Friday, August 23, 2019

Testing a product and a video editing app... What do you think?

Here is a video I shot, put together and edited on my iphone! As I mentioned, I don't have much time (note my son's cameo at the end of the video lol) so any tools, shortcuts or sacrifices that pan out are of high interest. I'll go ahead and post my journey back online, because we're all doing it nowadays!

Let me know what you think of the video and if you have any cheap apps you like to use.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

The Weekends, Part 1. Mommy/Daughter Time

We get a measly two days to do all the things I can’t do during the week. And I do consider doing nothing, a thing by the way. There are 3, equally weighted, priorities I have each weekend. This post is about how I start off on Saturday with part 1. In a later post/video I’ll talk about shifts in priorities and the whole work/life conundrum. 

I try to prioritize spending one on one time with my daughter. She’s a very smart and emotional 4 year old, still adjusting to being a big sister. Week nights are packed with tasks and processes for getting dinner done, preparing for the next day and then preparing for bed. I get home at 7p, or later, so we don’t get much time to just exist during the week.

She’s always done well at restaurants and surprisingly, doctor or dentist appointments (which she still thinks are fun activities lol). After that short list of options here are a few other cheap or free things we take few hours to do:

  • Leisurely strolls through Ikea and then their super affordable lunch 
  • Local water features like the one in Riverdale Park, Downtown SilverSpring or Georgetown waterfront. 
  • Neighborhood parks with snacks packed
  • The little rides at the mall lol 
  • Perusing Whole foods produce section and then their pizza is her favorite 
  • Any local events or story times, however, I like to be on our own time with no pressure so these are often ditched 
  • Gardening and looking for worms 
We just put her in ballet class and she loves it. So now I just stay out with her a bit after that. Here we were today. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

2019 Updates!

Long time. Like, long long time.
  • I have a new baby boy! 
  • I have a new job. 
  • My daughter is 4! 
  • I’m gardening for my second year at
  • Our newish house which is much bigger than my first home 
  • Which I sold :-o 
I’m focused on being a mom and wife and friend during virtually all of my free time. I still like to read, write, draw and paint, but finding ways to multi-task has been challenging. That’s not to say I haven’t found creative ways to remain creative. I get a lot done in my 24 hours and some of the ways I do so are worth sharing with my fellow busy professionals and homemakers. They say you can’t truly multi task and instead, your brain bounces back and forth between the mutual distractions. For some tasks, sure... But many mom, commuter and homemaker tasks require only physical presence. There’s also the notion that rich people don’t have the same 24 hours as the rest of us, which is trueeeeee. But becoming a working mom of two has required a re-jiggering of my relationship with my money and I’ve been able to extend my hours lol. More to come but at this moment I just wanted to type something up now that I decided to renew my domain name for another 2 years. It lapsed on the 5th :-o Agh, the pressure! TTYS. 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Shea Debacle - Why it Hurts

I think I'm finally all caught up on the debacle surrounding the latest Shea Moisture advertising campaign.  Basically, they filmed a series of commercial spots around the "inclusive" theme of "Hair Hate" and they have released them all willy nilly - exposing an overall lack of sensitivity to the needs of their own primary market.  Many current and prospective customers are very upset and hurt while dealing with feelings of betrayal and abandonment. Scathing comments and testimonies are going up on Youtube, Twitter and Facebook, prompting a series of apologies and explanations from the company, which are then inciting further sentiments of disappointment and "You. should. have. known. better" scolding.

Personally, I am numb. I was admittedly a product junkie who ran to scoop up Shea Moisture Products (SMP) when they were released or when there was a BYGO sale at Walgreens. However, like many of my fellow highly textured tress possessors, I would have flocked to any product line that was available on the ground, ingredient centered, and offered any promise of efficacy on my coils. Before Shea Moisture it was KCCC at Whole Foods, preceded Carols Daughter at Macy's. Black owned, targeted product lines with formulas heavy enough to coat and protect my hair from breakage and dryness were worth spending my hard earned money on, worth blogging about, worth posting about on social and worth the space in my bathroom.

Why? This consumerist behavior feeds into the the entire concept and pathology behind "Hair Hate". I won't preach to the choir but when a woman gets self confident enough to try to embrace her natural hair texture when NO ONE has ever done so, any glimmer of caring or empathy becomes an oasis in a dessert. Or in this case, a mirage. Relinquishing unhealthy self image beliefs and behaviors is HARD, and some vestiges of it remain in the quest to tame, smooth and detangle the number and letter ranked micro curls and zig zags many naturals find them self faced with yet unprepared for. We're thus constantly on a quest to re-educate ourselves and personalize our hair care depending on what we discover at our roots. We build communities to shore up support, we rally to banish preferences for looser curls, we uplift and we create sisterhoods like only we can. Like everything we do, those sisterhoods are coveted by others who have no such defining feature or experience to share, so we defend our spaces.

