Monday, December 23, 2013 - Nisus

A quick Twist and Curl

I did this set hoping for it to last for the holiday week.  Unfortunately it was quickly undone by the record temps in the 70s and the humidity that came with it.  But it was cute for the weekend:


Me and my dad at his holiday gathering.



Products:

To set it I used Nubian Heritage ~ Honey & Blackseed Heat Protect Keratin Wrap Hair Mousse
and some castor oil.  I used Jonathan Product Green Silkening Creme as my leave in.  The hold was light and fluffy.  A little too light and fluffy.


Wednesday, December 18, 2013 - Nisus

Why I'm not a Beyonce Fan

I don't hate her either though.

It's almost as if I, as a black woman, am expected to love and worship Beyonce, our King.  And even my silence upon the release of her surprise album is taken as a slight. lol. Like I'm supposed to clamor to buy her anything, and listen/watch between episodes of Real Housewives of Love and Scandal.

But here is what I don't understand.  Is she no longer my peer? Are these artists no longer people?  I would have to like a person before I'd ever claim to be fan of theirs.  To like is not to know, but rather to ingest what information they've given me and make a judgement call.  If I knew Beyonce, personally, I don't think we'd be hanging out. Am I entertained by her?  Sure.  Do I respect her? Sure.
Do I like her? No. Do I like her music enough to purchase any of it? No.

And below is a story, where I attempt to put into words my relationship with Beyonce. lol.

I'm about Beyonce's age. I had the very first Destiny's child album back in early college, and even walked out in a fashion show to one of the songs. Their rapid fire delivery and lyrics were right up my ally as a budding woman, looking for independence, a sense of style and a concrete identity.  Bugaboo and Bills  came out of my mouth as naturally as they came from the singers themselves.

There was a duality fighting in me, however.  A split never forgotten.

Outside I had long, relaxed hair.  I wore midriff tops and skin tight bell bottoms out on the town.  I even worked in a few clubs passing out fliers, or selling Polaroid's for $10 (the ones in front of the gaudy city scape). I had a flashy, older boyfriend who was a popular club and radio DJ.  Plus I was in college. Everything was in motion for me to become a "bad bit%$" as it means today in pop-culture.

My heart inside was nerdy, outcast, smart.  I had been made fun of all through grade school. I went to an all black school so the skin color hierarchy had the golden brown and red toned girls as light skinned, and I was past that. I was "high yellow" or "light bright almost white." I didn't have the soft, natural hair down my back that some mixed or Puerto rican girls had, nor the big booty the coveted girls in the videos had.  And I was comparatively poor when trying to uphold my clothing, shoes and hair appointments to standards of the stylish middle-class girls surrounding me. Lacking access because I lived on the edge of a rural area, with one parent, and no public transit.

Come college and all of a sudden, a duality was born of a singular sense of self. Here I was at a predominately white college in a diverse area. I was, indeed, one of the black people.  Different because I was black, rather than different amongst the blacks.  We flocked together in activity clubs and at the cafeteria. The feelings of being ostracized faded, I had a little hard earned money, and I had freedom.  Mostly the freedom to meet new people, and befriend those who I felt I had the most in common with. Freedom to follow trends and ideas that appealed to me.

So there was like this pendulum.  Who would I become now that I could become somebody?

I was (almost) model thin and kinda tall, so I was in a few fashion shows and did a little modeling. And I was still taking classes like Data Calculus and the notoriously hard Rhet Comm. And working and paying my own rent, and taking out student loans in my own name.  I was independent and growing as a person. And for years, everywhere, there was Beyonce.  To me she represented things going on inside of me and around me. Beyonce never came to class with me, but she was at the club, and on the minds of people looking at fashion and style.  She had chosen a side and I was hyper aware of it.

I'm sure true fans know her story better than I do.  But I think that all women go through a similar faze around their early 20s. I can't even tell you what I was thinking, because I don't think I was.  I was just growing/changing. So only in retrospect can I spot the tipping points.

We can latch on to visions we see ourselves mirrored in, or we can aspire to alternate visions for success as black women. As business women, as mothers, as wives, as philanthropists. So I latched on to an idea and began tipping. I wanted to be a creative director and later I wanted to be a wife and mother.

