Archive for August, 2007

Thick Hair Accessory Treasures

My hair is currently only about 5 inches long.  I’m currently seeking hair accessories, scarves, and hats to help me fashionably transition along.  There are certain hair accessories I have to avoid because, (1) I have kinky hair that “catches” on metal clasps, ends or fasteners, and (2) being 40+, I want to look like an adult. 

Check out the following websites for beautiful hair accessories and scarves. 

ETSY.  I love unique, handmade items.  There are some very talented artists and crafters on Esty.  I’ve found beautiful barrettes, snoods, rasta hats, and crochet scarves.  Don’t even get me started on the handmade earrings and soap.  We’ll save that for another post.

FRANCE LUXE.  This website has a hair accessory collection to die for and are on the more expensive side.  Check out the double skinny headbands, perfect for short hair.  Although their craftmanship and quality can’t be beat, France Luxe  does sell some ponytail holders with metal ends.  This can cause hair pulling or catching for those of us with kinky or curly hair.  France Luxe hair accessories are sold in department stores such as Whole Foods, Saks 5th Avenue, Nordstrom, Lord & Taylor, etc.

BRUNSLI HAIR TIES AND JEWELRY  For those with long hair who wear their hair loced, natural, braided, or straight, check out Brunsli hair ties.  They are beautifully handmade out of natural products (wood, shells, etc.) and cost between $15 and $40.  They can be adjusted to wear loose or tight, and also doubled to accommodate those of us with shorter hair.  

CLAIRE’S  I’ve always been able to find affordable hair accessories here.  What’s new?

Fan tail hair piece, $3.00  clairtail.jpg  For creating messy updos.  Love this!

Whirl-a-style, $6.00          clairwhirl.jpg  For creating buns and French twists.

SCUNCI  These hair accessories can be found everywhere and fits everybody’s budget.  What’s new for us thick haired folks?  Look what I found.

Thick Hair New Wave Headband   scunhdbd.jpg

SCARVES AND HATS.  I buy my scarves and hats from a variety of sources; vintage shops, Salvation Army, and, of course, discount department stores such as Marshall’s, TJ Maxx, and Burlington Coat Factory, who has tons of scarves, as well as headbands, barrettes, and ponytail holders. 

Hopefully this time next summer, I’ll have enough length to rock some creative braided or twist hairstyles.  

My Ideal Magazine, Part I

Since the demise of Mode magazine, I can’t remember the last time I bought a magazine that I truly read from cover to cover.   Today, they all seem so boring with more ads than memorable content nowadays.  The things that I want to read about aren’t being covered in today’s magazines.  Is it just me or have mags changed that much?  

Years ago, I bought several mags every month.  Yep, I used to be a Cosmo girl, but today I don’t have the patience to take a quiz on whether or not my sex life needs a boost.  Hell, being perimenopausal, I’m lucky to still desire sex at all.  I also faithfully purchased Vogue magazine to see what the new fashion trends would be from season to season, but I have to keep it real.  I’m a plus size girl and at this time, Vogue can’t help me much unless I’m looking for some accessories, okay?   Maybe some shoes, a purse, or a scarf  ’cause ain’t much plus-size fashion happening up in Vogue magazine.  Good Housekeeping was always synonymous with a good home cooked meal in my household.  Unfortunately, it has been years since I tried a new recipe, especially since the kids are satisfied eating pizza and bread sticks for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Hubby is not hard to please either these days, and I guess I should be happy.  As long as he can slap something between two pieces of bread with some hot sauce on it, he’s satisfied.  Me?  All I want to do is go out for dinner so I won’t have to cook. 

What would I be interested to see in a magazine?  Here are just a few things for starters.

