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On My Radar: Wardrobe Essentials

Wardrobe EssentialsEvery season I start to feel that familiar pull that makes me think about downsizing my closet. I’ve thought about building a capsule more times than I can count but I’ve never actually gotten around to creating one. The last time I attempted, I think my idea of how my capsule would look was super dreamy, but it wasn’t really practical for my life. Truth is, I’m a busy working mama who works from home 95% of the time and is chasing boys around for pretty much the same ratio in my off hours. I had these ideas of these super cute capsules but…I’d start building them only to realize they weren’t the right fit and I’d abandon them. But that’s not the only reason things weren’t working out.

When it comes to being more intentional in my life, it makes sense to include things down to the smallest detail like, my wardrobe. When I would start to think about building these capsules, I would find myself drifting towards the same old stores I’ve always shopped, which didn’t feel real intentional at all. I’ve always wanted to support indie brands, companies owned by black women, and other consciousness businesses and for some reason, I’ve never tied that desire to something so simple and tangible like my wardrobe.

I want to say that, I’m going to build a capsule wardrobe for summer but the reality is, I probably won’t get all the way through it. Coins, bills, and other things. But, I would like to start thinking about making more intentional purchases towards my wardrobe. And phasing things out slowly as I go. Sharing a few things that have caught my interest that I’m hoping to add soon.

LUNYA SLEEPWEAR

Let me be the first to say that dropping coins like this on things you wear to bed sounds insane but, I’m actually here for it. For one, I love the vision of the founder as a founder myself, I can’t help but appreciate a good story. And then, the reality and functionality of these pieces make so much sense for my life. Truth moment: there are some days between writing deadlines, elementary school drop offs, home chores, and chasing a four year old that what I roll out of bed in–typically a basketball shirt and leggings–is what I spend my day in. And there really is something to be said about looking good and feeling good. This sleep dress has my name all over it along with these pants for when the weather cools down.

SOUK BOHEMIAN

You know those Instagram accounts that just speak to your life? The Bazaar Bohemian is one of those. I’m obsessed with the visuals, the earthy colors, the abundance of green plants, and the overflow of melanin. When I learned that she had launched a shop, Souk Bohemian, I knew that I would love it just the same. I’ll always love a good graphic tee or sweatshirt when it’s cold and the Boh Collection has exactly what I’m looking for. And even though, we’re talking about wardrobe essentials, their travel bags are definitely swoon worthy.

BROTHER VERSAILLES

Remember earlier when I was talking about functionality and practical items? Even though at first glance this brand would seem to be the exact opposite of that, it’s not. I’ve followed Aurora on Instagram since forever but it was only recently when I saw she took a trip to Haiti that I got more interested in her brand and the products. I love, no seriously, truly love the mission behind her company, the workers she helps employ around the world, and the stories behind Brother Versailles shoes and bags. In particular, I’ve got my eye on these sandals.

What do you think about capsules? Into them or nah? Or are you on board with me, just making more intentional purchases and getting rid of the things that are just taking up space? ~xoxo


Once a month I share a letter from my journey with those on my email list. Mostly stuff that didn’t make it here or I’m too nervous to share on the blog–I’m working on the transparency thing but some things I keep for the people who are in this thing with me ya know? And a few extra tidbits along the way.



Vibes

A Hair Journey

Hair…is an interesting thing. For so many years, I feel like my hair was just…a thing in the background. You know, like, aside from maintaining it, I never put too much thought into it. It just…was. Like many black women, I grew up with hot combs and a Just for Me perm by the time I was out of elementary school. The type of “hair maintenance” that I was taught, was to get my kinks as straight and slick as possible. The hotter the flat iron, the stronger the relaxer, the better. And through childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood, I never even questioned this.

I got introduced to my first real weave in college (can we not talk about the infamous fake ponytail? Thanks). You mean, I could braid up these naps and wear this {insert euro-ethnic hair type} that was straighter and sleeker than I could ever make my own? Yes, please! I spent my early 20’s full of sew-in’s and thousands of dollars spent on covering my own hair…so that I could rock this other hair that didn’t belong to me. And I mean that, now, in the deepest sense you can take it sis.

But back then, I didn’t think any of it. It just…was.

I wonder though, what would I have thought, if I had the mindset then, that I have now. Would I have been super woke? Would I have been the sister with the bullhorn at the very beginnings of the natural hair movement talking about self hate and eurocentric beauty standards? Or would I have had the same lax, but solid, opinion that I have now? Would I have cared? Would I have had the confidence to change? Would I have even wanted to?

