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Monday, November 12, 2007

Naturally, Sophia has Animal Parts on Her Face

This vegetarian thing is hard to do. Naturally, Sophia is not eating meat so she doesn't want it on her face and body. But what is a make-up lover to do? I found out that my favorite lipstick has pearlessence, a product derived from fish scales. Ewwh! Do you know how much lipstick and therefore fish scales women ingest? I would even feel better if it were organic pearlessence because farm-raised fish is so saturated with mercury. Because I know other veggies and near veggies read my blog, I am including this short list. But there are many, many more animal products in cosmetics. So, do your research before you buy.

Common animal ingredients
Alpha hydoxy acids include lots of different acids that are sometimes animal-derived, such as lactic acid
Beeswax, like honey, comes from bees. Also like honey, vegans argue about whether it should count as an animal product, and if it does whether it should matter.
Carmine is a red pigment made from crushed female cochineal insects. Also known as cochineal or carminic acid.
Casein, aka caseinate or sodium caseinate. A milk protein.
Glycerin or glycerol comes from soap manufacture, which usually involves animal fat. Also glycerides, monoglycerides, and diglycerides.
Guanine or pearl essence comes from fish scales.
Lactic acid often comes from animals.
Lanolin comes from sheep's wool.
Lecithin can come from lots of sources, but it often comes from eggs. If it doesn't specify, you don't know it's not animal lecithin.
Stearic acid often comes from fat from pig stomachs, or fat from other animals.

WTF? Land Shoes Just for Native Americans

Nike unveils shoe just for American Indians in an effort to "help" prevent/cure problems associated with weight in the "community" (read reservations).

Naturally, Sophia thinks this is some bull shit to sell Native Americans sneakers on the premise of helping the tribes when they need healthcare, land, money, employment, and education. On the other hand, making shoes that fit wide feet with a high instep is something I can appreciate personally having the aforementioned needs already. However, the shoe is obviously sold and marketed for profit not for charity. Less than half of the proceeds are to go to aid tribal programs.

The AP story is below dated 9/26/07. I will e-mail the video clip to those who request it.

BEAVERTON, Ore. - Nike on Tuesday unveiled what it said is the first shoe designed specifically for American Indians, an effort aiming at promoting physical fitness in a population with high obesity rates.
The Beaverton-based company says the Air Native N7 is designed with a larger fit for the distinct foot shape of American Indians, and has a culturally specific look. It will be distributed solely to American Indians; tribal wellness programs and tribal schools nationwide will be able to purchase the shoe at wholesale price and then pass it along to individuals, often at no cost.
“Nike is aware of the growing health issues facing Native Americans,” said Sam McCracken, manager of Nike’s Native American Business program. “We are stepping up our commitment ... to elevate the issue of Native American health and wellness.”

Nike said it is the first time it has designed a shoe for a specific race or ethnicity. It said all profits from the sale of the shoe will be reinvested in health programs for tribal lands, where problems with obesity, diabetes and related conditions are near epidemic levels in some tribes.
Nike designers and researchers looked at the feet of more than 200 people from more than 70 tribes nationwide and found that in general, American Indians have a much wider and taller foot than the average shoe accommodates. The average shoe width of men and women measured was three width sizes larger than the standard Nike shoe.

As a result, the Air Native is wider with a larger toe box. The shoe has fewer seams for irritation and a thicker sock liner for comfort.

Jerry Bread, outreach coordinator for the Native American Studies program at University of Oklahoma, said the idea was “fantastic” and addressed a core issue for tribes, though he was skeptical that the feet of people from so many tribes could be so similar.

“It’s an excellent gesture and I know it will get a lot of support from tribal people,” Bread said.

“We stand to profit from it in our physical health and well being.”

