African Women Create

I’m going to be very honest with you. I have never been in a room surrounded by women from all regions of Africa before. I am Black and surrounded by Black women, mainly from North America and the Caribbean.However, in my 40-years on this planet, I have never been in a social setting with women who wear names like “Ngosi” and speak with accents that bear a flavor of British and Xhosa vibes. Well, it happened on Saturday, May 20th. There I was in a room, by myself, surrounded by magic. I rarely go to events alone but the idea of a potluck and the gathering of creative women drew me to attend. The potluck told me that there might be a communal and family feel to the event and there would be no need to put on airs of importance.  You always get me with the word, “creative.” I have been on my own personal quest in pursuit of my own creativity so I found this event to be the perfect marriage.

I follow this amazingly beautiful and lively woman on Instagram named, Yolanda Sangweni. She is the Digital Content Director at Essence Magazine and founder of Afripop Magazine. Talk about a creative! She graciously hosted the African Women Create event in a most spiritual and IG picture poppin’ yoga studio in Brooklyn, named Minka. The rubber plants and greenery were so freaking dope. All of the crystals, incense, rose water and candles had my chakra in alignment and I was all feels.

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Wait, did I mention that there was a mixologist whipping up some delicious cocktails. Well yes, Witches Brew came through and concocted heavenly, natural juices mixed with your choice of top shelf goodies.  

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Here is Nucomme from Witches Brew doing her thing!

 

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The potluck setup.

 

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A beachy feel in the middle of Flatbush Ave in Brooklyn.
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You feel automatically aligned and clear.
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Joy!
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Yolanda thanking all of the ladies for gathering together.

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There was a DJ that spun afrobeat all night long.

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Beach Waves: Styled by Sunnie Brook

The very good people at Head and Shoulders sent me a message asking if I was interested in getting styled by celeb hairstylist Sunnie Brook. Is that even a question? Heck yeah, I was interested. I messaged back Scotty Warp Speed to let them know just excited I was to have a phenomenal stylist lay some magic on my tresses.

I arrived at the “Beauty Box”, a small pop-up type salon at Head and Shoulders, and was greeted by the friendliest smiling face that was Sunnie’s. She immediately made sure I felt completely comfortable by proceeding to ask me about myself. I felt like I’d known her forever. That’s really the mark of a true stylist. You feel like she/he is a true friend.

 

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The “Smooth and Silky” line promises frizz free hair while still keeping your scalp clean and healthy. 

 

I arrived with my curls and she began working her magic.

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The first step in Sunnie’s process was straightening out my tighter curls using a flat iron. Invest in a great quality flat iron because it gets the job done in half the time because the heat is high enough to straighten without damaging your hair.

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Snapping the ever elusive mirror pic. I can never get those right. We are almost done with the straightening.

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Almost There. I have thick, curly hair so straightening can be a process but Sunnie’s technique is quick and painless.

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Look ma, no curls! Lol. I would have walked out and had been perfectly happy with the bone straight style but Sunnie was only in the middle of creating magic.

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She used the medium barrel curling iron to create super sexy beachy waves. Proper equipment and products are key to creating million dollar styles.

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How amazing are these waves though!!??
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Here she is, Ms. Sunnie Brooke. Magic maker. Hair Slayer.
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Can’t wait to give my Head & Shoulders, “Smooth & Silky” shampoo and conditioner a twirl.

IG:

@SunnieBrook

@HeadShoulders

@tamaranycc

Twitter:

@SunnieBrook

@HeadShoulders

How I’m Staying Financially Fit

I love all things hair, fashion, and current hautness on my television but I am also at a point in my life where I am thinking of my finances more so than ever before. I have always been cautious with my money and careful to not live in debt (outside of a student loan). I believe that a student loan is an acceptable debt (but if you can avoid it, please do so!!)

I am on a financial journey of sorts at this time so every now and then I will blog about the journey and take you down the road with me. Hopefully, you can learn or even share some of your own knowledge or journey with money.

