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Monday, June 22, 2015

Natural Hair | 6 Great Ways to Style Your Braids, Twist and Locks

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

AYD 2015 Series #6 No Is Nothing But A Yes From Somebody Else




By J.Naomi

You’re getting all your plans together and suddenly you hit a roadblock. Someone tells you that they cannot help you out or that you will not be able to get the service or item you need to achieve your goals.

WHAT DO YOU DO!

Well don’t think about throwing in the towel now. You have come a long way. It’s like the saying, “One monkey don’t stop no show!” There are a number of reasons why people will tell you they can’t help you or try to convince you to stop. When people say no to you at a time when you need help it is because they have already formed an opinion if you will succeed in your efforts. Typically, this measurement of your success is a comparison to their experiences and limitations. A typical well it did not work for me so it will not work for you type of attitude.

Do not be discouraged or get hung up on that closed door. There is more than one way to do the things you are trying to do. You may hear one hundred no’s before you get a yes. Hold on to the idea though that there will eventually be a yes and you will pull through. The sun is always brightest after the rain!

You must train your brain to cancel out the no’s. It is easier than you think. This is when those easy theater classes you took as an elective in college come in handy. A great trick is to lead your mind into thinking that when someone says no what they are really saying is, “I don’t want to help you, due to my own lack of ability, however there are a ton of people that will!” And it is true. There are people who want to help you because they need your help in return. It is just up to you to find them.

Remember a while back when I was saying that you are the only one who sees your vision for your plan. Well in order to make people believers you have to produce results. When you ask for help and you are just starting to put things together others, especially strangers, have no example of what you are capable of. The best way to combat this lack of interpersonal relation is to find businesses or services that can use your expertise, product or connections in return. Sometimes you have to play let’s make a deal.

Now, not everyone is good at games. If give and take is not your forte try good ole fashion persistence. Don’t tell the boys but I love persistence! As obnoxious as persistence can be your persistence says a lot about your drive and ambition. It shows how dedicated you are to your project or cause. If people see your tenacity and positive attitude, even after being rejected, they will begin to believe in your dream. This applies for people who have worked hard for their success.

Another way to acquire more yes’s over no’s is to meet people who may be beneficial in the future and STAY IN TOUCH! You never know what bridges you may need to cross to get to the other side of success. If you burn your bridges then you leave yourself with limited options of getting to the next level. If the one way is a no go than you must create your own way making the journey more difficult.

I want you to know that there are so many people all over the world. Don’t put things on hold because someone says no. The word no is relative. One person’s no is another’s persons yes. Someone’s mountain is someone else’s ant hill.

Follow the path and continue to achieve your goals even when they say no because soon they will be saying yes. I hope you continue to enjoy the AYD2015 series and I hope it continues to bless you.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

International Natural Hair Meetup Day Colorado event on May 30th...DON'T MISS OUT!!!!!!!!!!


I repeat do not miss out on this event if your from Denver or going to be in the Denver area! Brought to you by Colorado Urban Naturals, International Natural Hair Meetup Day (INHMD) has brought together vendors, stylist, bloggers and best of all SWAG BAGS & Giveaways! Click below for tickets and more info. I will see you there!

Tickets: www.eventjoy.com/e/inhmdco
Website: www.coloradourbannaturals.com

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

AYD2015 #7 Utilize Your Ability: They Don't Know (Fill In The Blank)!



By J.Naomi

As your journey to Achieving Your Dreams in 2015 leads you down a road of self-discovery. We have to discuss ability and how you can use it as an advantage, an ally and often times a motivating factor. Many people think of ability as a restriction of what they are allowed to do in life. Instead you should think of ability in terms of the actions or resources that you can complete or accomplish to further push you towards your goals and dreams.

Although I gave you an example of our 8th step in the Achieve Your Dreams in 2015 post (click here to read all the steps), I want to provide you a more in-depth example using my personal experience.

During my senior year of high school I was passing my AP Political Science course with a B average and looking forward to attending Hampton University in the summer for pre-college. One day, my teacher stopped me after class and asked me to meet with her briefly before heading out to lunch. I agreed and when the bell rang for lunch I made a b-line to her classroom. I had no problem with it because Poly-Sci was one of my favorite subjects and I wanted to pursue a career in politics or law. However, I was surprised to see my African-American studies teacher in attendance. I remember feeling intimidated and anxious like I had just walked into a trap. I didn’t know what to expect but I knew that because my Caucasian teacher had needed the assistance of a Black counterpart to communicate to me it was probably serious. My teacher prepped me for the conversation by using statements like, “Please don’t be upset…” and, “It’s not a bad thing, but I think…” which made me more nervous. Finally, she said she believed that I was dyslexic and should be tested before I go to college so that I would be labeled with a disability and be given lenience in my classes. She also explained that once diagnosed I may have access to special financial aid opportunities.

As she began to explain to me about being tested her voice faded and my mind started to wonder. I felt like she was insulting me. Humiliated, I told her I would check into it and left the room in tears. I felt like she was telling me that things would be different for me and that what other students could do I would not be able. She made me feel like my future success was limited because of my ability.

Personally, I feel like God did not create me to be someone who goes with the flow of things. In life, I have never accepted the cards I am dealt if it is a less than a great hand. I don’t believe in limitations and restrictions. Nor do I believe that the easy way is the best way to get what you want in life. Hard work and integrity are the most stable building blocks in life’s foundation. Period.

