Each year African Americans spend billions of dollars on haircare products mostly of which are important from China. However, there are a lot of black owned haircare companies that are producing some amazing products. So, in honor of black ‘hair’story month, here are a few black owned haircare businesses to check out.Read More
With such a unique culture and breathtaking views, its hard to truly summarize my unforgettable experience in Asia, but here are a few answered questions that I’d like to share with my SKS insiders!
Which place was your favorite?
It’s a tie!
Shanghai had the most unbelievable shopping that I’ve ever experienced in MY LIFE! The fashion in Shanghai was on another level and every mall was "high end". The shopping was so insane, that I had to purchase another full size suitcase back!
Thailand will always hold a special place because of the warm weather, beaches, and the people. The staff at our resort were so friendly that we would hold them hostage in our room at times, just talking for hours about everything Thai. I will definitely be back!
How did you plan your trip?
When it comes to trips I am definitely a researcher. Whether it’s asking people that have visited before, searching IG hashtags, or scrolling through my favorite travel blogs, I make it my business to look for all of the picture-worthy locations because I am all about the photo op… Can’t you tell?! However, I cheated a little this time because I have a friend that lives in Shanghai who has traveled to many places in Asia. She single handedly guided me through the planning process for this trip - from the route I should take, the do's and dont’s, and even how to negotiate EV-ER-Y-THING in Thailand. I am forever grateful to you, Tiffany!
What would I do differently?
How was the food?
Honestly, I had no problems at all being vegan in Asia. Asian cuisine is one of my go-to’s usually, so I felt right at home. The only problem was finding time to eat between shopping, massages on the beach, and sleeping! Yes, I know, tough life.
Where are you going next?
Next year I plan to visit, Shanghai, Tokyo, Singapore, and Bali. I also have big plans for my 35th birthday travels next year.. so stay tuned for the next adventure!
Check out the Moments Captured in Asia
By learned I mean learnING and by swim I mean swim CORRECTLY... Swimming takes on a whoooole new meaning when you have to submerge your head completely under water and learn essential breathing techniques.
At a very young age, mothers instill the rule to their daughters, "do not mess up your hair," especially in the African American culture. This message included, but was not limited to, swimming. Why? Because the countless hours that were invested into making curly hair straight would've been a waste of time and money down the drain.
I challenged myself as I embarked NYE 2017 because I would be spending 7 days in the British Virgin Islands for Yacht Week. 7 whole days, and I didn't know how to swim. I wanted to jump into the water with my lifeguard friends and not be afraid of dying! My version of swimming was holding by head above water as deep as I could stand up in.
In September 2016, I signed up for private lessons at SwimMAC located at Charlotte Latin School, with the hopes of overcoming this obstacle within 4 months of vacation.
This is where my friendship began with Mary Sue, my swim instructor. I had MAJOR trust issues with Mary Sue before we ever met; Could she save me if I drowned? How patient will she be? Does she understand how afraid I am? What will I do with my HAIR? All of these questions prevented me from signing up sooner, but finally I decided no more.
Did I magically learn how to swim like a fish before my vacation? In January 2018, needless to say, I shamelessly went to BVI with kiddie arm floats. I realized I would need a lot more time than 4 months, and I was determined to learn even after my vacation. With this in mind, I had to put the health and maintenance of my hair in consideration. A year had passed, I'd stopped straightening my hair, and started embracing my natural curls. I wasn't using my hair as an excuse in the learning process, and I didn't have to tailor my lessons around when my hair was "done". No longer was I gonna be a slave to my hair. I was ready to fully commit by eliminating the anxiety of "not messing up my hair".
Everyday I encounter women whose only concern is "how do I keep my hair like this?" Worries of ruining it from working out or even the rain, so obviously going for a swim is out of the question. On this journey of embracing my true curls, I'm no longer burdened with how to keep from getting my hair wet.
MYTH: Swim Caps Keep Your Hair Dry
Fact: False. The purpose of a swim cap is to keep your hair out your face.