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Eight Ways For Staying Financially Fit

  1. Income is not the be all and end all to making money. It is not about how much money you make; It’s about how much money you keep. If you make $100,000 annually and spend it all or even are in debt then that income does not contribute to your long-term wealth. A person making $30,000 and keeping or investing $10,000 of it has more potential for wealth than the individual making $100,000 per year.
  2. Have a goal (financial or life goal) and have a plan to work towards it. A goal provides something that is yours that you are working towards.
  3. Money must play a role in your everyday conversation. Garner a great relationship with money and don’t be afraid to talk about money with your family and friends.
  4. Do not give your money away. Instead of wasting money on expensive shoes, car, clothing (that you may not truly be able to afford) or even financially draining people; the best way to channel your money is to invest it. Put your money into something that grows and not depreciates.
  5. Learn Financial Fertility. Think of fertile soil. It is where you want to grow fruits and vegetables because the soil will give you the best return as far as food goes. As long as you water and till your soil then you will bear fruit. The same goes for your money. We can no longer let our money sit in a traditional bank account because it is not the best soil for making your money grow. Look into investing in mutual funds, IRAs and the stock market.
  6. Learn what it means to be a millionaire. Most millionaires don’t necessarily have a million dollars sitting in a bank account. Their money is calculated through their net worth. How much are your assets worth minus your liabilities?
  7. Learn (and teach your children) every mode of economic transport to financial freedom. You can make money several ways: work for someone, be an entrepreneur or be an investor.
  8. Know the rules of this economic and financial game. Educate yourself by reading books,  find people on the web (social media) who speak to you and motivate you to make better financial moves. There is a wealth of knowledge at your fingertips. Visit your local library for financial classes or investment education.

 

(*These tips are credited to an IG Live session by Dr. Boyce Watkins. He isn’t for everyone but these tips spoke to me and are relevant to my financial prosperity.)

Wash Day: Clean Scalp Edition

There are loads of different beliefs as far as what is best when it comes to washing curly hair these days but I can assure you that for my hair, it is necessary that I walk away from that shampoo basin with clean scalp. I use product (gels, curl creams, curl jellies and all types of curl shenanigans) in order to keep the frizz at bay. When wash day rolls around it is imperative that I wgrab a shampoo that can get to the root of removing all of these products from my hair and scalp.

Head and Shoulders was kind enough to send me their shampoo for textured hair and I am taking it for a whirl on “wash day.” Head and Shoulders is a staple and it works for keeping dandruff at bay. A clean scalp is necessary for growing long and strong hair so what better place to start than with a trusted shampoo.

 

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After a deep shampoo and a leave in conditioner, I comb through my hair with a wide tooth comb and then brush through with a wide tooth brush. I then add my pure coconut oil to my hair and scalp (conservatively, not liberally) in order to guarantee a great shine. I am also trying a Txturepro comb and brush for the first time today.

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Le Combo:

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Self-Care Essentials

We often take care of so many things and people better than we care for ourselves. Self-care is on everyone’s tongue tips at the moment because so many of us just don’t take the time to slow down and grant ourselves small pleasures. Self-care can come as simple as lighting a candle at night to create a calming environment before bed. It can be taking a longer than usual bath or shower. Water does not only help cleanse the body but it also helps to center the mind. I use Sundays as a day where I carve out some time in the week to do some things just for me. there are some products that help to make the pampering just a bit easier. They aren’t pricey, obtainable and most importantly good!!

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My favorite subscription box, Curlbox, makes a Curlbox Body Box and this edition featured products from “Eden Bodyworks“. The coconut and shea line adds moisture to skin and smells fantastic. Use it after a bath or shower and layer on your scents.
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A good magazine is an essential and “Vanity Fair” always has great articles that are so well written they take you away. While reading I like to treat my face and hair. After deep cleaning my face, I add treatments like “Paula’s Choice” Vitamin C Spot Treatment and add some “Palmer’s” Cocoa butter to my lips for incredible moisture. I add “Jane Carter Solution” Seal and Shine serum to my strands for moisturized, tangle free and shiny hair. Oh, you can’t forget to give yourself a self-mani. These colors from “Old Navy” in collab with “Zoya” are perfect for Spring.
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Yeah, no, I’m not on vacation and I’m not surrounded by water but this Ralph Lauren catalog took me away!!! How beautiful is this view?? I’m bathed, smelling good, feeling good and flipping through the pages of outdoor furnishing goals. I’m winning!
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I live for a basket weave.