After that meeting, I decided to never let anyone tell me how I would live my life or what I was able to do in life. Granted, there were many experiences that lead up to that but it was that moment that was the final straw. I never went to get tested. I decided that once I got to Hampton I would put that experience behind me and work extra hard to prove her wrong. Every paper, every assignment I put 100% of my ability into. I figured I may not have graduated at the top of my class in high school but I was attending one of the leading Historically Black Colleges in the country and that had to count for something. As a hustle on the side and an aid in reading and writing I charged my peers ten dollars to proof read their papers. I took my time and made sure to correct all grammar and punctuation errors. Every paper I proofread never got lower than a 90%. Furthermore, I completed my first semester in school with a 4.0 and by the end of my freshman year had been inducted into the honors college. Along with that I received the Presidents scholarship for my continuous placement on the dean’s list. Although I would finish my college career in Colorado, that year was truly a personal victory.

Another interesting thing that happened during this time was my developed passion for writing. I wrote a lot as a kid but stopped after an episode in which my mother had gotten a hold of my diary and ripped the pages out. Although innocent, my mother was very religious and didn’t met eye to eye with my creative form of self-discovery. In college I lost interest in pursuing political science, for obvious reasons, and decided to major in Communication. Pursuing a Communications degree ignited my need to write. Once I began writing again in college I wrote everything from short stories to screenplays to stage plays to essays and so on. Later on, my writing would lead me to become a 2007 OBS Screenwriter Competition Semi- Finalist, a 2007 Hollywood Black Film Festival Storyteller Competition finalist, a 2008 ABFF Nickelodeon Writers Lab Participant and currently creator and writer for Coily Culture blog and YouTube channel. I have done many things in between but you can see how writing holds a special value and merit for me.

So that brings me to the topic at hand, do not think about your ability as a limitation of your advancement. Think of what you are able to do to get the job done, get closer to your goals or to achieve your desires. Your ability may be what leads you to the thing you are truly passionate about. For instance, being dead broke and living in Atlanta brought me right back to writing again and kept me focused. Everyone has a place in this world and there is room for everyone to live harmoniously.

Use your ability to make it happen. Do what you can. Do not allow the lack of resources or financial ability to stop you from accomplishing your life’s design. Believe me I know what it feels like to look around and not have any options open for you. I have been homeless before (I will talk about that another day). Just know that it’s these times that you discover what you’re truly made of. These are the moments when you have to become creative and pull inspiration from within yourself to do something and to get the job done. It is also at these times, you can really appreciate the rough beginnings. During these phases, you can really get to know a little bit more about what makes you tick. Jump in to the driver’s seat and let your ability be your life’s GPS as you drive down the road of breakthrough. Ask not what can happen, instead do what you can.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Mane Choice Manetabolism 6 month/Final Review, New Projects



By J.Naomi

Has some of you know I've taken The Mane Choice Maintabolism Hair Vitamins since the fall of 2014. In this video I discuss my over all perception of manetabolism and what I have done to make sure I do not suffer and break outs. This is my final review because I will no longer be taking the vitamins. Enjoy!

Friday, April 3, 2015

AYD2015 #8 Take Risk: Operation Honey Badger



By J.Naomi

The Honey Badger does not care. He takes what he wants.

Up late one night, I watched a discovery channel documentary about the Honey Badger. This badger is about the size of a bulldog and is in its own family. It will take on any animal by itself, no matter the size. It is very difficult to keep a Honey Badger in captivity because they will find a way out by any means necessary (note: This includes stacking its feces to climb out). The Honey Badger can cleverly adapt to any trap or situation especially involving food. Oh, and did I mention they like to eat Cobra heads for breakfast? Honey Badgers are the animal kingdoms go-getters. But Why?

Because Honey Badgers take risk! Be like the Honey Badger when pursuing your dreams.

When going for your goals you may have many ideas. Due to anxiety you may find yourself stuck because you do not want to take the risk of tying out your ideas. Think like the Honey Badger and take what you want. Take what is yours! It’s like the saying, “You will never know until you try…” Don’t get stuck in a rut because you are unsure that you may not succeed. You can and you will.






Just take a look at the risk that you have already taken in your life. If you have done the Big Chop. That is a risk. If you are pregnant or have given birth, that is a risk. Being in a relationship, that’s a risk too.

In my own personal life I can reflect on the MANY risk I have taken. Often criticized by the means of which I take risk, every idea has pushed me closer to a goal or has taken me out of a stand still. Regardless if the consequences where good or bad, I tried something. Doing something instead of nothing will create movement or progress. I learned from it and have grown. Granted, I am not saying jump off a cliff. What I am saying is if you have a well thought out plan, do it. If people tell you it cannot be done but you have thought it out and you know it can go into a Honey Badger state of mind. Try it.

Listen, you would not be reading this right now if I didn’t take a risk. Yes the swamp people (code name for haters) may come out of nowhere and try to smack that idea out of your hand but remember the idea is yours. They do not set the rules. You are the creator of your future. Ya Dig?






Another awesome thing about this animal that I think people should consider is the size of animals it takes on. A Honey Badger has taken on Lions in the wild and have won. The Lion is an apex predator. Whoa! The Honey Badger really could care less. Especially when it comes to honey, this animal is unstoppable. This animal will recklessly break open a bee hive, get stung several times just to get honey. Their favorite food.

So what is your animal? What is the thing that has put you in a stand still? Become a Honey Badger. Take a risk and pursue your dreams. You never know until you try.

Did you like this post? Stay up to date with the Achieving Your Dreams Series by clicking here and leave a comment below!





Thursday, March 12, 2015

Moisturizing and Maintaining My Low Porosity 4C Natural Hair: Dry Climates VS Humid Climates


By J.Naomi Johnson

Traveling between Colorado and Atlanta absolutely has a harsh effect on my Low Porosity 4C hair. Being in Atlanta’s humid climate my hair is low maintenance and does not require much planning as far as how I maintain my kinks. On the opposite spectrum, Colorado’s very dry and my hair requires meticulous planning and strategic styling on my part.

