Memoir Writing Workshop – Reflect. Remember. Release.

tumblr_mo4cdmQNOY1s8x8t4o1_500   A excerpt from a piece I am working on for this workshop:

“I am fourteen years old. My parents are arguing again in the backyard as I watch them from my bedroom window. My father’s black frame is tight. His right arm rises and falls like a karate chop with each word he yells. My mother stands in front of him, chest out, red faced and crying. He must seem threatening to my neighbors – this rigid black man yelling at the top of his lungs at a hysterical white woman. I am worried that they will call the cops on them. I want to bring them inside but I don’t interfere this time. I just watch. 

My dad soon comes into my bedroom. He is late for work. He apologizes for the scene. He tells me he feels hopeless and that he can’t do it anymore. I tell him they should just get a divorce. I don’t feel very sad. I don’t cry like I usually do when my parents fight. This time I don’t care. I feel numb.

I recently started high school. Each day I wake up early and get off to school by myself. It takes me about an hour to get to school each day. It’s an agricultural high school. We learn about plants, farm animals and the environment. I really enjoyed the orientation that I had to go to during the summer. I got all A’s and won awards. I was surprised when they called my name for an award the first time but I was embarrassed by the third. I don’t have the same focus that I did back in the summer because now I think I am in love…

He pages my beeper. I have been waiting for it all day. Once I get home from school, I shower, oil my body with coconut oil, slick my curls into a high ponytail, put on new Baby Phat panties I bought from Burlington Coat Factory and dress into a new outfit. I have a job at a gourmet food shop that pays me in cash each week. I spend most of my money on clothes. I have six pairs of Timberland boots in different colors and a fresh pair of air force 1’s in all white and red and white. I am the only girl in my high school to wear a Roc A Wear valor sweat suit. I think all of the girls are jealous of me. I think all of the boys like me. I don’t have many friends. 

I call him back. “Yo, meet me on Wayne Ave.”

My heart is racing. I rush to leave my home. I am happy to get away from the heavy, dark space it has become. My father left a month ago. He moved into a new apartment five blocks away. I don’t know where my mom is. She has started a new teaching job and often comes home late and tired. She cries a lot at night.

I walk the four blocks to meet Ali. He is sixteen. He drives a car, has a Nextel, white teeth, light skin and freckles. He isn’t like my last boyfriend. Ali isn’t my friend. We don’t stay up late talking on the phone. I don’t know his mother’s name. We don’t laugh very often. He says I talk funny, like a white girl so I talk less and curse more. 

He is the first boy I ever French kiss. We sit on the steps of a church and pass gum between our mouths swapping his Big Red for my Winter Fresh. His tongue is wet and forceful like his hands which squeeze my small breasts and push in between my thighs. 

I don’t know what I am doing but I feel grown. I feel like the older girls who have full breasts, big hips, asses and who have had sex. 

I meet Ali at a park. Fall is here and the sun is setting earlier. It is nearly dark. My mom flashes into my mind but I push her tired, worried image into the back of my thoughts. 

Ali looks over my body and chews loudly on his Big Red. In between the interruption of his Nextel which barks random “Yoooo’s” and “Where you at’s”, he kisses me and touches my hair.

He wants me to go to his cousin’s house down the street. A house I have never been to. I feel nervous but I play it cool and agree. I know why he wants me to go to this random house. He wants to have sex. 

I am a virgin and a lot of my friends from middle school have already had sex. They tell me about the way it feels and how many boy’s they have been with. I want to experience it. I like the way my body responds when he kisses me and touches me but my young, fourteen year old self is in conflict.”

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 This is memoir writing. It comes from memory about experiences and moments that make deep impressions and grooves into the woodwork of our lives. For me, writing is an act of healing. It helps me to reflect, remember and release moments that bring me confusion, hurt and shame. Writing helps me to accept myself and all my varied circumstances so that I can forgive others (and most importantly myself) and grow.

I know that there are other young, old, experienced and fresh writers out there with their own stories that have been stagnant in their psyches for so long. It is time to loosen the hardened material and allow the beautiful alchemy of words to unfurl. 

 I have facilitated a Memoir Writing Workshop here in Philadelphia beginning July 7th-21 lead by Maleka Fruean. Every Tuesday for two hours in this short writing workshop, we will explore our memories and our life’s narrative- from the first time we remember feeling fear to the last time we ate cotton candy. We’ll use humor, sadness, and everything in between to begin creating polished non-fiction pieces that read like great stories. We’ll explore our own unique writing voice in the world through in-class writing prompts and exercises, and short assignments to work on at home. This workshop is for women, and for all levels of writers. Our work will be shared and workshopped in a safe and encouraging environment.

 Seating for Registration is limited. For more information and to register hit the link. Can’t wait to hear the amazing stories to come!

Registration for Memoir Writing Workshop

New Video: What’s Love Got To Do With It?

New Video! Candid conversation about what is needed in a successful relationship? Is family, religion, money, race and class important or does love conquer all?

