Cerra’s Mood Shifter Kit

 I want to thank the good folks at Cerra for sending me their complementary Mood Shifter Kit in response my Today I’, Deciding to Be Easy Post. It was an unexpected gift but was right on time because the last couple of weeks have been a doosey. 
Cerra provides a wide variety of “engaging and effective ways to foster personal growth. Cerra focuses on Seven Intentions: Grounded, Creative Energy, Gratitude, Loving Kindness, Courage, Wisdom, and Inspiration. They have a passage on their website about the meaning and purpose of the intentions that I highly recommend. Read it here. 

The Mood Shifter Kit focuses on 3 of the Seven Intentions. The pamphlet reads:

  • Grounded- Maintaining a deep connection with the earth and your own body is an effective way to feel Grounded, which helps provide support throughout your life and a solid foundation of growth. Affirmation- I am becoming more deeply rooted. My roots are strong and are connecting me to my source of security.
  • Creative Energy- Creative Energy is a fertile state of mind that cultivates curiosity and expansion. When your mind becomes accustomed to generating creative energy, growth happens abundantly. Affirmation- I am opening up to new things that spark my creative energy.
  • Gratitude- Gratitude inspires a profound contentment driven by how much you value everything around you. Affirmation- I am feeling grateful for ___________ right now.
The kit contains 3 different lotions, teas and affirmations galore. All their products are meant to trigger our senses and create balance. Overall, I really like the kit. It was a Godsend and is a great way to collect one’s self and keep calm and carry on. Pictures are below. Be sure to check out the affirmations attached to their products. 

Be sure to check out Cerra’s other products including gift cards, lotions, healing stones, oil kits and soaps as well as their intentions here. Thanks again Cerra!


Natural Belle

I stumbled upon the blog Natural Belle one day and I am so happy that I found it. Daily, I go to Natural Belle’s blog to get lost for a few minutes in scrolls of beauty. The creator and editor in chief Gina has an ability to catch what is hot before many and bring to the fore front the beauty of women, interesting, unique happenings in media, new fashion trends and the best natural hair porn around (not literally sickos). I love her blog and I always take interest in the mastermind behind great work so here is my interview with Gina who was kind enough to indulge us. 

Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you born? Where were you raised? Where do you currently reside?
I’m Gina aka Natural Belle, a UK based naturalhair, beauty & style blogger, part time PR agent, novice writer and full time hair salon co-ordinator.

I was born and raised in London, now I live just out side of London in not so sunny Croydon.

I feel like your perspective is so interesting in relation to natural hair and black identity. You are of Nigerian ethnicity and were adopted and raised by a loving, white family. Has going natural helped you identify more with being an African woman? Do you feel it has brought you closer to understanding that part of yourself? Is that even a necessity for you?

Growing up my hair was always something that had to be dealt with. I was sent to various neighbours and aunties. If my adoptive mother so much as saw a black woman she would ask if she could do my hair. I was pulled from pillar to post and had every style from hospital inducing braids to relaxers that made my hair fall out. My mother always said my hair was beautiful and I think she felt bad that she couldn’t deal with it. She loved it when I had my hair cornrowed and natural but just wasn’t capable of dealing with the texture. From a young age I learned to deal with my own hair. Ever the feisty little diva, I was fed up with being told what to do with my hair so I learned to braid and also put in extensions.By the time I was 13, I was doing my hair and all of my school friends. I decided to go natural for the first time when I was 18. I went to the barbers and shaved all my hair off. No one of my age was doing it at the time. I was so scared of what people would say. The first person to see was my mother and she loved it! I didn’t much care what anyone thought after that. I’ve never really identified with being an African woman, as I was (as you have stated) brought up in a white family but I was also brought up in a multicultural community. I wasn’t picked out of some orphanage by a rich Madonna type character. I was fostered by a working class family who later adopted me. I grew up in a melting pot of culture not African, not Caribbean, not Irish just British.

Going natural has brought me closer to understanding being a black woman regardless of nationality and has helped me to abandon ideals of what black women should be.
I love your hair. It is beautiful. I love that you can see that it is beautiful. What I appreciate the most about you is your honesty about your hair journey. You admit that you struggled with accepting your curl pattern. What advice can you give to women who struggle with accepting and loving their curl pattern? What was your process to confidence?