And we end up here. We've painstakingly embarked to redefine our beauty standards and routines. We're in the middle of a battle with ourselves and the dominant culture. We're building businesses and centering ourselves. It's delicate work and betrayal can not be tolerated. Not by our men, not by our elders, and not by those who have pledged to serve us. The outrage caused by a "natural hair company" creating a mere snippet of media that equates our plight of acceptance and journey to re-educate ourselves with the plight of any woman deciding on a mere hairstyle is palpable. We are battling powers that go beyond style down to challenge our mere existence as humans worthy of love and respect. We have to ground our feet against an omnipresent current insisting that we CHANGE or hide who we are. That is not the same as being insecure or having trouble accepting "imperfections". This is known. Let me add my "They should have known better". Yet still I am numb.

We've been at this for decades now, some of us. Before there were products available on the ground, they were on the internet. I think any one of us who has been natural for over 2-3 years (15 for me), even amidst the plethora of new product options, has debated coming up with our own product. And again; why? Because nothing truely works for long. SMP were great, until I remembered that shea butter accumulates residue on my hair, thus the loss of efficacy, so now I need the clarifying shampoo (OOOoooo JBCO Shampoo), and now I need a deep conditioner (OOoooo Superfruit purple bottle something), and now I need to fight the frizz, (gel...flake free non-drying gel anyone?) The cycle goes on and on as does the search for the holy grail product after the one you thought you loved stops working or has a disastrous formula change (is my face breaking out?). So I have been off Shea moisture for a while, though Nubian heritage does have a scent I love. Whatever. What even is the goal? Is it to come up with a signature style? Something easy and pretty and reliably duplicable? Or are we growing it long? Longer? Longest. Too long, big chop time. No, the goal is to be comfortable and confident in our own bodies. The goal is to become familiar with our hair's natural proclivities and predict and create desirable results. The goal is to accept and love what God gave us by the act of working WITH it and not against it. So the whole Hair Hate vs Hair Love is really at the root of this whole war. Those are representative trigger words at the deepest level. This is complicated.

What I already know, what we all already know, is that they still can not center US at the core of "Hair Love" and have the message translate to the very people who hate us. The very people who make us hate ourselves. The concept of acceptance that we thought SMP was riding with us on, had to be simplified and diluted down to a conversation about hair styles to be synthesized into a 2 minute spot suitable for mass media. Which is just sad. It just pokes the sadness that rears its head after every survived micro aggression or pang of wistfulness followed by guilt when admiring some flowy bundles. Or the sadness that may result from failing execution of a coveted style that's not right for ones actual hair texture (wash and no? defined twist doubt?). Acceptance is an ongoing process in the face of external AND internal adversity and it often hurts without any extra poking. They poked a Tyrannosaurus.

I was excited for their brand, albeit one I was a bit distanced from, because I saw the baby line come out, then saw body care and "lighter formulas" start popping up in various aisles throughout the local drug stores. I thought to myself, now that Black business is going somewhere! Hair dye? Makeup?! Go head!! I was routing for you - we were all routing for you! If anyone had the knowledge of our plight coupled with the brand power to center us in a conversation about beauty we thought it could possibly be SMP!! I was ready to see African women with brown skin and naturally straight hair smile from my TV to discuss the "Light" formula line for straight or fine hair. Or the Latina touting the new wavy hair formula. AKA "This brand knows moisture because they were birthed by and for those who needed it most, and now they can expertly extrapolate their foundation goals to the greater market."

We've seen the reverse all our lives - "This brand knows how to make your hair oil free and shiny, they can expertly extrapolate their foundation to the alternative market and...remove...less oil...? And replace it with poison-oil...wait...we mean cocoarganshea extract..."

I, personally, was hoping we were finally seen by a brand as "beautiful enough" to be given a chance at the center. But this disappointment is not new. I'm hurt and disappointed because I now have to abandon my hope for what they could have done, who they could have been in the name of true love... I'm VERY well well acquainted with who they are. They are still a black owned business, they are still available on the ground, and their ingredients still aren't total trash. And I'm just sad.

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