 

Comment Below with Your Opinions!

Ulta’s “Love Your Hair Campaign” Product Reviews

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My Turn! As you know Ulta is having their in-store and online, “Love Your Hair Event” all month long. Shanti and I were gifted with some products to review and as much as we hate trying new products this wasn’t so bad.

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K-Pak is a product line that is starting to get a lot of attention and for good reason. I was first introduced to this line at the Best in Black Beauty Essence Event. This intense hydrator is essentially a deep conditioner stocked with amino acids that offers immediate hydration in only 5 minutes. It leaves your hair soft, detangled, hydrated and manageable and only for $4.99. Child, you can’t be that price. Mucho bang for your buck. However, please note that this product contains silicones which are highly effective at smoothing and taming frizz but can also create product build up. So, be sure to monitor your build up and cleanse regularly if you use this product in excess.

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 Ouidad Moisture Lock Leave-In Conditioner ended up being a winner in the end but I was skeptical. Ouidad’s claim is that it ” instantly defines and hydrates curls while keeping frizz at bay… (it) creates a “moisture foundation” by infusing hair with vital conditioning proteins. Prickly pear extract draws in moisture from the air and seals it in for superior hydration while antioxidant green tea and vitamin B5 help protect and promote shine. Arnica extract lends a smoothing touch—sealing the cuticle for frizz-free results.” 

I was initially turned off by this product because it didn’t detangle my hair well or have much slip when I applied it. I added  quarter size amount to my wet hair and began to let it air dry. About 10 minutes later I examine my strands and the product was so lightweight, I couldn’t tell if my hair was actually being hydrated or not. So, I added another quarter size amount to my hair and still it felt like nothing was applied. I couldn’t see or feel the product in my hair. When I scrunched my strands together to mold them into the ‘perfect curl’ there was no white film… no product residue on my hands… nothing. It was strange. 

So, I mentally prepared myself for a horrible hair day and got my top knot supplies ready. About 30 minutes later I looked at my hair and to my surprise, I loved the way my hair looked. My curls were incredibly happy, weightless and full of movement, body and bounce. I wasn’t mad at all.  Frizz free? No. Not really. But I don’t like frizz free hair anyway so me no care.

Overall, I like this conditioner because it doesn’t create a lot of build up and it allows my natural curl to be a little more wild and free. With that said, I would definitely recommend it to curlies looking for a weightless leave-in who have looser, fine curls like mine. This is that, ‘hair blowing in the wind’ leave-in.

*Side note*  

I just dyed my hair ombre blonde and feel like I need something  with a little more slip for the time being because my bleached strands are a bit stiff and ratchet. I’ll continue to use this product again once my hair health is restored.

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Now you already know I couldn’t resist trying out a product called Big Sexy Hair Spray and Play. This is essentially hair spray. It’s not much different from any other hair spray I’ve used besides the fact that it comes in this fun packaging. It has a lot of hold and a lot of power so if you like movement, I would use a very small amount. I flipped my hair to the opposite side in which I part it, sprayed the roots a little, fluffed and enjoyed some added body. Boom. It’s that simple. Not much to review here. It did it’s job the way I expected it to do. I do want to try their volume and texturizing powder though.  

The Results

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Natural Light

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Natural Light

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Natural Light

 
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Natural Light

 
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Artificial Light. No Flash

   
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Artificial Light. No Flash 

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To Check out more Hair Products for Ulta’s Month of May “Love Your Hair Campaign”, go to www.ulta.com/loveyourhair to see what hair products are available on sale!

Ulta’s “Love Your Hair Campaign” Product Reviews

As mentioned before in this post, Ulta has gifted Antoinette and I (my account is not working for some reason, so I am posting under her name) a bunch of products to review for Ulta’s Love Your Hair Campaign. You can get great hair products on sale at all Ulta stores from May 10-30. 

The products I choose to review were,

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Maxtrix Biolage Cleansing Conditioner ” a combination of soap-free cleansers and superfruits” which “slide away dirt and residue without stripping the hair”.  For Medium hair (whatever the hell that is).

Antifrizz, suitable for color treated.

And

Ouidad “Climate Control formulated to expand in contact with moisture, enveloping cuticles to prevent frizz without altering style. When humidity lessens, the polymers contract creating natural, non-sticky curls (whatever the hell that means).

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I was super excited to try the combination due to the fact that I am looking for a new co-wash and hoping to find my holy grail holding product for this coming summer’s heat. 

My Slept-On, Un-styled Hair (Judge Your Mutha)

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After Showering Using Biolage Cleansing Conditioner

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What I loved about the Biolage was that it was moisturizing. I could feel the product cleansing my hair but it never felt “streaky” and drying. I wash and go mostly every single day. I add tons of product to my hair every single day. It was nice to have found a product that will rinse away yesterday’s residue while also replenishing much needed moisture. I can tell that the product was indeed moisturizing because my curls are well formed and “clumped” rather than frizzy and separated. 

