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Friday, October 31, 2008

You Guess Right: It's Martine!

I should have known better to think I could fool you. Martine Bernard, Sisterlock Consultant from Boston, came for a visit. We have been friends and kindred spirits for awhile; as you may have read, she was my sister's initial install SL consultant. She blessed me with both her presence and charm (of which she has tons). During her stay, of course, I insisted on taking photos of her waist length, 8 year old locks.

We talked about living in Paris, the challenges of learning Spanish, spirituality, men, eating right and exercise, late into the nights she visited. I enjoy listening, talking, and having company. She left saying that she needed the trip and all the love I showed. I needed her spirit and welcome her return.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Guess Who Came to Dinner?

Guess Who This Is (everyone except Onyx Cherry)?

What Beautiful, Infamous Sisterlocks Woman Came to Visit Yours Truly?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

That Hair Thang & The Comments That Go with Being Au Naturale

Ok, This post is just to vent about the most ignorant ish I have heard about natural hair recently. It amazes me to see how people still don't recognize the fabulousness of natural hair. Even more so, I feel like people are on the attack because they are really lacking in self esteem.

Woman in Grocery Store: Why would you mess up all that "good hair" with locks?

Me:( not in the mood) No habla Ingles

Woman with Long Sistelocks: Sometimes I wear a wig because Sisterlocks don't go with every outfit.

Me: Smug Look

Woman with No Hair due to Chemical Burns from Relaxer Wearing a Turban: You need to realize that locks is just dead hair. Why would you want shedded, matted hair?

Me: Your fingernails are "dead" also. Would you pour battery acid on them? I prefer my hair which is healthy versus anything else in this style, to each, their own.

Male Co-Worker: I don't like dreads. I really don't like anything without a pattern on men or women.

Me: le sigh

Cashier after a Retightening: You have the smallest Micros (braids) I have ever seen. How long that take?

Me: I have Sisterlocks. A locking method that uses no fake hair ( at this point she was looking for an extension method, both hands digging through my head).

Cashier after Realizing I Had No Weave: Oh you got good hair anyway, I need some chemicals in mines

Me: Here is my consultants card if you ever change your mind.

Woman at Store Wearing Weave: Your hair looks so good. Are those Sisterlocks or Twists?

Me: Sisterlocks Thanks!

Woman at the Store Wearing Weave: Sisterlocks Cost Too Much

Me: If you want to lock, you can use any method even braids.

Woman at the Store Wearing Weave: I don't want locks anyway. Sisterlocks still cost too much,

Me: Well you know best. ( A phrase I offer for people not listening and especially know it all sorts.)

Woman with Small Afro Peeping Out under Wig: I want to lock my hair when it gets long enough

Me: Really? Is your hair short? It looks long enough to start locking.

Woman with Small Afro with at Least 2-3 inches of nice coils Poking Out Under Wig: This is a wig.

Me: (thinking obviously) I meant your natural hair.

Same Woman: Ohh! I mean I want my hair to be long like yours when I lock.

Me: The best way to grow your hair is in locks. That way you won't shed any hair and keep all your growth.

Same Woman Determined to Have the Last Word: Did you do that?

Me: No because I had several inches of natural hair when I decided to lock. There are many people that start with very short hair. There is a natural hair meet-up. I am writing the info on my consultant's card for you.

Woman Speaks after Readjusting Wig: I just like the look of long hair.

Me: Handing the woman the card with a big smile- I understand. You are pretty enough to carry off the short look even bald (she was). You and your natural hair are so beautiful. I hope to see you at the meet-up. Be well.

I am finished ranting now. Thanks for letting me rave. Does anyone still say stupid things about your hair to you as if you won't be offended?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Another Natural Beauty Inspiration- Emanuela de Paula

Emanuela De Paula is a 19 year old multi-racial (just like you), Brazilian born supermodel. If you have a current Victoria's Secret catalog, you will find her there. She is considered curvy in the modeling world though still thin enough to work the runway.
She is so stunningly beautiful. How can you see her brown skin and curly hair and not be inspired to appreciate your own?
I love her puffs here. They look like Sisterlocks. And note the cornrows ala Alicia Keys below:
Height: 5'9 ½
Place of origin: Cabo de Santo Agostinho/Pernambuco, Brazil
Ethnic origin: I don't know my background - my father is black, my mother is light with green eyes - I am what we call "mulata".
How was discovered: On the streets of Recife, capital of Pernambuco, 40 min from my hometown.
Favorite things: To sing, to dance, to take pictures.
Favorite things about modeling: exciting/dangerous locations and experiences, access to different cultures, money.
Favorite subjects at school: Math and Portuguese
What you like the best and the least in NY: It is all very different for me, I like everything - Central Park is very special.
Advice for aspiring models: Run after your dream, but don't run over anybody... Be patient, if it is meant to be, you'll have your turn.
It was hard to find photos of her without her hair straightened. Her is the most natural photo I found of her although my fave is the one above.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sisterlocks Interview- My Sis Mya and Her Beautiful Hair

What are your hair stats? Type? Texture? Pattern? Size of Locks?

