Friday, 26 April 2013

Fro Fashion Day Amsterdam.

I went to Fro Fashion Day in Amsterdam!

I was in Amsterdam for eight days... it was my thesis recovery break, which I spontaneously booked after being enticed by my friends who live there.

Before heading to Amsterdam, I discovered that Fro Fashion Day was going to take place on the first of April (and I was going to be in Amsterdam anyway...) and I decided to go!

This blog post has a bit of Dutch.

April 1st is SheaDo's first birthday!!!

What is SheaDo

SheaDo is a Netherlands based all-natural kinky and curly hair product brand which is popular in the Netherlands amongst the curly and kinky tresses wearers. I believe it's one of the very few Dutch brands dedicated to natural hair. SheaDo is sold in the UK through The Woollen Head Company.

The first presentation that day was by Mooney from Curls Of Nature (a great Netherlands based web shop and blog for natural hair). 

Mooney explaining the LOIS system

Mooney's presentation was very informative and this is some of the notes I made:
  • The components of hair/Hoe haar is opgebouwd 
  • The LOIS system (page is in Dutch)
  • Hair is more than curl pattern/Haar is meer dan het kurl patroon
  • Porosity test
  • Eat a balanced diet/Eet een gevarieerd dieet; fish once to twice a week, a lot of fruit and veg/Een tot twee keer per week vis nemen en veel fruit en groente
  • Paraffinum addiction/Paraffinum verslaving (link in Dutch)
  • The biggest message: Love, patience, learn about your hair. Listen to your hair/Liefde, geduld, leren kennen van je haar. Luister naar je haar. 

Mooney demonstrating the pineappeling technique, which she uses to preserve her hairstyle for the next day.

We then had Dominique, the owner of SheaDo and author of Crown of Glory, talk about her products. Dominique has AMAZINGLY beautiful hair and skin. Of course I would definitely trust her products. Some of the notes I made:
  • SheaDo = Shea and Dominique
  • Her products are concentrated, particularly the shampoo (some use it with water)
  • Her products have no added perfume and are all-natural
  • She also has a new product out that can be used on hair and skin

Dominique with the Sheabutter & Raspberries Deep Conditioner.

Dominique with her new product, the Whipped Sheabutter.

A quick demonstration of one of her products. It brought this girl's curls to life.

Naomi from NOMI.
Naomi was one of the highlights of my day! Her bubbly personality and her funny lines just got us into many fits of laughter.

She started Kliek Uniek in December 2012. Kliek Uniek is an Amsterdam based shop which sells clothing and accessories.

Naomi showing us some of her clothing line.

She gave us some great tips on how to dress for your body type:
  • It doesn't matter what you have (body type), you need balance/Het maakt niet uit wat je hebt, maar je hebt balance nodig
  • Some trends need to be skipped/Sommige trends moet je overslaan (!!!)
  • If you dress badly, people can tell your size/Als je iets slecht draagt, iedereen kan je taille zien
  • You can use colour to put attention elsewhere/Met kleur kan je het accent op andere plekken leggen
  • Style is what inspires you

According to Naomi, this girl was dressed perfectly for body type and for putting the attention somewhere else on her body. I agree!

Naomi's mood board.

This is Naomi's mood board. She told us to paste the colours we like, the styles we like and that we can build our style based on that. I am so going to make mood boards and not just for style but for what I generally want in life.

After Naomi's presentation, we went upstairs to the shop and we played a game. We were all divided into groups according to body type, so pear, apple, newspaper (I decided I was newspaper) and hourglass. 

Each group had to pick out an outfit and accessories that would be wise for our body type. 

I think this is one of the girls I was working with.

While searching for the perfect outfit, I started walking around and taking pics of what is sold in Kliek Uniek.

These button earrings are fierce! 

Body scrubs and oil.

I like that scarf a lot.

More scarf.

Me and this girl just talked about how nice these shoes looked.

Naomi has been to Africa Fashion Day in Berlin!

And we all showed off what we picked and there was a TV crew (for some Dutch channel) there too! :O

Jennifer from Feaushion Management

Make-up artist Jennifer gave us some good tips (I missed some of the advice because I'm not a make-up wearer, sorry!!):
  • Big brand make-up staff work on commission
  • MAC is good for extreme make-up
  • The general expiry date for many beauty products is about 6 months from opening (now who would have thought that?)

Choosing the giveaway winner. The winner received a bag of full-size SheaDo products and some great accessories! 

Dominique with the winner

OK this girl had the fiercest fro. I knew from the get-go she would win the prize because she looked great! I just had to find out who she was and she's a freelance model!!

Sample of SheaDo's new product
The Whipped Sheabutter is great! It doesn't have the traditional shea butter scent (thumbs up from me because I don't like how shea butter smells). It smells kind of sweet but pleasant. It is non-greasy and you can work it into your skin or hair with a few strokes.

