Straw Set Curls

I achieved these curls by doing a Straw Set. Follow these few steps.

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1. Prepped all my products. I moisturized with Girl and Hair leave in conditioner. It’s very hydrating.

2. ALWAYS #Detangle your hair. I prefer using a Detangle Brush. I tried a new one today by Txture Pro I ❀ it & highly recommend it

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3. Section your hair in the direction you want your twists to fall

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4. Straw Set: Direction is important. I have about 4 small sections. I twisted my hair on the straws in an upwards motion (coming forward). I used #ecostyler Black Castor & Flaxseed Gel

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5. Unravel; separate your curls

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6. I Lightly teased my roots & curls with my fingers; again, in an upwards motion. I didn’t separate them much.

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7. I Styled my curls in a Mohawk. I wanted my curls to look a lil old, not too fresh…so I did my straw set whilst my hair was dry. First time in a while with these curls. I love the end result. Switching up from time to time is good 😉

My side’s were shaved ✂✂✂ by Master Barber Kevin Kidd

 

Custom Made

When you feel good, you look good! Be sure to Customize your life! After all, it is YOUR LIFE and you are Custom Made 💛

In regards to my style, I really love Custom Made pieces. I have a closet full of dresses and skirts you will not see on another person. Custom made makes your look classic, unique and different! In addition to standing out in the crowd, you support another’s dream and passion.

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Fashion is what you buy. Style is what you do with it! Fashion is ART and you are the canvas; so forget the rules! If you like it WEAR IT! Make sure it’s Hot though, lol 😉😆

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Don’t be afraid to wear horizontal stripes! They’re always going to be a Big Fashion Statement! I had this skirt made about 5 years ago and this is my second time wearing it since! The key is HOW. . .what you pair it with and styling it for your body type.

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💛 Loving & Living Life 💛

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Location | Bronx, NY

Photographer | Matey Ghoslow Photography

Maxi Skirt  |Nsaa House of Designs

Top | Rainbow Shops

Earrings| Design By U Essentials

 

Nothing like a flowing Maxi Dress

No matter what people think of you, keep singing your own song! Many may not know this but music is my sanity. I cannot go a day without singing or listening to music. I was having a moment in this shot đŸŽ€đŸŽ”đŸŽ¶đŸŽ”

Now about this dress 😁

I have quite a few favorite style looks. Maxi dresses & skirts are definitely on my list! Can you believe I bought this amazing Maxi dress for $20? Yes, you saw that price correctly!

It was on sale at Mandee’s in NYC. I purchased this dress a few months ago. This particular color may not be available, but they do have many great colors & patterns in stock now.

 The material and the way this dress flows is beyond words. I received many compliments while wearing this Beauty.

Because this dress speaks for itself, I decided to minimize my accessories and went with a Bold Metal Choker. I don’t have earrings on because I forgot to put them on đŸ˜©đŸ™ˆ

 

Location | Bronx, NY

Photographer | Matey Ghoslow Photography

Maxi Dress |Mandee

Necklace| Design By U Essentials

Camo is my Happy Color

I absolutely LOVEEEEEEEE anything Camouflage! You will see me with this Camo jacket no less than 3 times a week once Spring rolls around 😁

I enjoy pairing Camouflage with Black, Brown’s and Neutral Tones.

This is one of my to go looks; a white tee or tank with a pair of ripped boyfriend jeans, booties, Camo & bold ethnic accessories! I’m wearing Ethnic inspired necklace ‘Symmetry’ & my wrists are adorned with ‘Bamboo’, wood bracelets (which I wear 99.9% of the time). . .from Design By U Essentials!

Don’t be afraid to enhance your look with jewelry and bags.

I follow NO trends! I wear what I love; I dress how I feel!

This bag is one of my absolute favorites! It was a gift from my Dad 3 years ago. We were together when he bought it in Wa, which is in the Upper West Region in Ghana. It is also where Dad’s side of the family is from. As soon as I saw it, my eyes LIT up. So he bought it for me. I love to support local artisans! Happy we had the opportunity to support an artisan in Ghana.

In addition to Camo & more Camo, I absolutely love ART and color. It makes me Happy!

The Amazing graffiti art in these photos is by Brazilian artist, Panmela Castro. You will find this phenomenal mural on the walls outside of Andrew Freeman Home on the Grand Concourse in Bronx, NY. Visit if you can. There is nothing like seeing it in person.

