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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Tales from the Roots: Natural Hair Journey update

 This is the first official length check I have done since I cut my hair in June. I have not cut or trimmed it since I decided to transition. Since August I have worn my hair in sew in weaves and bantu knots so my actual hair hasn't been worn straight in months.
I rarely put heat on it, besides the occasional blow dry but even then it's about once a month. This is mainly because I'm trying to avoid heat damage, breakage and because I like the versatility of wearing weaves and transition styles. I have heard that flat ironing your hair can ruin your natural curl pattern but I honestly don't know how true that is. I have natural friends who agree with this and some who don't. Either way I think it's always safe to flat iron as little as possible and always use heat protectant spray.

When I straighten my hair I don't really do anything special. I use my Organics Root Stimulator Olive Oil Aloe shampoo and deep conditioner, Cantu Shea butter leave in, and Silk Elements heat protectant with my Royale Flatirons. I'm hoping that the winter will be more kind to my straight hair so that I'm able to keep it straight for a while without having to use any heat. I will probably make this last until Sunday and then go back to my bantu knot style until it's time to wash.
 In the next few weeks I might cut it again. I'm considering reshaping my bob so that it can grow out evenly but I'm in no rush. I like that the longer hair in the front creates a heart shaped afro when I bantu knot my hair, I'm just not in love with this length while it is straight. But we will see what I decide to do....

Monday, October 28, 2013

The obsession continues, more fall lip colors

Ever since I saw Rihanna in a deep purple lip in one of her Riri Hearts Mac fall promotion photos I have been on the search for one just like it. I fell in love with Berry Haute weeks ago but I was very far from what I wanted in a plum lipstick. But last week I stopped into CVS to try my luck and fell in love in the beauty isle. Here's what I found:

Milani's Violet Volt $5.49 #34

Wet N' Wild's Ring Around the Rosy #365S $1.79 on sale for $1.20

Black Radiance's Orchard? #5117 (Perfect Tone lip color) $2.19

I wore Milani's Violet Volt this weekend at the Illini Homecoming football game and I absolutely loved it. It is a violet with a bluish hue. The color stayed all day, I only reapplied after eating. It felt great on my lips. I did have some instances of peeling towards the end of the day but I would not call this lip stick drying. I always use lip balm before applying so that helps with dryness but we all know that in some cases that isn't enough. I really love the color and the shine to it. It was $5.49 at CVS which is really reasonable for the color and quality.

Monday, October 21, 2013

DIY time: Vanity Chair

 One thing I remember about my childhood was watching my mom get ready in her vanity mirror. I always thought it was so glamorous and that it was essential to my inner growing Diva. A couple years ago she redecorated her room and her old, then gold, vanity became my new vanity. The gold paint was rusted and the seat cover on the chair was getting ragged so I knew painting was a must. Of course my first thought was to paint it pink but I ultimately chose to spray paint it black with Rusto-oleum ultra cover in a satin finish. Mostly because it matched the furniture in my room and I knew black would be more forgiving than hot pink.
I also gave the chair a paint job and recovered the seat with zebra print fabric from Jo~Ann Fabrics and a staple gun. Quick and dirty. But over the years I've had some guests (cough my brothers and boyfriend cough) rough housing the poor little vanity chair. After all it was never built for 200LB men to sit in... so I began the search for another chair. I was pleasantly surprised when my mom and I stumbled upon this at the Habitat for Humanity second hand store in Champaign, IL. It was gold (I guess gold furniture used to be a thing back in the day....) and most importantly only $20! I picked up that same Rust-oleum and this is my end result! I think I might attempt to recover or replace the seat pad, which is not secured to the chair but for now it works fine. I also did a few touch ups on my vanity. As with the original seat recover project, this was quick and dirty. I didn't remove the gloss from the original gold paint which coated both the chair and the vanity so the paint did scratch off in places. On the vanity it's not really noticeable but if you want to do something like this and don't want it 'Quick and Dirty' I would advise a more thorough approach.

