Dec 27, 2012

Natural Hair and the Arts: Carrie Mae Weems At the Frist

My mom was recently in town visiting me from New Jersey.  Being the social butterfly I am, I strategically planned outings to a lot of my favorite places around town for her to visit.  One of the places we visited was the Frist Center of Visual Arts to see the critically acclaimed works of photographer Carrie Mae Weems.

Video still from Afro Chic
I was pretty smitten by the Afro Chic section of the exhibit (go figure, right?). In her video piece Afro Chic, a number of women, both black and white, confidently grace the runway while wearing afros in clothes from the 60's. 

Throughout the exhibit I found Weems' manner of storytelling to be both brazen and thought provoking while at times being quite humorous.  She covers various topics such racism, sexism, politics and love.   I went through an array of emotions walking through her exhibit from pride and anger to compassion and laughter.  If you're interested in catching the exhibit, you only have until January 13, 2013 to do so.  Find out more information on the Frist website at

Dec 26, 2012

HAIR LUST: Lil Sophisticate!

Be still my ovaries! GEESH! Look at this head of hair! And, let's not look past this sophisticated jacket! Whoever her parents are, watch ya back - she is too cute! Side note: Remember when you mom let you wear your hair out on special occasions - that was always fun! Happy Holidays!

Dec 22, 2012

Christmas Wishes Day 10: Super Sampler Gift Pack

You can win ALL this!!!
Well, this is the last Christmas Wishes post for 2012! Christmas Wishes is just the team's way of saying Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas! You made it to 2013 with the curls on top of your head - you didn't get a relaxer and you didn't set your head on fire! LOL!

I want to thank all my sponsors: 1MeNaturally, Tristan's Barber & Style, Eternite Day Spa, Melissa Styles YOU!, Ashiya Swan Yoga + Wellness, Braids by Ashanti, Fanuppa Soaps, and Kiia Bath & Body.

The winners of each giveaway have been contacted via email. The winner's names are also listed under that specific giveaway's post. CLICK HERE to see if you won!

Of course the last giveaway had to be big. So, I went through my closet and compiled a huge gift basket of products to give to you. Being a natural hair & beauty blogger, we get sent ALOT of free stuff. I couldn't possibly use everything sent to me. So, why not give it away. This super sampler pack includes 3 full-size hair products and about 15 samples. I might add a lil bit more to the package before I send it out. This prize pack includes products from:

So, you know what to do - hit the raffle box below. You have 3 days to enter this contest AND, even if you won a previous giveaway, you can enter to win this one too! So get to clicking!!

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Dec 21, 2012

Christmas Wishes Day 9: Melissa Styles YOU!

We are almost done with our Christmas Wishes giveaway! I truly hope you enjoyed learning about these new business in the area. 

I think you are really going to love today's giveaway! Why? Because it comes from me, your beloved Editor-in-chief! I have a business called Melissa Styles You. I help women (and men) find, update, and create their personal style while helping them understand current trends. I've worked with models, recording artists, and pageant winners - all of which needed help presenting their personal style to the world. Take a look at my portfolio - click here.

Today I'm offering a Closet Reorganization and a 2 hr wardrobe consultation! What a great way to enter 2013! I'll visit you home, help you edit your closet, and assess you current wardrobe in order to help you update your personal style!

You know what to do! Hit that raffle box!

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Dec 20, 2012

Christmas Wishes Day 8: Eternite Spa

Just two more days left in out Christmas Wishes Product/Service giveaway!I hope you enjoyed all the lovely services and products. Even if you didn't win, make sure to support these wonderful businesses!

Today's giveaway is a great one and from one of my favorite people. Contrecia Tharpe is the owner of Eternite Spa at Salon Image in Nashville, TN. Contrecia (aka Ms. Trecie) is a talented make-up artist and aesthetician. She is fully trained in all the ways of making you look your best. Eternite Spa is a skincare destination that offers facial, waxing, body and makeup services located in the Antioch area and attached to Salon Image.

Ms. Trecie is offering one free facial (valed at $60) to a lucky reader today
Visit for a full service menu!

