When I Was Insecure, I was Tasha...

Why you bother me when you know you don't want me? In loving memory of Tasha, the girl I used to be.

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The popularity of Insecure, especially amongst black Millennials, comes as no surprise to this (old) black millennial. The HBO show is relatable on almost every level and much like Sex and the City it provides a character for every woman to claim as "her". In each episode I see myself. I've been Molly struggling to express myself in therapy, I've been Issa unhappy and unfulfilled at a thankless job, I've been the bougie friend who thinks she's better than everyone because she's in a seemingly successful relationship, and as much as I hate to admit it, when I was REALLY insecure, I was Tasha.

We all know a Tasha. And if we're being completely honest with ourselves most of us have been a Tasha. She's the girl who's too cute to deal with the mess that she does, she's too nice in not so nice situations, and she's agreeable in every way because she's been told to be agreeable. Everything is cool with her. He didn't call when he said he would? Cool. Forgot about that date y'all scheduled? Cool. He can never hang out in the light of day? Cool. She's cool because cool girls don't stress dudes out and cool girls get chose. Except for when they don't. Because despite being cool with all the ridiculousness she's also desperately extra. Taking selfies on first dates to post on Instagram and constantly trying to have the "what are we?" conversation without actually having it are hardly the way to anyone's heart. And yet Tasha perseveres. She tricks herself into believing that the dude giving her the goods Friday through Sunday is "The One" worthy of her time and attention and over looks all of the fuck boy qualities because he's a nice guy meaning that he's not the most egregious asshole she's ever met because Tasha's standards are dumb low. 

If you're up in your feelings right about now it's probably because you've been a Tasha. If I could recoup the hours that I spent chasing dudes that were clearly not interested in me or only interested in certain parts of me I probably wouldn't know what to do with myself. I would waste so much time and energy projecting my ideas of what a man should be onto every guy I met to the point that I just knew that we were meant to be. Cute, check. Job, check. Car, check. He has a pulse, check. Well, if he fills out all of those boxes, then he'd obviously be great in a relationship and he's clearly meant for me. What I didn't realize was that I was looking for validation from outside sources instead of finding it in myself. I didn't feel worthy of my own love so I sought it from others who weren't willing to give it to me but pretended that they were. They were emotionally available to the point that I felt a connection but not enough for me to get comfortable in which ultimately left me feeling empty and dumb as hell.

I wish I could tell you the exact moment that I decided to stop letting fuck boys live in my mental space but I can't. I just got tired of being tricked by myself and by them. That's when I stopped running to the phone every time it rang and accepting every invitation to chill. It was freeing. It was about as satisfying as Tasha informing Lawrence that he's been wearing the "good guy" costume this whole time.

Reclaiming My Time

Taking a page from the book of Maxine Waters and reclaiming my time.

This is how you stand when someone's wasting your time and you're about to snatch it back.

This is how you stand when someone's wasting your time and you're about to snatch it back.

Last week, Representative Maxine Waters of California pretty much stopped the world when she boldly and unapologetically spoke the now infamous words, "Reclaiming My Time" in an effort to stop a man who was, essentially, trying to waste it. When the offending gentleman protested against this proclamation, Rep. Waters got a bit deeper and explained to him that, "when you are on my time, I can reclaim it". It was at this moment that Black Twitter imploded and the foolery began. With memes, gifs, album covers, and gospel remakes galore the gentlewoman from California basically broke the internet machine a la Beyonce circa 2013. While I participated in the shenanigans and still listen to the gospel remix as part of my morning regimen (because motivation) I started to think about those three words on a deeper level.

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In an effort to live more intentionally and rid myself of some pretty nasty anxiety I've been cutting out things, people, and habits that do not serve a purpose in my life. This means giant closet purges, being disciplined enough to avoid sinkholes that would lead self-destructive behavior (that's a work in progress) and enacting a firm "Stay over there. No, further away, please" policy. Honestly, it's not fun and can feel terribly isolating but I know every time I distance myself from someone or something, I'm making room for something better. With all of these changes, I still find myself feeling like all of my time is being stolen from me. Morning rushes into afternoon and afternoon melts into the night and next thing you know I've gone another day without accomplishing anything meaningful. 

