Thursday, May 31, 2012

Hairstyle of the Week: Bridesmaid Edition

For the last few weeks I have been searching (and posting) about my relentless search for a hairstyle for my close friend Rockies wedding. Her wedding was this weekend (she looked gorgeous and we had a *hands in the air* shoes off*dance till you sweat* soca, reggae, and house music pumping* what do you mean it's over?* where's the after party?* amazing  time) and I definitely wanted to share the look I ended up rocking with you all. SADLY my camera was submerged in a small puddle of water over night the day before the wedding (tragic...I know) and stopped functioning for most of the wedding. I am still in the process of gathering other people's pics...but in the mean time I can share the ones I took of myself after the wedding!

 The hair style was actually  found in a hair magazine (I believe Hype Hair but I need to double check) and suggested by Rockie.  It is is basically a typical Mohawk  consisting of cornrows and twists. The twist and some of the cornrows were done with Marley Hair so I could have the desired length and fullness I needed to create this style. Afterwards ( my hair was done by one of the braiders in a African Hair Braiding Salon in my neighborhood) I pinned the twists up and voila. This weekend I will do a step by step pic tutorial to show you all how I pinned it up, but it is really a lot simpler than it looks.

What do you think?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Atlantic City Carnival Update....

It looks like they added Machel Montano and the HD Family to the line up for Atlantic City Carnival's post carnival concert! Looks like AC Carnival is turning out to be well worth the trip especially for my fellow Machel fans.

Anybody buy their ticket yet?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Natural Hair Icon: Alicia Keys

So, the other day while I was in the midst of conducting my massive manhunt for a formal natural hair style (yep...I am still at it) I came across pictures of Alicia Keys at the Billboard Music Awards a few weeks ago.

Fire!!! I LOVE this style. It is simple but definitely fierce. I rarely ever think of Alicia Keys when I am looking for natural hair inspiration because her hair texture does not resemble my own  but CLEARLY I have been missing out.  Remember when Alicia Keys  would only rock her signature cornrows...

although they were always fresh and creative they are nothing like the styles she has been sporting lately.

Alicia at the American Music Awards

Alicia at the  Grammys ...

Alicia Keys NYE 

Who is her stylist? I love the fact that she still incorporates braids in her hair styles and often in ways that you would never expect. Don't think you can replicate these styles on your own? I beg to differ. Most of these styles begin with a slicked back high ponytail... add some Marley hair or Kanekalon hair, braid it, pin it, and your good to go.

I may be over simplifying the process just a tad but I do believe you can create your own version of these hot looks.

Check out these YouTubers for inspiration:

Monday, May 21, 2012

Machel Fever...

If you're anything like me when it comes to my LOVE of ALL things Machel then these two events are for you....

Machel at the Intrepid Museum featuring Farmer Nappy and Patrice Roberts, 3 Canal, KI and Barrington Levy. Now I have never been to the Intrepid but I am going to make several assumptions about the venue because the tickets are $100 for General VIP (includes a cash bar, show, and party afterwards) and $200 for Platinum VIP (includes open bar, front stage access, guided tours of the museum, and a space shuttle simulator). Log on to for more info and to purchase tickets....

Click here to purchase tickets...

If Machel at the Intrepid is a little too rich for your blood then maybe Machel on d' Beach can cure your carnival tabanca. Machel will be performing at the Jones Beach Nokia Theater on Sunday July 8th along with Partrice Roberts, Farmer Nappy and Kerwin DuBois. Gates open at 3pm and  tickets are  $60 General, $75 Front Row/ Stage Side, $100 VIP (Food Inclusive)
For tickets visit,,,, the Jones Beach Box Office, email info or call 917 -930 2823, 914 536 5600 or 917-829- 7922.
Click Here for more info...

For those of you new to the world of Soca music Machel is an artist you need to familiarize yourself with.... he has won many awards and accolades for his contributions to Caribbean Music and what I admire about him the most is that he is a prime example of what hard work and determination can lead you to.

I will definitely be attending one of these events... hope to see some of you there!

Don't sleep ...