At the very end of my junior year I decided to cut the relaxer out of my hair and began a sort of transitioning process. In September of my senior year I cut my hair down to an inch long, later left the DJ dude and started working almost full time.  I only had a few classes left to get my degree and I wanted to be working.  Just working in my field and not in classes.

I also began volunteering and writing poetry, though I always was a visual artist (I got a BA in Visual and Performing Arts with a track in Graphic Design and a minor in Advertising!)

I braided my hair a lot and did a lot of coil outs. Those styles just went better with ethnic jewelry to me. So I wore shells, and wood, and a more bohemian style slowly crept onto my body. I didn't buy pop albums.  Instead Amel Larriuex, Jill Scott, Erika Badu, Heather Headly and deep house music began to fill my collection.

I continued to hear big hits in the club by Beyonce and later Rihanna and a plethora of hot girls.  I even really loved some of the songs (the uh-oh dance in Crazy in Love was expertly mastered).  But I didn't identify with them.  I didn't see myself in the styles, the hair, the makeup.  It had become pure entertainment.  Fun, alternate reality.

What I respect about Beyonce, besides her obvious success, is the choice that's left open.  There are not many "OR"s in her story.  Just lots of "AND"s.  Entertainer, AND wife, and mother, and business woman.  Visually, she can authentically sing ratchet music, and cuss and jiggle the booty. AND she can dress in angelic white and sing a touching ballad. She can do all of those things and its pretty amazing.

I'm attracted to the aspect of her that says that I CAN too.  Duality is OK. And that's nice.  I could totally throw some weave (or hell, my pressed hair has got that flow now lol), makeup, heals and fancy clothes on.  I CAN switch up too.  Watching her is not even cathartic.  It's affirming.  I could get a damn good approximation of that popular look and fashion sense.  The decisions I made then though, to cut my hair and focus on work, to volunteer, seemed to preclude being fashionable, or spending time and money just to alter my appearance. I can now because I finally have more time and money.  But the split was made.  I don't want to.

I even hear what's she's saying and I'm like get it girl. YOU get it. lol. The messaging she has, or that her writers and engine has is mostly all over the place.  Sometimes there's a song I like, sometimes I don't care if I were never to hear a song of her's again. Music to me is not just the voice, or the lyrics, or the style. Her voice is nice. But everything together is no longer compelling to me.

Like in this video I watched on leaders; I'm not a fan because I don't buy (or promote) things because of what they are, I buy things because of who I am, and who they are.  She is not able to lead me in a direction I would go.

Beyonce is a Diva.  And she makes diva things.  Sometimes I like a diva thing or two, but mostly I'm not following Diva moves or cues.  I'm not following anyone like her simply because of WHO they are.  Not even Janelle Monae has been able to keep my attention.

It's been over 10 years since I had my identity growth spurt.  My sense of self as a black woman has simultaneously developed with her public pop-stardom.  It's somehow become a relative story, a part of my story. So yeah, its that deep. And it took all these words to explain why I'm not a fan. But I don't hate her either.

Are you a fan?  Who are you a fan of?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013 - Nisus

Pressed hair and beeswax pomade

I made myself wait over 6 months since the last time I used direct heat on my hair and I was happily surprised to see the growth I achieved!

I pressed my hair by roller setting it first using Nubian Heritage Honey & Blackseed Heat Protect Keratin Wrap Hair Mousse.

Then as I took each roller out I pressed it using my Remington Wet 2 Straight 2" Wide Plate Wet/Dry Ceramic Hair Straightening Iron with Tourmaline and then did a painful search and destroy session to get rid of single strand knots. Section by section.  So like... 35 times for each curler.  It took for-ev-er. 5 hours from wash to wrap.

But my results are solid straight, and today is day 9 and I'm certain I can make it a full 2 weeks this time.

The key once again, I believe, is this beeswax pomade I made a while back.  I need to make another batch!

I took about 1.5 tablespoons of organic beeswax pellets and melted them in refined castor oil with some rosemary essential oil. It made a thick pomade, similar to Dax but without the petroleum.  I used a dab of that on each section as I pressed and then every day or two I use about .5 teaspoon throughout my hair, but mostly focusing on the ends. It really keeps it smooth and shiny and its surprisingly not-that-greasy.  I also brought some Advocado oil and I use that at night when I wrap my hair.

