Oh my dear sweet home. Being born and raised here on St.Croix I feel that I’ve been really blessed to soak up the natural beauty of my island. I can’t speak for others but being born in such a tiny place with such a huge back story and history is amazing to me. Whenever I feel down or just need inspiration, all I need to do is step out of my front door and take in the sights, smells and sounds of Twin City. I always say on a good day you can see everything but on a clear day you can see forever. And we have tons of clear days so when they come I love to take advantage of them,  that’s why I knew I had to take this opportunity to get out and enjoy some of the local sunshine and sights to see. I don’t care what you’ve heard there’s nothing like the Crucian sun, if you let it it will kiss you with the most golden glow.

 

 

 

Top: Primark Denim Shorts: Old Navy

 

Have you ever seen water so crystal clear and blue?

 

 

In honor of my Springtime glory I wrangled up the crew for a shoot on the west side of the island. But first let me give you a little history on one of the most beautiful places on earth, America’s Paradise, mi tierra, my home. St.Croix is the largest of the 4 islands that make up the U.S.Virgin Islands. About 90 miles south of Puerto Rico, St.Croix has at one point and time been under the rule of 7 different countries: England, France, Spain, Holland, the Knights of Malta, Denmark and most recently the United States. Marked by white sand beaches, warm people and an up and coming food scene, life on St.Croix is not without its charms and simple delights.

 

Goddess Twist Dress: Fashion 2 Figure

 

 

We drove North of town out to the Butler Bay ruins, many moons ago St.Croix was one of the top producing sugar cane plantations. And do you know what comes after sugar? RUM! St.Croix is also home to two rum distilleries, the age old Cruzan Rum and more recently Captain Morgan. So when you visit know that you’re in rum country and we take our spirits seriously.

 

Oh hey! Just hanging amongst the ruins…

 

 

Floral Kimono: Marianne’s               Dress: Forever21              Floral Headband: Claire’s

 

 

Butler’s Bay or Bottler’s Bay as it was originally listed according to Florence Lewishon’s St.Croix Under Seven Flags, was gifted to a new settler to encourage agriculture production in the Northwest area of the island. (Can you imagine being gifted an entire plantation? (Oh to melanin deficient in those times.) Back to story…the plantation and great house that were constructed on this property were very extravagant. Today the Great House has been restored to it’s former splendor and if i’m not mistake is available to purchase for a cool $1 million. The ruins  below still tell the story of a time long gone where sugar reigned supreme. I love coming here to shoot pictures or just on a long Sunday drive. It’s quite peaceful.

 


Do you have any warm weather historical haunts that you like to hang out at or visit often? Let me know in the comments!

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Photo credit: Icy Moonlight Fotografie Makeup: Fierce Fusion by Jai

Hey guys,

I’m back with Part II, answering all your questions. So let’s get right into it, shall we?

What oils do you use?

For the most part the oils that constantly circulate in my regimen are: Jamaican Black Castor Oil (JBCO), regular Castor OIl, Jojoba Oil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO), Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, Argan Oil, I also use Naptural85’s oil mix for hair & body which contains some of the oils mentioned above in addition to Sweet Almond Oil, Avocado Oil and Vitamin E oil. 

 

What tools do you use?

  • Q-Redew Steamer
  • Conair Ion Shine 1875 Watt Styler 
  • Remington Pearl Pro Ceramic
  • Tangle Teezer (that’s on its last days)
  • Denman brush that I’ve removed half the bristles
  • Wide-tooth combs (I have several)

What’s your regimen?

I think I mentioned before but here we go again:

Weekly-Pre-poo> co-wash/deep condition> detangle > air dry> style

Every 4-6 weeks clarify> deep condition> detangle > air dry > style

I do braid outs/twists outs in the beginning of the week, by week’s end I do some time of bun or pouf. I usually protective style with mini twists or buns. Winter months I do wigs or Marley twists if I’m stateside.

Will you relax again?

At this stage of the game, no, but never say never. I feel I have more flexibility with my hair currently than I did when it was relaxed. My hair has always been pretty healthy and had good length but the way that natural game got me that new level of BAH-DEE…I won’t change that for the world.

Are you mixed?

With the blood of my ancestors yes I sure am! I did recently take a DNA test thru Ancestry.com, and my results are 90% of African descent and 10% European.

What’s your hair type?

I am Type 4, a mixture of 4a, 4b, and 4c, nape is 4a, temple sand perimeter area 4a/4b, and crown mostly 4b/4c.