So now, it only makes sense that I reclaim my precious time. You know, that thing you can never get back? As a chronic procrastinator and people pleaser, I watch my time run away from me on a daily basis. Should I do that thing that will actually add value to my life or scroll on Instagram for two and a half hours? That person is calling you again and whats you to basically work for free? Go ahead and answer and tell them yes because people's opinion of you matters. Recently I have come to realize that I am allowed to be selfish and meticulous with my time. Hell, even downright miserly. Because it's mine and when you're on my time I can reclaim it.

Top | Pants | Shoes (old)

What or who are you reclaiming your time from?

How To Be Basic

Because slaying all day is getting difficult.

Let me count the ways in which I do not slay on a regular basis.

Let me count the ways in which I do not slay on a regular basis.

I could get caught up in trying to live the perfect IG life OR I could actually live.

I could get caught up in trying to live the perfect IG life OR I could actually live.

Oh, you know, just over her not doing the most.

Oh, you know, just over her not doing the most.

Hi, I'm basic. That's really all. I'm not snatched 24/7. My closet isn't a revolving door of Fashion Nova pieces and other fast fashion boutiques (although they DO have some cute clothes). I wear makeup maybe once a week and more often than not my eyebrows look like distant cousins. I don't wear waist trainers because I like to breathe and most importantly EAT comfortably. Sometimes I wear the same shirt three times in a week because washing machines exist. I don't "slay all day". I slay about two percent of the time. I'm pretty okay with that.

Dress | Shirt | Shoes

Foundation for a Bomb AF Wash and Go

"They" don't want type 4 hair to do a wash and go so we gonna do a wash and go.

The wash and go out in full effect

The wash and go out in full effect

Once upon a time not long ago I was afraid of wash and gos. I was afraid of the shrinkage, the detangling time, the inevitable weird looks I would get because Tracee Ellis Ross I am not.

Fast forward to summer 2017 and I'm pretty sure this the only thing I want to do with my curls until September. Seriously it's so EASY. That being said, healthy hair is the foundstion for a successful wash and go. What is healthy hair?

Believe it or not type 4 Hair can do a wash and go!

Believe it or not type 4 Hair can do a wash and go!

Healthy Hair is Moisturized

Have you ever neglected your hair and stopped moisturizing? It's okay: It's happened to the best of us. The aftermath is horrendous. The breakage. The fallout. The dryness. It's terrible. Ever tried to do wash and go on dry hair. Double trouble. Dry hair will leave you more prone to tangles and your curls will not be on point.

Healthy Hair Has Healthy Ends

Trim Ya Ends! This is every natural girl's struggle: keep those dead ends and flaunt that length or cut it and be patient enough for the healthy hair to flourish. Just cut it.Almost every style will look bad with janky ends: wash and gos, twist outs, and perm rod sets will expose that a** and your dusty ends.

Healthy Hair is NOT Heat Damaged

If I was shady (I mean I am but even my petty knows SOME bounds) I would screenshot and post all of the heat damaged wash and gos that I see stuntin' on the gram, at the mall, and on YouTube. I'm not the natural hair police so do what you do BUT I often wonder if these people knew how bomb their style would be after a good heat rehab. I have endured heat damage before and when I attempted a wash and go I had the most crispity, crunchity, dead to the bed, and limp and lifeless curls. Moral of the story: transition out of that damage with some cute rod sets and THEN try your hand at a wash and go.

Honestly my hair is the healthiest that it has been  since I returned natural and that is why my wash and go styles have been flourishing.

Comfy, Casual, Chic

This is a love story about a girl and her very first black jumpsuit.

It was love at first sight. I know from the way she looked at me.

It was love at first sight. I know from the way she looked at me.

Her eyes said it all.

Her eyes said it all.

There are honestly no words that I can use that would properly describe the love that I have for this black jumpsuit. I think I've actually worn it to bed, to church, and to a cookout and I am now wondering why I didn't have at least five of these in my wardrobe sooner. Thanks to the online boutique Tobi, I will be living my best life in my romper all summer long and strongly suggest that you do as well!