SheaDo products on sale.
SheaDo sells a deep conditioner, a leave-in conditioner, a shampoo, a hair butter and a moisturiser.
I purchased the Green Tea and Chamomile Shampoo (I know I'm on a self-imposed ban but I ran out of shampoo). We got a card from Kliek Uniek and a cute print badge attached to it.
I had a good time. It was a new experience being in a different country and going to a natural hair event there.

The meet-up was 'intimate' (there were about 20 something people there) and we were given the opportunity to walk around (during the body type/clothing game) and get to know each other. This event wasn't just about hair, but also other things such as make-up, body type and fashion (I had no idea how important that was (._____.)). This event was diverse and catered to what interests women in general. I really liked that. There's more to life than hair.

The other attendees were nice, the organisers were nice, everyone was nice. The energy was just positive and I genuinely had a very good time. I approve of any events organised/sponsored by any of the ladies who took part in Fro Fashion Day. I hope to go to another event in the Netherlands!

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

You'll Side-Eye Me; Garlic and Honey Water Remedy.

When I tell people what I take when I'm ill, they give me the side-eye which is then followed by a look of disgust. Kind of like this right here:

I disapprove.
Stress levels have been through the roof over the past few weeks (I blame my thesis for most of it) and I succumbed to the most unpleasant sore throat last week.

Last Friday, my lovely friend Linda and I spoke on the phone and she realised that something was up with my voice (she thought I cried, bless her!!). I told her that I had a sore throat and she suggested I get some honey. The next day I went to Marks & Spencer's and purchased some honey, which I had with many cups of tea (mainly rooibos and moringa instead of my usual white tea (which ran out)). I also want to add that during the week of my sore throat, I did not drink any coffee and I made sure I stayed as hydrated as possible (why can't I do this when I am not ill? >___>). 

My throat made slight improvements but I needed something stronger for that + something to knock out the common cold I got on the Saturday. Yep. If a sore throat isn't exhausting enough to deal with, I also began to get the sniffles. 

So I did what I usually tend to do when I get the sniffles; mince a clove of garlic and wash it down with water. 

This is how I do it.
I followed this up with something that I never tried before. I stirred in two teaspoons of honey in a glass of water. I stirred, stirred and stirred and drank it all up. 
If you want to do it with style, add ice and a straw. 
I did this on the Sunday and the Monday night, just before bed.

Today is Tuesday. The sore throat is completely gone but I still have a bit of a cough. No sniffles. No blocked nose. I can breathe freely and my body doesn't feel like I've ran a few laps. As precaution, I will do this again tonight! 

Nature heals. Garlic and honey are known for their antimicrobial properties and have been used for centuries in health, diet and beauty. A lot of people think garlic is really nasty and smells, which is why I take it at night (you really shouldn't take it in the morning, for your personal embarrassment and for other people's comfort). If you don't like garlic that way (minced) you can always take it whole, take capsules or just eat it in food to mask the smell and the taste. Keep in mind though that garlic is not suitable for everyone. 

Saturday, 20 April 2013

To the NJ Poet.

Dear NJ Poet,

Remember how we met... on Twitter? It all started off with Fifty Shades of Grey. I guess something good did come out of it...

The book enabled pretty much every self-proclaimed (or not) literary god or goddess to sit down over coffee and bad mouth the book and the author. The book is also a big reminder that shitty writing but erotic story lines can take you further than great writing about wisdom and finding inner peace. Sex sells.

I really loathe that book and the numerous copycats that came after that book. Do you know I've actually never finished it? The second book that is. I managed to finish the first one while cringing during every S&M scene; basically, I was cringing throughout the entire book.

I found this on the train last year:

Fifty Shades of Trash.
Very apt huh?

Let's talk Twitter again. My Twitter timeline is a mix of everything. But I always notice the coffee tweets. The American society tweets. Basically the tweets ending with #NJPoet. It stands out to me because there's always honesty, humility and understanding behind it. I can also relate to most of what's been tweeted. Especially the coffee stuff.

But why am I writing this letter? Simply to express my gratitude.

Yes I did have to search for you through my favourite tweets!

Many a time, I expressed my frustrations on Twitter in regards to writing, i.e. writer problems. I expressed fear. I expressed my unwillingness to do it. I expressed a huge lack of confidence. I started to see writing as tedious. I started looking at it as a task that needed to be done, rather than a hobby I take great joy in doing. I wanted to give up and just kiss writing goodbye. 

It's when I started reading your tweets in response to my 'outcry' (all of which have unfortunately been lost because silly me didn't favourite everything along the way), I started looking at writing differently. No seriously, I did. And why? Because an English prof., well-respected, well-liked, articulate, etc., told me (small-time blogger whose teacher slammed her university personal statement claiming the grammar was atrocious), that I am a writer. 

And it's only then when I started believing that and started taking pride in it. 

No amount of posts for my own blogs or guest posts for other blogs made me feel like a writer. It was you simply telling me that I'm a writer. 

Literally since then, my focus changed. I'm not so afraid anymore. I am more confident. And I know I can improve along the way and only become better. 

Look out world.

P.S. the stickers, the badge (will join other cool badges on one of my bags), the bumper sticker (for my first car perhaps?) - I thank you for that too. 