It’s not made easy for women. Reverting to our natural hair is supposed to be all about accepting our own beauty however as the natural hair community grows as does the pressure to have the perfect curl with advertisers promoting curl creams and using models with loose curled hair. Those of us who do not have the ‘perfect’ curl can still feel like our natural hair isn’t good enough which isn’t really the point. When I first went natural I was frustrated that my curls where none existent. I’d spend hours doing braid outs and twist outs anything to get the coveted curl definition and still not feeling that I really like my hair. I felt like a fraud my blog was gaining more followers for my hairspirational images and articles and I was hating my hair! This is when I decided to BC again and start my real natural hair journey. I promised myself to relish every stage of my journey from the awkward TWA stage to the small afro. I’m not against curl definition but don’t be a slave to it. Learn to love your true texture. It’s great having hair idols but have realistic goals. When I shaved off my hair I’d only look at images of short haired naturals to inspire me. When I got a little more length I’d focus on inspirational images of women with TWA’s. This helped me to stay focused. It’s a long way from BC to bra strap length so set smaller goal posts and celebrate you hair because it is beautiful.

Why did you start blogging? What do you wish for people to take away with them after visiting your blog?


I started blogging in 2008 to keep me motivated on my natural hair journey. I wanted a place to find inspiring images that I thought where lacking in mainstream media, images of women of colour who didn’t conform to the mainstream ideals. Natural belle is about my hair journey and I guess my life. It’s pretty sporadic and I post what I’m feeling. It’s not the holy grail of natural hair blogs. It’s a visual tea break or mid night snack. I don’t take my self or my hair to seriously. I hope people get inspired and learn about new artists, models and bloggers

Your blog is such an inspiration for not only your faithful audience but for other bloggers! Your content, taste and perspective are always refreshing. I always find myself saying, “This is so dope! Where did she find this?!” How do you manage your time with work, relationships, responsibilities and blogging?


I’m not sure I manage. It’s been a steady incline for me, I didn’t just wake up and have 2000 followers. I’ve had to work really hard. I used to blog everyday and I think you need to do that until you get a following. You need to be dedicated. It’s only now that I can slow down with blogging and branch out. I have a PR company, I write articles for websites and magazine and I have a full time job in a hair salon. But I have become quite good at time management and knowing when to say no. I want to please everyone but I know that I can’t so I’m more selective now. My tip is to think about what you want to get out of blogging and figure out how to get it and make it work for you! The way I get around finding time for my relationships is getting them involved. My best friend does my PR and and my partner is my photographer, tech guy, proof reader and biggest cheerleader

What is the natural hair community like in Europe? Were you guys ten steps ahead of us (like always) in terms of unity, support and visual representation in society? Or do you find the naturals in Europe to be a bit behind, sparse and not cohesive? What do you think the reasons are to explain the “mood” of the natural hair movement in Europe?
There are not as many natural bloggers in Europe as they are in the US but the natural hair community is thriving. 3 years ago it was laughable that people would hold an natural hair event. I mean who would go? What would they sell? Now there is something happening every month! The natural hair social calendar is crazy right now! The internet has been a great help in getting the UK movement started.
Now nation wide black hair magazines have natural hair segments, home grown natural hair brands (such as Anita Grant) are producing organic hair products. We have film screenings, meet up’s, markets, even picnics! Right now we are definitely on the brink of bringing natural hair to the forefront in the UK and Europe.
Lastly, when you think of success, what do you envision for Natural Belle? 
Natural Belle will continue to be light entertainment for the natural hair scene, I try not to look to far ahead it’s seems to be working so far.

Thank you for the awesome interview Ms. Belle! You ladies MUST check out her blog now if you don’t  frequent it already. Here are her deets.

A Fatty By Any Means Necessary

I was sitting here this morning puttering around the house listening to NPR’s specialcalled “The Hidden World of Girls” produced by “The Kitchen Sisters”. It was a fabulous collection of stories about the experiences, struggles and “inner worlds” of young women from around the world. The last story introduced a growing trend amongst women in Jamaica. Some Jamaican women have resulted to taking “chicken pills” to alter their hips, thighs and buttocks to make them more full. These “chicken pills” are growth pills that are used to make chickens mature more quickly than nature’s timeline. An explanation of as to why this phenomena emerged is explained by a Jamaican man interviewed for NPR’s story,

“Most males, they love to see women with big bottoms. The whole idea of Coca-Cola bottle shape” Carol says. ” ‘I don’t want a meager woman,’ that’s how the men would speak. … They’re figuring if you look meager, you look poor, in the sense that you’re not being taken care of.”

