Friday, June 27, 2014

Style Post: Kimonos & Brunch

Hey kurlies,

Hubby and I recently went brunching (one of our favorite things to do), and I thought I would do a quick outfit post, especially since I am rocking a kimono. Let's get to it, shall we! 

Kimono: Thrifted
Pink spaghetti top: Forever 21
Shorts: H&M (originally pants, but I cut them)
Necklace: Thrifted

You can't really tell, but my hair is in mini twists, rolled and tucked into a bun.

Purse: Hayden Barnett (Thrifted)

Shoes: Bakers

We brunched at Cafe Brazil. The service was great, and the food was delicious. I had the veggie tacos, which were filled with zucchini, mushrooms, peppers, feta cheese, and scrambled eggs. We will definitely eat there again in the future.

Peep hubby, mocking me in his mint shirt... Lol! Gotta love him! 

Until next time... 
Be faith-filled, fearless, and fabulous,
Kurly Ken

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

My Summer Hair Regimen

Hey Kurlies,

When I hear the word summer, I think of one word: RELAX! Doesn't everyone!?!?! It's one of the best times of year to engage in rest and rejuvenation. This summer I'll be incorporating this theme for a more relaxed hair regimen for the rejuvenation of my tresses. Today's post is dedicated to discussing my weekly summer hair regimen.

First off, for the month of June, I have been rocking mini twists. For whatever reason, my hair grows a lot during the summer months, and if I can maintain low manipulation/ protective hairstyles, I am able to retain more hair length. 

Now, let's talk about my regimen for my mini twists. Monday through Sunday (except on Friday), I have been lightly applying my aloe/water spray mix to my hair and moisturizing my ends using a dollop of my homemade moisturizing cream (Read about it here). Friday has been my designated wash/ scalp cleaning day!!! On Friday evening, I have been taking some cotton pads soaked with witch hazel and cleaning my scalp! I clean my scalp this way to minimize the frizz and tangles associated with washing my hair in mini twists. This has been the result when I have attempted to wash my mini twist in the past, and it wasn't pretty or fun to take down. Can we say knots on top of knots!?!?! After I clean my scalp, I'll spray and moisturize my hair with the same products from the other days.

My hair regimen is pretty easy, right? It;s been pretty low maintenance for the most part. My hair has been easier to moisturize with the twists in my head, and my night time routine has been less than five minutes, including moisturizing my hair and placing my satin cap on my head. Definition of SIMPLE! 

With the end of June on the horizon, I plan on switching up my hairstyle. For July, I plan on installing box braids. Winning!!! I seriously can't wait! I love braids!  I'll figure out a hair regimen for my braids soon, but I am sure it will be similar to my mini twists regimen. 

 Box braid memories from January/ February 2014! How I miss them so!?! 

What's your summer hair regimen? What favorite products are you digging right now? Are you keeping the same hair products for summer or are you switching up? 

Until next time...
Be faith-filled, fearless, and fabulous,
Kurly Ken

Friday, June 20, 2014

Style Post: Season of the Crop Top

Hey Kurlies,

Summer is the perfect time to rock crop tops, and I have been rocking them every chance I get. On friday, I had the opportunity to go out to dinner with some of my fabulous friends.

For my make-up, I kept it simple, and wore a neutral golden eye with a smoked out outer crease. My lip color was Retro Red by NYC Cosmetics, which I reviewed in my most recent post Red Lipsticks for Women of Color. I also kept my hair simple. To prep for this style, I blew my hair out and placed twists in it over night.  Twelve hours later, I undid my twists and pinned my hair over to the side. 

Black cut out crop top-Forever 21 years ago
Black caged shoes-gifted
Multi-chain gold necklace- store in Seattle 
 Oblong gold earrings-Forever 21 years ago

For the restaurant, we went to Zenna Thai and Japanese Restaurant; however, upon my arrival, I saw I was a bit overdressed. Luckily, my awesome friend had a pair of spare sandals in her car. I guess I need to get with the program and start carrying around a spare pair for myself.

Zenna Thai and Japanese had such delicious food, and I ordered several rounds of Philadelphia Rolls. My fave!!!! The rolls were absolutely perfect, filled with smoked salmon, cream cheese and avocado. My kind of roll! 

It was an awesome night filled with good conversation, laughter, entertainment, and delicious food.

Until next time,
Be faith-filled, fearless, fabulous,
Kurly Ken

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Thrifting Adventures with Kurly Ken

Hey Kurlies,

I decided to do a small haul of some of the items I came across in my thrifting adventures over the past few months. There is something about thrifting that truly excites me! Perhaps it's the joy of the hunt or finding a hidden treasure! Either way, I. LOVE. THRIFTING. Goodwill is one of my favorite spots, but I go to a variety of thrift stores. 

When I go thrifting, I try to stay within a budget, and I typically look for items within a certain category. For example, lately, I've been focused on adding more blouses, pants, and jeans. Now, I don't disqualify any other hidden treasures I may find that fall out of this category, but I try really hard to stay focused on the specific category. However, I am not always successful with this method though!

