The Motley News


Do It Yourself (For Real)

I’m back in twists and I’ve been wearing my hair like this for a week now. They’re holding up nicely, here’s a picture:

I’ve gotten lots of compliments on my hairdo which is really exciting. Black women that I don’t even know have approached me on the street, in the mall to tell me they like my twists. They’ve also inquired about who did them. When I tell them that I do my own hair, they are almost always shocked. 

“You do that?”
Sure, I do.
And you can too!

I have the attitude that if I can’t do it, then I need to know what it takes to learn. I’m also cheap. I’m not trying to fly to the salon just so someone can braid my hair. I know there are livelihoods at stake and salon owners depend on the business, but I’m afraid they won’t be getting any of my paycheck. I’ve got working hands! I’m crafty and smart!

In this new techno-age, where information is so readily available, people are now able to make well informed decisions about their health and beauty. As consumers, we are finally at a time where we can get our power back from companies. If I don’t want to buy your shampoo because I can’t read your ingredients, that’s now my prerogative. I can search the internet, read a book, watch a YouTube video and find that I might want to slather avocado in my hair instead.

Imagine that!
Black hair care is not a Super Secret Club 
with an exclusive membership, decoder ring or handshake! Don’t feel like you
need to go somewhere to get something done by a wizard or buy something in a magic elixir bottle that promises to save you. 
Now this doesn’t mean that journey to self-help is not fraught with some mistakes! If you read about my Chia Seed SNAFU from earlier posts then you know experimentation can be risky. But you feel great when it pays off, don’t you? I love my twists and I have no one to thank but myself (and of course the YouTube video that I watched). That sense of accomplishment is worth it! So remember this, even though it’s a tad corny: I did it and you can too!


Not in the Right Order?

I had a strange hair journey isn’t very much like most natural sisters I’ve been reading about. I’ve read and heard of a lot of women getting relaxers and salon perms for most of their childhoods, they wake up and decide they want to start over, so then comes the BIG CHOP! From there, they are reborn. . .

. . . they embrace their curls. . .

They are now Natural.

I wish I could say I had that same self-actualization, but it was a lot more muddled than that.

I had a mother who didn’t like dealing with relaxers, so I didn’t get them done too often. I can think of a handful of times when I had a relaxer as a child. Most of the time, I was just working with natural hair. It was long and pretty curly. As a young adult though, I ran into problems when I started handling it too much.

Hard Brushing
Tight Ponytails
Wet Combing
Stringent Shampoos
Hardly Moisturized

My 25th Birthday in Bangkok, Thailand

 I got some significant damage and about two years ago when I returned from Thailand, I noticed a significant length change and lots of breakage. Hair was in the sink and I was in a hair rut. That’s when I decided, last year, I would try a BIG CHOP! Only I would try a cute pixie cut that would mimic Rhianna’s. I got my hair relaxed after the chop and didn’t realize I was holding myself back even further! I had taken my old habits into an even more fragile situation.

After the Big Chop and Perm

 I wasn’t ready for the up and down emotions I would have while having much LESS hair and not continuing with perm treatments. I had a short half-natural, that was curl in the back and straight in the front. I was frustrated and didn’t feel pretty or feminine at all. I thought that none of this would be an issue if I had just left my hair care in the hands of my mother. At the age of 26, I know that’s pretty silly. I would have to learn all by myself how to take care of my hair.

With the help of my friend Evelyn, (who was working out her own hair issues but progressing much quicker than myself), I was turned on to moisture rich ideas and tips to get my hair back to the way it was!

It’s still a struggle and it’s our hope that this blog and others like it are helpful to women making the transition from straight to curly. Although my story didn’t go in the same order as others, it’s all the same exploration into the world of healthy hair!

Today’s hair, a bit longer, lots healthier!

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Product Review: Kinky Curly Come Clean Shampoo

Product Advertisement: A moisturizing, cleansing, non-stripping, organic shampoo.

Price: $12 (plus $5 for shipping from

Ingredients: Purified water, organic mandarin orange fruit, organic marigold flower, organic white willow bark, organic sea kelp, c14-16 olefin sulfonate and cocamidopropyl betaine (coconut derived), citric acid, sea salt, phenoxyethnol, and natural fragrance.

Consistency: A gel-like liquid

Smell: The shampoo smells like a fresh-sliced orange.

Review: I really like this shampoo. It did exactly what it was advertised to do on my hair. This is the ONLY shampoo that I have used since going natural, that has not left my hair dry and brittle upon contact. I wouldn’t say that the shampoo added any moisture to my hair, but it certainly didn’t take any away. I did not have to use a whole lot (something like 4 tablespoons) of the product and it had great lather. I also really like the orange fruit smell of this shampoo. I have no critique of this product. My only issue is that I have to order it online because it is not sold in my town!

Places you may find this product: Target, Whole Food stores,,

Would I purchase this product again: YES!!!


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This Girl’s Life

I’m a Co-op member! Today I became part owner of the Common Ground Whole Foods Co-op here in my town. Now, this does not mean that I am rich or that I will be getting checks from the store. It means that I am one person along with over 2500 here in my town who have a share in the store. Since the store is a non-profit, income is derived through community donations and member/owner investments and purchases. The co-ownership fee was a mere $60 and is fully refundable shall I decide to move or no longer shop at the store. The major perk of co-ownership is the discounts. As we all know, natural and organic foods are not cheap. Since I have begun to buy more natural and organic food it is important to me that I do not go broke in the process, therefore this opportunity seemed like a great one. And it is. Those who invest in the store (and other co-ops like this) are helping to support and sustain local farmers and the production and distribution of natural and organic foods.