“If you have no meat on your bones, the society can’t see your wealth, your progress, your being,”

The risks associated with the consumption of these chicken pills is great due to the cancer causing cumulative toxic agent arsenic which is present in the pills. The story went on to describe that the pills are among other body altering substances that are used widely and illegally in the Caribbean. Skin bleaching is also a widely used product.

The very end of the story ended with this statement from another interviewee, this time a woman, 

At the end of the day,”says Stanley-Niaah, “women do these beauty practices not to diminish themselves, but to somehow assert themselves.”

Many thoughts ran through my head after listening to the program. I am no feminist but immediately I wanted to blame men for our distorted attempts to please and be accepted, then of course my thoughts turned to the white man for twisting the sense out of the black race then I just had to face reality. We as women, specifically Western women have got too much freakin’ time on our hands. We have it far too easy. The fact that we are willing to risk our lives for a fat ass in comparison to our fellow women folk in Egypt  and Yemen who at this very moment are risking their lives as human shields against army tanks so that they may have a say in the direction and leadership of their country speaks volumes. The fact that we are willing to risk our lives and our children’s lives by obsessing over hair texture and applying toxins dutifully every six weeks and shelling out thousands of dollars because of it in comparison to Liberian womenwho risked their lives and successfully ended a civil war through unity and persistence due to their dedication to the important things in their life such as peace and the safety of their future generations speaks volumes about our values as Western women. We exalt, strive and find a false sense of “assertion”in our sexuality when we are so much more than tits, ass, thighs, good hair, bad hair, natural hair, permed hair, divas, eye candy, single or married. I say that wholeheartedly but I struggle when I try to imagine what more we can be? What ideals, movements, principals are we willing to look past ourselves and die for? Don’t we want our baby girls to beam with pride that their mothers lived, breathed and stood high due to more than Louboutin heels and fat asses? Sweet baby Jesus, I know I do…

Left to right Yemen journalist Tawkkul Karman, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee. All are nobel peace prize winners.
Let’s inspire one another! Comment and share what you strive to stand for as a woman. I will start it off.

Pop Lock and Drop It

Recently one of my homegirls got her hair twisted into a beautiful updo. The design was really intricate and feminine and the twists looked liked locs. I wish I had a picture to show you. ugh. Anywhoo, she is considering going natural so I told her that she might want to also consider getting locs since they looked so good on her. Her response was, “Yeah, but you can’t do that much with them”. I got the thinking…I bet a lot of us feel the way she does so I decided to look up some dope locked styles. I was amazed at what I found. These styles are so artistic and elegant… I ended up spending 2 hours looking at all the different styles. I’m going to try to find out some more info on locs and loc maintenance and such for yall. But all in all this protective style should not be overlooked or considered boring or mundane because they are fly-ah-ah-aye-ah-ah-ah-ah-aye…







YGB: Editorial Manicurist Kelly Baber

You can ask Antoinette. I am a wannabe nailista. I can draw and paint fairly well so I just know that I can do nails! Welp, after countless times of convincing my girlfriends that I can do their nails to only end up with jacked up, smeared nails and disappointed, appalled “clients” I admit I am no nailista. BUT, I sure can appreciate the talent in others. I would like to introduce you ladies to Kelly Baber. She is a professional manicurist. I am not talking about the manicurist you find in your neighborhood nail salon (big ups to those ladies nonetheless!) but instead you can find Ms. Baber painting the nails of models for high fashion photo shoots for Elle and Vogue as well as celebrity clients such as the fashion forward Olsen twins. The woman has talent and drive. She was kind enough to share with us her professional journey as well as what is hot for this season.  I hope she can be an inspiration to all the real nailistas out there. Push li’ mamas and make a name for yourself!

Tell us about yourself. Where are you from? Where did you study? Where do you currently reside?
I’m from Canton, Ohio. I took cosmetology in high school and had my license by the time I graduated. I live in Brooklyn, NY.

I find your profession as a professional manicurist to be so interesting. Tell us about your journey to success in your profession. How did you know that was your calling as an artist? 

I really feel I was destined to be a manicurist, it found me literally. I would buy products, do my own natural nails & they would grow really long. I always kept lots of polish in my mom’s fridge. I also would glue really long tips on and polish them all types of colors; I did my friends as well. At that point I wasn’t formally trained, it just came natural.  So my last two years of high school, of course I chose to study cosmetology. I was the go to nail girl even while studying, the school secretary would come every week to get a manicure. By the time I graduated I had a job offer from a salon my sister frequented. 