I was told by my Sisterlocktician, Martine Bernard, that I have ‘good locking hair’, it has a very tight curl pattern, for the most part. What I call ‘crunchy – I always loved the feel of my hair when it was natural, I enjoyed running my fingers through my hair, pulling a lock and feeling it spring back into a curl way before I had locks. Also, as with most peoples from the diaspora – I actually have several textures of hair – tighter curl (good and nappy) in the front and a little looser in the back – which actually my Dad tried to tell me years ago, when he shaped my first Afro!

Tell me about your first hair experiences? How did your family react and/or style to your hair as a child?

As a child I was always the one that the women in my family would look at and shake their heads over, my oldest sister had ‘good hair – a reflection of the native American and white ancestors. Although the next oldest didn’t have the good hair she had the length and an unusual sandy color and hair so strongly textured that when you pressed it, it stayed that way for a long time, and then I came along – I didn’t have the ‘good’ hair nor the strong hair, and no length whatsoever – the women just scratched their heads in puzzlement about how shortchanged I was (pun intended)!

Growing up with a Mom who didn’t know a thing about doing hair it was all about the backward plaits and press and curls for special occasions with little tiny pigtails. I have a 4th grade school picture with several pigtails and a big burn under one eye from the straightening comb….

When did you first go natural? Why? If you returned to relaxers, why did you return to that?

Growing up in the 70’s I had an afro for years which I loved, and as I transitioned into the workforce I started with the perms in order to look more professional and to be in style because Afros became obsolete and to have natural hair meant that you were “homey” or poor. – and then the curly perms until I couldn’t take the wet head any longer, then braids and perms – I’ve always been active and have never liked being in hair salons so eventually I would cut the hair off until

How did you wear your hair at different stages in your life?

afros, press and curls, perms, curly perms, braids, twists, and now S’locks.

Now that you have locks, how do you feel about coloring them? Any advice or color preferences?

I colored my hair just before getting locks, and continue to color every 6 months or so. I felt it would be a good way to accent my hair during the beginning stages of locks. I keep the color as close in tone to my natural hair color because I only color 1-2 within the year and I don’t like to see a striking difference between new growth and colored hair. No advice other than to listen to your locktician! I always stress to folk that because of the diversity of hair textures what works for me and my hair may not work for yours!

Have you had any problems with locks? What were they?

None other than lint becoming embedded in some of my locks, especially at the nape of my neck. Easily prevented by wearing a slumber cap and easily fixed by coloring!

Have you taken a Sisterlock class? How did you find it? Do you use it?

Yes, I took the SL retightening class approximately 6 months after my installation, I found it helpful because it helped me to understand my loctician’s instructions and even though initially I did not use the training I appreciate being able to tighten up my own hair if I choose.

How do friends, family, and men react to your hair?

Family and friends were taken aback at first, but I and my children had been on a natural hair journey for some years before I installed my locs – so folks were used to be being “different”!! Now of course, family (my mother especially) can’t believe how long my hair is and most friends acknowledge that the style suits me perfectly.

Attitudes like natural hair are contagious. How many people have you inspired? Any stories?Me, my sis, and her daughter above:

Since installing SL’s my daughter and my baby sister have both installed them, and my good friend as well as several co-workers who watched my hair progress over the years now have SL’s. I live in an urban area and commute to work via public transportation, I am constantly being “stalked” by potential SL clients and now carry my loctician’s business cards (Shout out to Jacqueline in Boston) as well as the email address for SL!

What do you like best and least about Sisterlocks?

There is pretty much nothing I don’t like about Sisterlocks – sometimes I feel my locs get WAY too much attention in inappropriate venues (i.e. during a business conference I attended with my boss – a white male – 2 sisters came up to us and started asking about my hair.....

What are some future things you’d like to do with your locks?

Now that I have enough length I would like to have it styled in an updo – but I have to stay the free and loose style works perfectly with my lifestyle.

Would you ever cut the Sisterlocks off in lieu of a new do or style?