In this blog post I will be discussing what I do to combat environmental changes on my hair when traveling between dry climates and humid climates and why. One thing to consider though before we dive into it is that Colorado is low oxygen and dry with over 300 days of sun shine a year…even when it snows. Georgia is closer to the equator and the Gulf. It has humidity. Although I didn’t find it to be as humid as San Antonio, TX when I visited for two months (on another note I kept my hair in braids the whole time, never washed and used oil and it grew like crazy!) . However, being from Colorado I could feel the humid air all over me especially after it rained those early Georgia mornings.

So with that being said this is what I do with my hair when changing from dry to humid climates.

Things I do when I am up North (Denver, Colorado):

1. Stay away from Aloe Vera and other humectants or products that have it in them! Not just in the winter but all the time. Humectants pull moisture in. In an environment where there is no moisture humectants have an adverse effect on my hair pulling moisture from my hair. I notice when I put Aloe Vera in my hair it moisturized for a second but then dries. I just recently swapped out the Aloe Vera gel I used to style my hair for homemade flaxseed gel.

2. I nightly water wash twice a week and follow with a jojoba oil and butter/cream seal (preferably unrefined raw shea butter, whipped). I know your like no way...multiple washing will dry my hair out! Well, yes… if you’ re using shampoo or any other product in your hair. General water washing is great for my low porosity hair immediately followed by an oil and shea butter seal. I will do this every two days and in between I will substitute the water wash with a water based leave-in conditioner, then the jojoba oil and shea butter seal. Sometimes I switch out my oils for different needs.



3. Once a week I will steam with my favorite conditioner, olive oil and Argan oil (p.s. I always use Argan oil anytime I use heat) to lift the cuticle and deposit moisture and nutrients into the hair shaft. Then I rinse with ACV (Apple Cider Vinegar) and very cold water. Then I follow with an oil and shea butter to seal.

4. Drink a lot of water!


Things I do when I am down South (Atlanta, GA):

1. Use Humectants! The humidity for my hair is like an ongoing conditioner. Instead of pulling moisture from my hair it pulls it from the environment. I use Aloe Vera so much that I have to buy a half a gallon from the health food store. Other products such as glycerin, and castor oil work great in humid environments. I will put humectants in my daily moisturizing mist and styling products.

2. Use a sulfate free clarifying shampoo to wash my hair. Due to the humidity I sometimes feel like my scalp needs to be cleaned off and an ACV rinse just will not do. So I will wash it every two weeks and follow with a deep conditioning treatment. I really try to only use the shampoo on the scalp so I split my hair into sections and spray the water diluted shampoo on my roots and lightly massage my scalp and then rinse. Then follow with my leave-in conditioner and style.

In both environments I do a protein treatment every three months. I have noticed that in the South I can use coconut oil and get really great results and my hair does not feel like straw after due to protein overload. I know coconut oil is not a protein but it does mimic protein behavior on the hair shaft and because of that causes my hair to feel like straw if I use it in the north. In Atlanta my hair feels amazing and has a great shine with it. In the north I use neem oil for the same results. Go fig?

Another thing I do in both environments is low manipulation. I try to keep a style for as long as I can. Check out the video below for one of the many DIY protective styles I wear.



So that is what I do when I travel from dry to humid climates! Let me know what you think. Did I leave anything out? Did you experience anything different? Let me know in the comments below!















Monday, March 9, 2015

Natural Hair Oils | My "go-to" carrier and base oils, Hair Oil Trends





By J.Naomi
There are so many oils out on the market that many naturals are overwhelmed about which oils they need to accompany them in their journey.   After many years of product testing oils on my natural 4C hair I have a few favorites that I go to for different reasons.  In this post I will be discussing my top go-to oils for natural hair.  I will only be discussing my favorite carrier/base oils.  Although essential oils are great to use for a lot of different reasons, I want to focus on the base oils.
 
Base oils are what you can use to dilute essential oils and are typically pressed from the seeds of plants.  Many oils do different things and have various effects on the hair.  Most commonly, oils are used for moisture retention (for example the L.O.C. method) and used to heal and nourish the scalp for healthy development of hair.  Some naturals use one type and others, like myself, use many different types at different times or various ones for treatments.  Hopefully my list helps you decipher which oil is best for you.

My Go-To Oils:

1.       Argan Oil – This oil is pretty pricey.  Although it is sensitive to light and must be stored in darker bottling it holds an impressive punch.  This fact also lets you know if it is authentic Argan oil.  Packed with Omegas and a great source of vitamin F and E I use this oil whenever I deal with heat to avoid or decrease the possibilities of damage.   This oil deep penetrates the hair shaft and provides a great barrier when I flat iron my hair or deep condition under a dryer. 

2.       Olive Oil – I add two tablespoons of olive oil to my conditioner to produce soft and shiny hair.  I use it as a part of my hot oil treatments and pre-poo’s.  More importantly I eat it.  All three ways promote healthy hair growth.  I use extra virgin olive oil to avoid chemicals that many company’s use to stretch the oil.   Olive oil rules and is a favorite by many naturals.

3.       Shea Butter – Almost all the products you buy as a natural you will see this in them.  This “oil” is solid but can be melted down to oil form.  Just like olive oil it is a natural conditioner.  However it is also a moisture sealant that can be used to heal the scalp and follicle and used as a butter to style hair.  As a unrefined oil you gain the most nourishment from Shea Butter.  Also, because many hair care company’s offer this product it’s easy to find.  Another plus about Shea Butter is that it can be used all over your body and can improve your overall complexion.