Let the thrifting haul begin:

Mumu harem pants, $4.99
I have no idea who this designer is, but the pants are adorable!
I can't wait to pair these black pants with a black crop top or white blouse or one of the new, colorful blouses I recently purchased.
Stay tuned for an outfit of the day with these pants!!!!

Zara cropped trouser, $5.98
I love these trousers, and they fit perrrrrfectly. I can't wait to pair them with a
fitted sweater and some flats or heels in the fall and winter. 

H & M black and navy dress, $4.99
This dress fits like a glove! I can see this dress worn with a statement
necklace for a special occasion. 

Blouses, blouses, and more blouses, all less than $6.00
These blouses will be paired with endless skirts, jeans, trousers, and beyond!
Each one is of great quality and a lovely burst of color!

Burgundy Fitted dress, $3.99
This will be cute with a fedora and some sandals. It would even be cute
with a black blazer and chunky wedge heels in the cooler months. 
I love pieces that can be transitioned from one season to the next.

Light and dark wash denim jeans, less than $7.00 each
No description needed. 

I like that all of these items are basic, but their basic nature allows me to build on these items taking them from casual to dressy. Stay tuned for some new outfit posts with these thrift finds. Well, anyways, that's all I have for this post. 

Until next time...
Be faith-filled, fearless, and fabulous,
Kurly Ken

Thursday, June 12, 2014

So you just went natural, part 2

Hey Kurlies,

Hopefully, you have read the initial post to this series. If you haven't read it, read, So you just went natural, part 1. This second post is dedicated to providing my hair care tips for the newly natural. In the initial stages of being natural, it's very easy to become a product junkie, and I'm not judging. However, there are certain products/techniques that are staples to the newly natural, and I will discuss these products/ techniques below. Let's get right to it!

Hair Care Tips for the Newly Natural:
1. Moisturizing Conditioner. You need a moisturizing conditioner for co washing (conditioner washing) your hair. When I first went natural, my hair was very dry. Often times, I co-washed two to three times a week, and this was relatively easy since my hair was so short. Co-washing helps to restore the moisture levels of the hair. I used conditioners from Giovanni and Garnier mostly. While the Giovanni felt great on my hair, it did not sit well with my pocket book, especially since I co-washed so frequently.  I know other naturals who cowash with VO5 and Suave, which are less than $2 at most stores, and they still get the job done
2. Clarifying Treatment. A clarifying treatment will cleanse and remove scalp buildup, and this should be done at least once a month. When you are co washing frequently, it is very important to clarify your hair at least once a month to remove excess buildup from your pores. Some clarifying treatments can be found in the form of clarifying shampoos while others use apple cider vinegar (which I love) to clarify. 
3.  Deep conditioner. A great deep conditioner will allow you to nourish, moisturize and strengthen your hair. I used (and still use) Elasta QP-DPR and/ or Organic Root Stimulator Hair Mayonnaise as my deep conditioner. There are so many deep conditioners out there, from Shea Moisture to Carol's Daughter to Oyin to Cantu Naturals. You get my drift! And if you can't find a deep conditioner you like, make one. Avocado with olive oil make a great deep conditioner! 
4. Styling Tools. Styling tools like a wide tooth comb, satin bonnet/cap/scarf/pillow case for night time and spray bottle for a moisturizing spray are staples when you first go natural. 
5. Items for the LOC method. The LOC method is the process of using a leave in/ liquid, oil, and cream (in that order) to moisturize your hair. This method is great for keeping your tresses moisturized and healthy. 
6. Hair Accessories. You hair will undergo a lot of changes within the initial months of being natural, and you may not always be fond of the changes. Keeping some cute hair accessories on deck, such as hats, bows, scarfs, and headbands, will help you get through those awkward hair moments and keep you from slipping back into creamy crackdom.

I dare add this next item to the list again, but this item is essential to being natural. Patience! Patience! Patience! Patience is truly a virtue that will be practiced throughout your natural hair journey. Be patient in how you handle your hair- no yanking, pulling, and other harsh measures with your hair. Also, be patient in your expectations for your hair. Don't expect your hair to go from shoulder length to bra strap length over night. In the end, your patience and care will pay off. We all have to start somewhere. Remember, with patience, comes growth.

Until next time...
Be faith-filled, fearless, and fabulous,
Kurly Ken 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Red Lipsticks for Women of Color

Hey kurlies,

If you don't know by now, I love a good red lip! Don't you? For the longest, I felt like I could not wear lipstick. For whatever reason, I thought I would look silly! My whole outlook changed when I found the perfect red lipstick. Truthfully, every woman should have their own staple red lipstick. Therefore, I thought I would share some of my favorite red lip colors for women of color. These lips colors range in price so there should be a lip color for every budget.

The Collection

This is Retro Red by NYC Cosmetics. This lipstick is uber moisturizing and has great color pay off. Although it's name indicates it is a red, it gives off a slight orange-ish red color. For 99 cents, you can't go wrong with this color! It's a definite score.