  1. Plus-size fashion for women.  Guess what?  The average size woman (about half of the female population) in the U.S. is a  size 14, not a size 4.  I want to see more women who look like me, dressed to the nines, in classy designer fashion.  I’m not talking ’bout the  typical tent dress with colorful flowers plastered all over it either.  I deserve better than that, I spend my money, and I want to be represented.
  2. Plus size fashion for men.   Damn, I know there has to be some handsome plus size male models out there.  Really, it’s okay to put Big & Tall or Casual Male ads in a fashion magazine.  Everybody’s hubby or significant other doesn’t have a six pack or favors Dr. McDreamy, but big boys shop and need to be represented too.
  3. Lingerie.  No offense Just My Size, but I want to see a plus size model in a Vasserette or Victoria Secret bra.  These brands are known for their beautiful designs, vast color selections, and bringing out a woman’s inner sexy.  What?  You think big girls can’t be sexy?  If you sell ’em in full-figured sizes, I want to see a full-figured model wearing ’em.  It’s just that simple.
  4. Menopause.  Okay, this may not be your typical article about sex, but it does affect your sex life.  Enough said!
  5. Affordable Skin Care.  I can’t afford Botox or Restylane.  Any other alternatives?  Sorry, La Mer is not in the budget either, especially at $125.00 for an ounce.   A sista gotta eat.  Tell you what, though, I’d settle for products with ingredients proven to brighten, soften, or diminish wrinkles or laugh lines I already have.  Thank you very much. 
  6. Black Hair Models in Salon Product Ads.  Really, black hair is beautiful .  Versatility you looking for?  How about a curly fro, braid out, twist out, flat twists, puffs, TWA, BAA, locs, Sisterlocks, wash and go, etc.   Black hair care consists of products from both sides of the aisle and not just products in the ethnic section.  In case you didn’t know, black hair loves Aveda, Paul Mitchell, Nexxus, TIGI, Kenra, Robert Craig, KMS, Back to Basics, etc.    

I am curious though.  What is your favorite magazine and why?  Are you satisfied with your current magazine subscriptions?  Why or why not? 

My Big Sexy Fall Favorites

Plus size fashion has come a long way baby and this is clearly evident by new looks this  fall season.  Gray is the new black yall and it’s everywhere, from swing coats and textured hose, to handbags.  Depending on how much funds a sista is working with, extensive plus size selections can be found at Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom’s, and Spiegel’s, but for the more budget conscious fashionistas, comparable fashion finds at Lane Bryant, Torrid’s, Alight, and Target won’t let you down. 

Here are some of my fall favorites from both high end and comparable items from lower priced retail stores.

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(Nordstrom) Gramm Matte Jersey Wrap Dress (Plus). $118.00

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Avenue Black Knit Wrap Dress, $49.50

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(Nordstrom) Lafayette 148 New York Wool Pencil Skirt $194.00

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Spiegel Signature Modern Pinstripe Suiting Collection Pencil Skirt, $44.00

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(Nordstrom) Not Your Daughter’s Jeans Tummy Tuck Bootcut Stretch Jeans, $108.00

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Lane Bryant Right Fit Stretch Jeans, $39.50 

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(Nordstrom) Sutton Studio Exclusive Belted Tunic – Women’s.  $119.00   

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(HSN) Notch Collar Wrap Blouse from Lovely by Mitchell Gross, $59.90

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(Nordstrom) ECI Print Charmeuse Kimono Tunic (Plus), $98.00

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(Alight) Satin Print Kimono, $38.00

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(Nordstrom) Sutton Studio Exclusive Corduroy Trousers, Women’s. $109.00

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Talbot’s stretch corduroy bootleg jeans, classic 5-pocket style, $68.00

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(Nordstrom) Sutton Studio Exclusive Swing Jacket – Women’s.  $209

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(Torrid) Narcissus Yellow Short Sleeve Flyaway Cardigan, $44.00 

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Nordstrom Boutique ‘Empress’ Boot $129.95.  Quilted pattern on shaft on stretch-to-fit boot.

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(Shoes.com) Rampage faux stretch leather upper, $39.99

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(Nordstrom) Monsac Top Zip Hobo, 208.00

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Devi Kroell for Target® Hobo – Anthracite (dark charcoal gray), $34.99 (online only)

Drugstore Cheap Treats

Although I do order the majority of my products online, there are also some great finds at your local drugstores such as Walgreens and CVS.  The drugstores are now carrying more product lines geared towards organic and natural like Burt’s Bees, Tom’s of Maine, Kirt’s, etc.  I think it’s a good thing since people are now becoming more health conscious and environmentally aware.  Your local vitamin and health food stores (Vitmain Shoppe, GNC) also carry healthy product choices.

