Rachel Lindsay Odem

Rachel has a beautiful and unique look. I contacted Rachel, and ask if she share her natural hair story on my blog. Here is what she had to say:

"Before I went natural, I wore weaves (occasionally) a classic bob, etc. I decided to wear my hair natural back in 1997, I made the decision because I felt like I was hiding my true self, I didn't like feeling.  I wasn't pretty if any naps showed anywhere on my head. I felt ugly, I would run to the salon to get a touch up the minute any naps showed. I hate that feeling I wanted to love who I was without the perm. The fears I had were how would my family, friends and boyfriend would like it."

After going natural - "I use Avlon Natural Textures, Miss Jessie's and sometimes I make things at home." For people that have concerns about going natural - "I would say to them accept that not everyone will like it, but as long as you like it that is all that matters."  - Rachel

To read more about Rachel, visit her blog at  www.MakeupByRachelO.com or youtube.com/makeupbyrachelo.

One of each please! ♥

 Photos snagged from a fellow shoe lovers facebook page. I have no idea who the shoe designer is.   
Love love Shoes!!

Bold Cuts - by Sylva

Bold Cuts - life experience story by Sylva

Trip to Puebla, Mexico, March 2001. I was disappointed. All the Mexicans were so, well, American. The clothes, music, Costco...my college experience abroad seemed like the stateside version, only dubbed over in Spanish. 

While ruminating on alternative interpretations for ‘we didn’t cross the border, the border crossed us’ it occurred to me that maybe I could benefit from some introspection. After all, who was I to judge when I was wearing shoulder length braids? I saw a golden opportunity to begin extricating myself from the obligations piled on to me by my family, race and culture.So, I cut my hair. I pulled out those braids and took to sporting the quintessential fade of black boys everywhere. Instantly, I was riveted by my face. What cheeks! My big eyes! My little ears! I didn’t have anything to hide behind. I was forced to face the world unapologetically. No more using my hair to make the appearance of my person less shocking or more palatable. 

Going natural in another country was definitely eye-opening. When I was just black, everyone assumed I was easy; when they thought I was African, their ignorance became even more outrageous. People asked my white classmates if I was their maid and if I spoke English. At drum circles, the crowds eyed me expectantly like they were waiting for me to break out into dance. My mailman called me his ‘Jamaiquena’, his sly way of calling me African. The bright spot in all this was being approached by rural women who asked me to kiss
their babies. They told me that seeing a black person was lucky.

Once back home, my Dad schooled me on how to pick out my hair. I remember sitting in my grandma’s bathroom while he shaped it up for me. His strong hands were surprisingly gentle as he turned my head and inspected his work. There was a tenderness there that I hadn’t expected. I remember feeling grateful because I knew he feared for my future - he told me when I dumped my business major that I would be a pauper - and I could sense that he was hoping this would all be a phase. (Then I got a nose ring! Poor Pop.)  
I broke so many picks trying to get my hair into a neat Afro! Even as I fought it, I was fascinated by its boisterousness. It grew in thick and kinky. It corkscrewed tightly and the kinks had this boiiing quality that was just too cute! I didn’t know my hair could do that! By fall 2002 it had started to loc up on its own. I marveled at how pieces seemed to bond together over night. My hair had a mind of its own!  
The pictures during this time period are particularly telling: my family members look at times scared of, chagrined and bewildered by my natural ‘do. I’ll take responsibility—my hair was unruly. My locs were like raging pond fronds! My grandma caught me getting out of the shower one day and just let me have it. “Oooh!” she said, scrunching up her face and shuddering, “Your hair looks terrible! Terrrrible!”.  I can forgive her only because she was a Sagittarius and they’ve been known to speak without thinking. Eventually, I did cut my hair. I didn’t know of any locticians or natural hairstylists in Seattle and I didn’t know what to do with it anymore. I took the shears to my fat, matted locs and cut. Then I dyed it Red Hot Mary.It was a cute color but it dried up my hair immediately. The little kinks I loved so much stopped boiiinging. The hair at the root became brittle. It truly hurt my heart to see. That was the first time I understood the effect of chemicals on my hair. The price for a seemingly benign pleasure was an irreplaceable quality that was uniquely mine. 