You know what to do - hit the raffle box below! Good luck!
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Dec 19, 2012

HAIR LUST: That perfect puff

Oh my goodness! That's the puff I aspire to have. See when my hair shrinks, at the length its at, it's still pretty small. So when my hair gets long enough  and I allow shrinkage, I want my puff to look like this. Yeah, welcome to my world! Anyway, let's just give love to this wonderful puff!

CHristmas Wishes Day 7: Ashiya Swan Wellness + Yoga and Radiant Health Institute

Everyone enjoying the giveaways? I'm telling you, there's nothing like winning free stuff! So, lets get started on Day 7.

Although we write for this wonderful website, each of the team members have an awesome passion (i.e. side-hustle) and I'm happy to share Ashiya's passion with you! Ashiya is our resident loc expert but did you know she is also a talented trained Kemetic Yoga teacher and holistic wellness coach trained through Radiant Health Institute? Yes, yes she is! When you meet Ashiya one automatically notices Ashiya's breezy spirit and wonderful demeanor - most of which she attributes to the restorative powers of yoga and a truly balanced life.

Ashiya wants to share her gift with you! She's offering one hour of free yoga and a one hour holistic life coaching session! this is a great way to enter 2013 - getting balanced and prepared to enter the new year with a new outlook on life. This is a great gift! Click below to enter.

One winner will be chosen - must live in the Nashville area or be willing to travel to the area to receive services.

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Dec 18, 2012

CELEB STYLE: Janet Jackson rocks box braids!

Looking cute and casual in West Hollywood, Janet Jackson was seen shopping with her uber-rich boyfriend. Please get into the icon's box braids! The lady who made the iconic style famous, can still rock the braids with style. But really, when does Janet ever get it wrong she's too fly!

Click here for info on her cute outfit!

"Y'all forgot I rocked this style first?"

CHRISTMAS WISHES Day 6: Fanuppa Soaps

We specialized in all-natural, handcrafted soaps, bath, and relaxation products. Scents are from plant based essential oils, coloring is from herbs, roots, and other natural ingredients.

Welcome to Day 6 of our Christmas Wishes giveaway! Today's giveaway comes from local business, Fanuppa Soaps. Fanuppa soaps was created in 2008 as a way for the owner (a mother) to find a natural solution to her son's exzcema and her chronic dry skin. Such personal devotion to finding a solution allows Fanuppa develop products that gently crafted and sealed with love. 

Fanuppa Soaps is giving one lucky winner a hand selected gift basket featuring a set of Fanuppa soaps!

Enter below! Good LUCK!!!

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Dec 17, 2012

CHRISTMAS WISHES Day 5: Tristan's Barber & Style

Did everyone have a nice weekend? Well good! Let's get back to the awesome giveaways! Today's giveaway features one of my favorite barbers in Nashville. Seriously ladies (and gentleman), Tristan is THE TRUTH! This celebrity barber is giving away two $25 gift certificates for barber or styling services at his shop. 

Ladies, if you are thinking of doing the big chop in 2013, Tristan is the barber to see. He really knows natural hair. He will clip and style you TWA or low-cut into something sophisticated and fly!

Guys, you think your barber is good, you haven't visited Tristan! Every guy I send to Tristan ends up using him as their permanent barber. Wouldn't you love to say you get your hair cut by the same barber who clips the Titan's hair? Yeah, pretty fly! 

Oh yeah, you can use this gift certificate for the kids. Tristan is great with kids and loves to encourage the youth and give them a good word while he clips their hair. 

So, enter below! Good LUCK!!!
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Dec 14, 2012

Christmas Wishes Day 4: Kiia Bath & Body

YAY!! I hope you are enjoying all these wonderful gifts being given this year! Like I said, I love doing the Christmas Wishes giveaway and I LOVE exposing my readers to new stuff! Christmas Wishes DAY 4 presents Kiia Bath & Body!

With all the products the team and I get to try, some things get lost in the shuffle. But when I tell you, my products from Kiia Bath & Body stay on the top of my list - I tell no lies. This new bath & body company in TN sells quality, handmade, bath & body products - most under $10! The product is AMAZING and so good for your skin. I'm totally in love with my body mist; I use it everyday!