Dr. Kelly Acton, director of the national diabetes program for Indian Health Services, said she was dubious of working with a corporation at first but said she was delighted with the result, saying Nike “bent over backwards” to design a shoe and respect public health needs.
The N7 name is a reference to the seventh generation theory, used by some tribes to look to the three generations preceding them for wisdom and the three generations ahead for their legacy.
The design features several “heritage callouts” as one product manager described it, including sunrise to sunset to sunrise patterns on the tongue and heel of the shoe. Feather designs adorn the inside and stars are on the sole to represent the night sky.
The company anticipates selling at least 10,000 pairs and raising $200,000 for tribal programs. At $42.80 wholesale, it represents less of a financial opportunity than a goodwill and branding effort.

“The reason I like it is that, even if there’s not a big Native American market, it gives people the impression there is a constituency that deserves attention,” said John Dickson, a member of the executive council of the Native American Leadership Alliance in Washington, D.C.
Paul Swangard, managing director of the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center at the University of Oregon, said the product reflects how Nike does business.
The company prides itself on designing specifically for certain athletes and having close ties to its customers. Nike has been involved with the tribal community for years, supporting tribal athletic teams, events and other social initiatives.

It reinforces the core of the Nike brand, which is: If you have a body you are an athlete,” Swangard said.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Is a Natural Looking Weave Natural?

I was reading Essence magazine about a month ago and discovered several articles about Natural Hair. In almost every article, the hairstyles were texturizers, wigs or weaves. Which left me pondering, if a woman has natural hair and wears a weave on top of it, is she natural? And if a permie has a natural looking weave or an afro wig, is she natural?

I was walking with my sister around Thanksgiving, and I saw a mannequin with a fierce wig the way my natural loose hair used to be like a curly half-fro. And I thought, I should buy that wig. I told my sister about being conflicted on whether or not I should buy it. And she simply said that if it's for adornment, then do as you please. Would rocking an afro wig make me any less natural? I decided to leave it. But she had a point. Added adornment doesn't make me less natural. But on the other hand, how can I be natural and synthetic at the same time.

In the media, there are countless Black womyn who rock texturized naturals, curly weave, and extension locks. Do you think of these womyn as natural? I would normally say no. But because I have been reevaluating the essence of natural, I would like to hear your thoughts? Especially you Renea, thanks for your comments on the last post! Your paradigms are so poignant.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Naturally, the Natural Beyonce is Beautiful!

I wish she let us see her natural hair and beauty more. I hope all the permie (those with perms and those with natural hair that have a permed mind), beautiful sistahs, who I have met and those I have not, can see that the real you is/was/will be beautiful too! No you will not look like Beyonce. Your hair will not look exactly like mine, your consultants, or any one else you have encountered. And that unique beauty is the essence of appreciating what's natural, exactly the way God created it.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Sophia, Naturally Loves My Mya's Cooking

Mya, as loved ones affectionately call my sister, can cook. Especially, she can cook veggies and seafood superbly as I have discovered in the past few years. Because I know many of you are veggie lovers, I am posting this Root Vegetables recipe she made recently. I love you Mya and am patiently waiting those new Sisterlock photos.

2 pounds root vegetables (use red-skinned potatoes, carrots, parsnips, turnips or rutabagas, beets if you like ), peeled and cut coarsely into 1-inch and 2- inch pieces, 2 large red onions, peeled and cut into 1/3-inch wedges, 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, Salt to taste, 1 head garlic, separated into cloves and peeled, Chopped fresh herbs like rosemary or balsamic vinegar (optional)

***Saute the vegetables for about 10 minutes in a skillet first before roasting.***

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place the root vegetables and onion in a roasting pan.

2. Toss the vegetables with the olive oil and salt to taste. Do not crowd the vegetables.

3. Roast the mixture for a total of 45-50 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. After 30 minutes, scatter the garlic cloves in with the vegetables. Continue stirring every 15 minutes until the vegetables are tender and evenly browned.