4.       Castor Oil – I didn’t think about this oil until I used it for five weeks and found a great difference in the thickness of my hair.  I had been having issues with my edges due to excessive styling and wearing head scarfs, headbands and brushing my hair into high puffs.  So I used castor oil five times a week for five weeks and voilĂ !  My hair was nice and thick and seemed stronger.  Currently, I use castor oil on my edges and ends to reduce breakage.  Although they say that Jamaican Black castor oil is wonderful and is leading the trend in castor oil amongst naturals, I actually fell in love with the regular CVS Castor Oil Laxative.  Go fig?  Caution: It stimulates your hair follicles so it will itch when you first use it.

5.       Coconut Oil – This oil is not the best oil to me because not everyone can use it.  Although it can be used for hair, body and eaten for those who prefer a healthier lifestyle, this oil cannot be used for naturals that are protein sensitive.  However, if you’re not a natural who deals with protein sensitivity (click here to see my short video on Protein Sensitivity and alternatives) Coconut Oil is the holy grail!  Firstly it smells great.  Not only does it strengthens the hair and adds a glorious shine it can even be used as an alternative method for pre-poo and deep conditioning wash!  Cool thing about coconut is that it lays on the hair shaft like a protein treatment would so you will see many people use coconut oil with protein treatment.

Honorable Mentions:

1.       Alma Oil – Cleansing, preventing grays, deep conditioning, promotes shine
2.       Grapeseed Oil – Sensitive skin, great for mixing with essential oils
3.       Jojoba oil – Pricey. Great for mixing and conditioning hair and skin, closest oil to the natural on our scalp!

4.       Sweet Almond Oil – Hair and skin oil

What oils do you use? Are the oils listed above good or did I leave some out? I want to hear about it! Let me know in the comments below!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Thursday, February 12, 2015

AYD2015 Series: #9 Don't Fall in to A Social Media Vortex. Gulp!



By J.Naomi Johnson

Sorry. I am late posting this very essential part of the AYD2015 series (click here to start from the beginning) because…well…I did not want to. I love my Facebook. I love my Instagram. I love my Twitter. So why on earth would I ever forbid the use of these wonderful social media tools? Well, I'm not. However, I know that the negative effects of social media when one is trying to rebuild or accomplish goals needs to be addressed but I really just don’t want to. So instead I will talk about the destruction of vortexes (and when it is time we will substitute vortex with social media, smile).

First let us discover what the heck a vortex is.

A vortex is a whirling mass of fluid or air. Typically, it's called a whirlpool or a whirlwind. We see vortexes all the time. A cyclone has a vortex. A black hole in space has a vortex. Often a vortex pulls you in, gets you all caught up in a spiraling mass of chaos and then spits you out completely at the opposite end of your beginning. In the case of a black hole you are stretched to the size of spaghetti and then ripped apart never making it to the other side.

Okay…I’m ready to talk about social media…I guess

Social media is wonderful. It’s always active and it connects us to each other. We all have spent tireless hours perfecting our phone keyboarding abilities. For people with business it has allowed you to grow and develop your business in ways that would not have happen if you did not use it. However, we are not talking about social media for business. I am discussing, in this particular blog, social media’s impact on you, as an individual, Achieving Your Dreams in 2015.

Oh that world wide web! That super information distributor that is only but one click away at all times. That precious distraction that has frequently gotten in the way of my work and the work of others. Internet you are consistent. You are relevant. Most importantly, you can be a vortex. As we discussed before, not all vortexes are as detrimental as a black hole in space. Some serve their environmental purpose. Others impact the environment in a very negative way. For instance, the Polar vortex causes below freezing temperatures negatively changing and effecting seasons leading to the damage of crops and endangerment of animals. And then there are dirt devils…cough.

Let’s take the prior example and apply it to social media. Facebook provides us all with the chance to stay connected and inform the people we care about of major events in our lives. Weddings, child birth a new tattoo, etc. For some this availability of announcement can be problematic. Instead of looking at Facebook as a positive source for staying up to date with the milestones of close friends and family. It has become a soapbox catalyst. Something that I and many others have fallen victim to. Don’t worry. It happens. Twitter wars. Selfie contests. Facebook arguments. So on and so forth. It is the accidental trip and fall into a social media whirlwind.






In the chaos of it people are chiming in. Words are getting misconstrued. People are not speaking to others and it just gets worst. This is the chaos of the vortex. Hurling and whirling around and around. Sometimes you end up on the other side okay. People talk it out and voila! All is mended after the storm. On the other hand you lose out. Severing the relationships you once valued and shifting your focus from one thing to something that should have never had your attention in the first place.

Enter you and these big dreams you have. The totally wonderful, accomplishable plans that you have been working your butt off to reach. The last thing that you should do now with your newly gained momentum is get off track with your goals or use that momentum to fuel a twitter war. Yes, you may need social media for your business or to reach your dreams but don’t allow for it to destroy your planning. Don’t get sucked into its vortex of non-prosperity. By all means do not allow for it to stretch you so thin that you turn into spaghetti and get ripped apart. Seriously.

The most important things that we have, in regards to a social life, are the relationships we have with each other. I think that we have begun to believe that the people who are connected to our social media accounts are the same as the people that we talk to and have interpersonal relationships with. Or in other words, we have believed that distant or estranged people on our social media accounts matter. I have made this mistake too. This is a cost effecting mistake. Costly because some of the people you have on your social media that you believe are in your corner are not and given the chance can and will betray or hurt you. And although they watch you and/or like your post they are often envious and miserable in their own lives and cannot stand the happiness in yours. They cringe at your joys while never taking their eyes off you. They discuss you frequently while you live your life unaware to their alternative motives miles and miles away. Lesson: Don’t get caught up in the social media vortex.