Spring Break has arrived and I am thrilled! I get a week away from stress-inducing students and headache-inducing course prep. While I think that teaching is one of the best jobs on earth (who else gets christmas, summer, spring, and holiday breaks??? did I mention the flexible schedule???) it is also a job that never ends. There is ALWAYS work to do. You are NEVER done. If you are a person like myself that actually cares about the quality of your teaching, there is always something to improve or develop in a course. Being a young, black, female instructor certainly brings its own unique challenges as well, but that’s another post…hooray Spring Break!!!

Hot Mama. While I’d love to think that my life and myself have remained the same pre and post baby, it is not so. It takes more effort than a little bit to keep up with friends, maintain a marriage, work full-time, take care of a young child, and attempt to be “cute”. Shopping is a chore. Even if I go alone, I’m on a schedule because I know I should get back home to her or pick her up from daycare at a certain time. When I’m shopping with her, please. I would hardly call grabbing a few of the first things that look good, without even trying them on, shopping. Everything is planned–when I will wash my hair, what I will wear to work tomorrow, when I will start dinner, when I will return a phone call. I had given up on the idea that any of my belongings were sacred even before my little girl was born, but I was still almost brought to tears when she broke a handmade Nepalese (multi-layered, micro-beaded) necklace given to me by a grad school friend. I plan to make a DIY necklace out of the remaining beads that I will give to her when she gets older-since she liked it so much, lol.

Fitness was a New Year’s resolution of mine that I have semi-met. I was doing Taebo workouts at home a few days a week consistently for a couple of months and I have recently fallen off of the wagon. I do not like to work out in the house or at gyms. I prefer to be outside—running. Since the weather is becoming quite nice I will start a.m. runs tomorrow morning. I plan to run at least 3 days a week. For me, running is the ultimate workout. It tones my whole body in a matter of weeks (if I am consistent). My only concern with running is that my breast size has increased since I had my daughter. Therefore I am going to have to make sure the “girls” are nicely secured:)

This girl’s life is very complex, but it’s just the way that this girl loves it.


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My Hair Crush!

Traci Ellis Ross, daughter of diva Diana Ross, has always been a natural curl gurl while acting. You may know her from the hit television series, Girlfriends (2000-2008). I loved watching the show for her big curls and awesome fashion sense. She manages to style her hair in so many varied ways! Which I think, is very important if you don’t want to get into a styling rut. To check out her natural hair regiment, read here

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DIY: Facial scrub, Facial softener, and Facial moisturizer

Facial scrub
3-4 tbsp brown sugar (cinnamon can also be used)
2-3 tbsp honey (add honey until you reach your desired consistency)

Mix well. Wipe your face clean with a warm washcloth, then apply small portions of the scrub to your face. Begin gently exfoliating your entire face. Either wash the mixture from your face directly with water or with the warm towel.

Facial softener
1/4 cup plain organic greek yogurt (you can use any kind of plain yogurt, but greek yogurt is thicker than most, I would definitely veer toward the natural or organic yogurts for this)

Apply yogurt all over face and let sit for 15-20 minutes. Wash the yogurt from your face directly with water or with a washcloth.

Facial moisturizer
End the process by applying a couple of drops of grape seed oil to your face (coconut oil or another light natural oil will work as well)

*Use this facial cleansing and moisturizing process once or twice a month for clean, healthy, and supple skin.


Product Review: Aveeno Clear Complexion Cleanser

Here is a review for a cleanser I use on the weekends. Those are the days where I wear enough makeup to rival a geisha. I paint on a super sexy cat eye and layer on the black black mascara. I might as well go through a car wash to get it off by the end of the night. This stuff might help:

Walmart: $6.47

I like the salicylic acid (2%) in this cleanser, which is a common acne medication. I’m in my mid-20’s and could still use a little help in that area. The microbeads offer a good exfoliation that I try to get in at least once or twice a week. The moisture rich soy does make my skin feel soft and moisturized after a good washing. Which is unusual for many exfoliates, after washing I usually feel really tight in the face and then super dried out.

My issue with this particular cleanser is it’s soy rich microbeads. If I wash my face in the bathroom sink and don’t rinse my face off completely, I will get some stray microbeads in my eye later on in the day. They’re an irritation and sometime hurt. So I guess this product should be used in the shower to ensure a good rinsing.Also, the Aveeno brand is a little pricey for my taste and I’m not sure how I like paying 6.50 for a 5oz container, but I suppose you get what you pay for. I’m hoping Evelyn can get in the kitchen and come up with a new homemade organic cleanser. Hint Hint!

  • Acne Medication
  • Exfoliate
  • Moisture rich


  • Microbeads need to be thoroughly rinsed
  • Pricey (for me)

Overall: Pretty Good Stuff


Last Day for Mini Twists

I’ve worn mini twists for a little over a week now. I haven’t worn a hairstyle for this long in years! It has been really nice not having to bother with my hair for awhile. Each night I’ve applied my whipped shea butter mix (see hair recipes) and sweet almond oil, put on a scarf, satin bonnet, and went to sleep. Occasionally I would rub some jojoba oil on my scalp if it was itchy (it really works!). I blow dried my hair (after shampooing and conditioning) before putting in the twists. I used grape seed oil as a heat protectant when blow drying. I used my whipped shea butter on each twist. I didn’t wear my hair down (in public) at all during this time because my hair is very uneven (it gets longer as you move to the back of my head—not a good look for twist styles—if wearing down), I did a bunch of pin up styles (the next time I mini twist I may do a tutorial). Yesterday, I think my hair was really fly, I pinned all the twists to the side and they flowed over providing a funky bang. It’s been fun. I will post pics of the twist out I plan to wear this week!