Finally, now that we’ve worked on pampering and improving the outside, let us focus on the inner health. Detoxing and feeding your body good food is probably the most important part of self-care. Hannah Bronfman, the creator of HBFIT, works out all the time and varies her workouts to fit her mood and body goals. She also eats clean and makes a detox soup from time to time that anyone can make at home. You simply saute these ingredients (onion, zucchini, asparagus and celery) in a pot, add stock (salt and pepper) and then blend. You’ve got soup for a few days!

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What are your self-care tips? 

Staycation Travel: The Gallivant Times Square

As Brooklynites, we love to look for a great hotel deal in Manhattan and spend the weekend in the big city whenever we can. There is a wanderlust in all of us and many times you don’t have to hop on a flight to satisfy the urge to travel.  We love taking advantage of all that NYC has to offer and wander about in our own backyard. If you are saving, strapped for cash or just have a new life, possibly with children, and the airport (with delays and connecting flights) is no longer appealing then look into a staycation.

Our Weekend at The Gallivant

  1. Your view as you enter the hotel’s lobby. It’s fresh and modern with a great, comfortable interior. Friday, Check-In.

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The message in the elevator says it all. Go discover!
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There is a great little coffee and computer nook in the rear of the lobby.

2) The Room. It is small, like most NYC hotel rooms, buy cozy. The bed is the focal point of the room and you have plenty of photo op opportunities with this great white headboard.

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The purple chair, gold table and printed (with NYC sights) wallpaper adds great color and a modern feel.
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I always check the coffee area because I need coffee in the mornings. It’s my essential. I’ve never had Wolfgang Puck coffee before and it did not disappoint.
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The bathroom had great marble and glass details.

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The shea butter soap lathered soft and creamy.

3) Saturday.

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Shower and then braids. She has to be sick of the same two cornrows that I do every day. I told her that it’s her signature look. Lol.
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The subway is easily accessible when you are in the city and it’s the most efficient way to get around. We took the subway from Times Square to downtown, Essex Street to soak up some sights.
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We got the chance to catch the last weekend of the underground park that I’ve been wanting to see. Artificial sunlight is used to grow exotic plants underground. I’m here for it.
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Next up, lunch at San Loco. Great Tex-Mex food.
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The look of sheer exhaustion. We went back to the room after our trek downtown and then took Angelique back downtown again for a friend’s birthday. We hopped on the bus because it took our straight to our hotel’s door. There was only one other passenger with us on the bus. Thanks MTA!  It was a great ride.

4) Sunday

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“You came in with the breeze, on Sunday morning.” (Gwen Stephanie). How I spent Sunday morning before checkout. It was the perfect time to unwind with the paper.

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Angelique dug into a book that she picked up at the Scholastic office in Soho. The bookstore has been closed for some time now but you can pick up free books in their lobby if they have them available.

Twitter: @Gallivantnyc

You cannot beat this view!

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The blk/wht images by: John Ricard

It’s (Still) All About The Benjamins Baby.

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How much time do you spend learning about your money? Do you spend more time surfing the web and visiting social media sites than you do trolling the market stats or The Motley Fool? No worries. You are not alone and I too am guilty but the plan is to get better. We aren’t taught much about investing, money or financial planning in school (at any level) so it is up to us as independent individuals to gain knowledge ourselves in order to see how our money is currently working and for whom it is working for. If your money is in a traditional savings account at your local bank, odds are your money is not working best for you. This is because the interest you get is such a small one that it does not truly benefit you to have your money in a bank. The benefit goes to the bank that is in current possession of your coins. Finding the right investment vehicle that works in your best interest, in the long run, and for your money is crucial for financial freedom.

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One quick way to educate yourself on a daily basis about money and master the terms that you need to know is to read the “Money Section” of the newspaper. If you don’t have access to hard copies of The New York Times , The Wall Street Journal or USA Today then subscribe to them online. Your money wants you to start speaking it’s language.