Do you have any advice for any young, aspiring manicurist out there?
Education & practice is key. I took a lot of hands-on classes and would always frequent industry trade shows to stay in the know. Do what you love and are passionate about, the finances will come. 

As an inner city girl, I always associate the mastery and business of nail care to be dominated by Asians. Does this dominance translate into high-end photo shoots and nail care as well? Do you find yourself to be a minority amongst your professional peers or is it fairly diverse?

 I would say no. There a well known Asian editorial manicurists; however it’s not like the many discount salons you may be familiar with seeing. I really think you see this kind of dominance in metro areas, if you leave larger cities you will see many more varying ethnicities working as manicurists. It’s pretty diverse; however a lot of my peers came from other areas like me. 
Is the demand for consistent nail care for high profile clientele the same as hair styling and make-up? Do you ever travel with clients?

I’m going to say yes. Of course hair & mkup are priority, but the need for a manicurist on certain projects is very important as well. If there is a concern with a budget for a project the mkup artist very likely will be asked to do the nails. At the moment no (I don’t travel), but I will in the near future. 

Can you give us an example of a busy day in your life as a professional manicurist?
My days vary depending on the project. I could have anywhere from a 10 hour plus day to an easy breezy do and go type of thing. Every job is different. I prep my kit according the specifics of  the season and the job, at all times you have to be prepared to do just about anything that could be thought of , most times you won’t know until you get there.
What are the most exciting place, people and events that your career has attracted to you? 


My first celeb client was Shawn Stockman (Boys2men). His wedding was produced by Diann Valentine and was well attended by various industry friends & family. Another exciting moment was to work with the first black female police chief of Detroit, Ella Bully-Cummings. We shot her on Belle Isle in Detroit, it was absolutely beautiful.  NY Fashion Week is a fun but crazy time, there’s so much creative energy backstage. It’s nice to meet fellow creative’s and work as a team to execute the trends that will inspire the world for the season. 

What color trends are hot for this fall and coming winter?
Let’s talk about spring since that’s what will be seeing very soon in mags on newsstands.  Different hues of yellow, ombre manicures (one color blending into the other), nude flesh tones, stripes, & two tone manicures (diff variations of the reverse French).  
What nail shapes and sizes trends are big currently? 


For spring you will see nails extended longer, sleek, very feminine with a 50’s feel.  For natural nails it’s always good to follow your cuticle shape for a great nail shape.  

What else do you envision for yourself in the near future? 
To continue to grow and evolve as a Freelance Manicurist and touch as many people as I can with the gift I’ve been given which is to make people look and feel better about themselves no matter who they are.  
How can people stay connected to you and your great work? Facebook? Website? Twitter? 

My website is under construction at the moment. People can connect with me on

 Facebook www.facebook.com/rockstarnailgrlkellyb.
On Twitter twitter.com/rockstarnailgrl . 





Reverse Retro French Mani

Yellow Hues

Long,Sleek,Tapered,Retro Shaping

The Work of Kelly Baber

A big thank you to Ms. Baber for this interview. She is an awesome example for anyone passionate in doing what they love and pursuing a profession as an editorial manicurist. To see more of her fantastic work “like” her face book page and follow her on twitter!

This Month’s Essence Issue is Killing It

Every two weeks I braid my cousin’s hair. She told me to pick up this month’s Essence and now I see why. It is full of fabulous hair styles for both natural and straight. I was so inspired. I went online to see if they had the issue online but they didn’t. Only pictures here and there from the issue. If you need some holiday inspiration pic up the magazine and prepare to go H.A.M. Here are a few pics that I recognized from the magazine.






The Holiday Giveaway (closed)

We have a giveaway for all you beautiful, deserving ladies. The gracious artisan Bridget from Gypsy Lane has agreed to give away her hand hammered set of nine Cleopatra bangles! These bangles are gorgeous and adjustable. After a few days of wearing them they achieve an antique Egyptian gold patina. Antoinette owns a pair and I had the pleasure of modeling for her online shop on etsy.com
P.S If you are in search of a thin, lightweight, gold or silver hoop nose ring, Gypsy Lane is the place to go.

You must comment on this post leaving your email and the name you use on facebook then go to Gypsy Lane’s facebook and “like” her page at www.facebook.com/GypsyLaneJewelry.
The deadline for this giveaway is Wednesday November 23, 2011. The winner will be announced Thanksgiving Day on Thursday November 24th, 2011.

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