4. Before serving, add a sprinkling of fresh chopped herbs or balsamic vinegar, if you like for additional flavor.

Number of Servings: 6-8
Per Serving
Calories 147
Carbohydrate 20 g
Fat 7 g
Fiber 3 g
Protein 2 g
Saturated Fat 1 g
Sodium 47 mg

Beware! Hair Care Products & Cancer

This e-mail was forwarded to me by a co-worker confirming what I have thought all along that there is a correlation between hair care products and cancer. Please read and view the short video!

Do any of you use one or more of the following products?

I do not but wanted to pass along to anyone who might.


Lifestyles Report...Hair Scare By Debbie Norrell

At least two months ago WPXI contacted me to do an interview about ingredients in hair care products used by African-Americans possibly leading to breast cancer. I was selected because I am a 15-year breast cancer survivor.

Recently WAMO news anchor and New Pittsburgh Courier freelance writer Allegra Battle did a story on this same subject and it was a feature on the May 9, 5 p.m. KDKA news. But at the end of these stories we still did not have a list of the products. Battle gave me the list that didn't make her feature during a recent visit I made to the WAMO studio's promoting the Pittsburgh Race for the Cure. So many of my friends have seen the stories on television or read about this issue in the paper and they want to know which products to be concerned about.

However, I wanted to give you more so I went to the Internet and looked for articles from the Center for Environmental Oncology and found one entitled: Why Healthy People Get Cancer: Center Examines Environmental Suspects (update Spring 2005).The article stated, one of immediate research priorities of the new Center is the puzzling phenomenon of breast cancer in African-Americans under the age of 40 who have nearly twice as much breast cancer as do white women.The center will work with Silent Spring Institute, a Massachusetts based cancer institute, to identify suspect contaminants and ingredients in hair care products and other personal products regularly used by African-American young women and their mothers.

More recently, attention has turned to estrogenic compounds in hair care products used by Black women as a possible explanation for higher cancer rates in this population. I've started to carry copies of the list in my purse but we're going to share it with you right here.

The list simply says:

The following is a list of products that have previously been found to contain hormones:

Placenta Shampoo

Queen Helene Placenta cream hair conditioner

Placenta revitalizing shampoo

Perm Repair with placenta

Proline Perm Repair with placenta

Hormone hair food Jojoba oil

Triple action super grow

Supreme Vita-Gro

Luster's Sur Glo Hormone

B & B Super Gro

Lekair natural Super Glo

Lekair Hormone hair treatment with V itamin E

Isoplus Hormone hair treatment with Quinine

Fermodyl with Placenta hair conditioner

Supreme Vita-Gro with allantoin and estrogen plus TEA-COCO

Hask Placenta Hair conditioner

Nu Skin body smoother

Nu Skin Enhancer

The majority of these products contain placental extract, placenta, hormones or estrogen. As early as 1983 Dr. Devra Davis (epidemiologist and director of the Center for Environmental Oncology, part of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute) and co-researcher Leon Bradlow advanced the theory that xenoestrogens, synthetic estrogen imitators, were a possible cause of breast cancer. Davis also says, "most cases of breast cancer are not born, but made and the more hormones a woman is exposed to in her lifetime, the greater her risk of breast cancer."We need to be more cautious of the products that we use on our hair and our bodies and demand that more information about our health is shared.

Ladies and gentlemen beware. (E-mail the columnist at is a link with regard to the research.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The Cheapest Retightening Tool

It's a hair pin. You can really retighten your locs with a hair pin. Don't believe me? Check out Mel's Blog. I was reading one of the forum's online and found some detailed instructions for latching. I have had many sistahs e-mail me commenting about not finding a good SL consultant. I wish the SL gods paid attention to bloggers. Anywho, I thought I would share yet another way to retighten locs since it may behoove you to retighten your hair yourself even if you have an excellent consultant like me. Retightening between visits cuts down on cost and time.