Yes, I’ve decided that upon reaching a certain age milestone – I’m going for the close shaven look – I’ll have a ceremony! But right now, as someone who was told all my life that my hair would never grow, I’m finding it fun to watch it grow longer and longer and longer and to hear family and random strangers comment on the length. In fact, my mother now kinda likes the hair and admits its because of the length. And one of my sisters can’t stop touching it – especially when I twist it and it has this nice wavy look as it cascades down my back…

What is the one best thing about Sisterlocks?

FREEDOM!! I love the natural texture of my hair and feel this has been the most flattering style I’ve ever had. The bonus is the statement this makes to people about my life philosophy – I love being a woman of color, I like my naps, and I take care of my body without artifice… I feel that its not just a hairstyle, it’s a lifestyle and my lifestyle is becoming more and more free of the artificial – and more inclusive of substances that a re holistic and natural. I love the way I am starting to dress to fit my locs!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

My Latest Love: The Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse

Having been locked twice, I never usually care about build-up and lint. I usually only care about walking out the door after rolling out of bed well-rested because I am not spending time doing my hair for 30 minutes every morning. ;p

In general, I try to avoid materials that shed and sleeping on cotton pillow cases or using white towels. Why is it that face cloths/washcloths only come in multiples (a value pack) of white and never brown or black?

Oh, so back to the topic at hand, most of the time I don't care because 1. I know I wash my hair several times weekly 2. To me, locks are about letting go of daily maintenance and control 3. I am a free spirit and what's the point it will just get in the hair again?
This weekend I did something out of the ordinary for me. I cared or at least pretended to care about the lint and build up which was very minimal stemming from mostly follicles that have shed and lint since I don't use products (they can cause build-up). Here's the before pic:

Did I use tweezers? No, I could have but because my locks are so delicate and tiny I did not want to rip the interlocking out with the lint and weaken the lock. Did I use dye to cover the lint and build-up? I would have but I am feeling lazy and liking the natural red streaks.

What did I do? I poured undiluted apple cider vinegar in a spray bottle. I sprayed it gently over all my hair until it was damp not dripping. I let it dry and washed it out that evening.

I am happy with the result. It looks more shiny and I can't see any follicles or build up from make-up around my hairline. U likey?

What do you use to keep extra stuff from showing in your locks? Does anyone use lemon? I heard that the natural acid in lemon lifts build up and lightens the hair shaft slightly. Because of this, the next shampoo I want to try is Avalon Lemon Clarifying shampoo. Has anyone used it?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Atlanta Sisterlock Meet-Up: Ideas Anyone?

I must thank Amba, who graciously asked me to be the Assistant Organizer of The Atlanta Sisterlocks Meetup . Of course I accepted!

I am honored that she thought of me. But my next thought is how to improve on the meet-ups. The upcoming meet-up will feature conversation around being physically natural-from head to toe. I have contacted several organic product companies to request samples for the group. I know that most of you are not local to the area. But what kind of things would you want from a natural hair group in your area? Any ideas?

Most of the time, we talk about Sisterlocks after an introduction or while we eat. Then, there is a question and answer period. We all exchange info which I really appreciate. I am already so very thankful that we have a meet-up, I am starved for ideas on how to improve on perfection.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Beauty Inspiration: Wakeema Hollis

One of the 3 people that avidly read this blog (LOL) requested that I bring back the Beauty Inspiration posts that feature natural, beautiful looking women of color with curly/coily textured hair who happen to be models/entertainers. I miss that segment from my blog too. Seriously, how often do we see natural beauty celebrated in our youth, Eurocentric obsessed American culture?

The "It" Model du jour came to mind: Wakeema Hollis. She is a Sistah Southerner, originally from Memphis, TN. She is 24 years old and has worked steadily in the past 3 years in editorials and on the runway constantly( a size 4 and 5'9"). I hear she has a great spirit and is easy to work with/around...apparently not a cell-phone thrower. Ha!

Well, there is not much to add because she is so naturally beautiful, with especially thick gorgeous hair and lips. When I look into her eyes, I see nothing but opportunity.

I think the one above and below are my favorite photos of her.

This is how some girls with both attitudes and weaves/ perm look at me too. LOL!

I appreciate the photos below equally as much. They show the versatility of working with a models natural hair. In the first photo, she looks Amazonian and glamorous; whereas in the second pic, she looks cute and gamine.

Do any of the other 2 people that are avid readers have any comments? LOL!


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Awesome SL Consultant Jacqueline Has Her Own Site

MY favorite compulsively neat, meticulously hard-working consultant has her site up on the world wide web. YAY! Woohoo Jacqueline.

