly,  separate the chunk of hair, and twist it or braid it.  This will section off the hair so you know what you have completed, and the de-tangled section doesn't mesh with the knotty section.  You should end up with a fat twist oozing with product. ...and don't be afraid of the unavoidable shrinkage!

What are your favorite products and strategies for de-tangling your curls?



Curls and Clothes - the Beginning

I watched across the Oregon Diner booth in disgust as Reggie proceeded to pour a steady stream of strawberry syrup onto his pancakes. Scratch that. I don’t want you to get confused in thinking that there was a stack of pancakes on the plate.  That would be false.  There was only about a quarter of the stack still on the plate.  Clearly not enough ‘pancake’ to justify the amount of syrup.  Therefore, I was grossed out.

But alas, I’m not in a relationship with this man based on his pancake to syrup ratio preference. 
So I moved on with my thoughts.

“You know….”  Reg began to speak in between gross juicy red mouthfuls. “You’re really going to have to be real on this one.” He said, staring intently at me, as his eyebrow arched in that severe way that it always does, whenever he’s thinking hard or concerned about something.

I nodded and said, “I know, babe. I know.” 

“Are you going to be ok with that?” he asked intently.

“Me?" I asked, looking up at him. "...the questions is, are YOU going to be ok with that? I may be sharing some personal things…That may mean discussing parts of our relationship.” 

His brow furrowed.

I wanted to smooth it out with my thumb, but it was covered in juice from the lemon I has just squeezed into my cup of tea.

After a few brief moments he spoke.

“Well, If that’s what you need to do, than by all means.” he answered, sincerely.

“See, this is the difference between “StyleSkinny” and “Curls and Clothes…” he continued.

“That was about fashion news... completely style based… and just a couple of posts about your life… Natural hair wasn’t even really in the mix.” 

He continued, “Your life has changed drastically. …now is the time to share that change with people. Share the transition, not even with just your hair journey, but with everything… the struggles, the happy times… ups/downs...all that stuff. Just keep it one hundred.”

I smiled externally... and went back to sipping my tea. He went back to his pancakes. But, the reality of that fact had set in. We were discussing the prospect of me starting a brand new blog.  I had wanted to do this for a few years now, but just couldn’t get my butt into gear.  The thought of leaving behind, “StyleSkinny” scared me completely.  I had started that fashion and design blog back in 2009… years of my life had been poured into that site. How could I move on?

I wasn't sure, but I knew it had to happen.

This was the day that Curls and Clothes officially changed from an idea to a mission...a goal.  Today I've started the mission, but it is far from completion.

As you look around the site you will undoubtedly notice that everything is NOT up to par.  There are broken links, empty pages, and only a few posts...some are even old favorites from my beloved StyleSkinny.
But, this is ok with me.  Hopefully it is ok with you.

This is my new blog. ..my new journey, and I want nothing more than you, the reader, to share the actual experience with me...to be a part of the growth process.
I literally cant wait to discuss everything in life from natural hair and health to my Faith, love, relationships...and you know I cant leave my beloved big boned cat Amani out of the picture. :)

So although everything isn't perfect at this exact time, I truly hope you hang around for a while so we can journey through the process together!

**styled by ZynBeautyBar [zynbeauty.com]/photos by Big Rube Harley [streetgazing.com]

5 Ways to Get your Man to Understand and Appreciate your Natural Hair

photo via tumblr.com/tagged/happy-couples
Whether you just began the transitional process of growing out your relaxer, recently big chopped, or you've had natural hair for a while...it's hard enough at times for us to learn how to maintain and understand our own new locs... trying to get a significant other on the band wagon can be just as much of a hassle.  Many men (many people for that matter) dislike change.  So, let’s be real, for him to see you going from straight flowing locks or a wavy weave to something like a teeny weenie afro, can be more than traumatizing.
So, to help you both out, I've compiled this list of ways to get your man "in the know" about natural hair. With a little knowlege, pretty soon, he'll be your biggest cheerleader!
My disclaimer:  I understand that you may be thinking, "Girl I don’t give a flying two cents what that man thinks, Ima do me! Ima buzz cut my ish! Ima look just like Hallie! Move over Bey!"  Well, good for you.  I aint knocking you. This blog post has nothing to do with girl power, Ms. Berry, or trying to please someone.  This has everything to do with giving someone the knowledge that you have received, guiding them in a gentle way that they can understand, and finally possibly getting to the point where they too share in the amazingness that is your HAIR!
Black-couple-breaking-up2  photo via ashytoclassy.net   
1. Have a Movie Night featuring, "Good Hair".  If you want a man to understand, you have to speak HIS language... or in this case, have Chris Rock speak to him for you. Good Hair is a movie that will give your dude a crash course on everything related to African American/black hair.  Chris takes viewers on a raw and hilarious journey through natural and relaxed/permed hair, touching on main stream media's reaction to kinks and curls, black hair history and even taking us to the countries' who's women supply us with weave hair.  Good Hair is a must for introducing natural hair concepts to men. Hit up NetFlix or Redbox today!
2. Let that Man Touch It! YES! PLEASE! You know he’s going to have to feel it one day!  Stop hiding! As your hair grows out, let him touch your new growth. Let him feel it when its super dry and super moisturized... flat ironed, or kinky.  Let him touch your hair so he can get to know it too for the first time, like YOU had to. Every man that I've ever spoken too, whether they like weaves or hate them, has claimed that they like to play to some extent in a woman's hair.  Now, I'm not one for too much playing, unless a long 'put you to sleep' scalp massage is attached to it.  But hey... you do what you're comfortable with. 
3. Show Him some Hair Porn.  Now, don’t go getting your panties in a bunch.  I'm not referring to actual PORN.  Hair Porn can be just a photo or video of any hair style that you love.  Show him what you are striving for, in terms of your hair goals.  Men are visual. They need to SEE it to UNDERSTAND IT.  I personally would (and still do) send photos of amazing natural hair styles to my boyfriend or @ him on awesome Instagram pics.  Now he's sending ME hair articles and natural hair Youtube videos that he's researched and likes!
4. Have a CONVERSATION.  You have made the choice to change your hair, and you had every right to do whatever it is that you did.  Sometimes it helps to sit your man down and have a clear and concise conversation on your choices. Sometimes it’s not that serious... but if you're reading this article, I'm assuming that your situation may be in need of a little help. Talking about why you made the decision to go Natural, and answering any questions he has, may clear up some confusion on his end.
Tumblr_ls9p8dewp21qab1b8o1_1280photo via EbonyNaturalRose.com
5. Know When to Say NO.  If you have done all of the above mentioned, and still feel like your dude isn’t down for the coily curl count… it may be time to just give it up.  Some men, do not prefer natural hair styles, and that is absolutely fine.  If you two as a couple can continue to thrive and be happy regardless of his preference, than more power to you.  However, In my opinion, you should be the most beautiful woman in your significant others eyes, and if he can’t even appreciate your natural beauty, than my advice is to hop on the next Natural Hair train and chu chu your way on out of there.
Check out this story HERE from Curly Nikki titled: He Doesn't Hate It, But He Doesn't Love It. 
Your opinions are welcomed, as I merely gave my own.  (comment below)

                                                             xoxo, StyleSkinny