I can’t pinpoint when things changed. I can tell you though, that it was no dramatic moment where I discovered I had this deep rooted self hatred thing going on. I assure you, it was wayyy less woke than that. It had more to do with the fact that I was losing my hair due to postpartum hair loss and I was ready and willing to try anything to get my edges back. That search for “anything” led to me to the natural hair community. This was around the time where it was really starting to get popping and the 3c curly girls were all over youtube. I figured, why not? And so, my transition to natural hair began.

FOUR YEARS NATURAL

A Hair Journey

I spent the next four years desperately twisting my hair into submission (see photo above). The first three, I dove deep into the natural hair community. I began blogging about it, contributing to magazines about it (which I still do), I even spoke on a panel about it in 2015. I appreciate that time I had to learn more about my hair, how to take care of it, and slowly started to reflect back on the years of relaxing, straightening, and spending the equivalent of car notes on weaves.

After the novelty wore off and the realization that my hair would never look like {insert popular 3c youtuber}, I began to feel indifferent about it. The next year or so was interesting. I wasn’t taking care of my hair, rarely wore it out, and had begun to protective style constantly…not out of a need for protection but out of disdain for not knowing how to get my natural hair to look how I wanted without spending a million and one hours I didn’t have. I was in a cycle that was familiar; attempting to suppress my hair and hiding it whenever I could. But, unlike those earlier years…I had thoughts about this. It wasn’t…just hair anymore to me.

MY LOCS

A Hair Journey

I just finished washing and deep conditioning my hair. My energy was gone as I had given pretty much all I had to chasing children, tackling laundry, and cooking for my family–who eats more like a small sports team to be honest. Nothing in me felt like detangling, moisturizing, oiling and retwisting my hair just to be irritated that my fro didn’t come out the way I’d hoped or had shrunken from resting on my shoulders to barely grazing my ear lobes. I was exhausted, tired, frustrated…I was over it.

What was this all even for?

I don’t even want to think about the time I spent on my hair in the four years that I was a loose natural. It’s scary. Wash day was a legit day long experience for me. And maintaining some semblance of a curl pattern meant I was taking hours each week to retwist, untwist, pick and repeat. At this point, I had decided, maybe it really was just hair and if so? Taking all this time out my life to make it look, once again, like something that didn’t belong to me? Pointless. I was done.

I twisted my hair and decided, that was that. I’d let it do it’s own thing.

Five months in and I finally feel like, I’m truly embracing my natural hair. And let me real, it’s a struggle every day. My hair is my alter ego. She’s wild, I’m chill. She’s bold, I’m laid back. I’m quiet observing the scene and she is the scene. She’s grows up and out making herself known. She’s not afraid to be her. And as locs, no matter how I’ve tried to tame her in my moments of exasperation, she’s absolutely determined to be free. She’s helping me to understand and peel back the layers of myself. And doing that, is always tough work.

I have come to learn that…yea, maybe it is just hair. But, I can’t deny that my hair journey has paralleled my life journey so very perfectly. So…I guess I’ll let you be the judge. Just hair or nah?


Once a month I share a letter from my journey with those on my email list. WELL SPENT is part things I’ve come across that inspire me and things I think might resonate with you. It’s also part lesson learned for good measure. And a few extra tidbits along the way. Mostly stuff that didn’t make it here or that I’m too nervous to share on the blog. You know, things I keep for the people who are in this with me ;).



Vibes

Beyond Coconut Oil

Beyond Coconut Oil

Listen, I LOVE coconut oil as much as anybody else on this planet. You know those “pours coconut oil over entire life” memes? I’m here for it. Coconut oil is one of the first oils that I really started using for like, all of life’s problems. But, can I tell y’all that there is a world of oils out there that you might just love if you cheated on coconut real quick?

So like a year ago, my hair went TF off. I’d been natural for a while at that point, but all of sudden my hair was sooo dry, brittle, breaking off, all over a complete mess. I didn’t know what was going on so, I doused it with more coconut oil. Makes sense right? Except, it was getting worse. I was at the end of my rope when I stumbled across this video of Naptural85 where she talked about being allergic to coconut oil. Mind. Blown.