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After adding my usual daily leave in conditioner I applied the Ouidad Climate Control Gel.  The Gel was nearly liquid which I found interesting. I couldn’t tell if I was putting on too much or too little.  The smell was great. 

**Secret Reveal** (If you have course, frizz prone curls like mine, a technique to create well defined and moisturized curls is by adding 2x more leave in conditioner and holding product than you normally would. You want to see the product between your fingers as displayed as shown above. More on that later)

I then went on to sit under the hair dryer for 15 mins. 

Results

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What Do You Guys Think of the Results?

Yay or Nah?

Got commitment issues like me?   Can’t commit?  Don’t worry! Go to your nearest Ulta and with every Thursday in-store purchase during Love Your Hair, head home with a FREE sample from some favorite brands like It’s a 10 and Sexy Hair. 

Head to your Nearest Ulta in Philly for all the “Love Your Hair Campaign” deals!

1619 Walnut St Philadelphia, PA (215) 640-9602

To Check out more Hair Products for Ulta’s Month of May “Love Your Hair Campaign”, go to www.ulta.com/loveyourhair to see what hair products are available on sale!

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Senegalese Twist Crown Up Do

senegalese twist   This video is a simple updo for senegalese twists. All you need to complete this style are bobby pins.

Keep in mind you want to hydrate your real hair while they are in the twists. The easiest way to do that is to create a hydrating mist and spray your hair both at night and in the morning.

DYI Hydrating Mist Recipe:

2-TBSP Leave-In Conditioner

1 TBSP Coconut Oil

1 TBSP Aloe Vera Juice

Remainder Water

Shake Well and Spray

*Disclaimer*

If you follow us on instagram you’ll know that while I loved my twists, they unfortunately, were not for me. My hair was far too thin and fine for them. I left the twists in for about a month and after, I did I experience a lot of breakage due to the weight of the hair and the amount of updos I wore for work. They didn’t feel too tight but at times, they felt too heavy. There was just too much pulling at my roots. Oddly enough however, the hair that was not being ripped from my scalp was pretty happy and healthy. LOL.  This told me that the  moisturizing mist worked but the weight of the twists did not. So, I still recommend them as a protective style just not for women with fine or damaged hair. You must have that real good healthy stuff to rock these. Oh well, you can’t win them all. I tried and my hard headed/big headed self will probably try again and complain about being bald when I take them out.

Whateva. At the end of the day it’s just hair. Right?

Aphrodite Xo, Thank You

I’m three years late but your video finally got to me. Shanti didn’t even put me on. I blame it on her. I hope this post reaches you and that you know you we are grateful for your support. Your post is right on time. I needed to hear that in order to get that old thing back. Back to editing I go.

Essence Best in Black Beauty Awards

As you know Shanti and I were nominated for Best Up and Coming Blog for the Essence Black Beauty Awards.  It was incredibly dope to be honored and even dope-r to get to spend some time together, dance, drank and party it up in NYC. Here are some photos from the event. Keep in mind we are sharing these because we tried to stunt on um.

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Pose for the camera. Flick. Flick.

   
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The gym has been good to me. Sidenote* Peep how I am wearing ‘nude’ shoes but they are really light pink. Melanin, why have you forsaken me?

 
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She was probably the swaggiest jawn in the building. It’s just in her. She’s ice cold.

 
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With our boo Naptural85/Whitney. Words can not express how we love love. She even marched with Antoinette in the Justice for Freddie Grey rallies the next day. #shawtywannaride

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“Antoinette your breasts are as big as my head.”- Shanti “Shanti, your head is as small as my breasts.” – Antoinette

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“Shanti, will you take my picture?”- Antoinette “Stand up straight, cross your legs and chest up.”- Shanti

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Luster’s Pink Moisturizer is apparently still around and thriving. No shade but shade. #sorrynotsorry

Thank you Essence for the recognition and thank you ladies for helping us get there. Muah

   

Ulta’s Love Your Hair Campaign = Cheap, cheap prices!

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We were recently gifted a hair care package from Ulta to help spread the word about the month of May’s “Love Your Hair Campaign”. From May 10-3oth, you can stock up on your favorite brands or try new ones without hurting your pockets too badly. 

Special Deals Include

    On weekends during Love Your Hair, be sure to stock up on one-day-only Beauty Steals from beloved brands like AG, Living Proof, Kenra Professional, Carol’s Daughter and Alterna

    Buy two, get one free on finishing and styling products from 32 professional brands including CHI, Redken, Matrix, Sexy Hair, Tigi, Wella and more!

    Love Your Hair Try Me Kits!

Check out the products below and the days on which they are on sale to get yours at Ulta!

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We were gifted hair products that are great for curly, kinky hair that we are really excited to try and share with you all from Carol’s Daughter, Deva Curl and more!

Reviews coming soon.

Which products do you want to see reviews of?

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