So on to the pictures.
Freshly done:

Not much of the curl was left after the press and trim so I put some flexi rods in over night and I got this:




And this is day 7 hair after sleeping in rollers again on day 5...


It's BSL in the longest parts, definitely growing! I'll probably press it again for my birthday in February.





Monday, December 2, 2013 - Nisus

Holiday Gift Ideas

Happy Holidays!  Hope everyone had a fantastic Turkey day.
I spent my first one with the BF's family and had a nice time, but I missed my family a lot.

I personally don't include Black Friday or cyber weekend antics as a concious part of my Thanksgiving holiday, but once I get into that first week in December I start figuring out my gift giving plan.

I have Amazon Prime, and an Amazon Store that others can shop in :)
That makes it super easy to either get the things I want locally or ship them straight to my family.

But what do I buy?  I like to put packages together- hair kits, cooking packets, food bundles.

This keeps costs down, is practical and useful for the recipient and I think it's more thoughtful than just buying typical "things" that fill shelves or function only for the season.
  • A hair kit can have products and tools for general hair care.  In my store you can buy pure silk pillowcases for $25, products and a few tools like the wet to straight flat iron or the plastic hair ties. Bundle them all up, with a XL shower cap, some bobby pins… Can't go wrong.  Who doesn't need that stuff, all the time. lol. 
  • A food kit can have the items needed to try a low carb or gluten free diet.  It can have a new spice palate, or even fresh dried herbs.  I have a garden and can pull in rosemary and parsley all winter. I like to anchor it with a nice non-stick pan, insulated lunch bag, shopping tote, thermos... etc. 
  • DIY food and goods are always fun to make and give.  Think outside of the fruitcake though lol.  I have a dehydrator for instance, so I can make dried fruit tins, or herb packets.  Hot peppers and dried, seasoned tomatoes work well too.  Other things that are easy to make include candles, pot holders, seasoned/infused oils, vinegars and honey, and bake (or pasta) kits that include all the dry ingredients, and of coarse, cookies and breads. 
I hope those were helpful!  I also shopped Small Business Saturday (at Glut and Nicey's boutique), and definitely recommend supporting small and black owned business over typical commercial goods.


Here are two online shops I love:

What do you ladies and gents do to tackle your holiday gift giving lists?  I don't have many children in my life so that makes things a bit easy for me I'm sure :)


Tuesday, November 19, 2013 - Nisus

My day at Hair Rules Salon in NYC!

 As part of my new job I travel to NY and a few other places to help put on conferences.  I manage registrations and such.  A few days of hard work with a little downtime depending on how I book my tickets.  This past trip in October I had 4 hours to kill on the last day before heading home to DC.

I decided to just walk around at first.  I put my bag in the holding room and began to roam.  I even kind of knew where I was in Manhattan because it was close to where we set up last time.  I then got this pang of selfish-spend-money-I-earned-itness and decided to buy something.  I walked into a huge Zara and the clothes were blah. everything was blah. I walked back out thinking about a blog post I'd seen recently where a girl went to see Dicky at Hair rules and he showed her how to do a wash & go his way.  I thought about going to a Deva salon...  or hell... how far away was Hair Rules?  My phone said 15 blocks.  Adventure time.

I simply walked there to see what would happen.

If you don't know about Dickey and his knowledge and ability to convert curl disbelievers into believers then please, please Google him. If, like me though, you've been natural for a while and have a pronounced natural curl pattern, you probably have a routine similar to his, but using your own products.  I'm def the latter. I can create a variety of wash and go looks by varying the products, method or application or way of allowing it to dry.  I had never used Hair Rules products before though, and I had not been to an actual salon in.... well over a year! Sheesh.  So I literally just wanted to pamper myself and do  little test of the products.  I figured maybe I'd even meet Dickey and he could give me some advice or tips for my hair type.

