Sunday, April 28, 2013

Street Fashion

Last week, I went to see Solange at the 930 Club in DC and got some awesome pictures of street fashion and natural hair. Street fashion is basically what everyday people from an urban center wear (in this case, the people of DC). Though I was well-aware, it made me appreciate DC's dope fashion sense and the beauty and versatility of natural hair.

Check out the pics below:

Simple and elegant. I love the side swooped hair and the gold buttons on the blazer.
Now that's how you wear a bright red lip! I also love how they both show how to rock shorter hair. 
This girl was awesome! I loved how she wore this shirt (I don't think I'd know how to rock that) with the high waisted pants. She makes it look effortless!
I saw her posted up looking awesome in that blazer and had to get a pic. Isn't it beautiful?
The return of finger waves? Yes please! The headband adds to the cute 1920s vibe.
Have I mentioned that I love flat forms? I love these all black ones with blue laces, paired with an oversized sweater.  
You know I love a great mix of patterns! Plus her hair is so cute and makes me want to add some color for the Summer!
I loved this polkadot shirt dress and this chick's TWA! She worked both beautifully.

I didn't get to take TOO many pictures; I was there for a concert, silly! I love the fashion choices and the hairstyles of the people I selected. You can tell Spring is finally here because white is back in full force. The patterns and textures of the clothing add to the allure of each outfit and each girl made it her own. (If you're reading, thanks for letting me take your photo!)


I wasn't gonna leave you hanging! Here's a pic of the beautiful and wonderful Solange rockin' out on stage!! She had an amazing show!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Animal Style

Flamingo tee (old ASOS); oversized tiger cardigan (old Urban Outfitters)
A myth I constantly hear about animal print is that it should be worn in moderation. Who makes up these rules? On Saturday, I said "forget the 'rules'" and decided to wear animal print two ways: tiger print cardigan and flamingo tee. The pairing of the two was awesome! I love this shirt; the colors are pretty muted so once someone realizes there are flamingos on my shirt, it becomes a good conversation piece. The animals-as-prints trend has all but died, but this shirt is pretty timeless because of its delicate color palette and versatility. You can't tell from these photos, but the back of the shirt is solid navy blue, so the flamingos aren't too overwhelming.

Earrings (old ASOS); Rx glasses:  Zenni Optical
Grey jeans: F21+; denim patchwork jacket: ASOS (sold out, similar here)
The addition of the cardigan wasn't an obvious choice. This outfit actually happened accidentally. It was too cool outside to just wear a t-shirt and this cardigan was my only clean one--don't judge me, I just reeeeally need to do laundry. But what a beautiful accident! I've been playing with this concept of "power clashing" ever since seeing it on the episode of 'Girls' when Hannah and Elijah go to a rave. Hannah had on a terrible outfit that, for some reason, worked. If prints or patterns make an outfit more interesting, then mixing prints and patterns will make your outfit even better.

What prints and patterns do you like to mix?

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Let Your Hair Down!

In my last hair post, I indicated that I'd be bunning from now on to give my hair a break from extensions. Bunning is probably the fastest and easiest way to protect your hair and to retain moisture. If twists aren't your thing and your hair is long enough to pull up, I definitely recommend bunning. Click here for some awesome tips!

I bunned for... a week? Maybe... I like bunning because it gives me the advantage of protecting my ends and the ease of doing a hairstyle that literally takes a minute. But let's be real: at the end of the day, buns are kind of boring. Yeah, I said it. So when Spring finally decided to happen, I felt like it was the perfect weather to let my hair down. The sun was shining, flowers were blooming, and I felt like a free spirit!

Beautiful, right?
I don't know what it is about nice weather, but it makes me want to let my hair down! The weather was perfect for it--not too hot, not too humid, not too dry. When it's too humid, my hair might start out stretched, then will shrink throughout the day, causing it to get all kinds of tangled. It's not worth it. But last weekend was perfect. The only problem is I hadn't worn a twist out in so long, I nearly forgot how to do one! Even though this wasn't my best effort, it felt great to wear my hair down.

Twist out? Sort of, I guess..
Even though day 1 was a complete fail, I was obviously feeling this loose-hair look because I rocked it a lot (read: nearly everyday) this past week. I'm proud to say my twist-out method has improved significantly!

Monday was better...
Wednesday was the best!
So how did I achieve this full and curly look? I followed Naptural85's "best twist out ever" method. It works really well! Here are some quick tips for wearing your kinky/curly/coily hair down:
  1. Moisturize! When your ends aren't protected, your hair will lose moisture much more quickly. I moisturized (sprayed my hair with a mixture of water and glycerin), and sealed (with an oil or water-based cream) every night this week while my hair was down, and it definitely needed it! When my hair is in protective styles, I usually only seal in moisture about 2-3 times a week. Just something to keep in mind!
  2. Use a hair butter or cream the first time you twist your hair. This sort of goes with my first tip, but I felt the need to reiterate it. A hair butter will help your hair "hold" the twist, and ensure your twists outs are shiny and defined.
  3. If you want longer twists, start with dry, stretched hair. Starting on dry hair will also make your twists look better defined.
So is it just me, or does nice weather also make you wanna let your hair down? How do you achieve your best twist out ever?

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Quick Update: Recent Purchases

After a long, long, LONG (did I say long?) 40 days, I was finally able to shop online again on April 1st. I took a break for Lent, but I'm back, baby! Take a look at my recent purchases!

Left to right: tribal print dress - F21+; spot print dungarees: ASOS; bird and floral print dress: F21+; red skater dress: ASOS; rose print tee: ASOS Maternity.