Yeesh…sensitive subject alert!

Social media relationships are not the same as the relationships we have invested emotionally and physically with which requires more than occasional inbox messaging. What I mean by this is that if you do not have a memory with someone than what is the value of that someone if the only connection is social media? There is not one. This too is part of the chaos of the vortex. Believing that a person in your social media has any power or influence in your life when you are only connected through social media. The idea of six degrees of separation or two degrees depending on your city and town only extends as far as knowing “of” a person. Not of “knowing” a person. You dig?






While you begin to chase your dreams and start to knock off those accomplishments don’t fall into a negative social media vortex. Although they are easy to get into you may not make it out. You have something amazing going on now. You’re destined for greatness regardless of the past. Most importantly now is the time to take hold of your future and rewrite history. Something I want you to know is as much as I would like to say that your biggest enemy is you that may not necessarily be true. So keep a look out for activities and people that suck you in and want to stretch you thin. You have much to do and no time for black hole spaghetti. Yeesh!

My advice comes from bonafide expirence. Have you ever been sucked into a social media vortex? Let’s hear about it in the comments below!

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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Curl Shaming: Are You Helping or Hurting the Natural Hair Movement?


By J.Naomi Johnson

You’re going to have to dig deep for this one. I will give you a scenario…

You’ve been natural for years. You have a hold on kinks and curls and have managed to make your hair “werk”. Your walking down the street and see a newbie or neo-natural . With your expertise you can identify that they are still trying to get a hold on this whole natural thing. Do You…

A.)Stop and demand that him or her allow you to apply a moisturizer that you so conveniently have in your emergency curl kit. The curl Yoda
you are.
B.)Keep walking. It’s not your problem and nobody helped you when you started off! Plus nobody has better curls than you. Nobody.
C.)Cross the street. You do not do well with confrontation. Especially curl on curl.
D.)Stop him or her and invite them to the next natural meet up. You don’t want to come off as a know it all and besides the journey is part
of the fun of being a natural anyway. You know from experience that everybody has their own thing.

Well, I know that you know what the right answer is but this is often not practiced. With all the shaming that someone transitioning/returning natural could receive from their own family and society (work, church, etc.) experienced natural Black Women are shaming each other as well. I am not talking about texture discrimination (which in its self has a negative impact on the natural movement). I am referring to Curl Shaming: The verbal oppression and put down of another natural’s hair care ability causing the natural being shamed to feel negatively about their overall appearance and journey.






Note: Curl Prejudice is the belief that a curl pattern is better than another naturals curl pattern because of looseness of curl or length of hair (i.e., 3b is better hair than 4b.). Whereas, Texture Discrimination is denying a natural from claiming to have a tighter curl pattern because of the color of their skin or depth of “Blackness” or vice versa (i.e., Her hair is not 4c because she is light-skinned. He is to dark skinned to have 3a hair). Often Curl Shaming is a tactic of Curl Prejudice. Both practices are false and negative. Rule of thumb is healthy hair is good hair and you don’t have to be Black to have an Afro.



So anyway… I can feel the eye roll. In your head your thinking, “Whatever, Black people are strong…we tell it straight to each other all the time…” Remember what I said about strength in Black Women and Our Limitations of Strength post? Well if you don’t, now would be a good time to review it. Remember, although strong, not everyone has the same amount of strength. Curl Shaming can directly effect a naturals progress and even end their journey.

I saw a Youtube video a month ago where a natural was providing a tutorial (on another note, I love Youtube. It’s like a natural’s utopia. Click here to see what I am talking about) and she kept referring to other naturals as “hot messes”. Although she provided wonderful insight, I pondered what in her opinion classifies someone as a “hot mess”. Last week I received personal email from a subscriber who had a similar experience. That’s when I realized that this issue needed to be addressed.






One look a curl pattern achieves may not look the same with another. Often times looks have to be achieved using different tools and styling products (an example of this is wash-and-go’s for 3b verses 4c. See Maximum Hydration Method versus traditional 3b wash and go) underneath the video in the comments other naturals criticized her. I am sure she didn’t want to offend anyone... but she did.

This movement, this thing we are accomplishing by breaking the barriers of what society believes is beautiful and developing a love for women regardless of how they wear their hair is important. Like our curls, it is fragile and must handled with care. It can be so easily ruined. I know I always say this but we must be unified in our approach. We must support and love each other.

How do you feel about curl shaming? Have you experienced it? Did you do it without knowing? Tell me about it in the comments below!

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Thursday, February 5, 2015

DIY CROCHET BRAIDING (VIXEN) WITH MARLEY HAIR

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By J.Naomi Johnson

I wanted length and CROCHET BRAIDING was the way to do it.  Unlike other braiding techniques this style looked identical to my own hair!  I was so impressed.  I have included for you a link to the video (click the image above) so that you can see how to do this ultra easy hair style!  If you want a change in length but want to maintain your hair texture this is for you!

Have you tried crochet braids?  Let me know in the comments below!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

TOP 10 Winning Dates to Take your Natural Bae!



By J.Naomi Johnson

Valentines Day is right around the corner! With all the things you do for Bae throughout the year this night has to top it all. Need some ideas? I have created ten ideas that will be sure to ignite fireworks between you and your bae. Read below!

10. Spoken Word/ Poetry Club


You may not have all the words to tell Bae how you really feel. No problem someone out there does. This Valentine’s Day take Bae out on a date to your local spoken word or poetry club. This type of date is ideal for trying to ignite sensual vibes and tap into your intellectual fantasies. Recreate you own Love Jones vibe. Let the dim lights and urban sexy vibe fuel your desires!