 Here is the end result. The style of the vanity and chair are not the same, but I think they work well together. I love the fact that I now have a stable chair to sit in while applying my make up. I love this vanity simply because it holds a lot of memories but I may eventually get another.  I wish this one had built in lighting because the lighting in my room sucks but for now I make it work.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Tales From the Roots: Beautiful curls from Bantu Knots

When I was younger my mom would put my hair into what she called 'Dookie Balls' after washing my hair, a technique my grandmother had used on her head as a child. She would section the wet hair, de-tangle and twist it into knots to make it easier to blow dry. I hated it.No kid wants their hair to be in any style who's name was excrement adjacent. So imagine my surprise to seek Jada Pinket wearing her hair like this as a hair style in the Matrix. It was even more surprising years ago when I saw that almost every natural girl on Youtube was using these knotted twists to achieve heat-less curls. Their real name is Bantu Knots, which sounds a lot better than 'Dookie Balls' and its now my go to style.
I did this style when my hair was long and relaxed but now that I have about an inch or so of unrelaxed hair I have to approach it a little differently. A lot of girls use water, leave in conditioner, setting lotion and oil to achieve their curls but I find that adding water and setting lotion/ foam makes my hair dry and nappy. It took some Youtube research and trial and error but I finally found what works for me. Watching Youtuber Yolanda Renee's dry bantu knot video was probably the most helpful.
Here's what I use...
Organic Root Stimulator Coconut Oil $4.99
Creme of Nature Argan Oil Strength and shine leave in conditioner $5.27
Cantu Shea butter leave in conditioner repair cream $4.49

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Ways to wear it: Denim Chambray Blouse for fall!

In case you don't know a denim chambray top is a loosely fitting denim or denim like shirt that you can buy in many different washes. Some of them even have studs or patterns on them. These shirts have been a key piece for at least a year now, throughout every season. I got my denim chambray top earlier this year at Forever 21 for about $19. Mine has no extra studs or embellishments besides the pearl buttons and is slightly fitted.
The best part about these shirts are their versatility. In the spring I usually wore this with the sleeves rolled up and over a dress or tied at my navel with a skirt but it is very possible to bring the top into the fall.  In order to keep wearing your denim top throughout the seasons you really just need to know how to layer and be able to keep an open mind.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Tales from the roots....

At the beginning of November I will have made it to the 6 month mark of my natural hair journey. I'll be honest, I decided to start this process on a whim. Usually girls who start their transition have a very heart felt reason, like their hair was wrecked by years of relaxers, they wanted to embrace their African roots/ culture or they wanted to abandon the 'straight hair = good hair' notion society crams down our throats. And when I say society I'm not cryptically referring to white people, I am also including African Americans. I have yet to encounter any comments from people outside of my own race about my growing kinky roots but the feed back I have received from people who look like me is probably just as harsh.
My reason for beginning my transition sprung from frustration and curiosity. I have always had long, thick hair, with or without a relaxer, albeit my hair was longer before I relaxed it. Relaxing my hair never effected thickness but it did affect length. I got my first relaxer right before my eight grade luncheon. My mom was against it from the start but I was adamant that this was what I needed.
I was tired of the big, frizzy, childish pony tails and french braids. I wanted to look older and to look like the girls my age who had relaxers, wore their hair down and had boyfriends. Back then we had limited knowledge of what to do with my hair. I hated the hot comb, which was uncomfortable to sit through and didn't last long in this humid Chicago weather, no ceramic flat iron and we had no knowledge of twist outs! I felt as though a relaxer was what I needed.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Experiments in lip color...

Experiment with NYX Pink Lyric

While on Pintrest I saw a technique for DIY Matte lipstick and decided to try it on Pink Lyric, I'm not used to this bold color just yet so I wanted to see if I would like a more toned down version of it.

First I applied Pink Lyric to my moisturized lips. I used a similar pink eye shadow I found in my Coastal Scents 88 eye shadow palette and patted it on my lips using my finger. I used a different finger each time I applied the shadow to avoid getting the wet lipstick on my dry pink shadow. After adding the eye shadow you can see that the color is muted and it is sort of matte... I may add more eye shadow in the future to make it more matte but I do like this color better with the eye shadow. As you can see it is still a vibrant pink but with a matte finish.