 Here are some of my favorite cheap treats for hair and body:

  1. Cocoacare Cocoa Butter Stick, 1 oz., $1.49, 100% cocoa butter.  Great for dry skin, blemishes, stretch marks.  
  2. Walgreens Nature’s Finest Skin Oil with Vitamin E and Aloe Vera, 2 oz., $3.99.  I use this on my face and hair.  Ingredients:  Safflower Oil , Tocopherol Acetate 10000 IU , Aloe Barbadensis Extract
  3. Walgreens Apothecary Peach Nut Oil Liquid Soap with Concentrated Peach Kernel Oil $5.99, 8 oz.  A triple treat, this cleanser can be used on hair, face, and body.  Ingredients:  Water, Olive Fruit Oil , Peach Kernel Oil , Coconut Oil , Potassium Hydroxide , Glycerin , PEG-25 Hydrogenated Castor Oil , Lavender Extract , Peach Fruit Extract , Peppermint Leaf Extract , Butylene Glycol , Diazolidinyl Urea , Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate.
  4. Canus Lip Balm w/ SPF, 0.15 oz., $2.49.  This product has no petroleum or lanolin.  Ingredients:  Goat’s milk with virgin olive oil, organic beeswax, organic soybean oil, organic hemp seed oil and spearmint essential oils.
  5. Burt’s Bees Baby Bee Buttermilk Soap, 3.5 oz., $4.99.  Ingredients: Vegetable Soap Base; Glycerin; Honey; Buttermilk Powder; Oatmeal Flour; Fragrance. 
  6. Kirk’s Natural, Kirk’s Original Coco Castile Soap 3-Pack, 12 oz., $3.99. Good travel soap for hair and body.  Very mild.  Ingredients:  Coconut Soap; Water; Vegetable Glycerin; Coconut Oil; Natural Fragrance.
  7. Burt’s Bees More Moisture Raspberry & Brazil Nut Shampoo, 12 oz., $7.99.  Ingredients:  Water; Decyl and Lauryl Glucosides (Natural Coconut Oil, Corn Starch and Sugar Soap Blend); Coco-Glucoside and Glyceryl Oleate (Natural Sunflower and Coconut Oil Soap Blend); Soy Protein; Coco Betaine (Coconut Oil Emulsifier); Betaine (Sugar Beet); Vegetable Glycerin; Honey; Vegetable Protein; Wheat Protein; Glucose (Sugar); Sucrose Laurate (Natural Sugar Ester); Brazil Nut Oil; Raspberry Extract; Bergamont Oil; Orange Oil; Eucalyptus Oil; Fennel Seed Oil; Strawberry Extract; Mandarin Petitgrain Oil; Litsea Cubeba Oil; Vanillin Oil; Davana Oil; Xanthan Gum (Natural Thickener); Fragrance; Glucose Oxidase and Lactoperoxidase (Natural Preservative).
  8. Burt’s Bees More Moisture Raspberry & Brazil Nut Conditioner 12 oz.,  $7.99.  Ingredients:  Water; Centrimonium Bromide and Cetearyl Alcohol (Coconut Oil Emulsifier); Sucrose Ester (Natural Sugar Ester); Vegetable Protein; Wheat Protein; Betaine (Sugar Beet); Vegetable Glycerin; Honey; Marula Oil; Glucose (Sugar); Brazil Nut Oil; Raspberry Extract; Bergamont Oil; Orange Oil; Eucalyptus Oil; Fennel Seed Oil; Strawberry Extract; Mandarin Petitgrain Oil Listsea Cubeba Oil; Vanillin Oil; Davana Oil; Polysorbate 60 (Sugar Emulsifier); Fragrance; Glucose Oxidase; Lactoperoxidase.
  9. Tom’s of Maine natural deodorant unscented soap, 4 oz., $2.99.  Ingredients:  Soaps of coconut and palm, sage extract, rosemary extract, ascorbyl palmitate, and lemongrass oil.
  10. TRESemmeRemoisturize Conditioner Pro-Vitamin B5 & Aloe 32 oz.,  $4.69.  A good find, decent ingredients.  Ingredients:  Water (Aqua); Quaternium-18; Cetyl Alcohol; Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine; Cocodimonium Hydroxypropyl Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein; Tocopheryl Acetate; Biotin; Niacinamide; Ascorbic Acid; Panthenol; Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice; Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract; Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Extract; Propylene Glycol; Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Fruit Extract; Hydrolyzed Silk; Hydroxyethylcellulose; Stearyl Alcohol; Glyceryl Stearate; Quaternium-80; Steareth-21; Dimethicone; Disodium PEG-12 Dimethicone Sulfosuccinate; Oleamine Oxide; Glycerin; Citric Acid; PVP; DMDM Hydantoin; Disodium EDTA; Fragrance (Parfum).

What are your favorite, good for you, drugstore finds?