My new concern - how to keep my swim cap on! Hence, the braided styles you often see me wear. They fit perfectly under my swim cap and I'm able to rinse and co-wash before heading to work without much effort. The pool can be brutal to all hair types, so every weekend I apply conditioning treatments before re-braiding.
I've attend lessons twice a week for the past 20 weeks, and now I'm no longer holding Mary Sue's hand to jump into 12 feet of water. I'm now in a group session, sharing Mary Sue's attention, and I have yet to drown! I'm no Michael Phelps and my technique isn't perfect, but I'm determined to swim a triathlon one day. My biggest challenge was getting out of my own way and not overthinking things. Instead of visualizing myself diving to my death, I chose to visualize these goals instead.
Everyday my hair gets wet and curly and that's OK! It's not always easy to be a curly girl and often I find myself apologizing for my hair; mostly on days when I leave the pool and come straight to work. Instead, I have learned ways to be creative and experiment with ways of wearing my hair that supports my lifestyle both in and out of the pool. The lesson in it all is to be YOU unapologetically YOU! Your hair doesn't have to stop you from achieving your goals and living your best life.
A Message From Mary Sue on My Journey
How to describe Shassity as a student?
Shassity is one determined woman. When I met her in the Fall of 2016, she told me she was going to be sailing for BVI, and needed to get comfortable in the water. My first thought - darn I want her life!! My second thought was, I have to get her relaxed and treading so she can enjoy this trip of a lifetime!! I could sense her fear and anxiety but to her credit she pushed through. She approached her lessons with honesty (her raw fear) and courage by never giving up. We focused on what tools she’d have to help her while swimming alongside the boat along with the basic skills to float, kick and tread. She promised to return after her trip, so she could learn how to swim freestyle, and she did. I was so thrilled to hear from her after her vacation. I understand swimming was not easy for her and have such respect for my swimmers that meet the water head on despite their anxiety.
How has Shassity Progressed Since Your First Meeting in Fall 2016?
Fast forward to today and you will see Shassity swimming laps! She arrives with a smile, gets right in and starts kicking with a board to warm up. I still see glimpses of anxiety if she gets water up her nose, but that is normal. No one enjoys that sensation! Despite being challenged by a new drill, Shassity pushes through with determination and accomplishes the new movement. She not only is swimming freestyle, but has started backstroke as well. She has set her goal to swim and is reaching it!!
Describe your Response When Shassity Informed You About How Hair Plays a Major Role in Not Knowing How to Swim?
When Shassity told me she was going to blog about her experience in learning to swim, I thought awesome! I meet so many adults who never had the chance to learn to swim and are unable to enjoy the water today with their families and friends. It's especially an issue for adults with children. Parents hold back on July 4th relay races and family vacation days by letting their fear get ahead of enjoying time with their children. But hair?? I had never considered hair a reason to not swim. To be fair, I am not a girly girl, I spend no more than ten minutes on my hair and that's only when I have a special occasion. I grew up on the beach where hair was in a ponytail PERIOD- curly or straight - style wasn’t considered. Thinking back, my Mom didn’t get her hair wet, probably because she had a standing weekly hair appointment (I am happy to report, those days are gone and today she is way more active now and goes under water often!).
Are we choosing style and looks over safety?
So as a society (warning - tangent coming here!), what are woman choosing? Are we choosing style and looks over safety? Water safety should always be number one. We need to give ourselves and our daughters the gift of knowing how to swim. We need to know how to react in water - how to save yourself in an emergency, one never knows when she could fall off a dock, boat etc. or need to help someone else in distress. In addition to safety we need to prioritize exercise. Exercise is the key our health. Swimming is an awesome form of overall exercise. Many people find the pool following overuse injuries. The water is gentle on joints. Anyone can enjoy the water and build up strength as well as learn to swim.
I don't have a daughter but if I did, I would strongly encourage her to swim with an active hairstyle versus not be active. We woman need to put strength and enjoyment ahead of perceived good looks. Our smile of accomplishment and strong body will beam more brightly than any hairstyle!
Afraid of the Water?