So, here we go.
The first thing you want to do is push the hairpin thru the new growth. See the photo:
Then, simply put your loc thru the end of the hairpin.
Lastly, just pull it thru the new growth and use the pattern you feel most comfortable with using. If you have Sisterlocks, make sure that you part and section well. It's easy to entangle the tiny locs together. I know from experience. lol! Retightening with the hair pin was definitely not hard. According to my research, I can find no tool any cheaper. My rating: Worth a try if you have time and a spare hair pin!
ADDENDUM: Per the request of the photographer, I removed the photos. I may post my own photos to demonstrate that it can be done. I only posted because I referenced the author's online album and assumed, because the post was positive in helping sisters/brothers maintain their own hair after years of abuse, that the owner would not mind. Obviously, my assumption was incorrect (possibly we do not share the same mission); and I apologize sincerely for any inconvenience in posting a demonstration of the art of self-retightening may have caused you, Crazycoil.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

WTF? We Are Dying: Washington D.C.'s AIDS Epidemic

Washington, D.C., health officials on Monday released new data on HIV/AIDS in the city, the Washington Post reports. The report, which is the first update on HIV/AIDS in the district since 2000, is a statistical analysis and not an estimate of HIV prevalence in the district, according to the Post.

According to the report, almost 12,500 district residents were known to be living with HIV/AIDS in 2006. The number of HIV cases in the district began declining in 2003, but the decrease likely is the result of under reporting or delayed reporting, the report said. One in 20 district residents is HIV-positive and one in 50 is living with AIDS, according to Shannon Hader, head of the district's HIV/AIDS Administration. The city's cumulative number of AIDS cases is more than 17,400, according to the Post.

More than 80% of the HIV cases diagnosed in the district between 2001 and 2006 were among black men, women and adolescents, the report found. Nine in 10 women who tested positive for HIV were black, according to the report. In addition, about 37% of HIV cases were transmitted through heterosexual contact, compared with 25% that were transmitted among men who have sex with men, the report said. More than two-thirds of AIDS cases in the district during the past 10 years were among people who progressed to AIDS within one year of being diagnosed with HIV, compared with 39% of AIDS cases nationwide, the report found. The report also found that more people ages 40 to 49 were being diagnosed with HIV than any other age group. In addition, all of the 36 children in the district who tested positive for HIV since 2002 contracted the virus during birth."HIV/AIDS in the district has become a modern epidemic with complexities and challenges that continue to threaten the lives and well-being of far too many residents," the report said. The report added that the analysis will offer the district a "new tool to help improve the scope, quality and distribution of care, and treatment and prevention services."

According to Hader, the report's finding that more than 37% of HIV cases were spread through heterosexual contact "blows the stereotype out of the water." She added that HIV is "everybody's disease" in the district. District Mayor Adrian Fenty in a letter accompanying the report said that city officials "must take advantage of this information with the sense of urgency that this epidemic deserves." The HIV/AIDS Administration said it will use the report to determine the next steps in curbing the spread of the virus. Health officials added that they will not focus on any one aspect of the disease or on a single group at high risk of HIV/AIDS. "We don't have the luxury of only picking one," Hader said, adding, "We have the imperative to do it all" (Levine, Washington Post, 11/26).

Multimedia Coverage ABC's "Nightline" on Friday reported on HIV/AIDS in Washington, D.C., and efforts to educate teenagers about the disease. The segment includes comments from Nicole Styles and Arnita Michelle Wilson of Metro TeenAIDS, as well as Christopher Barnhill, an HIV-positive district resident (Tapper, "Nightline," ABC, 11/23). Premium video of the segment and expanded ABC News coverage are available online. In addition, NPR's "Bryant Park Project" on Monday reported on the data (Martin, "Bryant Park Project," NPR, 11/26). Audio of the segment is available online.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Winter Fashion: The Perfect Boots for Wide Calves

Many of you fortunate womyn, can try on anything from an ankle boot to a thigh high without so much as a stretch. For me, this is an ordeal. First, you have to prep, prepare, and stretch. Then, I have to inch the zipper around the mid part of my calf inch by inch for each leg. And this only works for stretch boots. For leather ones, they have to be at least 17.5" around or it's not worth a try. And I couldn't even think about wearing thick socks and boots together until now. I found many sites for the ones of us with big ole legs. Beware! MEASURE YOUR CALVES BEFORE ORDERING.