I hit the googles immediately after watching that video and while I wouldn’t go as far to make the conclusion that I’m allergic to coconut oil, my hair was definitely having some kind of reaction and wasn’t here for it. I don’t use coconut oil on my hair anymore and it’s been slowly improving. I still use it on my son’s hair because it seems to work well for him for now, but as for me? Coconut oil and my hair have broken up for good.

But fear not, there are a ton of other great oils that you can use for you hair and skin that work very nicely. I’m gonna tell you about THREE that I’ve incorporated into my hair and skin routines and why they are the bomb.com. Ready? Continue Reading

Vibes

#CluelessBeauty: Green Beauty & Natural Hair Chat Recap

In case you missed it {serving you some serious side eye if you did} Wednesday night I co-hosted my first Twitter chat on green beauty & natural hair. I was invited by Maggi of Clueless Curl to share my expertise on all things green beauty along with Keisha of Keisha Adinkara and Monique of BrownSkinGreenBeauty. Allll the gems were dropped during the chat including fave green beauty products, how to read ingredient labels, which things you should avoid and couple of tips and tricks from the panel.

It was really nice to chat about green beauty with fellow brown girls because as I’ve mentioned, diversity is struggling in this space and the people need to know that brown girls are all about green beauty too! So, if you didn’t hop on Wednesday night, I’m sharing the highlights below. Enjoy and make sure to follow the rest of the ladies on the panel! ;-*

WHAT IS GREEN BEAUTY?

A lifestyle. It’s self care. Self love. Self awareness.

IS IT EXPENSIVE?

A collective nope. As with anything you can make it fit your budget.


WHAT INGREDIENTS SHOULD YOU AVOIDE?

Anything you can’t pronounce. Lowkey kidding but I think this tweet summed it up pretty nicely.

FAVE NATURAL HAIR TRICK

FAVE GREEN BEAUTY TIP

~xoxo

Vibes

Brown Girl, Green Beauty

Brown Girl Green Beauty
When I first started beauty blogging, I was so passionate about it because I felt that black women were–and still are–underrepresented in this space. I wanted to help brown girls find beauty products that were truly for them, not ones that they had to “make work”. I remember so much about my earlier days of beauty blogging. The frustration when brands completely left us out of their shade line ups. The anger when we were lazily added on as an afterthought months later. The Twitter discussions when brands didn’t value us enough as influencers. Ahhh the memories. I spent a great deal of time channeling those feelings into my blog and eventually into my writing for other publications and platforms as a brown beauty expert.

It’s interesting to find myself in a similar place once again.

If I thought mainstream beauty was tough…I hadn’t even scratched the surface. The world of green beauty is even less diverse than I thought (not sure how I thought that was possible though) and the more I learn, not just for my personal life but my business as well, the more I’m just like WOW. Let me put things in a little perspective for you, so you see where I’m coming from.

  • In a study done by the Environmental Working Group a couple months back it was found that products marketed to African American women are more likely to contain hazardous ingredients.

  • That same study found that less than 25% of products marketed to black women scored low for hazardous ingredients.

  • Yet, in another study done by GCI Magazine at the end of last year, it was found that 42% and 46% of Hispanic and African American women respectively were interested in products with natural/organic ingredients.

In case you missed that disconnect: we want natural products but products created for us aren’t exactly meeting those needs. I shared those deets for the numbers but before I even found that information, I could see the disconnect by simply searching green beauty brands for diversity and representation.

Now, I know there are some brands who get it and are doing it right. And through this series, I fully intend on sharing those with you and showing support to the ones that get it. But, I gotta be real…too many are falling short. And the more I learn, the more frustrated determined I get. It’s why I started Belle Marron and it’s why I’m working to share what I’m learning along the way. You know, for the culture.


Once a month I share a letter from my journey with those on my email list. WELL SPENT is part things I’ve come across that inspire me and things I think might resonate with you. It’s also part lesson learned for good measure. And a few extra tidbits along the way. Mostly stuff that didn’t make it here or that I’m too nervous to share on the blog. You know, things I keep for the people who are in this with me ;).



Vibes

My Natural Skin Care Routine

Beauty blogging whaatt?! Yaasss. Can y’all tell I’m excited to share some beauty stuff? It’s been awhile and I have sooo much to talk about when it comes to my first love. Seriously. I have a notebook full of blog post topics so you know that it’s real. I almost didn’t know where to start but after a few deep breaths and a quick peek at my stash, I decided skin care was the way to go. Skin care is really the foundation to beauty so if anyone is thinking about switching to natural beauty or even just adding more natural based products into their life, skin care is the place to start.