Target is one of my favorite one stop shops for everything from yogurt to home decor. I can literally spend hours (and hundreds of dollars) and pick up everything I need for my week at work, a gift for an upcoming engagement, and my wardrobe for my next vacation. Yes, WARDROBE!!! Lately Target has filled it's racks with summer dresses, cute tops, and eye catching bathing suits. If you are planning to make a splash in your local pool or have a plane ticket to an island this summer try adding one of these suits to your mix:


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Beenie Man Apologizes... (sort of)

They were not lying when they said money talks...

Where do I start? I believe this video of Jamaican Reggae artist Beenie Man speaks for itself. As I watched the clip a few thoughts and questions  came to mind...

-What exactly IS Beenie looking at every few seconds. I have never officially studied body language but I am pretty sure looking away is a sign of dishonesty.

-Is he wearing a red pleather jacket? Honestly, I really would like to know.

-Why is the media labeling this vifeo  an "apology" or an "epiphany"? Beenie does not use the words sorry or apology/apologize, forgive, wrong, etc at any point in this video. If he did, I certainly missed it. What I did hear was Beenie  asking people to leave him be, leave the past in the past,  and not crucify him for songs he created when he was young and consequently naive.

-All in all I 'm left wondering just how much is  Europe's Rototom Sunsplash. paying artists? Or more importantly how much money were Reggae artists loosing as a result of people protesting their lyrics. After some research I came across The Reggae Compassionate Act that was signed by Beenie Man, Buju Banton, Sizzla, and Capelton in which the artists  stated (among other things)"we agree to not make statements or perform songs that incite hatred or violence against anyone from any community." Please click on the link or enlarge the picture of Beenie Man's signed version to read the entire act.

Beenie Man's Signed Compassionate Act

I  wish this video came across as a more authentic apology...but I guess it's a step in the right direction...
What do you think? 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Rest In Peace--> Donna Summer

When I think of disco two people come to mind; Rockie the person  who taught me (some would say  forcefully) all I know about disco, and Donna Summer the sultry voice behind hits like Love to Love you Baby. Although I was sad today to learn of Donna Summers's death I am grateful that many of her contributions will always remain... RIP

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Hair Update: Mohawkesque Roll and Pin

If I ever shared with you all how long it took me to come up with the titles of my posts you all would laugh.....HARD! I find that to be the most difficult part of blogging.

Anyhow... On to the topic at hand! My hair!

I need to get a tripod... seriously
This weekend I finally got around to washing my hair (I know I am living dangerously and totally breaking the "thou shall always have a clean scalp rule").  Feeling bold and dying for a new look I found myself at the Beauty Supply Store with an idea on my mind and money to burn! 

Yup, that's what I came back with. Marley Hair, a tiny soft bristle brush (to slick those edges), and a jar of Jam (because I swore years ago that Jam was the truth, and produced the slickest puffs). My plan? To create a high bun for myself and Rockie that evening. While I have no pictures of the results from either attempts I will say this. Rockies came out OK. However , when I tried to create the bun in my own hair it was TRAGIC! Mainly because I have no idea how to work with Marley hair and make it look realistic. It was so bad I didn't have the courage to take or post pictures, so you all are going to have to take my word for it!

In the end I went back to one of  my classic looks and flat twisted and twisted my hair until I was satisfied. See the results below!

Stay tuned for High Bun Attempt Take 2...hopefully in the near future!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Atlantic City Carnival NYC Launch....The Recap

 This past Friday night found me in Queens... yes, Queens for the launch of Atlantic City's 2nd Annual Carnival. All in all I had a good time...the dj was pumping, the dance floor was full of energy, and the bartenders were on their best behavior. More importantly I was able to get a first hand look at the four sections "they" (I haven't quite figured out WHO is providing the costumes) had on display.

First impression: the costumes were nice. Simple, especially if you compare them with other North American carnival costumes (ie. Caribanna), but nice. What does stand out about these costumes is that they are a tad on the conservative side. You will not find any wire bra's, thongs, skimpy waist belts, or jeweled undies on the AC boardwalk this summer. Why? My guess is that it is all about lthe ocation. Atlantic City in July is filled with tourists (men, women, boys, and girls)  and many of them will be people who have never been exposed to Carnival before.Therefore I believe AC carnival is attempting to be more modest  and not to shock the unsuspecting toursits. Although I understand the rationale I do wonder what other measures will be taken (if any) to keep AC carnival on the modest, sailor mas, chipping down the road, conservative side.

