Archive for January, 2008

Why I Shop for Sneakers Online

I love to shop, but when it comes to sneakers or gym shoes, I’d rather purchase them online.  The rare occasion that I do go to Foot Locker, Foot Action, or Champs, etc., it’s to accompany my kids.  I dread it.  My kids know I dread it too.  I think they secretly enjoy dragging me along.   This past weekend, Immanuel wanted new sneakers.  The first thing I always think about is the fact that I’m claustrophic.  Just think about it.  How often have you stopped by a Foot Locker or Champs on a Saturday and the store was NOT crowded?  Dang!  Do the kids hang out anywhere else?  Here’s a recap of my traumatic  weekend visit.

First off, upon entering the store, you’re immediately overwhelmed by the many pairs of shoes displayed on the walls.  There are 100 pairs of men’s shoes on one wall, while the women and children share another wall with about 50 pairs of shoes.  Add to that, 100 teenagers already in the store looking at those 150 pairs of shoes.  Can this get any worse?  Yep!  Displays of tees and hoodies in every color imaginable are everywhere.  The back wall is reserved for brand new Spring fashion, while the back floor displays racks of clothing reserved for clearance and sales.  Gotta have accessories, right?  Socks, shoe laces, and sneaker cleaner definitely have their reserved space.  And did I mention the table full of sneakers on clearance dead smack in the middle of the store?  Sigh.  It’s always overwhelming for me, but hey, I’m so glad for the benches where I can sit down and relax.  Oh, wait a minute.  I never sit down.  I’m too busy lingering around the entrance to the store.  I know I look suspicious, but who cares.  I’m eagerly waiting to get a glimpse of either child so I can get the heck outta there.   

The routine never changes.  I watch my son examine at least 10 pairs of sneakers, all the same color, taking his time inspecting each one.  He eventually holds up a black and white sneaker and says, “Hey ma, what ya think?”  My response never changes either.  “Um, son, I think they look like the other 10 pairs of black and white sneakers you looked at.”    He gives me a smirk and off he goes to the next row of sneakers, only these sneakers are blue and white.  Adidas, Jordan’s, Nike, etc.  What’s the difference!  They all look alike to me.  LoL.  Just when I had given up hope of leaving Foot Locker anytime soon, he finally makes up his mind.  It’s the same black and white pair of sneakers he showed me over an hour ago.  Okay, now I need a drink.  I always vow to never go with them again, but you know what?  I always do.  Sigh again.  Maybe next time I’ll have a drink before I go. 

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Make Your Own Protective Hair Band

I’ve had some amazing growth over the last year and as a result, certain hair accessories are either too small or no longer look right.   Since becoming acquainted with members of Etsy (Etsy Artists of Color), I’ve really been in a creative mood.  I seldom wear protective styles (braids, twists, bantu knots, coils, etc.) because I prefer my hair to be free.  Big money was wasted on professional braids that I didn’t wear past a week.  A serious case of HIF (hand in fro) disease didn’t help, plus I missed playing with my hair.  Wearing  accessories that I consider somewhat protective (hats, scarves) do help.  I want to show you how to make an easy hair band.  It’s super easy and perfect for protecting the tresses whether you’re outside battling the elements or chilling at home.

I usually donate clothing to the Salvation Army or women shelters this time of year.  I had a couple of turtlenecks that I was prepared to donate.  One turtleneck was a silk blend, the other cotton blend.  The neck portion of the turtlenecks were the perfect width for hair bands.   These hair bands could be worn by those with locs, braids, and even loose hair.  I’ll be adding more pics later, but check it out.

INSTRUCTIONS:

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  1. Turn turtleneck inside out.
  2. Cut neck portion of turtleneck below the seam.  This would be the portion where the neck is stitched to the shirt.  This keeps fabric from unraveling. 
  3. The fabric was wide enough to cover almost my entire head and looks just as good as the store bought ones. 

Guess what?  I don’t think I’ll be donating too many more turtlenecks in the future!  Lol.

Try it and let me know what you think.

   

Is Your Water Intake Affecting Your Hair Health?

What would our hair care routine be without water?  We use water to no poo, shampoo, and condition our hair.  We use water to make spritzes and hair rinses, but how much water are we actually drinking?   

A month ago, my hair became dull, limp, and seemed to be constantly shedding.  I couldn’t really call it shedding because it was such a small amount.  This all began around September 2007 when the kids went back to school.  I couldn’t put my finger on it, but something had changed.  I compared my routines for the summer and winter.  Last summer was hot, yet my hair thrived.   Wash and gos were easy and my favorite part of the day was chilling on the porch drinking water all day long.  I then realized that since the summer, my water intake had significantly decreased.  This was the change I overlooked, but the solution was simple; I needed to increase my water intake.

I’m happy to report that since increasing my water intake, my hair is looking and feeling much better.  I have more body, more shine, and shedding has since come to a halt.  I won’t lie though, it’s a lot harder to remember to drink water in the wintertime.  What helps me is my 1-liter container I fill with water and drink, at the minimum, 2 times a day.  Bottled water makes it even easier for me.  