Experiment with NYX Cocoa

This is a technique I saw a while ago on Youtube. I can't recall who it was, it might have been bronzegoddess01, but this is my first time trying it.  After my first application I thought the brown made my lips too dark and I wanted there to be a reddish or pinkish hue. SO I reapplied the lipstick but first I coated my lips with a red lip liner and blended the color in evenly. Adding Cocoa on top of the liner and rubbing my lips together to mix the color gave me just the right amount of red to make Cocoa look more Oxblood, which is a very popular color this fall. I like the results but in the future I may use a creamier liner for an easier, and more even application. 

Lotta Lip Stick!

This week I picked up three new colors for my lips. NYX #558 Cocoa, NYX # 535A Pink Lyric and Revlon's 660 in Berry Haute. The NYX lipsticks were on sale, buy one get one 50% @ $3.99 each and the Revlon lipstick was $4.99 at Target.
I am a newbie to the wonders of lipstick but I am thoroughly obsessed already. For the longest time I stuck to red, because even though it is a bold color, everyone looks good in the right red. But after seeing one of Rihanna's promotional pictures for the Riri heart's Mac fall collection I decided to search for a great plum/purple lipstick. And true to form, I went searching for one thing and came home with extra's.
Berry Haute is a very pretty color. It is very different from my usual colors. I love it but Revlon is not as pigmented as the NYX lip colors. I have to apply several coats to get the color that you see above in the picture. Even though the color could be stronger my lips really like the feel of Revlon.

Pink Lyric is extremely bold. It reminds me of Nicki Minaj and even though she rocks it, I'm not sure if it is for me. The texture is very creamy. I haven't worn it all day but I am sure it would be moisturizing. I hate to waste money on a lip stick I don't like so I tried a technique I found on Pintrest, we'll get to that later...

Cocoa turned out to be more muted than I was expecting. I've never worn a nude/brown lip but I am growing to like it. If I were to wear this out I would pair it with a bold eye and curly hair. Later this week I will be trying make-up looks with these lip sticks just to see which one will make my favorites list. I'm hoping to find something that I can wear with as much frequency as my red.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Great find at Ross

This weekend my mom and I did a little shopping. One of the stores we checked out was the brand new Ross in Tinley Park, IL. The shoe section, which is directly in front of the entrance was buzzing with women and with great reason. Ross is a gold mine of great deals. If you aren't familiar with this department store chain, it is similar to Tj Maxx or AJ Wright. I believe it is new to Illinois, or at least the Chicago land area. I don't remember seeing any before the past two years but I had heard of them from Youtube Fashion gurus.
Anyway, I have been looking for a great pair of wedge sneakers. I held out from buying an all black Airwalk pair from Payless Show Source about a month ago, looking to save my money to buy the black 'Chism' sneakers from Aldo for $90. SO imagine my surprise when I found the last pair of Steve Madden's Hilight at Ross!
They were originally $150 but can be bought on sale at for $69 but Ross has them for $27.99! I was given a 10% discount for a small flaw on the shoes, making them an even more amazing $25. When I got home the real fun of pairing began. Here are a few looks I created but the possibilities are endless.

Ways to Wear it

Look one would be cute for a date night to the movies or Dave & Busters. I wore my Old Navy dark denim Jacket (~$30), white high-low top from Forever21 ($9.99), liquid leggings from Charlotte Russe ($14)
Look Two is very relaxed. I'm wearing my University of Illinois hoodie (go Illini ~$20) with black Forever 21 leggings ($4)
The third look is something i would wear to the grocery store or to visit family. My Hollister long sleeve shirt (which I've had forever and don't remember what I paid for it) is worn with my favorite Levis. 

I can't wait to see what else I can do with these. I am sure Pintrest will help in that department. I have pinned so many pictures of celebs like Beyonce and Ciara wearing wedged sneakers but they every day girls bring excitement to this trend :)