All in all I believe Atlantic City Carnival would be great for anyone who wanted to simply be a spectator, someone who was interested in playing mas in a more relaxed atmosphere, or someone who has never played mas at all.

f you are interested in playing mas, inquiring about the fete schedule, or you are simply curious about AC carnival checkout the website  OR the thread on

For those of you going I will see you there! 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Hair Update: Pinned-Up Twist Out

Hey Peeps,

I finally took those twists out!! Well, sort of. I am pretty sure that there are still a few that I missed but I will find them when I wash my hair tomorrow (hopefully).

I am so glad that I took these pictures. Only then did I realize that the back of my hair was looking a little cray. I'm going out later this evening so I'll be sure to part my hair with a comb instead of my fingers...;0)

What I did:
After untwisting my hair I took a damp hair brush and brushed the sides of my hair. Using  Castor Oil along with my Organic Root Stimulator Edge Control Gel to help keep my hair "slicked" down  I rolled and pinned each side of my hair. Afterwards I tied my hair with head scarf for about 30 minutes. Once I removed the scarf I fluffed the twists in the front and added a litttle Jane Carter nourish and Shine for sheen. It was pretty simple to do and maintain.

How do you style your twistout?


I definitely was caught in this video....

Shout out to Carnival Live TV for the video and bringing back all my Trini Carnival 2012 memories (in less than 30 seconds)!!

Friday, May 11, 2012

NYC: AC Carnival Launches Tonight!

Red Table Talks... Looks Like a Must See!

Jada Pinket Smith is definitely in my top ten of women of color I admire. From where I stand she seems to be a wise, insightful, and passionate person and a great mother. I admire the fearlessness she exhibited when she started her band, Wicked Wisdom; the audaciousness (and rationale) she illustrated  when she posed in the nude for Essence magazine; and her longevity in an industry where people seems as disposable as a plastic bag.

It should be no surprise that I totally support her latest endeavour  (and encourage you all to do the same), Red Table Talks. In this film Jada has the cameras rolling as she sits at the table with her daughter Willow, and her mother Adrienne Banfield-Jones, while having a candid conversation about motherhood, daughterhood, regrets, hopes, mistakes, and life in the spotlight. Lately I have been a part of a few conversations about mother and daughter relationships and the trials and tribulations that sometimes simply comes with the territory.  Open communication though often seems like the missing piece and the cause of tension in mother/daughter relationships. Imagine if we all could sit at the table with generations of women in our families. It would be dynamic to hear their stories firsthand, speak your truth about your own experiences and simply be vulnerable and in the frame of mind to learn, heal, and grow as a person. The trailer for Red Table Talks alone can  stimulate emotions and generate some powerful discussions. I look forward to its debut this Sunday...

What do you think?

Please click HERE for the longer version featured on The Huffington Post!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

How Fancy...

My friend Rockie emailed me this video a few moments ago....

I love Ms. Vaughn's creativity when it comes to hairstyles and make up. I think we have a wedding day hair style winner folks!! What do you think?

Carnival is we time...

Summer in NYC means impromptu backyard limes, free shows in Central Park, riding the Cyclone in Coney Island, and CARNIVAL!  Although I have not played mas in Brooklyn since I was in my teens (the last band I played mas with in Brooklyn was Hawks International) I still love to look at the costumes, hang out at the mas camps, and most of all fete! So you know I was excited when I cam across these flyers for Karma, Sesame Flyers, Borokeetes, and Ramajay's band launches. Scroll down and pick a few to attend because....

Karma Carnival Band--LOST--Launching Sunday June 3rd
Sesame Flyers--Fire and Ice--Band Launch Sunday June 3rd

Borokeete USA--Caribbean Uniqueness--Launching Friday June 8th

Ramajay Mas--Wings--Band Launch Sunday June 10th

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Three Week Old Twists and the Search for a Wedding Hairstyle...

For the first time in a great while my hair and I have come to an agreement: I don't mess with it, and in turn it doesn't mess with me. Everyone is  happy. ;0) I haven't styled my hair in three weeks outside of touching up a few twists every now and then and my hair seems to be thriving. It's soft, moist, and seems to be doing well with little to no help from me.