This is Rich Red Matte Lip Color by Elf Cosmetics. This lip pencil provides a deeper red lip color that I reach for when I want a darker red lip. At $3, it provides the lips with a stain. An added bonus is that this pencil self sharpens.

This is Perfect Red by NYX Cosmetics. It is a matte lip color that hydrates your lips. At $6, this is one of my favorite red lip colors for everyday use. This lip color obviously has great color pay off, and it feels good on my lips.

This color is Ruby Woo by MAC Cosmetics. It is a matte red lip color that comes highly recommended for women of color. The only down side is that the matte finish of the lipstick can be very drying on my lips. This lip color retails for $16. 

Well, Kurlies, I hope you enjoyed this post! There is a red lip color for every skin tone and for every budget; you just have to keep exploring until you find the right one. Your homework, if you have not done so already, is to ....

Until next time...

Be faith-filled, fearless, and fabulous,
Kurly Ken

Monday, June 2, 2014

So you just went natural, part 1

Hey Kurlies,

Summer time is a great time to transition or try something new. I frequently get asked my advice on what a person should do when they first go natural. So I thought I would share my experience and some practical tips in today's blog post. 

I remember when I first went natural--- the real first time--- I had no clue what to do with my hair. For those that don't know, I wore my hair in it's natural state twice. The first time I went natural, I transitioned for 5 to 6 months. Then creamy crack, also known as a relaxer ,called my name, and I went running! I wore my hair in a short relaxed pixie cut for a month. Within that month, I realized that relaxed hair was not for me. It was like I had to get the thirst for the creamy crack out of my system for. the. last. time. Don't act like I'm the only natural to have a relapse! Anyways, once I had the relaxer on my head, I died and came back to life as a dedicated naturalista.  

No Words! Let's observe a moment of silence for those, 
like myself, who relapsed into creamy crackdom. 

After that month, I began transitioning for another 8 months. During that 8 months, I read through tons of natural hair blogs, watched videos, and asked tons of questions to other fellow naturals like my cousin and friends. I initially imagined what my hair texture would be like, and as my hair grew out, I would leave a braid or two out to experiment with and gain an idea of what my hair would really be like. After 8 months, I was ready to embrace my hair. It also helped that my then boyfriend/now husband was one of the biggest advocates for being natural.

My go to transition style 

When I took my hair out of my transition style of braids, I was ready to experiment, and I was truly ready for the positive and negative reactions that came with natural hair. I did my big chop sitting in front of my man! (Child please! No shame! Lol!) He was in shock but supported me all the way through! 

This picture is of my hair the first month after my big chop. 

The first few months were brutal, but when I truly embraced my natural hair, I couldn't imagine life any other way. So I wanted to dedicate today's blog post to providing some practical tips to someone who has recently gone natural or is rededicating their hair to the natural journey. I don't want you to relapse on the creamy crack like I did. These tips will  prepare you mentally for a natural hair journey. 

Practical Tips for the New Natural:
1. Explore your hair. Look at your curl pattern, texture, porosity, and density. Make note (literally write it down) of what products and techniques appear to work best with your hair and which ones don't. I kept a hair journal under the notes section on my i-phone. 
2. Do your research. Actually, you should do your research prior to going natural to ensure you are aware of your commitment, but you should also do more research after you have explored your hair. Begin to read up on things that cater to your specific hair type. Look at products, techniques and styles worn by other naturals that will be beneficial to your hair. I think it's beautiful to look at other fellow naturals' hair, but be cautious of yourself while doing this. Some naturals tend to develop hair envy, embracing another naturalista's hair type and becoming disappointed with their own. If you research products and similar styles/ textures that cater to your own hair type, you will be more likely to embrace your own hair as well as see the endless opportunities you have with your hair. 
3. Build a support system. When you first go natural, people can be harsh. You have some people who will love your hair, and you have others who will say things like "Now what made you go and cut your hair off!", "I like you better with straight hair", or "Natural hair ain't for everyone"  (side eye)! Naysayers will say things to make you question the reason you went natural, and that ain't cool (Yeah, I said "ain't")! Therefore, build a support system consisting of those who will advocate for your natural hair in your toughest moments. For me, those people were my hubby, family (a few family members took a while to get on board, but they got there), and some of my closest friends. 
4. Be patient. Initially, you may not be at the hair length you want, but be patient. With time and care, your hair will grow. Trust me! I thought my hair would be short forever, but I am amazed at the growth that has occurred. 
5. Have fun. There will be certain styles and techniques that you can only do with the hair length you are currently at. Therefore have fun with this time in your natural journey. 

Let me know your thoughts kurlies: What are some other tips transitioner a or newly naturals should follow? What were your experiences when you first became natural and what did you learn from them? 

Stay tuned for So you just went natural, part 2, where I will provide hair care tips for the beginning natural. 

Until next time...
Be faith-filled, fearless, and fabulous,

Kurly Ken