So, you really need to get on today's giveaway! Owner, Nashonta McDowell, is giving away one full-size body from the Kiia Bath & Body line - ENTER BELOW:

Our Body Butter is made with shea butter, jojoba butter, cocoa butter, bees-wax, and essential fragrance oil. This soft buttery texture can be applied from your neck to your feet to help moisturize and soften your skin,it is great for dry,chapped or problem skin that requires a rich moisturizer that will not dry-out your skin.

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Dec 13, 2012

Christmas Wishes Day 3: TGIN Olive Oil Soap

Yeah! Let's keep the giving party going! This gift is from my personal stash. In February, the wonderful folks at Thank God I'm Natural sent me a great sampler pack of ALL-NATURAL body and bath products. I totally fell in love with the brand but more-so fell in love with their soaps! When I went the World Natural Hair Show in Atlanta I stocked up on TGIN products.

So today, I'm giving away one of my TGIN Natural Olive Oil Soaps! The Wild Lemongrass soap is my absolute favorite and I'm giving a bar to you!

Our natural olive oil soaps with shea butter are made with the finest, most nourishing plant oils. Our oversized bars are rich in proteins, vitamins, and natural ingredients which nourish your skin and produce a rich luxurious lather. Great for people with who suffer from allergies, eczema or psoriasis. Phthalate and paraben free.

This giveaway is NOT sponsored by TGIN or affliated with the TGIN website

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Dec 12, 2012

Product Review: Dr. Miracle's Curl Care Strong Hold Gel

I recently got Dr. Miracle's Strong Hold Gel from their new Curl Care line through my CurlBox subscription last month. Yeeeaaah for full size products! I was geeked to try this during my weekly wash and styling routine.  They were right with the name Strong Hold. This stuff is serious!  

Freshly washed and blown dry
One of the things that I have come to realize about my hair lately is that it is in need of products that are thick in consistency.  This gel is pretty thick and doesn't just run out of the container which is great.  That keeps me from using too much.  My hair laughs at wimpy watery products.  My hair is THICK and it needs products that are on the heavy side and aint never scared!  You know,  like Bone Crusher.

What do y'all think? Bone Crusher's curl pattern is at about a 3B ? 3C you think?

Another things I like about this product is that it clumps my curls together well.  I used it with my trusty Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie and really liked the results. I definitely recommend using a good oil to seal it as it could leave your hair a little dry.  So far so good though.

You can get Dr. Miracle's Strong Hold Care at local Sally's Beauty Stores and on the Dr. Miracle's website.

- Good price at $7.99
- Thick consistency to clump thick curls

-May dry hair a little too hard

CHRISTMAS WISHES Day 2: Braids By Ashanti

Let's roll on to Day 2 of our Christmas Wishes product/service giveaway. Yesterday we gave two lucky winners a pair of handmade earring from 1MeNaturally.  Today I'm happy to provide TWO $35 gift certificate for twist/braiding services from my favorite Nashville hair braider - Braids by Ashanti.

Back in August I visited Ashanti after finding pictures of her work on Facebook. Ashanti is fast an professional. She keeps her prices competitively low in order to encourage repeat customers. She is truly a gift to the Nashville braiding community and I'm happy to offer this gift certificate for her services. Ashanti offering this gift certificate to TWO winners. You can use the certificate toward in block braid or Senegalese twist installation.

YOU MUST BE in NASHVILLE or be willing to travel to NASHVILLE to receive this service.

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Dec 11, 2012

CELEB STYLE: Kelis rocks her curls while shopping in LA

Kelis was spotted shopping in Beverly Hills with her cute son, Knight. Kelis has always had an interesting/eclectic style and I love it! Even chillin on a shopping trip, her casual style is slaying. Now let's get into this hair - I'm loving it! I always site Kelis as being one of the pioneers of the present natural hair movement. Her curls are definitely lust-worthy.