9. Pamper him/her with a paid trip to the Natural Hair Salon


Being a natural can be a lot of work! Constant planning and nurturing of your tresses can be timely. Try giving your natural a break by buying a gift card or all-expense paid trip to her favorite Natural hair salon or spa. This gift is best for the fashionista or work-a-holic. Let your natural Bae be fly for the day and hook ‘em up with a pamper session!

8. Take a DJ class


This date is for the eclectic soul. Many cities across the US offer classes where couples can indulge their inner dj. If you and your “boo thang” have a nack for music and mixing this is for you!

7. Candle lit dinner/ Bae’s Favorite Restaurant


Nothing says I love you like the classics. Believe it or not the idea of the classic dinner date is a refreshing date idea that never gets old. It’s something that your natural bae will love and always remember . Whether you take bae after one of the listed choices or before this experience is sure to make you a winner in her eyes.

6. Wine tasting and painting


Release you inner child with this silly date! Wine and painting is an increasing trend that will be sure to take the edge off of dating. This date is fun because it is great to see what you created after a few drinks. Best part about it is you will have your canvass as souvenirs.

5. Horseback riding followed by lunch in the park.


Is your natural bae a nature fanatic? Well than I have a date for you that will blow bae’s mind! A stroll on horseback topped off with a lunch in the park. Set off sparks by drinking wine and feeding each other grapes. Help bae to become one with nature. This idea is a really great getting to know you and what you are capable of date. No doubt you both should feel a little closer afterwards.

4. Perfume creation


Elevate you senses with this amazing date. Create a smell that will always belong to them. For a natural girl this is a guaranteed call back. We are always making scents and smells with essential oils so being able to go to a perfume curator and create our own personalized perfume is perfect. Don’t be surprised if you meet the parents next weekend!

3. Hot air balloon ride


Reach new heights in your relationship! Bae has probably never been in a hot air balloon. If you want to be the one Bae remembers for the rest of her life, this is the date. Just make sure Bae is not afraid of heights!

2. 24 hour bucket list challenge


Does Bae love a good challenge? Create a pseudo bucket list of things to do and places to go before you kick the bucket but make sure it is something you both can complete within twenty four hours. Document your journey buy taking picks on your cell phone and make a scrapbook to give him or her at a later date.

1. Couples dance lessons


The couple that sets goals together grows together! This date is a true team builder. Not only will you and Bae tango to love but you both will work together to make something beautiful.

Did this list help? Do you have a great date idea? Well I want to hear about it in the comments below!

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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

What's the difference between all-natural and certified organic products?




By J.Naomi Johnson

Hey natural beauties! Do you know the difference between Organic, Natural and Pure? If so good! If not the stores are counting on it. Just because a product is natural does not mean it is good for your hair. You have to be informed. Watch my video (click on the picture above) and then look at your products.

How natural are they really? Do you prefer organic products or are you okay with what you have? Let me know in the comments below.





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Apple Cider Vinegar Is a Naturals Best Friend

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By J.Naomi Johnson

I love apple cider vinegar! Yes the smell can be quite over powering but it goes away quickly and the results of use outweigh the smell. Weather using it for wash day or drinking it for health benefits it has become my go to. I have even replaced it for shampoo in my natural hair regimen. Washing with apple cider vinegar can help regulate your hair’s PH balance. While the harshness of shampoos and conditioners can dry your hair out an acv rinse will leave your hair silky, shiny and clean inexpensively.






Because of its gentle nature it also aids in growth retention. Many naturals experience breakage the most during wash day. However, rinsing with ACV helps to eliminate that. When using the ACV it will lift your hair cuticle and remove build-up from your scalp allowing moisture into the hair shaft. The results are beautiful healthier hair. Try it once a month or in between your normal wash days and you’ll see.
How I rinse my hair with ACV (Based off of a bi-weekly wash routine):






1.I part my hair in four sections.
2.Using 1 part Braggs ACV (with the mother) and 2parts water I put the moisture in a squirt bottle and proceed to the shower. ( I preform this wash in the shower to avoid a mess)
3.With each section I squirt the roots of my hair gently massaging my scalp and then rinse. Then I take my favorite conditioner and distribute it from root to tip.
4.I cover my hair with a plastic cap and wait 15mins.
5.Then rinse and proceed with my leave-in conditioner and style as usual.






Very easy and convent! How do you use ACV? Let me know in the comments below.

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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Neem Oil instead of Coconut Oil: Dealing with Protein Sensitivity

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By J.Naomi Johnson

It is not fair. I just do not think it is right. Coconut oil is so cool and the fact that it only works for a small amount of natural beauties and not others is a crime! If you are dealing with protein sensitivity than you have probably had your moments of love and hate with coconut oil but do not fret. There is a oil for you.

Yey, neem oil!

It is time to fall in love with neem oil. Although neem oil may not be as trendy or as versatile as coconut oil (meaning you cannot eat it), it does one hell of a job at all the things coconut oil does plus more!

Watch the video (click on the picture on the left) and read my list of pros and cons on neem oil!



Neem Oil: Pros and Cons

Pros:

1. Neem is antiviral, anti fungal and has in it antibacterial properties.

2. Treats psoriasis, dandruff and cradle cap.

3. Reduces hair shedding from the root.

4. Promotes strong, healthy new hair growth.

5. Reduces thinning hair by improving hair thickness

6. Helps with premature graying

7. deliciously soft, shiny and silky feeling






Cons:

1. Neem oil is strong. I am talking very strong. When using it has an essential oil 2 drops will do. The smell of this oil is probably the reason why most people do not use it. However, if used with a shampoo, lotion or other oils like castor oil the smell can be masked. Some people practice infusion with Neem leaves instead of the oil to avoid the smell all together.