Ladies, please sign her online guest book and wish her lots of continued success and love.

If you are interested in Sisterlocks and are in the Boston area, Jacqueline is a viable option especially if you want micro Sisterlocks and perfectly symmetrical parting. Here is her fotki page to review her hair and work:

Please continue to support the Sisterlocks Sistahood!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

October 2008- Another Retightening

I just got my hair retightened this weekend. Yay! It's funny that my hair seems like it may have passed the shrinking phase. It is also finally mostly locked. Double Yay! It was the first time in 9 weeks. I desperately needed one. Julia, my consultant, was lightening fast as always (only 4 hours) and had another product recommendation for my build-up/lint, Aveda Brilliant spray. I think it totally helped and doesn't add any extra oil.

I decided to post photos of before the retightening versus after so that those who aren't familiar with Sisterlocks can see the difference. If you are new to SLs, retightenings occur when you have new growth, it is a way of locking the hair at the root with the tool so that it will lock in the same pattern as the other hair. Because it is interlocked, you don't get the same damage that is possible with retwisting/palm rolling. However, any size locks can be interlocked not just Sisterlocks.

Ok, so this is the Before the Retightening Photo:
Look! My locks are finally locked. I may be entering the teenage phase and leaving the baby locks for good.

Here is the After the Retightening Pic:

I hate the grid looking newness after I get it retightened. I prefer the before look. It looks more natural and locked. The after looks like micro braids in a way I dislike. Good thing it's temporary.

Retightenings are apart of the maintenance of Sisterlocks, a necessary evil. Locks spoil you so that you are so not concerned with hair that when you have an appointment, it's like a hassle in my opinion. I don't look forward to it. Partially because my head has become more tender headed from not being manipulated , second the expense, and also because my weekend time is valuable. I am selfish with that time. I want all my weekend time to go to me and it is impossible to get to my consultant during the week in time for a retightening. Do any of you feel that way or is this just me complaining over fake problems?

Do you ladies tip your consultant? I do, usually about 10-15%. She is really accurate (never missing a lock) and lightening fast; I told you I value my time. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to retighten my whole head again. But it just wasn't worth it to give up my weekend as I am so slow. I was speaking with some women who never tip their stylist; or if they do, regardless of the service, it's the same amount. Will any of you admit to doing that? I mean I am not judging because a tip certainly is not always warranted, nor is it required. But it makes me wonder what other clients do. It also makes me think of how, if at all, the recession has affected retightening prices or tips.

I'd love to read your retightening stories, anyone care to share their experiences?

Friday, October 17, 2008

I Have PCOS; PCOS Does Not Have Me!

What is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)?

Polycystic (pah-lee-SIS-tik) ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a health problem that can affect a woman's menstrual cycle, ability to have children, hormones, heart, blood vessels, and appearance. With PCOS, women typically have:

-high levels of androgens (AN-druh-junz). These are sometimes called male hormones, although females also make them.
-missed or irregular periods
-many small cysts (sists) in their ovaries. Cysts are fluid-filled sacs.

Because of going un/misdiagnosed for several years, my doctor had bad news. Earlier this year, I was told I had a uterine polyp that had to be surgically removed. I was so upset! I hate taking medicine; so the real prospect of surgery was frightening. I took the meds my doctor prescribed and I must say I am ecstatic that it caused me to shed the polyp. The doctor also confirmed that not eating high sugar, starch foods causes a reduction in cysts. This is something that wholistic healer Queen Afua told me months earlier.

I am on a PCOS diet now in addition to taking my meds. This means I no longer eat bananas, watermelon, pineapples, white rice, corn, white flour products, processed food, cake, candy, simple sugar, or white bread. I am also a vegetarian and have been for years. So the prospect of a no meat, low glycemic diet seemed hard at first. But now, I am a pro at it. What I haven't mastered is cutting cheese out of my diet. I do now only eat organic cheese that has less than 1% milk fat.

I plan to cook more now because it is so limiting to eat out with no starch AND no meat. If I start to post food, please humor me. I want to share recipes and receive them. I just went grocery shopping for all live foods. I have way more energy than I used to have eating lots of carbs.

Another part of controlling PCOS is to have regular exercise. This has been the hardest thing to incorporate into my busy life although I have lost weight and inches. I am encouraged, inspired, prayerful, and thankful!!!

I am off to fill my prescriptions now. TTYL!

Vegetarian Restaurant Week 2008

So last night was the kick-off event for vegetarian restaurant week. And I forgot my camera :( I met a natural hair stylist, also Sisterlocks trainee who offered to hook me and my natural friend up. There were also lots of stunning skinny people who were Afrocentric regardless of their particular race or sexual orientation. It was a people watcher's festival!