Click here to view more photos and see pics of her cute ex-husband (an rumored current boo) Nas.

CHRISTMAS WISHES Day 1: 1MeNaturally Earrings & Accessories

It's day 1 of our Christmas Wishes Product/Service giveaway. Let's start with a returning sponsor and one of my favorite products, 1MENaturally. Meosha Tall's beautiful, handmade, button earrings. Meosha sponsored last year's Christmas giveaway and I'm happy to say she is giving away 2 pair of earrings to two lucky winners this year!

I met Meosha through the Internets -  I think it may have been Tumblr. She's a super cool girl with a head full of gorgeous curls. She's also one of the writers for my one of my favorite natural hair websites - Black Girl with Long Hair. Take a look at Meosha's awesome designs - then enter to win a pair for yourself!

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Remember - you can only win once! Good luck!

Natural in Nashville: Nashville Naturalista Tanavia Hamilton

Can I just tell you that I love our natural hair community?  We can just be so friendly!  There's something about seeing another naturalista around town that just makes you smile and acknowledge each other even if you've never met.  That's what happened when I was in Starbucks one day and saw this beautiful lady walk in the door. Fly as all get out! My friend asked me "Do you know her?" "Nope! But look how fly she looks!"  When we introduced ourselves I found out that her name is Tanavia Hamilton.  She recently moved down here from New York and is a stylist.  We started talking about so many things that I forgot to ask her for a picture to put on Natural in Nashville.  Luckily we had exchanged info (I'm always down for helping new people find their way around town) and I contacted her to send me a pic of her fly haircut.

Say hello to Tanavia everyone and let's welcome her to Nashville's natural hair community!

Dec 10, 2012

CHRISTMAS WISHES Product Give Away 2012

Seriously, I think this is my favorite part of blogging - giving away free stuff!!!!! Now I know how Oprah feels - lol! Last year, started this 12 Days of Christmas product/service giveaway. This year it's called the Christmas Wishes 2012. Don't mind the name change, I'm still giving away free stuff.

Along with the sponsors listed, the writers will be giving away one item from their personal stash - oh! I wonder what it will be? Hmm . . . you'll have to find out.

What's available? Well, I worked hard to get a selection of Nashville based and small businesses. Sometimes the best products come from a company  right in your backyard. Take a look:
  • Each day we'll post a new item/service available on the website. 
  • They'll be several ways to win - following the company on twitter and/or FB, and leaving a comment below.
  • The winners will be contacted by midnight and gifts will ship the second week of January.
Pretty easy right? Make sure you follow Natural in Nashville on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date on the giveaway for the day! Even if you don't win, make sure to support these businesses.

Good luck and happy holidays!!

Dec 5, 2012

Discussion: Porosity Over Curl Pattern

For most of us, the weather outside is getting colder. That means that we have so many more reasons to worry about moisture.

First of all, it doesn't rain nearly as much in the winter. The air is dry and moisture in the hair is lost more quickly to the atmosphere. Also, we use artificial heaters much more often to stay warm. This dries out the air indoors just as much as outdoors. POOF! More moisture gone. And finally, fall/winter fashions are the best (in my opinion. I will happily discuss this in the comment section). But the fabrics are heavier. Therefore, the wool and super plush cotton and fleece are made closer to our hairlines to keep our necks warm. If you have the smallest bit of length, these fabrics will rub and siphon the rest of the moisture out of strands. With all of these obstacles, it makes sense that everyone is more moisture-conscious. How do you know the best way to keep your hair moisturized in these ultra-dry times? I have learned that advice based solely on your curl pattern is useless.

"I want you to suffer" ---the person who assigns hair care solely on texture.

When it comes to moisture, the idea is to get moisture to stay in your hair. Just like pores in your skin, pores in your hair are openings (in the cuticle) that allow things like water into and out of the hair shaft. If your hair dries out really quickly, it's probably highly porous. If it takes 1.5 days for your hair to dry, it has a low porosity. Or click here to read about the porosity test. And that's what you need to know to control moisture.

