Blogtober #24: Le Struggle.

It’s the constant back and forth: shall I keep growing out my hair? Or shall I chop it off (again)? Well, you’re going to help me make that decision, dear reader. There’s a poll after the photos below. Choose accordingly, won’t you?

Looking forward to seeing these results…

Bon Saturday, dear reader.

Blogtober #19: Geneva.

In 2004, I visited dear friends who lived in Pontarlier, France. Since Pontarlier is located close to the Swiss border, my friend Clara advised that I fly to Geneva, Switzerland, and she would pick me up from there. Yes, thoughts of Switzerland danced in my 24 year-old head.

It was the most beautiful place I had ever seen.

A few days after arriving and settling in, we drove back to Geneva and spent the better part of the day there. Here are some photos of that day.

• Those photos (and all the photos from that trip) were taken with a disposable camera, after which I developed the film at our local Walmart. If all those words seem foreign to you, this is how photography happened pre-smartphone.

• Switzerland sparkled. It gleamed. I felt like I was walking inside a jewel.

• I want to go back.

One of the best trips I’ve taken. Do you have memorable places you’ve visited? Pretty sure you do; feel free to share them in the comments.

Blogtober #13: Do Your Thing.

Since returning to my natural texture almost eight years ago (naturalversary is in December yay), I’ve had many, many, many hairstyles. Natural hair opened an experimentation door for me, undoubtedly; from varying lengths to color changes to everything in between, I managed to diffuse any boredom with styling and not shock my mother too much with my changes. All that said: I made a ‘lil natural hair compilation video: from 2012-2020. Music: Do Your Thing, ‘*NSYNC.

Bon Tuesday.

Blogtober #9: Styled by Zoom

Bon Friday. Some Zoom lewks over the past month.

• Crochet passion twists are my newest protective style. My first time with passion twists and they’re pretty great.

• My makeup for these looks: other than the lippies you see, none at all. I only wear lipstick and I’m good to go. I’m sure the foundation and blush are lonely. But I don’t see the need.

• Those glasses have no prescription. I’m a lover of fashion lenses that make me look like your nice but still-stern English teacher.

• I’m amazed by my eyebrows. Seven months without visiting my waxologist (I know we don’t call them that 😬); by now I thought I’d look pretty wolffish. But the shape is there and they aren’t out of control. Sure, the gray hairs are coming in and things of that nature, but perhaps they’ve become quarantine-trained. Can’t say the same about my toenails, though. Yikes.

So, styling in the age of Zoom and video calls has been easy, low maintenance, and pretty great. Not that much different from before, actually, but that inborn desire to look “polished” has significantly diminished. You know what I mean?

Onwards and Friday-wards…

Black and Red. (And Other Updates.)

So, as you know, I’ve been growing out Le Fro since mid-2019. This was yours truly before She (my hair) went into protective style mode.

Since then, in between braids and all that, my excellent stylist has ensured that I receive my trims and deep conditions. Recently (a few weeks ago), we 1. removed the blonde hair and dyed it back to black, 2. did a blow-out.

Talk about frowth. I’m certainly pleased with how it’s all going. Of course, after this month, my stylist already knows that we’re returning to braids/protective styling. It’s a pandemic, y’all, and I have way more on my plate than doing my hair. Nevertheless, during this month, I’ve been reminded of just how much black hair and red lipstick gives me life.

Right? Right. There’s nothing like it. Incidentally, my go-to’s for red lips are MAC’s matte Ruby Woo and Sephora’s Always Red lip stain that goes on creamy and dries matte. (Clearly, I’m a fan of matte; a little lip balm before helps prevent cracking for me.)

Anyway, despite my enduring love for short hair that requires no work (lazy naturalista over here 🙋🏾‍♀️), my plan is to just keep going and see how long my hair gets. Because my love for short hair is equal to my love for big, giant hair. Which will require time and patience and twisting but we shall cross that bridge when we get there.

The Frowth Chronicles continue…

A Stoop Wedding.