Outfit Details

Jumper | Vest (similar) | Vintage Necklace | Shoes

 

What's your summer 2017 uniform?

So You Have A Bald Spot, Now What?

You may not be your hair, but it's pretty damn important.

A few days ago I was doing my normal detangling routine in front of the mirror when (cue the horror music) I discovered a small, but noticeable to me, bald spot. I had a quick moment of OMFG, what do I do, CLEARLY I'm dying, and then I took a few deep breaths and followed these steps.

What do you do when you find a baldspot in your otherwise healthy head of hair?

What do you do when you find a baldspot in your otherwise healthy head of hair?

Don't Freak Out | I know, I know, I freaked out a little teeny tiny bit. But then I stopped. Honestly, there's no reason to have a full meltdown until you know exactly what the issue is.

Get To the Doctor | We (I'm looking at you skin fo) often ignore what our bodies are trying to tell us when symptoms such as hair loss occur. Quite often this is an outward expression of minor problems such as a vitamin deficiency; however, there is a chance that there is a more serious underlying issue. Going to your primary care physician and getting your bloodwork done can rule all of that out.  

The vanity planet shampoo brush and Remi Restorative treatment are helping me get back on track.

The vanity planet shampoo brush and Remi Restorative treatment are helping me get back on track.

Care for Your Scalp | Now that you Know what's wrong, you can start taking care of your scalp. I was sent the life changing (no exaggeration here, it's actually life changing) Groove Scalp Massager by Vanity Planet and I have been using it on wash day and in between wash days. Not only does it feel great, it also encourages blood flow to the scalp which helps hair growth. I have already seen hair starting to grow back in a short period of time.

Use Healthy Hair Products | In addition to using the scalp massager, I am also using Vanity Planet's Moisturizing and Restorative Hair Treatment. It's great for my scalp and hair because it is nothing but healthy oils for my dry and frizzy natural hair. I massage this product in with my Scalp Massager and let it sit for about 15 minutes before continuing with my normal routine. The oils help nourish my scalp and protect my hair from the harshness of shampoos.

I'm confident that in the next few months that my little bald spot will be flourishing again.

Interested in Vanity Planet Products? Make sure to use these discount codes to save big!

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*Products were sent to me for free, but all opinions are my own.*

Stop Doing SH** For Free!

Make that money girl, don't let it make you. - The Players Club

My face every time an email pops up in my inbox talking about great exposure and future affiliate programs #iamunable #icant

My face every time an email pops up in my inbox talking about great exposure and future affiliate programs #iamunable #icant

Me walking away from BS "opportunities" that aren't really opportunities.

Me walking away from BS "opportunities" that aren't really opportunities.

Storytime: Recently, a company that I had reviewed product for in the past approached me with an opportunity. Because I believe in the brand and really liked the product I said yes with no hesitation and all was well and good until I was asked how much I would like to be compensated for my work. When I tell you that I clenched, I could not actually give you a better example of the physical manifestation of my level of discomfort. I had no idea what I was worth, what to ask for, or even if I should be paid at all. I basically said, "Who me? No, I don't need to be compensated" to which the owner replied, and I'm paraphrasing here, "Yes. You do. You get paid for work". If you're a fellow creative or creator then you probably understand the shock waves that went through my body. If you're a fellow creator then you understand that people expect handouts. If you're a fellow creator you're probably used to giving handouts for the sake of "getting some great exposure". If you're a fellow creator I want you to listen real good to the advice I'm about to give you: Stop. Doing. SHIT. For. Free. #thatsall Honestly, it's that simple.

Stop doing shit for free. This is my motto for 2017 and I'm applying it to much everything. Here's why you should too!

Your Work Has Worth

When you decide to pursue your passion as a career or a side hustle, that's when you've decided to put in work. You start investing in your craft in a serious way: time and money become heavily involved. When people start to notice and reach out to you, that means they see worth in your work, they see opportunity in your audience, they see you solving a problem that they have. If anyone wants access to these things, they need to pay for it. 