I walked and walked. Found the place. walked up. and BAM.  Dickey was at the front desk. lol.  It was a nice clean shop with a big window and lots of chairs. and he greated me, as did the receptionist and after a cup of water and some back story on why I was there we decided to have Dickey himself give me a teaching lesson. I think they called it a curly lesson.  Basically a wash and then "set" of the natural pattern using the Hair rules line.

I loved the experience but not the products, so I won't go into too much detail.  You guys know I am a gel girl and the Hair rules line doesn't have anything to give me the hold I'd need to get more than 3 days out of it.  My hair FELT fabulous. and looked great on day 1. but by day 2 I could tell I'd need to detangle in another day, as the frizz had set in. The girl who washed and conditioned and then detangled my hair (all thoroughly and gently) professed that she used an entire bottle of conditioner on my head.  I exclaimed WOW and she said yeah it happens, no biggie... But my wow came more from my knowledge that those products aren't cheap! lol

Anyways, not for me and my routine and hair length.  But if you like your hair to feel nice and have the time to re-cowash every 3 days or so then try out the line!  I also can't speak on the color, presses, or cuts there but they were quick and everyone who left looked great.

Here are some picts :-) He totally could be related to me. a lot.

 on the train home lol.  I was smelling myself.  New product always smells great!
 The next day :)

Monday, November 18, 2013 - Nisus

Back from vacation in Mexico!

I finally made it down to Cancun! The place of spring break lore and girl trip infamy. It was just me and my guy however, and we had a great time! 

The trip came close on the heals of a crazy Halloween party we had at the house a week earlier, so it was literally 2 days before takeoff when I realized I hadn't yet considered what to do with my hair!  I frantically called my home girl Jemima who gave me a few great ideas, one of which I half implemented. LOL I got lazy and tired halfway through.  The idea was to cornrow the sides and single braid a bunch of the front, then create some sort of twisted updo in back. I got through the cornrows and the first row of braids, but then all the rest became twists.  The back just became 8 big twists lol.  It still worked out because i didn't have to worry about a messy hairline or using elastics or anything to keep my hair out of my face, and I was still able to create a small variety of styles.  I had even decided to leave the back kind of free so I cuold do the whole sexy "getting out of the water" thing ;-* heheh.

But anyway- here was the front before leaving and a few days after. The individual twists and braids in front are just pined into a hump or swept to the side.

 
Inevitably I ended up in the pool and sweating and just wholly ignoring my hair for a few days but it held up! We actually went to the local Walmart on the bus one day. (hey you have to go to Walmart to see what's up for real, for real). I bought a big bottle of random conditioner and used that to co-wash the chlorine out.  Then I used shea butter and my Wetline gel - which is Mexican coincidentally, and they had a purple "lady" one there - and shingled/wash & go(ed?) the back of my hair for the next few days.
and here a few more of the trip over all: 
ok, fine- here's the boo too :)



and what was I for Halloween this year? A frog. lol

Thursday, October 10, 2013 - Nisus

Twist and Go?

I've been doing my hair at night lately and calling it a "wash and go" even though I do all sorts of extra stuff to it. lol.  Not just the "dingle coils" but like big huge twists left to begin drying overnight. Most of the time they don't come anywhere close to drying, but sometimes... sometimes they semi dry at the root and ends.  And I get this twistout/wash & go hybrid.

 
But this is how it starts. Ha. My soaking wet, sectioned, freshly washed and detangled hair.  I use a light leave in, lately just some Infusium to coat my hair thoroughly, and then I go through each section with a small palmful of castor oil.


THEN here is the fun part.  I open each twist back up and work in a generous amount of WetLine extreme gel, using my fingers to smooth it through.  I then retwist and move on to the next section.  I don't really consider it a twist out because the twists are so monstrously huge, and only dry about 30%.  When I take them out, it's very much like shaking out a wash & go, but the roots are a little dry, so the direction the hair falls is set.
The pictures below are from the end of the next day.  When i first take the twists apart, I just kind of shake them loose.  They are wet enough that my hair still has a lot of movement and thus a lot of shrinking to do.  A LOT of shrinking :)
I'm happy to report that with the hold of the gel, this set lasts a week solid with little tangling. I just sleep on my silk pillow case, and sometimes put it in a ponytail.

Amazon Store