So, this pandemic and the resulting quarantine has proved, over and over again, that necessity truly is the mother of invention. I’ve seen people find creative ways to continue living and doing: roll-by parties (especially for 2020 graduates), young folks creating sanitized ways to hug their family and loved ones, so on. And one favorite thing I’ve come to love during these unique times are virtual weddings. Y’all. Virtual weddings, though. The intimacy (almost reverential), with just the couple and maybe an officiant, are so striking and beautiful to me. But when I read about Elaine Welteroth’s (whom I just adore) absolutely amazing wedding on her Brooklyn stoop, the squealing and inspiration was endless.

Image courtesy of Vogue magazine

Here are five reasons Elaine’s stoop wedding slayed me:

1. Like I said, I’ve been hooked by the intimacy of weddings in the time of COVID. Elaine said bump that. She had guests, bridesmaids, even her neighbors there for this wedding, all while adhering to social distancing guidelines.

2. My queen Lupita was there.

Image courtesy of Vogue magazine

3. I felt a palpable sense of joy while reading about Elaine and Jonathan’s commitment to still having this beautiful day happen despite possible obstacles. It was really lovely.

4. There was an elegant simplicity about this wedding. Elaine’s wedding dress came from her closet; her veil belonged to her mother. Everyone wore white. Just dreamy.

5. The mechanics: a “Soul Train” line of bridal party members socially distant standing on the sidewalk while Elaine walked down the “aisle”; each person having a FaceTime “buddy” so friends and family could see the ceremony. The love was truly in the details.

Image courtesy of Vogue magazine

This wedding was beautiful, dear reader. Like most weddings, yes, but I really appreciated the creative lengths Elaine and Jonathan went to ensure that despite the current climate, it would be beautiful and memorable. Read the article and enjoy.

Have you attended any virtual weddings? If so or if not, what are your thoughts about them? Let me know in the comments.

Singleton Photoshoots: The Quarantine Edition.

Singleton Photoshoots: The Quarantine Edition.

If you live alone like me and still have dress-up time during this quarantine (I happily put on makeup and shed the sweats for my weekly worship Zoom meetings and virtual ministry), selfies become a bit tiresome. Because all you largely do is selfie, quarantine or no.

Alas: I have a solution, dear Singleton. You probably know this stuff already, but sharing is caring. 

  1. Get you a tripod. There are awesome options on Amazon. I got this one and love it immensely. It’s basically a selfie stick and a tripod in one. Best thing is you can either landscape or portrait the photos/videos. (Yes, I just turned those nouns into verbs.) The one I purchased also came with a Bluetooth remote, so you can snap away from wherever you like in your home. Just pair it up with your camera/smartphone.
  2. Set up the tripod/phone accordingly.
  3. Photo. shoot.

I did this last Thursday before my Zoom worship meeting and let me tell you. I loved it. And can I just say, as you will see below: patterns mean nothing when you’re at home and no one can see your bottom half. *wink* Check out my slideshow below.

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I got that dazzling blouse from Amazon (are you shopping from Amazon yet? Because: amazing) and the skirt from my beloved Ross. The lipstick I’m wearing is a matte shade from Wet and Wild that I picked up during my Walmart essential item shopping trip last week. 

In all seriousness: as a woman who loves dressing up and looking her best for herself, on a completely self-blooming level, the beginning of the lockdown wasn’t easy. Even with my weekly meetings, I felt like a total lump. Add my baby-steps fitness schedule and yeah, I was down and out. But in time, and in trying to seek the brighter side, these little things–photoshoots, dressing up for no reason, which I prescribe, as well–have made a difference. Do whatever you need to do to feel better, to smile brighter, and to not feel like a lump. 

Tell me what you’ve been doing to creatively enhance your virtual life in the comments. Bon Monday. 

A Black Woman and Her Hair.

***This post was inspired by a video I watched last night on YouTube from Whitney White, a natural hair influencer that I took note of years ago when I began my natural hair journey. See the video here. While watching the video, I felt the deeper implications of the joy Whitney felt when she cut her waist-length hair. Whitney’s subsequent Instagram post about said haircut really got me thinking: as Black women, our relationship with our hair is so, so deep. And I wanted to talk about that. So here we go.***

My relationship with my hair began when I was about 12 years old, when I received my first relaxer. Prior to that seminal moment, I was an energetic kid; not really focused on pic2pic1my messy pigtails and all of that. I really had no concept of those things. In the adult world, however, my mom was hearing from some relatives that my hair, along with my sister’s hair, looked “wild”. Peer pressure is powerful, and it certainly doesn’t wane when we grow taller. My mom responded to this “wild” talk by taking us to our very first salon visit, where I received my first relaxer. Yep, it burned. Yep, I said nothing as it burned because I wasn’t one of those kids that spoke up. (Whew.) Born from that was something I had never known before: straight pic3hair.