Please keep this in mind.  If your hair is dull, limp, and shedding despite the usual hair product treatments, ask yourself if your water intake is adequate.  Drinking more water may be what your hair care routine needs.   

Obsessed with Earrings and Etsy

I have a few obsessions in my life.  While it may be clothes, purses, or shoes for a lot of women, earrings are one of mine.  I own at least 40+ pairs of earrings in every shape, color, and style.  My stash includes studs, hoops, dangles, and chandeliers created using materials of silver, gold, brass, and copper.  Some have stones of amber, turquoise, quartz, and onyx.  Some are made of wood or have beads of wood or glass.  Earrings that are unique or different are always the ones I notice first.  My favorite online shopping destination for earrings?  Etsy.

I’ve recently had the opportunity to communicate with two talented Etsy artists who have created some of the most beautiful earrings I’ve ever seen.  I found that Lee, owner of Abelee’s Handcrafted, and Tameka, owner of Pretty in Peace, to be easy to talk to and very passionate about their work.  

Pretty in Peace’s jewelry collections are mindfully named Live, Love, and Laugh.  The jewelry designs are uplifting and multifaceted.  The specified collections are Live, Love, and Laugh.  The Live collection possesses a certain soulful,  earthy type flavor.  The Love collection is dainty and feminine, while the Laugh collection is whimsical and bold.  One could easily find gifts suited for a teenager or adult.  Pretty in Peace is a cruelty-free and earth friendly shop.  No silk, shell, bone, coral or other animal products are ever utilized.

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  • a.  Pinnate Venation Ring, $10.00.  Three leaves strategically placed and oxidized just along the venation patterns for detailing.  Fully adjustable. 
  • b.  Times Square Ring, $10.00.  Super shiny finish plastic focal heat and epoxy mounted to a fully adjustable silver plated ring base.
  • c.  Lovebirds Ring, $8.00.  Constructed from metal button with kissing birds and a blossoming heart atop a silver-plated fully adjustable ring base.
  • d.  Helene Ring, $14.00.  Pewter blossom with tiny ecru, canteloupe and seafoam glass cabs.  Fully adjustable silver-plated ring base.
  • e.  Gertie Ring, $7.00.  A deshanked faceted white plastic button on an adjustable silvertone base.
  • f.  Celeste earrings, $8.00.  Celestial dream dangles comprised of brass, snowflake jade, and gorgeous blue tourmaline discs, 2.25″ long.
  • g.  Red Rock Earrings, $12.00.  Silver, faux ceramic and peach aventurine with  handformed sterling silver wire and findings, 2.25″ long.
  • h.  Funky Jasper Drops, $12.00.  Dalmation jasper chips, hand formed black ceramic discs with antiqued bronze findings, 3″ long.

Abelee’s Handcrafted earring designs are innovative and fresh.  There is a subtle elegance about them.  The combinations of color and materials utilized make her designs unique and one of a kind, which is what I love about Abelee’s Handcrafted the most.  The earrings are versatile and will easily take a sista from daytime to evening without a problem.   Abelee’s Handcrafted also offers clip-on fittings for any of the earrings for customers without pierced ears.  How cool is that for customer service?

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  • a.  Threesies, $14.00.  Red swirly glass beads, gunmetal black findings, and earwires a little over 2 inches long.
  • b.  Everyday Swirls, $16.00.  Antiqued brass in a swirly pattern with beigy glass beads, a brass charm with antiqued finish.  Brass earwires about 2 1/4″ long.
  • c.  Lotta Brass and a Little Blackstone, $16.00.  Hammered brass circles with a tiny bit of blackstone dangling in the middle.  About 2″, top to bottom.
  • d.  Leafy New Jade – Variation, $16.00.  Pale green new jade, surrounded by antiqued brass bead caps.  Antiqued brass hoops and earwires.
  • e.  Holiday Pearls, $18.00.  Creamy white glass pearls on sterling silver chain, about 2″ long.
  • f.  Crystal Lanterns, $18.00.  Brushed sterling silver handcrafted ovals with a smoky black swarovski crystal surrounded by sterling accents. About 1.4″ inches.
  • g.  African Opal, $18.00.  African opal gemstone in beigy tone with subtle black streaking.  A little over two inches, including the sterling earwires.
  • h.  African Copper, $16.00.  Deep brown and white polished bone in a mudcloth pattern, about 2″ long.  Copper accents and coppertoned earwires.

I’m one who could never get enough earrings, so please share your favorite online handmade jewelry shops or artists.

Happy New Year from MatureNatural!

There will be more natural hair and skin care product reviews in 2008.  This year I’m  going to document my own natural hair journey as well.  

MatureNatural will be featuring selected art and jewelry items from Afrocentric Etsy, a group of  inspiring and very talented Etsy Artists of Color.  Prepare to be blown away by each artist’s level of creativity.  Whether it be the beauty of a pair of earrings or the texture of a wicker basket, there is bound to be something you will see and fall in love with.  I know I did.

Looking forward to sharing and networking with you in 2008!

MatureNatural