Protective styles- Weaves vs. Wigs?

I’ve used both as a protective style and for the most part I think it’s a matter of preference. I think the most important thing is to remember that you DO still have to maintain your own hair. Often times I notice women who plop on a wig or sew in a weave and they are not caring for their hair underneath, which leads to tons of problems including traction alopecia, dandruff, breakage, permanent hair loss and other damage. PROTECT YOUR EDGES BOO! I understand it’s easy to set it and forget it but you have to still take time to protect what’s rightfully yours. I love weaves, but I prefer wigs because I can switch it up often, and I have direct access to my hair.

I want my hair to look like yours!

I hear this from women a lot. Some have said they can never go natural because they got that ‘tough, nigg*r hair, that I’ve got ‘breed’ because my hair look so soft and they’ve got that ‘back to Africa brillo head’ these are all derogatory statements I’ve heard time and time again. And they are all FALSE! Look Imma be real with you, your hair will never look like mine, you know why? Because we don’t share the same DNA, and even my siblings and I don’t have the same hair texture. What’s on my head is literally my own unique genetic configuration and that’s fine. Yours will be different and that’s FINE. So no our hair textures may never sync up exactly but what you CAN do is nurture and love yourself and your hair and embrace YOUR texture. Good Hair is HEALTHY hair so focus on that. And don’t get caught up in hair type envy wishing your hair could do this or that. You want ringlets or corkscrews? Girl so a bomb ass braid out, twist out, blow out, threading or whatever you need to do to get that style. It’s possible with practice.

Jouelzy has a video that talks more in-depth about texture envy and setting realistic expectations for 4c hair. You don’t have to be 4c to get the message though. So I urge you to take a look.

Do you take supplements?

I do. I take a daily women’s multi-vitamin and hair, skin, and nail vitamin.

Other supplements I take from time to time are: garlic pills and a probiotic, right now I’m currently out so it’s time to restock.

 

That’s it for Part II and stay tuned for Part III. Until then tell me what your hair story? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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*Singing*‘Talking ‘bout good and bad hair, whether you’re dark or you’re fair, go on and swear see if I care, good and bad haaaiiir!

If  you don’t know where that song is from PLEASE stop what you’re doing and add School Daze to your viewing playlist right now.

We all have good days and bad hair days especially in this natural hair journey  (Is it a journey really or a return to our roots? Our essence? Hmm..something to think about) I did a post a few months ago on my natural-versary (LINK to post_ and my natural journey thus far. I get tons of questions from friends, family and strangers about my journey all the time and I figure that the easiest way would be to answer your posts here. So here we go:

  1. How long have you been natural?

My last relaxer was Good Friday 2012, and I transitioned until August 2013, when I big chopped.  I am a second wave natural (I totally just made that term up), which means I went thru transitioning/big chop/TWA phase once before.

  1. What inspired you to go natural?

As I said before I’m a second wave natural. I went natural when I started junior college and had NO IDEA what I was doing. I made a private and personal decision to grow my hair out after I graduated high school. My last relaxer was the day before my graduation and on New Year’s Eve of that year, right before the clock struck 12. I cut all my hair off. I was rocking a TWA after that and felt bare, vulnerable. This was back in the early 00’s and there was slim pickings on the natural hair care product scene. I’m talking…all there was was some Stay Sof Fro, Blue Magic Grease and African Pride grease with the herbs in it. THAT.WAS.IT.   I didn’t know about techniques like LOC, Greenhouse, Inversion. It was me and this TWA that I had no idea what to do with it because all my life I’d been a member of the Long Hair Don’t Care Committee, nobody told me how to do this, and the committee doesn’t offer a guide for the this journey. I wore that TWA out. I had never had a protective style in my life and was apprehensive about braids, weaves and wigs, so I just looked dusty while my hair grew out and I learned what to do with it.