When You Undervalue Yourself, You Allow Others To Do The Same

In my interaction with the aforementioned business owner, I gave someone else the power to determine my worth. If I was working with someone looking to make a quick buck and take advantage, I could have left that deal pretty raw. Fortunately for me, this person gave me advice when they didn't have to. I've now sat down and thought about my practices AND pricing so that I never again give anyone the opportunity to buy me for cheap.  

When You Undervalue Yourself, You Set Market Price for Others In Your Industry

If I was messy, petty, and had the energy I could publish the countless emails I get from companies wanting me to promote their products or services without even offering me the chance to test them. I often play along because I'm the worst and enjoying wasting rude people's time and eventually let them know that I cannot recommend something to my audience when I cannot vouch for its quality. At first, I wondered why anyone would have the balls to even approach me with such absurdity, but then, I realized, it's because someone else agreed to it. To that person, STOP. FULL STOP. IMMEDIATELY. Seriously, you make it more difficult for everyone else.

You Deserve Nice Things

I'm not saying that money is the key to happiness, but I will say that you cannot buy food without it and food makes me pretty damn happy. If you're putting in hours of work creating content to promote someone's brand (and I PUH-ROMISE you they're making money as a result of your efforts) then you deserve to be paid in some way, shape, or form so that you can have the things that you like and need. 

So to sum all this up, If you are working for someone, you deserve to be paid what you're worth. Point blank. Period. the End.

Black Owned Beauty Brands (That Aren't Shea Moisture) To Support NOW

Go where you are appreciated not where you are tolerated.

Have you ever been disappointed in a brand that you loved? Yeah, we're looking at you Shea Moisture.

Have you ever been disappointed in a brand that you loved? Yeah, we're looking at you Shea Moisture.

The last couple of days in the blogosphere have been pretty interesting specifically for black women who specialize in natural hair content. Why? Well, a very popular beauty brand that is black owned and has been largely supported by the black community decided to bite the hand that (literally) feeds them. That brand is Shea Moisture and they seriously failed on Monday; by releasing a commercial for hair care products that featured racially ambiguous and caucasian women, Shea Moisture alienated their core audience and customer base. Black women were not pleased. In the uproar that ensued, there were several calls to boycott Shea Moisture and support other brands. Unfortunately for us, there are very few black-owned beauty brands that are easily accessible. That being said, very few still leaves us with options for awesome brands that we can support.

My Fluffy Puffs

If you are looking for a complete line of natural hair products, look no further. My Fluffy Puffs provides a moisturizing product line with a cleanser, moisturizer, and styling creme. The line is also expanding into hair growth oils. All of the products are handmade and the owner is a young black woman who makes and formulates all of the products.
 

Especially Hair

I would stack this deep conditioner next to every DC by Shea Moisture. As a matter of fact, it's better (which is definitely reflected in the price). The ingredients are quality and the moisture that it provides is great for low porosity, type 4 hair. Especially Hair is owned by a husband and wife team.

Diva By Cindy

These products are great for the natural or relaxed girl who likes to add direct heat to her regimen. The products are alcohol-free and are light enough to ensure an awesome blowout or silk press. Developed by a former nurse, Diva by Cindy promotes healthy hair products.

These brands are black owned and support and uplift women of color. Their brand ambassadors are women of color and they feature women of color on their social media platforms. I have always believed that we should support companies that support us so if you're looking to spend your money with a black-owned company, look no further!

What are your favorite black-owned beauty brands?  

Why You Should Skip the Clothing Resale Stores and What to Do With Your Clothes Instead

Well that was a mouthful...

Spring is really trying to come through despite the blizzard that I'm looking at through my window which means most of us are trying to clean out our living spaces to make room for all the new things we plan to buy this season and in the summer. If you're anything like me that means that you take an in depth look at your closet and decide that most of it just has to go. At this point you may be tempted to pack a bag of your latest and greatest that you just don't wear anymore (or never got the chance to wear for whatever reason) and take a trip down to the nearest clothing resale shop. let me help you with that: don't. I promise you that it's not worth it and unless you take your designer wares to a high end consignment shop you will barely recoup any of the money you spent.