"Fear is okay to a degree, everyone should have a healthy respect for water, we aren’t fish..."
That being said, everyone can learn and you must for your safety. I have students of all ages, some in their late 70’s who are just now learning how to swim. It’s never too late.
But how? slowly....we kick holding the side , then we float and add a glide, then we blow bubbles. One bubble at a time. And before you know it you can put it all together!
It is so important to keep learning new things in life. Swimming is a gift - it will open new opportunities to you - a form of overall exercise, a new groups of friends, fun with kids or grandkids, snorkeling trips etc. Don’t wait any longer, today is the day! Give me a call!
Contact Mary Sue Curry, Private Swim Instructor:
firstname.lastname@example.org|704-957-0216 | www.swimmaccarolina.org
Coachella 2018, appropriately nicknamed BEYchella, was definitely one of my best experiences Yet.
This trip was 2 years in the making, after cancelling last year's plans following the announcement of Beyonce forgoing her headlining slot due to the pregnancy of her twins. We were a bit disheartened, but truthfully, I needed every last day to prepare for the epic greatness of BEYCHELLA!
First Black Woman to Headline Coachella
"I needed every last day to prepare for the epic greatness of BEYCHELLA"
SECURE THE TICKET
Scoring access to one of the biggest festivals in the world can be tricky if you aren't on your A-game.
IT TAKES A TEAM. Most of my clients know my passion for travel and many knew my determination to be a part of the momentous occasion. This ticket sale date was highly anticipated and everyone knew this festival would sell out quickly. During the last seconds of the opening of ticket sales, I was busy making everyone look beautiful *insert sarcasm*. So in a true team effort, I had a few clients on standby, logged in & ready to grab my pass. With the help of my clients , we were successful before the sell out. Ticket secured ✔ !
Secure the Room and Ride
I know everyone sees the campsites and tents and yes they embody the true essence of what everyone imagines when you think of Coachella, however, I opted for a hotel & shuttle pass!
The average cost of an Uber to and from my hotel (15 miles away from Empire Polo Field) is $100 one-way, so the $75 shuttle pass was well worth it. The shuttle system ran very smoothly both coming and going to the festival and I would highly recommend it! Accommodations secured ✔ !
Next Up... What to Wear!
If you know me you know I LOVE A THEME!
Most Coachella goers really pull out the stops when it comes to making a fashion statement. Sparkles, mermaid hair, hair accessories, over stated jewelry, and full on hippie vibes EVERYWHERE!
The real dilemma was how to be cute yet comfy. Every look I wore was planned with these 2 things in mind, and the 4 months of fashion planning definitely paid off. Fashion secured ✔ !
Hair, ✔ !
No look is complete without the perfect Coachella hairstyle.
I chose a very Khaleesi inspired (Game of Throne fans) braided look, complete with silver metal accessories. I'm sure we all can relate to the extreme measures some of us will go through to make sure our hair is done RIGHT, so I flew into California a day early for my hair appointment with one of my most trusted hairstylist friends. Hair ✔!
Enjoy the Experience
All that was left was to enjoy the festival...
And that I did! I mapped out my days using the Coachella app which sent alerts for each artist's performance. I sang, danced, and ate every vegan thing in site. Although Coachella is expensive, costing about as much as my 30th birthday trip to Dubai, I'd do it all over again..Well, if Beyonce headlined again lol. Finally, I can check Coachella/Beychella off of my bucket list. Check out moments captured in the photos below.
NYE in the UKRead More
"Heat is a frenemy..."
One day it's your best friend when you're trying to achieve a straight style, but when you're going for a more curly mane, heat damage will bite your look with a vengeance. One of my New Year's resolutions is to skip the heat
Follow My Curl Journey and see how it all began at the Ouidad Flagship Salon in NYC.
I started last summer with my admiration of Megan Goode's faux Locs style. Being the researcher that I am, I began my online hunt for a stylist who could mimic the technique but never really found anyone that was able to achieve that authentic, bohemian, Lisa Bonet dreadlock style.