Fast forward 4 years and I got my regimen on routine on lock. I was comfortable in my journey and my hair thrived. I always received tons compliments about  my hair being super thick and healthy. Then one day while watching Glen Lewis ‘Don’t You Forget It’ video  on BET I saw her…and I wanted her HAIR, it was sleek, straight, and I wanted it NOW!  I am referring to the object of Lewis’ affection in the video which was Kent Masters King, her hair was so straight and it literally made me want to straighten my hair ASAP. I thought it over and then one day I walked into the salon down the street from my apartment and relaxed my hair, just like that. Didn’t tell a soul. Just showed up at home with my hair blowing in the breeze, Pocahontas style. I remained relaxed until 2013. I toyed with the idea on and off of transitioning again but never went for it. Then in January 2011 I got a bad perm, my hair was weak and limp and my edges have never looked the same.  With a lot of TLC my hair slowly made a comeback but I decided that I was going to seriously think about crossing the burning sands back to the land of juicy fros and braidouts. I moved overseas for grad school and decided my journey would start there. My last relaxer was Good Friday 2012 and I big chopped August 2013. The rest is history. I mainly made the decision to go back natural because I felt I’d put my hair thru enough with the relaxers and I wanted a change.

  1. What’s your regimen?

My regimen is pretty standard, but the products I use are all over the place. It really just depends on where I am, the weather, and the time of year.

And it goes like this:

Wash weekly alternating between a sulfate free shampoo or a co-wash (if I co-wash I don’t DC) and DC with honey, air dry, moisturize using LCO method and I usually wear the following styles: braid out or a twist out, or a slicked back bun where the ends are twisted and pinned in. I wear that for a week to a week and a half, re-moisturizing with water every other day.

I try to deep condition after every wash, it doesn’t always happen but I do it about 2-3/x a month. I clarify once every 6-8 weeks.

If I’m stateside I usually try to protective style from late Fall to late Spring, alternating between wigs and Marley twists. And I follow the same regimen.

  1. What products do you use?

Regulars

Shampoo– Camille Rose Sweet Ginger Cleansing Rinse

Clarifying Shampoo– Suave Clarifying Shampoo

CoWash Conditioner– Suave Deep Moisture Humectant Conditioner, Suave Almond + Shea Butter Moisturizing Conditioner

Deep Conditioner– Camille Rose Algae Deep Renew Conditioner, Neutrogena Triple Moisture

Conditioner: ORS Replenishing Conditioner, Aussie Moist 3 Minute Miracle, Camille Rose Coconut Water Pentrating Hair Treatment

Detanglers– KinkyCurly Knot Today, Camille Rose Coconut Water Leave In Treatment

Butters– Camille Rose Almond Jai Twisting Butter, Camille Rose Curlaide Moisture Butter, Cultured Naturals Moringa Butter

Oils/Balms– Jojoba Oil, Jamaican Black Castor Oil, Camille Rose Ajani Growth and Shine Balm

*I don’t use ALL of these products every time I wash/style my hair. And I don’t consider myself a product junkie (yeah, yeah I know), I’ve actually streamlined and lessened the products I use, but a mixed 4A/4B/4C girl can NEVER have enough conditioners, balms, butters and deep conditioning treatments. LOL. For the most part I use the Camille Rose line and when I run out I supplement with the other products listed.

  1. Are you a straight natural?

Until recently (about two months ago) I’ve done most of my journey with little to no heat even to deep condition. No blow-drying, no flat-ironing, only using my Q-redew when my hair felt crazy parched.. The way the humidity in the Caribbean is set up and the fact that I sweat profusely in my hair, I didn’t even bother to try.  I stretched my hair by doing braids outs and banding with ribbons. Earlier this year I attempted to blowdry and flat iron once and it looked good and sleek for about 8 hours then it was a massive afro, which was fine.

I have realized that using heat has actually lessened some of my tangle issues so I am not opposed to it. Since I’m back stateside for the Fall, I’ve been using heat, air drying on LOW and using a flat iron on 385 degrees. I love it! I doesn’t make my hair dead straight. It gives me the length I’m always chasing, a bit of that shine I’ve been missing and just big, wild hair. It’s easier to comb thru and work with and I l can’t tell you how much I love it.

  1. How do you feel about coloring? Using heat?

Personally I have and will most likely always be conservative when it comes to my hair color. My hair is mostly 1b and that’s the lane I like to stay in, but think its cool that other naturals color and highlight their hair. It’s not my thing, no disrespect to them. When it comes to my hair color I’m as basic as they come. LOL. I’m getting a few grays so I’m currently looking into henna-ing my hair. Maybe I’ll try that in the New Year to cover these silver lightning bolts trying to Rogue me. I already answered the heat question. I will say as for using heat and or coloring hair, do what makes you happy but PROTECT yourself! Make sure to pre-treat, do your due diligence with making sure your hair retains moisture when doing chemical processes and always use heat protectant.