Location | Andrew Freedman Home

Photographer | Matey Ghoslow Photography

Camo Jacket |Forever 21

White Tank |H & M

Boyfriend Jeans | H & M

Shoes | Cape Robbin

Jewelry |Design By U Essentials

Bag | Gift from Dad

Mural | Panmela Castro 

SASS & Strut đŸ‘ đŸ‘„

Beautiful minds inspire others and Empowered Women; Empower Women!

I’m part of a phenomenal sisterhood on Facebook called Natural or Not. . .Hair We Come! It started off as a hair group giving natural hair care tips. It has currently grown to a tribe of almost 6k women sharing their LIFE experiences and supporting each others’ creativity, ventures and businesses.

We had a private event last Saturday in NYC in collaboration with Allure Dance NYC, led by our fierce and fab instructor for the night, Traye. Not only did she teach us ladies some great seductive and sensual dance moves, she taught us how to add that EXTRA ummmph; how to ‘Enhance our Sexy’! We had such a great time! That red lit room was full of confident women embracing their curves and owning their space on that dance floor. It’s also a plus when you’re getting a workout! Allure Dance NYC  has classes every Friday. You can also schedule a private class as a group. Check them out!

Collaboratively, NONHWC will be hosting another themed dance class and more events in the next coming weeks. Keep up with us on Facebook at Natural or Not. . .Hair We Come and on Instragram @hair_we_come

There is nothing more rare, nor more beautiful than a woman being unapologetically herself; comfortable in her perfect imperfection. That is the true essence of beauty ~ Dr. Steve Maraboli

Ladies, Always be Confident, Beautiful and continue to ‘Enhance your Sexy’

The Brighter Side of Things

Think Happy. . .Be Happy! Stay on the Sunny Side of Life!

Yellow always uplifts my mood! It has many meanings; happiness, optimism, sunshine, laughter, enthusiasm, confidence, emotional strength, friendliness, self-esteem, creativity and uplifting are a few of my favorites.

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Wherever I am, I stand Tall!

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There are some walks that you have to take alone! No Worries. . .God will direct your steps!

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Fashion is what you buy. Style is what you do with it!

One of my many gifts is knowing how and where to shop on a budget! I bought this beautiful yellow tie knot asymmetrical dress from Rainbow Shops for approximately $18 and my sandals from Luichiny for about $150 about 11 years ago. I remember this vividly because my son was just a few months old. He’s now a vibrant pre-teen 🙂 My sandals are in mint condition! I’ve only worn them a few times.

I will share how I keep my shoes ‘Brand New’ for so many years in a future post.

Location | Battery Park City. . .NYC

Photographer | Matey Ghoslow Photography

Dress | Rainbow Shops

Shoes | Luichiny Shoes

Nail Shade | Blue it out of Proportion

Jewelry | Design By U Jewelry

Blooming

When you’re growing and glowing, you have no choice but to prosper and allow yourself to bloom! Don’t go through life, grow through life! It does not get better by chance. It gets better by change.

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Follow your soul. It knows the way. Be one with your thoughts. . .Think for yourself. Trust your own intuition. Another’s mind isn’t walking your journey. You are!

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I have a thing for tanks, hats and  maxi skirts! There is just something about the combo that I love. I’ve never been a fan of floral prints . . but I must admit, I’ve been enjoying them all summer ’16!

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Where ever life plants you, Bloom with Grace!

Location | Battery Park City. . .NYC

Photographer | Matey Ghoslow Photography

Hat | H&M

Top | H&M

Belt | Forever 21

Skirt | From my closet! Purchased from Century 21, Spring ’15

Bamboo Bracelets | Design By U Jewelry

Lipstick | Shade. . .Electric Purple by 127 East Cosmetics

Natural Hair Bloggers : A Few of My Favorites 

Many are inspired by how I wear my natural hair in various tapered cuts and curled styles. I love creating different shaved cuts, color patterns and twist out techniques. Do you ever want that cut, style or technique, but just don’t know where to look? I prefer to use Instagram and the # hashtag, which is a powerful tool for us Naturalista’s. . . to get inspiration!

I too am quite inspired by many other Natural Hair Bloggers. These are just very few of those that I have on my inspiration list which I want to share with you. You’ll find a variety of shaped haircuts, fros, coils, curls & protective styles.