2. Not recommended for pregnant women or women who are trying to get pregnant.

3. Only should be used for external uses. Should never be ingested!

4. Neem oil does become solid at room temp.

Have you tried neem on your tresses? Well, I want to hear about it. Comment below!

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Saturday, January 17, 2015

DIY Haute High Bun Tutorial!

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Looking for a uber cute hairstyle! I have just the one. Take a look at my DIY Haute High Bun Tutorial! Don't forget to comment and subscribe!








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Monday, January 12, 2015

AYD2015 Series: #10 Believe in your talents and be the best sign spinner ever!



By J.Naomi Johnson

Note: This is the first post of a series entitled Achieving Your Dream in 2015. To get the most out of this series read the initial post by clicking here and follow along. This series goes from 10-1 and is posted once a month.

Are you talented? No really, I mean do you have an ability that is sought after by others? I am not asking you if you are passionate. Many people are passionate and yes passion is what can fuel your talent to becoming a lucrative option, however, I am asking you if you’re talented. You can be passionate and not talented. There are many passionate people in this world that lack the talent to be perceived more than anything than just hot heads and crazies. This is not a guessing game. This is not a situation where you pick something cool and do it very passionately. I want you to dig deep to that young person you were and remember what it is that you are talented at.

This post it geared toward helping you believe in what you have. Your beautiful God given talent.

First, let us review dreams.

The difference between someone who obtains their dream and someone who is dreaming is simple: They believe in their talent. You should too. Know that you are enough and capable of successfully doing whatever it is that makes you talented. Dig deep. Don’t worry. I have a story.






So, you’re driving to work and that is when you see him. Some kid dressed up in a statue of liberty suit holding a sign pointed to the place that you could get your taxes completed at. Thanks, but no thanks. This kid looks like life has punched him in the throat and he would rather be texting his “boo-thang” than making an honest dollar. The light is red and you’re shaking your head.

We can all relate to this. The job the kid has is not his dream. He could care less. Not only is he not passionate about his work but clearly this is not where his talent lies. Like him, the job you have is a buffer and deep down you feel like you’re wasting away. Still you go to that job every day. The excuses pile up. Family, finances even your age has become a limitation to keep you from believing that your talents will find a way. You have rerouted your life because you stopped believing in the talented you that you are. Now you’re living someone else’s life exploiting your talents to someone else’s dream. Green light, time to go!

So you continue driving and suddenly…WOWZA!

Another sign spinner dressed in regular street clothes is “going to town” with his sign on the corner of a busy interstate. This sign spinner is flipping his sign up, down and all around. He is dancing and waving to cars. While jamming out to his IPod he is creatively providing all who watch directions to the nearest car wash. You can’t take your eyes off of him. The boy is amazing. You had no idea holding a sign could be such a talent. Suddenly, you remember it has been a while since you washed your car and you decided to stop by the car wash after work.

End story.

Let’s go back to what we are here to discuss. Believe in your talents no matter what. In the example I used both kids applied to the job assuming that they were talented enough to get the job. However, one kid limited his ability by cutting off his talent flow. The kid in the liberty suit thinks the job is lame and that his talent to spin a sign is not a return on his investment. Whereas, the other kid, BELIEVES he is talented and that there is a return on investment.

You must invest in the vision and plan God has for your life. And unfortunately, you may have to do it blindly.

Not only did the car wash spinner use his street corner to promote his talent through a passionate display of dance moves but his passion for his talent will led him to other things. Perhaps even a promotion. The difference between the two is that one believes that his talent holds limitless possibilities and the other does not. It is because he removed his mental barriers of fear and doubt that he, no matter what his situation is, will have a bright future in spinning signs.

So are you the lame in the liberty suit or are you the underdog kid with moves like Jagger?

Would you agree that all the talents in this universe have not become discovered yet? If you agree than why would you not believe that you are talented enough to attain your dream? Perhaps you make something so important that you change lives or perhaps you provided simple information. No talent is too small or irrelevant. Everybody is necessary in this universe.

Stop severing your potential. When we are young there is something that we know we can do. Something that we love to do and something we can teach others. As children we are asked what we want to be and we say it. It is literally that easy. Up until we begin to limit ourselves with doubt and fear, everything we do is towards that goal. Be the inhibited child you once were.






Believing in your talents is believing in what your cable of. A large part of this includes knowing who you are and what you are good at. Ever feel like you’re at a good paying job just wasting away? Well it’s because you are. You’re contributing to someone else’s dream and not your own.

They are all going to laugh at you.

Just deal with it. You may have some unattractive moments. It’s possible that prior to the sign spinner being able to displaying exemplary talent, he was probably dropping the sign everywhere and almost getting ran over by cars. His days were probably filled with car honks and cold weather. He did not stop. His belief was too great. His internal belief outweighed the external opinions of others. I am sure some days sucked and he was so pissed he could have cried especially when he dropped that sign on his head. Those edges are sharp! Still, he had enough gumption to persevere. That makes all the difference. Now, he is a sight to behold and people are lining up at the car wash. POW. Mission accomplished. Most importantly it did not happen overnight. I guess what I telling you is that 80% of this quest is believing in you. Become convicted by you. Know who and what you are about. You can do it. I believe in you.

Life is so short. It’s over quick. So I will ask you one last time… What are you talented at? Let me know in the comments below!