While the type of beauty products I love and use may have changed a bit, what hasn’t changed is that I still am a low maintenance girl when it comes to my makeup, hair, and skin. My natural skin care routine is no different. One day, I’ll become one of those fancy skin care people that has a million and one steps in their routine but until that day…this is me.

My Natural Skin Care Routine

Natural Skin Care Routine

I start by cleansing my skin with the Acure Facial Cleansing Gel. I discovered this brand during a trip to Target in which I absolutely shouldn’t have been in the natural beauty section but I was. I picked up a few sample sizes of the Acure cleansers (like pictured) so I could try them out and have been loving this one. I purchased the full size, but the sample sizes cost about $3 so you could go grab a few and try them out as well. The Acure Facial Cleansing Gel has superfruit + chlorella and is for people with combo to oily skin types–although, I have been dealing with some forehead dryness that is irritating my life, but that’s another story for another day. I use this cleanser twice a day, though at night, I usually use the Simple Cleansing Wipes to remove any makeup before cleansing.

A couple times a week I exfoliate my skin. Can I talk to y’all real quick about how exfoliating can really change your skin’s life when you do it right. As a beauty writer, I know that I’m supposed to exfoliate for glorious, glowing, gorgeous skin but…welp…I’m late. I am LOVING this Vanilla Bean Latte exfoliating scrub from Buff Her. I simply add a little to my cleanser and wash as normal. It’s super gentle and leaves my skin feeling soft after I’m done. This particular scrub is for people with combo to oily skin types but they have other versions as well. I might do a whole review on this one because I love it that much.

And finally, when I’m done cleansing and exfoliating I follow up with my favorite toner, the Refresh Rosewater Mist from Belle Marron. I’ve always had a love hate relationship with toners for some reason. Since before I made the decision to switch over to a natural skin care routine. Either they would be too strong and irritate my skin or they would work for awhile and then they’d…start to irritate my skin. I almost gave up until I learned about the astringent properties of rosewater and how it can be used as a toner. At Belle Marron we use an 100% organic hydrasol for our Refresh Rosewater mist and it’s hands down the only toner I use!

I definitely have a few other deets to share about my natural skin care routine including some oils I love, my favorite moisturizer, and a few masks that I incorporate on an as needed basis but this is a great start for those who are interested in natural skin care. I’ll cover more in a later post.

~xoxo

*Reminder! I’m co-hosting a green beauty and natural hair Twitter chat on March 1st at 7:30pm EST. Follow me @tyshia_shante and join us using #cluelessbeauty!

Vibes

Favorite Fall Jeans

It’s been awhile since I’ve had a style post here. Truth is, I have been trying to get my wardrobe together. Back in the spring, I decided to go the capsule route. I didn’t get very far. For fall, I got more realistic. Not just about the things I like, but pieces that fit my lifestyle and my budget. I felt kind of like I was envisioning this dream capsule full of things I probably couldn’t or wouldn’t wear in my daily life. My fall capsule inspo was much more real. Much more me. My closet, though very minimal, is so much better than it was before I started this project. That being said, there’ll definitely be more style posts in the future but I’ll warn you…Not sure I’ll ever get to that fancy blogger, taking cute scenic photos throughout the city point. For now, my stone wall will do.

Favorite Fall Jeans

Many months back I wrote a mom style post inspired by Tia Mowry. Still one of my favorite stylish moms. In one of the photos she was wearing a very dark pair of denim, wide leg jeans. I’ve looked high and low for a pair that looked as great as those did and I finally found them. At my favorite place of course! Target style for the win. These jeans are everything. Like I’m seriously obsessed. The fit is perfect. The cut is perfect. The wash is perfect. And there a million and one ways that I can style them.

They are more flared than wide leg but I prefer this. I paired them with a simple blue tee I snagged from Nordstrom rack for a cool $14. I have this shirt in a few different colors because with my lifestyle a few good tees are a must.

I had been on a search for a large camel/brown tote as well. I’ve learned that there are a few hours each week that I just need to be working outside of the house. Also as work has been picking up both with creative things and Belle Marron, I find myself at meetings and coffee dates much more these days. I needed something big enough to hold all the things but cute enough to wear on the daily if I wanted to. Snagged this one from Old Navy while I was in line buying more school uniform pants for the boys. New fave. You’ll see it around here again too ;).

Outfit Deets: Jeans | Tee | Bag

~xoxo