1. @sheilandinda

2. @naturalhairrebel

3. @natashaleeds

4. @glammzmore

5. @missalexandrianicole

6. @naturalbelle

7. @blakizbeautyful

8. @themarieantoinette

9. @zoezeigler

10. @candicoatedcurls

11. @blackonyx

12. @kentekinks

12. @belle_anoir

13. @dayelasoul

14. @avielleamor

15. @danieandthebloom

16. @iamfabellis

17. @enchanted26

18. @tjluvsbeingnatural

19. @askproy


20. christian_byshe

F O R M A T I O N

Beyoncé slays. . .Indeed! Not only is she strategic in dropping her video prior to her Super Bowl Performance; she blatantly makes it clear who she is!

This video is EPIC!

 

The lyrics to “Formation” are bold and representational. Not only does the theme adddress what is currently happening in today’s concerning and growing social issues, she diffuses rumors and proudly boasts her roots. I previously posted an article referencing pressure from media outlets to change who you are to fit society’s Beauty Standard Ideals. BeyoncĂ© makes it clear that she’s not interested in doing any of that! She loves exactly who she is and she needs her ladies to get in Formation!

Lyrics such as. . .“I like my negro nose with Jackson Five nostrils”. . . Cameo of Blue Ivy and her squad, while BeyoncĂ© sings, “I like my baby hair, with baby hair and Afros”. . .hinting to the media making a mockery of her husband’s features and Blue Ivy’s natural tresses. Natural Hair has been on the rise! Some think it’s a trend; I beg to differ. It’s a Lifestyle! The clear representation of being proud of having natural hair is evident throughout the video. BeyoncĂ© made it clear that she does not care what anyone thinks!

It’s no secret that BeyoncĂ© has been referenced as being involved with the secret society; Illuminati. She opened by saying “Ya’ll Haters Corny With that Illuminati Mess. . .” This is the first time I’ve heard her mention and address it publicly. She makes it clear that she is blessed and she gains success by giving God thanks and by working hard.

Lyrics. . . I see it, I want it; I stunt, yeah, little hornet; I dream it, I work hard; I grind ’til I own it! And then some!

BeyoncĂ© pays homage to YouTube sensation of the early 2000’s, Messy Mya (tragically gunned down in 2010) who shared much light on what was happening in New Orleans. You will also see reference of the Church empowering people and highlights of police brutality.

I can go on and on about the representation in this video. Watch it if you haven’t already.

Lastly, BeyoncĂ© ended with the words “You know you that b!tch when you cause all that conversation! Always stay gracious! Best revenge is your paper.” HA! I highly agree!

Watch Formation Here

Beauty Standards. . .What’s Ideal?

I believe the answer will depend on whom is being asked. Beauty can be
and is expressed and translated in many forms. One may express beauty through art while another may choose to express beauty through fashion, hair, music or all of the above. In regards to physical beauty, there are usually various opinions and debates on what is and what is not ideal.

When I saw this image, I stared at it for a while. It fiercely resonates with me. 99.9% of what is written has been and at times. . .is still said to me. I went back to my natural kinks almost 20 years ago. The natural products you now see on shelves did not exist back then. At that time, I was attending Long Island University’s Brooklyn Campus. I befriended a few Naturalista’s at school and they provided me with information on natural hair products. I started purchasing Carol’s Daughter’s products. This is when her shop was at Spike Lee’s old Joint on Dekalb Ave & South Elliot Pl; literally a few blocks from school. When I found these products for my hair, I was the happiest woman on Earth. Not only did I have natural products for my texture; to see a black woman who owned and operated this business with her family was just PHENOMENAL!

Prior to going back to my natural kinks, I had a perm and wore weaves. I loved it! Society taught me that this was how my hair should look. I felt beautiful. . .but, there came a time where this stopped agreeing with me. Years and years of chemical abuse started to show. My hair was breaking, shredding, falling out…It was very weak and tired! It was then that I made the conscious decision to just cut it all off and start over. This also awakened a new me!

My natural hair downright offended folks. I would hear, “What is that on your head?…It doesn’t hurt when you comb it?…I really think you would look nicer with a weave!…Press that shit!…It’s too kinky!…You look like a coffee shop chick!…You really look African now!…You look like Kizzy from Roots!…Can I touch it?” I even received criticism from my parents. I’ll save my complete story for another day 😉

This image speaks volumes! Whether you are dark-skinned and natural, light-skinned with straight hair or vice versa; you face ridicule, judgement, whisper…all kinds of opinions will be thrown at you. This happens because society spreads it’s own convoluted messages on what beauty should look like.

Why should I wear my hair straight because you don’t know what to do with your natural hair? Why should my friend cut off her relaxer because you went back to your natural kinks?