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Thursday, January 8, 2015

4C Natural Hair | DIY Faux Locs Tutorial



By J.Naomi Johnson

I felt like it was time for something different. If you feel that way too than perhaps Faux locs are for you! What I love the most about this braiding technique is that it helps my hair grow, is removable and looks extra cute. I must warn you however this is a high maintenance hair style. You will have to wrap your lovely braids up every night. To moisturize i would spray my favorite moisturizer in a bottle and spray the roots. Then I would apply Jamaican black castor oil to my scalp and go to bed. Weekly I would dip the braids in warm water, aloe and jojoba oil. This works great and whats best is my natural hair is still protected!

If you tried this style tell me about it. If it worked for you and if you will do it again! Let me know in the comments below!




Thursday, January 1, 2015

Black People Super Powers: Power On Your Future!




By J.Naomi Johnson
Note: This post is for people who have a dark or dinged past. This is for people like me and the majority of us.

Happy New Year!

Before we put those steps in motion to achieve our dreams (read: 10 Steps to Achieving Your Dreams in 2015), it is time for some housekeeping.

I am writing this in response to hearing a rumor about myself in which someone wanted to bring up my past and justify who they are as a person. Basically, I was involuntarily pulled into a social comparison. Had I not been fully prepared to handle it I might have lost some of my power. Instead, I did not lose my power. Later, I felt that this ability for me to maintain my power should be discussed with you as you go on your journey of dream catching.

I think in order to truly move forward with your planning of future success you have to defeat the past. This post is not about ridiculing those that attempt to hold you to the past and because of it preset your future to a negative outcome. Sorry, no time to waste here on those bandits. We are trying to realize dreams!

Instead this post is about you. That is right, YOU.






You are the one thing that you can control and change. That is our own superhero power: Change. That is all God gave us. God gave us the power to change things. Although not as cool as walking through walls and teleportation, it is a valuable resource none the less. This tool is always handy when planning the future. Obama said be the change you wish to see. That is the amazing truth in our lives. We can change the world. That is our power. But like all superheroes you must protect your power at all cost. You do this through the use of energy. You put energy toward something positive you gain more power. On the other hand, you put your energy toward something negative…well, you get it.

The largest source of energy you use is in the present. This energy is used to form power so that you can change and build your future. Changing and building the future is not possible if your power is gone because you expended all your energy stuck in your past. You Dig?

It is pointless to be at war with yourself about things that happened to you. Furthermore, it is wrong to punish yourself through guilt about things that you cannot change. Black People, stop being at war with you. Conquer the present by acknowledging what happened or the decisions you made and keep it pushing. I know what you’re thinking. It was really, really bad and I will never get over it. My answer is and always will be this: regardless if you have moved past it or not the world is still headed to the future so it would be in your best interest to move forward to avoid getting left behind.

That is what this post is about. It is about helping you realize you are wasting energy being a slave to your past. Take the energy you have and use it to build a better and brighter future.

Let us review the last line of my favorite motivating poem Invictus:

I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.” -Anonymous

If you get a chance to read the poem in its entirety, Do it! As good practice on my roughest day I recite this poem three times then I tell myself to move on from whatever emotion has me at a standstill. It’s my thing and you should have one too. A thing you do to keep yourself centered when faced with adversity. It does not have to be this poem or a poem at all. Just have something that keeps you unmoved when those haters come out of the swamps. You dig?

I digress, in this last line of my favorite mantra the writer acknowledges that he determines his fate and he, like the captain of a boat, navigates his being or soul. He takes the responsibility for what he is feeling and/or experiencing. Please note that this has nothing to do with religion. He is not saying he is God. The writer is taking ownership of his life. He commands his power. You should do the same.

This is about power and energy. Power can be taken away while energy is transferred. When someone renders you powerless or attempts to take your power you should want to cease that act at all cost. Some people do this through the use of energy. This may negatively transfer their energy to the other person. So, in essence, you are energizing your opposition.

You need your energy, remember?

All these plans you have for 2015 are going to need your full devotion. You cannot hand out your energy to pointless things. You need it to produce power for your future.

I have been there before. Caught up in yelling matches because I was disrespected and violated and I did not want to be perceived as a “punk”. This is incorrect. Later, even after the support from my best friend, I felt like I overreacted and lost valuable energy. Now don’t misunderstand me, I believe people who are out of line deserve to be checked but not everybody deserves your energy.






Energy is usually transferred when you have not dealt with your past. You mentally have to prepare for the moment when someone addresses the elephant in the room. When I say, “move on” I do not mean to suppress or ignore the issue. I mean accept it. Accept that it happened to you or is happening to you. This is what life is about. The sooner you can do it the better. You are living this journey and this thing has happen to you and it is your journey alone. Stop trying to justify it by saying that you deserved it or that it was God preparing you for something greater. I say this because God had good things planned for you anyways. The “thing” that you are dealing with just happened. It just happened for whatever reason. On the bright side, those same blessings that God had for you before are still there. They are still there in the universe’s layaway. Waiting for you to use your superpowers and realign your future.

God is good. Indeed. But he is not a magician. He does not wave a wand and poof that elephant in your living room is gone. No. You have to move on. You do this through complete acceptance. You accept who you are. You accept what happen. You even deal with the concept that it could possibly happen again to you or someone you know. Acceptance is how you keep your power. Acceptance is how you change your future. Acceptance is what helps channel your energy.

The Bottom Line

Everyone has a past but you have to make the move to not exist in it. If you do continue to stay there people are going to wreck you. They will be relentless. They will not care about your plight and will use you as a footstool. You will not past go. Get it?

Accept your past. Live in the present utilizing positive energy in planning for the future. That is power. That is how you will become a super hero for yourself and those around you. With that said, I believe we are now ready. We can begin to get to the business of leaving the past in the past and achieving future dreams.

So let this new year begin with a toast: Good luck and cheers to you and a super future!