Sure, maybe muscular legs are kind of cute in pumps, but some boots will make them look like tree trunks. Not these by David Tate for $139 at

For something with a tad sexier heel, I found these at Eddie Bauer online for $188:

If you live in Minnesota and have supple calves, try these $58 lined pair from

For a boutique shopper; please check out Marian Rinaldi. I found a pair at Feline's Basement that are very chic in the fall of 2005.

For my sister, Mya, I found a pair by Dublin of waterproof "riding" style boots for that icky Boston winter at for $140:

The best of the rest:

Duo (a UK retailer) offers custom boots, for a more sophisticated look and expensive price. It could be worth it if you have NARROW calves or if you have small feet with large calves because Duo customizes calf width and shoe size.
Ayla does the same for around $150-$200, but has far less styles than Duo. This site also offers custom boots.
Zappos is a good site if you have just kinda large calves. They offer many slightly wider and stretch styles. offers fabulous riding and comfortable heeled boots for large calves. offers trendy choices. even has a leather and faux suede pair that are 18" around and stretch for $29.99.
So any Jane with muscular, curvy, or pleasingly plump calves can have knee or thigh length boots for every occasion.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Sophia, Naturally Dyed Her Hair...Again

So, I have had blond hair, red highlights, brown tips, and most often a fresh shade of jet black (my natural color) to cover the other dye and make it look healthy, reflecting a healthy shine.

At the Philly Loc Conference, during a workshop, this brand of dye was recommended: Naturtint. The speaker said that harsh dyes will eventually aid in weakening your locs; as a result, some of your locs may fall out like the speaker's locs did. How devastating that must have been for her after several years of Sisterlocks.

Her warning was enough for me. No more Clairol and unnatural colors requiring bleaching before adding the dye! So, I headed to the Whole
Foods Market and bought the boxed dye for about $17. It came with latex gloves, c
onditioner, developer, and the dye with an applicator bottle. The color processed in about 20 minutes to a rich black. You can see the difference from the before picture posted in the profile section to the pics of my color posted in this entry.
I highly recommend this dye. It works with no ammonia and no peroxide, giving a rich permanent color. In addition, it instantly covered any lint or follicles from shedding caught in my locs.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Naturally, Sophia found an Awesome Consultant

Many of you read about my many bad experiences with Sisterlocks consultants. Well, I finally found an awesome consultant. I love how we vibe. I truly enjoyed the time we spent as she retightened my hair. We laughed, talked, and had a great time. Not to mention, she did my hair expertly. She used the hook tool (my preference) and did not miss a single loc.
In addition to having a great personality and doing my hair well, she has an awesome well-toned body. I jokingly said that I want her work-out routine. I love having a consultant that has a healthy body in addition to healthy hair. Unlike some consultants I have seen that have unkempt SLs, her hair was retightened (by herself) and styled (also by herself). I totally think that there is a connection between healthy body, healthy hair, and a healthy mind. I have nothing bad to say. She was not late, was not on the phone the whole time, does not live far, did not take long breaks, and charged a fair price. She also showed me pictures of her work and was open to any discussion about Sisterlocks and hair in general.
Of course, I made an advanced appointment; I am now on a 4 week schedule. It's great to have someone other than myself to maintain my hair. I know that I will continue with my DIY projects in between retightenings to lessen the time. This retightening session took about 5 hours. The last time someone else (other than myself) retightened my hair was September during the first week. The most recent retightening was done on November 17th, I just loved how Julia was concerned with my hair and my comfort. Yay! I have a new consultant and friend.