The food was good. We snacked on some wheat gluten/veggie kabobs and salad.

Tea was served in Styrofoam cups ( boo! I wish they were Eco friendly) in bags and stems similar to this:There was a tea educator who gave a presentation and the event was hosted in the Black Owned, Grounds Coffeehouse in the historic West End of Atlanta. The tea lover recommended this product:

It is dishwasher safe, glass, and microwave friendly. The tea can be infused in one mug. It has a lid so that you can seal it. I found it on Theresa Bey, the tea educator, reportedly contributes to the site.

I hear the following vegetarian restaurants are participating in Atlanta's vegetarian week. You can get a 3 course meal at the participating restaurants for $15:

Cenci's Vegetarian Lounge
404 627 0533
1259 Glenwood Avenue,S.E. in East Lake Village
Atlanta GA 30316

Healthful Essence
404 287 5104
910 York Avenue in West end Atlanta
Atlanta,GA 30310

Lovin' if Live
404 765 9220
2796 East Point St.
East Point GA 30344

Sid's Gourmet Vegetarian Cafe
770 389 9181
1445 Rock Quarry Road
Stockbridge, GA 30281

Soul Vegetarian Restaurant
404 752 519
4879 Ralph David Abernathy, Blvd
Atlanta GA 30310

Soul Vegetarian Restaurant
404 875 0145
632 North Highland Avenue
Atlanta GA 30306

Vegetarian Paradise
678 518 8649
6125 Covington Highway
Lithonia GA 30038

It was a nice event. It was kind of like the people were preaching to the choir as most people there were already vegetarians. If you are a local vegetable lover, check it out.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Book I Read and Movies I Saw

Over the last month, I have been completely submerged in the cinema and/or in between the pages of Toni Morrison's Love.

Toni Morrison, my favorite author, is profound as always in this novel which explores the many faces of love. Not only the pretty faces, like when you send roses (cliche but nice) as a gesture but more along the lines of when you fight your loved one tooth and nail just to be close to them. It explores the separation, stillness, and manipulation of love.
When asked about her motivation for the book, the author replied in an interview, "I was interested in the way in which sexual love and other kinds of love lend themselves to betrayal. How do ordinary people end up ruining the thing they most want to protect? And obviously the heart of that is really the effort to love."

I know some don't appreciate the spiritual quality that exist in Toni Morrison's books or her thought provoking language; but if you can read the meaning behind those elements, I am sure you'd enjoy this novel.

I also saw the movies below in the past month. I must say that for the first time in a long time, I enjoyed every single one.

Tropic Thunder- a star filled comedy mocking Hollywood, Robert Downey Jr. steals the film, by playing an actor who undergoes a transformation to become African-American. I thought it would be offensive. But it is hilarious (on the surface at least)!

Eagle Eye- this is a film about the ultimate Big Brother Watching You. It is definitely a thriller and has an unpredictable plot. I felt it was worth the money spent. Plus, I just love who has a major role Rosario Dawson in the film.

Pineapple Express- this is a silly, stoner movie. You will really like or dislike this movie. If you like moves like Half Baked or Cheech and Chong, you will enjoy this. It was very funny to me.

Miracle at St. Annas- GO SEE IT! Please go see this movie like right now. Like power down, leave work, or whatever you must do. I just love Spike and the direction he chooses to go when making movies now. This movie will make you want to do research after seeing it. It was beautifully well done and socially conscious.

Nick and Norahs Infinite Playlist- This movie is too cute. It makes me want to read the book that spun the movie. It was a simple cute story that kind of revolves around music loosely. It reminds me of a PG-13 Almost Famous (2000).

The Family that Preys Together - I liked the movie. Some said that it was to predictable and contrived. But I am a sucker for any Alfre Woodard movie (Crooklyn especially); I loved her performance. I also appreciated the story line, the plot, and actresses Robin Givens & Kathy Bates. I say go support Tyler Perry!

Ok, I am off to the movies now. You'll read the review about what I saw later.

A Late Night's Scrabble Match

So, my locked friend Magdalene (Another Super Natural: My Friend Madge ), Onyx Cherry and I were playing Scrabble all day and night(lol) in the park. I just love spelling, winning, and Scrabble. But since I always have my camera ready, I took the opportunity to take these wonderful candid photos of Onyx Cherry showcasing her locks.

Along with her super smooth skin, don't her freestyle locks just wow you?

And yes all my close friends have natural hair. It must be birds of a feather :)