  1. How long does it take you to do your hair?

It all depends on the end game.

Regular styling- from wash to finished protective style 2-4 hours split

Heat styling- from wash to finish- 5-6

*I usually split this over two days because I air-dry and then style the following day

  1. How long did it take you to grow your hair?

At my current length it’s been about 3 years, 3 months. However I’ve cut about 6-8 inches in the past year.

I’ll be back in a few days with Part II. Until then let me know your hair story in the comments!

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Do you know what today is? It’s my anniversary, my anniversary. I couldn’t help myself. I love that song (it’s the 90s girl in me, what can I say?)

 

Three years ago on August 13, 2013 I finally big chopped after transitioning for over 16 months. The reason I finally decided to big chop was that I was in the process of getting a consultation to get a weave and the stylist requested photos of my hair and my hair line including the perimeter. Once I finally saw the pictures I realize that I had way more natural here then relaxed here basically my relaxed ends were about an inch to 2 inches long compared to the 4 inches of new growth that I had.

 

Transition

 

That’s when I decided it was best to just let it go let the ends go and finally start my second journey into the natural hair care movement.  I am not a big fan of short hair TWA’s do not work for me so I got my hair braided up my hair literally two days after I got the big chop done.
The big chop itself was exhilarating I finally felt free of having to fight with two different textures and I was excited about the upcoming in the new adventures of possibilities and things that I could do with my natural hair and I finally got to see the real textures throughout my hair. The journey so far has been an eye opening experience, educational and a ton fun.  Big Chop Mornings (1)

 

I’ve suffered some setbacks I’ve learned what works for me and what doesn’t work I’ve gone through product junkie phases and regimens that weren’t quite suited for me particularly. At this phase I found something that works for me and I’ve been sticking to my regimen thus far but I am excited for the future.

 

Au Natural Year 2-3

 

So without further ado I have to wish myself a happy third natural-versary. Here’s to many more years of juicy two strand twists, beautiful braid and twist outs and healthy hair care!

 

3 year anniversary

Are you natural? What prompted you to start your journey?

 

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Awww Summer 16, Summer 16.

 

Believe it or not summer time is NOT one of my favorite seasons, don’t get me wrong it has it’s high points. But being born and raised on little gem in the sea that is cloaked in its own perpetual summer year round, you kinda get tired of sun, sand and sea.

 

Wait…who am I kidding, I can never tire of the gifts that nature has thought to bestow on us. I’ve had the great pleasure and opportunity to spend some of my summers in some of the most beautiful places in the world, but nothing beats summer in St.Croix. Summer here just has it’s own type of magic and I’m happy that I’m here for it! Crazy, hot sunny days, call for beach days. It’s mango season as well so I’m trying to put mango in EVERYTHING. Mango lemonade, mango margaritas, mango bbq sauce, mango cheesecake, mango panna cotta, mango, mango, mango!!

 

The temps on island can become unbearable at times especially if you’re not used to them and I have to switch up my beauty routine as well as my wardrobe just a bit to accomodate the season. During the summer I try to stick to a strict (in my own head) sundress and shorts rule as much as possible, because who wants to be in skinny jeans in 95 degree weather?!? I love this because it gives me a chance to try out new things and bring some of my tried and true faves along for the ride.

 

Summer Favorites

 

Here are my summer faves that are allowing me to stay cool and fab this summer:

  1. Lush Shower Jellies – I’ve been a fan of these for a few years now, they are the best! Especially on a hot summer my day. They are amazingly refreshing and my favorite one, Whoosh, offers an intense citrus and rosemary punch that awakens your senses and gets you ready for the day. I picked up Refresher a few months ago while I was in Seattle. They are both citrus based scents which for reasons unbeknown to me, I’m really into right now.  I like to put them in the fridge or freezer as well to keep cool and then break off a piece before heading in the shower. I usually pair it with the From Dusk til Dawn massage bar for after-shower moisture. It smells amazing and helps to keep the mosquitoes away. Thank me later! 
  2. Fresh Soy Face Cleanser– This cleanser is not as harsh as most face washes and gets the grit and weight off your face and down the drain in one fell swoop.
  3. Cultured Naturals Charcoal Detox Scrub– The humidity here is not for the faint of heart, my braid outs are never successful and my face is always sweaty and greasy, it’s hot here y’all! It’s not a game! To counteract that oil slick on my face I’ve been using Cultured Natural’s Charcoal Detox Scrub, this stuff is a miracle worker! Activated Charcoal has many benefits essential to keeping our skin looking it’s best, it’s known to absorb up to 30x it’s weight in toxins, it minimizes pores, is great for acne and oily skin and works wonders at deep cleaning. I have oily/combination skin and my T-Zone during the summer time is like the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989. It’s not pretty. Since using this mask I’ve noticed my face is smoother, less oil and my melanin is on glow.
  4. Avon MagiX Face Perfector– Summers here are hot, do you hear me? HOT! And my skin, especially my face tends to take a brunt of the abuse brought on by the season. I don’t really wear make up in the summer, especially liquid foundation. At most I’ll use my Avon MagiX Face Perfector, this is a primer but can be worn alone, it keeps my face shine at bay, especially when paired with this my Mac Skin Mineralizer and Black Opal Deluxe Finishing Powder, my face and T-zone can make it thru a hot summer’s night on the town. I usually set everything with…Cultured Naturals Rose Water Facial Spritz. I keep mines in the fridge so that it’s cool and leaves me refreshed when I apply it. I also use this solo during the day sans makeup as a quick pick me up for my face.
  5. I loved Cultured Natural products can you tell? Ramone Reid is the creative force behind the brand and she’s the absolute sweetest most knowledgeable person. All her products are organic, handmade, and all natural. And I love that her hair products (that’s a post for another day) are a bit bespoke, she has a set hair product line, however if you need her to tweak them for you she can, which is awesome. Island living is the best but the mosquitos are horrible and they are out here in DROVES, it’s ridiculous, Cultured Naturals Buzzzz Off Herbal Bug Repellent is here to save the day! It contains no DEET, parabens, pesticides and is Non-GMO. I keep this on hand at all times because the mosquitoes out here are savage!
  6. This is sundress and shorts season to the Nth degree so it’s imperative that my skin looks it best and the way that I keep my situation moisturized is by exfoliating, moisturizing and hydrating. I am a big fan of dry brushing before I hop in the shower, this helps to get your lymphatic system going and draining. Once I get in the shower I’ve been using Tree Hut Sugar Scrubs, the Italian Mocha is great for firming up the jiggle with the help of the caffeine. The Coconut Lime scent is just delicious smelling and makes my skin soft and glowy.
  7. Moon Valley Organics Moon Melt Lotion Bar is what I use to lock in moisture. It’s the thing I never know I wanted or needed but now that I know about it I have to have it! A few months ago while in Seattle at Pike Place Market I came across the Moon Valley Organics booth. I had a great chat with the sales reps and tried out some of their testers. I instantly fell in love with their Moon Melt Lotion Bar, I actually forgot to pack lotion so I bought Lemon Vanilla scented lotion bar and it has the most divine smell. I love that it comes in a round metal tin, which makes it easy to travel it’s just the right size to throw into your carry on. Of course, I ended up going back and buying more including the Coconut Lemon fragrance.
  8. You’ve heard me rant and rave throughout this post about the heat, I don’t know what else to say but it’s HOTTER than HADES here! So not only do I make sure to keep my situation moisturized I make sure to protect my skin from the elements as well. It’s hot and the sun is scorching bright. I don’t wear a hat usually, but I do wear one at the beach because when the sun reflects on the sand, it’s like you’ve seen Jesus and are walking towards the light, trust me.  For my lips I use my all time favorite Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment, which has SPF 15, it has a hint of a lemon-y smell and you know I’m down for citrus at the moment. I’ve been using this since college. It’s a bit pricey but definitely worth it, my lips always feel super soft and moisturized when I use it, now if only there was a frog for me to kiss. LOL.
  9. Last but not least, my daily moisturizer which I’ve been using for ages is the Neutrogena Visibly Even Daily Moisturizer which has Broadband SPF 30. It’s worked wonders for my skin and hyperpigmentation.  I usually mix this with my Clinique Dramatically Different Gel Moisturizer, a dab of each, swirl, apply and I’m good to go. I know there’s been many debates about sunscreen being toxic and bad for you and people of color not needing it. Trust me…it’s necessary. It may not be to you but it is to me, this brown girl peels just like my melanin deficient brothers and sisters. TRUST ME. I’ve been looking into all natural alternatives and may make a move to them in the future.

That about wraps up my faves that help to keep me summertime fine. Did any of your favorites make my list? What products are you using to stunt on the summer? Let me know in the comments!

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