Bye Bye TWA, Hello BAA (soon)

I like my TWA (teeny weeny afro).  I mean, I really, really like my twa.  It’s low maintenance and doesn’t require a lot of products.  At least not yet.  My last major cut was February 2007 and since then, my hair has grown at least 3 inches.  It is now about 5 inches long.  I’m loving my hair, but I’ve finally arrived at that dreaded inbetween stage.  It’s too long to be a twa, and too short to be a BAA (bad ass afro).  It wouldn’t be so bad if I wasn’t so style challenged.  It’s been 2 years since I’ve blowdried or pressed my hair, and I don’t plan on doing it anytime soon.  It caused some major hair damage and I had to cut off about 10 inches of hair.   

I can’t keep looking like this.  I can’t hide in the house either.  It’s time to break out with some scarves, headbands, and adult barrettes.  Nothing I hate more than a grown woman with barrettes she looks like she borrowed from baby girl to put in her hair.  Not the look I’m going for, okay.  As far as products go, my hair is loving castor oil, lavender oil, and shea butter at this moment.  I forgot how finicky my hair gets while growing out.  One month a condish works fine, the next month, not.  I prefer using simple, natural products on my hair.  The less ingredients, the better for me, and a sista don’t mind mixing something up either.

Some other things that are working right now:

  1. Spritz with water, peppermint oil, and olive oil.
  2. Oil blend with olive oil, castor oil, and lavender oil.
  3. Nature’s Gate Herbal shampoo.

What styles helped you through your grow out phase?  What products or accessories did you use?  Holla at a sista and let her know.

Midlife, But Not Crises.

I think I’ve finally arrived at destination midlife.  How do I know?  Here are some telltale signs.

  1. I desire more me time and love it when I’m home alone.
  2. I wonder at what age the kids will leave home. 
  3. I wonder when I’ll be able to go back to school. 
  4. I fantasize about about me and hubby traveling alone to Italy or maybe France, and staying more than a weekend. 
  5. Can’t wait to sell the house so we can enjoy condo living.  
  6. I can’t wait until I’m old enough to be a member of AARP (lol). 
  7. I wonder how old I’ll be when I HAVE TO rock a gray twa (teeny weeny afro) for life.  Hey, I can’t color and rock a BAA (bad ass afro) forever.
  8. I no longer worry about my husband’s whereabouts, I’m just glad he’s gone. 
  9. My mom is my best friend and I wonder how I’ll cope after she’s gone. 
  10. I wonder how many grandkids I’ll have and will I like my in-laws(son-in-laws and daughter-in-laws included).  Well, I only have 2 kids, but you never know how many times they may marry.

Sigh.  Yep, I’ve finally arrived and I think I’m glad to be here. 

Shea Butter Baby!

Can’t say enough good things about shea butter.  It’s a great moisturizer for dry skin and hair.  Lately, I’ve been complaining of dry hair and forgot about the shea butter purchased from Shea Butter Hut.  After conditioner washing (using conditioner instead of shampoo) and rinsing, I mixed 1 tbs. of shea butter and 1 tsp. of castor oil.  I distributed this throughout damp hair, focusing especially on the ends.  Two days later, my hair is still moisturized. 

The benefits of shea butter are plenty.  It’s a great skin, scalp, and hair moisturizer.   It’s rich in vitamins A & E and essential fatty acids.  Helps prevent wrinkles.  Soothes and heals irritated skin such as dermatitis and eczema.  There are two kinds of shea butter; unrefined and refined.  Unrefined basically means 100% natural, no preservatives or chemicals added.  Refined basically has been bleached where color and odor are removed via chemicals.  Personally, I prefer the unrefined kind.  It’s 100% natural and has a slight earthy scent. 

I use shea butter all over.   Although it states it’s noncomedogenic, I did develop breakouts when used alone, but I can use if mixed with aloe vera gel.  For the summer, I whip shea butter, aloe vera gelly, and lavender essential oil to make a light moisturizer that I use for body, hair, and face.  The only aloe vera gelly I use is Lily of the Desert, especially since I’ll also use it on my face.  It’s 99% natural.  And let’s not forget about getting those tootsies sandal ready.  Shea butter straight up after soaking does wonders.

I purchase my shea butter online from Shea Butter Hut, Nasabb, and Mountain Rose Herbs.  Decent prices and great customer service.  All three sites are informative and sell other natural oils, soaps, herbs, and butters.

 http://www.nasabb.com/index.html

 http://www.sheabutterhut.com/index.html

http://www.mountainroseherbs.com/