For the next two years, I let my hair grow out again—but this time with more guidance! I washed and oiled it, brushed and parted it, braided and twisted it. Bantu knots were my favorite hairstyle. I arranged them in a diamond pattern all over my scalp. I always got so many compliments when I wore my hair this way. People thought I went to a stylist but it was all DIY. After a couple days, I undid the knots and finger combed the curls into a wavy afro. Talk about hot! At the dawn of the century, I was confident and on my own. My look matched my sassy walk and reflected my willingness to try new things.
In 2006, I officially loc’ed up. My hair was about an inch and half long when I got started. I went to a new stylist in Seattle’s Central District and she twisted me right up! My hair took to the process easily. It was pretty simple: wash, roll and dry. (I maintained my hair myself because I had a weakness for shoes and purses.) When it was long enough, I braided my locs to get a wave or rolled them up to get curls. 

Ten years into nappiness, I have developed a rhythm and relationship with my natural ‘do. It feels good to feel the stubby twists as I wash them and to let my fingers discover new growth. My hair is no longer a burden to me. My roots don’t embarrass me. I don’t have to drive an hour to the next city where all the black hairstylists are. Whew! Going natural is a relief in so many ways. I have to admit that going natural also facilitated another journey. It brought me back to my people. Back in sixth grade, after moving from Washington State to North Carolina, my new black peers ostracized me for “acting white”. My highwaters could be overlooked, apparently, but my straight As were inexcusable. I refused to dumb down and took refuge in Latino culture, excelling in Spanish class and watching Siempre en Domingo on Univision.

Throughout high school and college I kept a wary distance from other blacks.Going natural gave me the courage to face the community who had rejected me in my youth. Hadn’t my hair forgiven me all those years of hotcombs and relaxers? When I took an attitude of curiosity towards myself and withheld judgment, my hair and self-esteem flourished. It wasn’t hard to see that black people responded to internalized oppression in the same way our hair responded to heat and chemicals: by becoming brittle, broken off imitations of images that didn’t sync with who we truly are. I decided to give my people the same chance my hair had given me. Over the years, I have built enduring relationships with beautiful, authentic and empowering people who have appreciated my features and valued our common histories. They understand my struggle and can encourage and nourish me because they are doing the same. All the while, my locs have matured and grown down my back.If there is one thing I’d tell black women, it would be to go natural at least once. If you chose to do chemicals again, then at least you will be making an informed decision. Whatever you choose, getting to know yourself at the root is a priceless undertaking.  -  Sylva, May 2011

To read more about Sylva, check out her blog Blackroot in Bloom.

Afro-Belly Boogie

Every single week, I look forward to my favorite exercise class: Afro-Belly Boggie.  I enjoy this class so much, that I want to share information about the class with everyone. This class is full of positive energy and beyond fun.  It never fails, every week, to remind the women in the class, that we are strong, beautiful women. And sometimes, we do need that encouragement in our lives. The instructor Angel Thacker, is always encouraging and knows how to make everyone laugh. I always leave the class, completely soaked with sweat, but feeling amazing.  And what makes the class even more fun, is that we can bring our own belly dance hip skirts to wear, which adds to our ability to embrace our feminine beauty. 

"Created by Angel Thacker, Afro-Belly Boogie
is a dance fitness program making noise across Northern California and beyond!  Since it's full launch in August 2010, the workout has gained a following of loyal participants who've enjoyed the weight loss an toning benefits that Afro-Belly Boogie brings.  Combining the cardio and toning aspects of African dance movements and toning and conditioning aspects of Bellydance, this fitness program combines the best of these worlds with a dash of club mix to bring the grove come to life. Great music, fabulous dance moves and big fun make this workout a revolution in dance fitness.  So join your local Afro-Belly Boogie workout class and "Join the Dance Revolution!"  - Afrobellyboogie.com.  

Angel's classes can be found in numerous cities in California. She also has instructors that teach the classes in various gyms. To find a class or request that the class be taught you in your area, go to class schedule.  Besides being an amazing instructor and inspiration coach in our classes, Angel is also a life coach and has a great 30 Fitness Program that she offers to any one that wants to improve their health and life. 

Thank you Angel, for offering this class, that helps us to embrace life and our beauty as woman.  

To and read more, go to - Afrobellyboogie.comFacebook.com, Meetup.comExaminer.com

Styled by Thierry

 Amazing loc styles from loctician Thierry Baptist!

Great Accessories from Sproos Shop

I just received these great hair accessories from Sproos Shop! I love this store because they have great hairbands, flower and bow clips. Sproos Shop has offered a great discount for Naturally Beautiful Hair readers!! Enter the discount code: "Karen10" for 10% off any order.

To see more about Sproos Shop, see their website and their Facebook page!

Curly Bun for Graduation!

My youngest daughter wanted a curly hair style for her graduation day. So I braided her hair a week earlier. I took her braids out the morning of her graduation, and her hair had a really gorgeous curl pattern. We tried a few things and finally decided on a curly bun. It came out really cute. It was a great day... :-). Congrats to her and all the graduates!