Tribal Dress
I actually bought the tribal print dress in the store (GASP!). After a long day, I needed some retail therapy and of all the things I saw, this one caught my eye. I'm trying really hard to buy clothes that will double for work and play, and this one can easily be made professional with the addition of a cardigan.

I have been looking for a cute pair of dungarees for months! I didn't want denim ones because they remind me too much of old school '90s overalls. But the spot print on these were just too cute to pass up! These are obviously for play and not work, but whatever. I will be looking CUTE on the weekends!

Bird and Floral Dress
I usually don't like this type of floral, but I love that this dress has birds on it. Also, it looks like Spring will finally show its face here on the east coast, and this dress makes me think of sunshine and daquiris. I know the animals-as-prints trend is dying, but I love how the birds are combined with the flowers all over the dress.

Red Dress
Notice a theme? I kind of pants-aversive. Dresses are a great way to look put-together without really trying. I love the bright red color of this dress, which will look great during any season, and the "skater"-style hem will be really flattering.

Rose T-Shirt
Now this is the kind of floral I like. It's such a modern take on your grandma's floral drapes. (Hey, inspiration can come from anywhere!) Anyway, yes, this tee is maternity and no, I am not ashamed! This will be the first maternity item I've ever bought, but I figured a little extra room in the stomach area can't exactly hurt when you're a curvy girl. I'll be sure to update to let you all know how it fits!

What have you bought lately?

Monday, April 1, 2013

Tell-tale Signs it's Time for a Trim

I've been wearing my hair in twists with extensions for a few months now, and though these protective styles are great for my hair, especially when moisturized properly, I haven't really been showing my ends as much love as they deserve. I know you've heard it before: respect your elders! Not just your human elders, but the oldest parts of your hair--the ends! The ends of your hair have been with you the longest and require some special TLC. And I'm sad to say, I haven't been giving my elders the proper care they need.

Side note: For now, I'm done with the twists (I can't believe I essentially wore the same hairstyle for months!!) and will be bunning for now. I can do a tutorial on how to create a boss bun with marley hair if there's interest.

Me and my boss bun on Easter Sunday.
I digress... I'll start this post with a few disclaimers:
  • I believe that to maintain happy, healthy hair, you should have your hair trimmed when it needs to be trimmed (more on that below).
  • Some naturals get a trim every _________ (fill in the blank). I'm less prescriptive about the timing of trims. Why cut perfectly healthy hair just because it's been so-and-so weeks or months?
  • I don't endorse the "search and destroy" method of trimming, where you look at your hair, strand by strand, and trim any split ends. Ain't nobody got time for that!
  • Just go get your hair trimmed by a professional! I know there are tons of Youtube videos that claim to teach you how to trim your hair. I tried this, and when I finally went to a professional, she exclaimed, "WHO'S BEEN CUTTING YOUR HAIR?" I sank in my chair in shame of the horrible decision I made when trying to save a few bucks. 
So what's a girl to do? Here are a few signs that tell me when I need a trim...

Scraggly Ends

I'm talking dry, brittle, uneven ends. I recognize that it's hard to tell if your hair is uneven when it's kinky/curly/coily, but if you need an example, see the picture below of my very own tragic ends. It's clearly uneven! Also, your hair might not look dry, but it could feel dry. Just moments ago, I was moisturizing and sealing my hair for the night, when I couldn't help but notice the contrast between the majority of my hair and the bottom 1/2 inch or so.

Hi. These are my scraggly ends, on the Interwebz.
So how can you know when you need a trim? Pay attention to your hair texture. I'm not talking about hair typing or anything, but think of what your hair typically feels like. My hair usually feels like cotton, so I knew something was up when my ends didn't feel soft and fluffy.

Multi-strand Knots

Single strand knots (SSKs) are par for the course with natural hair, but over the past couple days, I've been noticing multi-strand knots in my hair! EEK. Are you panicking too? Before I go on, let me define SSKs; since our hair is so kinky/curly/coily, sometimes the hair curls into itself, forming a knot. I don't really consider SSKs a big deal and I usually just leave them alone if I discover them.

But over the past couple days, I've noticed straight-up knots in my hair that are impossible to untangle. EEK! Panicking yet? I've just been trying to gently save as many strands as possible and then gently pull the knot down. Ugh... still freaking out over here.

"There's more where that came from!" - my hair
A trim will resolve these multi-strand knots, and maybe even SSKs. I don't know for certain, but I suspect that dry, brittle hair tends to become more easily tangled than softer hair. Whether you get a trim or not, you'll be losing hair. It's best to let a professional just trim it for you.

"Shed" Hair Everywhere (AKA Breakage)

Everyone's hair sheds and it's 100% normal and natural. After doing a quick Google search, I found that people can shed anywhere between 50 and 150 strands of hair per day. It's amazing how much hair we have on our heads, isn't it!? Anyway, if you are naturally shedding, you will see strands of hair as long as the ones on your head here and there. Typically these ends have a little white bulb on one end. 

I got this photo from
But are you seeing super short bits of hair? Well honey, that's breakage. While you detangle, do you literally hear your hair snapping and breaking? I've been there and it sucks. This just means that your ends are dry and are not retaining moisture as they should. Fortunately, I haven't been experiencing breakage, but I'm not going to wait til that starts to get a trim. If you notice your ends are dry and aren't retaining moisture even when you do focus on them, it's time to part with your damaged hair.

I know the end game for a lot of naturals is length, but let's not forget health. Even if your hair manages to magically grow while it's dry, brittle, and constantly breaking, imagine how ugly and unhealthy it will look. Trims are a necessary action for healthy hair, and long hair too if that's your goal.

What are your tell-tale signs that you need a trim?