Unbeknownst to me, also being born was the direct tie between my self-image, my sense of beauty, and my hair. This is universal, by the way. All women go through this at one point or another. But when it comes to us as Black women, Black girls, the path is altogether different and far more complex. The kinky and curly hair we’re born with, when it’s straightened and “relaxed”, now becomes largely acceptable, malleable, presentable. Westernized ideals of beauty become us. I remember feeling a sense of anticipation before I walked into the school the weekend after the relaxer. My long hair hung down my back. I felt pretty. And needless to say, I was the center of attention that day. “Look at your hair!” I heard more than once from a variety of girls. It was amazing.

From then on, I would beg my mother for a relaxer when the straight hair reverted back to its curly texture. If you know anything about my mother, you know that this begging typically fell on deaf ears. Despite her now knowing how to apply the creamy stuff, relaxers would be saved for specials occasions (like our annual worship meetings) and nothing more. Once in a while, once, she’d give in to a random relaxer request, but overall, it was usually a no. Needless to say, when I finally started making money and working for myself, I took myself to various salons for my touch-ups and things of that nature. Again: the state of my hair was wrapped up in how I felt I was being exposed to the world. I’ve mentioned the long struggles I had with my self-esteem and self-image. I can honestly say that when my hair was straight, I felt valuable. There was power in those strands.

bob6But as I got older, something started happening. I wanted to experiment more with my hair. Straight, long hair wasn’t enough for me. When I turned 30, I cut it all off and opted for a chic (still straight) bob. My mother nearly passed out. I think she thought I’d shave my head. (That came later.) bob1From there came more experiments: an even shorter bob. An asymmetrical cut with one side shaved and the other side long. Weaves. My hair now became a canvas, a tool for expression. Black women: for many of us, our hair is our art. It certainly became that for me. Still holding its power, yes, but also very much mine. I still had a bob2relaxer, though. Because it was all I knew. Remember: my hair journey began with it being straight. Prior to that time, I didn’t even care or notice.

Whitney says this on her Instagram post: This was more than a hair cut to me. I NEEDED THIS. I NEEDED to see myself as I felt inside.

Reader. Those words hit me. Because after years and years of experimentation and yet maintaining the straight look that still felt acceptable to me and to the world, I woke up one day and didn’t want straight hair anymore. Can’t explain it. I remember being in that revert/touch-up time and feeling the roots on my scalp and loving how those curls and coils felt against my fingers. And like Whitney said, something was happening inside of me. That prison of low self-esteem and feeling like a zero was losing its hold on me, and somehow, my hair was following along. I wanted to be myself. And I wanted the hair on my head to reflect that. When I told my mother I was returning to mybigchop2 roots, to my natural hair, her excitement was indescribable. “Your natural hair was so beautiful,” she said. “I’m so glad you’re going to see it again.” It reminded me that hearing that her children’s hair was “wild” hit her hard. She had no intention of straightening our hair. But such is life. She was happy the choice became mine.

Says Whitney on IG: It was suffocating and I was no longer someone who needed the extra length, the extra baggage to define her. I DEFINE ME by BEING ME. And just like I no longer wanted to carry MY extra baggage with me into the future, the hair could kick it too. Those words describe my Big Chop in 2012. Shaving my head in 2018. And all the styles and haircuts in between. Women: some of us, a lot of us, hold emotion in our hair. I certainly did. And I continue to do so. It’s no surprise that, while in reflection, I realized that a lot of heartache and disappointments in my life preceded my hairstyles and/or the reduction of length.

Whitney: Also, while yes – it IS just hair, it will always simultaneously be MORE. It’s more than “just hair”. It’s a lot. Art. Emotions. Power. Wherever you are, whoever you are and whatever hairstyle or texture you maintain (because I’m not a guerrilla girl; I returned to natural on my own accord, so do you do you do you):

shine.

That’s the bottom line.