Another forced My signature twist style @ Darker Than Brown Meetup
Profile view @ Darker Than Brown Meetup

In order to maintain my twists I do the following....
- Sleep with a satin cap or scarf nightly
-Take a shower with my head uncovered in order for the steam from the shower to penetrate my hair strands.
- Use Vatika Oil (Coconut Oil with Ayurvedic herbs) on my scalp and base of my hair to stimulate growth and scalp health.
-Follow up with Jane Carter's Nourish and Shine on the ends of my twists (if needed).
-Use Castor Oil to help slick down the back and edges of my hair and then pin  them up into a style.

Simple! My only concern is that I have not washed my hair since twisting it a few weeks ago(because I simply have not had the time), but otherwise the last few weeks have worked out well for me.

Unfortunately the truce will soon have to come to an end because I will be a Bridesmaid  in a few weeks, which means I have to actually change my hair. On top of that I need to find an elegant style for my natural tresses that will hold up if it rains, if I sweat, or if strong winds are blowing (pictures last FOREVER). Talk about pressure....

As I find styles I will share them with you....

I love all three of these hairstyles, however I do not think any one of them have the durability that I am looking for ( I want to be able to dance without worrying that my classy updo has turned into a chia-pet).

Back to the drawing board....

Friday, May 4, 2012

Darker Than Brown and Random Thoughts

I never intended to become a weekly blogger. There once was a time (last year to be exact) that I blogged on a nightly basis consistently. Right now if I have more than 5 posts a month I am lucky!My life is hectic (I use that word way too often and it is such an understatement)! I have taken on a lot of responsibilities which leaves me little time to do this, blog. What makes things even worse is that I have so much that I want to blog about. I make notes to myself all the time on new topics, ideas, and thoughts. Sadly, oftentimes those notes go no further than the sheet of paper that I write them on until the idea is no longer relevant. Tonight I decided to do something different. I decided to carve time out of my day to do something that is important to ME. This is taking a little sacrifice on my part. It is about 1am and I need to be up in a few hours...but I have some help:

Before: Good old five hour energy!

After: Goodbye long blinks, hello bright eyed and bushytailedness!!!
Yes, it is that serious. I also decided this past weekend to take some time to attend the meetup group, Darker Than Brown's, monthly dinner meetup. This was another sacrifice for me because my to do list was a lengthy one. Ok,  I'll be honest, one of the biggest reasons I attended was because I had not been to a natural hair related event since Atlanta's 'Fro Fashion Week, and I felt out of the loop. Despite this I was apprehensive about attending. I am not a fan of "meetups". Especially huge meetup's with no real agenda or purpose because they typically turn into a "who's who" ,photo op spectacle. Days later (and most of my tasks still incomplete) I am glad that I went.  The women that I met were down to earth and friendly which exceeded my expectations. As a newcomer to this monthly event I felt not only welcomed but that people were interested in getting to know me. In addition to this the organizer , Nneka introduced herself to me as well. With 90 other people in attendance I was not expecting a personal greeting.
The one pic I took: Cutiekinks and Nneka (co-organizers) along with rep from Carol's Daughter  

 In addition to this I talked about more than just hair, in fact we all did.  There is something empowering about sitting and simply speaking to a group of women of color about their careers and lifestyles. I left the meetup feeling  like I made a connection with all of the people I spoke to that  was far deeper than learning their hair type and favorite products.
My tablemates, Ahsiek (Vlogger), and I. Pic courtesy of Darker Than Brown

And of course there were goodies (who doesn't love goodies). Samples of a few products were available upon entrance, raffle tickets were given to the first 40 or so guests, and others received an opportunity to purchase tickets for a dollar. Raffle prizes were provided by Carol's Daughter, the Curl Kit company, and a few other sponsors (Amazing Botanicals, I Love My Fro, and Curly Hair solutions to name a few.  

The goodies I picked up ....

I Love My Fro Shea Whip, Amazing Botanicals Black Soap and Hibiscus Gel, and Curly Hair Solutions Extenzz
If you live in NYC and are interested in attending a meetup group I would recommend Darker Than Brown as a place to start. Set up a  account and sign up.  Hope to see you there!

Do you attend natural hair meetups? If so, what do you think? Waste of time or essential?
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