Body Shaming. . .What’s That? Unfortunately, body shaming is a part of our daily lives. Women are shamed for being too dark, light, fat, skinny, tall, short, petite, busty, flat chested, having a flat ass, having too big of an ass, for being too plain, wearing makeup, having a thin nose, big lips, being too sexy. . .for just being a woman!

Magazines, billboards and social media outlets constantly encourage us to change our appearance. We are continually reminded of this through body slimming tea advertisements, body shapers, liposuction, hair, lightening creams. . .etc. These messages and the messages we may receive from others often imply that we should want to change; that we should care about looking smaller, thicker, darker, brighter.  .  .the list goes on!

Young girls are being corrupted and brainwashed daily. Mass media is one of the most powerful tools for young girls and women to learn and also understand feminine beauty ideals. “Before mass media even existed, our ideas of beauty were limited to our own families and communities.” Because of that, people would stick to seeing each other in person in order to form beauty ideals. But as mass media develops, the way people see feminine beauty ideals changes as does how females view themselves and one another.

Each day, girls are exposed to images of beautiful models and advertisements about beauty and fashion.” says Renee Hobbs, EdD, associate professor of communications at Temple University.

Beauty ideals are exposed to children from an early age through fairy tales and Disney princesses. The feminine beauty ideal has become more ingrained and cohesive in recent decades because of the expansion of technology and the relevance of mass media. Research has shown that the pressure to conform to a certain definition of beautiful has had drastic psychological effects. These ideals have been correlated with depression, eating disorders, and low self-esteem starting from an adolescent age and continuing into adulthood – via Wikipedia

Body Positivity

Again, Western Ideals have a profound effect on our perception of Beauty! It is no secret that the fashion industry has been guilty of body shaming and photoshopping for years! In recent years, curvy and voluptuous women have been taking a stand and fighting back on what’s considered “Normal!”  Curvier women are on runways and in print. The various body positivie and love yourself campaigns that I’ve been seeing are capturing many hearts. It has helped change the game. It has aided in redefining what “Beautiful” is. It has also taken “Confidence” and “Self-Esteem” to a totally different level!

It’s an amazing thing to see a woman who is comfortable in her own skin and dares to be “Unaplogetically” Her!


Colorism 

The term “Colorism” was coined by author Alice Walker in 1982. It is not the same as racism. Colorism is dependent upon the social status on skin color alone.

“Colorism is discrimination or bias based on skin color. Colorism has roots in racism and classism and is a well-documented problem in the black, Asian and Hispanic community. People who partake in colorism typically value people with lighter skin more than their darker-skinned counterparts. They’re likely to view lighter-skinned people as more attractive, intelligent and generally more worthy of attention and praise than darker-skinned people. In essence, having lighter skin or being associated with light-skinned people is a status symbol. Members of the same racial group may participate in colorism, giving preferential treatment to the lighter-skinned members of their ethnic group. Outsiders may also participate in colorism, such as a white person who favors lighter-skinned blacks over their darker-skinned peers,” says race relations expert, Nadra Kareem Nittle.

Mass media often bolsters discrimination based on skin color. Scottish artist, Rawdi, depicts the beauty standards of women of color and blackface in the fashion industry. These images are powerful! The black model is condisered too dark and her hair is too kinky. Her hair is being straightened and her skin is being lightened so she can occur to others as more appealing. The white model feels she is too pale and her hair is too straight. She gives herself curls and darkens/tans her skin with makeup so she can occur to others as more appealing (Blackface).

The images below are from an Animated Short Film titled ‘Yellow Fever,’ which explores Colorism & Self-Image among African women and young girls. This mixed-media documentary animation by Kenyan filmmaker Ng’endo Muki was a. thesis project at London’s Royal College of Art. This lovely animation explores the effects of Euorpean beauty standards and highlights the reasons why darker skinned women resort to bleaching creams to lighten their skin. Yellow Fever also addresses how certain beauty standards are passed down through generations.

In these particular images from the short film, Ng’endo Mukii’s niece states that she wishes she were American and white. When asked how she sees herself,  she stated that she is uncomfortable with her dark skin every time she sees her reflection in the mirror.

All of the images I shared is to provide examples of the different beauty standards and ideals that we face today. The question, Beauty Standards. . .What’s Ideal?. . .is not so easy to answer. Depending on who you are, where you are, your confidence and self-esteem level, what you view as beautiful, what you take offense to. . .will shape your view(s) on, “What’s Ideal?” 

How would you answer this question? How did these images make you feel?  Share your thoughts, I would love to hear from you!


* timasamad.com does not own the images or video published in this article *