Now you may be asking why I harbor such a strong dislike for clothing resale shops and I am here to tell you. As I said, you BARELY receive any return on investment (not that designer clothes are actually a smart investment). A designer bag originally purchased for $200+ MIGHT get you around $50 and the store will turn around and sell it for $100-$150. At that point you may as well sell the bag yourself. These stores generally have a list of things or styles that they can buy for any given season and despite having the coolest, most on trend clothing you may not have what they're looking for. And let's be honest, not everyone on staff will be fashion savvy enough to understand your unique taste. 

So now you have a pile of clothes that you need to get rid of but some crazy lady on the internet machine told you not to go to a real store. Well what are you supposed to do now? I'll tell you:

Host a Clothing Swap or Give to a fashionable Friend

There are certain items I don't mind giving away but then when I look at my closet there are certain things that NEED to go someone who will love them the way that I did. Instead of selling these items or giving them away to charity, I give them to the person I have in mind. Another option is to host a clothing swap with people who have the same level of style as you.

Give Items to a Charity Like A Women's Shelter

I'm not a fan of for profit charities such as The Salvation Army or Goodwill because their prices can be a bit ridiculous. that being said, most major cities have men's or women's shelters  that are in need of clothing among other things. 

Sell Your Clothing On Your Own

This is the most obvious option but it does require a little more involvement than just dropping your clothes somewhere and leaving them forever. Sites like eBay make it easy for regular people to sell their clothes and you'll probably get closer to your purchasing price than you would at a resale shop.

How do you get rid of your old clothes?

Diva by Cindy Stimulating Hair Growth System Review

For brown girls who just want their hair to grow...

Diva by Cindy products are alcohol free.

Diva by Cindy products are alcohol free.

Diva by Cindy Stimulating Shampoo is definitely my favorite product from the line.

Diva by Cindy Stimulating Shampoo is definitely my favorite product from the line.

The Diva by Cindy Super Pro Hairdress claims to help grow hair.

The Diva by Cindy Super Pro Hairdress claims to help grow hair.

Let's talk about products!

Diva by Cindy was created by former registered nurse, Cindy with the aim of helping those dealing with hair loss. With an alcohol free formula, these products have "good for your hair" ingredients such as panthenol, rosemary, aloe, and peppermint. The goal of this line is to leave the hair silky, shiny, and healthy.

Stimulating Shampoo

I always seem to find a favorite in every product line I try and for Diva by Cindy it's definitely their stimulating shampoo.I was a little scared to try this one because it had a few ingredients that I usually don't use. That being said, I actually love the shampoo. The smell was very minty and when I put it on my scalp, it FELT minty. Most shampoos containing sulfates would dry your hair out and make it dry and difficult to detangle. When I went to detangle my hair the comb ran right through! I was so surprised and excited. My hair also didn't even feel dry. This one is definitely a keeper.

Stimulating Conditioner

The Stimulating Conditioner has the same month smell and feel as the shampoo. While I like the texture of this product, I did feel that it was lacking the slip that I needed to properly and thoroughly detangle my hair. That being said, this is great conditioner to use if you are planning on straightening your hair. It is very light and because it doesn't contain ingredients such as shea butter and heavy oils it doesn't leave your hair weighed down and heavy. 

Leave In Detangling Conditioner

This one was tricky for me: I don't love leave in conditioners that come in spray bottles. Why? Because I have a ton of hair and I feel like it doesn't get to all of my hair. Again, this product is best for use before heat styling. The Panthenol (which is a derivative of the B5 vitamin) is great for your hair as it supports the production of protein rich tissues. After using it in failed rollerset attempt, I saw no heat damage which i credit to the use of this product. 

Super Gro Hair Dress

Unfortunately, I don't have any definitive thoughts on this product. I've only used the Diva by Cindy line a handful of times over the course of less than a month. Because of that, I can't really say that this has helped my hair grow. Also, I have never suffered from significant hair loss so I don't have any way to test the product out and provide quantitative results. BUT, it smells really good!