From now on I will write my ideas in this and these stickers will inspire.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Clothing: A Piece At A Time.

As I'm growing older, I'm becoming more and more comfortable in my own skin. I want to dress up and not just for special occasions or for others, but also for myself.

I'm almost done with my degree and I am tired of wearing Converse and hoodies on a regular basis. I want to dress up and look nice... kind of diversify my look a little.

I asked a cousin of mine who always has such nice clothes how she was able to get a completely fashionable wardrobe.

She offered me one great tip: ''buy one article of clothing a week''. This made complete sense to me. I'm a student with a not so generous income.

My previous attitude in regards to shopping was to bulk buy every few months or so (I suppose I thought that was the only possible way to go shopping but it definitely isn't!). The downside of bulk buying is that it forces me to shell out a lot of money at one time, plus I am also missing out on the latest trends because I won't buy anything new until months later (bad... I know -______-). Not to mention that if you go shopping for a few hours, especially on a busy weekend, you get so tired and you just want to go home so you don't try on everything (guilty as charged >___>). When you get home, you vow to never shop again and you don't shop until you absolutely have to.

And who knows, maybe I'll change my taste in clothing along the way? This is another reason why I advocate buying little but a little bit more regularly.

Of course there is nothing wrong with bulk buying and I suppose buying one thing a week can appear more expensive in the long-run but the idea is that I am buying something that I have taken the time to fit (since I am not spending all day shopping, therefore being tired as a result)... plus I'm buying what is in sales or trendy, etc.

Along with my cousin's advice, I'm also doing the following to get my wardrobe to look more fashionable by the week while also saving money along the way:

  • Buy discounted articles; check the sales rack, there's always a gem amongst the rocks there!
  • Take advantage of student discounts. Showing your ID or NUS card in some shops such as New Look can give you a certain % off clothing and accessories.
  • Take advantage of offers such as BOGOF (buy one get one free) or the really cool offer by H&M where you trade in your old clothes for an in-store discount
  • Thrift stores!!! Yes thrift stores! I used to really hate the idea of thrift stores but after visiting COW Vintage in Birmingham a few weeks ago, I'm officially a convert!
  • Shop online! You can find deals and alternatives on what you want to buy. 
  • Buy clothing for the next season (i.e. Winter) when the new season begins (in this case Spring). Winter items will be discounted to make room for the Spring collection, so your winter clothes will be cheaper! 

I started the 'challenge' with a blazer which was half price at £7 in H&M. Good buy.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Midlands Meet Up Dinner.

C is for 'CURLS'.
Two Saturday's ago, I went to the Midlands Meet-Up dinner. It was just a small group of us Birmingham naturals trying new foods/revisiting foods we've already eaten before and conversing about all kinds of things!

I didn't take many pics that day... at all -_____-'' but here are two pics anyway.

At the dinner, I met Matilda of Kokoberi, which is a Birmingham based online-store that sells bespoke headpieces such as fascinators and accessories such as headbands which can adorn your beautiful head of hair.

Some of the accessories Matilda brought to the dinner

After long deliberation, I finally decided to go for desert. The coconut reika was amazing!!

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Solange Knowles Puts A Fool Back In His Place.

Gotta love Solange for doing her own thing, being herself and being completely unapologetic about it. 

I've seen and heard people criticise her way too much. Regardless of Solange's unique and cute fashion sense and hairstyles, she is continuously shitting on the criticisers' lack of achievements. She's doing great and and being great. Let her be.

A message from me (or The Honourable Marcus Garvey rather), to all the people who think that naturals need to relax:


Thursday, 11 April 2013

I've Dumped Dove Deodorant Forever.

I have officially washed my hands off mainstream deodorants found at supermarkets, drugstores and Off-Licences.

I generally use completely natural deodorant (the natural part is up for debate though; some people consider any derivative of aluminium as non-natural/dangerous but I haven't really looked into it, so it's whatever). Anyway, for a year or so, I've been using the Tom's Of Maine brand deodorant which recently ran out. Before that, I used Salt Of The Earth spray for about two years. The Tom's Of Maine citrus deodorant that I was using was ok. I didn't really like the fact that it was scented... I suppose I didn't really like that specific scent.

So my Tom's Of Maine ran out and I've had to use Dove for about two weeks until I could find the time and the store to get my all-natural deodorant again.

During the last few days of using the Dove Roll-On, I noticed itching. I also noticed a weird film on my underarms... it was impossible to get off in the shower and it took a few days for my underarms to feel like normal again.

I dumped the Dove Roll-On. Never again am I going to use mainstream deodorants (and not just for the reaction I had, but just for the fact that they're not good for you anyway).

Now I'm back to using my first love, Salt of The Earth. It's unscented and doesn't interfere with my favourite perfume. It also doesn't leave any weird films on my armpits!

My Number One... Deodorant.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

I'm Liked For Me.

I’m liked for me.

For who I am inside.

Not for what I wear. For what I own. For who I associate with. For how I look like. For what grows out of my head.

I am liked for me, for who I am inside; my character and my mind.