High porosity hair has many openings in the cuticle. These openings readily absorb water into the hair. That means in dry climates, these openings readily lose water to a dry environment. So you can be soft and lush at 8:00 a.m. and stiff and dry by 2:30 p.m. The best thing you can do to keep moisture in your hair is layer hydrated hair with cream and seal it with dense oils (see photo) to keep water from leaving.

Shea Butter works wonders for highly porous hair. This is an original, by the way.
Normal porosity hair has fewer openings, but still have enough to easily absorb water and nutrients and moisturizers. These can penetrate the hair and leave at a normal rate. So when the air is drier and colder, hair may need to be moisturized more often. Also, a nice, light oil to seal in moisture can only do good to normal strands (unless you have oily hair).

Low porosity hair has very few openings. This hair does not allow most things to penetrate the cuticle. Low porosity hair can be hard to color, hard to moisturize, and once saturated usually takes a long time to dry. The key to keeping moisture in this type of hair is gentle heat. Gentle heat lifts the cuticle layers and allows more hydration and moisture into the hair. Once the hair cools, the cuticles relax and since there aren't many openings, the moisture retention increases. Avoid heavy oils or greasy products. It will likely block the few openings on the hair, and cause a filmy buildup.

Results of my porosity test (from my instagram) 3 hours in. AND I cheated, lol.
I have low porosity.

That was a lot of information. But if you are reading this part, you made it through. And now you can make it through the winter with lush curls that aren't zapped by the dry air, or suffocated by products that it can't absorb. So... did I leave anything out?

What do you do to help retain moisture during the cold and dry winter season?

Dec 4, 2012

CELEB STYLE: Solange rocks brushed waves and bangs on the red carpet

Rocking a sexy nude Olcay Gulsen Two Slit Dress and cute accessories, Solange arrived on the red carpet of a fragrance launch looking all types of fly! You know Solange has no problem slapping a wig on and stepping out. This one, with a cute bang and brushed waves, looks super fab on the singer. Get it, girl!

Click here for more pics

Dec 3, 2012

Product Review: Miss Jessie's Baby Butter Creme

"Miss Jessie's Baby Buttercreme is an ultra-hydrating hairdress for dry, parched kinks and curls. Suitable for both children and adults, its moisturizing formula is essential for softening and growing out natural hair. With just a nickel-sized dollop, you can tame hairline edges and create two-strand twists, cornrows, pony puffs, braids and more."

So, if you've been following me (melissa) on Facebook or Twitter, you know I've never had a love for any Miss Jessie's product. I thought the products had skeptical ingredients, were too expensive, and didn't do anything for kinky-curly hair.While many natural girls were singing the praises of Miss Jessie's I was in that majority of ladies who was giving Miss Jessie's products the SIDE-EYE!

Then, while at Fisk University's homecoming, Miss Jessie's representatives were on campus passing out samples. I'm not talking about one or two samples, I'm talking HUNDREDS of little sample packs of product.Well - if I must! I thought, "Let me REALLY try these products to see what the fuss was all about." Above, you see my swag bag full of stuff - enough to give away to friends. I picked up 20 samples of various MJ products, but what I fell in love with was the BABY BUTTER CREME!

Ya'll - when I say that I'm addicted to the Baby Butter Creme - I tell no lies! OK, what's to like? Well, it's the perfect mix of wet and oily for my kinky-curly hair. If you have hair that tends to shrink up when a watery product touches it - then you should try the Baby Butter Creme. The fragrance is nice and light - like a freshly cleaned baby! The mixture is a bit heavy - but that what's needed for tightly coiled hair. In the Miss Jessie's brochure they list Baby Butter Creme as a moisturizer AND a styling aid for kinky textured hair - they aren't lying. When I added Miss Jessie's Baby Butter Creme to my shrunken hair and did an overnight twist-out my hair looked amazing when I woke up.

The bad news is now that I'm in love, the product is still SO EXPENSIVE! The largest jar of Baby Buttercreme is $58! Lord, that's my electric bill. However, a little goes a long way AND Miss Jessie's is having a BOGO sale now until Dec 15! I guess I'll be 'about that life' and stock up.
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