Featured Reader - Aleta!

"I am so proud of women that go from relaxed hair, to natural hair. I've had my loc's for 5 years, and I loved it so much!" - Aleta

*Check out Online Masters Degree's  and  Bachelor Degree Online. Education is a must.

Introducing Amana Melome

"While maintaining her natural elegance, combined with her American and European heritage and cosmopolitan influences, Amana Melome's latest album "Phoenix Rising" is a refreshing voyage of world music, floating between neo-soul, funk, jazz, folk and reggae. The new album is available on iTunes May 21st.

Amana is an international singer and songwriter who was raised in Italy. Her sound is akin to such contemporary artists as Sade, Erykah Badu, Les Nubians and Esperanza Spalding. Growing up on a world stage, Amana developed an appreciation of all music genres. She is inspired by her Caribbean-American roots and the musical legacy of her grandfather, jazz bassist Jimmy Woode, who recorded with such icons as Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald and Miles Davis.

Amana moved to New York to pursue her passion of singing, where she studied at NYU. Later she moved to Los Angeles and met producer Saverio “Sage” Principini, who has produced Grammy and Latin Grammy nominated and award winning songs for various international artists. Sage recorded Amana’s first album -- Indigo Red in 2008 on IRMA Records and it was one of the first CDs distributed and sold through Whole Foods Markets. Following the American and European release of her record, Amana was headlining festivals, clubs, and performing at private events for such international fashion designers as Fendi and Christian Dior before she was cast in a lead role on the most popular Italian sitcom, Un Medico In Famiglia (English: A Doctor in the Family). Amana speaks English, Italian, French, German, Spanish, and Portuguese and often performs songs in different languages.

Back in Los Angeles, Amana recently returned to the studio and completed the recording of her new album, Phoenix Rising, with Sage at the acclaimed Henson Recording Studios in Hollywood, California. Visit amanamusic.com to hear more."  - Locke Dunn, Mozaic Media

Photos from album photo shoot; Amana with actress and director Nicki Micheaux at her album release party; and a photo from a performance.

Link of the Day! Gorgeous Teruko

I love it when I see a women with grey/silver hair and it's just beautiful! Teruko looks amazing in her photos, shown on Curly Nikki.

Get these looks!

Great loc's tutorial videos from my favorite singer, blogger, comedian - Franchesca Ramsey. To see more videos by Franchesca, check her out on youtube.

Interview with Natural Beauty - Isimot

Name: Isimot

Q:  How long have you been natural?
A: I have been natural all my life and when I was 5 years old I asked my mom to give me locs. It was pretty weird to hear a 5 year old asking for locs but it was something I really wanted and I have had them ever since, i am now 22 years old.

Why has it been important for you to follow your heart, and not give into the pressure to have permed straight hair?
A: It was always important for me to follow my heart and not give into the pressure to cut my locs, and perm my hair or straighten it because I always knew I had a passion from a young age for my locs and I felt completely comfortable being different in my skin and with my hair naturally. In 1994-95 (when i was 5) you did not see many little girls with locs so having locs then always allowed me to stick out like a sore thumb but I loved it. I was always one to be against the grain and that is what has kept me from even having the smallest desire to cut my locs, get a perm or wear bone straight hair.

Q:  What would you say to someone that doesn't feel like they are beautiful with their own natural texture?
A: I would say that it takes time, it takes patience that one must have with themself. When that time finally comes when you accept yourself and your natural hair texture that is when you will feel you are beautiful. The most amazing part about finally reaching that point is the sense of liberation that comes with it. But time is of the essence in order to reach the point where you feel beautiful and liberated with your natural hair texture and yourself overall.

Quote: "Living is pretty, and being free while living is beautiful."  ~ Isimot

*To learn more about Isimot, see her on Twitter or on Youtube.


Giveaway Winner!! Hair Time Art work

The winner of the Hair Time Art work giveaway is "Brandy Wade". Congratulations!! Please send your ship-to information to Katie at mossyrockdesigns@yahoo.com. Thank you everyone that participated in the contest.

Chunky twist-out Tutorial

To get this look, check out the video tutorial below, from Hydratherma Naturals. To see more information and tips, go to Hydratherma Naturals Website.

Link of the Day! ‘Sundance’ Earrings by Dori Csengeri

To die for!  Dori Csengeri ‘Sundance’ Earrings - Source: Highsnobette

Thank you Nerissa!

... ha ha. Nerissa, a fellow natural hair blogger,  has shared some great photos (aka - Eye Candy) on facebook. Blessings...